“Where are we all gonna sleep?” The twins asked in unison.
I was wondering that myself. The apartment was in good shape compared to the other ones. It was one bedroom and one bath, with trash everywhere, the windows were broken and the door was hanging on its side.
“Ok most of us could sleep out in the living room. We have enough blankets for everyone. And a couple could be in the bedroom.” I announced.
“Jay and I will take the bedroom.” Jade said being all lovey dovey with Jay.
We all decided the rest of us would sleep out here.
Thomas and I chose spots close to the door so we could get out without tripping over anyone. Both of us were the only ones going. We hid the cart in a nearby room. When we got close to the drop off zone I would go in alone while Thomas waited around the corner.
All of us ate the canned food we took from the bunker joking around and talking about this and that. Eli’s story was the one that captured my attention.
“Well one time I was searching a building by myself trying to be all brave. It looked deserted but then at the back of it I encountered a guy named Mikey. See Mikey runs some business with the black market. He thought I was another thief out to steal. I was held at gun point while he interrogated me. He decided if I did the dirty work he would do business with me. He’s now one of my good friends.”
“No Way! We-“Nathan started to say but I dived over Phillips lap to cover his mouth.
Everyone stared at me in silence. I grabbed Nathan by the arm hauling him by his arm out into the hall into another apartment.
“Are you stupid? You don’t tell them anything, we aren’t friends with them we just need their help to get out of the area. Bigger group less confrontation. Get it?” I whispered.
“Ok geez. You could have told me that before.” He said rubbing his arm where I drew blood from my nails digging into his skin.
“Sorry. Just kind of slipped my mind.”
Entering the room was really awkward because everyone stared me down. I didn’t explain my weird reaction.
After awhile everyone settled down to sleep. I had to lay there for 3 hours waiting for everyone to finally fall asleep but during that time I think everyone had to listen to some suggestive sounds come from the bedroom. I barely held back my dinner.
I turned over looking at Thomas who smiled and we quietly got up and tip toed into the apartment down the hall where we stashed the cart in and rolled it out of the building.
“I feel dirty.”I say rubbing at my arms.
“I know what you mean. It was a bad idea to give Jay and Jade the bedroom.”He cringes.
“Ok so we’ll head over there and remember if I don’t come out after two hours you have to come in and save my butt.”
“No problem. But I think you could handle it since you have your pride and joy right there.” He pointed down to my gun.
“I know just making sure you are listening.”
It took about a half an hour to get to Mikey’s building. There wasn’t anyone out tonight so we got pretty lucky.
Thomas did what I told him and stayed a block away. I pushed the cart through the doors into a long hallway that I knew by heart. At the end was double doors I knocked in a secret pattern to let Mikey know it was me specifically. A moment later he opened with the door wearing his boxers only. It kind of shocked me because usually he’s wearing clothes but since it was late at night it’s expected. It didn’t mean that I liked it.
“Well Airy fancy you showing up at my door alone at this late hour. Oh! And look you brought your delivery with you. Come in, come in.” He held open the door wider.
I pushed the cart through and stopped it near his desk. He checked the cart grunting with approval. He sat in his chair and grabbed his notebook and started writing.
I looked around the room noticing how creepy it looked at night.
“You did really well this time Airy I have to appraise you for that. Where’s your herd anyways? Don’t you think its risky being out this late at night?”He asked eyeing my dress.
“A fire made us have to come out this way so I decided when everyone was asleep I would deliver the cart.”
“Mhm. Ok so the stuff you brought will be enough. Now for our new business offer.” He got up and came towards me.
My stomach fell to my feet. This was going to end badly. I pointed my gun at him.
“Mikey don’t come closer I’m not up for this crap tonight. Just hand me my pay and I won’t shoot you.”
He held up his hands in surrender and backed up to his desk and went into a drawer taking out the money.
“Here take it.” He said holding the money out to me.
I cautiously reached over and grabbed the money. Mikey hit the gun out of my hand it fell to the floor and went off making me shriek. He grabbed my wrist tightly and pulled me to him. I kicked and fought but I couldn’t get away. He was dragging me to another room that was on the other side of the room. I screamed praying Thomas would hear me. Mikey threw open the door and locked the door behind him. He approached but stopped when someone kicked the door down and it hit his leg sending him falling towards me.
