Fuck me, that doesn’t sound like my scene at all. I’m guessing Lily is the big man’s wife.

Andrew nudges me with his elbow. “That means you, asshole.”

What the fuck?

“Yeah, I saw you looking for a way to get out of it. Doesn’t work like that. Lily would skin you alive for missing one of her dinners,” he says with a grin.

“She would more than likely have me do it,” Lucifer says as he opens the door ahead of us.

The guys all split off as they head to their vehicles, but Lucifer sticks by my side.

“We need to talk tomorrow evening, Gabriel,” he says calmly.

Walking up to the back of the truck, I wait as he opens up the cover over the bed for me.

Flopping the corpse into it, I listen to the heavy thump of the lifeless body. I’m going to dump this pile of shit right on the doorstep of the Russian Orthodox Church and see what rats come scurrying out. Might even be able to toss some gasoline onto the fire it’s going to start.

“Yeah, when and where?” I ask as I push the hardtop back down to cover the bed of the truck.

“At the compound, and how about six?” he asks.

Nodding, I point over to James. “I’ll have James bring me out there. Gonna try to see Thomas after the wedding. I need to say goodbye.”

“I see. I’ll see you tomorrow then, and Gabriel?”

“Yeah?” I ask as I turn back from watching the rest of the men leave.

He pulls me into a tight hug with a rough pat on my back before I have a chance to stop him. I’m pretty sure my stiff posture doesn’t bother him though, nothing ever does.

Pulling back from me, he looks me straight in the eyes as he says, “I’m glad you’re home, and thank you for doing it for me.”

I just stare at him. Those are the fucking last words I expected or needed to hear.

I’d tear his throat out if I wasn’t sure I’d be bored shitless not working for him. Fuck, even now, after ten long years in the fucking pen, I’m still tempted to do it.

Pulling the phone from my pocket, I press the open button on it. Seems pretty easy, I guess.

“Everything on here I need to get started? Numbers and such?” I ask.

When I went in a fucking decade ago, I was just starting to see these phones out in the public. I had a flip phone, not a personal computer in my pocket.

“Simon has everything set up and encrypted. Everything should be good to go.”

Looking back up at Lucifer, I ask, “What the hell’s Tinder, Plenty of Fish, and Grindr?”

2

Meghan

Staring at my reflection in the mirror, awareness and horror slowly begin to creep in.

If the reflection staring back at me is true, I’ve been gowned in a snow-white wedding dress, and I can’t remember how it happened.

Have I been drugged? Or is this another nightmare to torment me?

Even now the edges of my vision is hazy and my movements are slow. Too slow. My thoughts struggle to surface, to breathe, as if I’ve been held underwater for too long.

Blinking my eyes, I reach out and touch the mirror in front of me, hoping my reflection will change. That I’ve somehow become Alice and fallen down the rabbit hole. But everything remains the same. Only the expression on my painted face changes. Shifting from a look of confusion to one resembling anger.

I push at the mirror, half-expecting my fingers to go through it, but it’s solid.

“Those… bastards…” I softly mutter, my words coming out slightly slurred.

Someone must have spiked me with something this morning… Someone who wanted my compliance guaranteed.

I strain my brain, trying in vain to pull up the moment it happened, but it’s a wasted effort. It doesn’t matter when it happened, just that it happened period.

Reaching down, I tug at the bodice of my dress. It’s uncomfortably tight and constricting. Vaguely, I can remember women speaking in Russian as they prodded, poked, and pulled on me, treating me like their doll.

My dark hair has been curled, swept up, and pinned. My makeup artfully done. Jewels glitter around my throat and dangle from ears. My arms are covered up to my elbows in silky gloves.

I’ve been molded into a beautiful bride.

And yet, I can only faintly remember bits and pieces of this being done.

Giving up on the tight bodice, I drop my hand and shake my head, trying to clear it. The sharp, sudden movement though only causes a wave of intense dizziness to sweep over me.

Jesus, whatever they gave me is strong.

Looking to the mirror again, I focus on my reflection as I wait for the dizziness to pass. When it finally does, I decide it’s time to get the hell out of here while I still can.

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