Brock walked into the dim interior of the pub his eyes searching for Kelly, his usual waitress. Or, more accurately, his uncle’s. With the size of Uncle Matt’s tips, not only did his uncle get great service, but Kelly’s teenaged son was assured of a college fund. After dealing with his Gran for two hours, Brock really needed a pint of Harp.
He knew where his great uncle would be: at the back with a good view of the front door and the dart board.
Uncle Matt waved a greeting at him and Brock slid into the booth. Surprisingly, none of his uncle’s cronies gathered nearby. Shouts from the bar under the TV broadcasting football answered the mystery. Brock glanced over. After see that the Packers weren’t playing, he lost interest.
Uncle Matt nudged the basket of onion rings his way and Brock grabbed a few, justifying that the deep fried treat was still a vegetable and fit in with his usual healthy diet. Munching on one, he spied a telltale spot of red on his uncle’s neck.
The breading on the onion ring scratched his throat as he hurriedly swallowed. “Did you go paint balling today without me?”
Uncle Matt grinned. “It was a senior division match. We won!”
“Was it fair, considering your team consists of Guardians?”
“They were retired Marines. It was fun afterward when they discovered we were ‘civvies’ in their eyes and half of the team women.”
“Great, let’s piss off the retired armed forces.” Brock rolled his eyes.
“Nah, they won’t hold a grudge. Some joined up with us for drinks and Edith is making it up to their squad leader. Or at least that’s my guess, as she didn’t leave with us. He’s a widower,” Uncle Matt added.
Brock blinked; perhaps his former baby sitter earned the nickname ‘Fast Eddie’ for other reasons besides her speed with blades. He ran his hands over the polished wood top of the table. A faint echo ghosted through him.
“Was Bee just here?”
“Yup. She’s all twisted up about this new case.”
“I’ve been trying to get Gran to give over the Greenlee dagger for safekeeping, but she didn’t go for it.”
Uncle Matt grinned. “It’s safe enough where it is and well protected, that’s why we claimed it after our great, great, great aunt’s death. I’m more worried about your sister than some burglar.”
Brock nodded and munched on another onion ring. Kelly appeared and he gave his order. “Bee is still having trouble dealing with Monica’s death and Gran pressuring her to ‘let her old partner go’ isn’t helping.”
“Tilly’s still under the impression that Monica was just her partner, not Belinda’s life partner.” Censure colored the older man’s voice.
Brock raised his eyebrows and took a fortifying sip after Kelly left his tankard on the table. “Inheriting the house wasn’t a tip off? Does Gran think it’s just about taking care of Monica’s pets?”
Uncle Matt frowned. “Watch your tone, young man.”
Brock nodded, the closest he could admit to an apology. He knew his great uncle tolerated only so much criticism of his own twin, Brock and Bee’s grandmother.
It still amazed him how blind everyone seemed. Bee’s aura swirled with unhappiness and the constant barrage from their grandmother only served to drive his sister further away. She’d already left the covens, separating herself from her family would be the next step. Would it take her moving from Madison for his kin to wake up?
Kelly slipped a plate of lasagna under his nose. “I know you’d want some.”
“Sure do. Rudy’s lasagna is a work of art. Thanks, hon.”
Brock picked up his fork, that pumpkin stew hadn’t been very filling and the ladies wouldn’t share the brownies he’d brought. His great uncle continued the conversation, proving he understood the seriousness of the situation concerning Belinda.
“I’ve tried to get Belinda talking about Monica but she just clams up. Maybe someone, a stranger outside of the situation, can get her to open up. Like her new partner?”
“Maybe. Her partner is Jon Taylor and he seems real sharp and not the type to let her wiggle out of discussions. He’s from Chicago, so I don’t think he has any friends here. He’s used to homicides, so a stubborn partner won’t deter him much.” He went on in that vein, thinking out loud.
Brock stared at his empty plate that he’d made inroads on while talking. Speaking of talking, had he’s just been jabbering away about Jon the entire time? A glance at the wall clock showed that over twenty minutes passed since the discussion began concerning the handsome detective.
His great uncle’s blue eyes gleamed when Brock met them and he fought a blush. Thankfully, he knew of a sure way to distract the older man. “Wanna play darts?”
Uncle Matt rose and grabbed the darts. “You planning to cheat again?”
“Using telekinesis to push my arts around while I toss is cheating, boy.”
“Oh, so that’s your excuse when you lose to me?”
Uncle Matt snorted, narrowing his eyes, and the game began.