He was startled when Freya emerged, a glass of water in hand. She jumped at the sight of him, splashing water over herself. She was still wearing Tamsin’s borrowed clothes, and she sighed as she examined the dripping wet sleeve of the hoodie.
“Sorry,” Slater said. “Didn’t mean to scare you.”
“You didn’t. I was just…miles away.” She whispered it, but the hallway was silent and he heard the exhaustion plainly in her voice.
He should let her go to bed, but there was something inviting and intimate about the hush and the shadows up here, and he wanted to cling onto that, selfish as it was. He leaned against the wall, not wanting to crowd her, wanting her to come to him…if she would. “I know today has been fucked up, but it’s going to get better.”
Even in the darkness, he could see her cynical smile. “I like your optimism.”
“I’m pure sunshine,” he said, once again picturing his fists smacking into Benedict’s face.
She laughed now, soft and low. “Thank you, for tonight. For all of this. I know…I appreciate it. I don’t know what would have happened to me without you.” She shuddered.
“You’ll never have to find out,” he said, realising a few seconds too late how possessive and domineering that sounded. But he wasn’t sure he cared. She had to know already he was hooked on her, surely? She had to at least have guessed the effect she had on him.
She was quiet for a long moment, and he was afraid he’d overstepped, pushed her back. Then finally, with a too-light, too-sweet voice, she said, “well, get me and Kayden out of this mess and we’ll call it even, huh?”
“Even for what?” he asked, confused.
“You know.” Impatient now, she poked him in the chest. The contact sent electricity arcing through him, brief and hot, and sizzling out too quickly as she walked away. “For the dance.”
The dance? She could only mean that dance, that first night, just before Zeke went ballistic. But how were they not even on that? “I paid…”
She was already shutting the door to Punk’s room, cutting his words off with a sharp click as the lock fell into place.
“…for the dance.” Slater laughed, slapping his forehead. Yeah, he’d paid. He’d given the cash to Benedict, hadn’t he? Freya had probably never seen a dime. Shit.