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Affliction (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter 22) Laurell K. Hamilton 2022/8/5 16:54:07

The elevator doors opened just as a huge crash came from behind us. I had to look back. Edward and the rest had thrown themselves against the door. He yelled, 'Anita!'

Edward yelled, 'They're using a gurney as a battering ram. I need my gear now! I'm sorry.'

In all the years we'd worked together he'd never apologized for the job and the choices we had to make. Dev was in the elevator. He held out his hand. 'Give me the keys, and you go on to Micah and Nathaniel.'

There was another huge crash, and the men at the end of the hallway all put their shoulders into it, holding on. 'Anita, you know how I pack. You can find them faster. We need them faster!' The doors bucked as if some giant hand had slapped them. They weren't going to hold.

I got in the elevator. 'Stay and help hold the door. I will be as fast as I can.'

Nicky stepped out. 'Don't make me stay.'

'I'll keep her safe,' Dev said.

Gonzales stayed beside Nicky. 'Hurry,' Gonzales said. There was another thunderous crash at that far door.

The elevator doors began to slide shut and I had one of those moments of revelation. I knew Nicky was stronger, more ruthless, and better at fighting than Dev; he was the one to leave. The only reason not to leave him was that I loved him. I love-loved him, and I hadn't known it for certain until this second. I moved as the door closed and said, 'I love you, Nicky.'

He smiled then, and the doors closed.

I wished there'd been time to kiss him good-bye.