Read The Blood Bargain Online

Authors: Macaela Reeves

The Blood Bargain (21 page)

Grabbing my coat, I shoved on my boots and headed out the door myself.

 

 

I was still
kinda
grumpy when I got to the G
arage.
Adam had a booth in back; Ben and Ryan were smashed in on either side of him. Cole sat directly across, hogging a whole side of the booth. He nodded at me as I approached, patting the bench next to him.

             
Great he saved me a seat.

I slid in, just as Ryan popped out of the other side to go get another round.

“So how

d it go
Liv
?”

“If we can get in, he

ll get us out.”

“You trust him?” Ben asked gruffly.

“Absolutely.” I responded, I absentmindedly wondered if they could see the puncture marks on my neck. Would kind of screw my credibility. Ryan returned with the drinks, which he spread around the table.

“So how do we get in?”

“Highways are definitely a bad time.” Cole pointed out.

“Back roads?” Adam offered. To which Ben frowned.

“D
on’
t even
end anywhere near downtown. We’
ll be mobbed bef
ore we get to the bridge.” Ryan’
s eyes lit
up like a Christmas tree.
“What about the river?” When no one immediately protested he continued, talking with his hands. “Downtown cuts right through the Des Moines

River

we could take five north till we hit a boat dock then coast right through the bridges into downtown. Land at the River Walk?”

“What about grabbers?” Cole asked slowly, grabbers were something we had only heard about. Some of the last survivors to get into Junction had the displeasure of running into the creeps; deadheads stuck in the muck below the rivers like a people trap just waiting for someone to swim by.

“This whole thing is pick your poison. Just trying to come up with the best way...” Ryan countered, looking a little disappointed. I took a swig of my drink then spoke up.

“I think it’
s a good idea Ryan. That river is deep and the current is
kinda
strong. I remember reading of a lot of drowning deaths in the paper. If they pour over the
sides to reach us they’
ll never make it to the sides of the boat.”

“They are
gonna
notice if we

re all gone.” Adam chimed in. Ben

s big shoulders seemed to tighten at his statement.

“You

re coming Adam?”

“Yeah. Yeah I am. I

m not sitting on the sidelines this time.” Cole, Ben and I exchanged looks. There was a reason Adam was in the tower and not on the wall. We

d lose the guy if he walked over a wide crack in the floor.

“All respect bro. Think you should stay here.” Cole spoke gently. Not wanting to offend.

“I

m not a child, besides you may need me.”

“Not using you as a human shield.” Ben joked.

“I

ll stay. Cover for you guys.” Ryan pushed his glasses up on his nose. “This has to be a one night operation though or it

s
gonna
get hard to explain.”

Cole threw a piece of ice at him. “Duh.”

“So what night are we doing this?” Adam tried to sound tough, but his voice squeaked.

“Let

s wait a week. We.re going to need to get our hands on some extra ammo for the long range and handhelds.” Ben continued, counting the list on his fingers. “Emergency med and food supplies case this goes wrong.”

“Let

s not fool
ourselves. If it goes wrong we’
re likely
gonna
be lunch.” I felt no reason to sugar coat it.

“Can we wait that long though?” Cole asked. “They are
gonna
know we capped their pets.”

“I don

t think so.” I quickly, then took a mouthful from my cup.

Cole looked at me like I had grown a horn. “Because?” He pressed.

“My friend said it violated their agreement? He was
gonna
cover like he slaughtered the deadheads in the meat locker.”

“Seriously?” Adam looked shocked. I nodded enthusiastically.

“Okay maybe I don

t completely hate bloodsuckers.” Cole chimed in, to which we all laughed.


Liv
!!” It was Candice. She was stumbling over to our booth wearing skin tight
jeggings
and a low cut shirt. She fell into me, giving me a huge hug. “I

ve missed you. Come play pool with me?” She begged. Her eyes sloshed to the other guys in the booth, lingering from Cole

to Adam to Ben. She passed over Ryan entirely.

“Whoa...
gonna
introduce me to your hot friends?”

“Candice! Oh my god...” I blushed for her, apparently she was too far gone for shame. “Guys this is Candice.”

“Hi Candice.” Ben smiled at her, all male recognition of her being an easy conquest for the night. That
jerk. What about Sammie? I wasn’
t
gonna
let her get taken advantage of or Candice for that matter.

With a large amount of effort, I get my drunken friend off of me then wiggled out of the booth.

“We

re
gonna
go play pool guys...I

ll see you later?”

“Why don

t we play doubles?” Cole suggested. “Ben you want to pair up with Candice?”

“You bet.” At his response Candice giggled. I
shot Cole a pissed off look when Ben and Candice turned away. He knew about Ben

s girlfriend just as much as I did. This stupid bro code was total BS.

We played until the candles burned low, Candice purposely falling all over Ben. Cole tried to lean over me on a couple of shots, but I did my best at avoiding his touch. I hadn

t had the
o
fficial

I.m
not your girl don

t
ever do that again

conversation with him yet. Partly because I was attracted to him on a low level I suppose.

