Here is a very short scene from nothing in particular. Let’s call it …
Esme put down the jeweler’s loupe and pursed her lips. “St. Barnabas’s watch?” she scoffed, turning her eyes to the well-dressed man across the counter. “D’you really expect me to fall for that? I dinna just fall of the barge, ya know, Seamus.”
“I know. That’s why I came to you, Ess,” he said, the intensity in his dark eyes making her feel flushed.
“Because we both know this ain’t it?” She gestured at him with the silver timepiece clutched in her hand, its slight ticking like a faint pulse against her skin.
“Heavens no!” he replied in a slightly offended tone. “I came here because, more than anyone on the Row, you would know the truth.”
She stared at him for a long heartbeat. Was he kidding her? Or was he really going to use what happened that night against her now?
“Your reputation is above reproach,” he continued smoothly, “or so I hear.”
She wanted to slap him.
“Shame on you,” she spat in a low voice, darting a worried glance around the small, cluttered shop. Thank the Saints they were alone. “I worked hard for the General’s trust,” she hissed, “and I’m not going to ruin it for anyone, even if he is … was …”
She stopped herself before she said something that revealed too much, but the pleased curl of his lips told her he knew what she would have said. Her cheeks burned at that. Perhaps it wasn’t so good they were alone.
“Why are you really here?” she pressed.
“An honest evaluation. Nothing more,” he purred, putting his gloved hand over hers where it lay on the counter. The ache she felt at his touch only made her angrier.
“I’ve already given it,” she whispered harshly.
“Have you now?” he challenged. “Are you sure?” He stared into her eyes as if she should know what he meant.
It was a test, she realized. He was testing her. But why?
Her eyes flicked to the blue handprint on his epaulet–the Badger Boss’s mark. She shivered. Neither the Boss nor the General were men to be crossed and she wanted nothing to do with whatever trouble Seamus had brought to her doorstep.
But here he was with that look on his face. She knew that look. She thought she knew him. But after all they’d been through, was Seamus really about to throw her to the wolves?