A Little Roughed Up at The Asylum Safe House - Part Fourteen
A day late, but a nice long one!
Packing. Cleaning. Everyone who could moving in a rush.
Quint watched it all, completely numb.
“They’re all dead.” At his side, Pike braced himself on his crutches and took Quint’s hand. “We hide the bodies. Pretend this never happened.”
Lacing his fingers with Pike’s, Quint shook his head. “That’s not how this works, my sweet little brat.” Swallowing, he met Seth’s eyes as their Dom approached. Took a deep breath. “Shea’s bringing one of the SUVs close to the house and Dallas is bringing another. Both have been scrubbed down. The risk of further infection for Reed should be low, and Stephan is stable so—”
Seth brought his hand up to cup Quint’s cheek, shaking his head. “Don’t do that, my boy. I know the details. This place means something to you. Letting it go won’t be easy. I won’t have you pretending it is.”
“It’s...necessary.” Quint let himself relax a bit into his Dom’s touch, accepting the comfort he offered, if only for a moment. There wasn’t much time to be sentimental, but he’d given Seth his submission and there was no good reason to deny it now. “But yes, this is hard. I remember…” He lifted his gaze to meet Seth’s. “All that paint...it was to help one of the youngest on my team. He was an expert in infiltration. Charged as an adult at sixteen for breaking into a special ops base and trying to sell sensitive intel to the highest bidder. He was there for a week before anyone caught him, just taping conversations.” His lips curved as he recalled the attitude. That baby face. Billie Lauv had been a tough kid, but...still a kid. So homesick it broke Quint’s heart to tell him his parent’s safety depended on him toeing the line.
Perfectly still, Pike stared up at him. “You brought him here?”
“Yes. We had to make him disappear and train him. He’d attracted all the wrong kind of attention. He...asked me to help him make it easy for his parents. To make his ‘death’ one that wouldn’t hurt them too much. There had been a few different approaches considered… The most important one for him was his record being cleared. His parents...believing they hadn’t messed up with him.” Quint lifted his shoulders. “I don’t think they did. He was intelligent and looking for a way to use his skills to give them a better life. The point is...once he was here, I wanted to show him he could have that and...a fresh start for himself. His room was the spare one. He painted the walls black the first time. I was worried at first, but he got excited and asked for different rock magazines. Put clippings of his favorite artists all over the walls.”
A small smile curved Seth’s lips. “You gave him a space to claim and he did. This became home for him.”
Quint nodded. “Yes. And for all of us for a time. Michel would make waffles for breakfast, I’d make pizza for lunch. It was horrible, but they pretended it wasn’t. One after another, they were reassigned. Billie and I were the only ones who came back here for the longest time. I always made sure there was paint for him, because changing up his room made him happy. The last time...he painted it a very neutral color. He wanted the other men to see him as an adult. I don’t believe any of them saw him as anything else, not when he was out there, watching their backs, but… That’s why it’s a bland blue now.”
“What happened to him?” Pike’s hand tightened around his, his voice soft. Like he wasn’t sure if he should ask.
Taking a deep breath, Quint brushed his thumb over Pike’s knuckles. “He came back after a mission went wrong. He’d taken a few bullets and...I made him comfortable. He’s one of the reasons I can’t just walk away from this place. We don’t have the time to erase everyone who’s been here. If there was an investigation and his DNA was found, his parents would be informed. They think he died five years ago, riding rapids in Chilko River with some college buddies. There are videos of him, looking healthy and happy. One of our men brought him a video of them watching some footage he’d orchestrated and...it was a good choice. They were sad, but...it was something for them to hold on to. His last moments being so full of joy. They had a body to bury. Closure.”
For a long moment, Seth studied his face, then gave a slow nod. “But you have something different. For you, his last moments were far away from that fiction he’d created for them. And this place has those memories. The good and the bad. Letting that go means losing it all.”
Vision blurring with tears he hadn’t expected, Quint lowered his gaze. “Yes, sir. I...this place, it’s been secure for eight years. I have two other safehouses, but this was the one I brought my team to. The people I cared about. That I trusted. When we first brought the core here it was...right. But not. Because those memories are all of people who didn’t survive. I had to put that aside. Focus on it being the safest place I could offer. And...in the end, it wasn’t. Because I was too comfortable. I didn’t consider the risks as much as I should have. Pike was hurt. And we were found. I—”
“Quint, look at me.” Seth slid his fingers through Quint’s hair, touching their foreheads together. “We needed time and you gave that to us. Focus on that. Because you were right. This was the perfect place to get away from the immediate threat. As it was for those men. For Billie. A coat of paint might not be much, but it was what he needed at the time. He could have spent his whole life in prison, but the way you talk about him? I’m thinking he was a bit like you. He saved a lot of people and that made all his sacrifices worth something.”
