Stay (Page 44)

“So obviously my mom took the news well.” Casey nodded toward her mom.

“I see.” I gave Taliana a polite smile.

“I want Casey safe, and this makes more sense.”

“Have you talked to the twins? Do you know the plan?”

“The plan is we tell Gareth,” Taliana said right away. “He’s not going to argue with logic.”

“Are you serious?” Casey asked. “What if he says no?”

“I made the mistake of failing to confide in him once before. I’m not making it again.” Her face was completely solemn as she spoke.

“When are you going to tell him?” Casey asked.

“I’m not.”

We all stared at her. She wasn’t making any sense.

“Casey is.”

“What?” I asked. “But he’s your mate.”

“And he just openly accepted Casey as his daughter. He’ll listen to her.” She smiled just a sliver.

Casey nodded. “Will you go with me at least? He’s nice and all, but I don’t really want to confront him alone.”

“I’ll do one better. I’ll bring him here. That way you have everyone with you.” Taliana looked at me. I was the “everyone” she was referring to.

“Okay, that works.” Casey sat down on the arm of the couch.

“I’ll be right back.” Taliana disappeared through the doorway.

“Are you guys all okay with this?” Casey asked. “We didn’t exactly take a vote.”

“If he gets weird, we just go with the original plan.” Hailey nodded like she was trying to reassure herself.

“But now he’ll be suspicious. It’s going to be more difficult.” Eric cracked his knuckles.

“So be it.” The decision had been made, so there was no sense doubting it. “Let’s just hope he says yes.”

True to her word, Taliana returned with Gareth a few minutes later. He took in all of us before walking fully into the room.

“What is it that you need to discuss with me?” Gareth sat down in a chair across from Casey. “I’ll listen to anything you say.”

“We need to leave.” Casey cut right to the chase.

“I see.” Gareth paused as though he was thinking it over. “And what is your plan then?”

“To go down to New Orleans. It’s safe, and I need to speak with my grandmother. We need to see if anyone’s heard from our other friends and my sister.”

“Or the king.” Gareth added.

“Exactly.”

“We’ll create a distraction. You can slip out. I’ll have my men accompany you as far as you’ll let them.”

“Thank you for the offer, but we are going to fly the whole way.”

Gareth smiled. “I assumed that.” He turned to Eric. “And you? How will you get there?”

“Actually, I think I’ll stay.”

Gareth stood up. “Absolutely, we can use every strong body we can find.”

Taliana looped her arm through his. “And Eric can contact other clans. If we’re going to do this, we should do this right.”

Gareth nodded. “Good idea. You know I took you for my mate because of your brains.”

Taliana raised an eyebrow. “I thought it was for my sparkling personality.”

“That too, and your beauty.”

Taliana blushed, and Casey looked uncomfortable.

“We need to go tonight. We can’t risk flying when the sun is up.” Hailey eyed the door. She was revving to go and I didn’t blame her.

Gareth nodded again. “Let’s get everything ready.”

***

We waited until the dead of night to leave the Island. We were never invisible, but the darkness at least gave us a chance to travel undetected. After some hurried goodbyes, we took off and flew higher than usual. It was harder to stay that high where the air was thin, but we weren’t taking any chances. Hailey and I flanked Casey so that if trouble came, we’d be in a better position to protect her.

Returning to New Orleans always brought a mix of emotions with it. Between everything with Allie, and more recently Casey, I was always a little bit nervous heading down to the Crescent City. This time was no exception.

“We should go right over to the hotel,” Casey called as we got close to New Orleans.

“Yeah, it’s the safest place in the city.” I wanted safe for Casey. I had some confidence in Gareth’s abilities, but there was still a chance Tiffany would get wind that Casey had left and come after us.

We flew into the city just before sunrise. We landed in the shadows along the side of the hotel and retracted our wings. No one said anything as we walked through the lobby and straight to the elevator. I had a brief period of worry realizing I didn’t have the key to take us down to the basement, but Hailey took care of that problem. “Allie insists that I carry one.”

“Make sure to thank Allie when we see her.” Casey smiled. Despite everything, she seemed so much more like herself again. It made everything else seem manageable.

“You can do it yourself.” Hailey was trying really hard to act unaffected, but every once in a while her façade fell, and her fears came to light. She was worried about Allie, and until she saw her friend again, no one was going to convince her not to be. And no one should have. We had no idea what was going on. I was all about helping people keep their confidence, but I wasn’t a proponent of false hope. It usually only hurt you in the end.

The elevator moved down exasperatingly slow. We were all silent, but my hunch was we were all thinking about the same things. Finally the doors opened, and we stepped out into the dark. The loud voices were the first hint that something was wrong. We all exchanged glances before heading down the corridor.

“Find her! Find her and bring her here now. And find Robert, he can’t really be gone.” Georgina’s distinctive voice made us all tense.

“Georgina?” Casey called before taking off down the hall.

“Casey!” Georgina took the corridor at a pace I wouldn’t have thought possible for a woman her age. She pulled Casey into her arms. “Thank goodness.”

“What is it?” Casey stepped back and took in Georgina’s tear stained face.

Hailey and I exchanged looks. What the hell was going on?

Georgina clutched a small flashlight in her hands, a reminder that she was only human and couldn’t see in the dark. “You are our only hope.” She took Casey’s arm. Then she glanced at us. “Hailey, I’m going to need your help too.”