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“Yeah, so, uh…” She’s being something she never is: cagey. “That’s the thing. It’s kind of … my ex.”

August stares at her. Beside her, Niko continues serenely eating his cinnamon roll.

“Your ex,” August says flatly. “As in the one you dropped the night you met him.” She points at Niko with a fork, but he looks unbothered, chewing like a contented cow.

“Yeah, so,” Myla says, wincing. “In retrospect, maybe not my finest moment. The Libra jumped out. In my defense, though, he, like, high-key sucked. Way too into himself.”

“Is he still mad?”

“I mean, uh. He has me blocked on social. I found out from a friend of a friend who talks to him. So…”

August wants to scream. “So, we have a perfect in at the exact place we need access to, but we can’t use it because of your inability to keep it in your pants.”

“Says the woman getting subway head from a revenant,” Myla counters.

“The heart wants what it wants, August,” Niko says sincerely.

“I’m gonna murder both of you,” August says. “What are we gonna do?”

“Okay, anyway,” Myla says. “I have an idea. The Billy’s fundraiser, right? Obviously we need a new venue. I’ve been looking into a lot of unconventional places, like public spaces, condemned warehouses—”

“I thought you meant an idea for the Jane thing.”

“I’m getting there!” Myla chides. “Have you ever seen what the substations look like?”

She’s pretty sure she’s read and looked at every shred of information on substations in existence over the past couple of weeks, so, “Yeah.”

“They’ve got a kind of old-school techno-punk industrial vibe, right?” Myla continues. “And I was thinking, what if we could convince the city to let us use the Control Center as a venue? People use decommissioned subway stops for art installations all the time. We could say we’re into the aesthetic and want somewhere with a greater capacity to bring in more people. I can reach out to Gabe and see if he’ll help—he used to work at Delilah’s, maybe he’ll be sympathetic to the cause. Then once we get in, we just have to keep people distracted while I fuck with the line, which should be easy with a party that size. It’ll only take a couple of minutes, I think.”

August stares at her across the table.

“So … your idea is … a heist. You want us to pull off a heist.” August gestures helplessly at Niko, who has given up on his meal with a quarter left to go. “Niko can’t even pull off that cinnamon roll.”

Niko pats his stomach. “It was really filling.”

“It’s not a heist,” Myla hisses. “It’s … an elaborate, planned crime.”

“That’s a heist.”

“Look, do you have any other ideas? Because if not, I think we should give this a try. And if we do it right, we can raise a shitload of money for Billy’s at the same time.”

August listens to the murmur of tables and the scrape of forks and maybe, if she strains, Lucie cursing out the cash register. She does love this place. And Jane loves it too.

“Okay,” August says. “We can try.”


* * *


It’s Jane’s idea, actually, that puts one of the last crucial pieces in place.

“I’m pretty sure,” August says, “that if you can walk between cars, you can walk on the tracks. So, on the night of the party, when Myla does the surge, you should be able to touch the third rail. But I don’t know how to prove it before then. The Q’s always running, so there’s not really a time to test it. We could jump out, but there’s no way to make sure we’d be off the tracks safely before the next train.”

Jane thinks and says, “What about the R/W?”

August frowns. “What about it?”

“Look,” Jane says, jabbing her finger at the subway map posted by the doors. “Right here, at Canal Street, they split off from the Q.” She traces the yellow line down to the bottom tip of Manhattan and across the river, to where it meets up with the blue and orange lines at Jay Street. “Those are the only two trains that run on this track.”

“You’re right,” August says.

“I’ve only met Wes three times,” Jane says, “but every single time, he’s bitched about how the R wasn’t running that day. So if the R isn’t running, we could have time to sneak out the back of the train at Canal and follow the R tracks toward city hall, and maybe, maybe it’d be close enough to the Q that I could walk on them. Maybe we could even see how far I can go.”

August thinks—she’s not sure, exactly, that it’ll work, but Jane’s also become a lot more solidly here lately. Tangibly rooted in reality. Maybe she couldn’t have done it months ago, but it’s possible the line will afford her a little more slack now.

“Okay,” August says. “We just have to hope the MTA fucks up soon.”

The MTA, reliably, fucks up soon. Three days later, Wes texts her bitterly from his evening commute: As requested, here is your notification that the R is out of service.

Hell yes!!! August texts back.

My night is fucked, Wes responds, but go off I guess.

She meets Jane on the Q’s very last car, and when it stops at Canal, they slide the door open as quietly as they can.

“Okay,” August says, “just, you know, a general reminder that the third rail carries 625 volts that will absolutely kill a person and should have killed you before. So, you know. Uh.” She glances down at the rails and wonders how Jane Su can get her to flirt with death so often. “Be careful.”

“Sure,” Jane says, and she jumps off the back of the train, and—

Like that first day when they tried every stop, she’s gone.

August finds her six cars up, and they weave their way to the back and try again.

“This is annoying,” Jane says when she reappears behind August like an exasperated Bloody Mary.

“We have to keep trying,” August tells her. “It’s—”

Before August can finish her sentence, Jane brushes past her and jumps off the platform—aiming straight for the third rail.

“Jane, don’t—!”

She lands firmly on her feet, both sneakers planted on the third rail, and she grins. No shock. Not a single singed hair. August gapes.

“I knew it!” Jane crows. “I’m part of the electricity! It can’t hurt me!”

“You—” The train’s brakes disengage, and August has to hold her breath and jump, throwing herself hard in the opposite direction of Jane. She lands in the packed dirt to the side of the tracks, ripping one knee of her jeans, and rolls to look at Jane’s smug expression. “You could have died!”

“I’m pretty confident I can’t,” Jane says, like it’s nothing. “At least, not that way.” She paces down the rail, one foot in front of the other, headed toward the fork in the tracks. “Come on! Next train’s coming soon!”

“Un-fucking-believable,” August mumbles, but she dusts herself off and follows.