Divide & conquer, p.33
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       Divide & Conquer, p.33
 

         Part #4 of Cut & Run series by Abigail Roux
Page 33

 

  Zane went still. He did that sometimes, McCoy had noticed in the past, usually because it was such a contrast to Tys incessant twitching. “No,” Zane replied, his tone flat. “I only heard they took one person into custody. ”

  McCoy nodded and pushed the file around. “Got her with a sniper rifle. It was an impressive shot, disarmed her but didnt kill her. Still, hes not really okay with shooting a kid, from what my agents are telling me. Anyway, thats not why I brought you in here. ” He turned the file around on his desk. The pages were covered with thick black ink, lines and lines of redacted information.

  “Her?” Zane was now frowning deeply. “A kid?” He glanced down at the file, then back up at McCoy. McCoy looked at him with some surprise. “You havent heard any of it? She was seventeen. All weve gotten from her is the ringleader isnt much older than she is and she doesnt know why hes so intent on killing so many people, but he is and she was scared of him. She also hinted to us as she was being wheeled away that he might have it out for you and Ty because youve become the figureheads of the pursuit, so to speak. Im surprised Grady didnt tell you all this. As soon as he figured it out, he went tearing off to find you, make sure you werent a collateral target during all the chaos. ”

  Zane looked away, toward McCoys window. To McCoys eyes, he looked uncomfortable, which was unusual for the ultra-controlled Zane Garrett. But hed had a shitty week too. Going blind would throw anyones emotional equanimity.

  “We didnt talk long,” Zane finally said. “He had things to do, and I had to go back to UMMC. ”

  McCoy nodded, satisfied with the answer. Who the hell knew what Ty was ever thinking, anyway? He tapped his finger on the blacked-out file. “Im trying to see if anything in Gradys file might connect him to this kid, but as you can see, his file is mostly crap. I wanted to ask you if you knew anything that might be relevant. ”

  Zane looked back to the mostly blacked-out paperwork, then up to McCoy. “If thats Gradys file, I dont know that Ill be much more help. ”

  McCoys brow knitted. “Youve never seen his file?” Zane shook his head just slightly, winced, and stopped the movement with a touch to his temple. “No. ” “Huh. Well, you should take it and read up, Garrett. Gradys got to be a damn minefield to walk through without an inkling of whats back there,” McCoy grunted as he closed the file and handed it to Zane. “Nothing in theres going to help this investigation. ”

  Zane looked at the file in his hand like he wasnt sure what to do with it, then dropped it lightly on the edge of McCoys desk. “So there are more of them out there, and they know us. Me and Grady. Possibly where we live. And theyre likely out to get us specifically,” he summed up, face grim.

  “Id wager if they werent before, they are now,” McCoy told him bluntly. Zane tipped his head to one side, eyes going unfocused as he thought hard about something. McCoy had seen the man pull together details from disparate case files to create legitimate leads in critical investigations; he wondered just what Zane was chewing on now.

  “Wheres Grady?” Zane ask abruptly. McCoy couldnt hide his surprise and confusion. “I dont know. At home, probably. We have someone going around every few hours to keep an eye on him. The last team we tried to sit on him, he actually threatened to shoot them. ”

  “He would,” Zane muttered. He stood up. “I need to get up to speed on the contingencies, but I wont last long,” he said, waving a hand at his head. “Killer headache. ”

  McCoy nodded, watching Zane curiously. “Dont push yourself. Go on home. Ill have someone come around to check up on you too. ” Zane hesitated, apparently choosing his words before saying, “Im going to stop by and see Ty. Weve both had the week from hell. ” “Might be a good idea. Maybe you can ease his mind some. It was a clean shot. No one knew she was a kid. ” “He did what he had to. What was right,” Zane said quietly. “Doesnt mean it doesnt hurt. ” With that he left the room and, McCoy noticed belatedly, Tys personnel file.

  McCoy grunted as he frowned at the folder. In his opinion, Ty had more on his conscience than the shot hed taken four days ago. A lot more.

  He reached for the file and stowed it in the bottom drawer of his desk, locking it away.

