She was totally lost when Beckham stopped in front of a boarded-up store on a random street corner.
“Come in here.”
“In where?” she asked, sizing up the building.
He opened a black gate and gestured her inside. They went up a flight of stairs and into an empty one-bedroom apartment. The only objects inside were a mattress on the floor and a safe in the corner. Beckham pushed Reyna toward the bathroom while he found a lighter in one of the kitchen drawers. He lit the handkerchief on fire and then threw it in a metal trash can on the floor.
Reyna just stood there, wide-eyed, wondering if he’d done something like this before. He was so precise. “What is this place?”
He shrugged. “Safe house.”
“Safe for who?”
“Right now, you.” He rummaged through the medicine cabinet over the toilet.
Finding what he was looking for, he tilted her chin up so she’d look at him. She stared into those bottomless onyx eyes, lost to his touch. How gentle he was when he swabbed the cut clean, how precise he was in all of his movements, how much he cared for her pain and discomfort.
When he finished, his eyes found Reyna’s. They locked on each other for a split second, understanding passing between them. This was the real Beckham Anderson. This man was hers.
It took all of five minutes from the time they busted into the safe house to when they were back on the streets, but everything had changed.
* * *
A short cab ride later, Reyna and Beckham were standing in front of the enormous skyscraper for the Visage Incorporated headquarters. They hurried past the polished floors, people clad in pressed suits, and the crazy body scanners at a fast clip. This place was terrifying in and of itself, but add in the fact that she was about to meet with the most powerful vampire in the company, and it made it all the scarier. But she kept her chin up and stuck close to Beckham.
“What exactly are we walking into?” Reyna asked once they were safely out of earshot.
“Well, I have to find out why I wasn’t informed of everything going on. In particular, I want to set Rowland straight about goading me. He knew what this was about and he knew what the crowd would look like.”
“I don’t understand what his motives are. Aren’t you working toward the same goal for the company?”
She despised Rowland, but she didn’t think he was an idiot. Cassandra was crazy, but Rowland was cunning. He had planned for Penelope to show up that night of the fires in the hopes of getting Reyna alone. And he had planned for Beckham to get caught up in the crowd today. There was more to the big picture than what they were glimpsing.
“Obviously, this is personal. He’s upset because I got the better of him in the club…and probably because you turned him down, if I had to guess.”
They stepped into the elevators and the doors closed behind them.
“Well, he was out of line and deserved everything that happened to him.”
Beckham turned toward Reyna and cupped her cheeks in his hands. “You know I agree with you, but you’re going to have to stay very tightly coiled through all of this. You can’t react to anything. He’s made it personal, but you have to stay professional even when you don’t want to. He will be expecting you to act out.”
“Becks, we just need to get everything out in the open so we can move forward.”
“That isn’t the way this works. It’s politics. You’ll have to trust me. Do you trust me?” he asked. His eyes pleaded with her, but she wasn’t sure if he wanted her to agree or disagree. It showed how much he was still warring with himself.
“Of course I trust you.”
He nodded, kissed her once on the lips, and then released her just before the doors opened. She took a deep breath, allowing the feel of his lips to give her strength to move forward. She could do this.
They walked through glass double doors and a receptionist awaited them. “Hello, Mr. Anderson.”
“I need to speak with Harrington,” Beckham said. “Is he in?”
“Yes. He just arrived back in his office. I’ll let him know you’re here.” The woman picked up the phone and pressed a button. “Yes. Mr. Harrington, Mr. Anderson is here to see you.” She waited a second with a demure smile on her face. “Of course. Thank you.” She hung up the phone. “He will see you now.”
“Thank you,” Beckham said courteously, even though it felt like he was walking into a trap.
Reyna followed Beckham into Harrington’s massive corner office, straight into the lion’s den. Seated behind a hulking desk was the frail waxy leader of the vampire world and CEO of Visage. Harrington greeted Beckham with a smile, which would have been more reassuring if Rowland and Cassandra weren’t likewise seated to either side of him.