[This post is from Phelan’s point of view.]
“We all do,” Neve said after the silence that followed, silence that was so loud that it felt deafening. She crossed her arms, her brows knitting. “But they left us enough to work with—they bought us time and we’ve done a lot with it. For now, though, we have to think about protecting the kids and everyone else that’s trusted us for all these years to make sure that they’re safe. That’s our job.”
Phelan reached out to put his hand on Matt’s shoulder. He squeezed it gently even as Hecate wrapped her arms around Matt’s waist. The other man sighed, squeezing his eyes shut for a few seconds. It was a familiar gesture, but one that Phelan would admit that he hadn’t seen in a long time—one he’d hoped that he’d never have to witness again.
We all made the mistake years ago of hoping the hard times had passed, that with Thom and Marin gone, the threat would be gone, too. We all knew it wasn’t, but we let ourselves believe that it would be. We just let it go. Phelan closed his eyes for a moment. What fools we were.
“Right,” Matt murmured. “Well, the kids won’t be happy and neither will about half the rest, but there’s nothing for it. We’ll have to restrict everyone’s movements, keep everyone we can inside the walls and inside the wards. No one goes out alone.”
“Back to that,” J.T. murmured.
Matt nodded firmly. “Yeah. Back to that.”
“There are some people who aren’t going to like that,” Carolyn said softly. “Like the ones who never experienced it the first time.”
“Everyone who lives here is party to the same agreement,” Matt said. “They listen and do what’s necessary for the safety of everyone. It’s time to test that resolve.”