First: Purchased: Negotiation
The girl in the ridiculous outfit was turning slowly around, pointing as she explained that she had tried everything. “-but nothing seems to be Harriman Hall…?”
“Oh, sure, it’s right over here.” Sylviane gestured behind her, directing the girl towards a little alleyway between the buildings. The girl wasn’t getting it; she repeated Sylviane’s directions back to her, but she had them all wrong. “Okay, why don’t we walk you there, how’s that?”
The girl shot a nervous look at Leander. He knew that expression; he was not a small guy, and he could seem a little threatening. He took a step back and held up his hands.
Sylviane, however, was having none of that, which was useful, he supposed, since he couldn’t really leave her and following thirty feet behind would only be creepier. “What? He’s my boyfriend.” She took one of Leander’s hands. “He’s a sweetheart, I assure you. Now, if you want to get to Harriman, you pretty much either need to go this way -” She started walking; Leander followed, of course. After a moment, so did the girl.
“There’s another way to get there, of course, but you have to go all the way down the hill and then all the way back up it, and that’s around the Harshaw building here, or you have to go that way and it’s not as much up and down but there’s a lot more around-” Two men were walking towards them, blocking the whole narrow alleyway. “Hi, sorry, we just need to get around-“
Leander read the situation a heartbeat later than he should have, no, minutes later than he should have. He picked Sylviane up and put her behind him as the bigger of the two men grabbed for her; he kept his left hand behind his back to hold on to her while two more people came down from behind them.
“Just let us take the girl.” The girl who’d lured them down here pulled out her wallet and started peeling out 100-dollar bills. “That’s all you have to do. You don’t get hurt, she’ll be fine in the long run, and you walk away richer.”
The money she was willing to spend made something in Leander’s gut churn. This couldn’t be a normal snatch-and-grab. “I don’t go anywhere without her.”
He could hear Sylviane murmuring behind him. He hoped she was coming up with something to get them out of here. He could provide cover, but three of the men had drawn weapons.
“Listen,” the fourth man growled, “you are going somewhere without her. The question is, if you’re going back to your house or if you’re going to an early grave.”
He snorted. “Well. You’re going to have to kill me to get me away from her, and better men than you have tried that, asshole.” He really didn’t want to start doing magic in front of what he was pretty sure were humans, but on the other hand, he was not letting them take her from him.
“We can do that. It will send a very clear message to her father, too, that we are willing to kill. Do you think that will help her? You being a corpse at her feet?”
“I don’t think you can do it. I don’t think you’ve got what it takes to kill me – and besides, you aim just a little bit wrong, and your bullet goes through her, too. How’s that going to look to her father?” He tried to keep his stomach from churning. He didn’t want to lose her, and, more than that, he had orders to keep her safe. This was not safe.
The biggest of the goons aimed their gun at his center mass. “Last chance, asshole. Let us take the girl and you get to live.”
“What happened to the money?”
“Limited time offer.” The decoy-girl’s wallet was already away. Leander had a feeling they’d always meant to kill him.
That did not bode well for Sylviane.
Well, he didn’t really have a choice, did he? He could hear her magic continuing, but they were about out of time.