There was no question there. Billie had helped save dozens of civilian hostages. Freed soldiers from torture chambers. He’d gone from being a young man, ashamed of the harm he’d caused, to becoming the hero of so many who’d never know his name.
But Quint knew it. And he would never forget that boy, in this house, standing up on a chair and grinning at him when he’d mixed a gallon of paint and had droplets of orange all over his cheeks, saying he wanted to brighten things up because he’d sat with a little girl he’d saved, sand clinging to him, and she’d held up a mirror. Ignored the bruises on her own face and looked at him and said he was how she’d see angels from now on. Covered in sand glowing under the light of the flames of the camp he’d rescued her from.
He pulled the matches from his pocket. Breathed in, absorbing the stench of gasoline for the first time. It was almost enough to detach him from this place. Because it had never smelled like this before. For a bit he’d believed that would help. Being the one who poured it on the floors. Who made the decision on how it would be erased.
“I don’t know if I can do this.” Quint held up a hand when Seth’s lips parted. “No, don’t tell me all the other ways. I know them. This is the right one. But... Part of me keeps going back to how I had to lay out the next steps for so many. Except him. Billie stood his ground. If he was here right now, he’d be lighting that match. I don’t think he realized how strong that made him. Being able to do that without looking back.”
Seth slid his hand to the nape of Quint’s neck, putting some pressure there and helping him release some of what he’d been holding. “He was able to do that because you showed him he wasn’t moving on from it alone. Let us do that for you. Give you somewhere to go from here.”
One crutch under his arm, letting the other one fall, Pike held out his hand. “I can do it. I...get it. And...Billie would’ve wanted this. He put a lot into making sure his parents could move on, right? They were good people. They deserved that. But this place is something else to you and...he wouldn’t have wanted it to hurt you. Because you gave him a way to be better. Even if they’ll never know.”
That both Seth and Pike understood the situation so well without him having to spell it out made it feel like...like there was a next step for him. Billie wasn’t the only one who couldn’t be traced back to here. There was Michel, who’d chopped wood just like Curtis and Dallas in the morning before coming in to make those waffles. Richard, who’d fussed over the least bit of dust, like Wren did. Andre, who’d find a way to joke about anything at the worst time, a lot like Jamie, absolutely harmless, always horny, and ready to snuggle at the end of the day and sing a song to raise everyone’s spirits.
One mission after another had kept Quint from getting too close to them. Or...that had been the intention. He still had, if he was honest with himself. So many names, so many faces, all men he’d never forget.
But...he was leaving here with men he wouldn’t have to. Lives he could preserve. Futures that could go on.
Smiling at Pike, he held out the matches. “He would have wanted this. And he’d have loved you. The way you look at the world...it was beyond how he could see it, but he’d have asked you to show him. To paint him something that would give him beauty to bring with him. When he had all those magazines, I didn’t realize...he was looking for more. Experiences he might never have. But he found little pieces of a world he could imagine.”
Hand closing around the matches, Pike stared up at the house. “I can...paint this for you. I’ll remember every detail. Noah and Ez have shown me some stuff so I’ll...I think I can do it justice. We can put it up over the fireplace at home. It doesn’t have to be gone completely. Just not here in a way that...can hurt anyone.”
There was nothing Quint loved more than seeing the men he loved tap into the simple pleasure of whatever it was that they enjoyed. For Pike, it was his art. Something that set him apart from his family. It had been used against him, but it was still his.
And Quint wasn’t sure he knew how much the offer meant. It was a way to let go while holding on to what mattered.
Which were all he had left.
“I’d love that, brat.” Quint’s lips twitched when Pike wrinkled his nose at the endearment. They both knew he liked it, but it wasn’t as much fun if he let it show.
Drawing Quint back, arms wrapped around him, Seth looked up at the house as Pike lit the match and lowered his gaze to the rainbow on the walkway from the gasoline. “Careful, my little pixie. Don’t catch yourself in the flame.”
To anyone else, the words would seem like nothing except a warning to be careful. But Quint knew Seth better than that. It would be too easy for Pike to see himself in this. In all the people Quint had been forced to leave behind.
