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What was going down? Did it involve Chase? The case? Okay, she didn’t want to be rude, but curiosity bit. Bit hard. She took another step toward the door, but she didn’t open it.
“Okay, I’ll be there,” Burnett’s voice came.
Just as she reached for the knob, Burnett said, “Della?”
Crap. Was he upset that she’d been eavesdropping? She turned around, feeling guilty. It had been rude.
“I’m sorry, I should have left, but I thought maybe it was—”
“Sit down.” He shut off the phone. His gaze met her eyes, and she saw it. That phone call involved her.
She didn’t do as ordered.
“What is it?” She sensed his hesitancy and that could mean only one thing. It was bad.
“Sit back down,” he repeated. “We need to talk.”
*   *   *
The clock on Della’s bedside table listed the time as 2:55 a.m. She had five minutes. She looked down at her clothes. She was ready.
Black boots.
Black jeans and a black fitted T-shirt.
All black, so she’d blend into the night.
It had been the first rule of thumb that her cousin, Chan, had taught her about being a vampire. How appropriate that the color was right for this event. Black for grief. Black for pain. Black for putting Chan’s body into the ground and saying good-bye.
The call Burnett had gotten today while she’d been in his office had been about Chan. They had finally finished the autopsy and were releasing his body. At least now he’d be laid to rest. When she thought of him, she wouldn’t think of his body in some cold morgue.
Burnett had tried to talk her out of going. They’d discovered the graveyard was owned and managed by werewolves, and they weren’t answering their calls. But Burnett had been relentless that they needed to get Chan in his proper grave. After failing to survive being Reborn, other rogues had buried him in an unmarked grave in the woods to prevent his secrets from being revealed.
Now that he’d been found, he deserved one person at the burial who loved him. Even if she had to defy Burnett’s orders, she’d be there to see them lower his casket.
For the second time.
Damn you, Chan! It should have been me. She swallowed the tightness down her throat, remembering his first funeral. The fake one. Not that she’d known it’d been fake. When he’d first been turned, he faked his death, like most vampires did to separate from their human lives. And Della had mourned him then as she did now. Only then, she hadn’t felt the guilt.
Survivor’s guilt, Holiday explained. Pointing out that Chase had chosen to save Della instead of Chan. Della didn’t care what name you stamped on the emotion. She still felt like shit.
Inhaling, she went and stood by the window. A few stars twinkled down. A cloud crawled across the sky, hiding all but a small sliver of the half moon. She watched as the gray foggy formation inched by, reminding her of ghosts.
Not that she’d had one visit since the falls, but they hadn’t been far from her mind.
Her phone dinged with an incoming message. She pulled it out of her pocket, hoping it was Chase telling her he’d gotten something on Natasha and Liam. She’d texted him again after leaving Burnett’s office, but he hadn’t returned her message. Was he not answering because he was upset about what she’d told him earlier?
Now wasn’t the time to worry about trivial things. It might not feel insignificant, but when compared to life or death, it lost merit. Right now, all she needed from Chase was to find out if he’d somehow experienced the vision of Natasha and Liam. If he had, had he gotten anything from it that would help find them?
A heaviness stirred in her chest as she stared at the message illuminating her phone. Not from Chase. Just Burnett telling her he would be five minutes late.
She sent Burnett a “got it” message. Then, with her mind on Natasha and Liam, she pulled up the link to Chase’s prior messages.
Sighing, she typed in, Call me, and started to hit send, but then added, please.
Still staring at the phone, the slight sound of mattress springs adjusting to another toss and turn sounded from behind Della’s bedroom wall. Something was keeping Miranda, Della’s witch roommate, awake.
Did it have to do with Perry, and whatever had put him in a pissy mood earlier?
She didn’t really have time to check on the witch, Della told herself. Besides, between grief over Chan, the worry over things like visions, her own family and romantic issues … she shouldn’t be trying to take on anyone else’s problems. Then she heard the girl’s sniffle.
Oh, damn, this wasn’t just anyone else. It was Miranda. If it was Della in a pickle, the little witch would be here in a snap. Five minutes, she thought, walking out of her room and lightly tapping on Miranda’s door.
“Come in,” Miranda’s voice came low, unsure.
Della stepped inside. “I only have a few minutes, but … is something wrong?”
Miranda sat up and pulled her blanket-covered knees to her chest. “Yes, but I can’t talk about it.”
“Why not?” Della moved in a few more steps.
“I promised I wouldn’t mention it.”
“Why would you go making stupid promises like that? We share everything.” Even as Della said it, she knew she’d been keeping her own secrets from Miranda and Kylie. But not for long. She needed to tell them.
“I know we do, but … I can’t.” Miranda drew in a shaky breath.