The news came later than it should have. Mevolent blamed his butler and incinerated him. Then, he double-checked with the messenger and after confirming the news, incinerated her, too. They were both inconsequential, and easily replaceable.
Kelley Throckmorton entered the room and bowed low, ready to melt into nothing if Mevolent tried to incinerate him. Instead, Mevolent asked him a question that made him jump. "You remember Raeza Blayd, of course."
Kelley nodded. No matter how much he tried to forget those teenage years, Raeza's face haunted him on his bad nights. He shouldn't still care. Rae had been his friend decades ago, then he'd revealed to her that he worked for Mevolent, and any hopes of the two of them becoming closer were squelched.
"Get out, get out, get out of my head," he started to sing, then stopped because Mevolent was glaring at him.
"The Mara girl sung One Direction, Mr. Throckmorton, and she's the one who I tortured within an inch of her life."
"Yes, sir." Privately, Kelley wondered what had happened to Maralie Charm. She wasn't in the torture room now.
"There have been questions about your loyalty, Kelley. I want you to prove to me that you're in this game."
Kelley blinked. Of course he was in the game. He was being paid.
"Raeza was never dead."
Kelley jumped in shock, a million questions flying through his head, but what came out was more like "Uh, bluh, wha?"
"Raeza. Isn't. Dead," Mevolent spoke as if to a toddler who couldn't understand a thing, the edge to his voice warning Kelley not to try his master's patience any longer. "But she will be. You're going to kill her.
He faded into nothing, careful not to obliterate himself entirely. Passing through the door was harder than it should have been. Mixed-up emotions always made it hard to focus, but he had to see her. He had to know what she was like now, if she would recognize him...and doing something immature would make him more like the Kelley he had been, the Kelley who Raeza knew. He'd been a better person then, someone who was less likely to grow angry from seeing the face from Mevolent's wanted posters, the face of Fabienne S.