He started down the tunnel, and with no other choice, she followed. Her numbness turned into full-on sickness at Beckham’s words. She knew that she had just told him she wanted to leave, but she hadn’t expected that reaction. Why did she even want him to fight for her to stay? It wasn’t enough that he beat Rowland up for touching her, that was just protecting his interests. This was him not caring one way or another whether she stayed or left. In fact, he had even said she was too much trouble. All while refusing to explain what the hell was happening between him and Penelope. And she couldn’t stand it any longer.
Reyna stumbled along in her heeled boots. Her feet were sore and it was cold in the tunnel, but she didn’t complain. She refused to let him see her pain.
“Do you smell that?” Beckham asked, turning his head up to the ceiling.
Reyna breathed in deeply. “I don’t smell anything.”
“Fuck. No. Not yet.”
Beckham picked up the pace, and she had to take long awkward strides to keep up.
“Beckham, slow down. I can’t keep up with you, and I don’t know where I’m going.”
“We have to hurry, Reyna.”
She jogged after him in her boots, but he was flat-out running now. There was no chance of her catching up with him. “Beckham!” she yelled breathlessly.
She lost sight of him in the dark and her voice raised an octave in panic. “Becks!” she called again.
He reappeared a minute later, winded and almost delirious. “She’s not there. She’s not there!”
Reyna bent over at the waist with her hands on her knees, gulping in air. “Who? Where?”
“Penny! She’s still inside. Fuck! No. Fuck! This wasn’t supposed to happen,” he said, pacing in front of her as he rambled on to himself.
“You’re not making any sense. What’s going on?” Reyna reached out, grabbed him, and shook him with as much force as she could muster. He looked into her eyes, but he appeared wild and lost. Not at all like the cool, confident Beckham she knew. “Snap out of it and tell me what’s wrong.”
“She wasn’t supposed to get stuck inside.”
“Why is she stuck? I don’t understand what you’re saying.”
“I have to fix this,” he said, his eyes suddenly alight.
Beckham picked Reyna up as if she were a rag doll, against her protests, and ran until they reached the front door. She had no idea what was going on. Beckham seemed frantic and he was freaking her out. When they reached a group of people—human drivers mostly, but also one female vampire, and her escort—gathered outside of the door, Beckham planted Reyna on her feet and pushed through the throng. A group of people banged uselessly on the door. Reyna’s eyes darted down to the bottom of the door and saw smoke curling out of the entrance.
Her heart stuttered to a halt as she realized what Beckham had smelled.
“Oh my God,” Reyna said. Her hand flew to her mouth.
Now that she smelled it, she started coughing at the intrusion in her lungs. The horrid realization took over that everyone was trapped inside the building with no way to get out. No wonder Beckham had been panicking about Penelope. As much as she was envious and detested Penelope, that didn’t mean Reyna wanted her to die.
She watched as Beckham took charge of the group. He still looked crazed, but less so with a solution in mind.
“You over there. Call 911. Get an ambulance and fire truck here now.”
The driver wavered in place. “But they can’t know about this place. We’re under orders.”
Beckham looked at him as if he were an idiot. “If they don’t, a lot of people will die. What’s more important to you? Now call! Hurry!”
The man nodded and reached for his phone. Reyna feared that the fire department wouldn’t get here fast enough to save the people inside. Smoke inhalation couldn’t kill the vampires, but the flames surely could.
Beckham sent the vampire woman and her escort to the entrance they had just vacated, to try to breach the door. She didn’t know why people weren’t already getting out that way or through the front entrance. Both had locks on the inside. Beckham sent a group of drivers to the brothel sleeping quarters. He left the largest group at the entrance to try to ram through the near-impenetrable door while Beckham took off toward the last exit he was aware of.
Reyna ran after him as fast as she could. She reached him as he was banging against a side exit much like the one they had left through.
“You shouldn’t be here,” he said when he saw her.
“I’m not leaving you.” With his wild and crazed demeanor, she said it as a reassurance, but what she meant was she had nowhere else to go.
He didn’t say anything else after that and after a few minutes of work, he managed to pry the hinges off of the door. Smoke poured out from the hole he had made in the top. She could hear screams on the other side.