Chapter Twenty One
Insecurity | Dizelde
I sat squished on the couch between Garth, who was sprawled out and indifferent to the fact that he was taking up twice the space he actually needed, and Kayli, who was practically entangled with Liam who sat on her other side because there was nowhere else for her to go. And, to add to this discomfort, Larkin was in the room. Sure, he'd hardly even glanced at me, but... he was in the room. And I could hardly stop myself from following his every move.
"For God's sake, Garth! Give us some room, would you?" Kayli leaned forward so that she could glare at him.
He stared at her blandly for a moment before saying slowly, "This is MY couch."
Kayli flopped back, hitting Liam's shoulder. He instantly lifted his arm and dropped it over her neck. Now I was definitely uncomfortable.
"Give him a break, Kay, he's probably wiped out. You should've seen him get worked up about the rank ref's calls. The people seated in front of us probably thought it was raining."
Kayli burst out laughing and I chuckled. Garth nudged me.
"You're supposed to be on my side," he grumbled good-naturedly.
"No, she's on my side," Kayli butted in. "And, while you two are under the influence, I'd love to hear what that inside joke you seem to have is. I feel like you two are always laughing at me!"
"Nah, we're just amused about your first reaction to me." Garth chuckled and nudged me again. "She couldn't stop herself from exclaiming over my apparent 'hotness'."
I grinned. "Seriously?" Kayli didn't seem the type to fawn over someone.
Kayli reached around me and slapped Garth upside the head. "First off, I was not in my right senses. Secondly, I did NOT fawn over him. And thirdly! Thirdly, how is it a joke to you, Liam? You gave me the silent treatment for having a MEETING with Luke!"
Liam's face straightened immediately. "It was a date, you dated him. Anyway, it's different."
"Yeah, it's different! I didn't once show any interest towards Luke, dammit, it wasn't a date!"
"Ah, but you were interested in me, hmm?" Garth chuckled. I felt stuck in the middle.
"As I said before, I wasn't in my right senses," Kayli said firmly.
"Look, I just know that Garth isn't the type of guy to go after you." Liam shrugged. "Whereas Luke constantly flirts with you."
Now hold on... I thought Luke liked Bianca.
"He's doing it to get on your nerves. Geez, it's so obvious."
Ah, now I see. Actually, I think most people in the room now understood. Most had stopped their own conversations and were openly staring at our couch.
"Yeah, okay, whatever." Liam looked away, avoiding any more conversation.
The sudden quiet was even more awkward so I stood, wanting to get away using any excuse.
"Er, I need a drink," I said tentatively, "anybody else?"
"Grab me a beer," Garth requested. He'd probably been waiting for someone to offer.
"In the fridge?" I asked.
He nodded and I looked to Kayli who shook her head. "We're alright, thanks."
I paced out of there, nearly running into Fiachra as he came back into the room. He was totally paralytic. His eyes were half closed and he didn't look balanced on his feet but he still managed to reach out and ruffle my hair as I passed.
"You have to come talk to lonely Mac when you come back," he called after me. It took me a second to remember that Mac was his nickname and to realise he was talking in third person.
Thankfully there was no one in the kitchen. I didn't really know how to act around drunk people, they had no restraint. I grabbed a glass of water for myself and a bottle of beer for Garth out of the fridge. I walked back to the room as slowly as I could. I entered the door tentatively and was near instantly crushed into a bear-hug.
"You came back to me," slurred Fiachra into my hair. I pushed my way free, laughing half-heartedly.
"I need to go see Garth first, just give me a second, Mac, and I'll come back." Maybe, I added silently. This guy was like a giddy teddy bear when he was sober... I couldn't imagine how hard to handle he'd be now.
He grabbed my forearms. "Forget... Garth." He hiccupped. "He's got company. Keep me company?" He widened his eyes and pouted. Cute, but it wouldn't work on me.
"I'm just going to give him this bottle." I waved the beer in front of his face, not sure that he'd be able to see it clearly otherwise. "I'll be right back."
Fiachra frowned, contemplating. I was tempted to just wrench out of his grip but he was so plastered that he'd probably lose his balance and fall over.
"Okay," he said, finally releasing me. "But then you come back, yes?"
I nodded reluctantly. I turned and saw Garth looking over at me with expectant raised eyebrows. Had he been watching the entire time? Couldn't he have helped me out? I started my way over to him but my path was cut off. By Larkin. My heart thumped once, loudly, and my leg muscles tensed. He looked disapproving.
"You're underage," he said, yanking the beer out of my grip. I stared at him, shocked for a moment.
"It's not for me," I found my voice. "It's for Garth."
Lark pursed his lips and then turned around. "Get your own alcohol next time," he shouted at Garth, tossing the drink in his direction.
Garth caught it effortlessly, despite his intoxication level. "Keep it in yer pants, Lark."
"What the hell are you talking about?" laughed Kayli, punching Garth on the arm.
Lark glanced back at me and then said to Garth, "Reculer!"
"Eh pourquoi!?" Garth called back. I recognised the language, slightly. It was French but the dialect was a little different than the one I only faintly remembered.
"What the hell are you guys saying," Kayli questioned, looking a little amused. "Is this a secret language?"
She was ignored.
"Elle est a moi," Larkin said firmly.
Garth laughed shortly. "Est-ce qu'elle le sait?" I knew what that meant. 'Does he know' or 'is it known'... I think. Maybe they were talking about Fiachra. However I don't know why Lark was being so serious.
"Elle va le savoir," Larkin said in a hard tone and then turned, walking out of the room. I was confused. I'm pretty sure that he just said, 'he will know'. So why wasn't he telling Mac? Fiachra was nearly falling over where I'd left him.
"Want to tell the rest of us what that was about?" Liam asked.
Garth scowled and shook his head. "Not worth troubling your pretty mind over, Liam."
"Well, then... that's..." Liam broke off and reached down to tug his wire out of his pocket. He hooked it up and frowned. "Luke? What's up? What's going on?"
He looked over at Garth and then stood up. "You're ten minutes out? I'll meet you at your house."
He put his wire away and then raised his hand to stop Garth and Kayli from asking the questions that were obviously ready to be asked. "He got a call. Not like the one he got about Diz. It's about the case. I'll let you guys in on it when I get back."
He hurried from the room.