Saved by Venom (Grabbed 3)(3)

By: Lolita Lopez


Dizzy snorted. “Hardly.”

“Stop being so modest.” Ella pulled out a coral-pink dress and held it up against her body. She used the mirror mounted on the door to check out her reflection. “I always get the most compliments when I’m wearing your creations. I still think we should have started our own business.”

“If money grew on trees,” Dizzy replied a bit wistfully. Joining Ella at the closet, she flicked through the hangers and selected all the dresses that were too small for Ella. “I want these to go to the shelter. The girls there will get some use out of them.” She glanced at her workstation. “The fabric and supplies too.”

“I’ll make sure it gets there. What about your work? Are you taking anything with you?”

“My seamstress kit.” She pointed to the leather messenger bag she carried everywhere. “I assume it won’t be difficult to find fabric or thread up there. They must have a much better market system than we do. Hopefully I can find a store that will sell my designs.”

“I’m sure that won’t be difficult. One look at your sketches for your fall line and everyone will be clamoring for the chance to have your designs hanging on their racks.” Still hugging the pink dress, Ella leaned back against the wall. “Let’s go out tonight.”

“What?” Dizzy shook her head. “I can’t.”

“Why not?”

“I have to pack.”

“I’ll help you when we get back. What time do you run tomorrow morning?”

“Nine o’clock but I have to be at the square by eight. They’re bussing us out to the woods for the Grab.”

Ella made a face. “It’s going to be ridiculously cold. Do you have anything suitable for that weather?”

“The paper they gave me at the registrar’s office said that I’ll be provided a uniform for running.”

She made a humph noise. “It will probably be paper-thin and cheap.”

“Probably.”

“Come on, Dizzy.” Ella begged with that high-pitched whine that she somehow made impossibly cute and endearing. “Please? We’ll just grab a quick meal and a drink.”

She frowned at her friend. “The last time I heard that we ended up at Hopper’s underground dance club and barely escaped a raid by the secret police. No thanks!”

Ella rolled her eyes. “Whatever! You loved it. When was the last time you had that much fun? You know, other than the whole running-from-the-police-in-the-abandoned- subway-tunnels thing.”

“No.”

She checked her watch. “Look, it’s nearly eight. Let’s just listen to the Mouth and see what’s going on tonight. If there’s any chance that something might kick off we’ll stay inside. Okay?”

Unable to deny Ella anything, Dizzy nodded reluctantly and knelt down next to her bed to fish out the small homemade radio she kept hidden there. Because the walls were shoddy and thin and owning a radio was an arrestable offense they took the device into the bathroom and turned on the shower for background noise. Ella climbed up to poke the antenna against the window for better reception. It took Dizzy almost a minute to find the pirate radio station that alternated channels to avoid detection.

“…hear that the League of Idiots will be holding a rally at tomorrow’s Grab. Anyone who doesn’t want their ass kicked by a bunch of muscleheaded sky warriors should probably steer clear of those festivities. If there’s a book open on this, I’ve got ten bucks on the sky warriors, by the way.”

Ella shot her an amused smile as the female DJ known only as the Mouth from the South described the dustup that would likely occur between the League of Concerned Citizens and the Harcos. The grassroots organization billed itself as a group of men concerned about the increasing number of Harcos ships orbiting the planet but most people understood that they were little more than a government-approved front for Splinter activities on Calyx.

Dizzy had met a few members of the league and all of them were batshit crazy. They were the type of people who seemed to want anarchy—and she simply couldn’t understand it. The terrorist bombing that had taken her mother and nearly killed her had spurred intense rioting and chaos for weeks. She never wanted to experience true anarchy.

“We’ve also had reports from our friends by the sea that the big beasties in the sky have been scouting land outside Blue Shores. Maybe those rumors of a military base in our backyard aren’t so farfetched.”

“Ugh.” Ella made a face. “That’s all we need, right? Then the Splinter terrorists would have a real reason to cause more problems for all of us.”

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