Chapter 169b: Shahin
It seemed that, the closer they got to the wedding, the more time they spent talking with Emrys' crew. Shahin smiled awkwardly at Agatha while Emrys discussed arrangements for something - she wasn't quite sure what, but apparently the groom had personal things to attend to as much as the bride -with Dysmas. The revelation of relative-hood had not made the tiny woman any more pleasant.
"Everything's prepared by this point, then, I imagine?" Did Agatha really want to start a conversation? Well, it wouldn't kill her, she supposed. After all, weren't weddings supposed to be a time of camaraderie between all women? In theory, at least, if not in general practice?
"Everything but the garter," she admitted, and produced that piece of tiny knitting from her backpack. "It seems, as much as I'm loathe to jinx it, to be going well."
Agatha nodded, taking a seat across from her. "Emrys seems to have his men in order and doing their jobs; not that I'm surprised he's on top of things. How are your bridesmaids?"
Was this casual conversation or an interrogation? "Kaia's nervous, of course," and still hardly talking to me, "and," she smiled a little, "I had a hard time talking Ayla into a dress, but I think I've got it all worked out now."
Fortunately, she was spared any further attempt at socialization, as the door opened and Tolly lumbered into the suite. Right off the bat Shahin knew something was wrong. The hang-dog look, the shuffling feet, the nervous glance around his own place; what had happened?
She stood up, reaching for Emrys at the same time. "Tolly?"
"Hi, Sheen." He forced out a smile for her, but his eyes dipped to the ground, not meeting her gaze. "I gotta talk to Aggie for a minute."
"All right," she nodded, stepping out of his way. What was going on? Kai? It seemed unlikely.
Agatha took him by the hand, her tiny one on his huge paw, and led him back to her own bedroom, a worried frown on her face.
"Any idea what's up?" Emrys asked quietly. Dysmas shook his head, folding his arms and watching the door.
Shahin shook her head, not sharing her concerns. They were so very easily roused to anger, and she didn't want another cross-Crew fight with her friend.
Emrys, however, seemed to want to puzzle it out. "It's that collar, it has to be. What did she do to him?"
She sighed. "She's on a campaign about… you know," she hedged, glancing uncomfortably at Dysmas.
He, in turn, noticed her look and arched a brow. "A campaign, you say?"
"Ah… yes." She didn't want to betray her friend, but these were Emrys' friends. She settled for that "yes" and nothing more.
The moment of tense silence was broken by the sudden slam of Agatha's door as she stormed out, with Tolly shambling behind her.
"Come on, boys," Agatha called, a look of fierce determination on her face as she snapped her fingers. "It's time to settle this."
The snap of her fingers snapped something inside of Shahin. She straightened her back, and caught Emrys' eye. They couldn't let Agatha win this one.
Emrys was falling in line, though; for better or worse, they were going to see what happened, at least.
She tensed, and held his hand, forcing herself not to cling. Was this going to break something? And, if so, what? Would he forgive her if she stood with her friend instead of with his crew? Would she forgive him if he backed his crew and not her friend?
Additionally, how far would they go? Agatha had murder in her eyes, and with Dysmas behind her, Shahin had no doubts about the amount of damage they could inflict. They'd always stayed very carefully within the bounds of the law, using and abusing it but never crossing that line. Was all that about to change?
"Emrys," she murmured.
"Do you have some kind of insight?" Agatha snapped at her without breaking stride. "The little bitch is your friend, after all, isn't she?"
"Yes," she answered, steel in her spine. "Kai is my friend. She's a good friend, and a good person." Unlike you.
"Is that so?" Agatha sneered. "So, when she's exploiting our friend's good-natured altruism to hurt him and keep him longer in this place, is that because she's such a good friend, or such a good person?"
Shahin couldn't help a small smile. So that's what she's doing. I didn't think she had it in her. "Knowing Kai," she answered, "I'd say it was her being a good person." Sorry, Tolly.
Emrys, who had been nodding along with her words, blinked. "Wait, what?"
"Think about Kai," she murmured, not wanting to give away too much, but wanting him to understand. "About what she wants, about her goals and plans. This isn't revenge. She could have done that at any point - but she's not the vengeful sort."
Emrys began mulling that over, but Agatha announced, "There's no time - or need - to think about it, we can get it straight from the bitch's mouth. We're here."
Oops; Shahin had been so wrapped up in the conversation, she'd barely been aware of the party's travel. She looked around the tropical jungle; it was an interesting place, at least, for a meeting. Or a war.
Seeing the Thorne girls idly lounging around the grotto, it seemed like the latter might be expected. Kailani stood, roughly in their center, with Conrad beside her of course. Anatoliy walked over to them, and for a moment Shahin thought Agatha was going to move to stop him, but she stayed her hand.
Shahin suppressed a smug smile, seeing the tiny bitch at a loss. There's a first time for everything.
Copyright © 2009-2012 Lyn Thorne-Alder with Elasmo. All rights reserved.
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