‘Go get a shower,’ Falcon instructed when she and Jay were in the long corridor housing most of the downstairs facilities of the Predgarian Centre. ‘Leopard won’t be happy if you’re late for her sneaking lesson.’
‘It’s called stealth, Falcon,’ Jay corrected. ‘Leopard hates it when you call it sneaking.’
Falcon’s lips twisted in wry amusement as the boy turned towards the staircase. Leaving him be, she headed for the kitchen and bit off a groan when she found Dove sat at the table.
The beautiful blonde woman, dressed in a pair of smart cream trousers and white blouse smiled at her. ‘Welcome back.’
‘Were you waiting for me?’
‘Of course. How was the outing?’
Falcon didn’t cover her groan this time as she sat at the end of the table. At least the healer was honest. Resting her arms on the wooden surface, Falcon leant forwards and buried her head. ‘Why did Lion get me to do this?’
‘Because you’re perfect for the job. Not even Lion or Tiger can identify Sarpiens on the street like you can. Lion’s actually been talking about sending the others out with you for training too.’
Falcon’s fists clenched on the table and the sigh escaping her lips sounded more like a growl.
‘Something went wrong today, didn’t it?’ Dove guessed.
Falcon lifted her head at the lengthy pause.
Dove gave a soft exhale. ‘You seem to have kept both Jay and yourself safe, so I guess it ended well.’
‘It almost didn’t. I came across Osprey first – out of armour. I didn’t want him to see Jay so I activated and diverted him out the area. When I got back I found Jay missing – then ran right into Jackal.’
Dove giggled. ‘You do like to live on the edge, don’t you?’
‘I’m not doing it on purpose!’
Dove reached out and placed a hand on her forearm. ‘I know that, Falcon – we all do. I guess we never realised how much things would change having you here. You really make protecting you a full-time job.’
Falcon sighed. ‘I know, I wish things were different.’
‘Well, on a happier note, Tiger and I are going shopping tomorrow afternoon.’
Falcon’s head sank to the table again. ‘I’m not really-’
‘You’ve been putting us off three weeks now, Falcon.’
Falcon paused a moment over what to say. Lifting her head again she rose from the table and took a small bottle of orange juice from the fridge.
‘I don’t really need any clothes, Dove. I’m fine with what I’ve got.’
‘You mean your week’s worth of jeans, denim jackets and leather vests?’
‘Falcon, don’t you want some variety?’
‘I like my denim,’ Falcon tried not to wince at her own petulant tone. She hadn’t meant for it to come out like that.
Dove sighed at her. ‘You need some different clothes. What if you get called to an official meeting? You wouldn’t want to meet the other captains dressed like you are now, would you?’
Falcon glanced down at herself, ‘don’t see why not. If I ever meet them I’ll probably be in armour.’
‘And if you meet General Jaguar?’
Falcon gulped down the last of her juice. ‘Er, well, guess I’d manage.’
‘Please, Falcon, just come shopping with us. I’m sure we can find some business clothes you’d like.’
Falcon threw the empty bottle in the bin. ‘There’s really no need to waste the money, Dove. I’m happy with what I have.’
‘Fine,’ Dove responded as Falcon headed for the door. ‘Tiger and I will just pick out something we think you’d like.’
‘What?’ Falcon asked, half-turning to her.
‘Tiger’s seen some very nice pencil skirts on sale.’
Falcon’s eyes bulged at the very idea. ‘You’re going to buy me something whether I come or not?’
‘Yes, so you might as well so you can choose.’
Falcon glared at Dove’s charming smile. The woman was a bull when she wanted something.
Shoulders slumping, Falcon realised she was beaten. ‘Fine,’ she muttered, ‘but no skirts.’