Boulder (Riders of Apollo #5)

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Ford Wilson

“She met with some guy earlier, they looked close so I imagine boyfriend or maybe a fuck buddy. He gave her an envelope and then she went and bought a dress and a mask from the boutique on seventh. She’s been at her apartment ever since.” Reign reports as I polish my gun. There isn’t really much to do nowadays except sit around and wait for something to happen.

Matias, Lorenzo and Iosif have stocked up on security, they’re reporting daily on what’s been going on in their territories so we can act accordingly. None of them have heard of Riley Everett before so she’s definitely a ghost, especially if she can’t even be found on the dark web. “What do you think she needs the dress for?” Bear asks and Sav turns to him with an amused look.

“For a party, I’m thinking that while she’s out tomorrow we have someone break into her apartment and figure out what the fuck is going on.” Saviour suggests and Bear agrees.

“Saviour, take Boulder. The minute she leaves her apartment, you’re going in. Romeo and Runner can tail her for a little bit.” We agree and I head up to my room feeling a little weird. I don’t particularly want to break into a woman’s house just because we have a few suspicions about what she could be doing.

We didn’t break into Saviour’s house or Mari’s or Aurora’s, just this one woman. She’s not even behaving that sketchy, at least compared to the rest of us.

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She left minutes ago and now I’m stood awkwardly behind Saviour as she picks the lock on the front door. “Doesn’t this feel weird to you? Since we’re, ya know, invading her privacy?”

“It’s for the safety of our MC, Boulder. She might be a threat.” I just shake my head and follow her into the apartment. I start in the kitchen while Saviour starts in the bedroom. I find basic cutlery and crockery, enough food to last her a week or so and a few menus for the closest takeout places.

Not much else in the lounge. Just a couch that sits under the window and a TV sat on a sideboard. On the coffee table there’s an invite to a masquerade ball, I don’t dare touch it because it looks like she put it out on purpose, I’m almost positive that she knows we’d do this. She probably even knows about the cameras downstairs and the tails, we just can’t be sure of that.

“I found nothing, just enough clothes to last her a month or so. Is that the invite?”

“Yeah, it’s at an old town house in the next town over.”

“Let’s hope we can just watch from the outside because it will not be safe enough to go in.” She takes a picture of the invite and sends it to Romeo so he can find out if there is any surveillance that we can use instead of going inside and risking lives.

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“How many cameras are inside the building?” Bear looks at the blueprints of the house in front of him and the cameras on the screen.

“A lot, basically one in every room. I don’t think we’ll need to go in after her, we can keep a good eye on her from here.”

“Do we really need to watch her this closely? She doesn’t seem like much of a threat.” Aurora says, her legs tucked up underneath her and her three month old in her lap. He’s a fun little kid that one, I’m sure we’ll have him playing cards soon enough with Ollie and get in trouble with Breaker for teaching him to gamble.

“She’s a complete ghost, Aurora. That makes her threat enough.” Bear reiterates.

“I’m a ghost.” Saviour states with a pondering frown.

“Saviour, you are a threat. Especially if you’re on the opposite side.” She tilts her head in question before shrugging, obviously agreeing. I take a seat in the lounge and watch the TV in silence while the rest of them bicker and argue over boring shit like what we’re having for dinner.

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“So I’ve asked around, that house is foreclosed. Some rich businessman is renting it out for his massive party and then skipping town. I can’t get any info on him either, the lot of them are ghosts.” Romeo says, still avidly clicking away at his laptop in a fury.

Bear has calmed down a little bit now, finally reaching the analytical stage of planning defences rather than panicking like a chicken. He is still not handling this as well as he has other issues, I mean we’ve faced a lot more than this and he hasn’t spiralled, there’s something he isn’t telling us and it’s putting the lot of us on edge.

How do we fight against something we know nothing about?

I follow Bear into his office when he diverts from the group and he looks at me with sad and sullen eyes. “What the fuck is going on, Bear? You’re frazzled, I’ve never seen you act this way before.”

“Shut the door.” He points behind me and I do as I’m told, slipping into the chair opposite his desk. “This isn’t the first run in I’ve had with the French... I was young, six to be exact and the French were moving in on the area like they are now. Trying to influence the Mexicans who had more of this territory than we did at the time. We were only fifty strong and you know my father was a terrible President, the men weren’t trained, there were no rules, no safety nets. The French came for us first, to use us as a base of operations...”

He sighs heavily, taking a few large gulps of whiskey from the bottle on his desk before continuing. “They broke in through the doors, held everyone at gunpoint like Riot did. My idiot father wouldn’t think things through and went straight for the leader... he slit my mother’s throat in front of me and murdered twenty two men while my father sat there, drunk and stupid with no regard for the son that they had cleaning his own mother’s blood off the fucking floorboards. In the end, the coppers and Mexicans teamed up to get rid of them.

There weren’t many of us left and my father just got worse. I had to pull it together to look after myself, Gears helped, his wife too but they could only do so much because Lexie came and then Lavender died. Still, I don’t want French anywhere near here. Not now. With Lexie... I just...” He tears up, obviously worried for his wife.

Him and Lexie have been together forever. I’m pretty sure Gears and Bear’s father - Throttle - had been planning for that for awhile. Lavender - Lexie’s mom - was definitely heavily involved in that. We hardly ever see them without each other, it’s been seven years now but really they’ve been close for ten. He protected her from everything, treated her like a Queen and she has been in love with him since she was fourteen.

“Prez, look, we’re in a much better place now. We have incredible defences, seven different pacts with strong allies and fighters that can take down entire armies on their own. We also have you, fuck me man you know how to win every fight from every angle. The French like to think they are a threat but they can’t do shit, not now.”

“Thanks man. Let’s just get this shit over with and throw a party so big everybody has a week-long hangover.”

“Sounds good to me.”

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