“Why do you look so upset?” Ian asks innocently.
I can’t believe him right now. Is he actually being serious?
I stare at Ian incredulously, my mouth hanging agape.
“What about the others? Huh?! What about all the others, who are currently on a sinking, flooding ship?! Do you even remotely care about them?” I ask breathlessly, ogling him with wide eyes.
He opens his mouth then snaps it shut, obviously thinking hard of what to say.
“And do you seriously believe that we’re getting rescued? For all we know, Hal could just be taking us deeper down into the ocean!” I exclaim.
“I...I...I guess I didn’t really think things through. I guess I was just happy to get off that submarine,” Ian says quietly, his eyes darting to the floor.
“But now we’re on another one,” I say breathlessly.
“At least this one isn’t flooding,” Ian murmurs under his breath.
Filled with a sudden surge of rage at his egocentrism, I shout,
“Ian, do you care about anyone else but yourself?”
He stares at me a few, long moments, apparently taken aback by my sudden outburst. Then, he takes a step toward me, brushing my hair gently with his hand. Instinctively I recoil, glaring at him.
“I care about you,” he murmurs huskily, his voice gritty and low.
For a split second, his words sway me, and I have a brief vision of his lips on mine, passionately kissing me and...
I can’t let him do this to me anymore.
“No,” I whisper, taking a step backward.
He advances forward, reaching his arms out to wrap around my waist. I slap them down, and his eyes widen in shock.
“Tessa, what are you doing?” he asks.
“I...I just can’t with you right now,” I say.
I cannot erase the image of Tristan out of my mind. My heart wrenches when I picture him figuring out that I’m gone. And eventually, him drowning...
I squeeze my eyes shut, unable to think about him anymore. It hurts too much.
“You’re thinking of him, aren’t you?” Ian asks, an edge of spite in his voice.
I ball my hands into fists at my sides, trying as hard as I can to resist the urge to punch him.
“Ian, you are infuriating!” I exclaim, snapping my eyes open again.
“Geez, sorry,” he says, holding his hands up in the air as he backs away from me.
I wish there was somewhere I could go on the ship, somewhere to be alone. But of course, there is not. All there is is this small room and the control room that Hal went down to. And I definitely do not want to go to the second option.
I sit down on one of the damp benches, closing my eyes and putting my head between my knees. I stay like that for god knows how long until Ian finally asks,
“What,” I mumble, not even bothering to lift my head.
“Erm...you might wanna look up and see this,” he says hesitantly.
Cautiously, I lift my head up from between my legs.
“Oh my god...” I murmur when I see what he is talking about.
The water outside of the porthole windows isn’t black and murky anymore. Now, it is crystalline blue, with sunlight penetrating through. We are going up.
Ian walks over to one of the windows, pressing his face up against the grimy glass. I jump as a gigantic fish flashes by, it’s rainbow-like colors shimmering for a brief instant in the sunlight before fading away.
The water outside of the window continues to get lighter and lighter until finally, the top of the submarine violently crashes into something. I fall backward of the beach, painfully crashing onto the wet floor. Ian flies back, slamming against the opposite wall.
Somehow, the submarine continues to rise, forcefully pushing through whatever barrier that is preventing us from surfacing. There are horrible screeching and cracking noises as it continues to push its way through.
“What the hell is happening?” I scream.
Suddenly, there is a deafening creaking sound as the submarine seems to finally push through. Immediately, bright, white sunlight streams through the portholes. Without a word, Ian and I run toward the windows, peering through them to see where we are.
My stomach drops like a pin.
It can’t be...
“Holy shit...” Ian murmurs under his breath.
It’s as if my legs have given out. They shake uncontrollably, and I have to grip the siding of the window to keep myself standing.
Ian glances at me, and when he sees me quaking with fear, he reaches out and wraps one of his arms around me. He pulls my cold, shivering body against his, and in those few moments, I forget everything and melt into him. We continue to stare out the windows silently, frozen in both shock and fear.
“We’re fucked. Absolutely fucked,” Ian says quietly.
I nod miserably, having no words to say.
That is because just by looking out at the shining sheet of ice and the colossal, mountainous, snow-covered island that lays behind, I can tell for sure that Ian and I are not in Kansas anymore.