his direct gaze. His wasn’t as blank as mine was. He appeared curious before he hid it behind his hooded lids. “You’re…kind of in my way.”
No one at the table of shifters was speaking. I was pretty sure they had stopped eating too, just blatantly staring now. Not exactly a wonderful situation.
Mike didn’t speak, merely glancing over my head after eyeing me again. His gaze held for the barest moment above me. I knew he was staring at Isaac. Just as silently, his eyes dipped back down to me, asking quietly, “How do you know my brother?”
I was quiet for the barest moment, thinking quickly before I stated honestly, “I delivered a package once to a building not too far from here. He was there. We had a few words .” That was enough. It was just the right amount to imply we had argued.
Mike’s head cocked, inhaling deeply, his brows lowering. “I haven’t met you before, but you smell of flowers. What type of Garden shifter are you?”
I kept my expression serene. “I don’t know what you’re talking about and my friends are waiting for me.” I could now see them behind him, both glancing around, already at the register, having made their orders and noticing I was missing. I angled my body a bit so I could see behind him from the corner of my eye. The shifter ‘royalty’ were almost on us. “If you’ll please excuse me?”
He didn’t move.
I tilted my body ever so slightly to edge around him, but he instantly leaned on a hip, indicating he would try to stop me if I moved.
My blink was slow when I saw the wizard push the chair out next to him in a nonchalant way, barely noticeable really, but it was just enough that I saw a bit of a reprieve. If I sat down, then waited for the shifter group to sit down, then I could easily excuse myself since the only other free chairs were across the table. I cleared my throat, and pivoted, walking around the table swiftly, mumbling to the wizard, “I guess I’ll stay for a bit after all.”
The wizard merely snorted softly, tilting to the side, whispering absently, “I’m Caleb.”
“Nice to meet you, Caleb,” I muttered, sitting easily on the chair before I sat my small bag on my lap and pulled out my cellphone that buzzed in my pocket. It was Jackie, her text simple. I typed a quick reply that I was in the bathroom, and I’d find them if they wanted to sit on the other side of the barrier dividing The Bread Basket’s room in two (by the windows)—it was far away from here. Placing my phone back into my pocket, I sat comfortably, watching silently as the shifter ‘royalty’ stopped at the table, and decent, respectful greetings were made.
It was then that it dawned on me that this was neutral ground for them.
Public. Supposedly, no guards. The shifters together…and the lone wizard next to me.
This was peaceful for them, the wizard safe from any harm.
Even if it wasn’t so peaceful for me. I kept my gaze off Isaac.
Although his company did not, as they took their seats, eyeing me with interest.
As soon as their asses were in their chairs, I quickly glanced at my watch, ogling the dial. “Boy, look at that. I can’t believe it’s already…” Yeah, it didn’t matter. I grabbed my bag on my lap and began to stand, glancing at the wizard. “It was a pleasure. Thank you so much for saving me a seat.”
His chuckle was ever so quiet, his blue eyes twinkling the barest bit in his merriment, seeming to take great joy in what I had said as he gripped the back of my chair and helped to pull it out while I stood, my exit now clear to my friends. “You’re most welcome.”
Though, he lifted a finger. “I’m sorry. Wait just a moment.” He peered to the group around the table and blinked so damn softly. His voice was quiet. “I want you to know this young lady, Miss Kennedy Kirk, is under my protection. Should any of you decide that she should be harmed in the future…” his smile was small, “just