Divide & conquer, p.23
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       Divide & Conquer, p.23

         Part #4 of Cut & Run series by Abigail Roux
Page 23


  McCoy frowned. “What rookie?” “He looked about fifteen. I cant remember his name,” Ty admitted as he closed his eyes and tried to visualize the name on the windbreaker the kid had been wearing. “Reece, maybe? Reeves?” he tried.

  “Reeves?” Alston asked from behind him. “Sounds right,” Ty told him with a shrug as he turned to look back at him. Apparently he and the others had followed Ty to McCoys office to watch any fireworks that ensued.

  “Ty,” Alston said with a frown. “Special Agent Lydia Reeves was inside the building when the bomb went off. She was carried out right before Garrett, hurt pretty bad. Shes still in the ICU at UMMC. ”

  Ty stared at him, not quite comprehending what hed said at first. Then the implications came tumbling down on him so hard he almost physically staggered.

  “Theyd have a spotter,” he said softly. “Theyd set the bomb and find some way to watch the response. ” “Bomber picked up her windbreaker to get closer?” Alston ventured with a frown. “Wait, did you say he kept Garretts keys? Where is Garrett now?”

  Ty was already pushing past him and sprinting for the stairwell. “Behind you!” Alston shouted, and Ty knew the man was calling in backup to meet them at Zanes apartment. He took out his own phone and hit the speed dial as he raced down the stairs for the parking deck and the hated Valkyrie.

  The phone rang and rang with no answer, and Zanes voice mail picked up, his recorded voice serious and to the point before the beep. Ty cursed as the beep sounded and snapped the phone shut. It wasnt like someone would have to attack Zane to hurt him. All theyd have to do was knock on the door, quietly place a bomb in the house, since Zane couldnt see it to know it was there, and the job was done. A neighbor with chicken soup. A deliveryman with flowers. Zane would never be the wiser.

  Ty shoved through the stairwell door and darted across the parking deck. He knew he should wait for Alston and a car and backup, but he also knew deep down he could get there a hell of a lot faster on the stupid freaking motorcycle.

  Z ANE leaned forward against the wall, weight on his forearms and head down as the hot water pounded down on his neck and shoulders, splattering down over his back. He tipped his head from side to side, sighing as he felt the muscles relaxing. Hed gotten rid of the scent of orange juice and the sticky pulp residue, but he was nowhere near brainstorming through all the possible fallout scenarios of telling Ty that Ryan had brought him that care package.

  Stewing over it wasnt helping his headache; it was a bad one today. The doctor had said hed have them. Zane just hadnt expected them to get worse. He groaned and turned around so the water streamed down his back.

  Then there was a sound under the noise of the water running, something slamming in the outer room. Zanes head snapped up. It hadnt been two hours for it to be Ty. Maybe one, but certainly not two. He frowned and cocked his head to listen. Another sound followed the first, a door being kicked open and banging against a wall.

  Zanes hand curled into a fist. Here he was, wet, naked, unarmed, blind… and he could be in real trouble. His knives and gun were on the dresser in the bedroom. He couldnt do anything but wait.

  He didnt have to wait long. After another tense moment, the door to the bathroom burst open, banging against the sink as someone took two heavy steps into the room.

  “Zane?” Ty called out over the rush of the water.

  Zane let out a shaky breath, and his shoulders thumped back against the tile wall. “Yeah?”

  Ty cursed softly as another voice from somewhere in the apartment called out, “Clear!” followed by a reply of the same. “What?” Zane asked, confused. “What the hells going on?” “Why the fuck arent you answering your phone?” Ty demanded. The shower curtain was noisily yanked back, and cold air assaulted him.

  “Im in the fucking shower,” Zane snapped. “Whats going on?” Ty reached past him and turned off the water. Once it stopped running, Zane could hear the sound of several more people milling about outside the bathroom. “Get dressed,” Ty muttered, sounding angry and stressed and not the least bit apologetic.

  Then he was gone, and the bathroom door clicked shut. Zane growled as he carefully got out of the shower and set one hand on the counter. He didnt have any clothes in here. With an aggravated huff, he grabbed one of the extra-large bath sheets and wrapped it around his waist, tucking in the end. “Hed better have a good reason for this,” Zane said under his breath as he slicked one hand through his wet hair, leaving it to drip onto his shoulders, and he opened the door.

