Boulder (Riders of Apollo #5)

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Riley Everett

I know I shouldn’t enjoy being a fugitive but there are some upsides. I no longer have to do anything on a schedule which means I can travel whenever I please and Chief can’t say anything about it. Also, I can move without reporting my every breath and I can beat the living shit out of people for information without reprimand.

You’d think I’d be worried about what comes after but since I’ll be taking down an entire terrorist organisation that works within one of our most prestigious services, I think they’ll be a bit more forgiving than usual. Still, that does mean changing my entire appearance and ducking every camera which is irritating but as long as I get the job done, I don’t care what I have to sacrifice.

“On your right, you’ve got three agents. The woman is high ranking, we need her.” Johnson tells me and I tighten vest with a quiet sigh. I am exhausted. My entire body is black and blue from the fights and from being thrown from a building the other day - I do not recommend but I still won the fight afterwards.

These few weeks have been the longest of my life and I’m ready for a holiday to Bora Bora for a year just to fix the fractures I’ve experienced. I’ve got bruised ribs, fractured knee, a fractured collarbone and a mild concussion from the fight yesterday and now I’ve gotta deal with Diana.

Now, Diana is a bitch. We were in training together and she always had it out for me. Somehow she made everything we did into a competition and then got pissed at me when I won. Like it was my fault she sucks at knots and guns. Still, she’s a strong fighter and I’m at a disadvantage with my injuries and I’m also outnumbered.

“I know you’re tired Riley but we need this.” Chief encourages me and I feel my body relax like it does before every fight. I step out from beneath the covering and knock the biggest guy out by hitting him over the head with a bat. I know, not elegant or whatever but it’s quick and my knuckles are busted from all the punching I’ve had to do recently.

“I knew you’d be here soon enough.” Diana smiles and it makes her look like Pennywise and while I normally find him amusing, this bitch is not.

“Well we better get to it then, I have other places to be.”

“Not once I’m done with you. Mauricio, you go first, I wanna watch this.” Diana is a sadistic little fuck. She used to coerce the biggest guy in our class to beat up the underdog and I used to get in between, every single time. Johnson was the underdog. “Still playing with that child you call a desk agent?” She taunts as the other guy circles me, looking for weakness.

“You mean Johnson? Haven’t seen him in a few months.” I shrug, stifling my wince when my ribs move too far.

“Oh? I remember you guys were never more than a few metres apart, I always thought you had something going on until I found out he was gay.”

“He’s not gay.” I reply dryly. People have been making the same assumptions for years just because he gets his nails done with me and is a little effeminate in what he likes. I smack the other guy with the bat when he moves in on me and he howls as his forearm takes the brunt of the force. “You’re just an idiot.”

“He gets his nails painted and prances around like a faggot.” I freeze in my spot at that, turning my icy glare on this bitch.

Oh, hell no, did she just call him that?

“I’m gonna give you two fucking seconds to run because I’m gonna beat your ass black and blue.” I growl deep in my throat and I can see the fear appear on her face. The other guy turns to run but I bring the bat down so hard it breaks. Diana takes the hint and turns tail, with me close on her ass.

“You shouldn’t let her rile you up, Riley!” Chief tells me and I laugh darkly as she turns down a dark alley that has a dead end.

“She shouldn’t have bad mouthed Johnson, she ain’t ever walking again.” I advance on her as she scurries back against the wall.

“Please! Please, no! I promise I won’t say a thing.” She starts crying. And here I thought this fight would be a bit more exciting. I just knock her out to stop the blubbering and search her for anything that will help the other bastards find her. I even check the lining of her clothes and her shoes.

MI6 are sneaky little fuckers and I can’t have them finding the safe house.

I manage to lift her despite my weakened body and I lock her in the boot of my car with a pained groan. “Fuck. I’m on my way back, get the cell ready.” The drive back is a little awkward with all these makeshift road blocks put up to find me, though I do look a lot different now.

My hair is long and black, my eyes are brown and I even got Botox to change the shape of my face. Those of you who think that’s too far have never been on the run from an entire country before.

When we get back to the safe house, I tie Diana to a metal chair that has been bolted down in an underground room made of concrete. I can see the shiner start to form on her face as I strip myself of the Kevlar and other protective wear so I can take the pressure off my entire body. I hiss as I brush over a few of the larger bruises and drop the vest on the floor.

“Someone got the better of you.” Diana speaks up and spits blood out on my floor. Fucking rude much?

“This is fucking nothing. I got hit with a .950 calibre bullet and then was thrown from a second story window in one night but still managed to complete my mission. This isn’t someone getting the better of me, this is someone using the biggest bullet they could find and still failing to put me down. So, tell me, what makes you think you’ll be any more successful?” I push my dirty hair from my face and sit in the chair opposite her.

“I know how you fight, we were in the academy together.” She looks impressed with herself while I laugh.

“You don’t know a thing. I fought for years before the academy, all you saw was their training not everything that had come before. You only got into the academy because daddy paid your way through and then you got stuck with one of the worst jobs in the agency so don’t compare yourself to me.”

“Cocky, much?” I yank her head back to look at her properly.

“Cocky? The skills I have do wonders for a person’s self confidence, especially in comparison to yours. Besides, I was willing to let you get off lightly but then you insulted Johnson so.”

“Why do you even care?”

“He is my brother. It doesn’t matter that we aren’t related by blood and you just happened to insult both him and an entire group of people in one fucking sentence.” I leave her there to stew in her anxiety before dropping off all my shit in the storage room.

I can feel Johnson, Chief and mum lingering at the door watching me do so. “Who moved my C4? I just reorganised and it should be in between the burner phones and det-cords.” I ask them, confused. Hoping to get them to not ask me about how I am, it’s become a very tedious question.

“Leaving aside the fact you alphabetised your weapons closest, you used to last of your C4 to blow up their stronghold in North London last night.” Johnson explains and I groan.

“I’ll use the money I stole from them to buy more C4.”

“How are you?”

“Fuck!”

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