Chapter 4

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Icarus stood in the hallway, leaning back against the wall. Cassie hadn't said a whole lot the night before when he'd finally found her again. He wasn't sure if she was upset he'd left her as soon as they'd gotten back to the clubhouse and hadn't been able to find her until close to dinner. He hadn't had too much choice in the matter.

Sure, he could have waited to tell Chief about the run-in with Henry. He figured it better they knew right away. No point in putting it off.

Maybe the shock of the run-in had finally worn off, and the reality hit her.

Maybe she did want to go back to Henry. He shook that right out of his head. She had chosen to come with them. Every day she made the choice to stay. If she'd wanted to return, any one of them would have driven her back to that house and dropped her off. Well, maybe not Icarus himself. He would let her go, but he didn't think he could bring himself to be the one to leave her in that hellhole.

She'd never asked.

Who knows, maybe her thoughts had nothing to do with Henry or this situation. How was he to know? She hadn't talked to him at all.

A door a couple rooms down the hallway opened, and a soft giggle escaped with it. "Trace," Birdie said, almost affectionately exasperated. "Those pigs are going to eat all the breakfast if we don't go down there now."

Murmuring came from inside the room, but he couldn't make out any words his son said. He shifted from one foot to the other, considering heading for the stairs right now, before either of them saw him. They shared a room most nights; either Birdie's or Trace's. Knowing his son and the girl he'd raised as a daughter from a few months old shared a bed and seeing the evidence of it were two far different circumstances.

Too late. Birdie's gaze caught him, and her eyes danced. "Hi, Dad," she said, nearly grinning. "You waiting for one of us?"

"Nope." He felt his cheeks pull up. She was definitely full of something this morning.

Her gaze darted toward Cassie's door then back to him. Her grin widened. "Got you." At least she didn't seem to hate Cassie anymore. They hadn't exactly gotten off to the best start. "We're heading down to breakfast. If there's any left," she threw back to Trace who hesitated in the doorway.

"Uh, Dad," he greeted Icarus. Apparently not nearly as comfortable as Birdie with being caught coming out of the same room when both were obviously just out of bed. "Morning."

"Less talking, more eating," Birdie said, and finally Trace laughed, following her to the stairs.

Cassie's door finally creaked open after they'd disappeared downstairs. She stepped out and spotted him right away. Color rose to her cheeks, and his grin softened. "Why are you waiting for me?" she asked. "Usually you're already down at breakfast."

Had she been trying to avoid him? He hoped not. Had he given her cause to try to? Again, he hoped not. "I wanted a chance to speak to you. After yesterday, I hoped everything was okay."

"Everything's fine, Grady," she said, but she wouldn't meet his eyes. "I was tired last night. I didn't feel like staying down with everyone else."

He reached out and cupped her chin, bringing her face up toward his. "Are you sure that's all?" he asked. "If there's anything-"

"Stop," she said quietly. "I'm fine. A little shaken up, but I'll survive. You should probably go down to breakfast. See if anyone needs you today."

Okay, there was a bit of a sharp bite to that, but he did have responsibilities here. He couldn't help that. He brushed his lips over hers then pulled back. "Are you coming down, too?"

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