Levi rubbed his arm, his expression wary. “Reiko Mori, I presume.”“‘I presume?’” Reiko dropped into a fighter’s crouch. “You’re missing the British accent.”Levi put his hands up in a pathetic imitation of defensive position. Her cat could have landed a punch through those gaps. “And you’re missing the reality where we aren’t about to have an MMA showdown.”Reiko smirked but lowered her hands. “Because I’d wipe the floor with your ass.”“Says Hit-Girl masquerading as the resident shy chick all these years. Nice James Bond alter ego you got going on.”“I am shy.” She grabbed a dishtowel and whipped it at his head. It fluttered to the counter, far short of its mark.Levi snorted.“Being around my sworn enemies tends to knock it out of me. Besides, you’re one to talk, Artsy Boy. Had everyone fooled.” Including stupid me. She pushed him backwards out of the kitchen, shoving him again and again until his back hit the wall next to the front door.Levi fended off her next blow. The sweep of his arm knocking her hands away left behind a familiar faint hint of rubbing alcohol. She’d watched him use it to remove clay from his hands at school many times. Could she be more pathetically tuned into this guy?Levi held out his hand, palm up. “Hand over the locket, sweetheart. The real one this time.”“Sweetheart?” She pulled herself up to her full height. “Could you be more stereotypical bad guy?”“He could have a mustachio to twirl,” Aviva said, from her avid spectator spot hanging over the bannister.“True,” Reiko said.Levi rubbed the back of his neck. “I’m not the one blowing kisses before screwing people over. That a move passed down through the generations with you chicks? Think that adds weight to my family being the wronged party here, Mata Hari.”“Mata…? Argh!” She snatched up the poker.“Go ahead, brain me.” Levi turned out his pockets in a huff. “No ruby. Just lint. I’d hate you to pointlessly commit murder except, oh yeah. You Moris are bloodthirsty!”“Better a bloodthirsty Mori than a cowardly, backstabbing Markow!” Reiko jabbed the poker at him.Levi grabbed the other end, the two of them engaged in a furious tug-of-war for possession. He let go suddenly, sending Reiko staggering back a few stepsReiko flung open the door and pointed outside. With the poker. “Get. Out.”Levi held his ground for a minute but must have decided she meant business because he grabbed his shoes. “This isn’t over.”“You’ll get the locket over my dead body, Lion Cub.”“Great! Can’t wait to pry it out of your cold, rigor-mortised hands,” he snapped, and stomped out of the house, slamming the door behind him.“Shit,” said Aviva, “this is really gonna put a crimp in your dating plans.”
QUICK NOTE...Update: 9/7/19
First of all, my heart goes out to all those affected by the recent heinous weather outbreaks, most recently being Hurricane Dorian. We were right in the path of Hurricane Michael (like so many others), and we're still trying to get back in our home. Things are very slow to progress towards normalcy...and every day presents a new headache/nightmare to deal with. Hopefully by month's end, we'll be back in there to start the next leg of recovery. Thanks for stopping by and sharing my bookish adventures. It helps remind me I'm not alone in this crazy journey called life.