He was one of the people who’d shown Quint that sometimes, there were people he could keep. That he was allowed to love.
“I won’t, sir.” Pike tossed the match, retreating until Seth could pull him into his arms, close to Quint, safe as the fire spread. “So...what happens now? We...just go back? I…” He snuggled in against Quint’s side, asking for comfort in a way that made his next words easier to take. “I keep wondering… What if I was gone? Would that...I mean, the contract would go away. Karliene’s still using the power I gave her. Wouldn’t...wouldn’t everyone have that nice, simply, happy life they wanted if I wasn’t here?”
Seth’s muscles tensed. “My boy, I love you, but you’re seeing something that was never there. Your cousin couldn’t hide forever. Noah and Lawson both have pasts they couldn’t escape. Even Matt, who seems like the least complicated one here, has his brother who’s connected with a gang that will keep using every opportunity to regain control. There’s no erasing the issues we all face. We move forward, doing the best we can. With the challenges and the less than perfect.” He took the matches, easing them from Pike’s fist and tucking them in his pocket. “Do you have any idea how precious what we’ve found is? Despite all that?” He pressed a kiss to Pike’s cheek. “Some people will never have what we do, even with nice and simple. And we’ve earned it.”
Fire consumed the walls of the safehouse, shattering the windows, rising higher and higher. At first, watching it was like letting it take everything Quint had tried to hold on to. A little piece of security when he’d had none.
Only...that wasn’t true anymore.
“Our patients are settled in.” Coming up to his other side, Jared laid a hand on his shoulder. “I don’t mean to intrude, but I hoped that would be one thing off your mind.”
Seth cast Jared a long look. “You’re not intruding, my man. He needed to be here for this, but not alone. Neither of us will ever let him feel that way again.”
“No. We won’t.” Jared held Seth’s gaze, slipping his arm around Quint’s waist, smiling as Pike dropped his other crutch and snuggled against Quint’s chest. “You, my boy, are what was always missing.” He brushed his hand over Pike’s blue hair. “He will always take care of those who need it. But he didn’t have anyone who needed it so much who could give it back.”
Peeking up at Jared, Pike frowned a little. “Sir, I’m glad you don’t hate me. And you’re not...wanting me gone. But Quint does a lot more for me than I do for him. I’m fuck—freaking lucky. And I know it.”
Hand at the base of Pike’s neck, Jared let out a soft laugh. “I’m not sure you know what that kind of awareness means. Yes, he does more for you. He knows how to. But you’re learning how to return it and that is important. Keep doing so and you’ll eventually find that balance you’re looking for, my little gremlin.”
“If you weren’t so affectionate about it, I’d take exception to you calling him that.” Seth trailed his hand down to the small of Pike’s back, seeming more comfortable with Jared’s presence than he had in a long time. There were so many things the two men still had to come to terms with, but one thing hadn’t changed, even if neither of them knew it. When someone was special to them, there were no limits. And Quint had become that person they shared. The one who connected them.
The next step would be for them to admit they’d found something of their own. That the hurt and resentment wasn’t only because of him. He’d just become the face of it because anything else was too complicated.
Maybe one day they’d get past that.
Or at least reach some common ground where they could…
He breathed in, absorbing the scent of smoke and ash, which brought back so many regrets. So much pain. All three of them had that, but Jared had been the one left in the dark. The tattoos on his skin showed what he’d fought to move on from, over all these years. Choices that hadn’t been based on all the facts. A loss that he’d learned to live with, scars and pain, healing, Rhodey and Noah there to fill in a place in his life where Seth and Quint once belonged.
Now? They were back, finding a new place. Quint had seen how hard it had been for Jared to let him back in. The damage that had been repared by others, leaving him as no more than a painful memory.
It was fitting that Jared would be here now, seeing pieces that Quint had put together himself after leaving him going up in flames.
The soft brush of a thumb over his cheek brought his focus back to Jared. One of the first Doms he’d ever have. A man who’d always owned a piece of his heart. “You don’t deserve this, my boy. This may be a consequence of the life that was chosen for you, but remember what you told me. It was worth it. You gave so much and that should mean you can have peace now. Instead, you keep having to give up the little you kept for yourself. But I heard what you said. I choose to believe you’d have told me yourself if I’d asked. This place, the people you were here with before...they need you to let go this way. To say goodbye. What you gave them here? It’s more than those walls. And you’re not letting them hold those men here. You are very good at giving people what they need. You’re doing so now.” Jared brushed the tears from his cheeks with his thumbs. “I believe you not doing it alone would make them very happy.”
