They Walk Among Us
The sound of a door slamming against the wall woke us up later on that night, and I found myself on the floor, tucked behind the bed in a corner. Zach struggled into jeans before grabbing something out of the nightstand, and stalking out of the room.
I’m not at my best when I’ve just woken up. It took me a few seconds to remember where I was and what was going on. Suddenly, I scrambled for clothes and got dressed. I figured Zach would want me to remain hidden until he determined whether it was friend or foe who entered the house, but I couldn’t let him run the risk of getting hurt in my place.
With shaking hands, I pushed open the bedroom door, and slipped out into the darkened hallway. We must have slept several hours because there wasn’t any sunlight picking in around the blinds on the windows. I crept down the narrow corridor, listening intently for any sounds of a fight or anything like that.
I peered around the edge of the archway leading into the living room. I’d gotten a brief glimpse of it as we went past on the way to the bedroom. Zach stood in the middle of the room, arms crossed over his chest, and a handgun tucked into his pants at the small of his back. He glared at another man leaning casually against the back of a couch, his hands resting on his hips and a smirk marring his handsome face.
“What are you doing here, Tyler?”
The auburn haired man grinned. “I heard Zarovski tell the boss he brought you here. Thought I’d stop by, and see if you needed anything.”
Zach huffed in annoyance, and I laughed in silence. Something in the way they stood told me they had been very close at one point. They were both in each other’s personal space, but neither looked uncomfortable. Their former relationship didn’t bother me, simply because all my instincts told me Zach wasn’t the type of man who cheated on his lover, whether it was Tyler or me.
“I don’t have time for you. I know why you’re really here, and trust me, it’s not going to happen.” Zach shoved his hand through his unruly curls. “I don’t have time to deal with you, Tyler. Go back to Harley, and don’t let him know you came here.”
Tyler’s cheeks flushed, and I wondered who Harley was. Was he a new lover Tyler had left Zach for? I could have read Tyler’s mind, but it wasn’t polite to rummage around in other’s brains like they were bins of things at a local flea market.
“Why are you here, Zach? I thought you were secure in your position at the hospital. No one suspected anything, and the agents were harassing you because of who you were, not who you supported.” Tyler studied Zach closely.
“It’s best if you didn’t know. There’s a lot of danger involved, and I don’t want to risk anyone’s life if I don’t have to. Besides, Harley needs you. She’s too young to become an orphan for the second time in her life.”
Tyler winced, and Zach reached out to lay a hand on Tyler’s shoulder in sympathy. I felt love, caring, and friendship roiling around in Zach’s mind, but not the passionate love of two people in an intimate relationship, so I relaxed.
“Your friend can come out,” Tyler said.
Zach shot a look over his shoulder, and I stepped into the living room carefully. Just because Zach seemed relaxed and unworried didn’t mean I’d let my guard down totally. It was more than my life in danger here, and I would do anything I had to do to get Rissia free.
“My. My. Zach, I never thought you’d use a safe house for an elicit rendezvous.” Tyler clucked his tongue at Zach.
“Shut up. You don’t know what’s going on here.” Zach turned to look at me. “You were supposed to stay in the bedroom until I said it was okay to come out here.”
I shook my head. ::You’re helping me. I won’t hide while you might be in danger.::
“You could get hurt. I can’t risk that.”
Tyler moved his gaze between us like he knew there was a conversation going on he wasn’t privy to.
::I have ways to protect myself. Those agents surprised me in the alley. It won’t happen again, and I won’t let others fight my battles for me.::
Zach shook his head, and walked over to me, encircling my waist with his arm. I let him pull me close to him, but I kept my gaze on Tyler. His eyes widened slightly at Zach’s obvious acknowledgement of more than just friendship going on between us.
“You are just as important as anyone else in this,” Zach murmured in my ear. “But I will admit I’m very interested in keeping you safe for very personal reasons.”
I rolled my eyes, and took a step away from him. I didn’t break his hold on me though. I needed the reassurance of his touch when there was a stranger in the room.
“So who is this, Zach? I thought you would have introduced us by now.”
Zach clenched his jaw for a second, but I rested my hand on his arm.
::Don’t worry. He can’t hurt me.::
::How do you know that?::
I raised my eyebrows, and shot him an incredulous look. ::Unless he shot me, Tyler can’t hurt me. I’m surprised you didn’t find anything out about that during your research.::
“Seems there’s a lot I don’t know,” Zach said out loud as he turned to look at Tyler. “Tyler Simpson, this is Raven, a friend of mine.”
“You seem rather close to be just friends,” Tyler snarked as he nodded at me.
I smiled, not wanting to encourage his bitterness. Apparently, Zach had gotten over whatever had been between them, but Tyler still wanted Zach. Yet he didn’t know I wasn’t going to give Zach up, not now that I had finally found him.