I looked Elle once over when her back was turned, taking note of the change in outfit. Cassie caught my eye and winked, I smiled back before pulling out myself a chair at the table.
'So what're we having?' I asked brightly, making an attempt to start a conversation.
'Beef stew and dumplings.' Elle replied, glancing at me quickly as she dumped the stew onto plates with a large ladle.
'Nice.' I commented, if I was to speak the truth I'd only ever had it once and it was made by Rob and Alice. My stomach rolled sickeningly as I recalled the foul, sloppy mess and the flat, soggy so-called "dumplings" on top.
Cassie pulled up the chair beside my own, staring at my face intently, 'how old are you? You look, like, twenty.' She observed.
'What? Oh!' I chuckled, 'I'm eighteen. But thanks.'
'Oooh! Are you still at school?' Melda asked, sitting down and joining the conversation.
'No. My, um, mother. Kat, has to go on lot's of business trips and works all hours so I have to stay and look after the, um, twins.' I thought that would be appropriate for the mischievous pair, 'and our dad is away overseas.' I fibbed, spinning a web of lies with each word that spilled from my lips.
'Oh, that's so generous of you!' Melda said sympathetically, I gave her my best happy/sad smile just to milk it that bit more.
I jumped as my plate was placed in front of me quietly. I caught Elle's eye and flashed her a smiled, she ignored it and carried on placing the plates on the table. I had to keep up my friendly, confident persona. But in reality, I was concerned. Not only about the other familiar's presence (which was probably nothing), but the fact Elle didn't know about the telepathy. Did she really not know she was a witch?
If she doesn't that's going to make my job a lot harder.
I picked up my knife and fork, and prodded the steaming stew on my plate, it didn't look as... red as Rob and Alice's had. It was kind of brown, and the dumplings looked like scones only with herbs sprinkled on the top.
I took a deep breath and shovelled a forkful into my mouth, anticipating the acidic, vinegar-like flavours. But, instead, I was greeted by a thick gravy and beef and onions. Within ten minutes I'd gobbled down my plateful.
The group of women looked at me, surprised.
I beamed at Elle, 'seconds, please?'