Twisted Roses

Page 27

“Will we be telling Lucius about what she’s done?” Stitches asks.
Stefania’s bleary eyes meet mine and her bottom lip trembles before another hiccup takes over.
“No,” I answer. “Don’t tell him shit. I’ll scold Florina for letting the lush wander off.”
My office is cleared out within the next few seconds. Stitches rushes off to go carry out my orders on the street outside. Fabio drags a sniveling, bloat-faced Stefania to my car so I can drive her home.
I have no clue why the fuck she’d drop by like she has; Stefania has never once visited Nirvana. She’s too deep on her own plane of existence to be involved in the details of the mafia. Even as Lucius’ wife of thirty-five years.
If she’s waiting on forgiveness, she’ll be waiting forever.
I grab my phone and begin typing another text to Delphine. Halfway through, I change my mind and call her instead.
Straight to voice mail.Blocked.
A scowl clenches onto my face. I don’t know what puts me in a worse mood—Stefania’s drunk and belligerent visit or Delphine ignoring my existence. I snatch my car keys off my desk and stride toward the door so I can drive Stefania home, deciding it just might be a draw.
9. delphine
“One of thesedays you’re going to tell me why you’re so distracted,” Medjine says in the middle of our campaign meeting.
I offer her a good-humored smile and make up an excuse: I’ve been thinking about a family dinner I’m attending.
“If your family’s anything like my very Haitian family, they’ll be asking when your ring and baby are coming. Oh, and the man too, of course.”
A short laugh leaves me. “Is that what the Toussaint family discusses around the table?”
“That, and my Uncle Eddy having the audacity, at age fifty-eight, to get some twenty-four-year-old dental assistant pregnant,” she says, flipping through some pages of a report. “Speaking of audacity, have you seen Polk’s social media? He’s trying to court the eighteen to twenty-five demographic with that Tiktok he posted. Absolutely no one wants to see him attempt to twerk his flat ass and claim it’s a Hot Boy Summer.”
Once Medjine gets going, she’s impossible to stop. We sit and work on the finer details of my campaign for another two hours before wrapping up. Brenda, who has been preoccupied on her phone the majority of the time, snaps upright in her seat.
“I think we need to start putting a time limit on these,” she yawns.
The rest of the afternoon I spend on the case I’m prosecuting—another go taking down Michael Frausto and the rest of the Belini crime family.
I figure there’s nothing to lose. After one of their dirty cops tried to have me killed, there’s little else they can scare me with.
Cade turns up as I’m engrossed in my laptop. He taps knuckles on my door and stops at the threshold.
It’s been a week since our disastrous date. Come Monday morning, I showed up with a latte and an apology I hoped would at least leave us on friendly terms. Cade hadn’t come into work; he had taken last-minute leave all week.
I’ve assumed he’s avoiding me.
“Cade,” I say in surprise. I half rise out of my chair, so stunned I can’t remember a word of my apology. “Err… welcome back to work. You’ve missed four days in a row. I would’ve just taken Friday too if I were you.”
He smirks. “I considered it, but four is enough to spend on my grandma and her bunion surgery.”
“Is that where you’ve been?”
“She has no one else to look after her other than me and my brother. Last time it was on him. This was my turn.”
“I hope she feels better soon. Sweet of you to look after her.”
Particularly when I thought you were avoiding me…
He shrugs and folds his arms over his chest. “Anyway, figured I’d stop by your office and see how you’re doing. You… disappeared last Friday night.”
“Right, I’m so sorry about that. The call,” I say, my face flushing hot, “it took longer than I expected.”