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Chapter Twenty Eight

For one crazy second, I thought I'd wandered right into Kaylie herself. But after my brain caught up with what it was seeing, I realized that the werewolf who'd caught me wasn't her. In fact, it wasn't a her at all.

"She told us you would come," he said, licking his lips anxiously. "I told her she was nuts. Nobody would chase after us with a weapon like that in our hands! But here you are…"

He was a good half a foot taller than I was, and his greasy hair was combed backwards and braided into a rattail. A Mexican flag was tattooed to his left shoulder, visible because of the sleeveless shirt he was wearing. He was thin and wiry, but, like all werewolves, deceptively strong.

But not as strong as me.

I spun out of his grip, grabbed him by the wrist, and kicked him in the back of knee. He'd obviously thought he had me good and caught, so the suddenness of my movement didn't give him a chance to react. While he fell, I twisted his arm behind his back so that if he struggled I could yank it out of his socket. He yelped in pain when his face smacked against the concrete floor.

"What the hell?" he exclaimed when I put my knee on his back, just below his neck to keep him from moving.

"Listen up," I said to him, the instincts that working for Hendricks had given me taking over, "I'm not the one who made a mistake here. She is."

"We've got the—"

"I know! But did she tell you," I gave his wrist a little twist, making him squirm, "who she stole it from?"

"N- No…"

I leaned down and growled into his ear. "Tell her that all I want is the stupid glove back. If she gives it to me, I won't hurt her or the rest of your pack."

Rattail took a wheezy breath. "She ain't gonna do it. She wants you here, you understand? Says she's gonna kill you for what you did!"

A surge of guilt shot through me when I remembered Tyler lying in a pool of his own blood, but I quickly pushed it down.

"She isn't the first idiot to try and kill me," I told him, "and she won't be the last, either. Tell her I want the glove!"

Rattail laid on the floor without moving or speaking. Just when I thought I was going to have to threaten him, though, he turned his head to look up at me.

"She says she wants to meet," he said. "If you want the gauntlet, be at the old warehouse on Gunnery and Floydston tomorrow at noon."

I narrowed my eyes. "And she's just going to give it to me?"

Rattail gave a weak chuckle. "No way, sunshine. We'll be there waiting for you. All of us! And then Alpha Kay-Kay will finally get what she wants."

I sat there on top of him for more than a minute, mulling over his words. I'd known Kaylie had wanted revenge. I just didn't think she would have been this direct about it. Dex had all but promised that we'd have to search the whole city to find them. That would have taken months, maybe even years. This definitely sped things up, but it made the back of my neck tingle with suspicion.

"What's the catch?" I asked him.

"No catch! Except that you won't be leaving again afterwards. Kay-Kay's been looking forward to this for—ow, ow, ow, owww!"

I gave his arm another twist to shut him up.

"Fine," I spat. "Tell her I'll be there. And this is the last chance she'll have to give back the glove."

"I'm telling you, she ain't gonna—"

"I heard you the first time. But I hope you're wrong, because if there's no point in sending you to talk to her…" I leaned in again and bared my teeth. "Then there's no reason I shouldn't kill you now and make things easier tomorrow."

Rattail paled, but before either of us could say anything another voice rang through the room.

"Hey!" Snail-Snake-Dude yelled. "What's going on over here?"

I was on my feet in an instant, brushing my hands off on my clothes. "This creep just tried to grope me," I said without missing a beat.

"What?" Rattail yelled. "I didn't—"

"Benny did what?" the manager cut him off. "I find that hard to believe. Benny's been working here for more than fifteen years, and he's been a veritable saint the whole time!"

"Really?" I asked, looking at him over the shoulder. "He looks like—"

He cut me off too. "This is a safe haven down here! If you can't keep the peace, then you'll have to leave."

I opened my mouth to say I'd be more than happy to, but I stopped myself when I remembered that I couldn't go anywhere without Dex. So long as he was upstairs schmoozing with the bosses, I was stuck down here with Benny, Snail-Snake-Dude, and all the other Mythics who were giving me nervous, if not outright hostile, looks.

Luckily, I was saved by the bell. The elevator bell, to be exact. My sensitive ears picked up the ding as soon as the doors slid open, and I turned to see Dex making his way across the mail room with one hand inside his jacket, obviously fingering his scepter.

"Sugarsnout!" he called, closing the distance between us with a deceptively casual walk. I think I was the only one who could see how close he was to whipping out his weapon and frying everyone in our twenty foot vicinity. Dangerously close. "Can't I leave you alone for ten minutes without you getting into a fight?"

"It's not my fault!" I snapped. "This idiot jumped me!"

"Jumped you?" echoed Snail-Snake-Dude. "I thought you said he—"

I was already making for the door. "Yeah, he did that too. Come on."

Dex caught up to me just as I reached the elevator, and Gong wordlessly hit the button and started our journey back upwards. Dex didn't say anything, and I knew better to discuss what I'd learned here. I waited until we were back on the sidewalk outside, the bitter Chicago winds pulling at my hair, to speak up.

"So," Dex said, putting his hands in his pockets as if we were just taking a late night stroll, "make any new friends down there?"

I shook my head. "He was in Kaylie's pack."

Dex stopped dead in his tracks. "WHAT?"

"Exactly. They knew where we'd go, and sent someone to catch me there. He told me…"

I took a deep breath as my stomach did a flip inside of me. This was it. What I'd come here to do.

"What he'd say?" Dex pushed me.

"We've got a fight on our hands."

TO BE CONTINUED: 12/05/2020