“It would.” Quint stared into the fire, no longer finding any reason to look away. Jared was right. This was the best way to say ‘Goodbye’. Not leaving a trace when they’d wanted none. “For some of them, I was it. Their only connection to the world. But I...wasn’t terrible at being their person. Three men. Three that had no one else. Billie. Michel. And Clarence. Clarence had a wife and two kids he left behind. No other family. I...made sure they’ll never want for anything. Keiran would like her. She opened a bakery. Her wedding cakes are featured in a few magazines.” He smiled, thinking back on how Clarence used to brag about her, his voice breaking as he described the intricate flowers and decorations she spent hours perfecting. How much he’d loved watching her. Taste testing all the different flavors of cakes. “He tried to make one for us. It was terrible. We ate every bite.”
“If this place wasn’t destroyed…?”
Quint nodded, answering the question Jared hadn’t asked. “She would have to deal with the insurance company reopening the case. The official cause of death was an accident at the warehouse where he was working as a cover—the money didn’t make up for her loss, but she was able to expand her business. It was all he asked for. I set it up for him. He actually died after being tortured for days. I got him back here and… Fuck, what is wrong with me? I should hate this place.”
Letting out a soft laugh, Seth kissed his cheek and hugged him tight. “Nothing’s wrong with you, my boy. You went from having no control over what happened to your patients to being able to make sure the people they left behind had something. You chose to see first-hand the lives you saved.”
“That was a huge part of what he was missing in the military.” Jared muscles tensed slightly against Quint as he gazed up at the fire, his voice a bit distant, as though part of his mind had drifted to another time and place. When Quint reached out as he stepped forward, clasping their hands together, Jared held on tight, giving his head a hard shake and turning to face them, the flames behind him. “I always knew that was the wrong life for you—all those soldiers, some whose names you never got a chance to know, too many we hand to hand off without knowing if they’d survive. Seth was able to give you the out I couldn’t.”
Quint exchanged a look with Seth, giving him a subtle nod. He picked up Pike’s crutches while Seth swept the young man off his feet. Keeping close to Jared’s side, Quint began to walk toward the SUVs waiting down the road. He was grateful for Jared being by his side during this moment, but he didn’t need to continue to watch his past burn. And he knew all to well what the sight could do to his Dom, the horror it might trigger if he tried to force himself to stay too long.
“You gave us something else, sir, even though you were reluctant at first.” Quint’s lips curved at Jared’s raised brow. “I’m certain you only meant ‘Get the hell out of here’ the first few times.”
That got him a chuckle. “That I did.” Jared let out a heavy sigh. “I should have given you a chance to explain. Instead, I pushed you away because of my own hurt and confusion. If Seth hadn’t come along, you likely wouldn’t have come back to me again.”
A slanted smile on his lips, Seth shook his head. “He would have, my man. He didn’t go far. The minute I saw him I knew he was looking for any excuse to walk through the doors of The Asylum. You missed out on some good quality grovelling because of me.”
“Oh, no, I believe I’ll still have the pleasure of that. You may grovel for me anytime you choose, Seth. Your methods still leave much to be desired.” With a subtle bite to Jared’s tone said he was feeling more like himself, eased back from his personal darkness just in time to avoid getting lost in it. He slowed as they reached the SUVs. “Quint, Stephan will be given a chance to heal, but Rhodey won’t let him leave until he can trust that he didn’t intentionally lead those mercs to us. His willingness to sacrifice himself for Dallas earned him the opportunity to prove where his loyalties are. Though, if he was a plant…”
The urge to defend Stephan almost drowned out reason, but the men here who trusted his judgment deserved better. Inhaling slowly, Quint nodded. “Saving one of the people closest to Rhodey would be the perfect way to get himself in a position where he’d have access to sensitive targets and information. Rhodey would be a fool to risk it on my word alone after an attack like that. I honestly think it was a mistake, but better safe than sorry.”
Jared inclined his head, reaching over abruptly to grab Seth’s shoulder before he could open the door to the closest SUV. “Danny’s in there with the puppy. Bring Pike to the last one, we made sure there was enough space for him to sit comfortably.”
“Thank you, my man.” Seth shot Jared a grateful look, whispering softly to Pike as he carried him to the other SUV.
