She would have sat there all day if she wasn’t required to report to Sydney’s meeting.
“I’ll stay with her,” Drew promised, taking Reyna’s seat.
Not that Laura was responding to anyone. But still he took her hand in his and sat there with his bad shoulder and all.
Reyna dragged her defeated body upstairs and found Meghan pacing back and forth in front of the closed door. “What’s going on?”
“There you are!” she cried.
“I’m not late.”
“It’s not that. It’s Jodie.”
Reyna sighed. “What about Jodie?”
“Reyna, she’s gone.”
“I’ve searched high and low. She wasn’t in our room when I went to sleep. She didn’t sleep in her bed. All of her clothes are gone. I don’t know what to do.”
“Fuck, how did she even get out? How is that possible?” Reyna demanded.
“I think she snuck out behind the security team last night. I don’t know any other way she could have gotten out.”
“Christ, she told me that she wanted to leave. I thought I’d convinced her to stay.”
“This isn’t your fault, but, ugh!, I don’t know how to find her or where she would even go!”
“She went to find June,” Reyna answered. “You gave her that address, right?”
“Oh,” Meghan said, releasing her breath in a huff. “Of course she did. We were going to check it out to make sure it was safe and to see if she still lived there. But we didn’t have the resources yet. And now…” Meghan shook her head.
“I know. Now we’re screwed.” Reyna frowned. “Maybe you and I could go?”
“We’re needed here and she doesn’t trust anyone else.” Meghan ran a hand through her hair. “Hell, she doesn’t trust me. I did everything I could. And still…”
“We can’t let her go.”
“I know,” Meghan said, defeated. “We’ll have to find her after all of this.”
Reyna hated to admit that Meghan was right. If Jodie had been here, they might have been able to use her. To figure out how to make her a valuable part of the team. But Jodie had never wanted that. She’d been distrustful even when people proved to be trustworthy. Reyna didn’t want to abandon her friend, but they had five days to pull off the hit of a lifetime. They needed every second they could get.
* * *
Reyna spent the next four days in endless meetings, hammering out all the details of the plan. Every contingency plan. Every exit. Every single way things could go horribly wrong and blow up in her face. And she never wavered.
When she wasn’t in meetings, she was on the treadmill or on the firing range with Gabe. He’d given her a crash course about how to fire a weapon. She was far from a pro by the end of the week, but at least she knew a bit more about what she was doing. She would never be faster or stronger than a vampire. But a gun could level the playing field a bit.
“It’s not going to kill them,” Gabe reminded her, adjusting her stance again. “But you’ll slow the fucker down.”
She fired over and over again. She missed as often as she hit the target.
“Aim for the biggest sections. Torso is going to be your best bet. Don’t try to get fancy. You want to keep them from reaching you or disable them enough to get away.” He righted her arm. “Try again.”
So she did. Over and over.
“Good,” he said.
“Gabe,” Meghan said, popping her head into the firing range. “I need Reyna.”
“That’s all the time we have.”
Reyna swallowed. “I’m not good enough.”
He tipped her chin up. “Worst-case scenario only. If all goes as planned, you won’t even need this.” He released the clip and broke the gun down. “I’ll be there. Try not to think about anything else.”
She nodded. “Okay. Okay.”
“Now go get pretty.”
“I’m already pretty,” she teased as she hurried toward Meghan.
“Come on. We don’t have much time. We need to get you cleaned up.”
They took the elevator to a room outfitted to look like a dressing room. Two bags were hanging against the far wall. There was a dresser full of makeup and hair products and brushes and every color of lipstick imaginable.
“Whoa,” Reyna whispered.
“Yeah. I have a slight hair and makeup obsession.” Meghan pointed at the chair. “Now, sit. I have to make you presentable for tonight.” Meghan tossed her a button-up shirt. “Put that on so you don’t mess up your hair.”
Reyna felt stupid letting Meghan pretty her up. With everything that had happened, looking pretty was low on her priority list. Laura was a shell of her former self. Drew refused to leave her side. Jodie was gone. Brian was gone. She hardly saw Beckham. Everything was a mess. But tonight would be the start of a new world. Tonight would change everything.
* * *
Several hours later, both Meghan and Reyna were done up in an appropriate enough fashion to be presentable for Penelope’s New Year’s Eve ball. Reyna wore a black sequined dress that was poufy from the waist down with pockets that allowed her access to the thigh holsters that held a Glock on each leg. Meghan wore a slinky gold glitter dress that sparkled with every movement. She looked like a 1950s movie star.