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A Bad Idea 18

“You look like you could use a drink,” Shade said, setting a glass in front of Anne.

“It’s fine.” Anne felt tired, like gravity was working overtime on her.

“Open bar.” Shade grabbed a bottle of vodka, then a bottle of triple sec. Poured a bit of each into a shot glass, then capped it off with lemon juice. “You walked here, right?”

Anne nodded her head, which led Shade to scoot the glass forward.

“It’ll make you feel better.”

Shade had made a lemon drop — Anne’s favorite drink.

She downed it in one go, letting the kinda-sweet kinda-tangy flavor roll down her throat. She set it back down on the bartop.

“What brings you here?” Shade asked.

Anne slouched her shoulders. “Was invited to the Owls’s base.”

“And you went?”

Anne chuckled. “Yeah.”

“And it didn’t go well.”

“Right. I don’t know. Felt weird. They didn’t trust me.”

“Did they have any reason to trust you?”

Anne thought back on the microphone she’d planted. “They shouldn’t have invited me if they weren’t going to trust me.”

“That’s all you’re upset about,” Shade said. It sounded casual, but Anne knew what was really being said — what was really being asked. Was the murder getting to her? Was it eating her up on the inside?

The answer to both of those questions was no. She wondered what that meant.

“That’s all I’m upset about,” Anne said.

“You should probably get going,” Shade said. “Go home. Get some rest if you can. Do whatever it is you normally do.”

“Yeah,” Anne said. “Thanks.”

Just as she was turning to leave, Anne got smacked on the back.

“Leaving so soon?” a deep, possibly drunk voice asked. Anne turned around and saw that it was the lady from before.

“Yeah,” Anne said.

“Well, alright,” she said. “But let all your friends know that you met Wild Whip in the flesh.”

“Alright,” Anne said, voice soft. She got out of there as fast as she could.

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