by Amy Allen
Harper Zeale is finally taking up the family business—hunting supernatural threats. One of her first jobs is to solve the murder of a girl at Malcolm-Baptiste College, a small school in central Illinois. It’s obvious the killer was a werewolf, but Esther Talbot—the only werewolf around—is a harmless puppy who wouldn’t hurt a fly.
Without any leads to follow, Harper enlists the help of Esther and her friends in the search for the killer. All she has to do is keep them all alive, keep her dangerous instincts in check, and keep a lid on her foolish crush.
FROM THE AUTHOR
"A Sheep in Wolf’s Clothing isn’t trying to reinvent the wheel. I grew up fascinated by stories about ordinary people facing the supernatural, and wanted to do my own spin on the genre. This story’s first incarnation was nothing more than a silly little bit of fanfiction—I’ll leave it to the readers to find the obvious clues as to which fandom. It was a handful of chapters that people seemed to enjoy, imperfect though it was. When I decided I wanted to try my hand at writing an actual, full-length book I thought it would be a fun one to dust off and turn into something original. Given the first version’s brevity, and the fact that I didn’t want to just file off the serial numbers and throw it out into the world, I rebuilt it from the ground up.
Harper started out as much more of a classic hero. She was a badass and a lady-killer. But I started adding quirks, and all that changed. At some point, Harper turned more and more into this kind-hearted, headstrong girl who’s kind of stuck in the late nineties/early aughts. With each edit, and some wonderful insight from my beta reader, the dorky try-hard within began to shine through. And I hope everyone else loves her as much as I do."
Shimere A. - It was a fun read, and the characters were full of representation in every sense of the word. The world building was phenomenal in that I could picture everything described as if I were watching a movie.
The Lesbian Review
A Sheep in Wolf’s Clothing by Amy Allen features a slow burn romance between a sweetheart werewolf and a monster hunter who is searching for a horrible killer. This character driven piece has a load of great characters...There is a lot of subtlety in the story and metaphors that eventually become strikingly obvious. I was impressed by both the author’s cleverness and strength of the deeper messages. A more discerning reader than me will hopefully not miss a crucial clue about one of the characters, one that makes the metaphors come alive and gives the story a much greater depth. It turned a solid book into a really good one that I want to read again.
Carol C. - Very good read if you like the mythic mixed with real world type genre.
Mustard F. - Such an amazing book that can easily get the reader hooked!
Sara G. - Amy Allen is a new voice in this genre and one I’ll definitely read again. She creates characters with tons of diverse representation and really shines where it comes to the world building.
Harper Zeale received the official request to track and kill a vampire the morning of her twenty-first birthday.
As soon as she had reached Chicago, she headed for the local guild headquarters. Since you couldn’t just advertise Hey, we track down supernatural threats! to the general public, standard operating procedure was to create some kind of front. The Chicago Silversmiths, for example, styled themselves as an incredibly boring patent law office. There wasn’t even any large signage, just a single tiny bronze plaque above the door that read “Shelley and Stoker.” Presumably one of the branch’s founders thought themselves very clever.
Stepping inside, she approached the modest L-shaped desk where a receptionist sat typing away at an ancient computer. She glanced up at Harper, who probably didn’t look like either a future patent-holder or a traditional hunter. Her usual style included a leather jacket, a tank top, one of many flannels wrapped around her hips, and Chuck Taylors. Her undercut ginger hair was pulled back into a sloppy ponytail.
The receptionist, whose nameplate identified her as Sharon Myers, pursed her lips, studying Harper. Eventually she just shrugged and launched into the standard excuse for the uninitiated who walked in blindly. “Sorry, I’m afraid we’re all booked up.”
It took some fishing around inside her ratty brown messenger bag before Harper was able to pull out her laminated ID card. “I’ve got an appointment with Mr. Stoker,” she said as she passed it off to her.
Sharon plucked the card from Harper’s hand and looked it over with a small nod. “Ah, looks like congratulations are in order, Ms. Zeale. Finally getting turned loose?”
Once the ID was returned to her, Harper popped it back into her bag. “Yup. Big day. Are our guests from last night’s raid still here?”
Sharon pressed a button somewhere behind the desk and another door at the other end of the small reception area buzzed, followed by the sound of a heavy metallic ka-chunk. “Stairwell at the end of the hall. That’ll take you down to the basement level. The lounge is the first door on the left. One of the vampires was pretty close to feral, so he’s sedated and under heavy guard. But the other two are fairly lucid. Good luck, Harper.” That last bit was refreshingly sincere.
