I leap up from my seat, jolting Atalanta off my lap. “Why didn't you say something sooner?” I’m a dangerous combination of angry and scared. “How do you know that, anyway? When exactly was he seen?” My pulse pounds in my ears and in my clenched fists. I can’t believe things have somehow gotten worse.
Malcolm stands. “China told you?”
Atalanta nods. “In a way, it’s a good thing. She’s not defecting like we feared.”
I don’t know who China is, and I don’t care. “Is he coming after me? Did he know what Rory was involved in? What you all are involved in?” I want to puke. It’s not just them—I’m a part of the conspiracy, too, whether I like it or not. And I most decidedly don’t.
“Settle down,” says Malcolm.
“Don’t tell me to settle down. You don’t even know me.”
“Damita,” says Julian, “why don’t we go into the other room and discuss this? In private?” His eyebrows knit together in concern. I have an easier time believing his sincerity than Malcolm’s. Still, I’m not happy with anyone for keeping secrets from me.
I ask the question that nags me. “Did you know about this?”
“No,” he says. I believe him. “But I’m sorry.”
I take a minute to breathe. Then, before Atalanta or Malcolm can say something else to set me off, I follow Julian out of my room. He opens the door to his and lets me pass through before closing and locking it behind us. I don’t see why he thinks he has to lock it, but I trust his judgment. I sit down on the bed.
“I’m so sorry,” he says again. “This is absolutely awful. You must be so upset.”
“You have no idea,” I say.
“What can I do to help you?” He stoops down to look into my eyes. It’s the most intimate contact I've experienced. My cheeks burn. I look away. He tucks his fingers under my chin and lifts my face toward his. I have to look at him.
“Please trust me,” he says.
I know Julian is my best bet of finding some security. “Until you make it impossible to do so,” I tell him.
He releases me and starts pacing. “If Cray was near your house, we can assume he killed Rory. Again, I am sorry. If Cray killed Rory, it means someone in the government knows we’re plotting something—or, at least, that Rory was. We have no idea how much they know.”
“Silver knows,” I say.
“Right. That’s much worse.” He sits down in the chair I saw Atalanta sitting in before. “He might be coming after you. I hope he didn't see the policeman take you here. Otherwise…”
I swallow. We both knew what that means.
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"My pulse pounds in my ears and in my clenched fists... things have somehow gotten worse." MUD EYES by @brianawrites (Click to tweet)
What would you do if the man who killed your brother were coming after you next? Read the latest installment of @brianawrites' MUD EYES. (Click to tweet)