Sydney stood with her hands on her hips, still in her tank and shorts, waiting for a response.
“We do what police do,” Julien answered.
“Police?” She pointed in what she assumed was the general direction of the boxing venue. “Police don’t do that. The FBI doesn’t do that. Motorcycles? Escape plans?”
“You ask that now?” Julien chuckled. “After seeing what Gage and the Dark Knight here did that afternoon beneath the overpass, now is when you want to ask that question?”
“That was different.” She folded her arms. “Kinda. Look, I wasn’t as curious back then as I am now. What are you guys, former military?”
“At some point,” Tayler answered, squeezing Gage’s forearm. He’d almost completely encircled her in his large embrace in a plush leather seat next to the fireplace they’d called the “chair-and-a half.”
“But not now.” Sydney nodded slowly, giving her brain time to process. “I’ve never been, done, I…I don’t know what I’m trying to say. That was like, straight out of a movie.”
“It was…something,” Joel spoke up. “Something that I think I can get used to.”
Sydney’s head whipped around. “Get used to? What are you talking about?”
“These gentlemen,” he lifted his hands, motioned around, “asked me to join them.”
“I didn’t ask you shit,” Gage spat.
“God dammit, can’t we just get along for two seconds? I protected Tayler. That should count for something.”
“Gage, play nice,” Tayler said, biting back a smile. “He did help.”
Joel pointed at Gage. “Give it time. We’re going to be the best of friends one day. We’ll even get matching lockets: ‘J and G, best friends forever.’ ”
Gage reached towards his hip, but Tayler grabbed his wrist. “He’s kidding, baby. Calm down. Good boy.”
Gage glared at her in a way that would have sent chills down Sydney’s spine, but all Tayler did was smile at him. Watching on, Sydney was amazed at how much he loved her, and how much she could see it even in the unconventional way it showed on his face. He would die for her, kill even, and she wondered if he ever had.
She pulled herself away from their exchange to get back to the task at hand—Joel…joining them.
Sure, watching him lay cover fire had been sexy, but she couldn’t handle a lifetime of him going out on whatever it was these men went out on, biting her fingernails to the skin waiting for him to come home, hoping it was in at least two good pieces. And she couldn’t handle a lifetime without him, so it wasn’t as though walking away was an option. Not again. Never again.
“Jojo, can we talk?”
Joel winced. Gage’s brow shot up to the ceiling.
“Jojo?” Gage asked.
“Drop it, Wolfe.”
“Alright, alright. I’m sorry, mate.” He paused. “…Jojo.”
Joel sighed and tipped his head to motion Sydney over. “Sure. What about?”
“In private, if you don’t mind,” she said.
“Baby, these are good people. At least, for the most part.” He flicked his thumb at Gage. “They just went through a lot to save your life. Talk freely.”
“I guess,” she looked from Mo to Tayler, “my question would be better suited for the two of you. I’m mostly worried about Joel’s safety. You guys seem to get involved in some pretty dangerous, for lack of a better word, shit. How do you guys handle it? Don’t you worry?”
Tayler looked over at Mo who held up her hands in defense.
“I have no words,” Mo said. Giorgio sat on the floor between her knees, scrolling through her phone. “But…hypothetically speaking, if Giorgio and I were in a relationship, then no. I wouldn’t worry. Have you met him? I’m probably as afraid of him as his enemies.”
Tayler snorted a laugh and Gage pulled her closer, burying his face in her neck. She lazily stroked his arm and placed occasional kisses against his forehead.
“I worry,” she said.