Again, the thought crossed his mind that this was all Sabine’s fault. Eli had been set up with Lewis to take over the remaining Date Shark clients already on the schedule until he met Sabine. Guy knew his sister was très magnifique. She was a European fashion model, after all. Could she not tone it down on occasion? Like when it might end up dragging her brother into being Chicago’s newest, not-so-willing Date Shark?
“The client’s issue is what?” Guy asked.
Hedging, Eli said, “Why don’t you just wait and see?”
Fantastique, Guy thought. That bad? He settled back in his chair and sighed. Drinks had been ordered, and appetizers were being contemplated by the time a commotion at the front desk brought the maître ‘d with the terrible French accent tripping in her six inch heels to cut off a woman carrying the largest purse Guy had ever seen.
“Mr. Walsh, Mr., uh, Guy,” she said, apparently not wanting to make a second attempt at his last name.
“Your third guest arrived. I tried to tell her …”
Standing slowly, Eli tried not to let his embarrassment show, but Guy knew him too well to be deceived. He faced the frazzled maître ‘d and said, “It’s okay, Lauren. I’ll handle it from here.”
“But, but she …”
“I already spoke to Conrad about it.”
Lauren’s shoulders dropped and her hands flapped against her body once, defeated. She simply turned and walked away after that. Guy was tempted to do the same. What did the purse hold? Should he be concerné?
“Deliah,” Eli said politely, “thank you for coming, though I believe we already had a discussion about the insects.”
Insectes? Guy thought, his stomach turning involuntarily. He could not be serious, nes pas? Surely she did not … Oh, but she did. Guy watched with a strange mix of horror and fascination as Deliah carefully began pulling variously sized boxes out of her bag and setting them on the table. The tarantula wasn’t so bad, but the hundreds of meal worms wriggling against each other and the giant black and red centipede thing had both Guy and Eli squirming and scooting away from the table.
“I know what you said, Mr. Walsh, but how could I leave them at home? Mortimer escaped and tried to eat everything the last time I left them alone,” Deliah said as if that excuse made it acceptable to bring a possible infestation to a restaurant.
“Mortimer? Qui est-ce?” Guy asked, barely managing to get out the words without gagging.
“Mortimer,” Deliah said, “is my python.”
She looked at him expectantly. Guy wasn’t sure if she was waiting on him for a response of some kind, or confirmation that she wasn’t a complete maniaque, but there was no chance of either from Guy. This woman was clearly crazy. How did Eli expect to fix her?
“Deliah, why don’t you take a look at the menu?” Eli said, more calm than he was a few minutes prior. “The waitress will be returning to take our orders shortly.”
“Oh! Of course,” she said, “I just had one more …”
Guy and Eli weren’t the only ones to jump back in surprise when Deliah pulled out a caged bee the size of her palm.
“Bordel de merde!” Guy exclaimed at the sight of it. Even in a cage, the thing had Guy scrambling out of his chair. “What is that?”
“A Japanese giant hornet,” Deliah explained happily.
She seemed completely oblivious to Guy’s discomfort and Eli’s head in his hands. She held the cage closer to Guy and it took everything he had not to bat it out of her hand. Only the fear of the lid springing off when it hit the ground and coming after him kept him from lashing out. That and the fact that he was très allergique to bees and preferred not to end the night in the Emergency Room.
Holding his tongue was not so easy, though. “Put that …”
“Deliah,” Eli interrupted before another round of French curse words spilled out of Guy’s mouth. “We have already discussed how your insect collection might make other people uncomfortable. Guy has a severe allergy to bees, and whether or not that translates to Japanese giant hornets, he is not comfortable having it thrust in his face.”
For a moment, Deliah just stood there, holding the trapped monstrosity out in front of Guy. Her brows scrunched together, possibly trying to figure out why her repulsive bug collection would upset anyone. Eventually, she shrugged and sat the plastic cage down on the side of the table furthest from Guy. She managed to find her seat shortly after. Both she and Eli moved on from the incident as if nothing had even happened. Guy supposed that in Deliah’s twisted mind, nothing had. Eli was simply a better actor than he.
“Sauve-moi,” Guy muttered under his breath. He knew no one was going to save him, though. Not this time. Sabine was going to pay for this.