But this isn’t the time. “Let me go.”
He doesn’t. Instead, he holds me close as he and his brother share some silent communication.
“Let’s go into the study,” Bastian says.
“No. There’s no time,” I say, but Amadeo marches me to the study as Bastian leads the way. Once inside. I’m deposited on the couch. I wince when the blade cuts my thigh and look from one to the other. From the desk, Amadeo retrieves a file.
Dread settles in my stomach when he carries it to me but doesn’t quite hand it over.
“Do you remember our conversation from a few nights ago, Dandelion?” Bastian asks, coming to sit beside me. Amadeo takes the seat opposite us.
“Which one?” I rub my temples. I’m getting a headache.
“When I asked you if your mother or father had brown eyes.”
“Why does that matter? Lucien will try to take Emma from me.” I try to stand, but Bastian puts his hand on my thigh to keep me down. He pauses, then cocks his head to the side and studies me. I watch as he shifts his gaze down to look at his hand. There’s a smear of blood across his thumb. He draws the dress up my thigh to reveal the crudely made strap holding the dagger to my thigh. The cuts it’s made. The blood.
“What’s this, Dandelion?”
The dagger looks like a pretty little toy beside his big hand. I glance up at him, then at Amadeo. Neither look surprised, and I don’t feel like apologizing.
“It’s mine. I found it in your nightstand after you took it from me,” I tell Amadeo. Bastian moves to slip it from my thigh, but I catch his hand with both of mine. “You can’t take it away. I won’t let you.”
“Relax, sweetheart. I just want to have a look.”
“Don’t call me sweetheart.”
“Fine. Dandelion. Relax, Dandelion.”
He takes my wrists, drags my arms behind my back and holds them with one of his as he slips the blade from its makeshift sheath. He tests the sharpness against his arm and whistles.
“I’m keeping it. If I’d had it when those men… maybe what happened wouldn’t have.”
They study me as I try to wriggle free of Bastian’s grip to take the dagger back.
“I mean it. I won’t be defenseless again.”
“We need to bandage the cut and you need a proper strap and sheath for it,” Amadeo says as Bastian gets up to go into the attached bathroom. He returns a moment later with a large bandage, then cleans the cuts and covers them with it.
I’m surprised and look from one to the other. They’re going to let me keep it? I was sure they’d fight me on it.
Amadeo returns to the desk and opens the center drawer. He drops my knife in it and I’m about to protest when he takes out a switchblade. He pushes the button, and I watch it flip open.
“You can have this one until I get your sheath. It’s at the Ravello house.” He closes it and offers it to me. Untrusting, I look at him, then at it. I reach to take it expecting him to snatch it away at the last minute, but he doesn’t. The handle is smooth, the weight heavy. I push the button and touch the sleek, sharp blade. Holding it open, I look at them.
“You try to use that on either of us, and you’ll be back to locked doors and guards, understand?” Amadeo says.
I nod once. It’s not for them. Not yet.
“Good. Now about Emma.”
I brace myself. This is going to be bad.
“Two blue-eyed parents cannot have a brown-eyed child,” Bastian says bluntly.
Amadeo watches me while I try to process.
Bastian’s eyebrows rise. “Do you understand what I’m saying?”