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.” That was mostly the truth.“I’m getting pretty tired of you two keeping secrets from me,” Davy said.“How many times do I have to tell you I’m on your side?”“What side are we on?” I asked.Davy shrugged.“Don’t care.Just can’t keep an eye out for you or for danger if you don’t tell me what I’m supposed to be looking for.”“Beer,” Zayvion suggested.“You should be looking for beer.Because that’s all I want right now.”We started up the stairs, and Davy did not take the elevator, which meant Zay and I had no chance to talk.Once we reached the second floor, the sound of everyone talking and laughing washed out into the hall, and I decided I didn’t care.So I’d seen a Veiled.They were all over the city.Yes, it had appeared to be inside someone, but we saw no sign of a dead body, or the man actually being harmed in any way.Maybe it was just one of those things where the living and the dead were accidentally occupying the same space at the same time, and somehow, temporarily, merged.Whatever.I wanted some tea to settle my stomach.We walked back into the room.The party had gotten a little louder.The poker game had gathered a few onlookers, and the pile of cash in the middle of the table was respectable.Only three people were still in for that hand—Jack, Jamar, and Maeve.Victor was sitting with some people I didn’t know.He had refilled his glass, and looked comfortable.Shame stood behind his mother and was dividing his time between watching the poker game, with his arm around Tiffany’s waist, and glancing over at Terric.Terric must have had another shot.Okay, maybe two.His tie was off, tucked into Grant’s back pocket and his shirt was unbuttoned, revealing glimpses of his very toned chest and stomach.Grant and he were across the room from the poker game, near my desk, both standing, though Terric leaned against the wall, probably for support.Grant had a beer.Terric was grinning and describing something using a lot of hand motions to get his point across.Whatever he was talking about, it looked dirty.I glanced at Shame again, and he didn’t look angry.No, when he looked at Terric there was concern and a kind of compassion I hadn’t ever seen in his eyes before.He caught me staring and just held eye contact with me, not explaining, not ignoring.There was a sort of pained reluctance to that look, as if he were trying to make a decision and having a very hard time of it.Then he turned his attention back to the poker action.Terric laughed.Shame shook his head and slid a smile his way.Terric had the kind of laugh that was contagious, and I found myself smiling too.Maybe the two of them, Shame particularly, would get it through his thick head that they were both pretty good guys who could have a decent friendship, if they’d just forget about the Soul Complement angst.“Stop babysitting.” Zayvion pressed a cup of tea into my hands.Aw, I hadn’t even asked for tea.I took a sip.Peppermint.Even though I am a coffee drinker, my stomach probably couldn’t have handled much more than this.“Thank you,” I said.He nodded once toward the poker game.“I’m gonna get in on the next hand.You want to play?”I shook my head.“You bring home the money, baby.I’m going to drink my tea.”Zay hesitated a second and took in the whole of the room as if just now realizing it was filled with people.His gaze held a moment on Terric, and then he looked at Shame, who was convincingly entranced by the cards.Zay walked over to Terric.Oh, I was not going to miss this.I walked that way too, hoping to catch whatever Zay was going to say to Terric.Unfortunately, Zay just said hi to Grant and exchanged small talk about the great job he did catering the event.I found a comfy spot on one of the oversized leather chairs and drank my tea.Zay, having finished his sudden need to be social, with no more than a “How’s the tequila?” to Terric, and likely had also satisfied his curiosity of what was going on between Terric and Grant, strode over to the poker table.Tension was high as the last hand was called.A cheer roared out from the crowd.Maeve stood and bowed.Shame was quick to help her gather the spoils of her win, and pocketed a wad of it before she slapped his hands away.Then the six chairs around the table filled up with new players, Zayvion among them.With a room full of Authority members and Hounds and civilians, I did something I never thought I could do.I sat there, relaxed, and didn’t worry about a damn thing.Chapter FiveThe gathering started breaking up about midnight.I made Davy call cabs for anyone who’d been drinking, including Victor, and, wonder of wonders, no one argued with me about it.Grant had left just before midnight.He didn’t need a cab because he lived below Get Mugged next door.To my great surprise, Terric had not gone home with him.Terric had, however, shed his shirt, his shoes, his socks, and his belt in that order over the last three hours or so.He’d spent most of the evening barefooted, wearing nothing but his black slacks.Not that the women in the room had seemed to mind.Let me put it this way: it wasn’t the clothes that made that man.Pretty soon it was down to Zayvion, me, Davy, Shame, Terric, and a few of the other Hounds—Jack and Bea, who were snugged up and sleeping on one of the bunks along the far wall, and Sunny, who was sitting cross-legged on a top bunk, unbraiding her hair and watching every move Davy made.“You staying?” I asked Davy.He looked around the room, his gaze resting on Sunny.“Don’t feel like driving.”I gave him a look.“I mean,” he amended, “I wouldn’t dream of driving since I drank one whole beer four whole frickin’ hours ago.You?”“Think I’ll drag Zayvion home.” I glanced at Terric, who was standing in front of the windows that overlooked Get Mugged.He had a beer in his hand and was drinking it while humming to himself.There was no way he was sober.“Let me see what I can do with Terric,” I said.“Go get him, Mom.”“Shove it, Silvers.”I walked over to Terric.He must have seen my reflection against the dark window.“Hello, Allie,” he said quietly.“Whatever are you up to?”“I’m offering to take you back to my place, where you can sleep on a couch.Or I’m offering to leave you here, where you can sleep on a couch.”“Lot of couches in those offers.” He took a drink of beer.“I can call you a cab.”“Mmm.” His eyes, in the dark reflection of the glass, shifted.And I knew why.Shamus was walking this way.I turned.Was going to say something, but Shame spoke first.“I got him,” Shame said.He was sober.I didn’t think I’d seen Shame take so much as a sip of beer.“So, Ter, you gonna stare out at the empty all night?” He put his hand on Terric’s shoulder.“Or you going to put your shirt on, for all that’s decent, man?”“I’m not wearing a shirt?” Terric sounded surprised.“Nope.” Shame handed him his shirt.“It’s right here.”“How do you do that? Find my shirt like that? You always know.When I need stuff.”“Yes.I always know you need a shirt.” Shame gave me a tolerant look.He apparently had done this with Terric more than once.“If you’d stop shedding your clothes every time you drink, I wouldn’t have to try to keep you from getting arrested for indecent exposure.”“Mmm,” Terric said.“True.Don’t want to do that again.” He worked on getting his arms into his shirt’s sleeves.“No, three times is enough,” Shame drawled [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]