  He could hear voices in the kitchen and living room. A lot of voices. At least four, not including Tys. “Jesus Christ, Grady, whered you learn to ride a motorcycle like that?” a male voice was saying breathlessly as Zane made his way down the hallway.

  “West Virginia,” Ty muttered in response. “I didnt think they had sidewalks in West Virginia. ” Zane recognized Alstons voice now, tinged with amusement. “You sure as hell were riding on one. ”

  Zane stopped in the doorway to the living room, one hand holding onto the towel, and immediately shuddered. Two open doors made for a frigid February crosswind through his apartment. “And again I say, what the hell is going on?”

  Ty cleared his throat somewhere to Zanes right, in the kitchen. “Remember the kid who has your keys?” he asked Zane.

  Zane turned his head blindly toward Ty. “Yeah?” he ventured. “Turns out he aint a Fed,” Ty muttered. “Freddy, call a locksmith, will you?” he added as he turned away from Zane and spoke to someone else in the room. Zane recognized Perrimores bass tones making the phone call as directed.

  Frowning a little, Zane connected that piece of information with the men in the room, and he shook his head. “I never knew I had so many friends. ”

  “You dont,” someone called back wryly. Lassiter. Smart-ass. Great. The whole team was here. Although he hadnt heard Clancy yet. “Guys, close the doors. Its freezing. ”

  There she was. Great. Zane suppressed a grimace, and then the back door shut, cutting off the wind. “I want new locks on the doors in the next hour. Sweep the place for devices: bugs, bombs, everything. ” Tys voice had carried over the chatter that broke out. “I want the file on the investigation, and I want every suspect name youve got,” Ty said in a lower voice, obviously speaking to someone in particular.

  “You know I cant do that, Ty,” Alston answered seriously. “You owe me, Scott,” Ty whispered.

  There was silence in response. Finally, Alston murmured something, and Ty thanked him sincerely. Then Zane heard footsteps stop in front of him.

  “Were going to my place,” Ty announced without preamble. “Til we know its safe. ” A FTER bumping into something hard for about the fifth time, Zane sighed and tried to visualize the first level of Tys house again. It wasnt that complex a layout, being a long, narrow shape, but Zane would have to “learn” his way around, counting steps like he had at his own apartment. And that was frustrating.

  He heard something thump upstairs and relaxed. Ty was up there instead of watching Zane embarrass himself. At least there was that. Zane reached out to touch what was in front of him. It was an end table that stood by the arm of the couch against the wall of the narrow living room. He took a moment to orient himself, and then he turned left and took three steps, which—in theory—should put him close to the overstuffed chair he sat in a lot of the time while over here. When he reached out, his fingers jabbed into the soft fabric, and he cursed under his breath. He was closer than hed expected. He made an adjustment to the mental map, but before he could strike out in another direction, he thought he heard something odd too close to him, and he stayed in place, trying to identify the noise.

  It was silent for a few heartbeats. Then a hand touched his elbow. Zane flinched and inhaled sharply even though a split second later he knew it could only be Ty. A soft whiff of Old Spice confirmed it. “Sorry!” Ty said quickly as he snatched his hand away. “Didnt mea
n to scare you,” he mumbled as the hand returned to Zanes elbow. “Werent you upstairs like… thirty seconds ago?” Zane asked in surprise.

  “Yeah, I was putting on socks,” Ty answered with an almost audible shrug. “Feet are cold. Why, did you need something?” “No. I just didnt hear you come down. ” Zane shook his head and crossed his arms, and he caught himself blinking against the utter darkness. His eyes were dry and scratchy, and he reached up to rub at one. The nurse had said it was because the eye could not perceive light to force dilation, so his eyes wouldnt produce protective tears as they normally would.

  Tys hand caught his, pulling it away from his face. He felt Ty move closer, and the callused hand at his cheek moved to cup his face. “Dont do that,” Ty chided gently. “You want some more eyedrops?”

  Zane nodded, resisting the urge to apologize like he had the first twenty times. “Yeah. Theyre in that bag from the hospital,” he said, resignation swamping him again.