The trip to the small airstrip was uneventful, loading up and getting everyone settled in the perfect distraction. Quint didn’t have time to dwell on all that would remain of the safehouse while he was helping Jared hand out sedatives and keep the peace.
For once, he was grateful that the other subs chose bickering as a way to relieve stress.
Wiping sweat from his brow as he finished helping Keiran with the boxes of kitchen supplies, Matt rolled his eyes at Jamie, who’d plastered himself to Noah’s side, dragging his feet as his Dom tried to coax him up the steps to the plane. “What’s wrong, worried the first class won’t be up to your standards?”
The jab was unnecessary, but seemed to draw Jamie away from the edge of panic as he turned his focus to retaliation. “No, I’m wondering if we have time to stop by a beach somewhere so you can take a swim.”
“I’d be good with that, man. You gonna get in the water with me or do you need to tan your ass some more?”
Shifting his focus from the debate Wren and Danny were having about the puppy being kept in his carrier like Jamie’s cat was, Quint almost groaned when Pike burst out laughing.
The last thing they needed was for him to aggravate the situation.
Instead, Pike slung his arm around Matt’s shoulders and grinned up at Jamie. “It sounds like you two are planning a hot date. I didn’t know you tanned your ass, man. That’s fucking hot.”
“I…” Jamie’s cheeks reddened and he ducked his head as he made his way up a few more steps with Noah. “Yeah, it was nice to be able to soak in some sun while I was in LA. It’s hot enough in Anniston Falls now to go up on the roof and do it if you ever want to.”
“Hell yes. Sounds like the view will be awesome.” Pike shrugged when Noah lifted his brow at him. “Sorry, sir. I promise I won’t touch, but you can’t blame us for looking. Right, Matt?”
Matt made a face, his own cheeks even redder than Jamie’s. “I don’t look at his ass.”
The edge of Noah’s lips quirked as he glanced over at Lawson, who was helping Curtis with Reed’s stretcher. “If you need to borrow a penny, just say the word.”
Once everyone was on the plane, the mood shifted to a quiet one of anticipation, both because the drugs had started to kick in for those who’d chosen to take them, and they were all eager to finally be going home.
The silence was broken a bit after takeoff when Pike whispered to Seth in a way that carried more than he’d likely intended. “You think the bathroom in here’s big enough to join the Mile High Club?”
“You get out of that seat and I ain’t gonna give a fuck that you’re family, I’ll beat your ass myself.” Curtis gripped the arms of his chair, exhaling roughly as Lawson reached out to put a hand over his. “I’m okay, just...no one gets up.”
Cockpit door opened wide, Rhodey glanced back from his place behind the wheel. “It’s going to be a long ride for that, my man. Don’t worry, I’m better at evasive maneuvers than your last pilot.”
“That’s not helpful, Uncle.” Tone dry, Noah stroked Jamie’s arm, shaking his head at whatever his boy whispered to him. “Watch where you’re going.”
For a second it looked like Rhodey might point out all the reasons that wasn’t necessary, but he simply turned his attention to showing Avery the controls in what looked like an impromptu flying lesson. Thankfully, none of the core who’d been in the crash seemed to notice, it likely wouldn’t have brought them much comfort, even though Avery was a faster learner and the skies were clear.
Tension remained thick in the air until they landed, releasing only once every man had their feet on solid ground. On the drive back to The Asylum, most of the talk revolved around how much each man missed their lofts and their own beds. Behind the wheel of one of the rentals that had been left at the hangar for them, Quint smiled to himself, eager to get Pike cuddled up between himself and Seth, not letting either of his men get out from under the covers for at least a day or so while he served them every meal in bed, with nothing more complicated to worry about than how many snacks Pike might need between meals and whether Seth might want bourbon or tea.
“Hey, what’s up with all the cars?” Leaning forward between the seats, Pike’s eyes went wide as Quint slowed to a stop behind Rhodey’s SUV. “Are they… Holy shit, they’re all going to The Asylum.”
Seth rubbed his hand over his face, letting out a heavy sigh. “I imagine no one thought to call in whoever was left in charge and have the place close for the night. And it’s...Friday.”
“It’s possible Rhodey planned it this way so our arrival wouldn’t be so noticeable.” Quint held back his own sigh. “I don’t see him being taken off guard by something like this, but it would have been nice for him to give the rest of us a heads up.”
