That got his attention.
“I prefer the night.”
“And here I thought you preferred the bedroom.”
“Could you clue me in on the staring? Why the somber aloofness?”
“I have been contemplating ways to stop Harrington.”
“As have I. We already know how to draw him out and how to use his weaknesses against him. But I feel as if I’m missing something. Like Harrington is always one step ahead of us and I haven’t figured out how to get a step ahead of him.”
Beckham stiffened. “We already know how to draw him out?”
“Yes,” she said softly.
“You want to use yourself as bait. Again.” He said each word crisper and more biting than the last.
“If it comes to that.”
“Your protection is my greatest concern. Though you are his blood type, that does not offer you all the protections you believe it does.”
“I know. You know…there are ways to fix that,” she said hesitantly.
His anger was swift and brutal. “No. Absolutely not.”
“If I’m so soft and fragile as a human, then do the unexpected. Something Harrington would never expect.”
“This isn’t up for debate. I will not take your life from you.”
“It’s not taking my life. It’s turning me into a vampire. Just like you.”
Beckham snarled. “We do not know if you would even survive such a transformation. Or that you would be the same person you are now when you are on the other side. Most hunger for nothing but blood until they have their blood type matched. As you already are aware, you have an incredibly rare blood type. Harrington has been looking for years to find a match. You may never find one. What would you do then?” His eyes were brutal with anger and vehemence. “You would eat. You would kill. You would be the very thing that you despise, and there would be nothing I could do to change that.”
Reyna took a step back. His anger only mounted at the very suggestion. At the audacity of her even considering it. She knew he didn’t want her to change. She knew that others had tried to turn and died. Washington had told her of a circumstance that had left her terrified of the prospect. And also incredibly disappointed to shut that door. Opening it was a last-ditch effort. She knew it was a risk. But Beckham made it seem like a certainty.
“What happens in twenty years, Becks? Forty years? Sixty?” she threw back at him. “What happens when I’m a grandma and you’re still thirty? Sure, I’m fragile, but I’m also dying. I’m dying every single day.”
“That is living, Reyna. That is the way it is supposed to be.”
“You’re not supposed to go on without me,” she whispered harshly.
“Can we make it through the next couple weeks, maybe months before we think about that? You’re twenty-one years old. I’m not sacrificing you.”
“One for a million. Seems fair to me.”
“I won’t entertain this any longer,” Beckham said sharply. “There are other solutions to consider.”
Reyna waited. She knew he would tell her when he was ready. She shivered and licked her wounds. Bringing it up with Beckham again had been stupid. She’d known what his reaction would be, but she couldn’t not say something. It would be a plan Harrington never considered, which made it a valuable one to keep in her back pocket.
“If you’re considering sacrificing yourself as a viable option, then I think we need to train,” Beckham finally said, resigned to the idea.
“Okay. Back to the gym I go.”
“No—we should train with this blood match. I can sense you better than ever before. I could sense you in the city. I can feel you right now. What we need to do is use this to our advantage. Our blood match is something that Harrington doesn’t know about. He can’t anticipate it.”
“That’s true,” she said with a spark of hope.
“We should talk to Washington and get his view on it. He’s the expert,” Beckham said. “Once the snow finally stops, we’ll get to the real work.”
* * *
“What you’re asking me is impossible to infer,” Washington said. He looked up from the microscope he’d been peering into. “I’ve only ever seen one other blood match and it was before modern medicine. I have no earthly idea what other abilities you could have. The fact that you have any at all other than compatibility on a molecular level astounds me.”
Beckham’s nostrils flared. Reyna could see him holding in his anger. Washington was being purposefully obtuse.
They already knew that he hadn’t worked with anyone else who was a blood match. But that didn’t mean he didn’t have theories. Washington had theories about everything.
“Hypothesize,” Reyna said quickly.
“I’d need to look at your blood. When my lab was destroyed, I lost everything. I have a backup of the data I was working with, but not the actual samples. That would help me work toward a solution.”