His jaw is hard and clenched, and I know he wants to be out there, but I need him here.
“You two stay here.” I harden my voice and look him in the eyes until he nods.
Shoving my phone in my back pocket, I reach for my gun and then move past Eli to the back room where the other weapons are stored as he tells me, “Yes, Boss.”
I need men with them who know when to leave.
The back room has shelves of guns and I choose from the racks of metal shining back at me, picking up one and shoving it and the ammunition into the waist of my pants before picking up another.
Talvery’s on the outer edge. There’s no way he’ll get in and this entire ground is a safe house. But every safe house can be broken into. I’ve done it before. Sebastian knew that when he built this place.
With time ticking, and the bullets still firing every minute, I turn my back on the arsenal and prepare to join my men. I only stop to tell Eli one thing, “The basement has an underground exit. The code is six, fourteen, eight, eight. Repeat it to me.”
“Six, fourteen, eight, eight.” He’s quick to answer, but I can see the defiance in his eyes.
“Don’t forget it, and if I–”
“We have enough men,” Eli cuts me off and I struggle to hold back the anger. “There’s no way–“
“If I tell you to,” I say looking him in the eyes as my nostrils flare and my body heats with the need to strike back, “take them and lock the door behind you.”
I don’t wait for him to answer, although as I turn my back to him and head down the stairs, I hear him say he’ll do it. The buzzing in my ears is like white noise as I climb down the stairs. I’m ready with a gun in my right hand as I stare at the front door.
I pray Talvery’s here in the flesh and blood, ready to finally pay for all his sins.
“Carter,” Eli calls out to me as I reach the front door.
“What?” I snap at him, feeling the rage, the immediacy, the fear even of losing men and protection for Aria and Addison.
“Your estate… He sent men there.” Eli visibly swallows as my blood chills.
“My brothers?” I ask him quickly, my breathing coming in short pants. The gun in my hand slips and I grip it tighter, praying and swallowing down my fear.
“Jase said he’s coming,” I speak as I remember the text and Eli confirms with a brief nod.
“Jase and Declan are together, they’re on their way and missed it.”
Daniel. My heart beats slow, so slow it’s painful. “Three bombs hit the east wing. And another four to the south wing and the garage.”
“How many men are dead?” The question comes out without conscious consent, all I can think of is Daniel and the last time I saw him when he told me he had plans with Addison.
“Where’s Daniel?” I ask him, feeling the threat of a pain that can never be soothed brimming inside of me.
“We don’t know.”
“Fuck, fuck,” Addison’s rocking back and forth on the bed, her legs tucked up under her as the guns continue to fire.
Men shout from the floor below us and farther down the streets outside.
“I’ve never heard it last for so long,” I whisper as I peek out into the black night. I watch as each of the streetlights is hit, one by one, spraying shards of white light before fading into the darkness.
Addison’s voice is strained and coated in worry as she asks, “Why would they do that?”
“So they can’t see,” I tell her.
“But then no one can see.”
“It’s a risk they decided was worth taking.” I feel the numbness flow through my blood.
“Who did it? Who shot them?” she asks me as if I’d know.
Tires squeal in the distance and metal crashes against metal. She cries harder, falling apart and then checks her phone again. She buries her face in her knees, rocking harder.
“We can hide in the closet,” she offers although her words are panicked, and I don’t know if she means it or not. “We’ll put the clothes on top of us,” she gasps for breath and rocks again, “they’ll open it but not see us. I used to do it when I was younger. They won’t see us. They won’t see us.”
She’s losing it. The way she rocks, the rapid rate with which she’s talking and the look of terror in her eyes are clear signs. She’s fucking losing it.
“We should have left,” she croaks with tears in her eyes and the numbness turns to a freezing cold along my skin.
“He told us to leave.”
“It was intuition, Addie,” I breathe an excuse even as the gunshots sound louder, closer, the violence making its way to the finish line.