Ignoring Alistair’s desperate attempt to blame his victim, I persisted. ‘His name was Benjamin Alberts. He had his whole life ahead of him and your actions meant he died alone and in pain. It was a brutal way to go. Gareth will tell you that.’
‘What are you on about?’‘Oh, come on, you know I don’t want to be part of the Order. You’re in HR. I bet you looked up my file. Price screwed up and that’s why I’ve been forced to work with that plonker Winter. But anyone who’s working from within to bring down those higher Level freaks is good in my book.’ My eyes gleamed. ‘I want to join you.’
I grinned. ‘What?’I got out of the car feeling more knackered than I’d ever felt in my life. Even my bones were weary. It had been a long time since I’d returned home when the sun was shining. All the same, there was an odd buzz of euphoria running through my veins. We’d solved the crimes, Winter and me. I was starting to see why he liked his work so much. Only starting, mind; I wasn’t a total convert. But if the Order brought in a three-day working week, I might be persuaded…Winter climbed out from the other side of the car and we shared a glance of satisfaction. With his normally pristine clothes messed up, and with his top button undone and his tie askew, he looked rather adorable. I glanced down, taking in the state I was in. Well, at least one of us looked good.
‘Out of curiosity,’ he murmured, ‘what did you wish for? With the eyelash?’‘A lie-in tomorrow,’ I chirped.
‘You’re kidding me.’
Winter sighed dramatically but I swear I spotted the ghost of a smile on his lips. As if to cover it, he knelt down and started tying his shoelace. From the other side of the road, there was the sound of a car door closing and a familiar voice.Eric was the love of my life. We’d been together since our senior year of college (eleven years ago, mind you). There’d never been anyone else. He’d been the third boy I kissed, the first boy I slept with and the only boy I’d ever loved.
And after the past year and a half, during the terror of his life-changing diagnosis, during the treatment and illness, I wanted to be married more than ever. No more partner, no more boyfriend, no more significant other. I wanted him to be my husband. The word was as solid and comforting as a bullmastiff.In my heart, we already had a marriage-level commitment, but I wanted the whole package. You know how some people say, Heck, we don’t need a piece of paper to show our commitment! They’re lying. At least, I was lying and had been lying for, oh, ten years now.
I glanced at my watch, then bolted into the bathroom. If I was going to be an engaged woman tonight, I was also going to get laid tonight, and I had to shave my legs. All the way up.Two hours later, the party was in full swing. I wore a white dress (bridal, anyone?) and red heels, and I was nursing a glass of cabernet, feigning calm, though my palms were sweaty and my heart stuttered and sped. Ollie wandered around, greeting guests, sniffing shoes, wagging his tail, all shiny and sweet-smelling, since I’d given him a bath earlier that day.