A Night Out

“He’s a loony.”

“I think he’s nice. Smart.”

“Yeah, you can be nice and still be a loony.”

“Yeah, you ever meet Ma?”

“Jules. Shut up.”

The cards were thrown back into the pile in the middle as ale pints were set in front of each of the tables inhabitants. Isabelle Quint lifted hers in a toast. “To freedom, or whatever counts as close nowadays!” Jules met hers in midair, followed hesitantly by Lena. The glasses clinked, and Isabelle took a deep drink. She wiped the foam away with the back of her hand as she piled the cards together again. “You’re just trying to be nice. They’re both loony. Besides, Rexus is gonna pull the leash back any minute now. He’s not super happy. Mister Wait-and-see is afraid that Lena’s best friend is going to get us all killed.” Lena took a sip of her ale, coughing delicately into her hand. This gesture was then repeated in a mocking, overexaggerated way by Isabelle with a giant grin. Lena rolled her eyes. “What makes you think Rexus has a leash? He hasn’t so far. Besides, pretending we don’t exist is great for when we don’t exist….the people need to know we’re real.” The sound of cards hitting the table punctuated her words.

To her right, Jules drew his cards up in front of him, letting a small grimace pass over his face. “Fold. The people know we’re plenty real. We just don’t need them to know exactly who we are. He’s acting like a damned fool, running around and making a giant target out of himself. Makes it dangerous for all of us.” He pushed his cards in to the center. “Technically….” Isabelle throw a coin on the pile. “….he’s making it more dangerous for him. At least right now. Because they don’t know what we know, y’know?” She nodded at Lena, who paused for a moment before throwing another coin on the pile and speaking. “I’m just saying that he’s more clever than people realize. He’s got a plan. Besides, isn’t it time somebody took the fight to the Houses? Otherwise we’re nothing more than a riot. Raised.”

Isabelle grunted as she flipped another card in the middle and met the bet. “Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for pissing off the nobles. But just because you have a crush on your new best friend doesn’t mean the rest of us have to agree. Besides, how much did he spend doing the fake Aldo thing? Check.” Lena glared at her across the table. “One, I do not. Two, about a hundred coins. His own money.” Jules scoffed to the side, raising his beer to keep the words in. Lena shot him a sideways glance as Isabelle spoke. “His own money for now. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a huge fan of Rexus either – he’s certainly more boring – but at least he isn’t dropping gold left and right. What do ya think the problem is between him and Melodia? Rexy said he knew, but didn’t say what.”

Jules spoke softly as they divided the winnings. “You think Aldo and Melodia were ever an item? Could explain the hostility.” Isabelle and Lena both shook their heads. Jules shrugged. “Just my thought. Nobody takes things that personal unless its death or sex. And you can’t tell me that letter didn’t feel a bit personal.” Lena sighed deeply. “Double negative, Jules. Please just stick to one. Please.” Isabelle raised her pinky in the air, aiming her nose up. “Quite, quite.” Lena’s eyes rolled again. “Anyhow – I don’t think it’s something between them. And historically, no issues with his house and theirs. Maybe a bad business deal?” She glanced down at her cards. “Fold.” She leaned back in her chair, watching as Isabelle flipped another card over. Isabelle nudged a coin to the middle before speaking. “Na, doesn’t seem like either one would take business that seriously. I mean, you don’t pay for a hit because of a business deal. That’s a personal thing normally. Oooooo….” A grin burst across her face. “I bet he tried to get frisky with one of the Delronge girls at the academy. Corinna or Cosima? Which one do you think?” Jules took the pot, laughing. “Neither. There is no way that Melodia would ever have allowed the girls to come close to somebody like that. I’m telling you, he’s just loony. He’s got a fight to pick, and he thinks she’s the target.”

The trio split the cards again, Isabelle speaking loudly. “Another round, barkeep. And maybe some wine for Miss Priss here.”

A Night Out

Hell's Rebels novemberdarling