“Thanks,” she said softly before heading for the door.
Harper found the stairwell and descended, occasionally taking the steps two at a time. Whether it was excitement or nerves—possibly both—she was feeling energized. She stepped through the double doors at the bottom of the stairs, which opened onto the basement hallway.
Farther down was another set of double doors with a brick shithouse of a man standing guard over them, most likely a guild Shield. He was wearing a black suit that strained against his form. She could only assume one of the rooms beyond held the sedated vamp. You couldn’t get much from an unconscious witness, so she focused on finding the other two.
A door to her right was labeled as a unisex bathroom, and the one on her left had a worn-out plastic plaque identifying it as the lounge Sharon had mentioned. Harper paused just long enough to give the Shield a quick nod before stepping inside the room on the left. She immediately thought that “lounge” was a generous description. The floor was gray linoleum, the walls a faded robin-egg blue. What few windows the place had were draped with heavy blackout curtains, so the only lighting came from the lightly buzzing fluorescents overhead. Only the occasional support pillar broke up the otherwise monotonous space.
There was a modest seating area with a couch, some padded wooden chairs, a mini fridge, and a television attached to the wall that was currently off. A girl who couldn’t have been more than eighteen was perched in one of the chairs, one leg tucked up under her, the other propped up with an arm around it, holding her phone as she idly scrolled. Her free hand held a medical blood bag, already half-drained, which she occasionally took a sip from like it was a juice pouch.
Draped across the couch was a man in his midforties who could have been mistaken for someone nursing a hangover. His head was propped up on a ratty throw pillow, left arm resting across his upper face. Newly turned vampires tended to go through a bout of sensory overload, so he was likely trying to block out the lighting, dim as it was. With his free hand, he reached out and fumblingly opened the mini fridge to pull out a fresh blood bag. The door had swung too wide, and he made a few feeble attempts at closing it again. The girl eventually took pity, freeing her propped leg just long enough to knock it closed before returning to her comforting posture.
Harper approached cautiously, fully aware that she was about to press her way into an extremely tenuous situation. Then again, that was a pretty accurate description of her entire job, so she knew she would have to get used to that. “Excuse me?”
The young girl looked over and gave her a weak smile. “They got you too, huh?”
It took a moment to process what she meant by that. “Got me? Oh! No, I uh…” She moved in closer, dragging one of the chairs with her to tighten the circle a bit, then settled into it with her legs crossed. She placed her messenger bag in her lap and fished out a spiral notebook and a pen. “I’ve been called in to deal with the vampire who hurt you.”
That got the guy’s attention, and he carefully pried his face free from the crook of his arm. “No shit?” He slowly sat up, opening the valve on the blood bag and taking a quick drink from it. “Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to turn down free vengeance. But what about us? Is this just it now?” He gestured with the blood bag.
“My friends are all wondering where the hell I went and I don’t know what to tell them,” the girl added with a hint of desperation.
Harper held her hands out to stop the wave of questions. “Let’s back up a second. My name’s Harper. I’m a Knife with the guild, kind of like an inspector or a detective.” She gestured to the two vampires, encouraging them to do their own quick introductions.
“Demi,” said the young girl. “Uh, shit, I don’t know. I’m a high school senior?” Demi shrugged her shoulders uselessly. Harper just offered her a nod and a smile. She didn’t need their life stories or anything.
The guy sighed, pausing to take another drink. “Ben. Cubicle wage-slave.”
“Okay! Ben, Demi,” she repeated. “First things first. If I can take down this guy, you should revert.” She bit back the urge to say, “go back to normal.” Yes, they would be cured of their conditions. But there was rarely any semblance of normal after experiences like this. That was why the guild included services like counseling. “To do that, I need your help. A description of the vampire, his favorite haunts, that kind of thing.”
The carrot of a cure was enough to get both of them eager to offer what they could.
Demi sat up a little taller, planting both feet on the floor. “Oh! Hang on…” She started tapping and scrolling on her phone again. “I was at this house party, so I don’t know if that super helps. But! I did snap a selfie with him. Want me to text it to you?”
Bashfully, Harper retrieved her own phone and held it up. It was an ancient flip phone, a relic from a bygone era, refurbished but ultimately too archaic for the task. “You can email it to me, anyway. Here…” She quickly jotted down her contact information on a scrap of paper and passed it off to her.
