Manhattan, New York City
I turned my head, looking across the cafe for the man dressed in all black and looking just as skittish as he was a month ago. Andrew Row. The last man alive who was sent to kill me and the only person who knew the exact person who put the hit out on me. He looked around his area before sitting at a table by one of the smaller windows waiting for his check in to appear. I looked away, nodding and started to tap at my keyboard. It has been a full year since I left London and the mess that became my life. I spent more than half of it chasing Andrew from country to country until he made the biggest mistake a man on the run could. He came to New York City. My old stomping grounds and a place I know better than anyone. I moved my phone out the way just as cup was set in it’s place. “That’s him,” I confirmed.
“We taking him now?” asked Mitchie while handing me a bagel.
Snatching Andrew and dragging him back to London should have been a very easy task but it wasn’t. He hired a warlock to place protective magic around him so anything I’ve attempted to do to him has not succeed. It would take strategy and real skills to catch this man. I pulled the sleeves of my sweater over my hands and looked over at Thomas. He kept staring at the side of Andrew’s face and I smiled. “Staring at him isn’t going to fix anything,” I mumbled.
“We could just take him now. Physically as you say,” Devlin pressed in a bored tone. “He has no abilities, no magic-”
“Except the warlock who we are waiting for, brother,” Jude interrupted pushing a donut in his face.
The warlock Andrew has protecting him is supposedly one of the most powerful ones in New York City. Composi Rsnir. Attacking him without the full knowledge of his power would be irresponsible and stupid. Unlike the others I was ready to be patient. Especially with having all this new found time. I quickly pushed away the thoughts that threatened to push past the barrier I had up. Looking over at the time again, I closed my laptop and picked up my cup of hot chocolate.“He’s here,” Judith said quietly as she got up to go to her position. The others soon followed but instead of looking at the warlock I looked out my window to the clouds that covered the skies and the sun that tried its best to shine through. I didn’t need to look directly at him to know Thomas was looking at me.
When did I begin to feel normal again? Normal. I scoffed at the word. Nothing for me would ever be normal again. I’ve killed so many people in the pursuit of Andrew. Not counting the men who tried to kill me that night. I became exactly what they wanted. The weapon and cold hearted killer. For the good portion of a year they’ve hunted me. The Masons, I snarled to myself absently rubbing my shoulder. I never thought we would come to blows. When I saw Staci and Cherine in Greece a part of me wanted to run to the girls I once regarded as my sisters. I closed my eyes tightly.
“Your thoughts are not good ones,” Thomas stated.
I didn’t answer him. Bringing up Cherine was a sore topic for him especially since he was left to fight her in my stead. We wouldn’t have made it out of Greece if he didn’t. Every part of me wanted to run into their arms as I use to and cry. Tell them what happened to me. “Come home with us, Justine! Please sister!”
Cherine’s words caused me to shuddered shaking my head. “Justine-”
“I’m fine,” I snapped.
I had to be. There was no time for weakness. My attention was grabbed by a hand hitting the table and seeing Andrew whispering angrily at Composi. The warlock just looked back at the angry man with a chilling calm. I focused my energy on the heated conversation and smirked at what I heard. Though Andrew paid him handsomely, he sensed my presence or so he stated.
“You have incited the anger of a very ancient magicks and you are asking me to put my life on the line to protect you?” Composi asked.
Andrew snarled. “She is a girl!”
“She is the daughter of a very ancient lineage and the mate of one of the underworld’s most notorious families. Did you think I would not research her? And from the looks of it, you fools unlocked the very power that should have stayed dormant.”
I frowned looking at Thomas. He nodded at me knowingly and flagged the others. Killing the warlock was completely out of the question. He knew something about me that I didn’t. I glanced at the clock and started to pack my things in my bag. “Where are you going?” Devlin asked.
“Out. If he leaves before Andrew follow that warlock and tell him I want to speak to him. I will meet you all back at the apartment.”
I never felt this nervous before. Not even around my mate. This was the hardest thing I’ve done in the past year and I didn’t know where to even start. I got out of my Uber and just stood across the street from the hospital. What would I say? I’m sorry? No...that would not be enough to explain the last two years. The spring breeze bought me no comfort as a chill ran up my back and I looked up to see thunderclouds rolling in. At 12:30 on the dot the side door opened and the familiar sent of cotton candy hit me even from this distance. I fumbled for my phone and dialed the number Thomas gave me from the day before. Two rings past as I watched her stop, her curls moving with the wind that she pushed out of her face and answer her phone.
I swallowed the lump in my throat, my vision becoming blurry as I made my way across the street.
“Hey Steph,” was all I could muster.
Her hand slowly made it’s way to her mouth as she turned and finally saw me. Standing an inch shorter than me dressed in her scrubs was my older sister. She was still as small as I remember when I hugged her goodbye in the airport only two years ago and yet it has felt like ten. I don’t know who moved first and I didn’t care. When my body collided with hers I was in the arms of the one person who I could always rely on. My confidant. My best friend. I felt like a little girl all over again and every lonely emotion from the past year I held back came forward in the form of a strangled cry. One hand was gripping my hair and the other held me up from falling to my knees in front of her. These arms....they were home.
Stephanie pulled away and held my face in her hands, “Where the fuck have you been?!”
“You wouldn’t believe the journey if I told you,” I barked a laugh.