Sleep Can Wait
The blue eyes were wide, staring, glazed. Unblinking. Larkin was dead, his body limp, cold, heavy. Rotting. Someone had taken a knife to his neck.
I shot awake. My heart was pounding hard enough that it hurt, slamming against my ribcage loud enough that I could hear it with ease. The room was dark, wherever I was. Events from the other day swamped me and my palms began to sweat. It was okay. Larkin’s body had been a dummy, not him. It wasn’t real. He was alive. My eyes felt hot. The dream felt like a premonition. The body in the street hadn’t been sliced across the throat. But the vividness and detail of it in my dream scared me out of my skin.
“Are you okay?”
I jolted and a soft sound of fright escaped from me before I could smother it. There was a click and then light flared from a lamp not too far away.
Luke’s eyes seemed to glow an even brighter gold as the amber light filtered through the lampshade. His expression was concerned as he leant forward on the chair he was occupying, his elbows on his knees. He’d been sitting there, watching me sleep? Like a guard? A bitter taste filled my mouth.
“You could at least put another guard in the room and pretend that you’re making plans to get Larkin back.”
He leant down and picked up a bag from between his legs. My bag. I sat up and threw off my covers, pausing only when he raised his hand. He pulled out my tarp.
“Can I trust you?” he asked. “I want to trust you.”
I nodded eagerly. Was he going to let me go with them? I felt the intense need to cry. As long as I was going I knew that I would be getting Larkin out, or I’d die in the process because death is the only thing that would stop me. Luke tossed the tarp at me and I unfolded it, counting the knives I had stashed there. I fingered the blades, noticing that they’d been sharpened recently. I looked up at Luke.
“You will follow our plan and do nothing rash.”
“You will be at either mine of Garth’s side the entire time.”
“Yes!” My muscles were clenching of their own accord, as if they were already preparing for the battle.
“Good. Put this on.” He threw a uniform at my head, dark blue and military looking. I shot him a silent query.
“This is not my mission and I don’t have any rights to be on the scene, neither do any of my men or you. This is a gift from Liam. He, however, expressed his wish to keep you locked up here rather adamantly so we will have to keep you out of sight until the breach begins. It’s important that you do as I say because, if you get hurt Liam will have my head. That’s not even taking into account what Larkin would do.”
He stood up, looking apprehensive. “Don’t make me regret this. We leave in an hour, I’ll go through the plan in the car.”
“Wait, Luke!” I called out before he could leave. “Why’d you change your mind?”
He snorted lightly and smirked. “To be honest, my thinking ran to the fact that you’d be more safer at my side in a battle than here with a bunch of my best guards.” He took in my crestfallen features and relented. “You put in so much work for us already, running there in the middle of the night.” He grinned. “I think I was harsh enough already. You have to know, Dizelde, I might be the leader of a great clan of shape-changers but it’s not every day that someone actually asks me for help. So when you did, I may have gone a bit overboard. Factor in my ginormous stress and you get an overprotective me. Just make sure you stay safe so that I don’t doubt my decision.”