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  • Home > Samantha Young > Into the Deep Series > Out of the Shallows (Page 33)     
  • Out of the Shallows(Into the Deep #2)(33) by Samantha Young
  • “Well, then…” Beck grinned and lifted his Coke in the air. “To Charley, our future sexy cop.”

    We raised our glasses, clinking as Claudia and Jake cheered, “To Charley.”

    We had a fun night even though we got a little lost, walking down one narrow cobblestone street and the next and somehow ending up on the one we’d started out on. Eventually, we ended up grabbing a cab and the driver in his broken English recommended a club called Moog. All wood, iron, and smoke, the place was packed. It wasn’t really our scene, but Claudia wanted to dance her troubles away.

    I danced with her while the guys skirted the edges of the room, beers in hand, but we were pretty soon pressed in upon by other guys and girls and before we knew it, Jake and Beck were on the dance floor with us, keeping the wolves at bay. They didn’t dance, just kept their eyes on us and shooed off any guys who attempted to get near us. Claudia didn’t seem to mind. In fact, I think she enjoyed tormenting Beck with the gorgeousness that was a dancing Claudia.

    And Beck definitely looked tormented.

    I’d feel sorry for him if it weren’t self-inflicted.

    We got back to the hotel pretty late, buzzed and full of energy. It was disappointing to be that buzzed and not be able to unravel it all with Jake in private, but I wanted to be there for my friend.

    So we went into our separate rooms, and lying in bed, I talked with Claudia about everything and nothing until she fell asleep.

    Collectively we’d kept her calm and taken her mind off meeting Dustin for as long as we could. But now, the morning after, as the four of us walked the twenty-minute journey to Dustin’s apartment, Claudia was so quiet. Jake and I were more than competent with a map, so we got there without any wrong turns. But while Jake, Beck, and I soaked in the fact that we were in Barcelona, staring up at the apartments with their wrought iron balconies, on their quaint narrow streets, small boutiques beneath them, Claudia was too lost inside her own head to take notice.

    As we stepped onto Dustin’s street, I strode forward and grabbed Claud’s hand. “We’re right here with you,” I reminded her.

    Her breathing had grown shallow and by the time we walked up the cramped, dark stairwell to the top floor, she was completely out of breath.

    I held her hand a little tighter as we stood outside the door. “Just breathe.”

    Her frightened eyes met mine and she nodded slowly, pulling air in through her nose and exhaling. Jake gave her shoulder a squeeze and Beck stepped close behind her, leaning down to press a kiss to her temple.

    “You’ll be fine,” he murmured reassuringly.

    Claudia stared at the door, a trembling smile on her lips. “Thanks, guys.”

    She knocked.

    A few seconds later, the door swung open. Staring out at us was an attractive forty-something guy with a dark, graying beard and piercing green eyes. Claudia’s eyes. He wore light slacks and a loose linen shirt rolled up at the sleeves. His feet were bare.

    His eyes swept over us before coming to a stop on Claudia. He took a deep breath and gave her a soft smile. “Claudia?” he asked with an English accent.

    Wide-eyed and more nervous than I’d ever seen my vibrant, confident friend, Claudia nodded. “Dustin?”

    He swept an arm out gesturing us to enter as he stepped back from the door. “Please, come in.”

    We ushered her inside and Dustin came forward to give her an awkward hug. “You look so much like your mother.”

    “But I have your eyes.”

    “That you do.” His smile was a little uncomfortable. He broke eye contact with her to stare at us. “And these are your friends?”

    “Yeah. This is my best friend, Charley, and her boyfriend Jake, and this is my friend Beck.”

    “Well, nice to meet you all. You must all be such good friends to be here for Claudia today.”

    “We are.” I nodded, sizing him up.

    Even more uncomfortable under my scrutiny, Dustin laughed nervously and walked farther into his apartment.

    He had the whole top floor to himself, the space like a loft apartment. Lots of light streamed in through the windows and I could see in the far corner was his studio. Whatever he was working on was covered up, but paint smattered the floor and walls. A kitchen ran half the length of the adjacent wall and in the center of the room was a massive corner sofa and coffee table.

    My eyes stopped abruptly on the sofa.

    There was a woman on it.

    “Uh, I hope you don’t mind, but I invited my girlfriend Pedra to join us,” Dustin said, hurrying toward the woman. She stood up and eyed Claudia grimly. Pedra was younger than Dustin. A lot younger. Tall, olive-skinned, pretty, with dark eyes and hair, she looked like a model.

    “I brought my friends, so I understand,” Claudia said. She stepped forward, holding her hand out to Pedra. “It’s nice to meet you.”

    Pedra looked at her hand and I thought for a minute she wasn’t going to take it. She eventually did but her grip was loose and the action reluctant. “You have his eyes,” she said, somehow managing to sound flat in her musical Spanish accent.

    “Yup.” Claudia threw me a look that clearly screamed, “Help!”

    “Why don’t we sit?” I stepped forward, gesturing to the sofa.

    “Right, right, of course.” Dustin watched us take a seat. “Can I get you all anything? I have water, herbal tea, and a few beers.”

    “I’ll take a beer.” Beck nodded congenially and I noticed Pedra’s eyes swing to him and stick. Typical.

    “I’ll have a beer as well, thanks.” Jake leaned back against the couch, his arm around my waist, resting on my hip. His grip tightened, telling me to relax, but I couldn’t.

    This situation was too important.

    “Water, please,” I said.

    “Me too.” Claudia gave a long, shaky sigh that Dustin didn’t even seem to notice. I was guessing he was too nervous.

    When we were finally settled with our drinks, the conversation continued to be stilted and awkward. However, slowly, as smiles became less tremulous and laughter less forced, Claudia and Dustin touched on more serious issues—such as her parentage and the fact that her parents had asked Dustin to stay away.

    Pedra sat tense throughout the entire thing, her lips pinched into a sour, disapproving look. I wondered if it was because she didn’t want to give up the spotlight to a daughter.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire