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Before I can say more, Kai walks in, taking in our intimate cuddle session, and slides in on my other side. My bed is large, but three is going to be the limit.

“You stood me up,” I tell him.

“I realized I couldn’t be alone in here with you, or I’d end up betraying everyone—”

“—Just Jude,” I interrupt.

“I knew it was just a matter of time before someone else came in, and we could be cock-block buddies,” he goes on.

He reaches over and fist bumps Gage with laughing eyes.

“You were my favorite earlier. Gage has now replaced you once again,” I tell him idly as he passes me the last jar of alcohol.

I’m stunned a little to taste a rich cocoa flavor instead of cinnamon like last time. I guess Kai prefers a different taste, and it’s something new I get to learn about them.

“Is she a virgin?” Gage asks Kai as he grabs my abandoned popcorn and starts snacking.

“To be honest, I have no clue,” Kai says, reaching over me and grabbing his own handful. “We’ve never had a virgin before. They tend to freak out over the four-at-once notion when they’re that innocent.”

“I would think it’d still be obvious,” Gage says with a frown.

Ezekiel walks in, and grins at me when I flip him off.

“Don’t be mad. I wasn’t going to pass up the opportunity to get my hands on you without him guilt-tripping me for once. The tradeoff was that he no longer says anything about my sleeping arrangements,” he says, coming closer.

“The bird was for not telling me I could flavor the alcohol. I drank skunk for hours for no damn reason,” I tell him before drinking more of the chocolatey nectar.

Both he and Kai burst out laughing, and Ezekiel drops to the end of the long bed, stretching out as he lies on his back and snags some popcorn for himself.

“And I got you a gift to apologize,” he says, pulling a gift box out.

“If this has a beetle in it, you’ll never be my favorite again,” I tell him, leaning down to snatch the box up.

He just grins as I open it up, expecting a more acceptable necklace, given the slender, rectangular box.

Instead, I find a row of nail polishes. All of them have “diamond” sparkles.

“I was hoping for more real diamonds. I don’t remember those women getting nail polishes,” I state absently, even as I admire the pretty colors and decide to start painting my toenails.

I have no idea what to do, so I put a pin in it until I can Google a tutorial. I’m not sure how I know how to work Google to its fullest extent just yet, but I’m really grateful for that knowledge. Makes life easier.

“I figured we’d start with the basics, since you don’t really own anything yet,” Ezekiel says with a shrug. “Besides, every real girl needs nail polish.”

I’m not sure why it makes me grin, but it does.

“Thank you,” I finally tell him, and he rolls his eyes before turning over.

“We don’t really like gratitude around here,” Kai tells me. “It just makes shit awkward.”

“You’d prefer for me to be ungrateful like the lot of you?” I muse.

“Exactly,” they all three say with a smile, not looking at me as they stare at the TV.

Just as my smile spreads wider, Jude pokes his head in the doorway, leaning against the frame as he rakes his eyes over the three traitors.

I subtly adjust, closing my robe, trying not to make it obvious I’m wearing my Team Comoara Trădătoare shirt a little prouder now.

“Harold called and said there’s no word on the trial results yet. I didn’t give him the details of the new angle we’re working on, just in case,” Jude says.

I say nothing. I’m determined to make it look like I’m not interested in his attention.

My leg is draped over Ezekiel’s waist, and the other two are pressed up against my sides as I grab some popcorn from Gage’s lap.

“Lake wants to meet with us in the morning. She says she might be able to sneak us into hell to get a look at what’s going on,” Jude continues.

“That’s a hell of a risk,” Gage says on a low whistle.

I swallow my really curious and irrational jealousy down and refuse to ask Jude who Lake is.

“I can do this on my own,” Jude tells them. “With just one of us, it’d be less likely for us to get caught once she gets me down there.”

“How about I just go and all of you stay safe and sound up here?” I ask them, hoping that is going to be the new plan of action.

