Page 67 of Beta (Alpha 2)

Kyrie sucked in a deep breath and let it out slowly. “It’s…there’s just too much to fill you in over the phone.” She glanced up at me, and I nodded at her, smiling my encouragement. “What do you have going on?”

“Right now? Or in general?”

“In general.”

I heard the stuttering of the coffee maker finishing and the chug of liquid filling a mug. “Classes. Work. Same as ever.”

“Why don’t you come and visit us?”

“Where? South Africa?” She laughed. “I ain’t going to South motherfucking Africa.”

“Not South Africa itself, per se, more…near there. On our yacht.” She bit her thumbnail. “Come visit us. For…a while.”

Layla clearly sussed out the fact that Kyrie was leaving something out. “Key? What the fuck is going on?”

Kyrie sighed. “Babe…you wouldn’t believe me if I told you. I just…I need you to do this for me. Okay? Please? You know I wouldn’t ask if it wasn’t important to me.”

“What about classes? I can’t just drop out—I’ll lose credit and a whole shitload of money. I’ve got rent due, and also, how the hell do you expect me to get to South Africa or wherever the fuck you two are?”

I spoke up. “Layla, you have my word that any and every expense you could possibly think of will be covered. My man Harris is on the way from Chicago to pick you up right now. He’ll help you pack, and he will personally fly to you us.” I made a snap decision. “Your tuition will be paid. You won’t need to worry about rent, or anything else. Not ever. All right?”

Suspicion tinged her voice. “Why would you do that? You don’t even know me.”

“You’re important to Kyrie. Thus, you are important to me.”

A long pause. “Fine. But something tells me some heavy shit went down.” She sighed. “Do I get to ride in a private jet, like Kyrie did that one time?”

I laughed. “Nothing but the finest for you, Miss Campari, I assure you.”

She chuckled. “Miss Campari. That’s a new one. Never been called that before.” She yawned. “Listen, I need to drink my coffee. Let me talk to Kyrie real quick.”

“I’ll see you in a few days, Miss Campari,” I said.

“’Bye, Mr. Roth.”

Kyrie turned the phone off speaker mode and held it to her ear. “Layla, yeah, it’s just me now. Look, just go along with whatever Harris tells you, all right? You can trust him, I promise….yeah, yeah, I’m okay, really. Look, hooker, I’ll tell you everything when you get here, I swear. Okay…yeah. Love you, too, bitch-face.” She hung up the phone and tossed it onto the bed. Her eyes found mine. “Thank you, Valentine.”

I smiled down at her, shoved the phone off to the side, and leaned forward, laying her down on her back. “You are my everything, Kyrie. I swear to you, I swear on my soul, I will not let anything happen to you again, especially not because of my past. I won’t allow my mistakes to hurt anyone else. He won’t harm a hair on your head.”

“I know.” Her smile was trusting as she pushed my shorts off and tossed them aside. “I trust you, Valentine. I know you’ll protect me. ”

I knocked her knees open with one of mine, and fitted our bodies together. “Everything will be okay. I’ll make sure of it. I’ll do whatever it takes to protect what’s mine.” I moved, and she gasped. “You belong to me. ”