  Ty was silent as he moved away. Zane had to wonder whether it was because he didnt know what to say to him now that he was blind. It was possible that Ty had always been relatively quiet the majority of the time and Zane had never noticed it because of the spurts of rampant activity and rambling. He told himself that was just one more thing he was going to pay attention to if he ever got his sight back. There was so much he realized now that hed taken for granted.

  A few moments later, Zane heard the bag rustling, and then Ty pressed the eyedrops into his hand.

  “Need anything else?” Zane felt the childish desire for a kiss and hug, but that was a little much, even for him. He was already becoming a huge drain of Tys time and patience. “No, thank you,” he murmured. “Im just going to bum around down here if you have something to do. ”

  Ty made a frustrated noise. “You know what, sitting around here being miserable isnt going to do you any good,” he said abruptly. He took Zanes hand and gave him a small tug, guiding him over to the couch and unceremoniously shoving him onto it. “Sit here. Ill be right back. ”

  “What—” Zane cut himself off as he bounced on the cushions. There was no point in questioning Ty. It was a little refreshing, actually, to be called on his moping. Zane put some drops in his eyes, then leaned back into the corner of the couch and waited, brooding. He knew he was in a shitty mood, but he also was inclined to think he was justified.

  From somewhere in front of him there was a click, followed by soft music wafting from what Zane recognized as Tys Bose iPod dock. It had been a gift from Deuce, something Ty rarely used, and it sat on one of the shelves along the brick wall of the living room.

  Tys taste in music was eclectic, to say the least. He would blast classic rock and heavy metal in the Bronco when they drove on some days, and on others it would be laid-back country. When he worked out, it was thumping club music, something that would get the adrenaline pumping, but at home on the rare occasions when he listened to music, it was often folksy blues or indie rock, occasionally even something from the Rat Pack days. Zane never knew what to expect out of Tys sound system.

  Now the music was slow and relaxed, with a bittersweet undertone. Then, below the melody, was the unmistakable sound of the coffee table being shoved off the rug onto the hardwood, away from the center of the room.

  Ty took his hand and pulled at him. “Come dance with me, Zane,” he requested quietly. Zanes stomach flipped as he got to his feet, his hand folding into Tys after the gentle tug. He wondered if he looked as surprised as he felt and what expression was on Tys face right now. He took a few cautious steps after Ty out onto the cleared rug, the surprise melting into a deeply felt curl of pleasure and sparkle of unexpected nerves.

  Ty laughed as he pulled Zane to him and they fumbled over where to put their hands and how to hold each other. His breath was warm on Zanes cheek, and for the first time, Zane could feel the way Ty held himself as he prepared to dance, confident and strong. Hed seen it on the cruise ship when Ty had done a damn good tango. When theyd danced at the club, it had been more of a whirling mosh pit. This would be their first real dance.

  “You lead, Ill follow,” Ty offered.

  “Id rather follow you,” Zane murmured, absolutely aware of how many meanings those words held right now. Tys hand tightened in his, repositioning them, and his other arm wrapped around Zane until they were close enough that Zane could feel Tys movements deep down. He started with slow, easy steps, a real box step and turn to match the music, not just a graceless shuffle. This Zane could do without thinking about it, Tys body and the music guiding him. He literally didnt need to see a thing. He draped his free hand over Tys shoulder and relaxed into Tys arms, their cheeks brushing with each step. Ty turned his face toward Zanes, touching his nose and lips to Zanes cheek, and he curled Zanes hand between them, holding it against his chest. They swayed gently with the music, but Ty would occasionally pick up the pace and turn Zane in a faster circle as the instrumental chorus picked up. Then he would slow them again, pulling Zane closer, pressing their cheeks together in a gesture that was borderline sensual as the music moved them.

  Zanes pulse thrummed as he gave himself over totally into Tys hands, following his capable direction and floating on the music. His bad mood didnt stand a chance, and Zane could even feel a smile pulling at his lips. Hed thought about this, a slow dance with his lover, not a flashy tango or a writhing clash under a disco ball. But hed never dreamed he would get one. It was possibly one of the most erotic, most loving things Ty had ever done for him.

  Neither of them had shaved in a few days; Tys cheek scratched alongside Zanes. But his lips pressed to the corner of Zanes mouth and stayed there. It wasnt quite a kiss. His movements were relaxed and natural. The way his body moved to the music and was able to lead Zanes would have been gorgeous to see. It was better to feel, though.
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