Purity is still a problem. Henry wishes he could get rid of the secret group trying to sabotage his business and the relationship between elements, but since they’re a secret, he doesn’t even know where to start. He has other things to focus on, though—his brother is still healing, he just lost his best friend, and he’s in love with his bodyguard. All in all, his life is a mess.
Alcott has been Henry’s bodyguard since Purity decided to target him and Edward. He’s also been in love with him since then, but he knows better than to do anything about it. Henry already has too many things on his hands without adding Alcott’s probably unrequired feelings to it.
But Alcott’s feelings might not be as unrequired as he thought, which is a good thing. Henry’s meddlesome grandfather, on the other hand, isn’t, especially not when he tries to convince Henry’s ex-fiancée to try to get back with Henry.
And of course, there’s Purity, who’s still threatening every element wielder who doesn’t agree with them, and who might be closer than Henry and Alcott suspect.
Henry stayed strong until he left Edward’s hospital room. Then his knees buckled, and he was flooded with pain, fear, and anger. He reached out, needing to hold himself up, but before he could touch the wall, Alcott was there. He took Henry by the arm and guided him toward the chairs that lined the wall. Henry was grateful, and he smiled at Alcott, but he didn’t know if that smile was a real one or looked more like a grimace. He hoped Alcott would understand either way.
“I can’t believe Lyle did that,” he murmured.
“I’m sorry,” Alcott murmured back. They looked at each other, Alcott standing over Henry, Henry sitting in the hard-plastic chair.
Henry didn’t know what to do. He wanted to go find Lyle and make sure he paid for what he’d done to Edward.
He’d hurt Edward. He’d left him for dead. He would have killed Edward if Edward hadn’t managed to escape. He needed to pay for that, but how? They couldn’t go to the police and explain what had happened. Humans didn’t know about element wielders, and it had to stay that way. What was going to happen to Lyle, then? Would he be released?
Henry wouldn’t allow that to happen. He couldn’t. “I want to talk to Lyle.”
Alcott jerked back. “You can’t.”
“You shouldn’t see him. You already know what he did and why he did it. Why do you want to talk to him?”
“I just need to face him.” Even though Henry knew Lyle had done it because he was with Purity, he needed more. Lyle had always been a friend, Henry’s best friend. How could he have changed so much that he hadn’t hesitated to attack Edward? Lyle and Edward weren’t friends, not the way Lyle and Henry had been, but they’d been close. Why had Lyle attacked Edward? Why did he think elements should stick with each other? Edward had already explained that Lyle felt he deserved more than the job he had with the company, but Henry had a hard time believing that. He needed to ask Lyle, and hopefully, Lyle would answer.
But more than that, Henry wanted to get his hands on Lyle and hurt him the way he’d hurt Edward.
A hand on Henry’s shoulder made him jerk. He looked up to see Alcott, his hands raised as if he was trying to make Henry see he wasn’t going to hurt him. Henry realized he wasn’t acting normally, and he tried to relax. Alcott was no doubt worried, and Henry didn’t want him to be.
“I don’t think it’s a good idea,” Alcott said slowly.
Henry shook his head. “I don’t care. I need to talk to him.”
“You have nothing to say to him, and I don’t think he has anything to say to you.”
Henry shook his head and rose to his feet. He felt better now, and he was thankful for the moment of reprieve, but he did need to see Lyle. “What would you do if your best friend did what Lyle did? If he attacked your brother, left him for dead? If he’d been working against you the entire time and you hadn’t suspected?”
Alcott hesitated, and Henry knew he had him. They were friends, and Henry knew him better than he knew himself some days. He could tell how Alcott would react, what he was thinking about—how to keep Henry safe without stifling him. Alcott was quiet, and he’d done his best to stay just a bodyguard since he’d started working with Henry, but he was failing.
Henry couldn’t say he minded. He needed a friend more than a bodyguard right now.
Alcott sighed. “Fine. I see what you mean. If my best friend did something like that, I would go find him, too. But you’re not me, Henry. You don’t have to see him. There’s no reason for you to.”
“I’d still like to, though. Please.”
Alcott stared at Henry.
Henry held his breath. He’d found early on that if he said please, Alcott would be more inclined to do what he wanted. He didn’t know why that was, and he didn’t want to analyze it right now. He just knew that Alcott was weak when it came to politeness, and he was going to use it if he had to.
Alcott finally nodded. “Fine. Let me call the warehouse. I’ll ask them to get him ready so you can see him. But it’s the one and only time you do this, understood? I understand you want closure, but that’s all this can be. You want answers from him, but you can’t hurt him, no matter how much you wish to.”
Henry nodded curtly. It was true that he wanted to hurt Lyle, but he knew better. He didn’t know who was going to make Lyle pay, but he suspected Dakota wouldn’t hesitate to take the situation in hand. If he didn’t, well, Henry would find a way. He was going to avenge his brother, and he was going to find out who was behind Purity. Lyle had to know something.
He was done with anonymous notes, with people threatening him and his brother and his company for making good business deals. He was done with all of this. He didn’t care who was behind Purity and what they wanted. They needed to leave him alone.
Alcott stepped away, but he didn’t move far. He kept an eye on Henry as he took his phone out, and Henry stayed right where he was. Alcott was his bodyguard, and he always kept an eye on him. In the beginning, it had been irritating. Now, it was something else.
“What are you two up to?” Dakota asked, making Henry jump.
His heart raced, and he pressed a hand against it. “I didn’t hear you,” he explained when he noticed Dakota’s bemused expression.
“I figured. Which means you’re doing something you shouldn’t be doing.”