“Let me go!” she shrieked, trying to dislodge Rowland from her.
“You think this is over? That you can just walk away?” Rowland spat at her.
“Fuck you,” Meghan yelled.
Then Reyna heard a series of gunshots. Rowland shifted fast enough to miss most of the spray, but a bullet must have hit. He grunted and gave just a bit of release on her ankle. Reyna reared back and kicked him in the face. He let go, falling backward across the pavement.
Gabe tugged Reyna all the way into the van. She was gasping on all fours as she stared out through the open doors at Rowland’s furious face. Even after being shot, he still got back on his feet and tried to race to catch them.
But he couldn’t take down a moving vehicle barreling down the street. Their eyes met in the distance. He pointed his finger at her. A chill ran down her spine. It was as if he was saying that he would come for her. This wasn’t over.
But…it was over.
It was all over.
The van skittered around another corner and toward safety as Meghan and Gabe pulled the doors closed. The noise from the outside disappeared, sending them all into a stony silence, their labored breathing the only sound.
Reyna didn’t recognize the woman with brown skin and a bindi on her forehead who ducked into the back from the passenger seat. She rummaged through a black duffel bag and handed warmer clothes to Meghan and Gabe. She started to move toward Reyna, but Gabe put his hand out to stop her. His eyes shot to Reyna’s and then back. He just shook his head as if she were a volcano about to erupt.
The woman shrugged and passed the clothes to Gabe. He walked through the large open area in the back to where Reyna was still seated on the floor, shell-shocked. She tucked her knees to her chest, pulling Beckham’s jacket tighter around her. She wasn’t relinquishing this. No matter what anyone said.
“Hey,” Gabe said, crouching down. “You’re going to get sick if you don’t change into this. You don’t want it all to be for nothing.”
He held out a pair of pants, thick socks, a sweater, and a jacket to match Meghan’s. When she didn’t respond, he put the clothes next to her and went to talk to Meghan, who appeared a minute later with a haunted look in her eyes.
She didn’t try to talk to Reyna. She didn’t try to tell her that things would be better. She didn’t lie to her. She just acted like the nurse that she was trained to be. She helped Reyna into the pants and socks. Reyna only protested when Meghan tried to remove Beckham’s jacket. This was all she had left of him.
Tears filled Meghan’s eyes at the sight. She slung the other jacket on top of Beckham’s, rubbed Reyna’s hair gently, and then stepped away. She returned a minute later to bandage her wrist and then left her alone.
The adrenaline of the escape and chase had suddenly left Reyna’s body, leaving her utterly empty. Leaving her with her memories.
Beckham’s broken body. Him falling to the ground. Not moving. Dead.
She felt as broken as he had looked in that moment. Broken and shell-shocked and bleeding and empty. Just…empty.
Reyna could hear everyone whispering about her. “What happened to her?” the woman asked.
Gabe shook his head. “Beckham…”
Meghan cleared her throat noisily. “Prisha,” she hissed.
“Yeah,” Gabe replied. “He’s gone.”
Tye cursed softly.
Meghan hiccupped around her own tears.
“She saw it?” Prisha murmured.
“Yeah,” Gabe whispered.
But Reyna didn’t feel like a poor thing.
She wasn’t a wounded animal.
She was destroyed. Obliterated. Demolished.
She was as cold as ice and just as frozen. Inside and out.
She had left him behind.
And her entire heart with him.
* * *
Reyna lost track of how long they’d been driving.
It could have been hours. She had no sense of where they were going. She didn’t bother asking.
Her mind was a merciless place. As much as she wanted to burrow down into her numbness, compartmentalize, and forget what had just happened, she couldn’t. She pressed her palms against her eyes and tried to block out the images assaulting her. But it was no use. She didn’t think she’d ever go a day without seeing them.
Eventually, they pulled off the main roads. The van rumbled to a stop and they parked inside a garage. The door shut behind them, casting them into darkness. Reyna took a measured breath to still her unease before Gabe hauled the back door open again.
“Come on,” Meghan said, reaching for Reyna’s hand. “Let’s get you inside.”
Reyna let Meghan help her out. She straightened her spine at her friend’s look of pity and then left the truck. Gabe and Meghan followed her to where Prisha was standing with Tye. Prisha gestured for them to move toward a back door.