Life came back to me in the form of a hard slap across the face.
My escape plan wasn’t well thought out. I had no Mission Impossible idea of taking Q hostage and forcing him to release me. All I had were my legs, and a few apples I managed to steal from the kitchen. Living in an open home granted the illusion of freedom—to go where I pleased, move around at will—but in searching for weapons, I realised how false the freedom really was.Guards patrolled the upstairs level, keeping me from entering bedrooms. Black suited goons patrolled the sweeping grounds outside, their breath sending foggy plumes into late winter air.
I could enter the library, lounge, kitchen, and bedroom only. It was a tiny cage compared to the expanse of the house. If I cared about staying, I would’ve sneaked and investigated. Where did Q sleep? What other rooms were there? More like the pedestal room where the Russian bastard hurt me, or worse?But I didn’t care. I’d been here long enough. I wouldn’t play damsel in distress waiting for Brax or the police to rescue me. They would never come. It was up to me, and I was ready.I stepped out of the library, wafting a duster, disappointed yet again I couldn’t find a sharp implement, and froze.
Heartbeats raced as a whiff of sin and citrus assaulted. Q was close.Je suis allé trop loin, Suzette. I went too far. Q’s voice twisted with unforgiving darkness.
I wanted to crawl into a ball and hide. I hated eavesdropping. Whenever I did as a child, I heard nasty things that cramped my stomach. Things about being unwanted, a nuisance, a hindrance.
My parents even spoke about adopting me out when I fell violently ill with the flu. They didn’t want to deal with a sick child, being older and vulnerable. Caring more for themselves than an innocent girl.No! Chubs said. We most certainly would not. We’ve already wasted enough time on her, and she’s the reason we have the League after us, too.
A sharp pain sprouted on the left side of my chest, just above my heart. He was right, of course. The best option for everyone would be to drop me off at the nearest bus station and be done with it.But it didn’t mean I didn’t want to, or need to, find this Slip Kid as badly as they did. But I couldn’t ask to stay. I couldn’t impose on them anymore than I already had, or risk ruining them with the invisible fingers that seemed bent on tearing apart every single connection I managed to make. If the League caught up to us and took them in, I’d never forgive myself. Never.
If I was going to find the Slip Kid, I was going to have to do it by myself. You’d think I’d be used to the thought of taking on each day with no one beside me, that it’d be some kind of relief not to be in constant danger of sliding into someone else’s head. But I didn’t want to. I didn’t want to step out under the gray overcast sky alone and feel its chill work its way under my skin.So, I said, squinting at the nearest trailer. This isn’t East River.