Zack glares at me, his eyes drifting to the dagger I twirl in my hands. “So talk,” He says, his eyes remaining on my dagger.
“I’m going to give you a choice,” I say as I lean forward to rest my elbows on my knees, my hands hanging between my knees. My hand holds my dagger firmly, just on case. He eyes me suspiciously, as if he doesn’t believe a word I’m saying.
The door to the room suddenly bursts open and I immediately slip my dagger into my boot and lean back comfortably in the chair and scroll through my phone as the doctor comes into the room wheeling a try of equipment in with him. He starts to speak to Zack, a slight accent to his words, and I continue looking through my phone while keeping both of them in my line of vision all the same.
It’s only when I actually take a second to look at the “doctor” that I start cursing him out. “What are you still doing here?” I hiss.
Jackson smiles cheekily. “I told you, I have some business I’m attending to.”
Zack looks between the two of us in confusion.
“So,” Jackson claps his hands together and Zack visibly jumps. “is this the unlucky torture victim today? I brought tools,” He gestures to the cart of equipment he brought in. He picks up a scalpel and some other piece of equipment I’ve never seen.
“Do you even know what half of that stuff is?”
He shakes his head. “Not a clue. I’ll figure it out as I go.”
I stand up and take the scalpel and the other thing from his hands. “We’re not torturing anybody. You need to dial it down about fifty notches.”
“But he’s the bad guy, right? I mean, this is the guy that I got you all that information on.”
Zack glares at him harshly and then at me. I ignore him. I only have time to deal with one child at the moment.
“Yes, but I’m just going to talk to him.”
“Oh, ok,” He winks at me. “You’re going to “talk” to him, I got it.” He uses his fingers to make air quotes.
I shake my head. “No, I really am just going to talk to him.”
“Well that’s no fun. I follow you around for the excitement. You’re seriously disappointing me Babe.”
“Sorry I couldn’t amuse you,” I mutter as I try to shove him out of the room.
He smiles widely. “You know, there are other ways you could-”
He’s cut off as I shove him out the door with all my might and slam it shut, wedging a chair under the doorknob to keep him from getting back in.
“Hey!” He shouts as he bangs on the door. “That’s not cool!”
I ignore him as he continues to pound on the door and turn back Zack who just looks completely confused now. I take a seat in the chair by his side.
“Look Zack,” I start. The pounding gets louder. “I know you’re not like your family. I know you don’t agree with the things they do,” He turns away as I say this, his jaw clenched tight. “So, I’ll give you this choice. You can keep fighting against us, you can warn your family, but we’ll still be coming after them. Only, we’d also be coming after you too. Or, you can help us get your father and your brother. After that we walk away, and we leave you alone. You can go on to live your life whoever you want to. We won’t be interfering, and I can guarantee that the agency will be leaving you alone.”
He shakes his head and continues to stare out the window, avoiding my gaze. “My brother will kill me.”
“You know what he’s done, what he’s doing, it’s wrong.”
He shakes his head again. “It’s worse than that,” He lets out a shaky sigh. “I’ll . . . I’ll help you,” He finally says. “But, I can’t . . . I can’t get involved. I can give you a list of safe houses my family doesn’t know about, and I can get you in to the party. But I’m not helping otherwise. I can’t.”
I nod thoughtfully. “You’re already doing more than I expected you to, honestly,” I tell him. I unlock the handcuff and he rubs at his wrist. I slip the cuffs into my pocket and get up to leave.
“I recognized you,” His words stopped me in my tracks.
“What?” I ask.
“I recognized you,” He repeats. “Granted I couldn’t remember from where, but then I remembered. I’d never actually seen you, not in person. But I’ve seen all the pictures Garrett used to show me. He used to talk about how beautiful you were. How perfect,” I don’t turn to look at him and simply stare at the closed door. I could be out of here before he finishes talking. But I stay where I am, even though I know I don’t want to hear this.
“And then one day, he comes home, and he’s covered in blood . . . and he’s talking about you again. Except . . . now he’s talking about everything he did. Everything he took away from you. How much he hates you. How he’s going to kill you when he gets the chance.” I can feel Zack’s stare in the back of my head. “I know what he’s done to you. I’ve had to hear about it for the past few years. But, I don’t understand. Why? Why does he hate you so much? He never, never, used to say a bad thing about you. It was like he couldn’t. You were everything to him. What changed? What happened?” He pauses as if this is very hard for him to say. “What happened to my brother?”
I shake my head but don’t turn to face him. “I wish I knew the answer to that,” I reply honestly. “I ask myself, what happened to the boy I knew, every day. But I don’t know. I wish I did, but I just don’t.”
I move the chair out of the way and open the door, ducking out. “Get me that safe house list as quick as you can,” I say just before I leave.
“I’ll text it to you,” I hear him call out.
I make it into the hallway just in time to see two security guards dragging Jackson away. I roll my eyes as he shouts at them, telling them they’ve got the wrong man and that yes, he does in fact, actually work here.
I let out a resigned sigh as I call out for the security guards to stop. They halt in their tracks and turn around to face me as I jog to catch up to them. I stop and pull my badge out of my pocket and flash it to them.
“I deeply apologize for my associate’s inappropriate behavior,” I tell them as I glare at Jackson. “We had to escort a prisoner into the hospital to be checked over, and my associate here thought it would be less suspicious if he was walking around as a doctor. We’re done here though, and we’ll be leaving now.”
Both the guards look at each other, and then at the badge I’m still holding out for them to see, before releasing Jackson and muttering their apologies and saying that they had no idea.
Jackson brushes himself off and watches as they disappear down another hallway. He turns his eyes to me, a wide smile spreading across his face. “I knew you liked me.”
“Storm,” I say firmly, my tone holding a warning.
He doesn’t take the hint. “You know,” He says as he steps closer and snakes his hand around my waist, trapping me against him. “The authority in your voice while you were talking to them,” He dips his head, so his lips are right next to my ear. “So¸ hot.”
“So help me Storm, I will kill you if you don’t grasp the concept of personal space within the next two seconds.”
He lets out a breathy laugh before backing off, that stupid smile still staying in place. He lets out a wave as he walks off.
“See you around Babe,” He calls out.
“I sincerely hope not.”