Nikki considered scooping up the serving dishes to avoid having to meet his eyes. Ringo wore a brittle mood tonight, still amusing and charming, but with sharp edges just waiting to cut someone. No, leaving the room would be seen as running away. She had nothing to be afraid of because she had done nothing wrong. Even when she didn't like Ringo, she knew he had always been fair with her.
"I'm sorry. I don't know what you're hinting at," she said instead, and sat back in her chair.
"What's with the big guy?"
Was Ringo's chiming tension tonight because of Brock? Nikki turned toward the kitchen, as if she could see through the wall and study him. That earned a chuckle from Ringo.
"I'm not blaming you." He reached over and patted her hand, resting on the table next to her plate. "The guy's uptight. He came back that way. Since you were with him, I thought you might know."
"Oh." Nikki thought back over their day. Brock had seemed focused, to the point of being too quiet, from the moment she got up that morning. Still, it had increased. "Oh, okay. I ran into someone from home this morning. Maybe Brock is upset about that. He didn't really like Joan, so…" She shrugged.
"Someone from home? They know where you are?"
"Cincinnati is a big city, and we're outside it. I know the drill on protecting your privacy.""Yeah, you do." He winked, his smile a little broader, but also a little thinner. The shiver that struck her occasionally when dealing with Ringo whispered over her.