Eli was in the doorway breathing heavily. He grabbed Mikey by the hair.
“Mikey don’t make me kill you. To think we were friends.”He said with a rage that scared her deeply and thankful she wasn’t the one it was directed to.
“Eli! Buddy we were just having a conversation. Weren’t we Airy?” He said laughing nervously.
Eli punched him in the face.
“You and I know that’s not true. If you want to keep your top contributors supplying you, you better not try to this again, got it scumbag?” He yelled.
“Because if you do I have the right to kill you.”
“Good” He threw Mikey’s hair away causing him to hit his face on the floor.
Eli held his hand out to me. I took it and stepped around the door and Mikey. He picked the money I didn’t know I dropped and my gun off the floor and handed it to me. We headed out the building when I stopped him.
“Uh I just want to say thank you for-uh-saving me back there.” I said sheepishly looking at the ground squeezing his hand.
“Seemed like you needed it.” He said smiling.
“Did you see me and Thomas leave?”
“Well no, I heard the cart squeak and I followed it and saw you guys walking out of the building.”
There was an awkward silence.
“We better go back and get Thomas on the way.”I suggested. I started to leave but Eli pulled me back, I fell into his arms, and his lips were on me.
His lips were soft, firm, and tasted really good. I put my arms around his neck and pulled him tighter to me. He ran his hands up and down my back but being a gentleman and not grabbing my butt.
He groaned and I bit his lower lip butterflies in my stomach stirring like crazy. I pulled on his hair. We broke apart trying to catch our breath. We stared at each other breathing heavily.
My thought process was foggy and I couldn’t remember anything but his lips. Then I jumped back out of his embrace turning away from him.
“I can’t. I’m sorry.” I whispered. I ran down a side street trying to get away from him. He was shouting after me to stop but I high tailed it out of there. Taking Side Street after Side Street I got lost and started to back track. I heard him before I saw him. I jumped behind a dumpster. His steps grew fainter and fainter. I took a deep breath and started back to where Thomas was supposed to be.
He was leaning up against a wall and looked up when I walked towards him. He was about to say something when I hugged him. He was pretty much my big brother and I needed help to stand.
“We need to leave the Suraylien’s. Please go get the others and if the others ask just tell them we have business elsewhere.” I said into his shirt.
He rubbed my back and let me go and agreed. I decided to wait here so I didn’t have to see Eli’s face. He was still in love with Jade and just needed someone to erase the pain for just a moment. But I deserved more than a mere moment. I deserved a lifetime. It was too much for my fragile self. I had a tough exterior but my insides were holding on by threads.
I silently cried with my head leaning on my knees in the dirty alley.
My gang came back at dawn they all greeted me and hugged me. We went on our way to go north to try to find other work for the black market. Once we were out of the city we slowed down our pace. We’ve never really explored the north but it was the only place I thought that would have connections with the black market.
I asked Serena over.
“Can I talk to you about something? I need to get things off my chest.”I asked her.
“Of course.” She said encouragingly.
“Well the reason I wanted to leave the Suraylien is because Eli and I kissed. But he’s still in love with Jade. So I needed to get away from him because if not, it would’ve ended badly.”
“I understand. You’re the leader so if you want to leave we’ll go with it. If Eli’s in love with Jade still he sure missed out on the best thing he would never have.” She said putting her arm around my shoulder.
I hugged her and we walked arms around each other’s shoulders for awhile.
“Can I tell you something now?” She said sheepishly.
“It’s a secret ok?”
She leaned over and whispered in my ear.
“I kind of like Nathan.”
“No way!” I shrieked excitedly.
She covered my mouth when everyone stared at me. Serena just smiled at them. She pulled her hand away cautiously ready to catch a slip up at any time.
“Sorry it’s just exciting.” I said.
We both laughed.
The twins mimicked us and mocked us. We both stuck our tongues out at them. Nathan smiled at Serena’s reaction. It was too cute.
Thomas talked to Trinity about who knows what?
This is how I like it. Drama free.
