Home > Twice Bitten (Argeneau #27)(17)

Twice Bitten (Argeneau #27)(17)
Author: Lynsay Sands

“I’d imagine she’s more comfortable around older people,” G.G. said as she drank. “She’s spent very little time around young people. Instead, most of her life has been spent around the very old.”

Elspeth almost snorted at G.G.’s words. He wasn’t kidding. Most everyone in her life was well over two or three hundred years old. Heck, she herself was twice as old as Wyatt’s grandmother. In comparison, Merry was a youngster. Setting down the now empty glass, Elspeth slid it toward G.G. and wrapped her hand around the other glass he’d brought her.

“Hmm,” Wyatt murmured, and then, before she could lift the second glass, asked, “Is that why you rented from her? Because she was older and you were comfortable around her? No other reason?”

Elspeth rolled her eyes at the question. “I didn’t know your grandmother was the landlady when I rented the apartment. I didn’t know who owned it at all. I found and applied for it online while still in England. I’ve always loved old Victorian houses, and there were pictures of the front of your grandmother’s house with the listing on a rental website. It . . .” Elspeth grimaced. It had looked familiar to her, like home. But she couldn’t even explain that to herself, so merely said, “It looked charming and homey.”

“She advertised on the internet?” Wyatt asked with surprise. “Gran doesn’t have a computer.”

“Meredith uses a management company to rent the apartments,” she explained. “They posted the pictures and a description on a rental website. They’re who I dealt with.”

“So you didn’t pick my grandmother?” he asked slowly. “That was just a coincidence?”

Elspeth had no idea what he meant by coincidence, but assured him, “I didn’t know about Merry owning or living there until the day I arrived, when she introduced herself and offered me a plate of cookies as a welcome gift.” Glancing to G.G., she added, “Merry makes some killer cookies.”

“Yeah, she does,” Wyatt said with a faint grin.

“You’re making me jealous,” G.G. said with a sigh. “Mom used to make great cookies too, but she and Alfred travel so much now . . .” He shrugged, and then commented, “I was wondering why you hadn’t bought instead of rented, but if you had to arrange it all from England . . .”

Elspeth nodded. “I would never buy a house or condo without seeing it first. I planned to rent for a year or so while I checked out the city and where I might want to live, and then buy later,” she said, which was true. But she also hadn’t bought because she hadn’t been at all sure her escape plan would work. There had always been the chance that her mother might have caught a stray thought of hers, realized what she was doing, and put an end to it.

Fortunately, she hadn’t. But now Martine was here, in her apartment, and planning to move to Toronto as well. There was a good possibility that Victoria was right and her mother would try to make her move into whatever house she and Father bought here.

Elspeth lowered her glass and bit her lip at the thought, but then recalled how she’d been able to resist her mother’s mind control efforts today. Martine had managed to make her stop, briefly, in her apartment, but hadn’t been able to make her stay until she’d got close enough to touch her on the stairs, and then she hadn’t been able to stop her at all during her second attempt to leave. The pain she’d been suffering had helped her to push past her mother’s efforts to take control. At least, Elspeth thought that must be how she’d managed to escape. If it was, she might have to stab herself once a day to make sure she could have a life not controlled by her mother.

Elspeth considered that as she downed the last of the blood. She’d have to keep a knife on her at all times, and maybe stab herself each morning before she left her room. That way, her mother couldn’t sink her hooks into her mind and control her life. It didn’t sound pleasant, but hopefully she wouldn’t have to do it long before her mother gave up and stopped trying to control her.

“Right. I’ll just hit the bathroom and then I’ll walk you to your car,” Wyatt said when she finished and set down her glass. Glancing to G.G., he asked, “Where are the washrooms?”

G.G. pointed toward the back, and Wyatt nodded and murmured “Thank you” before following the silent instructions.

“Well?” G.G. said the minute Wyatt was out of hearing. “What are you going to do?”

“I don’t know. I understand why Mother acts the way she does, and I’ve tried to be patient, but . . .” Elspeth closed her eyes with frustration. “She doesn’t realize what she’s doing to us. And tonight I think she was actually trying to get me to break Council law so that I’d be banished and sent back to England.”

“That sounds whacked,” G.G. said, his eyebrows climbing his forehead, and then he grimaced and added, “But I meant, what are you going to do about your friend?”

“Wyatt?” she asked with surprise.

“Is that his name?” G.G. asked innocently, and then pointed out, “You never introduced us.”

“Oh! I’m sorry, you’re right,” she said with amazement. She’d been so befuddled by her inability to read and control him that she’d—

“You couldn’t control him,” G.G. said as if reading her mind.

“How do you know that?” Elspeth asked with surprise.

“Because you didn’t control him and make him leave,” G.G. said dryly. “Besides, I saw you look at him like you were trying to fry him with your eyes. I assume you were trying then to read or control him?”

“Yes,” she admitted solemnly.

“And couldn’t,” he said with certainty and, when she nodded, added, “So . . . life mates?”

Elspeth grimaced, but shook her head. “If we were life mates, we would have had shared dreams today while I slept. He’s staying with his grandmother on the floor below my apartment,” she pointed out. “We should have had shared dreams and didn’t. Ergo, we are not life mates.”

“Or maybe he wasn’t sleeping. He is mortal, after all, and was probably awake all day while you slept,” G.G. pointed out. When Elspeth sighed, her shoulders sagging in defeat, he smiled and said, “So, Wyatt is your life mate.”

Elspeth glanced away unhappily. This was not something she wanted to have to deal with just now. She had enough on her plate. Taking a deep breath to calm herself, she shrugged and said, “A possible life mate.”

G.G. tilted his head. “You don’t want him for a life mate?”

Elspeth avoided his gaze, her mind returning to that incredible kiss on Meredith’s back porch. Finally, she said, “It’s not that I don’t want him. I just . . .” Closing her eyes briefly, she sighed and then admitted, “I want to have a life, G.G. You were right when you said I’ve led a sheltered life. I haven’t been able to do anything. I’ve never dated, never been kissed properly until today, never had a girls’ night—unless you count the pajama party we had for Lissianna’s birthday when she met Greg. And even then our parents were all there,” she added with a grimace. “I want to experience at least some stuff before I settle down to a life mate. I want to go on dates, go dancing, eat popcorn in movie theaters, have fun girls’ nights, and . . .” She shook her head unhappily and then noticed the crooked smile on G.G.’s face and raised her eyebrows. “What?”

“I was just thinking God must have an ironic sense of humor,” he admitted with mild amusement.

“How’s that?” she asked with curiosity.

“Well, most immortals are pining for their life mate, and probably on their knees praying every night to find them, but they don’t,” he said solemnly. “While you, who isn’t at all interested in finding her life mate, and who just wants some freedom to experience life for a change, have your life mate thrown at you right out of the gates.” He shook his head. “I sometimes think God, or the Fates, or whoever it is he puts in charge of this stuff, really needs a good slap up the side of the head.”

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