“You can’t stay for a little longer?”

“No,” she said flatly.

Brian pursed his lips. “I don’t like this, Reyna.”

“Well, we all have to make sacrifices.” She bit her lip and then stared down at her phone forlornly. “I have to call him back.”

“You look terrified, Rey,” Drew said softly.

She locked eyes with him. “I am.”

Then she entered the bedroom for a semblance of privacy.

She had planned her entire day around getting back to Beckham in time. And she couldn’t even manage that. She knew he had a temper…that he was volatile and erratic. She could see that in the short interactions she had already had with him. The last thing she wanted to do was upset him.

Gulping dramatically, she pressed the number to call him back and held the phone awkwardly to her face. It rang only once before his deep voice cut through the line.

“Reyna,” he growled.

“Hey,” she said awkwardly. “Sorry. I guess I didn’t hear my phone.”

“Where the hell are you?”

“I…I went out,” she said defiantly. “I texted you.”

“That was hours ago and you didn’t even say where you were going.”

“I didn’t know I had to.”

He grumbled under his breath. She knew that she was irritating him with her comebacks, but she hadn’t actually broken any rules except that she hadn’t answered her phone right away.

“Well, where the hell are you, then?”

“I’m…visiting some friends. You said I could leave,” she reminded him again.

“I bloody well know what I said, Reyna. Stop avoiding my question. Where? Where are you? And why the hell are you not in my penthouse?”

Reyna closed her eyes and cleared her throat. Here goes nothing. “The Warehouse District.”

Beckham cursed under his breath. “That’s an hour away!”

“I know,” she whispered.

“This is unacceptable. I said you could have anything within reason. Within reason does not mean driving an hour out of the city and spending the day in the slums!”

“You didn’t specify!” she cried.

“Well, now I am. Get back here now, and we’ll discuss exactly what within reason means to me.”

The line went dead in her hand.

Her lower lip wobbled as she fought to hold the tears in. She wouldn’t cry. Not over Beckham. This was her first job and already she feared she was going to be fired. This Permanent position wouldn’t be that permanent if he got this angry with her on day one.

She waited a few minutes to compose herself. Another message came in from Beckham.

I’ve sent a cab to retrieve you. Respond with your address immediately.

She typed out the address to her brothers’ home. She hated that he would now have access to it. Though it was probably in her file if he wanted to retrieve it himself. She almost apologized through the message, but stopped herself at the last moment.

“What happened?” Drew asked when she walked back into the living room.

“I have to leave. He’s sending a car to pick me up.”

“Rey,” Brian said, his voice strained. “Are you sure about this?”

“There’s no other choice, Brian.”

“We can’t protect you out there. How do you know that he’s not going to just kill you on a whim? He’s a monster after all.”

“I guess…I don’t. But he’s paying a lot of money just to kill me. I suppose…I need to trust that things will work out.”

The words were difficult to get out. She didn’t trust that things would work out. She trusted that Beckham was going to fire her for insubordination and find some way to fine her for the exorbitant cab ride she had taken. But she had to put on a brave face for her brothers. They needed the reassurance more than she did.

Fifteen minutes later, a large black SUV parked outside of their apartment. It couldn’t have looked more out of place.

“Here,” she said, handing them a piece of paper. “I know you don’t have a phone, but if there’s ever an emergency, you can get ahold of me at that number.”

“How will you reach us?”

She sniffled and looked away. “I don’t know.”

“When will we see you again?” Drew asked.

She shook her head. She didn’t know that either.

“I’ll miss you,” she whispered. Then she pulled them both into a fierce hug and quickly disappeared into the tinted car. She had wanted to prolong her goodbye as long as she could, but it hurt too much. It hurt leaving them behind.

As they drove away from the Warehouse District, Reyna twisted in her seat and watched her brothers’ bodies slowly fade into the distance. When she could no longer see them, she turned back to the front of the car and tried not to cry. She needed to put on a good face for Beckham. She had almost an hour to practice.

* * *

It took less time to get back than it had to get to the Warehouses. She figured Beckham had put the fear of God into the driver.

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