After Leith, Renna, and Brandi file into Lord Alistair’s study, I stroll over to the window, bolt it shut, and jam a bobby pin into the lock. Crossing the room, I turn the key in the door’s lock and drop the key into my pocket.
When I turn, Leith is staring at me, a hand on the hilt of one of his knives. He had reason to worry. I’d locked the door and window to keep him from bolting once I started asking this next round of questions.
I settle into the huge leather chair behind the desk. My feet dangle several inches above the ground. Seriously, if I’m going to keep doing these character interviews, I was going to have to write a footstool into the room.
“All right, you three. This round of questions is to satisfy the curiosity of the Goodreads fangirls.”
“Fangirls?” Brandi’s forehead scrunches. “What are fangirls?”
“A fan girl is a girl who obsesses over something or, more often, someone with a whole lot of overexcited squealing. They sound a lot like Brandi would if she were given a whole stable of horses for her very own.”
Leith’s knees bounce like he is debating jumping from his chair and making a run for it. Renna scoots down lower as if to make herself invisible.
Brandi cocks her head. “They sound like girls I’d like to meet. Whose fangirls are they?”
Leith’s grip tightens on his knife. “I’m not going to like these questions, am I?”
“Nope. Sorry, that’s the price you pay for having fangirls, especially ones who are excessively shipping you and Renna.”
“Shipping?” Leith’s forehead wrinkles.
“Believe me, you don’t want to know.” I pick up the first notecard. Considering the line of questioning on these, he’d figure out soon enough. “Just a reminder, you all have to be completely honest. Don’t worry, you’ll forget this conversation as soon as the story launches.”
By this point, Renna’s face has taken on a decidedly green color while Leith keeps glancing at the door. Brandi still bounces in her seat.
“Let’s start with an easy one. Leith, when you’re free, what will be the first thing you’ll want to do?”
“When? Don’t you mean if?” Leith shakes his head. “It’s highly unlikely I’ll ever be free.”
“We were over this last time. Assuming you don’t die and don’t stay bound to Respen forever, what would you want to do?” I grit my teeth. If he was stalling already, then the rest of the questions were going to be like pulling teeth. With a monkey wrench. In the mountains with no painkiller.
“I’m not sure.” He meets my gaze. “Honest. I’ve been a Blade for half my life. I don’t really know a whole lot about being someone else.”
“Okay, that is a valid answer, I guess. Though, I doubt your fangirls are going to like how vague it is.” I let a little bit of my grin to show on my face. “Leith, when you’re free, do you intend to marry?”
“What?” He shoots to his feet, the tips of his ears going red. His eyes flick towards Renna before going back to me.
Renna squeaks and slides lower in her chair. Brandi presses her hand over her mouth, but even that does nothing to hide her grin and giggles.
“Like I said, you have fangirls.” I point my stack of notecards at him. “Now answer the question.”
“I don’t know? Maybe. No. I don’t think so. I mean, I’m a Blade. Who’d want to marry me?” His shoulders sag. “I watched my father destroy my mother’s heart bit by bit. I don’t want to do that to anyone.”
“You’re not your father.” I heave a sigh. It always comes back to that with him. “But let’s assume you did decide to marry. If you did have a wedding, who would be your best man?”
Leith looks relieved that I’d asked him that question instead of who he would marry if he could. Then he frowns. “Shad, I guess. I’d ask Martyn to stand with me too, but if I were free, then Martyn…”
“Martyn might not be your friend anymore.” I finish for him. “Wish I could tell you what happens with that, but that’d be a spoiler. Last question before we move on to the others: have you had a crush on any girl besides Renna?”
His ears go red again, but he answers quickly. “No.”
“All right. Renna.” When I turn to her, she hunches her shoulders as if to make herself smaller. “Your turn for questions. What’s your opinion of Leith?”
She swallows, glances at Leith, then stares down at her lap. “I don’t know. He’s safe, I guess.”
I decide it isn’t worth it to push her farther on that subject. Getting information from her is worse than from Leith, and that is saying something. “If you were to have a wedding, who would be your maid of honor?”
“Brandi.” She glances at her sister and smiles.
Brandi grins back.
“Okay, now for the most important, burning fangirl question of them all.” I pause, and both Leith and Renna tense. Brandi leans forward. My grin widens. “Brandi, would you like to see Leith and Renna get together as a couple?”
Renna makes a choking sound in the back of her throat and stares at Brandi. Leith crosses his arms, but his foot makes scuffing motions against the rug.
Brandi grins and rolls her eyes. “Duh. Of course. Leith is already like my brother, but it’d be nice if it were official.”
Leith and Renna gape at her. It is probably a good thing they are all going to forget this conversation otherwise Brandi might be in for a stern talking to from Renna.