“Where are you going?” I ask her as she starts up the stairs.
“To get Hayden to get her to leave.” She responds simply.
“I already told you we tried to asking him.”
“You tried asking.” She pulls her dagger out, I run a hand over my face. “I’m going to try forcing.” She continues up the stairs, I don’t try to stop her.
Devin turns to me eyes wide, “Should we stop her?” he asks.
I shake my head. “No.”
“You’re right. I mean, what’s the worst she could do?” The sound of splitting wood followed closely by a loud series of bangs echoes from upstairs. “I spoke too soon.”
“Yeah you did,” Chase mutters as he leans against the wall across from us, Jason next to him. Narissa runs off to who knows where.
“Yeah...” Jason trails off. “Maybe someone should go up there and make sure they don’t kill each other.”
I roll my eyes at him. “They’re not going to try to kill each other.” I chide him.
“Yeah ok, the worst that’ll happen is a repeat of yesterday. Unless his grudge against her is gone.” Devin pipes in.
“What grudge?” I ask him. He’s not making any sense, as usual.
He gives me a disbelieving look, “You didn’t notice?” I look over at Chase and Jason, who just shrug. They have no idea what Devin’s on about either.
“Didn’t notice what?” Chase asks.
“The way they went at each other.” he pauses. “They aren’t strangers, they know each other. I’ve never seen your brother so angry before, and her, well she’s no stranger to him.”
“Hayden doesn’t know her.” I retort. “He would’ve said something.”
“Have you ever seen him going at a stranger like that?” He asks me. “Going after a girl like that?”
“No,” I respond after a moment of silence. “Never.”
“It wouldn’t be that surprising if he does know her,” Jason says. “She seems to know everyone.”
Suddenly there’s a surprised shout and the thudding of something falling down the stairs. Hayden lands on his back on the tile floors.
Devin flinches. “Damn that must’ve hurt.” He mutters.
Hayden looks back up the stairs, getting to feet, his eyes murderous. Thirteen descends softly. “Why you little-”
Thirteen throws a punch to his jaw as soon as her feet hit the tile. He staggers backward.
“She leaves now, or I tie you to a tree and use you for target practice.” She growls out, eyes narrow. She twirls her dagger in her hands. He eyes it.
“Fine,” he growls back at her. “Narissa!” He calls out.
“Yes.” She appears right by his side, almost magically and bats her eyes at him. He glares at Thirteen.
“We’re leaving.” He turns and stalks out the front door, Thirteen glaring icily at his retreating form.
As soon as the door closes behind him, she snatches her keys from the counter, grabbing her leather jacket from the coat rack by the door.
“Whoa, where are you going?” I question as I step in front of her.
“I need to blow off some steam and unless you want to be my unwilling volunteer, move out of my way.” She hisses at me. I hold my hands up in surrender and back away from her. She slams the door behind her.
“Wow.” Jason breathes out. “They’re pissed”
Devin snorts. “Yeah, they’re only leaving at the exact same time. If they really wanted to be away from each other, I think Thirteen would’ve stayed.”
“You read too much into things.” Chase scolds him.
“Fifty bucks says Hayden doesn’t come home till Thirteen does,” Devin says in sing song voice.
“You’re on,” Chase replies.
I toss and turn in my bed, unable to fall asleep. I glance at the clock on bedside table, 1:27. I roll over in bed before finally deciding to get up. I’ll just get something to eat and go right back to bed.
I descend the stairs quietly and make my way to the kitchen. The front door opens. I freeze and duck behind the counter, pulling a knife from one of the drawers. Her soft voice fills my ears.
“Could you be any louder?” She hisses, “You probably woke up half the damn house.”
“Oh, pardon me for opening the door too loudly.” Hayden retorts sarcastically. I make my way back the stairs quietly as they enter the kitchen.
Damn Devin’s going to be intolerable because he’s right.
“I’m off to bed.” She mutters in reply. I hear her start towards me and turn to bolt quickly up the stairs.
“Are you really going to sleep?” He asks her. Her footsteps stop.
“Do I ever?” Her footsteps move towards him. I move into a position so I can see them. He doesn’t reply to her, for a while.
“Want something to eat?” He asks and makes his way towards the fridge.
“Sure.” She answers. She takes a seat at the counter as he removes several food items from the fridge and tosses her an apple.
“Won’t eat anything else besides an apple or toast at this hour, and I don’t feel like burning down the house.” He tells her.
How would he know that?
“You’re not that bad of a cook.” She states.
“That’s not what you said last time.”
