\ 21:33 Pablo vs Balthazar | unlimitedi.net
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Pablo looked into the alcove where Balthazar chatted to a pair of women.  One of them looked barely seventeen.  That old letch, Pablo thought darkly, I wonder if he’s using some sort of glamour on them.  Or a talisman.  Possibly a potion in the drinks?

He looked down into his empty glass.  His fifth. He made a disgusted face at both himself and his quarry. With the way the booze was flowing tonight he didn’t need a potion to make those girls interested.  He just needed a smooth line.  Pablo fingered the badge. In his pocket.  He’d promised to behave, relax, be a date and not the cop tonight.

But he’d been neglecting Alison most of the evening.  He’d been lurking in the dark corners and around the food like a loser because this wasn’t his kind of place.  He would have been more comfortable in an Irish pub or an Italian restaurant.  He wanted to be listening to a folk-rock band in a coffee shop somewhere with Alison not tarted up at a dance club with Lucinda.

And the more he thought about it the less satisfied with the situation he became. And then he was standing next to Balthazar.  Sandoval snapped his fingers and the two girls looked at him.  He waved at them and they blinked dazedly. “Hi Ladies, “ he said flashing a badge, “Do either of you have ID?  I’d understand if you had to scuttle back to your coats to get some.”

They looked nervously at each other and then left without another word.  Balthazar turned to face Pablo.  His brow was knitted and he was not smiling. “Detective,” he said in a low tone, “you seem to have interrupted my conversation.  How rude of you.”

“Sorry, Balthy, I didn’t know you had brought your grandchildren with you.  I’ll be more considerate in front of the kiddies next time.  Wouldn’t want to set a bad example or anything.”

“In that case, Detective, I’ll make sure that you live to have some seeing as you seem so eager to raise them right.”

Sandoval could feel the buzz leaving as the adrenaline began to surge through his system, “Was that a threat, Mr. Romano?  I’d hate to make a scene while we are both having such fun.”

Balthazar moved a step closer.  His shoes were practically touching Sandoval’s.  The two men stood stick-straight and looked into each other’s eyes which were mere inches away. Neither man wanted to provoke the other by leaning in, but neither was willing to back down first.

Sandoval was keenly aware of where Balthazar’s hands were.  He didn’t want to risk the mage casting a spell or something.  Balthazar as well was waiting for Sandoval to make an aggressive move so he’d have an excuse.

A perfectly manicured hand slid between them. Both men looked into Jasmin's ice-blue eyes. "Gentlemen, the booze and the food is free, but I will tell you that starting trouble tonight will cost you both...dearly."

Balthazar took the hand and kissed it almost tenderly and wandered away.  Jasmin nodded and turned to Sandoval who just glared then turned and stomped away.

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