We hold each other and cry for a few minutes.

When our sobs lose their strength, and the tears start to dry, she leans back, wipes her eyes and says, “You know, Lindsey could be a bitch sometimes, but she didn’t deserve to die.”

I nod my head in agreement and choke out in a half-sob, half-laugh, “She could be a real bitch, but she also had lots of awesome moments.”

“Yeah, like that time she pulled Tommy Baron’s underwear all the way up to his ears for picking on me,” she sniffle-snorts.

I laugh a little. “Yeah, I remember that. Miss Wilson had to cut them off and he walked funny the rest of the week.”

“Or that time—” she starts but stops, her eyes widening as we both hear the lock on the door rattling.

We both jump up and walk backward, pressing into the corner of the back wall.

The door swings open and one of the goons dressed in black marches into the room.

He looks at us, then he looks down at Amanda.

Dammit, we just left her lying there, unprotected. He takes a step toward Amanda and I cry out, jumping forward. “Don’t touch her!”

He shoots me a dirty look and turns back to Amanda, ignoring me. He walks up to the mattress and starts to bend down, as if he’s going to pick her up, and I rush him.

I can’t let him touch her, I can’t.

I try to shove him away but he doesn’t budge. He weighs a fucking ton, and I feel like I just tried to push over a building.

Growling, he turns towards me and shoves me back, knocking me down to my ass. “Back the fuck up, bitch.”

The second goon in black steps into the room, lingering by the door. The first guy bends down again, grabbing Amanda and lifting her up.

“Beth, don’t,” Sophia murmurs quietly, coming up behind me. I feel her hand on my shoulder, gently restraining me, as I pant angrily and watch the guy march out of the room.

Amanda wakes up with a startled cry and starts to fight the guy as he carries her. “Let me go, please!”

“Stop fighting,” the goon grunts, shifting her around in his arms. “Or you’ll end up like your friend…with a bullet between your eyes.”

That warning seems to suck all the air out of Amanda. I watch helplessly as she sags in his arms and cries.

“The same goes for you two,” the guy at the door says as he eyes Sophia and me. “You fight us, you die.”

The guy carrying Amanda marches out of the room and the door slams behind him.

As I hear the lock clicking into place, I burst into a fresh round of tears.

I’ve never felt so fucking helpless.

6

Johnathan

“Johnathan, I’ve got more information. I need you and James to be at my office as soon as possible. Lucifer will be with us, so make sure to hurry,” Simon says in that unhurried voice of his.

It’s always even tones with him. Doesn’t matter the time of day, he always sounds so fucking infuriatingly calm.

“Got it,” I growl as I check the clock on my nightstand.

It’s three in the fucking morning.

Pushing disconnect, I look over at the window. It’s the dark of night out there. Spider’s favorite fucking time, if you ask me.

Calling James, he sounds aggravated when he answers. “You and your fucking troubles. I swear to fucking hell.”

“Good morning to you too, sweetheart.”

He’s in a good mood.

“You guys have shit timing…” he says, and I hear a female’s sleepy voice in the background, asking what’s going on.

“Get to Simon’s office. Lucifer will be there too.”

“Fuck. When the hell did Simon figure out that we need the big guy’s fucking attention?”

“When the stakes got raised. Police Chief’s daughter, senator’s daughter, realty mogul’s daughter, and some fashion queen’s beloved daughter. All money and power families.”

“See you there,” he says before he disconnects.

Grabbing my jeans off the floor, I stand up and pull them on. These are the least dirty ones I have right now, or well, I should say the cleanest. Walking into the kitchen, I grab my keys off the counter.

It’s going to be a long fucking day; I can just fucking see it.

It’s a little cooler right now out in the dark of night, but the cold metal of my 1956 Harley Davidson panhead feels good against my calloused hands as I run my fingers over her.

“I know you’re cold, baby, let’s get you all hot and bothered,” I purr to her as I crank her up.

The loud thrum fills the night air as I let her rumble for a couple minutes. I don’t know when I’ll have a chance to just sit back and enjoy the feeling I have right now. I get the distinct impression from the way the world feels around me, things are about to get rough.

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