Chapter 51: Our Secrets Aren't For Sale

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'Okay, okay... you guys might want to let me do the talking, once we get inside.'

Colt frowned at Darcy as he said this.

'Why?' Jackson asked the question they were both thinking.

'Because I know my way around these parts.'

'Please, I've been to The Clarity before.'

'And I'm sure you had a wonderful time, Frost. But we're not going to the regular part of The Clarity. We're going to the secret part.'

'The secret part?' Colt drawled, arching a dubious eyebrow.

'Exactly. Ben likes to hide right underneath everybody's noses,' Darcy explained, before adding with a mutter, 'and right beneath everybody's wallets...'

'Why do I have the feeling we're all going to regret this?'

'I wouldn't know. But let's hope it's just a glitch in those instincts of yours. By the way, we're going to need to give you both names.'

'Haven't we already got two of those?'

'I meant fake ones. Ben knows my name, but it's probably better if he doesn't hear yours. So... Colt, I'm going to call you Henry, and...' Darcy paused, stroking his chin as he studied Jackson. 'I reckon you look like a Frank. Yeah, Frank it is.'

Colt snorted, sliding out of the passenger's seat. Jackson followed close behind, muttering something to himself that sounded suspiciously like 'favouritism.'

'Damn, why is it so cold, out here? Isn't it supposed to be the middle of spring?'

'Aren't you supposed to have an affinity with fire?' Darcy countered, hopping from the driver's seat, before locking up the van, and leading them around the corner.

'Which makes everything else seem colder than it should be!'

There was a slight chill to the air that didn't seem to fit with the season, Colt noticed, now that his teammate had mentioned it. Goosebumps had risen along his arms as though in spite of his jacket.

Perhaps it's just this glitchy instinct, he mused to himself, following the older man through the double set of doors that made up the pub's entrance.

Almost immediately, he was hit with a barrage of noise. People were talking and laughing, and generally carrying on, as was to be expected in such a place. The scent of beer and other similar beverages clouded the air, overhanging the salty twang of sweat and whatever kind of foods they offered here.

He'd only ever been to The Clarity once, when he was old enough to be admitted, and that had been the first and only time he'd ever tried an alcoholic drink. He had found out the hard way that they didn't mix particularly well with his mutation. Control wasn't something he could afford to lose...

The polished floorboards squeaked with every boot and heel that hit it, and the tiles glinted somewhat menacingly in the dim lighting.

People of all sizes and shapes were clustered around the wooden tables and perched on the stools. Others were up and dancing in the far section of the large room, where an old-style duke-box was belting out music from the early 2000's. A curling set of stairs led up to a large balcony that overhung the bar against the narrow side wall, where more tables, more stools, and more people had been crowded.

Several thirty-two-inch flat-screens were hanging up around the room, all of them tuned to the same station. He could make out the beginnings of a news report, and when they brought up the film on-screen, a rather familiar scene met his eyes.

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