“I’m not painting you as anything. I’ve been saying all this from the start. We’re not together.”
“Sure. Whatever. Go fuck yourself,” she spat. Then she turned on her heel and strode away from them, down the hallway.
“Jesus,” Reyna whispered. “Maybe we should go after her.”
Beckham shook his head. “Just let her go. She needs to blow off steam. I think reality finally sunk in, and she has to come to terms with it. I’ll talk to her after she’s cooled down again.”
* * *
Reyna collapsed into bed as soon as she entered her room. Beckham followed behind her, carefully stripping her out of her clothes and then tucking her into bed. Her eyes fluttered shut as soon as she hit the pillow.
“I’m sorry,” she whispered deliriously.
“Why are you apologizing?”
“She needs no apology.”
Beckham kissed her temple. “Don’t worry about Penelope.”
“Okay.” Reyna sighed. “Will you do me a favor?”
He crawled into bed, his movements as lithe and predatory as a panther. His hands moved around her body. Her back pressed into his chest. They fit together perfectly. As one.
“Another favor?” she mumbled.
“Hmm?” he breathed into her ear.
“Stay through the morning?”
“It is morning.”
“Stay all night.”
She sighed deep in her throat and then let the tension finally leave her body.
* * *
Reyna awoke with an arm around her waist, and a body pressed against her back. She rolled over to find Beckham perfectly asleep behind her. A statue carved out of stone. Adonis in the flesh.
She had always wondered if vampires slept. She had never seen Beckham do it. Of course, he had a bed in his room back at the penthouse, but beds could be used for multiple things. She was well aware.
Her fingers traced the contours of his face. Allowing herself to forget for that moment the horrors of yesterday and the new nightmares she would face when she left this room.
“Keep doing that and we’re never leaving this bed.”
Reyna smiled. “Is that supposed to get me to stop?”
His eyes slowly opened, revealing the dark depths. He reached out and captured her hand in his. Then he brought it to his lips and kissed her.
“How are you?”
She shrugged. “You’re here.”
“I didn’t know you slept.”
“Sometimes,” he admitted. “We don’t need to as much. Just like eating. It rejuvenates us. Though we can go much longer without.”
“It’s not fair that you look exactly the same when you wake up, and I look like a bomb went off,” she said.
He tugged her closer. “Does it matter what you look like when you still have a sharp mind, quick wit, and fragile human heart when you wake up?”
“And here I thought my heart was hardening.”
“I dread that day. Your struggle, emotion, and humanity are your best qualities. It makes you who you are.”
“It also makes all of this so hard,” she whispered. She hated admitting how she felt. That she knew she would have to face the day once they left this bed.
“Be glad that you feel at all. For so long I did not.” He frowned. “You asked me once what changed me. Why I decided not to continue as I had for so long. I didn’t give you the whole truth.”
Reyna frowned. “What do you mean?”
“The camera came second. The truth is that I know what you’re going through, because I lost a sister.”
“You had a sister?” she whispered.
He nodded once. His eyes were very far away. “Bronwyn and I were very close. When I was changed, I changed her as well. Brought her into this world.” He paused with a sigh. “Made her my second.”
Reyna covered her mouth. Oh, God.
“Yes. She was murdered in a turf war. I mourn her death every year. She was my only real family. On the fifteenth anniversary of her death, I went to the home that we grew up in. I sat there and watched a new family in the property. A young brother and sister playing together, and I remembered that innocence. I wanted to find that again.” His eyes bored into her. She hardly breathed. “I started taking pictures soon after that, searching for it. I joined Elle hoping this rebellion would reveal it. But it wasn’t until you arrived that I knew you were everything I’d been seeking. You were then and you are now.
“I love you,” Beckham told her. “I have loved you since the first time I saw you, since you defiantly bared your neck to me while you trembled, and as you fought for the oppressed every way you could, and every moment you see me for who I am. I love you. I will always love you.”
“I love you too,” she released on a breath and then she kissed him. Because no other words could do justice to the way her heart expanded.
Telling Laura about Brian destroyed any of those lingering happy feelings from when she had awoken with Beckham. Drew had been the one to utter the words, but Reyna had held Laura’s hand. She’d been there when Laura fainted and collapsed backward. And when Laura came to she sat with her while she sobbed and held her arms around her stomach. Their child growing inside of her without any knowledge of what might happen to its father.