Not at all what I felt for Dimitri.

In the end, they
beat us; mostly because I wasn’
t paying attention, too concerned with avoiding Cole while trying to save Candice.

“It

s getting late, Candice how about I get you home?” I offered.

“Oh I

m sure I can escort
Candi
.” Ben offered.
Candi
? Really? Still she ate it up, nodding enthusiastically.

“Okay,
Liv
I

ll see you around.” She gave me a big hug. I wanted to protest-order her to leave with me and throw a drink in his smiling face-but she was an adult and could do as she well pleased. To my horror, Cole announced he would also walk me home. Something I planned to stop as soon as we got outside.

“Cole I

m fine...”

“Nonsense, I

m walking my gal home.”

“I never said I was yours in any way shape or form.” I retorted, cutting through the alley that led off the square.

“No you just showed me.” He winked. I spun on my heels, ready to give him an earful on how his cornering domineering kiss was not welcomed.

“I knew it!” A baritone voice called from behind us.

Zack.

“This is why you postponed the wedding. Him?” Zack stumbled around the corner, shooting an arm out to point towards Cole. “I.ve b
een watching you two all night.
Laughing...playing pool...what the hell man. What the hell...” I didn.t even know
what to say to the guy. I hadn’
t even seen Zack inside. Looking at him now I wasn

t sure how I
could have missed him, he wasn’
t a small man or a quiet man by any means. I guess my defense was I had been kind of preoccupied on the whole
super secret
spy stuff and Candice

s honor. Mentally I kicked myself, some agent I would have made. I couldn.t spot a problem ten feet away.

“Dude you.re drunk, go home.” Cole yelled at him. Zack just shook his head and laughed.

“That's my wife.
Mine. I picked her and you can’
t have her, go get some other wretch in this colony.” Zack continued to approach, his eyes focused on Cole like he wanted to throw down. Idiot. My money was on Cole if it
came to that. It wouldn’
t though, because this was stupid and I was not property.

Cole seemed to think otherwise, he was cracking his neck and rolling his shoulders, a wicked smile on his face. Did Zack not realize this guy was a black belt?

“Nobody owns me so knock it off!” I chimed in.

Stupid Neanderthals. I stepped in front of Cole, facing Zack.

“I don

t want to
get married right now. Okay? It’
s
not Cole’
s fault. It
’s mine. So if you’
re going to be drunk and act like a jerk direct it at me.”

“The only reason I voted to save your sorry life is
our dad’
s said you would be mine. Wanted to be my wife. You used me.” He stumbled. “I
shoulda
voted to ship
you over the wall, let them dead things eat that pretty face.” Zack

s arms shook, showing a temper I

d never seen. He pointed at me. “
Fangers
ain

t
enough for you,
gotta
have the meat heads too? What you
gotta
sleep with every guy in Junction before you marry me? Slut. You manipulative little slut.” And that did it.

Cole pushed me out of the way faster than I could react to the garbage spewing from Zack

s mouth.

His arm moved in a blur, airborne to contact with Zack's face with an audible crack. Zack countered with a cheap shot, kicking Cole below the belt.

Then they were wrestling on the concrete in the alley, Cole landing three times the blows as his competitor.

“Stop it!” I shouted at both of them. This was not going to be good for Cole, Daddy Graham would have him in jail for this. Regardless of his son starting it. I ran my hands through my hair, watching them tussle. This was so stupid. Incredibly stupid.

Cole kicked Zack off and the two of them scrambled to their feet. I took the opportunity to wedge myself between them as they circled.

“Get out of the way
Liv
. You know he deserves it.” Cole growled.

“You are
gonna
get thrown in jail!” I hissed at him.

“Excuse me.” A familiar voice called from the edge of the alleyway.

Oh hell. If tonight could get any worse.

Dimitri walked toward us, confident and calm despite having a smaller physical stature than the other two men. Having recently fed, he looked almost human in coloring. His clothing helped to falsely emphasis his harmlessness, a black hoodie and worn jeans was so very normal guy apparel. His face carried a whole lot of irritation as his eyes examined both of the men, and then

focused on me.

“Are you alright?” He asked.

“Who the hell are you?” Zack spit blood on the
concrete. I didn’
t miss Dimitri

s eyes focusing on the splatter. A growing worry started in my gut. The last thing that was needed at this particular moment was for Dimitri to go horror movie on the young Councilman.

“An inquiry that would be applicable to you as well. Why are you subjecting the lady to such uncivilized theatrics?”

“It

s between us buddy, just move on.” Cole growled at Dimitri. Who inclined his head in agreement, much to my surprise.

“Very well.
Liv
. Let us move on.” He extended his hand to me.

I didn

t waste a heartbeat.

“I

ll see you tomorrow Cole.” I muttered and
took Dimitri’
s hand. Together we walked out of the alley, leaving two very confused human men in our wake.

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