“Right,” James said. He observed the six of them, all lounging on storage crates, with the mistrustful resignation of a groom at his shotgun wedding. “I guess this makes us a team from now on.”
Uh, no, James would have said if he was Eric. But he was James, and the slow burn of Lizzy’s stare stopped him by the oregano pots.
“Let me tell the story of your life,” Eric panted. He didn’t have time to stop and breathe, and the white proximity of the four blades closed his throat. His Adam’s apple convulsed drily--he'd better talk fast.
Argent’s fingers froze on the cuff hiding his kingfisher tattoo.
The further they delved into the base, the more important-looking the rooms got. The smell of wine got stronger, the cut of the suits got nicer, and the rough-looking kids started thinning out. The handguns started getting more conspicuous, too, and shinier.
Getting a place at Mary's Refrain Church of England Boarding School in Cumbria was not as difficult as Eric had feared.
They crowded up to a rattling, graffiti-riddled bus with no other passengers and an unshaven driver, who to James smelled of despondence and whisky. The driver lolled out of his chinfolds to blink out the open door at the six of them. If he noticed the gun between James’ shoulders or the threatening arm around Lizzy’s, he didn’t comment.
“Let’s leave my father’s alcoholism out of this, operative,” the big guy retorted, stiff as a board. He crossed his arms so the muscles in his shoulders all popped out like mutated grapes. “I’m in charge of this squad, in case you forgot. So stuff it, Tess.”
James dreamed that a man with a towering shadow drove him into an empty black corner, and every time James tried to hit him an invisible, impossible force deflected him. The man never stopped smiling.
Eric paced a tight circle in the hallway. The mirror was bright in the dark. “I haven’t heard anything from James.”