Home > Reborn Yesterday (Phenomenal Fate #1)(17)

Reborn Yesterday (Phenomenal Fate #1)(17)
Author: Tessa Bailey

“Yes, please,” Ginny called after Tucker. Instead of following him, however, she turned and tiptoed down the dark hallway, stopping in front of the door across the hall from Jonas and opening it. Clearly this was Tucker’s room. The pungent smell of cigar smoke hung in the air, dumbbells the size of Ginny were situated in the corner and rap album vinyls were stacked on top of a high-end stereo.

She closed the door quickly behind her and moved on.

The next door was locked. Elias’s room, perhaps? He’d come from this general direction earlier, but she couldn’t be sure from where.

The snick of a bottle cap being popped off almost made Ginny abandon her Scooby Doo-like investigation. What was she even looking for? She wasn’t totally sure. But there was a driving need to gather knowledge, to remember the tiniest details about her time with Jonas. If she gathered enough information without him knowing, the less likely he would be to make her forget every little thing, if he erased her memory.

She wanted to at least have the option of piecing these moments in time back together if she woke up one morning with gaping holes in her timeline.

There was one final door at the very end of the hallway and she power walked to it now, a shiver climbing her arm as soon as she curled a hand around the knob. A sense of foreboding made her hesitate, but she shooed it to the side and opened the door. She only caught a glimpse of metal shackles attached to a filthy brick wall before a hand shot out above her head, slamming the door closed.

Tucker sighed. “Jonas is never going to let me humansit again.”

Ginny whirled on the stocky vampire with wide eyes. “Why are there shackles and chains in there?”

“Would you believe Elias is a kinky bastard?”

She blushed, unable to meet his gaze. “I-I…well, I…”

Tucker barked a laugh and fell silent. “So you’re brave enough to go sleuthing through a vampire crash pad, but dirty jokes turn you bright red.” He handed her a beer and gestured for her to precede him toward the living room. “It makes more and more sense why my roommate is out trying to find a hot plate at three in the goddamn morning.”

Unclear of his meaning, Ginny frowned and took an absent sip of her beer—and promptly choked on the bitterness. “Maybe I’m a fruity drink person,” she said, following Tucker into the living room. “This is terrible.”

“If I’m remembering my debauched youth correctly, beer tastes better every time you take another sip. Best to keep going.”

Ginny took another cautious pull. “Oh! You’re right. Not so bad this time.”

Tucker executed a bow.

“Now can you tell me about the shackles?”

“Not much for small talk, are you, sweetheart?” He leaned a beefy elbow on the mantle beneath the television. “I’m not sure what I should tell you.”

She shrugged and took another long sip of beer. “I’m going to forget all of this, right?”

“Right,” he drew out, sighing. “Every once in a while Jonas comes across a freshly Silenced and they require some…time to adjust. Where they can’t harm any fragile humans, like yourself. Jonas keeps them put in silver chains. They’re impossible for our kind to break free of.” His smile reminded her of a jack-o’-lantern. “Having an angry, bloodthirsty rookie chained in silver down the hall makes for some interesting living conditions. You’re a much better house guest.”

“Thank you.”

He plucked the cigar from the corner of his mouth, gesturing at her with it. “You finished your beer.”

“I did?” Ginny covered her mouth to prevent a hiccup from escaping. “I did.”

“Want another?”

She took stock of the light, fizzy sensation in her head and fingertips. “Yes, I think I do.”

Laughing under his breath, Tucker crossed to the refrigerator and opened the door, glancing back over his shoulder at Ginny. Probably to gauge her reaction at the abundance of plastic pouches filled with blood. A finger of disbelief trailed up and down her back and all she could do was stare, trying to imagine Jonas drinking from a plastic pouch.

“Oh, he doesn’t,” Tucker said, straightening with her beer in his hand. “He pours it into a glass, like a fancy asshole.”

“I didn’t realize I was thinking out loud. I do that sometimes.”

“I noticed. It’s probably another reason you drive him crazy.”

Ginny rubbed at the funny feeling in her chest and cut a look toward the door, willing Jonas to walk in. His presence was so dense in the apartment, like a heavy cloak wrapped around her, making the need to see him severe and inescapable. “Is he safe wherever he’s gone?”

Tucker uncapped the bottle and paused. “Jonas? Hell yeah, he’s safe. Dude might be a pretty boy, but he wrangles rookies on a weekly basis without batting an eyelash. Brings them to heel.” He handed Ginny the beer. “You’re in good hands. Jonas Cantrell is a bad motherfucker.”

