Chapter Sixteen

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May looked away.

"We need help," she said, smiling softly up at Lety and watching the disappointment flicker across her expression.

It took only a beat for Lety to compose herself.

"Ah." She offered a sad, understanding smile. Her eyes flicked away, like it hurt for her to meet May's gaze. "And who did you bring with you?"

May's head spun, dizzy by how close she had come to crossing a line.

It would have been easy to do; fall into Lety, let the shifter make things feel easy.

But May wasn't after easy. She was after love and she needed closure, whatever that wound ended up looking like.

"These are my friends, Welkin and Dom." May turned, gesturing to each as she spoke their name, and noticed a curious look on Dom's face.

"What are you?" he asked, his voice sounding far off and distracted.

Lety sniffed the air. "What are you? Because you definitely don't smell human."

Dom snapped his fingers, his usual cheery expression returning in the split-second the action took to make. "Let me guess: shifter?"

"Yeah. Why do you smell like a park?"

"Forest spirit." He held out his hand. "Good to meet you."

Lety appeared nonplussed by this answer and met his offering with a firm grip. "Sounds about right." Her gaze drifted to Welkin. "And I have no idea what to make of you."

Welkin pulled a face. "Likewise."

Before egos had a chance to clash, May stepped between them. "Is Grant here? We're looking for someone and I think he can help. It's really, really important."

"Trying to find your girl?" Lety forced an unconvincing smirk.

"No, actually." May ignored the jab. "We're looking for my birth parents."

Lety cocked her head in confusion. "Okay? I'm going to be honest, stuff like that isn't really our forte. Why did you come to us for this?"

"I think you'll understand when you find out who they are," May insisted. "Is Grant here?"

"He will be, but not for another few hours." The shifter paused and thought a moment. "Let's get your truck inside. I'll try giving him a call – maybe we can convince him to drag his ass in early."

"In that case, I'm going back to sleep," Welkin mumbled, clearly sagging under the effort it was taking to keep their eyes open.

Lety pointed at the metal staircase that lead to a catwalk that wound around the upper level of the garage. "There's a bench seat in the first office. Sweet dreams, dude."

Welkin yawned and shuffled away while Dom slid back into the dark to move the truck. Lety stomped across the garage to open one of the bay doors, leaving May to hang back and squirm in the tension left in the shifter's wake.

When the truck was safely tucked at an empty station and the bay door closed once more, Dom rolled down the window and leaned out.

"I'm just going to give HQ a call and give them an update," he explained, waving his phone as if to punctuate his point. He darted a meaningful glance between May and Lety – he had clearly picked up on the awkwardness – and now he was giving them a chance to fix it.

May groaned and glanced to Lety, who was sitting on the edge of a stack of tires, looking gloomy. Taking a deep breath, May marched across the floor, mentally reminding herself she didn't owe anyone an apology for turning them down.

"Hey." She sidled up beside Lety and gave the tires a light kick with her toe. "Are we okay?"

"Sure, Tiny." Lety grunted as she examined her greasy-stained nails. "Whatever."

This struck a nerve with May, and she bristled instinctively. "Come on, Lety. Don't be like that."

"It's fine. You do you. I don't think she deserves you, but that's none of my business."

Skin burning, May gritted her teeth.

"You're right, it's not. But I figured you of all people wouldn't be the type to believe in the friendzone, so consider me disappointed." She turned, ready to storm away. "If all I was to you was a potential lay then fine, we'll just wait for Grant to get–"

Lety's hand gripped her forearms, stopping her in her tracks.

"Tiny, wait. I'm sorry. You're right, I'm being a dick." She offered a small smile. "I shouldn't take it out on you."

May straightened up. "I appreciate that. I'd be pretty hurt if you hated me over this."

"I don't hate you," Lety said, shaking her head. "Just nursing a bruised ego, that's all. But it was worth a shot. You're worth a shot."

Dom saved May from having to respond, shutting the truck door with a slam and then wincing.

"Sorry, Welkin," he whispered up at the catwalk as he slinked over to the girls. "Okay, all's well back home. What's the plan now?"

Lety jumped down for the tires and signaled for the others to follow. "Let's see if we can wake the boss."

They climbed the stairs, creeping passed the office Welkin had taken refuge in on their way to the command center. Once there, Lety retrieved the phone she left abandoned by the security screens – there were quite a few, many of which watched places May didn't recognize – and opened her messages.

"Let's start with a text," she said. Her well-trained thumbs rapidly tapped out a message and hit send. "No one likes getting woken up by a phone call. Besides, sometimes he keeps strange–" the phone dinged "–hours."

She peered down at Grant's reply. Turning the phone for May and Dom to see, she grinned.

"What did I tell you?"

Grant's text message was a truncated three words-long, but it filled May with relief.

On my way.

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