[ CW: Strong language ]
May and Em shared an incredulous look between them.
“A phone call?” May repeated Grant’s words like they couldn’t possibly be true.
Grant closed the office door behind him, drowning out the noise of the garage. He held up the cell phone in his hand and pressed a button.
“I’ve got them right here,” he said, speaking loudly. “You’re on speaker phone.”
“Em?” Connor’s voice rang from the cell’s speakers. “May? Can you hear me?”
“Connor!” Em cried. “Holy shit!”
“Are you guys alright?” May asked.
“We’re okay.” There was a hint of hesitation in his answer. “I’m sorry we’ve left you hanging for so long. We’ve had to do a bit of damage control.”
“I’ll say.” Em’s expression turned sour. “What the fuck happened? I thought the reason you check in with the Loyals is to avoid making them suspicious. Why did they show up armed to the teeth?”
A beat of painfully uncomfortable silence passed before Connor answered in a small voice.
“It was Marina.”
“What?” May yelped, so shocked she felt as though someone had pinched her. She and Em looked to one another with the same wide-eyed look of disbelief.
“It turned out the Loyals have had her in their pocket for quite some time.” He sounded so defeated. “She traded her compliance to keep Myles safe. I can’t say I blame her to be honest.”
“They threatened to hurt Myles?” Em rubbed her temples. “Nevermind, I don’t know why I’m asking. Of course they did.”
Connor’s hum across the speakers told them Em was right.
“I’m so, so sorry, Connor,” May said. For all the struggles she had with her own family, they had never sold her out, no matter how disappointed they had been in her. A betrayal like this would have ruined her.
“I should have seen it coming,” Connor replied, unable to hide his hurt.
“Don’t beat yourself up for trusting your sister.” Em’s voice wasn’t exactly tender. From the fists balled at her sides to the pinch of her features, the rage she felt was written all over her, but she was trying to rise above it.
“So, what now?” May changed the subject, driving them away from such sensitive territory.
“It took a lot of work to convince Melanie we’re still on the Loyals’ side,” Connor admitted. “We told them we had convinced you both that we could offer you safety, but that we were really planning to hand deliver you to them instead.”
A shiver of fear raced up May’s spine. She had spent plenty of time worrying if that very scenario was true.
“That’s why it’s taken so long to reach out,” Connor continued. “We had to be sure we were in the clear. Things are going to be very delicate moving forward. That is assuming you’re still in, of course.”
Em pursed her lips and met May’s eyes. This was their chance; if they were going to back out, now was the time to do it.
May broke the silence.
“I think we’re in too deep to back out now.”
Em nodded. “What’s the plan, Connor?”
“Okay,” Connor did little to hide his relief. “Hang on a second.”
There was a shuffling on the other end, the sounds of the phone being handed off to someone else.
“Hey,” Jeremy grunted from the other end of the line.
Em froze and May held her breath. The only person who was happy to hear Jeremy’s voice was Grant, who smirked – the closest thing to a smile May had seen from him.
“Hey yourself, boy,” he said. “It’s good to hear your voice. You behaving yourself?”
“Never.” Jeremy’s smile, however small, came across in his single word reply. “How’s the Rookery?”
“Always surviving,” Grant replied. His eyes darted to the girls. “But this call isn’t about me. We’ll catch up another time.”
He handed the phone off to Em who handled it like it might bite her.
“What’s the plan?” she asked, jumping right to the point.
“I need to talk to you,” was his blunt response.
Em gave the phone a cutting look. “You are talking to me.”
“No.” He growled. May could sense him rolling his eyes. “Just you. Alone.”
Em looked to May, both of them gaping.
“Nah, you’re talking to both- “
“Babe,” May waved for her to stop. “It’s fine.”
“It’s alright,” May insisted. This was the first time since discovering Em’s truth that she and Jeremy would have the chance to talk – May wanted to do the mature thing and give them the chance to decompress.
Reluctantly, Em gave in.
“Okay,” she spoke into the phone’s speaker. “Give me a second.”
She leaned in and gave May a quick kiss before slinking out of the room.
“You okay, Tiny?” Grant asked, giving May a stern stare.
“I’m fine,” May smiled. “Everything’s fine.”
Grant frowned, but he didn’t push. Instead he nodded and closed the door behind him.
May sat. She folded her hands in her lap and took a deep breath. Despite the phone call that she was no longer privy to, she felt better than she had in days. Getting back on the same page as Em had made her feel grounded after spending so long adrift. Whatever the plan was moving forward, they would be ready for it together.
She wasn’t sure how long she had sat there, staring off into nothing, when a soft knock came from the door. May jumped up and rushed to open it.
“Oh,” she said, breathless. “Hi, Lety.”
The shifter mechanic watched her carefully, dark eyes raking over her and seeing more than they let on.
She cocked her head. “The client just left. I thought I’d come see if you wanted to come back down to the floor.”
Biting her lip, May glanced down the walkway. Em and the phone had disappeared from sight.
“Actually, Em and I are just in the middle of something,” she remarked. “She had to step out to take a call, but I’d like to be here when she gets back.”
Lety grinned. “Is she your ride or die?”
May could only blink, uncertain what was being asked of her. “Huh?”
“You know, the person you’d do anything for,” Lety explained. “You and this Em girl – you’re tight?”
“Very,” May replied with a smile. “We’re an “us”.”
“Sure.” Lety shoved her hands into the pockets of her coveralls, the ones she always wore with the top half unzipped and tied around her waist. “Well, if you change your mind, you know where to find me.”
Leaning against the doorframe, May watched her disappear down the stairs before retreating back into the office. She kept the door open, just in case Em came back.
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