Enrico wasn’t giving up, though. “Does that mean I can expect a nice bit of intel, later tonight?”
“Oh, you can expect much more than that, my bad little doggie.”
Roman immediately began choking. Then he horked up the crab puff, which sailed right into the wine glass of the Steccati President, who was already staring right at him. Roman frowned and bit his lip at the same time.
They shared a moment of silent contemplation from different sides of the snack table, and then the other man slowly set his wine glass down. Roman fled into the crowd behind him.
He made his way back toward Madison, traumatized and determined to keep his head down for the remainder of the evening. His only solace was the fact that Voreese hadn’t been here to see that.
His bath of hot shame was interrupted, however, when he spotted Madison’s table from a distance, but saw someone leaning over his chair. Judging from the familiar suit, it was Darius. The man seemed to be whispering into Madison’s ear as he eyed the crowd around them.
Suitably suspicious, Roman decided. Fortunately, he was still far enough away for Darius not to notice him, so he decided to resort to a new trick that he’d been working on.
He turned his body perpendicular to Darius and Madison, then rubbed his ear with one hand. A funnel of controlled particle vibrations extended out from his hand, completely invisible to the naked eye as it searched for the words coming out of Darius’ mouth.
It required quite the delicate touch, this technique, and he still hadn’t really mastered it yet, but after a few moments of careful tuning, Roman found what he was looking for.
“--never seen anything so pathetic,” came Darius’ voice. It was muddled but still clearly him. “It’s incredible that you still think you belong here. It’s incredible that you thought you ever could belong here.”
Roman cocked an eyebrow and squinted as he listened.