Demi opted instead to just trade the paper for her phone so Harper could get a good look at the picture and jot down some quick notes. Angular features with a chin that could puncture steel, black hair gelled into a dramatic sweep, dark and heavy eye makeup, tasteful five o’clock shadow. The dude must have used his centuries of living to craft the perfect douchebag look.
After returning the phone to its rightful owner, she looked over at Ben. “I know this is all still pretty fresh. Getting turned can be disorienting. But anything you can add will help.”
He reached up and rubbed his hand back and forth over his shaved head. “Disorienting? I would say more head-fuck-y. A lot of it is a blur. Hell, I still can’t remember what he looks like. But I was definitely out drinking.”
His brow furrowed in concentration. “Club. I wanted to dance. An awkward, aging queer looking for a distraction. There’s this twink grinding up on me. He said so many nice things. Can’t remember what, just the feeling. Looked into his eyes and everything felt all claustrophobic and warm—no, hot. I needed space and I needed him. We went to the bathroom.” He wrenched his eyes shut tight. Desperately, he brought the blood bag to his mouth and took a long pull, and slowly his posture eased. “I remember…after he opened his own vein and made me drink, I thought it was all a bit ironic.”
Harper wanted to make space for him to sort through all the scattered thoughts, but it seemed like Ben was onto something so she pressed a bit. “What was ironic?”
“Blood…” he said. “Red…The club. The lights? No. The name. The name was red.”
Shit, I’m losing him. This is too soon. He should be resting.
But we need this. There’s a million clubs in Chicago. Even if only a handful of them have red signs, it could take days to figure out which one he went to. Days we don’t have. Push him anyway. Someone else can pick up the pieces.
Okay, pump the brakes, asshole. That’s not how we do things.
Not my monkey, not my circus. We need to find the bloodsucker before this gets worse.
“Bloodsucker”? Are you serious? Fuck that, we’re better than this.
Harper took a deep breath to calm herself down and silence the argument raging in her mind. The exhausting angel-devil double act could go back-and-forth endlessly if she let it. Each voice raised important points, but sooner or later she had to make a decision. This was her first official job, she was supposed to be a professional, and they were making it really difficult.
Harper nearly jumped as Demi cried out beside her. “Jesus, what?”
She looked between them, smiling broadly. “The club! It’s called Crimson. When he was sweet-talking me at the party, he said if I wanted to find him again, I should go to Crimson. He was so smooth about it too. ‘Oh, baby girl, you’d fit right in. It has the hottest people in town.’” She did her best to imitate what he sounded like, forcing her voice into this low, husky register.
Ben’s face eased again as she filled in the gap for him. “Blood, Crimson, ironic. God, thank you.”
Harper hastily scribbled that onto the page as well. She had the face, she had his favorite hunting ground. Now all she had to do was everything else. Easy as that. As an afterthought, she wrote down her contact information one more time before passing a second scrap of paper over to Ben. She was starting to think she should get some business cards made.
“Thank you both. If I do my job right, you should be feeling like your old selves again soon. Just be sure to take it easy. Reverting isn’t any more enjoyable than the first part.” She threw everything back into her messenger back and clambered off the chair. Harper hesitated for just a moment. She wanted to say something at least a little more comforting, a little less clinical. Her mom was great at that stuff, so she did her best to channel the woman. “It’s going to be okay. I know this has kind of thrown your worlds upside down. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you need anything.”
It was hardly a rallying cry, but it got them both to smile. That had to be enough.
It did not elude Harper that she was entering a club on her twenty-first birthday with the express purpose of not partying. She was, in fact, painfully aware of it. As she made her way to the bar, she was forced to slip around clusters of people in various states of inebriation. Her eyes were constantly scanning the crowd for any sign of the vampire, but for the moment he was nowhere in sight. She’d passed the picture from Demi off to a guild Scroll who ran it through their database and got a handful of hits. She would have preferred going into this with more concrete information, but Harper knew there were still ways to narrow down her search. And there was no better place to start than with a hopefully observant bartender.
Finally, she managed to sidle her way up to her destination and leaned against the sturdy wooden bar. It took her a few moments to get noticed by the buff guy in the blood-red shirt with the word “Crimson” splashed across it. “What can I get you?”
She leaned in close to hear—and be heard—over the thumping bass. “Some pop and some information, if you’ve got a sec?”
“Just pop? Designated driver, I’m guessing.” He scooped some ice from a well below the bar, dropped it into a glass, then filled it from the soda gun before setting the drink on a coaster in front of her. “That’s one down. What kind of information were you looking for?”
