“We should go,” Beckham said.
“You don’t think we should go down there? Find out more information?”
Beckham sliced his head to the side once.
She nodded and followed behind him. It was likely that what Penelope had said was all she actually knew. Beckham had been Elle’s insider for so long. They all felt a little blind without him feeding them stuff about Harrington.
Reyna could sense that he felt a little lost without it too. Though he’d never say so. He’d continue to go on and put on his big bad mask for the world. And she’d let him. They both needed it.
They took the endless stairs down to the main floor. Round and round and round they went until her legs ached.
When they finally made it to the ground again, the wind whipped her dark hair in her face and she cursed. Beckham tucked the loose strand into her beanie. She looked up at him and smiled. Beckham gently took her hand in his and then hauled her through the crowd that was dispersing down the street.
They veered toward the getaway car. It had been damn near impossible to find a place to stash their SUV on the way in. She wouldn’t mind the walk if it weren’t so bitterly cold. The wind chill was some obscene negative number. It was like even the weather disagreed with Visage’s new plan to take over.
Halfway to the SUV, snow began to fall.
Big beautiful snowflakes so white and picturesque.
A soft flurry that cascaded from the clouds and over the dark city streets.
Reyna couldn’t help it. Despite everything going on, the snow still amazed her. She hated the cold, but the snow was different. It was too beautiful to hate when it first fell and blanketed their world in a winter wonderland. Before it turned to black ice or gross tramped-through slush on the sidewalks.
She stopped in her tracks, pulling Beckham to a stop beside her. Then she opened her mouth like a little kid and tasted the snowflakes on the tip of her tongue.
Beckham watched her in utter fascination. She might as well have sprung a second head for all her behavior made sense to him.
In the midst of the dire, the world produced beauty.
She intended to revel in it.
“You are a mystery,” Beckham said. His eyes followed her as she skipped a circle around him with her arms wide and her head tilted back.
“The world is a mystery and I live in it.”
She twirled toward him and planted a kiss on his lips. “You were human once.”
“Might as well have been a lifetime ago.”
She shrugged and stole another kiss. “We have a lot ahead of us. You can enjoy the snow for a full second. I won’t tell anyone.”
And for that full second, he did. He dropped all his guards. Looked at her like his glorious snow queen and tasted the snow on his tongue.
She giggled and then traded her snowflake for his. As their kiss heated the space, the snowflake melted between them. She sighed against him, forgetting the world in this moment of security.
And when she pulled away, a wind picked up, the snow all around them spiraling savagely toward them. She looked up as if she could find the source of the sudden current and just saw a blur barreling toward them. She got out a gasp before Beckham said, “Get back.”
He barely touched her when he tried to move her backward, but it was as if he’d forgotten his own strength in the moment. She tumbled back a foot and landed in a heap in the freshly falling snow. She groaned as she righted herself. That hurt like a bitch. Her tailbone was definitely going to be bruised. At least she’d had a lot of extra clothes on to pad the fall. She wondered what the hell had freaked Beckham out enough to react like that.
Then she saw it.
Her heart stuttered and she scrambled backward as Rowland collided with Beckham at full force. They skidded into the brick building, the force of their collision shaking the entire block. Whatever had accumulated on the rooftops fell to the ground.
Rowland had his hand around Beckham’s throat and was holding him in place. There was fire in Beckham’s eyes. He’d seen it coming. And had spent a crucial second making sure she was out of harm’s way. Reyna scrambled farther backward and tensed.
Her hand drifted into her pocket and she reached for the phone that she’d taken with her. She flipped the light display on and then pressed down the number three button. Beckham had told her to call it if she was ever in trouble. This probably qualified.
“You traitor!” Rowland snarled at him. Beckham just blinked. “Did you think I wouldn’t know you were here? That I couldn’t spot you on that rooftop? You and that bitch!”