An assassin sat on Scotty’s right, blond ringlets and sapphire eyes reflecting nothing of the bloodied madness inside her soul. Cozily woven together, legs and arms one atop the other, the bright smile on Scotty’s face told Hestia that he didn’t know.
“Hes!” His grin was infectious even here, surrounded by depravity and fated violence.
She sat, one shoulder to the wall, as her hand braced beneath the table. “Hey.”
The killer licking Scotty’s earlobe gave Hestia a possessive smile.
“This is Kate,” Scotty said, laughing and pulling away.
“Hi … Kate.” They eyed each other, two lionesses on either side of a downed gazelle. Hands ready, Hestia glanced back at Scotty. “What are you doing here, Scotty?” She raised an eyebrow, face light, unconcerned, a practiced mask.
“Isn’t it great? Did you see those guys juggling axes by the door? And the beer … they’ve got the best beer.” He nodded at the floor-to-ceiling shelves of black label bottles.
“Beer. You’re at The Golden Hangman for the beer.” It was just like him to miss the blood on the ceiling, and the body on the floor.
Scotty slid a half-full mug towards her, brown liquid sloshing up the sides. “Try it!”
“Scotty, you know what this is, right?” Hestia asked. She smiled at the blonde, who smiled back. Where was her other hand? Based on Scotty’s expression, it was likely in his lap, but Hestia knew not to trust appearances. Not here.
His snort drew the eye of a passing waitress, the loose shirt at her back shifting across a hidden blade. The hawk-eyed woman raised an eyebrow, but Hestia shook her head.
“Scotty, you know what I do, right? And your friend here?”
“Kate?” He snorted again and gave his barnacle-limbed companion a bright, trusting smile. “No way.”
“Scotty,” Hestia sighed, “you promised me we wouldn’t have another Pardaxia.”
The blonde tilted her head, curls shifting over one glinting eye. “Pardaxia?” Her voice was sweet like poisoned honey. “What’s that, Scotty-bear?”
“No, it’s not … no way, Hes. This is …” Scotty looked between the two women, eyes roving over their faces and the knowledge in their eyes. The laughter stole away from his face as awareness sat heavy on his shoulders. Kate sighed and shifted away, both hands disappearing beneath the table. “But the beer,” Scotty said, staring mournfully at the mug at the table’s center. “Try not to get us banned this time?”
The blonde raised her eyebrows, her attention narrowing on Hestia like a laser-sight.
Hestia smirked, anticipation sizzling through her like a live wire. “No promises. You’ve had your fun; now it’s time for mine.”