Sturdy hands grip me underneath my arms and I twist my head, coming face-to-face with a gloomy Teresa.
"Come on, mi hija, let's get you into the kitchen," she says in a soft tone.
I lean against her, limping to the kitchen. She sets me down on a stool and moves to the cabinet. Setting a tumbler in front of me, she opens a bottle of Tequila. Pouring half a glass, she slides it to me.
"Drink," she says, replacing the bottle top.
I stare down at the liquid, glancing at her face. She raises her eyebrows as if daring me to object. I sigh, bringing the glass to my lips, tipping my head back. It burns, spreading through my throat and stomach. Draining the glass, I slide it back to her.
"You hide your pain well, Miss Lily." She pours more Tequila into the glass. I sip this one, thinking about the fight I know I'll be facing when the sun comes up, maybe before that.
"I wish I'd told Shannon to keep her mouth shut. I don't feel like hearing everyone's shit." I take a long draw from the glass.
Getting drunk might not be a bad idea.
"You should be honest with them, Miss Lily. You don't know how they were while you were missing."
"Are you scolding me, Teresa?"
She chuckles, her eyes softening. "Si, but only because I care for you and Mr. Mason. I gave him that letter. He was drunk for four days after he read it."
"He loves you. I didn't know how to help him; your team was in no fit state to do much of anything. They've only fallen into this uneasy routine in the last few weeks."
"I know he loves me."
"What happened, Lily?"
"Jax sent me into a fucking trap," I say.
I've not thought about that side of my anger, and for good reason. I don't want to explode on anyone yet. Tequila might not be a good idea after all. Glancing at my glass, I bring it to my lips and drain it . . . again.
A herd of footsteps echoes behind us.
Here comes the firing squad. Let the battle begin.
I slide my glass back to Teresa and she refills it without a word, glancing at the group of people behind me. I sigh, lifting the glass to my lips.
"Hello, everyone," I say, keeping the tumbler close to my lips. "Are you all sure you want to start this so soon after my arrival?"
"Don't start with that mouth," Blake snaps.
I glance at a small, sharp knife sitting on the counter-top. Standing slowly, I pick it up and turn on the group, taking a sip of my drink. Across the room, visible in the thin space between Blake and Dresden's heads, is a large wooden sculpture. Gently, I twirl the knife in my hand, focusing, measuring the distance.
Gasps erupt as I send the knife flying between them, sticking it perfectly in the eye of the sculpture. Hesitantly, they all turn their faces back to mine as I drain my glass. Setting it on the counter-top, I stroll to Blake, stopping just short of my body pressing against his. His breath hitches and I don't know if it's from my close proximity or my throwing a knife near him.
My nerves are on fire from his closeness, and I have to remind myself not to give in and touch him right now. "I told you once before, Mr. Mason, my smart mouth is the least of your worries."
"Lily, could you please refrain from throwing knives near my fac
e," Dresden says, his voice trembling slightly.
I shift my glance to look at him, his face ashen.