Written in Red Page 112

Nothing.

She found the magazines under the mattress and rolled her eyes. But she flipped through them, hoping pages wouldn’t be stuck together, and found a slip of paper with a phone number.

Not a local number. And considering what White Van had been trying to do, that number could be lucrative.

Asia pocketed the slip of paper, put the magazines back under the mattress, and left the apartment.

* * *

Late afternoon. Debany and MacDonald had delivered the pizza, and it had eased something in Simon’s chest when Meg showed enthusiasm and appetite for the food.

Not really hurt. Not if she was eating with such obvious pleasure. No longer afraid because an intruder entered the office. And not afraid of him, not when she was willing to tease him about being too full of cookies to want pizza.

Happy Meg made him calmer.

Happy Meg was willing to share food. She even tore off the top of the pizza box, put two pieces on it, and took it outside for the Crows.

He knew enough to insist she put the pieces behind the office instead of out front, where humans could see. Humans had already seen enough of between forms. It was better if they didn’t see Crows with little hands at the ends of their wings, pulling food apart.

While the Crows were distracted, he took his pieces of pizza and ate at the front counter, watching the street.

Merri Lee had brought new sweaters for Meg and persuaded her to see Elizabeth Bennefeld for a massage to relax. So Meg was in the Market Square, being pampered, by the time Simon finally locked up the Liaison’s Office. When he stepped out the back door, he noticed Blair leaning against the garage, waiting for him.

“Henry is very angry,” Blair said quietly. “He shifted and wants to be left alone until tomorrow.”

“Did he say anything before shifting?” Simon asked.

“Someone hired the intruder to take Meg away from us. They gave him a number to call but nothing else. He also said someone left him messages, telling him where Meg lived and when she was in the office. He didn’t know who was helping him.”

“Someone who knows where Meg lives.” She was protected in the Green Complex, but in the office? “Someone stays with her from now on. More than Crows keeping watch. More than someone upstairs who might not reach her before she’s hurt.”

Blair hesitated.

“She saw me as Wolf, and she wasn’t afraid. So there will be one of the Wolfgard in the office when she’s working.”

Blair nodded. “Boone wants to know if he should put out the sign and let everyone know we have special meat.”

Simon almost agreed. Then he thought about the police. He had let them in, and Montgomery was going to come sniffing around for a while. And he thought about Meg asking for meat for Sam, and he thought about the Ruthie shopping in the Market Square. Sooner or later, both females would see the sign and have to accept what it meant. But this time it would be too obvious where the meat came from.

“No sign,” he said. “Pass the word that there is meat available for whoever wants it. And make sure at least some of the blood is offered to Erebus.”

“That part was already done. Nyx came by and collected it.”

Yes. Erebus would want blood from the man who tried to take Meg, who touched Meg.

“You want us to save any meat for you?” Blair asked.

He wasn’t human. Would never be human. “I want the heart. I’ll come by for it later.”

When Meg was asleep.

CHAPTER 16

By the time Meg woke up the next morning, the sun was shining and the sky was a clean blue. Poking her nose out her front door convinced her that, despite the blue sky and sunshine, it was still wicked cold. Since there was nothing she had to do and nowhere she had to go, she warmed up the last piece of pizza and ate it for breakfast while she read a few more chapters of the book she’d borrowed from the Courtyard library.

The last two Earthdays in the Courtyard had been full of turmoil of one kind or another, but just by looking out her window, Meg sensed a difference. Today the Green Complex, maybe even the whole Courtyard, felt quieter.

When she got tired of reading, she dusted the furniture, swept the floors, and ran the sweeper over the carpets. By the time she took a shower and wiped down the bathroom, she was also tired of domesticity, and feeling a little uneasy about the lack of company.

Was she the only one in the complex? Was everyone else off doing something in another part of the Courtyard?

You’re safe here, she thought. No one is going to come this far into the Courtyard, looking for you.

Even so, by the time she’d eaten the stew Meat-n-Greens had sent home with her yesterday, she wanted to get out of the apartment, despite the cold. So she gathered up her clothes and towels, then bundled herself up for the short walk to the laundry room. Once she had the washers going, she went upstairs to the social room.

Henry looked up and smiled when she entered.

“Didn’t expect to see you up and about today,” he said.

She shifted her feet, suddenly wishing she’d stayed downstairs. “Humans aren’t that fragile. I was scared yesterday, and my wrist got bruised. It’s not like I fell off a cliff or something.”

He laughed, a warm sound. “You are the first human to live among us here, so there is much for us to learn.”

She came closer to the table where he was sitting. “But you have those apartments that you let people use. And you have people working for you and shopping at the Market Square.”

“We have those things,” he agreed, “but that’s not the same as living among us the way you do now.”

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