Two Kingdoms (Page 31)

Lamar gives them all a lazy grin. “I’m gay,” he assures them. “Just curious if she gave up anything physical. Clearly not.”

I turn whole again in more clothes, and I act like I’m going to hand the pants to Jude. I pull them back just as he reaches for them and toss them to Gage.

Jude gives me an exhausted look, standing naked in the room. Gage laughs under his breath as he starts removing his skirt.

Lamar doesn’t look. Possibly because he knows I’m very territorial. Possibly because he’s dedicated to Manella and it would be disrespectful.

The latter of the two seems less likely, since it’s still hell. Fear is the only effective motivator for most actions.

The shirt drops to the ground when I go phantom and do it all over again.

I turn whole, standing on top of the shirt, just as Jude goes to pull it out, and he curses as he stumbles forward, his gentle tug not giving him the necessary purchase. I quickly kick it back to Kai behind me, and laugh when Jude stalks off.

“Perfect fit,” Gage says from across from me.

“I spent over five years studying your bodies,” I remind him as I kick the new pants to Kai.

Ezekiel catches the next shirt and makes a gesture like he’s about to toss the shirt to Jude. When Jude puts his hands up to catch, Ezekiel throws it to Gage instead.

I choke back a laugh when Jude just stares in confounding disbelief for a second. Ezekiel and Gage both release a rumble of laughter as Kai snorts.

Jude’s lips twitch, and he quickly scrubs a hand over his face and turns so I don’t see him accidentally smile. He hates it when he finds me amusing. He’s stubborn that way.

I go phantom for the final time and quickly fashion his new attire.

“I was really expecting something ridiculous at this point,” he grumbles when I finally let him have the clothes. Then I quickly change into my own wardrobe.

It’s not an angel.

It’s not a devil.

It’s—

“What are you wearing?” Ezekiel asks on a long breath, even as his own grin grows.

The shirt has a picture of my missing crown on it, with a promise of a reward if found and returned to me in perfect condition.

Have to be careful with the wording in hell. Even if I didn’t just know that, I’d still know it.

Jude is muttering curses as he struggles into the too-tight sweatpants that have a leather lining on the inside.

“Are you f*****g kidding me? Why is there wet leather in here?” Jude asks, hopping around on one foot as he tries to work his leg all the way in.

“Because I’m evil,” I remind him, drawing a laughing groan from Gage, who is shaking his head. “Literally,” I add with a dark smile.

“Make me something different, for f**k’s sake,” Jude says when he finally gets one leg all the way in, eyes swinging to mine.

“This is for the beetle.”

He huffs a frustrated sound, but I’m surprised when he actually resumes the task of pulling the pants on. And it is definitely a task.

I finally get bored and look away from the train wreck. He’s really going to hate me once he starts pulling on that super tight shirt.

“F**k,” I hear him groan from behind me, which just renews my smile as I let my eyes drift over the room, taking in all the things I haven’t yet noticed.

“Oh! Jewelry!” I say on a gasp as I dart to the shiny diamond necklace.

“Someone reel her the f**k in before she cuts her face nuzzling that rock,” Kai says like he’s amused.

But there are so many gems that I can’t look at all of them at once when I pull out a drawer.

I fall back as the lights go out, my brain short-circuiting over all the shiny things.

Chapter 14

“We’ve gone through this fifty times in the past hour. If we have to fight this thing, we need to know what we’re going up against. This thing beat a blessed champion. Rafael is just an archangel and he tossed her around like a rag,” Jude is snapping. “She f*****g fainted because she saw a bunch of gems!”

Why’s he gotta bring that s**t up?

“My vanity just decided you’re on probation from being my favorite for no less than three days just for that comment,” I state, feeling dizzy.

And no, it’s not because of my short, embarrassing faint.

My nose just keeps dripping blood. I’ve stained the floor, and I’m hiding it.

We really have been at this for hours. Jude has already burst out of that teeny-tiny shirt I fashioned with all his angry Hulk impersonations.

