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Posted: Jan 29 2017, 20:20
Trying to resist the urge to glance over his shoulder Josh approached the quiet apartment building at a sedate pace. Just a normal guy out for an evening stroll, walking off the day’s stress or an indulgent dinner at the Grill. Two out of three of those wasn’t bad – he just wasn’t a normal guy anymore. He hadn’t been one since it’d been revealed to him as a teenager just what was out there in the world. Now he was a guy with a witch for a sister, a future witch for a daughter, a missing ex-girlfriend and he had an old friend stashed in the shed at his home, one who he’d recently had to dry out after a feeding frenzy. Normal guys didn’t have to draw the line between those monsters they killed and those they lived with. They didn’t spend their days looking over their shoulder just in case either their past, or that of the people they were helping, came to visit. Since Ana had settled in town that feeling of constant wariness had been building higher and higher. There’d been enough of an itch between his shoulder blades as there was, that certainty that he’d become a target at some point in his life. Now he was constantly expecting Erik Orlov to send his goons into Mystic Falls looking for Ana.
Josh slipped his phone from his pocket, swiping his thumb across the screen in the memorised pattern to unlock it. Ana was likely back at the house now, completely unaware of just where he’d gone to. She was doing well enough now to be able to spend time around Katie and Mac and had been settling into the town. In a way he was pleased to see her doing well enough to stand on her own two feet but in another way he half dreaded her being well enough to leave town again. On her own Ana was likely to take up her vendetta against the man who’d helped kill her family again. Orlov was to blame for what she was, who she had become, and if he discovered that she was alive in the town Josh was certain nothing would stop him from sending men here, or coming himself to finish a job he’d started almost a hundred years ago. Ana knew he’d always been willing to do anything he could to protect her, but what he wasn’t about to tell her was that he was doing a little B and E to make certain that the young Russian guy he’d overhead in the Grill last weekend was nothing more than an exchange student at the college.
The D word, danger rang through his head as he slipped down the alleyway behind the buildings, heading for the service door he’d seen when he’d made his way past here the last two nights in a row. He knew how dangerous routine could be, how easy it was to slip into one and how easy it was for people to track them. Josh was sure that was how somebody had gotten their hands on Nikki, watching her, tracking her movements to work every morning. He slipped down the short flight of stairs silently, hand already reaching into his pocket for the lock picks he’d grown proficient with in the last few years. The lock snicked open easily, the knob turning in his gloved hand and the door swinging open to reveal the dark basement beyond. Josh let the door go, half hearing it closing behind him as he made his way slowly forward. One hand slipped beneath his dark coat now, fingers lightly resting on the butt of his gun. It was a mistake walking into situations like this without a little caution. The stairs up into the building lay beyond the storage units, but he hadn’t made his way past even the first of them before he heard the scuff of footsteps behind him. Josh span, gun already out. A shadow moved by the door that hadn’t yet fully closed. Not wanting to risk bringing the whole town down on him Josh decided to bow out. Running forward, his steps faster than they’d been before he’d been turned he barrelled past whoever had followed him in, careening outside until he slipped on the stairs. There was clumsiness in haste, he knew that and yet there he was, sprawled on the stairs, his only option bringing the gun into view as he rolled over on his back and caught sight of the shadows moving again. ”I’d stay right there if you don’t want to get shot…” he warned, teeth gritted.