Soar (Page 39)

“We’ll take our own. We’ll have to fly back on our own in a few days.”

Jared smiled at me. “Maybe I’ll join you guys. See if the Blackwell’s air digs are as nice as the Laurents’.”

Levi and Allie exchanged a glance. “Sorry to ruin your fun, Jared. But you’re flying yourself. I need you handling things for our visit to Bryant.”

“Fine.” He strode over to the desk, leaning around Toby to look at me. “See you soon, Casey. Have a nice flight.” He winked before walking out of the room.

Toby took my hand. “I’ll have the plane waiting for us. If you want to shower, feel free. I’ll leave your bag outside the door.”

“My bag?” I stood up.

“I packed a few things for you before I headed up here.”

I stepped back. “You went into my home and packed some of my clothes?”

Levi laughed. “This is so much better when I’m not the one getting berated.”

“I’m going to save you both from wasting the time and energy of having a fight.” Allie turned to me. “Toby shouldn’t have gone in your room and touched your stuff without permission, but he probably thought he was being thoughtful.”

“I did, I just wanted you to—”

Allie held up a finger. “And Toby, you shouldn’t have done it without permission, but I’m sure Casey will appreciate having something to wear. That is, if you packed decent stuff.”

“Decent stuff?”

“If it’s all sexy lingerie, I’ll help her get you back.”

Toby smiled. “I’m pretty sure I packed reasonably, and I tried not to spend too much time in your underwear drawer.”

“Good.”

After saying goodbye to everyone, mostly Allie, I made my third trip to that same bathroom. I locked the door and checked it twice before getting undressed and under the spraying water. The warm water washed away some of the grit of the day, and it woke me up. I reluctantly turned off the water and stepped out of the steamy stall.

Wrapped in a decently soft towel, I unzipped the duffel bag. Toby had done well. I pulled out a pair of jeans and a t-shirt as well as some fresh underwear. He’d grabbed a few cotton pairs, and I appreciated it.

One thing Toby didn’t pack was a brush, so I attempted to use my fingers to straighten out the tangled strands. I searched through my purse and thankfully found an old hair tie and quickly pulled my hair up into a messy bun.

The house was quiet, but I thought I heard water running in the kitchen. I slowly walked down the hallway and took a moment to study the pictures on the wall. Most of them were portraits of people, but there were several landscape paintings mixed in. I walked the rest of the way to the kitchen.

“Feel better?” Toby asked. He was washing off the left over pancake dishes.

“Sorry about that.”

“The dishes? Don’t be. I’m glad you ate.”

“Did you eat?” I knew how little food was in the house, and I had a feeling he hadn’t stopped to eat before leaving the city.

“Yeah, I reheated some of the pancakes.”

“Did they taste okay?”

“They were fine.” He rinsed off the remaining dish and turned to me. “Did I pack all right?”

“Yes. Thank you.” I wasn’t going to mention a missing hairbrush when I’d already been mad at him for being in my stuff at all.

“Everyone else went ahead. If you’re ready, we can go.” He sounded eager, and I wasn’t sure if it was to get down to New Orleans or to get out of the house. He didn’t seem to be a big fan of the place.

“I’m ready.”

Toby picked up my duffel and another bag sitting by the front door. I assumed that was full of his stuff. I wasn’t sure how he flew with them, but I didn’t need to know.

He locked up the house behind us and then opened the back seat of the car. After tossing in our bags, he opened the passenger door for me. I always liked when a guy did that. I was all about dating a gentleman—even if he also happened to have wings.

***

Like most people, I’d never been on a private jet before. I associated them with individuals who had way too much extra money. The thought of flying on one left me with a mix of nerves and excitement.

We pulled into the small airport, and I tried to choke down my nerves. They weren’t going to help me. I had no one to blame for my current position. Toby seemed more than happy to let me go back to the city with some protection, but that wouldn’t get me closer to Vera. Delusional or not, I was convinced that sticking close to the Pterons would give me safer access to the bears, and a fighting chance of getting her back. Also, if Vera was tied in with the attacks, any information they found might help me.

“Are there going to be more passengers?” I asked as Toby led me down the tarmac.

“Why? Are you afraid of being alone with me?” he teased.

“No.” I quickly brushed off the suggestion I knew was in his words. “I’m just wondering.”

“Marv and my assistant are coming.”

“Who’s your assistant?”

“Nelly.”

I pictured Nelly as a knock out blonde with perky br**sts and perfectly white teeth. Although I didn’t have much to go on when imagining what the executive assistant for a paranormal leader would look like. “Oh. Okay.”

“I wanted her to come so I’d have more time to spend with you.” He rested his hand on the small of my back.

“Really?”

“Why do you sound so surprised?”

“Because with everything else going on, are you really worried about spending time with me?”

He didn’t hesitate with his answer. “Yes.”

I smiled, taking big steps to keep up with his pace.

We boarded the plane, and the first thing I noticed was Marv sitting next to a dark haired woman. Even seated, I could tell she was petite and she smiled at me lightly as we approached.

She stood up and shook my hand. “You must be, Casey. Toby’s told me so much about you.”

I glanced at Toby.

He took my arm and gestured to the slight woman. “This is Nelly.”

“You’re Nelly?” She didn’t fit my image at all. “Hi, Marv.” I belatedly greeted my boss. I wasn’t sure what I thought about the fact that he was a bear. Did he really just randomly hire me? Did Murphy find me because of where I worked?

“Hi, Casey. I’m sorry you’ve been brought into all of this.” His words sounded genuine.