Soar (Page 49)

“Excuse me?”

“Tell me your phone number.”

“You’re asking me for my phone number at a time like this?”

“Considering how close I got to taking you against a cell wall, you shouldn’t be too surprised.”

I shivered at his words. They sounded better than I’d ever admit out loud. “631-555-0120”

“631-555-0120.” He repeated the numbers back.

“You memorized it already?”

“I’ve got a good memory. Now let’s get out of here.”

“How?”

He smirked. “Just give it two minutes.”

I heard the grunts first and then the door was wrenched open.

“Casey?” Toby sounded panicked as he ran into the cell with Owen.

“Yeah, I’m here.” I looked at him guiltily. I reminded myself about what Nelly said. He’d never get over Allie.

He hugged me, making the guilt even worse. I pulled away so we could walk out.

Jared tugged on my arm, pulling me further from Toby as we headed down the corridor. We didn’t pass any guards that were upright, but there were quite a few on the ground.

“When we get out of here, you’ll have to explain to me how the hell you managed to get locked up in a cell.” Owen laughed as we slid through the same window we’d entered from.

“How much trouble am I in?” Jared looked nervous for the first time that night. He hadn’t even seemed nervous when he discovered he couldn’t break us out.

“Tons.”

“Fantastic. I guess this means I’m going to have to cancel on our plans, Casey.” He let out an exaggerated sigh.

“What plans?” I asked.

“It’s way past eight, but I was supposed to take you out tonight.”

“You kind of did. Just not downtown.” After the words came out, I realized how bad they sounded. As disappointed as I was about how things went down with Toby, I didn’t want to hurt him.

“He’s going to kill you.” Owen brought the conversation back to Levi.

“Yeah, well. At least if I die, I had a good time tonight.”

“A good time?” Owen asked and then looked at me. “I know girls can’t resist him, but in a prison cell?”

“I didn’t have sex with him!”

Jared laughed. “No, you guys arrived too soon.”

Toby growled. Even more than his wings, the growl made him seem less human. I needed to get back to New York and away from the whole mess.

I turned back to Toby. “Can I take your plane home?”

“You want to leave tonight?”

“I need to.”

He nodded. “Then we will.”

I wasn’t looking forward to spending time on a plane with him, but I couldn’t wait to get back in my little bed in the closet.

Chapter Twenty-Five

Jared

Avoiding Levi would only make things worse. The more time I gave him to stew over things, the angrier he’d be. I needed to hit it head on.

He was waiting for me on his front porch. Either he’d been listening or he knew I’d come over to face his wrath. In all my years of knowing Levi, I’d never crossed him that way. I’d also never gotten myself into such a ridiculously dumb situation.

“I assume you have an explanation.” He sat in an Adirondack chair, giving me a look that was half annoyance and half pity. I could handle the annoyance but not the pity.

“I couldn’t let it go.”

“Obviously. Why I didn’t plan on you being such an idiot, I’ll never know.”

“It’s not my fault he broke out.”

“I never said it was.”

“Then what are you angry about?” I leaned back against one of the columns, just waiting for him to stand up and confront me face to face.

“You deliberately disobeyed me, and you put an innocent human at risk.”

“Disobeyed? What am I your puppy now?” I took a seat on the railing.

“I’ve put up with your crap for years, but I am your superior. It would be nice if you showed an ounce of respect once in a while.”

“You’re my superior because you were born into it.” I’d never voiced those words before, and I instantly regretted them.

“Are you implying I don’t deserve to be king?” He finally stood up and moved toward me.

“No. But I am saying you don’t know everything.”

“And you do? You know the best way to handle things, huh?”

“Maybe I was too late, but waiting longer wouldn’t have helped either. The bottom line is Bryant escaped. Now what?”

“Now I decide what the hell to do with you.” He looked toward the front door then back at me. Maybe he was afraid Allie was listening in. She probably was.

“Are you threatening to fire me?”

“I should fire you. That would be the responsible thing to do.”

“You’ve never been responsible, Levi.”

He cracked a smile. “Not often. That’s why I’m giving you another chance to prove yourself.”

“How?”

“Find Bryant. Find out who’s behind these attacks. I’ll give you whatever tools you need.”

“I won’t let you down.”

“I know you won’t, but I’ll be watching.”

“I need to go back to New York. That’s where it started so that’s where I need to be.”

“And this has nothing to do with that girl?” He raised an eyebrow.

“No.” That was mostly true.

“Don’t screw this up. I’m not giving you another chance.”

“I get that.”

“All right, can you guys just hug and make up. It’s getting late.” Allie graced us with her presence, walking out on the porch in a Tulane hoodie and shorts.

Levi turned to her. “You really need to do a better job eavesdropping.”

“Why? You didn’t make me leave.” She grinned.

“All right, I’ll leave you guys to whatever it is you’d be doing if I wasn’t here.” I gave a wave and nodded to Levi as I left the porch.

“Don’t let me down, Jared. I don’t want to lose you.”

“I won’t.” I meant it.

Two days later, I was packed and ready to go. Owen gave me a ride to the airport. As convenient as flying myself can be, it’s more difficult when you’re trying to bring a couple pieces of luggage with you.

“Do you think you’ll be back for graduation?” He pulled over to the curb outside departures.