Jericho Point by Meg Gardiner

Jericho Point by Meg Gardiner

Author:Meg Gardiner
Language: eng
Format: mobi, epub
Published: 2011-01-06T07:00:00+00:00

• 21 •

What a big band. They were bigger than I’d thought. Drums and bass and keyboards, guitars, sax. Murph on the kit, and Merlin playing lead, counting off, one, two.

He turned and spotted me.

They hit the opening chord of the song, and swung straight into it. Merlin was strumming with vigor, catching all the chord changes, and his eyes were pinned on me.

“Marc,” I said.

His face was severe. “Is that them?”

I was backing up. “What the hell are they doing here?”

His hand wrapped around mine. “Easy does it. We’re going to leave, but we’re not going to run.”

My legs wanted to jackrabbit. Merlin cut his eyes away from me to his guitar, his fingers sliding up the neck. His round little shoulders hunched to the beat. His leisure suit was powder blue. He turned his face from the mike and mouthed something. Murphy, pounding on the drums, lifted his face and looked out across the crowd.

“Now,” I said. “I want to get out of here.”

Marc’s hand steadied me. “We’re cool. These guys just hit the first chorus. They’re not going to interrupt the song to come after you. So let’s just stroll on out of here.”

People were taking to the dance floor. We wound our way among them, walking toward the door. The only thing that kept me from bolting was Marc’s hand, clasping mine.

I leaned toward him to be heard over the music. “I have to warn Jesse.”

I scanned the crowd. Jesse was across the room near the door, by himself, looking drawn. Looking, I saw for the first time, like his father. Beaten down.

I tried to speed up and Marc held me back. Jesse caught sight of me. For a second he looked relieved. But he blinked, and his expression clouded. Without a word he pushed back, hard, out of the room into the hall. He turned and was gone.

I knew what he’d seen: me, on the dance floor, hand in hand with Marc Dupree.

Shit. Shit. I wrenched loose and pushed my way past dancing couples. The bridesmaids were doing a group squiggle in the center of the floor. I reached the far side of the room, near the bar. The song was hitting its final chorus.

Marc reached for me. “Maintain, Evan.”

Sinsa brushed past me, going to the bar. “Gotta hand it to you. You’re alpha.”

“What?” I said.

“You managed to set all the dogs against each other. You’re top bitch.”

Up on the bandstand Avalon was swinging. Murphy rode the beat, right foot kicking the bass pedal, drumsticks hitting the cymbals, shaven skull bobbing in time. His gaze slid my way. Behind his drooping mustache, he wet his lips with his tongue.

I pulled Marc from the ballroom into the hall. The music dimmed.

“Don’t run,” he said.

“I have to find Jesse. And I have to talk to him, alone.”

He was nowhere in sight. I headed for the entrance.

Marc jogged to keep up. “No can do. The Secret Service doesn’t work that way.”

No Jesse in the atrium. In the ballroom Avalon’s song echoed to an end.


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