Previously: A Candid Conversation
As Daos began to suspect there was more to his roommate than what met the eye, the next logical course of action seemed to be to test his theory in the field.
"In the meantime," he continued calmly, disguising his growing concern, "Hyun-jun will go wherever the Mayor goes, and Trish is currently keeping tabs on the Mayor."
Dominador nodded. "She keeps bitching about the prices at the Gato Negro. Sounds like the Mayor's been dining there a lot lately."
Daos grinned. "You know who else dines there a lot right?"
Dominador sighed and fell back against his chair. "Really though? Like, don't get me wrong, I do like Chief Solís and all that, but I really hate kickin' it down at the Gato Negro. Like, a bottle of mineral water down there is half our our damn light bill, hear me?"
"Come on, Dominador," Daos cajoled. "We gotta do some recon."
His partner remained unconvinced. "It ain't like they're gonna talk shop when we show up."
"Well, true," Daos admitted. "But it's been a while since I chatted with Hyun-jun and since he is in my town, the least I can do is pay my respects."
Chief Bibiana Solís turned around in her chair and tried not to react to the sight of Daos in her doorway. He'd brought an extra coffee with him this morning - which he never did - and he was looking good in his charcoal V-neck thermal and dark jeans - which he always did.
Bibiana immediately tried to suppress the thought. He had never so much as referred to her by her first name, and besides, it would be inappropriate. He was a subordinate and several years her junior; she'd be the laughingstock of her own department.
And yet, he'd brought her coffee and was looking at her with those deep dark eyes.
"Good morning, Detective," she greeted with professional detachment. "I trust you slept well last night."
"Like a log," he lied. Truth was, now that he was seeing Dominador a little differently, he was keeping one eye open and on him at all times. "You?" he asked.
"Like a baby," she lied, averting her gaze to some paperwork on her desk. Truth was, now that she'd seen YouTube footage of Daos shirtless and dancing at Club Piel Desnuda, she'd spent much the night wearing out every battery-operated device in her house.
"I wondering...." He trailed off, hesitant. "Will you be going to El Gato Negro tonight?"
"Uh, no," she blinked, caught off guard. "I was thinking of staying in tonight."
"Oh." He seemed disappointed, or at least troubled by her answer. The look on her face caused something to flare within her; her heart skipped and she caught herself struggling to remember when she'd last shaved her legs.
"Why do you ask?" she inquired, trying not to appear awkward. Or eager.
"I hoped you'd be willing to join me and Dominador for some dinner. You've been good to us and I've actually wanted to take you out for some time now. I mean, we," he hurriedly caught himself. "We - as in Dominador and I - have wanted to take you out...for a while now."
An awkward silence grew as they both suddenly realized that Daos was, in fact, attracted to his new boss.
The realization clearly caught him off guard; he seemed to be reeling from surprise on the inside. This was obviously not how he'd initially intended for the conversation to go. He quietly set the coffee he brought down on her desk and turned as though to leave in a hurry.
"I'd love to," she softly called after him. Her voice stopped him mid-step out the door. "See you boys...seven-thirty?"
If a very important mission weren't riding on this, Daos would've withdrawn the invite at once. This was precisely what the Consultant had warned him about him and he'd brushed her off. He admired his the Chief's strength and he did find her lips beautiful - anyone with eyes would - but it had never occurred to him that he'd felt anything beyond that.
"Seven-thirty," he nodded tightly. "We'll see you then."
I am in hell. Daos turn and left quickly before he had any more disastrous epiphanies.
"So the game plan is a quick drink and we bounce right?" Dominador asked as he and Daos rode in the latter's black SUV.
"Actually," Daos winced, "I invited her to dinner. Don't worry, though it's on me."
"It better be!" Dominador snapped. "Meals over there can run into three figures, Daos!"
"I'm sorry," the senior detective grumbled. "I went in to talk to her, lost my train of thought, and invited her out for dinner instead of drinks."
Dominador raised a confused brow. "Why'd you lose your train of thought?"
"I hadn't had my coffee yet, Dominador," Daos barked back. "I wasn't awake and thinking straight."
"Whatever, man," Dominador rolled his eyes. "I am not tryin' to get barbecued by a demon tonight just 'cause you're not on your A-game. Get it together."
Normally Daos would've just told Dominador where he could go, but the junior detective was right. He needed to focus on the fact he was about to meet Hyun-jun, and not how he suddenly noticed Bibiana smelled like a blend of jasmine and ylang-ylang.
And this right here? This is why I don't date. This is why I sit alone in a tearoom and read books instead of going out for drinks and meeting women. The Consultant always did warn me that shit could get me killed.
Next: Prophecies, Rumors, Whispers in the Dark