Page 18 of Wild Night

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“Let me have that.” Colm took Padraig’s cup from him, sipping from it. “Jesus. Did you forget to add the Coke?”

“Coke is just there to add a splash of color,” Padraig explained. “Give me my drink. I don’t lecture you two when you knock ’em back at the pub for hours on end.”

Kelli looked at Colm and shrugged. “He’s right. He doesn’t. So…Colm. We have a choice to make. Are we going to be the voice of reason or go to the next level with him?”

Colm rubbed his forehead. “I’m still suffering from leveling up with you on Wednesday. A one-day buffer in between isn’t enough.”

Kelli didn’t reply. Just gave him a look that was pure dare.

“Fine. Where’s your bottle of bourbon, Paddy?”

“I’ll get it.” Emmy stepped away then returned from the kitchen with half a fifth of bourbon, a couple cans of Coke, two more red Solo cups, and Robbie in tow. She started to hand one to Kelli, who shook her head.

“Fuck no. I’m good with the wine.”

“I like bourbon,” Robbie said, taking the extra cup.

Emmy played bartender for once, pouring each of the guys a drink, though she was more generous with the Coke than Padraig had been. Brooke joined them as the women lifted their wineglasses, the men their cups, and Colm issued his usual toast.

“Bottoms up. Especially yours.”

“Hey,” Sunnie said, crossing the room to Colm. “Where the hell is Darcy?”

Colm shrugged. “She texted me around seven and said she had to work a little late, but I thought she’d be here by now.”

“I better call her and che—”

Sunnie stopped mid-sentence as the lights flickered and then went out completely.

The room, which had been filled with music and loud voices, was suddenly very quiet and pitch-black.

“What the hell?” Sunnie said.

Several people pulled out their cell phones and fired up the flashlight app. When a few minutes passed, it became pretty obvious the power wasn’t coming back on.

Kelli made her way over to the window. “It’s not just us. Looks like the whole street is out. It’s dark as sin out there.”

Everyone started talking at once because, as Kelli had learned a long time ago, that was how the Collins clan communicated. It had taken her quite a few years when she was younger to get the knack of talking and listening at the same time, but the skill had come in handy now that she was a kindergarten teacher.

Suddenly, a loud whistle cut through the noise and everyone fell silent again.

“Jesus, Sunnie. I think you pierced my eardrum,” Landon said.

“Sorry,” Sunnie said, without an ounce of remorse in her voice. “But they weren’t quieting down for you.”

Landon shook his head, then said, “Hey, listen up. It’s a city-wide blackout. Transformer fire at a substation. They don’t know how long the power will be out.” Landon looked around. “Miguel? Where are you, man?”

“Over here,” Miguel called out from a shadowy area near the dining room table.

“Aaron just called. They need us to go into work.”

Miguel and Landon were both on the Baltimore police force, and Colm’s uncle Aaron was their boss. Both of them had been drinking soda because every cop was officially “on call” on Halloween. As such, Kelli suspected every cop in the city was being called in at the moment. Blackouts were prime season for looting and God only knew what else in Baltimore. Add in the Halloween factor and chances were good shit could go south fast.

“Dammit,” Sunnie grumbled, even as she gave Landon a quick kiss on the cheek. “Be careful.”

Miguel and Landon shone themselves a path with the flashlights on their phones, making their way to the steps that led down to the pub.

Yvonne followed. “I’d better go help Dad sort things out with whoever is still dining on Sunday’s Side.”

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