“You can’t siphon there on your own, and Lake would never take you whole,” Ezekiel tells me absently as he starts massaging my foot with one hand.

My eyes almost roll back in my head because it feels incredible. I might even like it almost as much as an orgasm. I didn’t even know to ask for this, because I’ve never seen them do it to the other girls over the past few years.

“Then I’ll follow her around until she siphons below, and I’ll hitch a ride without her knowing. I’m positive I could siphon out of hell,” I prattle on, suppressing a moan while Ezekiel makes the rest of my body envious of my foot.

“Too risky. Lake knows how to navigate Lucifer’s illusion in the royal wing. Her father has served directly under him for years. He’ll sense her if she goes snooping, but he won’t know I’m there because I’m not yet pledged,” Jude says dismissively.

He glances around at the three of them, a hint of something flashing in his eyes too fast for me to discern what, before he schools his expressions.

“Then I’m coming with you. You’re not going alone,” I tell him.

“He’ll be with Lake,” Gage says, grinning at me like he sees me already failing at my attempt to pretend not to care.

“Lake can’t snoop, which means he’ll be on his own,” I say carefully, not admitting to the outrageous jealousy he’s weirdly trying to provoke. “I’m going.”

Jude doesn’t even argue, much to my surprise.

Why do I feel like I’m being played all of the sudden?

“Then be ready by lunch tomorrow,” Jude tells me before backing up.

Just to pretend it’s no big deal he’s leaving instead of joining us, which I know we’d all really like, I lean over and tap Ezekiel’s shoulder.

“Mr. Magic Fingers, am I a virgin?”

Confusion crosses his features as he seems to think about that. “I’m not really sure. We’ve never had a virgin before, so I’m not entirely certain what to look for.”

“See? It’s not as easy as it sounds,” Kai tells Gage.

The entire room dissolves into laughter, and the conversation changes. The dynamic shifts before my eyes as Kai’s arm drops around my shoulders, and Gage’s fingers twine with mine.

Ezekiel continues to gently hold onto my foot, as the three of them talk and laugh about things I’m not completely understanding.

I glance up, noticing Jude at the very end of the long hallway that I can see, since he left my door open.

He stands in front of an empty room that has no purpose, just propped against the frame like it’s his room, as he simply stares at us like he’s studying the image and trying to place it somewhere.

I’m distracted when Kai draws my attention.

“Tell us something memorable about the days you were watching us before we knew you were watching,” he says casually.

“You don’t have to make it sound so creepy. It’s really not.”

He just grins.

“I always sat at the end of the table. One of you on my left, and one of you on my right. But it always changed, because you never all stayed in the same seats every time. It often felt like you were rotating so you could take turns being the closest to me during our table-dinner nights,” I say distractedly, my attention snagged on the weird cat on TV as he tries super hard to get some lasagna.

Why have I not seen this cartoon sooner?

I don’t realize they’ve gone silent until I look around to see them all studying me with indecipherable looks on their faces.

“What?” I ask, worried I’ve just taken steps back again.

Ezekiel’s smile starts slowly spreading.

“We used to always sit in the same spots. For centuries,” Kai says, almost as though he’s thinking aloud.

“Until about five or so years ago,” Gage adds quietly.

There are totally butterflies right now, because it almost sounds like they’re saying they sensed me without ever realizing it and gravitated toward me the way I always have them.

Gage sighs as he drops to his back. “Jude better come around soon. I’m not sure how much more I can take. I’m only so fucking strong,” he tells the other two.

“Why did you wear combat boots with your tuxes?” I ask, as though this is the perfect time for that forgotten question.

Laughter follows that, though I’m not sure what’s so funny about it. No one even bothers to answer me. They tend to laugh when I’m actually being serious, and stay serious when I’m trying to be funny.

When I remember Jude watching, my eyes dart up to see the vacant spot where he was. My heart squeezes a little bit, because even when he’s an ass, I still can’t stand the thought of him feeling left out.


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