Harper put a twenty on the bar to cover the drink and grease the wheels. “Looking for a guy, black hair, goth makeup, smooth as shit. Looks like a supermodel, flirts with anything that moves?”
He chuckled as he picked up the twenty. “I take it back. Guess you’re looking for a different kind of high. Yeah, that sounds like Zack. He’s here most nights. Guess you could be his type, but the waiting list is pretty long. Still, you’re shooting your shot, and I respect that. Might be a few hours.”
Bingo. There was only one Zack in the list of names she’d been given—Zachary Garfield. Harper knew it was stupid to assume that there was only one vampire in the entire city with that name, but the odds were looking good. Only time would tell, and if what the bartender had told her was true, she’d be waiting a while to find out for sure. She wasn’t looking forward to that, eager for some proper action, but it wasn’t like Harper had anything better to do. “You’re the man. Don’t let me keep you.” She pushed away from the bar and took her drink to look for a vantage point—not to mention a dead zone where the music didn’t punch her in the chest and crush her eardrums. After some dedicated scouring, she found the red underlit staircase that led to the upper balcony where things weren’t so oppressive. A series of semicircular booths were set into the wall, and on a whim she picked one with a decent view of the dance floor as well as the upper VIP section. If this Zack guy was that notorious, she had an inkling he might have his own throne back there.
Her attention and confidence lasted roughly half an hour. What had begun as a careful scan was now idle people-watching. She’d drained the liquid from her glass, chewed through all the ice, and now it served as little more than a fidget toy. Harper checked the time on her phone and realized how little of it had passed, groaning desperately. This was the worst part. The goddamn waiting.
Around the hour mark, she contemplated going for another drink, but another glass meant an increased chance of needing to use the bathroom. Obvious dysphoria-based anxieties aside, time in the bathroom meant a chance for her to completely miss her window. So she sat, and she watched, and she waited.
And then Harper started to worry. The bartender had said that her quarry came in “most nights.” And Demi had mentioned meeting him at a house party, so there was every chance in the world she was planted here on her ass for nothing. And all the while he was out there, capturing someone else, draining them, or turning them.
That delightful spiral carried on for another thirty minutes or so, when finally she saw his stupid smug face. Part of her wanted to get this over with—bull-rush him and finish it. But that was an awful decision for several reasons. First and foremost, she’d look like a crazed murderer. And then everyone in the club would see that he wasn’t human, creating a mass panic. Plus, she’d get chewed out by her parents and the guild.
And since she couldn’t act until he made a move, she had to wait again. She had to just sit there and watch while he got a drink from the bar. She had to stew in her frustration as he ambled about, taking time to chat with every single fucking person he ran across. And even when all that was done, he sauntered right into the VIP section as she’d predicted—which meant the bastard was out of sight. Scrambling, she got up from her booth and found a better position where she could pretend to look out on the dance floor while still keeping an eye on what parts of the roped-off section she could see.
Zack was sitting on a couch next to a girl maybe a year or two older than Harper, whispering sweet nothings in her ear. There was every possibility he might drink from her right then and there. The only thing that kept her from panicking was the reports of the bodies he’d left behind. They were always littered in random places across the city with no discernible pattern. He probably liked this club too much to leave a mess.
So she watched and waited some goddamn more.
It was well past midnight when he finally took the girl’s arm and pulled her up from the couch, walking her out of the VIP section and toward the stairs. He was taking her to a secondary location—this was it! As smoothly as her nerves allowed, Harper trailed after them while the pair moved down the stairwell and through the main door. She stopped off just long enough to deposit her empty glass on the bar before slipping out after them. To her immense relief, she caught sight of some blond locks moving out of sight down the nearby alley and continued her tail.
Just as suddenly, she had to pull up short. Zack had apparently decided to make this the scene of tonight’s entertainment. Harper swiftly pressed herself up against the rough bricks of the dark alleyway, then ducked behind a nearby dumpster, desperately willing her breathing to slow. This was her big moment. Happy twenty-first birthday! Go stop a vampire from siring half of Chicago. Not that she was complaining exactly. As far as birthdays went, it didn’t get much more exciting than this. But it was stressful now that she didn’t have her parents acting as a safety net.
Even in this dingy alley, the atmosphere from the nearby club was still palpable—fragments of neon lighting, dulled thumping bass, chatter from people waiting in line to get inside. This dark, cramped space was only occupied by three bodies. There was Harper, hunkered down on one knee behind an exceptionally pungent dumpster. There was the cute, young blonde in the too-short, silver, glittering dress. And there was Zack.
