I arrived at home at dusk and found Lexi perched on the couch, her arms folded over her chest, and her foot rapidly tapping the floor.She looked like a disgruntled mother hen.Hugo and Percy were lounging, cat-like, on chaises in the far corner.
Buxton, I noted with relief, was nowhere to be seen. I wondered how long theyd been waiting for me.
“You decided to come back, I see,” Lexi said, a scowl crossing her face.
“So I did,” I said, trying to suppress a smile.
“And somethings changed,” she added. She sniffed the air. “But you havent fed, thats good.” She knit her eyebrows together.
“Hello,” I said to Hugo and Percy, ignoring Lexis observation. They gazed at me in surprise. Id never made any effort to speak to either of them in the past.
“Hi,” Percy grunted.
Hugo just stared at me.
Lexi continued to glare at me, her hands on her hips. “Out with it, Stefan. We dont keep secrets in this house.”
“I have a plan to free Damon,” I said, wincing at the giddy sound of my voice.
“Thats terrific!” Lexi clapped. “How are you going to do it?”
“Well, uh, it begins with going on a date,” I confessed.
“A date?” Lexis brows flew up. “With whom?”
I cleared my throat sheepishly. “With Gallaghers daughter, Callie.”
“You have a date with ahuman?!” Percy said just as Lexi blurted out, “You have a date withCallie Gallagher.”
I put my hands up defensively. “She wants me to take her out on the town tonight. And while were there, Im going to get information out of her on Damon. I cant influence her because of the vervain, but there are other ways to get a woman to talk.”
Percy and Hugo looked up, expressions of disapproval crossing their faces like thunderclouds.
“I wouldnt do that if I were you,” Hugo said. I glanced at him in surprise. Apart from the night theyd found me, it was the first time Id ever heard him speak.
“I agree. Youll either want to kill her or kiss her, and neither scenario will end well for you,” Percy said. The sentence sounded out of place coming from his scrawny, baby-faced body.
“Theyre right,” Lexi said urgently. “Theyve learned their lessons the hard way. Whos to say what youll do when youre alone with that girl, not to mention what shell do to you. You saw her house the weapons she has. I just worry that–“
“I know, I know. Im young, I cant control my impulses, and Im going to make some sort of mistake,” I interrupted in annoyance.
Lexi stood up and gazed at me. “All of those things are true. Youre strong, but I worry that you might let your emotions get the best of you.”
“I wont,” I protested. “Im just going out with her to see if I can learn anything more about Damon. If Im going to rescue him–peacefully–shes my best bet.”
Lexi set her jaw, but then heaved a sigh. “Just be careful.”
“If youre going out, you cant wear that,” Hugo said, lumbering up from the chaise. “Percy, get him something nice to wear.”
Percy looked at Lexi beseechingly. She crossed her arms. “What? You heard the man.”
Percy slid off the couch and marched up the stairs.
“If youre going out with a lady, you need to look nice,” Hugo explained gruffly. “And Lexi, you need to take him shopping.”
“Yes, well go out tomorrow night, Stefan,” she replied.
“Why are you suddenly being so helpful?” I asked Hugo suspiciously.
Hugo showed his pointy teeth in a small smile. “If you free Damon with the humans help, therell be no need for us to get involved. Now, go get dressed!”
I rolled my eyes but followed Percy up the stairs. He handed me a white linen shirt and a pair of black trousers.
For a moment I wished that I had brand-new clothes and pomade to slick my hair back with. But then I reminded myself of what Id told Lexi: Right now, I just had to focus on getting to know Callie Gallagher, and, subsequently, learn what made Patrick Gallagher tick.
But even though I kept telling myself that Damon was my reason for going on this date, I couldnt help but notice that my mind kept drifting back to the moment when Callie kissed my cheek.