"Mercy! Where's the peanut butter?!" Emil yelled up the stairs of the Garden District safehouse one rainy Sunday afternoon. The large house was home to the New Orleans Thieves Guild, and, from time to time, their enemies-turned-allies, the Assassins Guild.
Mercy, after pulling her long blonde hair back into its customary ponytail, shook her head. Sometimes she wondered if the men in her family were completely helpless. "In de kitchen, I would assume!" She shouted back to him, coming to the hallway outside her bedroom.
Emil pouted. "But I looked an' I couldn' find any! Are you sure we have some?"
"What do I look like, de psychic food network?" Mercy muttered as she headed to the stairs. She plastered a bright smile on her pretty features as she joined him. "Did you look everywhere, Emil?" She asked patiently.
"I looked in de cupboard where it usually is, an' jus' to be safe b'cause I know Gris-Gris put it dere once, I checked de refrigerator too. Couldn' find it." Emil explained.
Mercy swallowed a sigh. "Well let's go see if we can find it." She said as they walked to the kitchen at the back of the house. "I'm pretty sure de las' time I went shoppin', I got some, b'cause Theo told me he used de las' of de other stuff, but you never know. It might be gone already."
"I hope not!" Emil exclaimed, a look of panic crossing his face.
"Can' eat peanut butter an' jelly sandwiches wit'out de peanut butter. I'm hungry!"
Mercy raised a dainty eyebrow at her young cousin. "You could always eat somethin' else if we don' have any peanut butter..."
Emil shook his head vehemently. "I don' feel like anythin' else. I feel like peanut butter an' jelly. We even have de good kinda jelly...raspberry wit' no seeds! We have to have peanut butter!"
Mercy found herself praying she found the peanut butter. She was remembering the last time they didn't have something that Emil wanted to eat. It wasn't a nice memory. 'Emil is de only twenty-five-year-old I know who can still whine to get what he wants...! An' dat's b'cause we've spoiled him rotten his whole life. It ain' even his fault!'
In the kitchen, Emil decided since he was bugging Mercy, he'd help her look. They searched all the cupboards in the place and even took most of the items out of the refrigerator. By the time they were done, Emil's stomach was practically hollow (or so it seemed to him anyway) and he looked on the verge of whining. Mercy cringed.
"Emil, I know you're hungry, don' even start." Mercy cut him off before he even got one word out. "I know I bought peanut butter, but I'll be damned if I know where it is. Someone prob'ly ate it already. You're jus' gon'..." She hated to finish the sentence, knowing what it would bring. "...have to find somethin' else to eat. I'm sorry."
"But..." Emil sputtered, eyes huge. "But...but...Merce...Mercy? I want peanut butter!"
"You ain' gon' die if you don' get peanut butter, Emil." Mercy reminded him tolerantly. Inwardly, she wanted to slap him, but fought the urge, reminding herself that he was the baby of the family and had been spoiled. She had helped spoil him. Lot of good it did them now...
Emil pouted again. "You don' know dat. I might."
"Are you absolutely sure dere's nothin' else you could eat for right now?" Mercy asked hopefully.
A firm nod of red hair was her answer. "I want peanut butter, Mercy...."
Mercy sighed and half-glared at him. "Emil Francois Lapin, I swear sometimes you are worse dan a pregnant woman! Theo an' Claude took Remy's car to Slidell. An' unless you wan' walk to de store yourself an' get peanut butter you'll have to do wit'out it until dey get back."
"But..." Emil stammered.
"Well what other options do we have if you refuse to eat anything else an' we don' have any peanut butter?" Mercy demanded, exasperated.
"I don' know..." Emil mumbled in reply, not meeting her gaze.
They were interrupted by a knock on the back door. When it opened, they were face to face with Singer, one of the Assassins. She was carrying two shopping bags in her hands and had a rare smile on her porceline face. "Knock knock!"
"Hi Singer. What's in de bags?" Mercy questioned.
Singer smiled and set the bags down on the kitchen table. "Well de las' time we were here, a few days 'go, we used some t'ings an' didn' have time to either tell you 'bout it or replenish dem until now. So I jus' stopped at de store an' picked de stuff up."
Emil, eyes eager and hopeful, pounced on the bags and started rooting through them for the elusive peanut butter. Singer looked at him and then looked at Mercy.
"You don' even wan' know." Mercy laughed. "Dat boy has a one-track mind."
Singer laughed. "Don' dey all?" She raised her eyebrows when Emil happily produced a jar of peanut butter from the depths of one of the shopping bags. She looked back at Mercy. "One...track...mind...?"
"Oui. Only he ain' like mos' guys. His one track changes frequently. Right now it's made of peanut butter an' jelly."
"Ah..." Singer nodded knowingly. "Questa is de same way. I understand."
"Hey Emil...?" Mercy prompted as the two women watched him bound over to the counter to make his sandwiches.
"T'ank you Singer." Emil replied immediately.
"Yes, I have to second dat." Mercy said, taking the rest of the groceries out of the bags. "T'ank you. You saved me from havin' to deal wit' a very whiny little cousin for de rest of de day."
"Not a problem. Glad I could help avert a crisis." Singer said, floating gracefully back out the door. "See you later."
By the time Mercy had put the rest of the groceries away, Emil was sitting at the kitchen table, eating three peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. She shook her head at him and poured him a glass of milk to go with them.
"T'anks." He said around a mouthful of sandwich when she set the glass down in front of him.
"You're welcome." Mercy ruffled his thick red hair. "Your whole world is made of peanut butter an' jelly right now, isn it, kiddo?"
Emil glanced up at her sheepishly. "Yeah..."
Mercy laughed. "Well you know what? Dere's nothin' wrong wit' dat. Enjoy your lunch. I'm gon' back upstairs."
And with that, she left him to finish his sandwiches in peace.