Reyna sat in the passenger seat next to Gabe while Laura peered eagerly out the window in the back. She had forgotten that it had probably been months since Laura had left the safety of the underground bunker. Who knew when she would do it again? She was soaking everything in.
“So, why you and not Beckham?” Reyna asked, turning her attention back to Gabe.
“I was in the area. Thought it’d be easier.”
Reyna doubted that was the entire story but decided to let it drop. “Can I ask you a question?”
“Do you normally ask for permission?”
“No,” she said with an eye roll.
“The first time I was at Ferrier House, I ended up two floors up in a black-market blood bank.”
Gabe swerved the van. Laura grunted from the backseat and Reyna clutched the side panel.
“Jesus, watch what you’re doing!” she groaned.
“How the hell did you come across that?” he demanded.
“By accident?” she said with a shrug. “There was a riot. We escaped and fled up two floors and found it when we were hiding.”
“Everett and I,” she clarified.
“I just wanted to know if it belongs to Elle?”
“Well, it was a side business that I had been running, but we relocated it somewhere safer shortly after that riot. Elle has some of it. I have some of it.” He shrugged.
“That’s an interesting side business,” she grumbled.
“Hey, it’s hard to make money on the streets. And blood is no different than drugs or sex. It all sells.”
Well, she couldn’t argue with that. But it did leave her with a lot of questions. If Everett was working for Visage when they found the blood bank at Ferrier House, why hadn’t he reported it? He had to have known that it would have been of interest to them. She had so many questions about Everett’s behavior—his friends’ distrust and hatred of vampires, his knowledge of Elle, his interest in her rebellious photography. How could a man like that also work for Visage? How could he have betrayed her?
She sighed and decided it would continue to be a mystery. She needed to focus on the present anyway. Getting Laura a wedding dress and…dealing with Penelope.
Gabe turned them down an alley and then parked the van in a parking garage. “The store has been cleared and paparazzi have been removed from much of this area, but it’s never a guarantee with those fuckers. Reyna, wear this hat,” he said, tossing it to her. “Keep your head down.”
They all hopped out of the van. Gabe ushered them into an elevator that shot straight down to the first floor and opened up the opposite direction into a deserted back alley. He slid a key into the entrance and the door popped open. Reyna and Laura both hurried inside. Gabe swept the alley one more time to check if they were alone and then locked everything back up.
Reyna yanked the hat off her head and breathed a sigh of relief. She hated this sneaking around. She could tell by Laura’s expression that she didn’t like it either.
A door opened and Gabe immediately thrust himself in front of them. In strode a shrewd-looking woman in her early thirties wearing a slim-cut black dress.
“Olivia,” Gabe said with a smile. “Good to see you.”
“Gabriel,” she said with a tight-lipped smile. “I wasn’t aware that you would be joining us.”
“Just here for the delivery.”
“Olivia, this is Reyna and Laura. Olivia is part of the cause,” he said with a wink.
“Indeed. Now come along, ladies,” Olivia said, clapping her hands twice. “Let’s get you inside. I hear we have a bride we’re shopping for?”
Laura grinned like a fool and hurried over to Olivia. They immediately began chatting up a storm about the impending wedding.
Reyna nudge Gabe. “Heartbreaker.”
“As if I’m the only one.”
He winked and then disappeared back through the door.
Reyna hurried to catch up to Laura and Olivia, only to be stopped at the door by none other than Penelope Sky herself. Reyna swallowed and tried to remember that she needed to be nice. Nice and happy and appreciative. Penelope had gone out of her way to help set this up. Without her, Laura never would have gotten to pick her own dress.
“Hey, Penny,” Reyna said, forcing a smile on her face. “Thank you so, so much for doing this for Laura. It’s super nice of you. I know both Laura and I really appreciate it.”
“Oh, it’s just you,” Penelope said with a frown. “I thought Beckham had come back finally.”
“Gabe said that there was a change of plans.”
Reyna waited, expecting her to elaborate. “What happened?”
“Don’t you already know?”
“Maybe he’ll tell you when he comes back for me,” she said, and then turned and walked back into the boutique.
Reyna stood there frozen. She closed her eyes, took a few deep breaths, and counted to ten. She understood why Penelope was uncomfortable in this situation. They were using her fake engagement to help someone else. It couldn’t be easy being reminded that the engagement was fake. But Reyna was trying to be on her best behavior, and Penelope acting like this didn’t make it any easier.