She rolls her eyes. “Last time was over a fire in the woods.” She pauses. “Are we good?” She asks quietly.
He stops rummaging through the food. “Yes.” he finally says, not meeting her eyes.
“For the sake of your brother, we can continue acting like we hate each other, ok?” she suggests.
He chuckles softly. “I take it back.”
“Take what back?” She asks, confusion lacing her tone.
“Everything I said to you before I hit you.” He says quietly. “I can’t think of anyone better for them.”
“I’m not staying Hayden.”
“I’m asking you to.”
“I’m not going to. I’m not going to responsible for the death of another team.” She hisses at him.
“I’m not asking you to be. You wouldn’t get them killed, you’d make them stronger.”
“You’ve seen the scars Hayden.” Her voice cracks slightly. “They will die, he’d make sure of it. Anyone I ever get close to, he kills. I’d rather let them live out their lives for as long as possible.”
He sighs. “Suit yourself.” He starts towards the stairs, I run up to the top. He pauses at the start of the steps.
“For once Thirteen, stop thinking about other people, and start thinking about yourself.”
“I see what this does to you. I see how much you want to be a part of a team again. Just be selfish for once in your damn life Thirteen.”
“Yeah well, I wasn’t taught to be selfish. I was taught to be selfless.” I turn back into my room and lie on the bed, pulling the covers over my head, as she walks in.
“I know you’re awake, and I know you were listening. Your brother may be completely oblivious but I’m not.” She states as soon as she closes the door. I sigh and sit up in the bed.
“What was that all about?” I question.
“I think you’ve already figured it out same as Devin. You guys don’t give him nearly enough credit even though he is smarter than all of you.”
“You didn’t answer my question.” I press.
“Cause you already know the answer.”
“How do you know him?” I ask her. She removes her boots and tosses them over by the couch. She takes her sweet time in pulling the hair tie out of her hair and spreading out the blankets on the couch. I stare at her.
“Your team is not the first one I’ve been on since my original team.” She says quietly.
“Hayden’s was the first.” She states. “I was put on his team after mine-well, you know.” She pauses, searching for the right words. “We didn’t always get along, but we both did whatever was necessary for the team to live. Unfortunately one-day things went wrong.” She stops talking and sits down on the couch, staring at her hands in her lap.
“What went wrong?”
“Hayden blames me for the death of his friends. We were trying to stop a runaway train full of civilians. The hijackers were former agents. They were two twins. A boy and a girl, they were some of the best agents in the agency until they joined the wrong side. The boy killed two of Hayden’s teammates and several civilians. It got out of hand.
The girl was controlling the train but when she was attacked she was thrown onto the controls and they broke. The twins got away and three teammates died.”
“The third one was the only reason I was on the team. He was the only person left who I trusted. He stopped the train by disconnecting the front car, it crashed. He didn’t make it.” I stay silent as I watch her, the room is dark and I can’t make out her face but her head is down.
“Who was he?” I question quietly.
“Ryan’s older brother.”
“Your cousin,” I state and see her nod in confirmation. “I’m sorry.”
“Yeah well, it was three years ago.” She dismisses. “And it’s the only reason Ryan follows me around sometimes. He wants to know what happened.” She pauses. “I don’t have the heart to tell him.”
“So you avoid him,” I say, I stand from the bed and make my way over to her. “And push him away, all because you feel like it was your fault.”
“He should’ve let me do it.” She says, lifting her head up to meet my eyes as I take a seat next to her. “I had and have nothing left in this world. Nothing to fear.”
“Everyone has fears.”
“I guess so, only mine died the day my team did.” She says, that cold edge returning to her voice, her eyes going back to guarded and hard. I sigh.
“You can’t keep pushing people away,” I tell her, as she stands and heads towards the bathroom. She pauses in the doorway.
“Let me explain something to you.” Her voice deadly calm “It’s not for my benefit it’s for everyone else’s. Trust me when I say you do not want to be considered even an ally to me. It never ends well. So yes, Cody, I can and I will keep pushing people away.” Her eyes stay connected to mine as she says this.
“Only one problem,” I tell her, my eyes filling with determination.
“And that would be what exactly?” She asks as she begins to close the door to the bathroom.
“I’m not going to let you push me away,” I say, a smirk forming its way onto my face.
She gives me a deadpan look and slams the door shut the rest of the way. I laugh loudly, not caring who wakes up, cause let’s face it that slam should’ve woken them up first.
I’m thinking Devin was right...
I might just be falling for Thirteen.