It had been chaos.
Romany’s Councilman had flown in and then contacted Jake Lelander of the New York Council with what he had discovered along with McLeish. Romany wasn’t mentioned because of her connection to Cyrus through Noah. Hence why, as the shit really hit the fan, Romany had gotten the hell out of dodge, and now Noah and Eden were being escorted by Val on a commercial flight back home.
Lelander had flown into Texas along with three other influential Councilmen and women. Together they’d discovered and rescued Alison and Chris, had gone on to interview the four Neith who confessed to the crime, and had taken Adam into custody. Cyrus and the others had stayed behind for the investigation.
It was strange to be on a commercial flight, among other people. To be weaponless, and to know that when she got off the plane there weren’t any threats. As far as they were aware Cosmina’s people had disbanded at the news of her death, more specifically at the news she’d been killed by Darius of Mesopotamia himself. If they were still a threat, their presence was yet to be known. So yeah… as far as Eden was concern, there were no threats.
At least not any physical threats, she mused, thinking of Romany who had gotten an earlier flight back to Boston. Eden had overheard her telling her Councilman she had left some belongings at the Estate and would be heading to a hotel before catching the next flight to Chicago.
Romany had tried to stay out of Eden’s way as much as possible, but knowing she was there, helping out, doing her duty, being an exemplary warrior, drove Eden crazy. She hadn’t slept much. Romany consumed her thoughts, her voice, her plea for Eden to understand that she knew what it was like to want vengeance, mixing with memories of Stellan, and of Noah’s warm voice telling her he loved her. Asking her why she didn’t love him back enough to let her anger go.
Her anger had nothing to do with how much she loved Noah. It was separate from that. But it was eating her alive and if she let the anger take over she’d lose everything.
She knew that.
She needed closure.
“Well?” Noah asked, his violet eyes searching her face.
“I love you.” Eden took hold of his hand, letting the strength of it wipe everything else out. She eyed the glinting silver on each of their fingers, his a masculine square-edged silver ring with a black onyx ankh inset into the center, hers a smaller, more feminine version. To the outsider they might appear as promise rings. “I will always love you.”
Whatever Noah saw in her eyes it made him sag in relief. He leaned over and pressed a gentle kiss to her lips. “I love you too. I’m sorry… about the things I said. I didn’t mean them. I know you care about us just as much as we care about you.”
Eden squeezed his hand. “I really do. And I’m sorry too. Noah… I should never have said you don’t get me. I think you know me better than anyone. Better than I even know myself.”
“Yeah?” he smiled shyly.
The vulnerability behind that smile made her stomach flip. They each meant so much to the other… no one in this world could hurt them like they could hurt each other. She had to remember that. Even when he was being the biggest douchebag and driving her up the wall, she had to remember to never say things she didn’t mean, things she couldn’t take back, things that would sit with him for the rest of his life, chipping unnecessarily away at his confidence in her love. “Definitely.” She brought their clasped hands up and pressed a reassuring kiss to his Ankh ring.
He let his head flop back against his head rest, still holding tight to her. “I can’t wait for all of this to be over.”
Eden visualized her plan and felt that dark ugly knot in her chest begin to move, almost as if it were finally breaking apart. “Me too.”
It had been easy to slip away in the crowds of the airport. So easy in fact. Like Fate had stepped in to lend a hand. As soon as they got off the plane Val and Noah had both complained that they needed to use the bathroom. Heart pounding in her chest, trying to conceal the rush of adrenaline that flooded her body, Eden had told them she’d wait outside for them.
As soon as they disappeared behind the door, she had disappeared into the crowds.
Throwing the woman who had screeched at her for jumping into her taxi a dark, dangerous look that silenced her, Eden had then turned to give the driver her destination.
Traffic was heavy. She spent the forty minute stop and start ride into central Boston trying to talk her heart down. It was pounding so hard in her chest it stole her breath.
This was it.
This was it.
You can do this. It’ll all be over. Over.
Stellan would want this. He’d want it this way. He would.
Finally, the cab pulled up outside the hotel and Eden paid, calmly handing over the money. With equal coolness, she stepped out of the cab, walked casually into the hotel and compelled the girl at the desk to give her the room number.
She rode in silence in an elevator with two strangers, wondering how they’d react if they knew they were standing in an elevator with a girl who had killed. And intended to kill again.
The hall stretched out before her. It wasn’t a fancy hotel. The carpets needed a thorough clean, the wallpaper was old-fashioned and faded, there was a light out on one of the wall sconces.
It was quiet though.
Resolution rode her veins.
This was it.
She knocked on the door.
Scuffling sounded from inside. Light steps growing closer. The lock turned. The door pulled away from the jamb.
Eden slammed her body into it, sending Romany sprawling. She barged inside, determination set in every muscle. Kicking the door shut, Eden launched herself at Romany before she could get up.
Her brown eyes widened with fear as Eden wrestled with her on the floor. “Eden,” she gasped, a pleading in her voice that shot a hole in Eden’s fury. She didn’t sound like a warrior. A killer.
She sounded like a young woman. A human. Scared. Knowing.
Eden flipped her over onto her stomach, not caring if she was being rough with her. Grabbing her wrists, she restrained the Neith, pressing her knee into her spine. Her other hand grabbed a chunk of that blonde hair and tugged Romany’s head back forcefully. Leaning in, heart beginning to calm now as it all fell into place, she said softly, “Let’s end this.”
How could one person be everything?
How had his life become that?
For now he knew it had.
Wondering if Eden had thrown away their relationship, her job, her family here with Cyrus, it suddenly occurred to Noah that if he lost her, it would mean losing everything.
He threw back another glass of Cyrus’ Scotch, letting the whisky burn his throat and spread across his chest in a warm, comforting glow. The comforting part didn’t last long.
A hand patted his shoulder and he glanced up. Alain. His dad didn’t say anything. No ‘I told you so’s’, no gloating. Just sympathy and concern. He poured himself a drink and then refilled Noah’s glass.
“Has Darius gone after her?” Noah croaked, clenching the glass so tight he heard a crack. Glowering at it for being so weak, Noah pushed it away from him.
Alain shook his head, taking a minute to swallow the Scotch. “He’s under the impression Eden will return here.”
Noah shook his head. “We don’t know that.”
How could she do this to him? How could she choose revenge over him? Had she chosen revenge?
If she had chosen revenge, Romany… she was going to die because he’d put too much faith in the wrong person. Noah winced in pain and shook his head. “No. She wouldn’t do this.”
“We don’t know that she has.”
But she’d left him at the airport and when he and Val had searched frantically, thinking someone must have tried to take her (but who?), he’d passed around a picture of her he had on his iPhone. A woman at the cabstand recognized her, said she’d stolen the first cab that h
ad come along in ages.
“You’re sure that’s her?” he’d demanded.
“I’m sure, I’m sure. Rude young woman.”
“And she was alone?”