Chapter Forty-One

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"Is there somewhere I can hide the truck?" Lety asked, hitching a thumb over her shoulder.

Priva nodded. "There's a drive shed out back. Just pull around the far side of the house — can't miss it. I'll let you in the back door." She turned to head back inside, but paused in front of Jeremy, who she looked over critically. "That shirt looks fucking ridiculous."

Jeremy glanced down, clearly having forgotten about his second-hand wardrobe. "It's a souvenir from my wild night. Don't stomp all over my fond memories."

Priva rolled her eyes and stalked back into the house without another word. Jeremy caught May and Em watching him and shrugged.

"Exes, am I right?"

May's eyes grew wide; Jeremy had failed to mention this little development. Then again, they hadn't really talked about what had been happening with WIND in her absence. She looked to Em with brows raised.

"Yeah, we've got some catching up to do," Em whispered. "C'mon, I'll tell you inside."

Hand-in-hand, the pair joined everyone else as they filed back into the farmhouse. No one said a word; the only sounds were the squeaking of the screen door and Lety's truck roaring back to life. May spared one last glance over her shoulder, eyes raking the fog, knowing Welkin was out there somewhere and hoping they'd be safe.

Despite its drafty appearance, May found the farmhouse was actually quite cozy. Rue immediately busied herself with lighting a fire on the hearth to chase away the early morning chill. Em sat in a well-worn armchair and gently pulled May down onto her lap. She wrapped her arms around her and pulled her close, burrowing her face into the crook of May's neck.

"I can't believe you're really here," she muttered, giving May a squeeze. Lifting her face, Em's lips grazed the curve of May's jawline with a phantom kiss. Warmth instantly bloomed in May, and she found herself wishing they weren't in a room with all these other people.

Around them, the others were settling in. Jeremy and Connor nodded wordlessly at one another and sank into a sagging couch, leaving enough room for Rue. Dom had already claimed an old wooden rocking chair in the corner and was absentmindedly toeing the dusty carpet to keep himself in motion. He glanced up as Priva strode into the room from the kitchen with Lety close on her heels, and made to offer his seat to either of them but they shook their heads in unison and instead chose to sit together on the floor. Once Rue had the fire going, Fargus hopped up onto the stone hearth, fluffing his feathers contentedly and closing his eerie gray eyes.

At last, Rue took her spot on the couch and all eyes turned to May. Her shoulders tensed at suddenly finding herself the center of attention. Em responded by wrapping her arms even tighter around her waist.

"So," Connor ventured, breaking the tense silence. "Now that we're inside, any chance one of you would be willing to tell us what's going on? What are you doing here?"

Though his words addressed her, Lety, Dom, and even Jeremy, May knew he was expecting to hear from her. They all were. But when May opened her mouth, she found she wasn't sure where to start. So much had happened since she had been sent away.

Jeremy cleared his throat. "I mean, I live here, so..."

Em snorted. "Smart ass."

"This isn't the time, you two," Rue said, eyes flashing at both of them.

"For what it's worth, meeting up with you all so soon wasn't exactly part of the plan," May admitted. Now it was Em who tensed – May could feel it in the way she held her, and could tell without looking at her that she was hurt.

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