The sun was setting and we all were getting tired so we stopped and made camp. The boys went to gather wood for the fire while all us girls started putting out food and setting out blankets.
The fire was lit and we all ate around the fire, enjoying each other’s company. The crickets chirped obnoxiously.
I laid my head on Phillips chest while we all looked at the stars. Quill tried to lay his head on my chest but I pushed him and he fell sideways into Thomas who decided to kick him in the no man’s land. We all laughed at him cringing and crawling over to Serena to lie down. Knowing Serena doesn’t like to hurt anyone unless she has to.
* * *
I woke up to everyone sleeping so I got up and stretched to look around the area. It pretty much looked like the rest of the forest so I got bored quickly. I went back to camp and Trinity was awake. She was rubbing her eyes and yawning.
“Trinney! Hey munchkin.” I said when I picked her up and spun her around.
“Wanna go take a walk while everyone’s asleep?”
She nodded so we started walking.
She pointed out everything that was different I just agreed with her.
Then we stumbled upon another group’s camp. Trinity was under my instructions to stay back but in my site. I couldn’t see their faces but I instantly knew who it was. The Surayliens.
I held back my urge to go around making a scene especially because I forgot my gun. Stupid move Airy. I mentally kicked myself.
I mouthed to Trinity to go back to camp and tell Thomas where I was.
She waddled as fast as she could back in the direction we came from.
I saw Eli lying on his stomach. I was mad as hell.
The nerve he had to come this way. He probably saw us and followed, either way he should fear the anger I have for him at this point.
One of the muscle monkeys yawned loudly and got up to get some food. Figures.
He made a lot of racket causing Eli to wake up.
I ducked behind the tree more.
“Morning Eli.” Muscle monkey said.
He was just in a pair of jeans and I couldn’t help to stare. It’s not my fault I’m a hormonal teenage girl.
“So how far is she?”Eli asked.
“Not that far. Their camp is just a little further up ahead. Last night she looked pretty comfortable with one of those twin guys.”
“Snuggly stuff. I guess.”
Can’t wait for that muscle monkey to just get lost in a jungle overseas one day. He thinks he knows me.
Eli grunted. Sounding strangely jealous.
Thomas came up behind me and I yelped.
I grab my gun from Thomas and held it up pointing at the two staring at me like I was a ghost or something mythical.
“Why you following us Eli?” I raise my eyebrow in question.
“Airy! I just need to talk to you.” Eli said getting up quickly.
I cock the gun to stop him in his tracks.
“Then talk I don’t need stalkers.”
“How about we do this in private and without guns?” He asked eyeing my gun.
I laugh. The rest of the Suraylien were up and watching the show down.
“Let’s do it my way. We can talk in private but I want my gun with me.” I proposed.
He furrowed his brow.
Away from both of our groups I stand a good twenty feet across from him. There was silence for a couple minutes.
“Why did you leave?” He asked.
“I’ve got to go find new work.”
“You know that’s not what I’m asking.” He said frustrated.
I looked away.
“Get a grip. One little kiss is nothing in my eyes.”
He actually flinched at that.
“It was more and you know it.”
“You don’t know me! Stop assuming and you’ll get far in this life.”
“Am I really that repulsive?”
“No you’re just a player.”
“What? How am I a player?”
“Are we done with this conversation yet? I’m getting bored.” I yawned for a dramatic effect.
“I thought you were someone different. Guess I was wrong.”
Eli got up and walked back to his camp.
That hurt real badly. I almost ran back to him. But I just followed him to get Thomas and leave.
My whole gang was there staring down the other group. The twins came rushing over to me. Protecting me.
I put both my hands on their shoulder and thanked them.
I walked back over to my gang.
I turned to face the Suraylien. Eli stood in front of his gang looking like a different person. Jade left Jay to put her hand in Eli’s and he pulled it to his lips and kissed it. I wanted to kill him for hurting me so much.
“Our truce is now done with we are no more than strangers to each other now. We bid you farewell.” I said turning to my gang as we headed back to camp.
Phillip put his arm around me. Giving me comfort.
I heard a low voice say something that I couldn’t quite catch and a moment later I felt Phillip jerk around and Eli attacked him.