You can find A here.
Brody had been understanding. He’d made her promise to tell him before she left the hotel, but he didn’t seem upset about her wanting a little alone time. But he didn’t seem upset about anything, really. He didn’t make sense. He kept acting like he was still a soldier when they were around Inspector Hussein and other professional people, but when it was just them she didn’t think he was just doing a job.
She was tired of things not making sense.
She was doubly tired of people looking at her like there was some key thing she wasn’t sharing that was going to make all of this make sense. Why James had blown up the dock—more hotel alcohol mini-bottles in than she’d like to admit to, she couldn’t avoid that he had. Why whoever had tried to do this had planned to blame it on her.
Libby drained another little bottle, she thought it might have been gin. She was probably going to regret this in the morning, but…it felt wrong not to have a wake for James. Maybe she hadn’t known him, maybe he’d lied to her the entire time they’d known each other and nothing was what she thought it was.
She didn’t know that. She didn’t have any more proof against him than people would have had against her. Maybe he hadn’t acted right, or things didn’t add up. What if she was wrong? What if it wasn’t James’ fault either?
She dug around for another bottle, trying to silence that voice in the back of her brain that said her current alcohol intake was a stress reaction. It didn’t matter. She wasn’t going anywhere, and nothing made sense, and she technically wasn’t working so she could drink.
Not that getting plastered off hours was going to be a problem for her job, she just…usually didn’t. This was a rough situation, and she was tired.
Libby finally got her fingers wrapped around the bottle at the back of the minibar, and she pulled it out and stared at it. Tequila. She hated tequila. But asking for more alcohol from room service was…not going to happen. She knew how these hotels worked. She’d have to do crap to prove she was sober before they’d allow her to place an order for anything more than a sandwich.
And going to a bar or something took going to Brody’s room and telling him she wanted to go somewhere. If she was going to do that anyway she might as well just go see if he was averse to letting her drink anything left in his bar. She’d pay him back for it.
She definitely hadn’t had too much to drink to go ride the elevator to Brody’s room, even if it took her three tries to get the right button on the elevator.
She stumbled down the hallway to his door and knocked gently. Well, presumably it was gently.
Brody swung the door open, and stared down at her. “Libby.”
“Hey.” She felt the world shift around her and grabbed the door frame.
“I hate tequila.” She looked up at him, aware she was closer than she should have been, because she had to tilt her head back. “Like…really hate it. Can I trade you my bottle of tequila for…anything else?”
She tried to step back and the world tilted. Brody reached out and grabbed her elbow, steadying her.
“Are you drunk?”
“No, I’m functionally moderate. You’re really tall.” He smelled good too, like cedar and something spicy she couldn’t place.
Brody crowded her back into the hallway and shut his door. “I am, surprisingly, the same height I was earlier today.”
“I wasn’t drunk earlier today.”
Brody hit the button for the elevator, his other hand grasped loosely around her elbow. “You just said you weren’t.”
“No, I said I’m functional and I hate tequila.”
The elevator opened, and he guided her on. “Technically you said you were functionally moderate, and clearly your brain is almost running.”
“And yet you won’t trade me my tequila for something edible.” She leaned back against the elevator wall, tired suddenly. “Where are we going?”
“To make sure you drink some water, and you aren’t going to wind up sleeping on bottles. Or step on one.”
Libby sighed sadly. “I don’t know it was him.”
The elevator was utterly silent clear until her floor, and when she opened her eyes and looked up at Brody—he’d shifted back enough she didn’t have to look so far up—he was watching her sadly.
“You don’t want to talk about this here,” he said softly.
He walked her back to the room and kept her steady while she opened the door and shuffled through.
“See, no bottles on the floor or the bed,” Libby offered, waving at her mostly neat room.
Brody steered her by her upper arms and sat her on the bed, before he knelt down before her. “You may not know, and you may be a good enough friend—I’m sure you’re a good enough friend—you feel like you need that. You feel like maybe he’s going to have politics you could agree with because you’re human, but remind yourself he didn’t make any effort to make sure anyone else was safe. Maybe he thought you weren’t important—”
Brody huffed at her. “Or that you’d done something or been someone that made this okay. But he was wrong. You are important, you didn’t deserve this, and nobody’s politics make it okay to blow up innocent people.” He watched her with achingly blue eyes, insistent that she needed to listen. “No matter how nice he was to you, Libby…” He swallowed. “No matter how much I wish he was going to turn out to be worth your friendship, I trust your gut just as much as I trust mine.”
Libby dropped forward and put her forehead on his shoulder. “People are stupid and hard.”
Brody laughed softly, and squeezed the back of her neck gently. “Amen, sugar. Now let’s get some water in you before the fact you massacred the hotel mini-bar catches up with you.”