“We can’t send your band of merry men into safe houses. The people of Elle don’t know them. All it will do is spook them. We have to go ourselves,” Reyna reminded him. She placed the gun in the holster and glanced up at him. “And you already know that.”
“Doesn’t mean I like it.”
Reyna held her hand out. “We’re doing this as a team. This is how it should be, Becks.”
He slowly put his hand in hers and tugged her in close. “I don’t want to lose you again.”
“I know,” she choked out.
Just because she had survived what had happened didn’t mean that she felt like a survivor.
“You don’t have to put yourself in a situation where something could happen to you.”
“And when you became a lord, when you took over the entire city, you let others lead the charge, right? You sat back and directed. Stayed out of danger.”
Beckham’s eyes smoldered.
“That’s what I thought.”
Reyna pulled back from Beckham to put her jacket on. Beckham looked like he was about to argue with her again, but she was pleased that he dropped the subject.
At that moment, Tye and Meghan marched into the garage. Reyna could see that they were excited and nervous. Probably about both who they would find…and who they wouldn’t.
“We’re ready,” Tye said, jingling the keys to a van.
“You have the radio link?” Beckham asked gruffly.
“All set to go.” Tye patted his inner pocket. “Cellphone too just in case. I know all the codes and signals. We won’t be out of contact.”
“Good,” Reyna said.
“Wish I was going,” Gabe said. He was sulking with his arms crossed over his chest, leaning back against the doorframe.
“Next time,” Reyna said with a smile.
She’d asked Gabe to stay behind and watch Jodie. She didn’t quite trust that Jodie was adjusting as well as she was. He gave them a two finger salute as she followed Beckham into an SUV. She settled into the passenger seat and he revved the engine.
“Wishing it was your motorcycle?”
Reyna’s heart fluttered as she remembered her one glorious ride on the back of his bike. So much had happened since then. She hoped that after all of this she’d get one more ride.
They peeled out of Washington’s place and onto the open road, toward the city. The route was all but deserted, as the promise of icy temperatures evidently kept many inside. Reyna reached across the center console and took Beckham’s hand in her gloved one. She was nervous about what they would find, but optimistic. Her stomach was full of butterflies thwacking away at her insides. Her heart was beating a tattoo against her throat. She tried to relax the rest of the ride.
It was another hour before they reached the city limits. Beckham pulled into a nice neighborhood with car-lined avenues and people all bundled up walking unhurriedly down the sidewalks.
“There’s a safe house here?” Reyna asked in surprise.
“They’re all over. Sydney wanted an extensive list for any circumstance. I don’t think she really considered this one though,” he admitted as he expertly parallel parked the SUV.
“You can’t parallel park?”
She snorted. “I can’t drive.”
Beckham frowned. He clearly didn’t like that news. “I could teach you.”
“I escaped death once. I can probably do it a second time.”
Reyna shook her head. “He has jokes.”
“Are you ready for this?”
“Right,” she muttered, stuffing her hand back in her glove. Her eyes met his once more and she nodded. She was ready. Whatever may be.
They exited the SUV and regrouped on the sidewalk. No one paid them any attention as they ducked their heads against the wind and hurried down the street. Reyna could see her breath. She shivered. This was probably the worst day to do this. But none of them had been prepared to wait until after the snowstorm hit.
Beckham gestured for them to take the stairs to an inconspicuous brownstone. They pulled open the front door and entered an apartment building lobby.
Reyna moved to the list and scanned it for apartment 4B. Her finger hovered over the button. “Should I buzz?”
Beckham nodded before he bent down to look at the door.
She took a deep breath and then pressed the button. It buzzed noisily, echoing off of the walls. Then everything was silent.
“No one home?” Reyna said to Beckham.
His face was buried in the middle of the door, messing with the lock. “Try one more time.”
She laid on the buzzer, hoping that would do the trick. “Hello, anyone home?”
But once she removed her finger, again nothing happened. Either no one was there or everyone was ignoring her. It wasn’t out of the realm of possibility. She probably wouldn’t trust someone buzzing if she was in hiding.
“And…now,” Beckham said, as the door popped open. He held it wide for her with a cocky grin.
Beckham just grinned at her. Then they were both climbing the endless staircase. One story, two, three, four. Beckham wasn’t even breathing heavily. Reyna didn’t care how much she ran on a treadmill. Stairs were an entirely different ballgame. And she hated them.