Reyna put her hand over her mouth to keep back the choked sob. She hated to admit that she’d always held out some hope that Sydney would come charging out of the ether and save the day. That she had just been waiting for her moment of glory. She was the indestructible leader of Elle. The voice behind all of this. The original mastermind. It was impossible to think that she was gone. That she’d been gone for weeks and no one even knew. Another tragedy of Visage.
“Sounds like his style,” Beckham said passively.
“It was awful,” she whispered. “And then I didn’t know who to get in contact with. All the comm lines were down. I couldn’t reach anyone. Where have you been?”
“Around,” he said evasively.
“Just around? That’s it? I told you Sydney’s dead and I’ve been trying to reach you or the rebellion to come back in and your response is around?”
“You almost got me killed, Penelope. What did you expect?”
“I know,” she whispered, going suddenly still. Then Reyna saw her shoulders slump and start to shake. Oh dear God, she was crying. “That wasn’t supposed to happen. I never would have jeopardized you. I thought we’d be together. That’s what Harrington said. He used me, Beckham. And he’s been continuing to try to use me ever since.”
Penelope swiped under her eyes. “I’m sorry. Really, I can’t say this enough. Tell me what to do. Tell me how to make this up to you.”
“Do you think you can make it up to me?” Beckham asked. He stood and moved across the room with the purpose of a predator. She could see the anger in the set of his shoulders. She was sure that Penelope didn’t miss it.
Penelope crossed the room to him, placing her hand gently on his arm. Her voice was low and husky when she said, “I want to try.”
Reyna held her breath and she watched the tension visibly leave Beckham’s shoulders. But his eyes weren’t on Penelope. They were on Reyna. They were staring her down in the darkness. As if preparing her for what was to come. She didn’t like that look one bit.
“I know you, Penny,” Beckham said. He turned his back on Reyna to face a distraught Penelope.
“Can we just move forward? Figure out who we are from here?” She looked up at him from under her lashes with a coy smile on her face.
“There’s nowhere to move but forward.”
Penelope placed her hand on his chest, looked up at him hopefully, and parted her lips. Reyna felt a dragon crawling out of her chest about to breathe fire. Fuck this recording shit. She couldn’t get through this. She knew that Beckham was doing this to get information, but fuck. He didn’t need to do this.
She was about to take a step forward when he walked out of Penelope’s touch. He returned to his chair and took another sip of his drink. “So if you’re still living this double life, then you probably have information about Harrington.”
“I don’t want to talk about him. I want to talk about us.”
Beckham didn’t say anything for a minute and then his voice was low, “Has he hurt you?”
“Threatened,” she said. “I’m fine. Rowland deals with the brunt of it and I avoid that creep as much as I can.”
“That’s a smart move.”
“Yeah. I stopped counting how many Permanents he’s killed. He keeps Sophie for the sex and gets a second one for fun.”
“That sounds like Rowland,” Beckham said bitterly. “And he’s with Harrington? Do you know where they are?”
“Ugh, Beckham, I don’t know. I try to stay out of the crossfire. That’s an easy way to get shot.” She spat the last word as if the very thought of getting shot was a trigger. “Let’s talk about something else. Oh, I know!” She clapped her hands together twice. “Do you want a treat?”
Before Beckham could answer, Reyna heard footsteps approaching from the direction they had entered. Reyna slipped deeper into the shadows of the office and angled her camera to follow the person. It was a man, probably a couple years younger than Reyna with pale skin and blond hair. He was pretty and almost looked distinguished in black slacks and an open-collar shirt.
He stepped into the room. “You called?”
Penelope giggled. “Beckham this is my Permanent, Lance.”
Beckham’s face was passive, but rage simmered under the surface. “You bought into the system?”
“As if I had a choice,” Penelope said. “Anyway, he’s O negative like us. You can have a taste if you like.”
“I’m not hungry,” Beckham said casually.
“I don’t mind,” Lance said.
Beckham held his hand up before Lance could step toward him. The boy was smart enough not to push the subject.
“Don’t be a spoilsport, Beckham,” Penelope said.
“Miss Sky?” Lance said.
“What is it?”
“I wish to be polite to your guests. Should we offer as well to the girl in your office?”