“Take a break,” Lamar says curtly.

“This is our lives we’re discussing,” Jude growls. “Not yours. We’ll take a break when—”

“He’s right,” Ezekiel cuts in, lips thinning when he sees me quickly wipe away the next drop of blood.

“Pay a visit to Hell’s Black Heart. You need the power boost. The more time you spend there, the stronger you’ll grow. It’s how you were strong enough to harness the Horsemen powers, after all. It’s where evil goes to fester,” Lamar continues as he stands. “I’m going to take Paca to her favorite room in hell.”

“It’s not my bedroom?” I ask, perking up at the prospect of something else that’s all mine.

Jude crouches in front of me, where I’m back to sitting beside the bed, and I hear riiiiippp.

He glares at me when I make a strangled sound in my throat and fight really hard not to laugh.

But the other guys aren’t so generous.

“Been waiting on that for a while. It came a little late. I should have made those pants just a little tighter,” I tell him with a slow smile.

He stands while rolling his eyes, and I catch a flash of his a*s when he turns around with the new large split right down the center of it.

Lamar pushes a section of the wall, and it begins backing up. Inch by inch, it reveals a large, hidden closet when the door starts moving to the side.

It’s full of men’s clothing.

“That’s been there all along?” I ask incredulously.

“Why are you just now showing us that?” Jude asks, looking even more frustrated than usual.

My nose finally stops bleeding, just because I’m so damn entertained.

“I thought it’d be obvious by now,” Lamar says with a careless shrug. “I’m evil too. Most people in hell’s royal circle are.”

As if he’s just schooled the Four Horsemen, he reaches down his hand for mine, and I take it, grinning like a little kid at Christmas when Jude simply exhales and starts actually counting to ten.

Lamar helps me up, and I strut toward the door.

“Spend time there. Manella will tell you how to find us when you’re done,” he says, not giving them time to argue before dragging me along quicker.

Gage grabs me at the waist, ripping me away from Lamar. I’m positive he’s going to object to me running off with my brother’s boyfriend that we barely know—but that I can surely kill—in case Lamar is secretly plotting against us.

Instead, he kisses me.

Hard.

It surprises me so much that I just lamely stand here for a moment with my eyes wide open. Then I quickly melt against him, kissing him back.

I almost forget that he can’t be my favorite. Then I remember the unresolved issue, but continue to kiss him anyway. He doesn’t have to be my favorite.

His hands tighten on my waist, pulling me closer as he kisses me stupid, and every bit of pain just fades into nothing. I really should have kissed one of them sooner, because nothing else is so good at distracting me.

Someone knocks at the door, the only thing that has Gage releasing me.

Lamar is quick to answer it.

The sound of shuffling feet precedes three men stepping in and standing off to the side like they’re awaiting orders.

“They’ll take you to the Black Heart,” Lamar says as though he’s somehow magically summoned them. “Sorry. They can wait until you’re finished.”

Gage clears his throat and releases me, walking off while scratching the back of his neck.

Totally weird reaction, but it’s been an intense day. The other three are coming out of the closet…literally. Jude is the only one wearing something different.

“I think we’re ready,” Ezekiel says, glancing over at Gage, who still has his back turned.

“Make sure Chloe knows I’m The Apocalypse so you can be my favorite, because I really want that right now,” I tell him.

I see him smirk from the side, but he doesn’t look over at me.

Weird.

Lamar motions for me to walk out first, meaning that chivalry is still alive even in hell. It makes me feel feminine and dainty, so I happily start out in front of him.

But the three men near the wall immediately drop to their knees and bow before me.

“Royal,” they all say in unison, as though they’re addressing me.

I arch an eyebrow at Lamar. “I’m called Royal?”

“You’re The Apocalypse,” Kai pops off with a smirk. “Did you think they’d call you Princess?”

When worded that way…

“I do have a crown,” I point out a little defensively. Looking around like it’s going to magically appear, I add in a mutter, “Somewhere.”

“Should we tell her?” Kai asks.

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