Mercy Thompson

 
 

Mercy Thompson Book 3 - Page 37


"But your wolf doesn't want me now?" That came out pretty pathetic sounding. I didn't need his laugh to tell me so.

"Jerk," I said, poking him.

"Here I thought you were above all that girl stuff," he said. "You don't want me as your mate, Mercy, so why are you miffed that my wolf finally admitted defeat?"

If he'd known how much that last statement told me about how hurt he was that I'd rejected him, I think he'd have bitten off his tongue. Was it better to talk about it - or just let it pass by?

Hey, I may be a mechanic and I may not use makeup very often, but I'm still a girl: it was time to talk it out.

I nudged him. "I love you."

He crossed his arms over his chest and leaned sideways so he could see me without twisting his neck. "Yeah?"

"Yeah. And you're hot - and a terrific kisser. And if your father hadn't interfered, I'd have run away with you all those years ago."

The smile slid off his face, and I couldn't tell what he was feeling at all. Not with my eyes or my nose - which is usually a better indicator. Maybe he was feeling as confused as I was.

"But I'm different now, Samuel. I've been taking care of myself too long to be happy letting anyone else do it. The girl you knew was sure that you would make a place for her to belong - and you would have." I had to say this right. "Instead I made a place for myself and the process changed me into who I am now. I'm not the kind of person you'd be happy with, Samuel."

"I'm happy with you," he said stubbornly.

"As a roommate," I told him. "As a packmate. As a mate mate you'd be unhappy."

He laughed then. "A mate mate?"

I waved an airy hand. "You know what I mean."

"And you're in love with Adam," he said quietly, then a little humor crept into his voice. "You'd better not flirt with that geek in front of Adam."

I raised my chin; I was not going to feel guilty. Nor did I understand my feelings for Adam well enough to discuss them tonight.

"And you're not in love with me." I realized something more and it made me grin at Samuel. "Wolf or not, you aren't in love with me - otherwise you wouldn't have been getting such a charge out of teasing Adam all this time."

"I was not teasing Adam," he said, offended. "I was courting you."

"Nope," I said, settling back in my chair. "You were tormenting Adam."

"I was not." He started the car and pulled out aggressively into the traffic.

"You're speeding," I told him smugly.

He turned his head to say something to put me in my place, but just then the cop behind us lit up.

We were almost home when he decided to quit being offended.

"All right," he said, relaxing his hands on the steering wheel. "All right."

"I don't know what you were so mad about," I said. "You didn't even get a ticket. Twenty miles an hour over the speed limit and all you got was a warning. Must be nice being a doctor."

Once the cop had recognized him, she'd been all kinds of nice. He'd apparently treated her brother after a car wreck.

"There are a couple of cops whose cars I take care of," I murmured. "Maybe if I flirted with them, they'd - "

"I was not flirting with her," he ground out.

He wasn't usually so easy. I settled in for some real fun.

"She was certainly flirting with you, Dr. Cornick," I said, even though she hadn't been. Still...

"She was not flirting with me either."

"You're speeding again."

He growled.

I patted his leg. "See, you didn't want to be stuck with me for a mate."

He slowed as the highway dumped us in Kennewick and we had to travel on city streets for a while.

"You are horrible," he said.

I smirked. "You accused me of flirting with Tim."

He snorted. "You were flirting. Just because I didn't take him apart doesn't mean you aren't fishing in dangerous waters, Mercy. If it had been Adam with you tonight, that boy would be feeding the fishes - or the wolves. And I am not kidding."

I patted his leg again and took a deep breath. "I didn't mean to let it be a flirtation, I just got caught up in the conversation. I should have been more careful with a vulnerable boy like him."

"He isn't a boy. If he's five years younger than you, I'd be surprised."

"Some people are boys longer than others," I told him. "And that boy and his friend were both in O'Donnell's house not too long before he was killed."

I told Samuel the whole story, from the time Zee picked me up until I'd taken the paper from Tim. If I left anything out, it was because I didn't think it was important. Except, I didn't tell him that Austin Summers was probably the brother of one of the boys who beat up on Jesse. Samuel's temper might be easier than Adam's - but he'd kill both boys without a shred of remorse. In his world, you didn't beat up girls. I'd come up with a suitable punishment, but I didn't think anyone needed to die over it. Not as long as they quit bothering Jesse.

That was the only thing I left out. Both Zee and Uncle Mike had left me to my own devices in this investigation. Okay, they'd told me not to investigate, which amounted to the same thing. Proceeding without any help from the fae made investigating riskier than it would have otherwise been, and Zee was already mad at me for sharing what I had. More wouldn't make him any madder. The time for keeping their secrets strictly to myself was over.

If there was one thing I'd learned over the past few interesting (in the sense of the old Chinese curse, "May you live in interesting times") months, it was that when things started to get dangerous, it was important to have people who knew as much as you did. That way, when I stupidly got myself killed - someone would have a starting place to look for my murderer.

By the time I was finished telling him everything, we were sitting in the living room drinking hot chocolate.

The first thing Samuel said was, "You have a real gift for getting into trouble, don't you? That was one thing I forgot when you left the pack."

"How is any of this my fault?" I asked hotly.

He sighed. "I don't know. Does it matter whose fault it is once you're sitting in the middle of the frying pan?" He gave me a despairing look. "And as my father used to point out, you find your way into that frying pan way too often for it to be purely accidental."

I put aside the urge to defend myself. For over a decade I'd managed to keep to myself, living as a human on the fringe of werewolf society (and that only because, at the Marrok's request, Adam decided to interfere with my life even before he built a house behind mine). It was Adam's trouble that had started everything. Then I'd owed the vampires for helping me with Adam's problems. Clearing that up had left me indebted to the fae.