“It’s beautiful.”

“Yes,” he agreed. She felt his gaze sweep her face and wondered if they were talking about the same thing. “Yes, you are.”


Chapter 23

His words were like a dream. She wanted to respond, but she was worried she would wake up and the dream would dissolve into reality.

She couldn’t help herself. She turned her head and looked at Beckham. Their eyes locked and everything crystallized. Whatever had been going on between them was real. He might deny it. She might try to deny it. But she saw even in that brief moment that he felt something. A thread connected them, and all she wanted to do was tug on it and bring him closer.

“This is one of my favorite places in the city,” he told her.

“Why?”

She felt as if she could hardly breathe in his presence. No more than a foot was between them, but it was suddenly as if all the air had been sucked out of the sky.

“The city almost looks whole from up here.”

“And not from the streets?”

He circled the dew on the railing with his finger. “You know it doesn’t look whole from down there. You’re the one with the camera.”

At the mention of the camera, she suddenly remembered that was the whole purpose of the trip. The thread grew longer, pushing distance between them again. It was a bit of a tug-of-war, keeping up with the rawness of his shifting emotions.

To keep her face neutral, she dug into her bag and retrieved the camera. Putting a physical barrier between them should keep her steady. At least she hoped so.

She took the cap off of the lens and shifted the camera up to her face. She snapped a few pictures of the city skyline. The familiar click of the camera calmed her nerves, and she let the rhythm of the pictures take over.

“Much easier to see the big picture from a bird’s eyes, but the aggregate doesn’t equal the individual. From up here you would assume everyone was happy and successfully living out a fairy tale. From down there you see the reality, the lie,” she told him.

Beckham was silent, and she wondered what he was thinking. Was he judging her answer? Weighing it against his Visage rose-colored glasses? She knew her words weren’t a popular opinion among the wealthy, but she couldn’t forget the things she had seen.

“Are you not living the fairy tale, then?” he asked.

She looked at him over the lens of her camera and made a face. Hardly.

Despite the stirring of emotions about Beckham, she would not consider this life a fairy tale. Maybe it was every girl’s dream to live in a penthouse, have an unlimited credit card, and a closet full of designer clothes, but it was a cover-up. Beckham was not a shining prince on a white horse riding in to save her. The world they lived in was not a peaceful kingdom where all worries disappeared.

“If this were a fairy tale, there would be no need for a rebellion, would there?”

“Perhaps, but you are not part of any rebellion.”

“No,” she agreed.

She was a silent voice among countless other silent voices against the establishment. People with no energy to fight, no means to accomplish anything, and worst of all…no hope.

“So, tell me about this covert group, Elle, and how it relates to the rebellion. You said we would talk when we were up here,” she reminded him.

Beckham grumbled under his breath and turned back to look out at the city. “What do you want to know?”

“I don’t know, but if people think my images are part of Elle, I want to know what they think they stand for.”

“I’d rather you not know much,” he said into the breeze. “It’s safer that way.”

“Safer for who? You or me?”

“Both,” he said thoughtfully. “Everyone.”

Reyna blew out a frustrated breath. They were going nowhere fast with this line of conversation. It wasn’t as if she were part of the rebellion. She just wanted to know what the hell was going on out there.

“Well, what can I know?”

Beckham sighed. He was stalling, hoping she would change her mind, but she wasn’t about to do anything of the sort. She stared at him and waited.

After a moment, he seemed resigned to the task. “Don’t repeat anything I’m about to tell you. You already made quite a spectacle at the ball,” he told her. He waited until she nodded before continuing, “There are two factions among vampires. One is of the belief that humans are food.”

Their eyes met briefly and she blushed. She didn’t know why she would find that embarrassing. She should find it horrifying. Maybe she would find it more horrifying if he had bitten her or ever made her feel threatened in the least.

“We control the food.” He gestured to her. “And we shouldn’t have to limit ourselves. After all, we are supreme. We should be able to have whatever…whomever we want.” His eyes seemed to drink her in. “In fact, many believe it is a limitation to only drink from a blood type match.”

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