Raven finally reached the first floor…along with 55,000 other people. He escaped the throng and walked briskly to the front doors. He was determined to reach them before everyone else.
He stepped outside and looked up at the night sky.
The hospital doors slid open behind him and everyone stampeded out.
Who, I wonder, is left in the building? The patients and cleaning crew?
He hurried out into the streets while everyone else converged on the parking lot.
It wasn’t until he was two whole blocks from the hospital that he realized a small, significant detail.
He stopped in the middle of the street.
I have no idea which bar Robin routinely frequents.
And I cannot call him to ask because my phone combusted in The Institute’s fire.
Raven resumed walking.
I suppose I will have to visit each one. It should not be too difficult. Pinkerlee is not that large of a city. There cannot be that many bars.
Two or three at the very most.
He smiled and picked up his pace.
This should be over fairly quickly.
Jay entered The Rye Is Dry But The Ale Is Hot pub and sat at the bar. He turned in his seat and watched the customers as they came and went.
None of them were Robin.
None of them were even close.
The bartender stopped behind him. “Let me guess. Ginger ale?”
“Right on it!”
How long should I wait?
Isellta’s seizure replayed in his mind.
His stomach knotted up.
Robin’s out there somewhere. What if he’s walking the streets? What if he isn’t coming here tonight? What if I’m missing him by sitting here?
What if that vampire hasn’t told him my message yet? What if he decides not to tell him? What if he downplays it and Robin doesn’t realize the seriousness of Isellta’s situation?
I should have told him more. I should have told him that the poor kid is dying.
Jay pulled out his cell phone and called Maelin’s number.
“Jay? Is that you”
All of his emotions swamped him, choking him. “Mae.”
“Come home. Please come home. Come home.”
“Jay. Sweetheart, talk to me.”
His mouth twitched as he fought against the urge to cry. “He’s dying.”
Maelin didn’t respond.
“Mae, Isellta’s dying and I…I’m doing everything I can to…to bring him back, but he’s just slipping further and further away from me and I don’t—” His voice cracked. “—Mae. Mae, I don’t want to lose him. But I am. I’m losing him. Oh, Mae! I wish you were here.”
“I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.”
“Come home. Please. Please come home. I need you here. I need you with me. I need your touch. Your embrace. I need you to hold me and comfort me and make me believe that he’s going to a better place, that there is a better place waiting for fey like him to go to when they die.”
“I will come.”
“I love you. I love you, Mae. I love you so much.”
“I love you too, sweetheart.”
Raven left Gavroche’s Pub and Shark Shop. “Yet one more negative.”
He sighed. “On to the next one.”