  Chapter Thirteen

  A S HE stood outside the row house door, Zane realized how nervous he was. Not scared, not angry. Nervous. He hadnt seen or heard from Ty since the day Ty had decked him. Four long, lonely, and miserable days that had driven home to Zane just how very important Ty was to him. Every night, lying alone in a cold bed with a lamp on so he wouldnt be in the dark, Zane had struggled to accept that however unintentionally, hed scared Ty badly and needed to apologize. Hed wrangled even more with the possibility that Ty wouldnt give him the chance, which had only fed Zanes irrational fear of losing him altogether.

  Zane had seen Ty easily forgive and let something go—it was one of the most prominent aspects of Tys unusual personality. But Zane had never seen Ty angry enough to literally walk away. Even when Zane had been drunk on the cruise ship, Ty had dragged him to the pool to sober him up instead of telling him he was done. Then today, the news about Ty and the girl—it had almost knocked Zane over as he realized just what exactly Ty had been dealing with that day.

  Zane would get down on his knees and beg to get back into Tys good graces, if that was what it took.

  But first things first. He rapped hard on the door. It took a full minute before the lock on the door turned. When Ty swung the door open, he wore nothing but a towel, rivulets of water still running down his chest and arms.

  “Garrett,” he said in surprise. At the sight of all that glorious skin, heat slashed through Zane so fast that he lost track of what he had carefully planned to say. Instead he reached out, grabbed Ty by the back of the neck, and yanked him a step closer so he could kiss him messily.

  Ty flailed and struggled to keep his balance. Zane distantly realized that Ty had his gun in his hand. When Zane pulled back, he glanced at the weapon—pointed away, luckily—and then at Ty for a split second before doing what hed come to do in the first place.

  He slugged Ty. Ty reeled back, too surprised by the double-edged assault to keep his feet. The gun went skittering across the hardwood, and Ty wound up flat on his back, the towel miraculously still wrapped around his hips.

  Zane stood in the doorway, yanked his Wayfarers off, and took a couple of heartbeats to admire the sight. “Didnt see that coming, did you?” he asked as he set his hands on his hips.

  Ty shook his head violently, as if trying to clear it, and he pushed up onto his elbows. “What the hell, Zane?” he said in a hoarse, angry voice. “Is there a car out there? People are watching me!”

  “Of course theres not a car, I checked. They stopped watching you after your death threat,” Zane retorted, stepping inside and kicking the door shut. “You—you spent all that time taking care of me, and then you just took off!” Zane accused with a pointed finger.

  “You—!” “ And you chewed the hell out of my ass and then didnt even give me a chance to apologize for being a jerk,” Zane finished, feeling the frustration starting to ebb. Just being with Ty made a difference. “But mostly? Hitting me while I was blind was a low blow, even if I did deserve it. ” He offered his hand to help Ty up.

  Ty looked at his hand and then back up at him incredulously. “Is that supposed to be an apology? God, youre such a dick!” Zane stared down at him, all too aware of how thankful he was he could see Tys face again. Hed dreamed about it every night. “No, that wasnt an apology. ” He went down on one knee next to Ty and took a deep breath. “But this is: I am sorry that I scared you. I didnt think it through, and Im sorry that after all that time you spent supporting me, you were the one who got let down. I know I cant change it, but Im willing to do whatever it takes to make it up to you. ”

  Ty blinked at him, obviously surprised by the real apology. He pushed himself up to sit, looking up at Zane grimly. “That was better,” h
e commented with a curt nod. “Did it hurt?”

  “Being hit, hitting you, or apologizing?” Zane asked tentatively. Ty snorted and shook his head, looking out the front window. “I hope all of it hurt,” he muttered, disgruntled. He reached out and gripped Zanes shoulder, using him to pull himself to his feet. “Howd you get here? And why are you here, besides the urgent need to deliver a knuckle sandwich?” Ty asked as he turned away from him and began walking through the long row house toward the kitchen at the back. His voice was low and controlled, almost devoid of emotion. That meant he was trying to hide that he was angry or hurt.

  Zane just punching him in the face aside, if Ty was still angry at him after four days, Zane had no idea what he could do about it. “Came from the office,” he answered as he got to his feet. “I heard about what happened at the bank. ”

  Ty stopped at the kitchen counter, placing his hands flat on the countertop, his back still to Zane. He was tense, the muscles in his back and shoulders jumping as he gripped the counter top. The towel was losing its battle with gravity, though, and that was a distraction Zane was determined to ignore. For now.

