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  • Home > Laurell Kaye Hamilton > The Anita Blake Series > Wounded (Chapter 5)     
  • Wounded(Anita Blake Vampire Hunter #24.5)(5) by Laurell Kaye Hamilton
  • “I’m sure.” I gave him a little push toward the other people already starting to move, and he ran out to put himself in line. He maneuvered himself to be standing beside a woman who seemed to know the dance perfectly. He watched her move and moved with her; within two repetitions he was moving in perfect time as if he’d known the dance forever. I’d seen him do it before, but it never ceased to impress me.

    Micah had moved down to be closer to Tomas as the boy talked. Micah didn’t kneel, but balanced on the balls of his glossy leather dress shoes so that Tomas was actually looking down at him from the chair. Being taller would make him feel more in charge, and apparently that was what Micah wanted. I trusted him to make the most of their quiet corner talk.

    The groom’s mother came over to me. She was tall, blond, though it was a little too blond to be natural. Nothing wrong with that, but I always wondered why people who dyed their hair chose colors just slightly off natural most of the time so that they fooled no one. The base she’d chosen made her skin look orange to me; maybe it was a spray tan, but surrounded by so many people who were actually Hispanic, the fake tan just looked fake. She’d also chosen blue eye shadow to make her eyes look bluer, but it didn’t work. Even Elizabeth Taylor hadn’t been able to pull off chalk-blue eye shadow, and if Liz Taylor couldn’t do it, it couldn’t be done.

    “Are you wearing a gun, Ms. Blake?”

    “Why do you ask?” I asked, smiling.

    She did not smile back. “It was seen when your . . . boyfriend dipped you on the dance floor.”

    I didn’t like the way she hesitated over the word boyfriend, but I forced myself to smile and be pleasant. Her son had gotten married today to my friend’s daughter; I could be pleasant.

    I fought the urge to smooth my top over the gun, because nothing attracts attention to a concealed carry like constantly touching it. “Well, then, Ms. Conroy, you know the answer to your question, don’t you?”

    “It’s Mrs. Conroy; I have no desire to be a Ms. anything.”

    “I do prefer Ms., but have it your way, Mrs. Conroy.”

    “I’d like you to take the gun off and leave it with the coats, please.”

    I smiled a little harder, trying to keep it up in my eyes. “I’m sorry, but I can’t do that.”

    “Can’t, what do you mean you can’t?”

    “I can’t hand over my firearm to a coat-check girl like it’s a purse.”

    “How dare you bring a dangerous weapon into my son’s wedding?”

    “You do know I’m a U.S. Marshal, right?” I was having to really work at the smile now.

    “I don’t see what difference that makes.”

    “First, I’ve had firearms training, so trust me, it’s a lot safer on me than in the coat room.”

    “It’s my son’s wedding, and I don’t feel safe with it in the room, so I’m going to have to ask you to put it in with the coats.”

    “Second, I am required by law to be able to respond in a satisfactory manner if an emergency arises, and that may require a gun.”

    “I must insist that you take that thing out of this wedding reception.”

    “The only way to do that is to leave the reception altogether, Mrs. Conroy.”

    “I don’t know why you’re being difficult, Ms. Blake; just put the thing away where it’s not a danger to everyone.”

    “It’s not a danger to anyone on my hip, but handing it over to a coat-check girl who probably has never handled a gun in her life makes it a serious threat to her and others.”

    “You’re just being stubborn.”

    “No, I’m telling you that legally and responsibly I cannot give up my sidearm to a civilian stranger because you’re having a moment.”

    “I’ll send my husband over to speak with you about this.”

    “You do that; it won’t change my answer. A gun is not a magic wand, Mrs. Conroy; it isn’t a danger just by being near people, it’s only a danger when it’s in the hands of someone who has no training, or not enough training.”

    “I’m sending my husband over.”

    “Suit yourself.”

    “You are spoiling this reception.”

    “I’m doing what I’m legally required to do; you’re the one who’s being difficult.”

    “It’s my son’s wedding.”

    “It’s my friend’s daughter’s wedding, too.”

    “I’ll tell Rosita what you’re doing.”

    “Go ahead, she’ll be on my side.”

    “She will see it as a danger to her children and everyone here, just like I do. For heaven’s sake, her son was just shot this month.”

    Since I’d been one of the people who saved Tomas and made sure the bad guy got shot dead for his troubles, I thought her argument lacked validity. “You obviously haven’t heard all the story,” I said.

    “I’ve heard enough.”

    I shook my head. “Go tell Rosita that you want me to give up my gun to the coat-check girl; go on.”

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire