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Footsteps moved her way; she looked up. It was the warlock FRU agent. He didn’t look much older than her. While he wore his hair short, he had a few unruly curls that probably made him look younger. He stopped a few feet away from her. Not liking having to look up, she stood and slipped the picture in her back pocket.
“Hey.” He nodded.
She responded with a similar head bob.
“Uh, I was wondering if you would mind if I fixed the lawn so it wouldn’t look … unearthed, just in case any other family comes, so there won’t be questions.”
“That’s fine,” she said.
He glanced back and waved a hand. Under the silver moonlight, and with the magic of one warlock, the uneven clumps of earth smoothed over. Perfect blades of grass grew to a manicured length, even a couple of yellow flowers popped up beside the tombstone. A breeze caught the flowers and they brushed against the marker with Chan’s name.
“Thank you,” Della managed to say, realizing she hadn’t thought about bringing flowers.
“You’re welcome.” He looked a little shy, as if he wanted to ask her something. “Are you the same Della that helped arrest Craig Anthony?”
She nodded and remembered there had been a warlock agent there, but this guy was younger.
“So you know Miranda?” he asked.
“Yeah,” Della said, surprised.
“I grew up in the same neighborhood with her. She was friends with my … little sister. Can you tell her Shawn Hanson said hello? And that … that I heard what she did that day, saving you guys with that amazing spell, and I just think … I think it’s cool that she’s finally coming into her own. I always suspected she was more talented than people gave her credit for.”
“I’ll tell her,” Della said, getting a whiff of his pheromones. So, Agent Hanson had a crush on Miranda, did he? Della could bet Miranda would like to hear this. Not that she’d be ditching Perry, but what girl didn’t want to know some guy had a thing for you? Especially an older guy.
He nodded and walked away. Right then, she heard Burnett’s unhappy voice ring out. She looked up and saw he’d been on the phone and was now shoving it in his pocket. She’d been so tuned in to the warlock she’d missed the conversation.
Burnett came over, his posture telling her he came with bad news.
“What’s wrong?” she asked.
He motioned for her to follow him. They moved within the trees again. “Have you heard from Chase yet?” he asked, his voice still low.
“No, why?”
“I think he just broke into the FRU storage house.”
Della frowned. “Why would he do that?”
“To get into Craig Anthony’s files that we confiscated.”
“How do you know it was him?” Della asked.
“The trespasser was described as young with dark hair, and he outran the best agents. Who does that sound like to you?”
Della couldn’t explain why she was happy Chase had gotten away, but she was. “Did he take anything?”
“One stack of files that we’d set aside.” He inhaled and met her gaze. “The ones that contained two fresh turns named Natasha.”
Della’s heart did a high five against her chest. “You found files on two girls named Natasha? Why didn’t you tell me?”
“We just found them about eleven tonight. I was going to inform you of this as soon as … as this was over.”
“Did you find any record of a Liam?”
All of a sudden, she felt a little panic seep in. “If it wasn’t Chase who took those files, then we’ve lost them.”
“I had someone scan them into our computers. So we’re fine. But I think we both know who did this. And he can’t be doing this kind of shit. You don’t piss off the FRU!”
Della nodded, but didn’t say anything. Hell, if Della had known the files were there, she might have broken in to get them, too. Then, suddenly, Della realized what this meant. Chase had been in the vision with her. Why else would he have gone and taken only those files?
“I’ll go with you,” she said, the urgency she’d felt at the falls about finding Natasha returning full force.
“No,” he said. “I haven’t gotten the clearance for you to work the case yet. I should have it tomorrow afternoon, then we’ll set you up. I know this is hard, but for now … go back to Shadow Falls and try to get some rest. You haven’t slept. Skip school today. We’ll need you at your best tomorrow.”
“What’s hard is knowing I could be doing something instead of twiddling my thumbs. Why can’t I just—?”
“No,” he said firmly. “Go get some rest.”
Della clenched her jaw to keep from arguing, then said, “I want to stay here for a bit and then … then I want to go see Steve. I’ll go rest after that.” She hadn’t even given seeing Steve much thought, but the moment it came out, she knew it wasn’t just what she wanted, but what she needed.
She needed Steve. Needed … his arms around her. More hugs? But crap, she really had to look into an anti-hug patch.
Maybe even an anti-Steve patch.
“Fine. I need to get to the agency. Do you want me to have an agent escort you—?”
“Will you stop babying me? I can take care of myself, or have you forgotten?”
Burnett frowned. “Fine, be safe. Keep the speed down and fly below the trees if it’s daylight.”