“Cantrell,” she whispered, treasuring the knowledge of his last name.

The vampire did a double take, cursed. “I’ve got a big mouth.”

“It’s all going to get erased,” she murmured, starting on her second drink.

“Uh-huh.” Tucker retreated to the mantle in a blur. “So what do you do for fun, Ginny?” His smile was full of mischief. “Besides tempt the prince to break the rules, that is?”

Her breath stuttered in her lungs at the reality that she could be bad for Jonas. Really bad. She’d been so swept up in the realization that vampires existed and one was possibly trying to kill her for an unknown reason that she hadn’t taken the time to think about the implications for Jonas. By protecting her, he was putting himself in jeopardy. “Um,” she managed. “I’m in a dress making club. Embrace the Lace Dressmaking Endeavors. We have an expo coming up, actually. With a silent auction and everyth—”

The front door opened and Elias whooshed into the apartment, overcoat spinning around his knees, the collar still guarding his face from view, like earlier.

“Hey, buddy,” Tucker called, good-naturedly. “We were just talking about what a kinky bastard you are.”

No response, just a tensing of his shoulders.

“We weren’t really,” Ginny stuck in quickly, shooting Tucker a stern look. “Did you find Roksana?”

“No, I did not,” he rasped from behind his collar. “The reckless brat.”

Ginny’s spine snapped straight at the unfounded name calling of her friend. Her only friend, to be accurate. “How do you know she’s being reckless?”

Elias turned slightly, without revealing his face. “Have you met her?”

The menace in Elias’s voice temporarily muddled her thoughts—along with the beer—and she found herself saying, rather stupidly, “She mentioned you to me.”

A very subtle ripple went through him. “Did she.”

Ginny nodded, even though he wasn’t looking at her. “In a fond way.”

Elias went back out the front door with a curse.

Jonas caught the door before it could close, his eyes snapping with green and spearing right into her.

The lights flickered in the apartment, turning the beer in Ginny’s stomach to sour sludge. Was he manipulating the electricity? Or was that just a coincidence?

“Honey, it’s not what it looks like,” Tucker cried. “We thought about you the entire time.”

Jonas set down the shopping bag in his hand and flexed his fingers. “You couldn’t follow instructions for fifteen minutes?”

“She tricked me.”

“It hardly took an effort.” She looked down at the bottle, surprised to find it was empty—and why was she holding two of them? Wait, no. One. No…two. “I do have to use the restroom now.”

Tucker laughed. “Beer’ll do that to you.”

“This is very cozy,” Jonas drawled, though his expression was tight and intent on Ginny. “Back to my room, please.”

She set down her empty beer bottle on the coffee table. “If I’m going to stay here for any length of time, I have to be allowed to roam freely.”

“She wants to be a free-range human, prince,” Tucker translated.

Jonas’s jaw popped. “We’ll talk about this when we’re alone.”

A ding went off somewhere in the apartment. Ginny turned in a circle, searching for the source of the familiar sound. It took her a good fifteen seconds to realize it was coming from the cell phone still stowed in her dress pocket. She used it so rarely, she’d forgotten it was there, but she took it out now and tapped the button to bring up her email. “Oh!” Hot moisture pooled in her eyes. “Great news! We have a body being brought into the morgue tomorrow.”

“She’s a keeper,” Tucker said without missing a beat.

Before Ginny could respond, she found herself being carried down the hallway cradled against Jonas’s chest, moving somewhere between a sedate walk and warp speed. “I guess I should thank you for not putting me in shackles.”

He slowed outside of a door, measuring her with a look. “Did some exploring, did you?”

“More like memory gathering. You won’t get them all. It’ll be like playing a whack-a-mole.”

With a troubled brow, he shouldered open a door and turned on the light to reveal a small, clean, white-tiled bathroom. With no mirrors, of course. He set her down in the center of the floor, but kept her close. “I didn’t mean to make you feel like a prisoner.” His one-eyed, sheepish squint made him so handsome she swayed closer out of sheer necessity. “Technically, you weren’t supposed to know you’d been locked in. You were supposed to be sleeping.”

“I’m sorry I couldn’t cooperate.”

“No, you went and had a little party, didn’t you?” He traced her hairline with his thumb. “I’m being irrational, aren’t I? That’s the opposite of me. I never have a hard time keeping a lid on my impulses.”

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