While waiting for the perfect moment to strike, Harper ran the dossier back through her head. Zachary Garfield, formerly Zechariah Gairbekov of some European city that didn’t exist anymore. Still a relative newcomer to the greater Chicago area, he made a habit of city-hopping to avoid too much attention. It made Harper wonder what was wrong with the slacker hunters in New York City or Los Angeles that they hadn’t dealt with this clown yet. In the span of a month or so he’d managed to kill a handful of people, which was bad enough. Far more dangerous, though, was his propensity for turning innocent people against their wishes. Worse, he left them to figure out their new vampiric state alone and afraid—like poor Ben and Demi.
And now here she was, half focusing on Zack while the rest of her mental energy was used up, ignoring the rotting garbage in the dumpster that provided such meager cover. She watched as his head dipped down toward the girl’s neck, a fang glistening in the red neon washing from the club.
It was now or never.
Harper pushed to stand and step closer, then cleared her throat, trying to sound intimidating. Unfortunately, she was already used to counteracting the effects of testosterone on her voice, so course-correcting along with that caused a situation akin to driving a car with a blown-out tire. Her voice shook, coming out at a pitch that was just a touch too low, before quickly ratcheting up a few steps, only to overshoot and go too high. “Ah, excuse me, miss. I—Ahem, I don’t want to ruin the mood, but is this whole thing…consensual?”
There were several seconds without anything happening as Zachary held eye contact with his victim, who finally turned to look at Harper. Her pupils were dilated to an almost uncomfortable degree, and she gave a forced, robotic smile. “Oh yes. I’m very happy.”
Harper clicked her tongue softly, perhaps trying a little too hard to be cool. “Y’know, I might’ve almost been convinced if you’d made her give me, like, a small nod or something. But that was so obvious. Shame.” It wasn’t great, not as far as snappy banter went. Nothing like the heroine in her favorite show. Harper never could get the hang of that clever dialogue. In the moment, she couldn’t just think up witty stuff on the fly. She kept trying, even if she kept failing. But there was also a time to admit when you needed to stop screwing around, so she brought all of her attention around on the vampire.
Zack looked away from his prey, leaving her dazed and hypnotized and leaning up against the wall for support. He turned to fully face Harper and sighed. “Walk away. Or this is going to get very bad for you.” His fangs were on full display now. A picture on a phone and watching him from a distance hadn’t really prepared Harper for just how tall and broad Zack was. She wasn’t short, but he still dwarfed her easily. With a growl, he lunged at her, teeth bared, ready to bite.
This part, at least, didn’t make her nervous. This part was easy. In one fluid motion, Harper flicked open the clasp on a sheath at her hip and drew her knife, driving it straight into his chest, where the shriveled remains of his heart should be.
Zack drew up short and looked down where the knife was lodged in his flesh. He seemed shocked, for sure, but otherwise unimpressed. “Stupid. Incredibly stupid. If you know what I am, then you know that was pointless.”
His smoking wound told a very different story, and Harper couldn’t help but grin. That was no ordinary knife. Rather than traditional, reliable steel, the blade was made of pure iron and inlaid with veins of silver, available only by special requisition from the guild. The combination of those two notorious metals was more than enough to do serious damage to any number of countless mythics. Iron for various flavors of Fair Folk, silver for all the midnight dangers. Sure, wooden stakes were a classic for dealing with a vampire, but they were a pain in the ass to make and lug around. Her knife was always with her, like an old friend.
He muttered something she couldn’t quite make out, his voice coming out raspy as more and more of him started to smoke and the skin on his face and arms started to crack and fade away. But she definitely made out one word. “Hunter…”
“Bingo,” she said, finally sliding the knife back out of his chest. Slowly, Zack stumbled back the short distance to the brick wall, leaning against it next to the blonde. His flesh crackled as it caught up to his actual age. Harper wiped off the small bits of viscera and ichor from the blade on her pants before sliding it back into its sheath, clipping the cover in place. He looked as though he was probably attempting to cry out in pain, but by now his throat and lungs were turning to ash so it just came out as a whisper. Sad and grim, his body finally began to lose the last vestiges of composure, and he deteriorated into nothing more than a pile of dust on the dirty pavement.
“Well. That’s that,” she said softly, mostly to herself. Harper had done it. She’d killed the vampire. Hopefully, Demi and Ben would turn back to normal. Nobody else had to die, or suffer the indignity of being transformed against their will.
