Penni didn’t have to broach the topic on whether or not Viper had already told Genny who had been responsible for her house being destroyed. It was on her face.
She went toward the basement door, knowing there had to be a mess left over from last night.
“Raci already cleaned it. She was doing it when I was talking to Viper,” Genny said, stopping her from going down.
“Genny, I wish there were something I could do to make you feel better. I know how much that house meant to you.”
Penni nodded. “I’ve been lucky. My parents had a wonderful marriage, and they gave me a home I’ll always cherish and can tell my children about one day. One day, I’ll have enough to buy my own home.”
Genny began crying, placing her head on the handle of the mop. “I worked so hard for that house.”
Penni moved toward Genny, patting her on the back. “Whoever blew up your home didn’t only destroy your home, but your dream. But you can buy another one. Viper probably feels bad enough that he’ll buy you a bigger one.”
Genny lifted her head, laughing. “He already did. He offered to buy me the house next to Mrs. Langley’s home, and it’s bigger than hers. I told him I wouldn’t want to clean it on the weekends.”
“If it were me, I’d get Viper to make Raci clean it every Saturday.” They laughingly came up with other chores to make Raci do. Then Penni went to the counter, beginning lunch. She was going to make The Last Riders a meal they would never forget.
She worked as Genny cleaned the rest of the kitchen then left to work on the rest of her chores.
It was lunchtime when Winter came in to the kitchen.
“Something smells delicious.”
Penni tossed the broccoli she had been cutting into a bowl. “Thanks. Lunch will be ready in a few minutes.”
Winter poured herself a cup of coffee. “Have you seen Viper this morning?”
“No, and I haven’t seen Jackal, either.” She picked up several cloves of garlic, mashing them with her sharp knife.
“They left to go to town to see Knox,” Genny said, having come back in, as she took the plates out of the kitchen cabinets. “Viper told me this morning before you got here.”
“Oh, thanks.” Winter moved away from the smell of the garlic. She stared at the food spread out on the counter. “Uh … Penni, what’s in the crockpots?”
“Meatball stew and barbeque hotdogs.”
Winter opened the crockpots then closed them. “Did you mean for the food to look this way?”
“What’s wrong with it?” Penni scraped the garlic from the cutting board into a bowl of vegetables. She set another five cloves on the cutting board then mashed them one at a time.
“Never mind. Isn’t that a lot of garlic?”
“Yes … it … is.” Penni scraped the garlic into the salad then poured on the dressing. Using tongs, she tossed the salad before setting it on the buffet. Then Penni went to the pantry and fridge before coming back to the counter.
“What are you making now?”
Penni opened the bread. “Making you a sandwich.”
“I was going to eat in my room, but I wouldn’t miss this, even if the house caught on fire.” Winter winced at her word choice. “Sorry, Genny.”
“None taken. I’m supposed at be at work in an hour for Willa at the church. When I saw the way Penni was cutting the hot dogs into small pieces, I figured I could risk being late. Did you see the way she cut the broccoli? She cut off the heads.”
Penni garnished the cheese ball with a small slice of red pepper then stabbed a small knife into the center for the men members to use.
Winter took her sandwich and went to sit at the kitchen table. “I need a front seat to enjoy this.”
Penni saw Viper, Jackal, Ice, Cade, and Hennessy come into the kitchen. They hesitated before coming forward to take their plates and get in line.
“Hello. Are you having a good day?”
Penni shot Viper a spearing glance, not answering his question.
Viper hurried through the line.
Raci, Jewell, and Evie came into the kitchen next, followed by King, as Shade came in from the back door.
Jackal was next in line. “I want to talk to you after—”
Penni picked up the sharp knife she had used to cut the vegetables. She began cutting the large carrots into slivers.
Jackal blanched, moving away.
The line moved along, none of the members brave enough to talk.
Evie took a bowl next to the crockpot, asking, “What is it?”
“You go, girl!” Evie grinned, closing the crockpot and putting the bowl back.
The members continued to pass her one at a time. Raci looked like she wanted to bolt from the line.
Raci raised her eyes after she had put salad on her plate. “Penni … I—”