Chapter Fifty-Six

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"This is starting to sound less like a rescue mission and more like an all-out riot," Lety said. "Not that I'm complaining."

Jeremy considered this for a moment. "What if it's a bit of both?"

"I'm good with it either way."

"Who are we supposed to ask to help us with this?" May asked. Her mind had been racing, trying to think of who they could turn to with a request like this. "Do you think Grant and the rest of the Murder would be willing?"

Dread was welling up inside her. This situation was turning into a monster, and she was growing weary of asking others to help her fight it off.

"Of course Grant will be in," Lety replied, giving Jeremy a playful shove with her elbow. "Anything for his wayward son." Jeremy grimaced, but didn't deny it. "I'll head out as soon as we're done here and rally the troops."

May blinked up at her. "What do you mean? Can't you just call them?"

Lety was already shimmying out of her shredded black jeans. "Grant, sure. But we've got plenty of other friends in low places who would be in for something like this. I can call in some favors, but this is the kind of request that really should be delivered in person."

"Are you sure?" May asked. "I feel like I'm asking a lot of you all."

With a flick of her wrist, Lety tossed her jeans into May's face. "Stop. If you want to make it up to me, hang on to my clothes for me. Those are my favorite pants."

In spite of herself, May smiled gratefully down at the mound of dark denim in her hands. Lety flung her shirt at her next.

"Okay, is there anyone else?" May looked around the group. She was really banking on their networks—after all, they were the only people she really knew. "I mean, it's not like Connor and the others—"

"Absolutely not," Jeremy said, cutting her off coolly.

"Didn't think so."

"I wish I could say the rest of the search and rescue team in Tenna would be on board, but I think something like this might cross a few jurisdictional borders, among other things," Dom mused. "Although, I'm sure Trina wouldn't be opposed to a little off-book adventure..."

May was suddenly struck with an idea of her own. "The cirque!"

Jeremy frowned. "You mean that traveling circus you and Em had hitched yourselves to?"

"Yes! The ringleader, Lenore, always said the cirque family takes care of each other. When we left she told Em and I if we ever needed anything, they'd be there to help."

"That could definitely work," Dom agreed. "I think I could find them easily enough, and I can see if there's anyone else I can round up along the way."

At last, May was starting to feel hopeful.

"What do you think?" she asked Jeremy. "Will that be enough?"

"I guess we'll have to find out." Leaning over the map, he jabbed his finger to a point in the forest southeast of the medical building. "May, you and I will head for this spot and wait for the others to meet back up with us. Lety, Dom, bring whoever you can and we'll assign roles once we know what we're working with." He rubbed his fingers across his lips, looking off thoughtfully. Then he scowled. "Shit, I'm going to need to meet with my father."

"Why?" May balked. "That sounds like a terrible idea!"

"Unless you can think of another way to bypass the door scanners, we're going to need his credentials. I know he has access to everything on campus."

May tried to hide the doubt from her expression. "So, you're going to steal Wyndam Aviar's credentials? The most powerful person in the entire Loyal organization?"

"If it makes you feel any better, it's not the craziest thing I've ever done."

It didn't make May feel any better. But what choice did they have? Begrudgingly, she agreed to the idea and they decided to work out the particulars during the drive.

With everyone's roles in place, they said their hasty goodbyes. After a few stern words of warning about taking good care of it, Lety handed over the keys to her vehicle before transforming into her wolf form. It was a sight May hoped to never witness again, what with the grotesque way the shifter's body contorted and snapped. Everything about it looked and sounded like agony, but by the time she was covered in fur and walking on all-fours, Lety didn't seem to mind. Dom handed the fern to Jeremy and instructed Fargus to stay behind.

"If anything happens, send Fargus," he told May. "He'll know where to find me."

Fargus rattled in agreement.

May looked around the room, taking in the sight of them all ready to embark on the next leg of their quest. With everything that had happened, she'd barely had a moment to realize just how strong her friendships with these people had become. Jeremy's, of course, was pending, but even he was slowly winning her over.

"Thank you," she said, feeling a swell of emotion that threatened to turn to tears if she wasn't careful. "Seriously, this means everything to me."

Lety replied with an impatient bark at the door. With a laugh and a quick hug for May, Dom opened it and he and Lety were off.

Jeremy waited a few moments before he said anything. He watched May close the door, then return to the bed to gather up the diagrams.
"Thank you for trusting me."

May looked up at him, feeling a little stunned.
"It might be a little soon to be tossing the t-word around."

"Fair enough." Jeremy offered her a soft smile. "But thanks for letting me help anyway."

"You're welcome." May stood straight, sizing him up as she snapped the elastic back around the roll of papers. "Thanks for coming back."

He shrugged. "Okay, that's enough sappy shit. You ready to get out of this dump?"

"Yes, please."

"Good, but just so you know, the fern already called shot-gun."

"That sounds like a you problem." May grinned and rattled the keys. "Because I'm driving."

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