She’d killed the vampire. It was so easy.
It was too easy.
Harper decided that she really, really didn’t want to follow that particular train of thought any further. Instead, she focused her attention on Zack’s intended victim.
At the moment, she was curled in on herself, staring despondently at the pile of dust that had once been her attacker. Her feet gave out from under her and she slowly slid down until her butt was on the asphalt.
“Shit.” Harper much preferred the ones who ran because it made her job far simpler. She didn’t have to explain anything, or comfort them. But she also wasn’t enough of a garbage person to leave her alone, so she awkwardly crouched down and joined her in sitting on the disgusting ground. “Um, sorry about…all that.”
She worried away at her lower lip with her teeth for a few moments before finally attempting to speak. “Was…Was he—?” Blessedly, she cut herself off before asking the super-obvious question. Still, this was the moment. The veil had officially been pierced for this girl, and she was allowed to see the rest of the world, the real world. Everyone reacted differently. If they were fortunate, the sheer power of denial would sew that veil right back up and they would go about their lives as if the trauma was more mundane. If they were less fortunate, they would have a full-on breakdown and question everything they had ever known. This girl impressed Harper by landing somewhere in the middle, which was rare. “Well, I mean of course he was. The teeth and…that weird thing he did with his eyes, and he turned into dust when you stabbed him. Normal people don’t do that. Are, uh…are you—?”
“Am I what? A creature of the night? Nope. Boring human.”
The trembling blonde chanced a more fearful look at the world outside the alleyway. Harper could see a few telltale tears in the corners of her eyes. She was trying hard to maintain her composure, but the weight of it all was setting in. “Are there others? Like, other stuff out there?”
Harper wasn’t particularly enthused about having to further shatter this girl’s world. But lying to her now would probably be the worse option in the grand scheme of things. “There are. But hey, they’re a lot like us. Some of them suck, some of them are pretty nice, and almost everyone is just trying to get by. You saw the worst of it tonight.”
“Kinda saw the best of it too,” she said, sniffling softly. After a beat, she carefully pushed herself up to stand again—an impressive feat considering the heels.
Harper stood up with her, no doubt looking like a newborn fawn by comparison. Harper was riding a wave of very complicated emotions. She’d managed to hunt a vampire all on her lonesome. But her hunt had also ended with Harper killing him. It wasn’t just that she had driven her knife into him and ended his existence that was fucking with her, though. What really disturbed her was just how simple it had been. The reflexes were deeply rooted, and stabbing her blade into Zack’s heart came so easily. Worst of all was the feeling of satisfaction she got from a job well done.
In an effort to keep distracting herself, Harper did something incredibly stupid and allowed herself a chance to examine the temporary damsel in distress. She was pretty in a very conventional way—not a bad thing, to be clear. Wavy blond hair, wide blue eyes, and that tight silver clubbing dress. “Mind if I ask you your name? Otherwise I’m going to have to keep referring to you as ‘Cute Blonde’ in my head.”
The look she got in return told her that had been a bad idea. There was some warmth in those features for a moment, but her brow quickly furrowed and she closed herself off with her arms crossed. “Sammy. You?”
“Harper. I, uh—” She fumbled the ball so hard she considered calling the whole game. “I know this was a lot. I can put you in touch with some people that can talk you through all this. Get your head around it.” She once again went through the awkward process of putting information on a scrap of paper before passing it off to her. The two of them stood there awkwardly for a moment, shuffling their feet. “Fuck, look, I’m sorry. That was so uncool of me. Just the epitome of inconsiderate.”
“Yeah, kinda,” Sammy said, not even bothering to soften that particular blow. “It’s whatever. I’m gonna go home, take a long shower, get hammered, and have an emotional breakdown if I can find the time. Maybe I’ll call your people tomorrow. I don’t know. It’s whatever,” Sammy repeated, voice cracking slightly.
The urge bubbled up within Harper to offer an escort home. She had to viciously bite down on her lip to keep that from happening. Instead, she just offered an awkward half-wave and watched as Sammy left the cramped alleyway and hailed a cab. Glancing over, Harper contemplated hurling herself into the dumpster where she belonged. “Yeah. It’s whatever…”
Normal was never on the books. Once she was certain Sammy had managed to get safely inside a taxi, she made the hike toward the nearby parking garage where her car was waiting. It was time to go home and nurse her emotional wounds while trying to be grateful she hadn’t sustained any physical ones.