Taking out a pack of cigarettes, Seth tapped on out and placed it between his lips as they settled in to wait for the members’ cars to be allowed past the gates. “No one’s ever accused the man of being ‘nice’. I guess it won’t be terrible. I wouldn’t mind patching up a few busted lips and broken ribs instead of bullet wounds for a change.”
Come to think of it, Quint wouldn’t mind that either. He enjoyed whatever peaceful moments he could steal with the men he loved, but he’d enjoy getting back into the flow of their kind of normal. Being part of life at The Asylum, the rush of the fights, the pleasure to be found in the dungeon, and everything in between.
This place gave a whole new meaning to ‘No rest for the wicked’.
“We’ll need to go in through the side entrance.” Quint followed Rhodey’s SUV past the gates, moving away from the vehicles looking for parking in the crowded lot, heading to the core’s private section. “The last thing we want is for it to get back to Vani that Stephan’s in this condition. Or that Rhodey plans to imprison him, even temporarily.”
Pike sat back, speaking softly. “There’s...no more cells here though, right? The other subs talk about them sometimes. If they still existed, I’d have been put in one.”
Reaching over as Quint parked, Seth squeezed Pike’s thigh. “No, there’s no cells unless the man’s gotten creative with the architecture again.”
“I have.” Bracing his forearms on Seth’s open window, Rhodey gave Pike a slanted smile. “You and Ezran made it clear using the lofts isn’t secure enough. Avery showed me the flaws in my old cells. The renovations gave me a nice big basement to work with.”
Shaking his head, Quint shoved his door open, coming around the SUV to face the Dom. “You’re not putting him in a cell in the goddamn basement. He’ll stay willingly, he’ll understand your need to be cautious. He still needs proper care to get him through an injury he obtained while fighting for our men.”
“Relax, Quint. I won’t put him there until he’s up to it—and only if I still have reason to doubt him.” Rhodey nodded in Jared’s direction as he approached, the rest of the group heading inside through the clinic and the loading bay. “You’re too close to this. I’ll leave it to Jared to decide when he’s stable enough if it becomes necessary. Like it or not, that man could put too many of our people in danger after we’ve just fucking managed to lower the risk.”
The look in Jared’s eyes said he didn’t disagree, but there was some understanding there as well. “We’ll take good care of him, my boy. It won’t be long before he’s awake and coherent. He’ll be given a fair chance to explain himself. I’d much rather have him here as a professional than a prisoner.” His gaze shifted to Rhodey, brow lifted. “And you can’t have both.”
Rhodey gave him a lazy smile as he straightened. “I could, but it might be strange to send our boys to a cold, cement room to talk about their feelings. Would it help if I put a couch in there? Let Pike and Ezran paint the walls?”
“No, it wouldn’t.” Jared’s tone was dry as he held Rhodey’s gaze, then motioned Quint to walk with him into the clinic behind Seth and Pike. He closed the door quietly, heading into the room where Dallas and Keiran had brought Stephan. “You don’t know Rhodey well, so you wouldn’t catch it, but if he was adamant about his distrust of the therapist, he wouldn’t wait for him to heal. The man would be in that cell already.”
Sheets stirred as Stephan shifted in the bed. He opened his eyes, lips curving slightly, his voice hoarse. “He needs to regain control. I can’t fault that, he’s protecting those he loves and it’s not unreasonable to see me as a potential threat. I think the cell is a very good idea.”
Quint’s lips parted. “Are you out of your mind? No. I won’t allow it.”
“This is not your decision, Quint. I am here because you believed I could do some good.” Stephan drew in a rough breath. “You’re a doctor, so I will take your guidance and that of the other doctors here as far as my physical health is concerned. You need to let me do my job with that same level of trust. I’ve earned it from you. Let me earn it from everyone else.”
And just like that, any argument Quint might have come up with was shut down. He laced his fingers behind his neck, shaking his head and pacing away from the bed. Let out a sharp laugh as he mentally went back to Rhodey’s suggestion.
“Looks like we’re going to need that paint after all.” Jaw working, he walked out of the clinic, weaving through the crowd around the ring. In the bar, there were fewer members, and most of the core seemed to have headed up to the lofts, but Rhodey had settled onto a stool, holding Avery, Dallas at his side.
From the sounds coming from the galley, Keiran was already reacquainting himself with his favorite place—Pike was in for a treat. Or twenty.
But he’d have to enjoy them with Seth.
“Sir, if it pleases you…” Quint kept his tone polite, while making it clear this wasn’t a request at all. “I’d like to see the cells.”
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