“God dammit. This is why I didn’t want you in places where anything could happen.” He actually sounded worried…not pissed like she thought he would be.

“Well, it doesn’t matter. I’m fine.”

“Where are you? I’ve been trying to get ahold of you. I just got to the warehouse. The fighting bosses were not pleased to see me,” he told her.

He had driven all the way out to the warehouses for…her?

“Just tell me where the hell you are! Last time this happened you almost died.”

“I’m at Everett’s place,” she finally admitted. She hadn’t wanted to tell him since she was still pissed at him. She knew he wouldn’t approve. He didn’t really approve of anything she did.

“You’re at another guy’s apartment?”

Her anger flared up all over again. “Yes!” she said defiantly. “Don’t you go to Penny’s place?” She drawled out his nickname for the woman.

“That’s none of your business.”

“And neither is this!”

“Your whereabouts are my business. Send me the address so I can have a car swing by and get you.”

“What if I don’t?”

He said some choice words under his breath. “I have ways of finding out where he lives. Don’t make me use them.”

“Empty threats,” she muttered.

“Don’t test me.”

The life was draining from her again. This afternoon had been more eventful than she had anticipated and all she wanted to do was curl into a ball on her bed and go to sleep.

“Fine. I’ll get it from Everett.” She hung up the phone before he could reply and returned to the room. “Did you hear that?”

He looked up at her sheepishly. “Yeah. Sorry. Everything okay?”

She shrugged. “I guess.”

“You know…you can stay here if you want.”

“I appreciate the offer, but no.” She couldn’t do that. It would be the same as when she had lived with her brothers. She couldn’t get another job any more than she could have gotten one at home. Just another mouth to feed here too. At least Beckham could take care of her and she could send the rest of her money back home.

“Oh okay…”

“It’s not you. Really. I need to help my family, and this helps. So, I need the address to your place.”

She handed over her phone and he texted the address into it for her.

“Thank you for the exciting afternoon,” she said. “Oh! Your car! Do you want me to take you back?”

“No,” he said immediately. “I mean…I don’t think Beckham is the first person I want to see right now after I endangered your life a second time. He was kind enough to save my life and pay my hospital bills…I don’t want him to put me back in there. I’ll take the subway or catch a ride with someone else.”

“Okay. Sorry about all this.”

“It was fun hanging out with you. Can’t seem to do it without risking your life, but hey, where’s the fun if you don’t live on the edge?”

She laughed and gave him a hug. “See you later.”

When she made it down the stairs to street level, Beckham’s car was already waiting for her. The driver opened the back door, and she slid into the darkened interior with a sigh.

They were halfway home before Beckham said anything. He had been so fixated on his damn phone she wasn’t sure if he had even paid attention to her getting inside.

“I’m glad that you’re safe,” he said.

“Yeah.” She kept staring out the window.

“Did you get the shots you were looking for?”

She thought about the images she had taken tonight and smiled. “I think so.”

When she wasn’t looking, he reached out and removed her baseball cap. She had forgotten she still had the thing on. She turned to look at him in surprise. He released her ponytail, threading his fingers through her dark hair and letting it fan out.

“You never came out of your room.”

She swallowed. “I know.”

“I waited for you.”

“Why?” He had been pissed at her, and her even more infuriated with him. Not to mention the mixed signals driving her insane.

“I don’t know. It didn’t feel right to leave things like that with you,” he admitted.

Reyna’s mouth dropped open. “Oh.”

“Then I heard where you were and what happened…” He almost looked vulnerable, but that was the absolute wrong word for the formidable man in front of her. “If I’d known you wanted to go explore like that, I would have taken you.”

“Really?” she asked, flabbergasted. “You would have taken me to the fights? Would you even have been allowed inside?”

Beckham laughed, and it was the best thing she had ever heard. His laugh was electric, lighting up his entire face even in the briefest of moments. It was like a glimpse into the past. Before he had turned, before he had let the monster take over, before he had closed himself off from feeling. She would do anything to see it again.

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