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“The council felt it would allow me more cover.”
“Have you felt it has been an invasion of your privacy?”
He hesitated.
“Be honest,” she said.
“I guess not. But that could change.”
She frowned. “We aren’t going to agree on this, are we?”
“Probably not,” he said. “And I’m not taking you in there if all you plan to do is argue politics.”
“I can’t ask questions?”
“Questions about the case? Yes.”
“How about questions about mine and Chan’s case?”
“I’ve answered all those,” he said, his jaw set firmly.
“Maybe they know something you don’t.” Or maybe you’re still keeping secrets.
He ran a hand down his face as if frustrated. “If you came to work for them, you could ask all kinds of questions.”
“What does that mean?”
His expression hardened and his hesitation said he was trying to find an answer—so probably something a little off from the truth. “I just meant that as long as you work for the FRU, they aren’t going to completely open up to you.”
“So what will they hide from me?”
“I didn’t say they would hide anything,” he said.
“You implied it,” she countered.
“I didn’t imply shit,” he said. “Look, go talk to them, but don’t start interrogating them. They won’t like that. And the last thing I want to have to do is…”
“Is what?” she said.
He looked at her. Honesty filled his eyes. “Take on the council to defend you. They aren’t Reborns, but they’re bad asses.”
“You would do that?” she asked before she could stop herself.
“If I had to. But I don’t want to. So behave.”
“I’m gonna ask questions,” she said.
His frown tightened. “Fine, ask. But don’t get your back up if you don’t get answers.”
They got out of the car and walked into Benny’s. The smell of burnt bacon and eggs filled the air. The hostess was a vampire, and after checking their patterns and offering Chase a flirty smile, she motioned for them to go ahead to the back room.
Della followed him, her stomach a knot of nerves. She almost wished she hadn’t drank the blood at Chase’s place. The door to the back was shut. While he’d been motioned to go on back, he still knocked.
“Come in,” she heard a low and deep voice say on the other side.
Chase looked over his shoulder at her and mouthed the word, “Behave.”
Chapter Thirty-eight
Unlike the front of the diner, the back room held heavy curtains. And they were closed. The only light came from a chandelier that held a couple of sixty-watt bulbs.
Six men sat behind a long table. Della’s gaze shifted fast, taking in each of their faces, searching for one face. The face of her father. Or rather, her father’s identical twin.
He wasn’t there.
Disappointment stirred in her already nervous gut. Though, why she thought it would be that easy was beyond her. But that didn’t mean her uncle wasn’t behind this.
Chase introduced her. He didn’t give the names of the men individually, just calling them the Vampire Council. And she supposed that was all she was going to get.
They didn’t stand up, but nodded their heads appropriately. Each of them had a brown mug set in front of them. She’d bet it wasn’t coffee in those mugs.
She studied them each briefly. Not one of them was Asian. Two looked Hispanic, one Native American, one African-American, and the other two were Caucasian. Their ages ranged from early thirties to early hundreds. Or at least, that one Hispanic dude appeared older than dirt.
For some reason, she remembered finding herself in the courtroom with the FRU judge and jurors.
In front of the long Benny’s table were two chairs.
“Miss Tsang, Mr. Tallman,” the oldest of the group spoke. “Please sit. Would you like something to drink?”
Della found her mouth a little dry, but didn’t think her stomach would take anything. She forced herself to move to the chair and to speak. “No, thank you.”
“We have heard wonderful reports from Mr. Tallman about you,” another of the men said.
“I’m sure he exaggerates,” Della answered.
“I doubt that,” said another of the six, one of the blond guys who looked around her father’s age.
“She is everything I told you,” Chase spoke up.
The older dude added, “We were delighted to hear you wanted to meet with us. And we shall not pretend that our hope isn’t that you intend to join us as one of our agents.”
Okay, this was going to be very tricky. “I can’t say that is my intention at this time. However, I’ve always been one to like options.”
“Disappointing, but well delivered, young lady,” said another of the six.
“So, what is your intent in meeting us?” asked the eldest.
“I guess you might say curiosity.”
“About us?” the eldest questioned.
“Yes. And more.”
“The ‘more’ being?” asked the youngest of the council.
She stiffened her spine and heard Chase shift in his chair beside her. She hadn’t gotten this far to be too afraid to ask. “I’m curious as to why you would send an agent to ensure my cousin and I would get though the rebirth?”