“I put all that money in a Swiss bank account.”
It was only a sort-of lie. A lot of her money from their first job was sitting in a Swiss bank account. And a lot of it was in the Caymans. Some of it had also been converted to cash and divided among the safety deposit boxes and other assorted stashes she had set up in every major city in North America and Europe. And some of it—okay, almost half of it, to be completely honest—had been funneled to various orphanages and group children’s homes via anonymous donations. But that wasn’t something she was about to tell anyone.
Eliot stared at her like she was from Mars. “Millions of dollars and you didn’t buy anything?”
Parker shrugged. “I don’t like stuff, I like money.”
“Dammit, Parker! A little warning next time. How'd you even know I’d be there?”
She did, though. Even though there were a lot of things about the team that were still a complete mystery to Parker, she had already learned to trust them. Or, more specifically, to trust one specific thing about each of them.
Nate could always be relied upon to have another backup plan. Hardison could hack anything, computer or otherwise. Sophie could make anyone believe her lies. And Eliot? He was always there when you needed him. That was his skill, more than hitting or retrieving or anything else. He would always be there to protect you. Always.
“What the hell were you thinking?” Eliot shouted.
Parker winced. Normally she didn’t mind when he shouted because she knew it just meant he was worried about them, but her head hurt and all the shouting was making it worse.
“I’m fine, aren’t I?” she snapped, then winced again.
“You fell three stories! You could have been killed! You never should have been up on that ledge without a harness! I told Nate—”
She put her hands over her ears. “Can you please stop yelling at me?”
Eliot stopped. “Sorry,” he mumbled. “Just promise me you’ll never take that kind of risk again.”
There was no way she was going to keep a promise like that. But she’d obviously scared him and she knew she knew this was the part where she was supposed to say something to make him feel better.
“I promise,” she said. Hopefully he wouldn’t notice that her fingers were crossed behind her back.
“What is it?” Parker asked suspiciously.
“Quinoa,” Eliot said. “With cotija and ogen melon.”
“None of those words sound like food.”
“That’s because you’re not used to eating anything that doesn’t come out of a cereal box.”
She poked at it with her fork. It looked like birdseed. “It looks like birdseed,” she said.
Eliot rolled his eyes. “It’s not birdseed. Try it.”
Parker tentatively levered a forkful into her mouth.
“So?” Eliot asked. “What do you think?”
She smiled and gave him a thumbs up. “It’s great.”
It was not great. It tasted like the inside of Lucille smelled and she did not like it. At all. But Eliot had worked so hard on it. And he wanted so badly for her to like it. She didn’t have the heart to tell him it was one of the top five worst things she’d ever put in her mouth.
“Parker, you okay?”
She could hear the anxiety in Eliot’s voice even over comms. She also knew he couldn’t afford to be anxious right now because there were at least a half dozen guys bearing down on him and the rest of the team.
“I’m fine,” she said levelly. “Get the others out. I’ll meet you at the rendezvous.”
The only answer was the sound of Eliot’s fist connecting with someone’s jaw. She knew he’d heard her, though. And he’d do what he needed to do.
She reached down and tentatively prodded her injured ankle. Pain radiated up her leg, momentarily turning her vision white. Yep, definitely broken. She sighed and looked around the alley she’d tumbled into. It was dirty and smelly and damp, but it was also a safe place to lay low for a while. As soon as she knew the others were safe, then she’d tell them where she was and they could come get her.
They’d be mad at her, but that didn’t matter, as long as they were okay.