Missing the Night (Stand Alone Tales #17) - Viola Grace
Nessa put hot sauce on her taco and looked at her cousin. “So, when is the wedding?”
Meredith smiled. “Ten days away. Why have you come to the city?”
Nessa smiled at her cousin’s redirect of the conversation. “Oh, you know. Time to visit the folks.”
“Your father is still well?”
“He is. My mother is as well.” Nessa ate her meal and mumbled, “How is work?”
Meredith’s eyes lit up. “Oh, the strangest thing. The entire executive floor seems to be having an issue. They are working on a huge and lucrative project, but over the last few days, they have been losing focus. Like, all of them at once. The CEO is losing his shit.”
Nessa chuckled. “What do you think is going on?”
“Well, at least two of the guys are warlocks, so it has to be something pretty heavy to stun them. The way they look, it is like they are hollow and drained by something, but there are no physical signs aside from the fatigue.”
Nessa paused. “Do their eyes look grey? Hair is brittle? They are drinking a lot of sugared beverages?”
Meredith blinked. “Yeah. Do you know what it is?”
Nessa drank from her soda. “I have a pretty good idea, yeah. Someone has put a hit out on your team.”
“That isn’t possible. He would have known. Mr. Twilight or Mr. Poldan would know.”
“Are they affected?”
“They wouldn’t know.” She wadded up her wrappers and finished her drink. “It’s a pity. They are going to collapse soon if the cycle isn’t stopped.”
“The CEO has offered a reward.” Meredith blurted it out.
Nessa paused. “Has he now? When did he offer it?”
“After the first morning. They have been off for three days now.”
“So, he offered a reward if you could solve the issue?”
“If any of us could solve it, we are entitled to a huge share package. We haven’t been able to figure it out, and two staffers have been let go for nearly showing magic to humans. I don’t suppose you would be willing to help?”
Nessa nodded. “I did wonder why you got in touch. Sure. I can take a look. If I am in time, I can sort it by morning. If not, they are doomed.”
Meredith looked relieved. “When can you look around?”
“Let me hit the restroom and send a message to my parents. Then, we can get back to your office, and I can find a good place to wait out of the way.”
“What? You can’t just figure it out?” Meredith looked appalled.
“Don’t worry. They won’t see me. Just find a reason to get into the area that they have been disappearing from, and I will follow. Mind you, if I had known about this, I would have asked to go somewhere other than a taco place. Wait. This was your choice.”
Meredith blushed. “It is across from work. So, how will this work?”
“Just leave here, and I will be behind you. I will occasionally touch your elbow to remind you that I am here, so don’t do anything like rush for the elevator or jam yourself in tight. Right? If I don’t get in, I won’t come in, and your company loses the bid.”
Meredith flinched. “Right. Okay, so move like I have a cloud attached to me.”
Nessa dumped her tray, and then, she got a bottle of water and pulled her hood up over her pastel rainbow hair, pulling it in with her fingertip-less gloves. “Right, let’s go.”
They stepped out of the shop, walked to the intersection, and Nessa wrapped herself in her nullification glamour when the sign indicated walk.
Moving while nullified was always odd. It had taken her parents a year to teach her to move around people and keep enough of a repulsion wrap on her skin. The exposure of her fingertips was a necessity. She couldn’t wear mittens all year long, but the cut-off fingertips made her look peculiar but trendy.
She followed a nervous Meredith into the skyscraper, and the elevator was full, but they were holding the door for her cousin. Meredith smiled. “I will get the next one.”
The men looked disappointed, and the doors closed. Nessa moved forward, and before she thought about it, she pushed the button. Damn.
She stepped behind Meredith, who just noticed that the button was glowing. When the elevator chimed, they stepped in together, and Nessa pivoted to watch the door. She wasn’t shocked when it started to close, and a hand held it open, but when she saw the face of the man attached to the appendage, she held her breath.
The second man