  He slowly approached, not trying to muffle his footsteps on the hardwood, until he stood barely a foot behind Ty. After a moments deliberation, he reached out to gently lay a hand on each of Tys shoulders. He was taut as a bowstring beneath Zanes fingers. Giving Ty time to react, Zane slowly took that last step to hold Ty against his chest and carefully close his arms around him. He didnt have anything to say. He knew words wouldnt help.

  Ty lowered his head, reaching one hand up to place it over Zanes. The tension invested in him began to ebb, and he slumped. Zane tightened his hold and pressed a gentle kiss to Tys ear. “Ive got you,” he whispered.

  “Took you long enough,” Ty answered in a hard voice. He turned his head, his cheek brushing Zanes lips. Pain jabbed Zanes chest. “Im sorry,” he breathed, arms tightening even more. He wanted to ask why Ty hadnt said anything, why he hadnt called, but they were stupid questions and wouldnt make a difference now. Ty had gone looking for him, and Zane hadnt been there. That was the bottom line. He needed to be thinking about Ty right now, not himself.

  Ty shook his head, either rejecting the apology or telling Zane he didnt have to apologize again.

  “Im here now,” Zane said, drawing courage from the fact Ty hadnt pushed him away.

  “They keep flashing her picture on the news,” Ty said in a low rumble. “I had to unplug the TV. Cut off the phone. ”

  For a moment, Zane was lost, but then it clicked. “Was it bad?” he asked quietly, setting his chin on Tys shoulder. “I took her through the shoulder joint. I was trying to make certain her arm went down so she couldnt pull the trigger. They told me it destroyed the ball and socket—shell never use the arm again. ”

  “But shes alive,” Zane pointed out gently.

  Ty nodded jerkily. He was looking at the counter devotedly. Zane felt him tense again. “What the hell are these fucking kids doing?” Zane shook his head, knowing Ty would be able to feel it. “I tried calling you. ”

  “Turned off my phone. Mac kicked me out, Sidewinder went home,” Ty muttered. Zane didnt ask if there were more reasons, reasons that included him. “We got a line on the ringleader. He pretty much matches the sketch you had drawn. We spent the last couple of days trying to run him down. Hes not anywhere his records say he could be, so no luck yet. Mac said the girl was afraid of him, didnt know why he wanted to hurt people. ”

  Zane could feel Ty coiling like a snake about to strike. It was painfully obvious that anger and frustration and guilt and probably a myriad of other emotions had been building inside him the last few days, possibly weeks. He raised his head and breathed out slowly, resting his head against Zanes shoulder as the tension inexplicably ebbed.

  He rubbed a hand over his face and turned in Zanes arms. “Its not like you to bottle up like this,” Zane said, taking in the unusually dark circles under Tys eyes. Ty met his gaze silently for a long moment, then snaked his arms up around Zanes neck and hugged him, burrowing his face under Zanes chin. Zane held him tight, feeling his eyes prickle, determined not to move from this spot until Ty was ready.

  When Ty finally spoke, his voice was muffled, with a wry twist to it. “Im sorry I went ballistic on you. ” Zane wrinkled his nose. “Couldve been worse. Some good did come of it,” he replied, opening his eyes, the flood of relief at being able to see still fresh.

  “You deserved it. ”

  “Not arguing. ”

  Ty raised his head to look at him, finally releasing him and leaning back against the counter. He looked spent, physically and emotionally. “Are you really better?” he asked in sincere concern. “Your eyes?”

  Zane relaxed, though the worry for his lovers state of mind still loomed large. “Still a little bleary, but almost back to normal. Doctor said not to be surprised if there was a little more bleeding or blurring. ” He shrugged as he lifted one hand to cup Tys cheek. “More than anything, I needed to see you again,” he whispered.

  Ty rewarded the honesty with a melancholy smile. “I missed you too. Jerk,” he tacked on, smile growing.

  “Yeah, I deserve that,” Zane murmured as he stroked his fingers along Tys cheekbone. “I might have left a bruise here. ”

  Ty rolled his eyes. “Of course you did. ” Zane leaned down and brushed his lips gently over the abused cheek. Tys eyes fluttered shut, and Zane felt the shiver run through his body.

  “Thats better,” Ty whispered, voice gone rough.

  “Will you let me stay?” Zane murmured, lips brushing Tys skin.
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