Lou paced around the small room. It was quite cold and the only way she kept herself from wanting to lay down on the single narrow bed, which was surprisingly comfy, it even had a pillow, was to pace. Winston, despite the blowing cold air, didn't seem tired or nervous at all. Angry, maybe. The handsome kid was quiet, seated and for a change wasn't grinning, he looked like he might be meditating. None of those things was normal, perhaps he was nervous and merely managing it. Lou wasn't be sure and wouldn't ask.
“What are we going to do?“ Lou asked.
“I dunno.“ he said softly. He looked around miserably. “Whatever it is, they'll know. They've got cameras and mics in here, even if we can't see them.“ His tone was almost neutral, just a hair above dejected.
Lou understood. He's never been caught before. Trapped. It terrifies him. I wonder how he would do in Juvie?
Lou sighed. “Do you think Taylor found William?“ She knew the answer. Or at least thought she did. How could Taylor have succeeded? We didn't set off the alarms. Even if Taylor managed to somehow escape from the guards or whomever else was in the building, could he do it with a little boy in tow? Lou shook her head. She didn't think so.
I don't think I could do it.
Winston stopped looked at her, his head drooped. She stopped pacing. “What does it matter?“
Lou was unprepared for his ambivalence. She stopped pacing and stared at him. “What is that supposed to mean?“
“It means why should we care? Do you have any idea what they are going to do to us, Lou? That bitch,“ it was remarkable how quickly his feelings for Alexander seemed to have morphed into something else entirely. Rejection doesn't suit the rich. It was as if Winston had now hated the woman his whole life, instead of so recently being highly infatuated with her. “aimed a gun on us! She was willing to KILL us! These people... whomever, whatever they are, they have no use for us.“ He was waving his hands a bit wildly as he spoke.
“Well, it's not my fault!“ Lou snarled back, bristled at being shouted at. “I just hoped... that maybe Taylor had found a way, because we certainly didn't!“ She waved her hands at Winston, just as angrily, almost petulant. She instantly regretted it.
“Oh? So what are you saying? It's my fault, then?“ Winston gestured hard at his own chest, and back at Lou, practically leaped to his feet. They stood face to face now, glaring. “Because I was supposed to able to just magically make all this work, right?“
Lou hissed, “What if it is? This is supposed to be your thing!“ She screamed now, “Huh, Winnie?“ She shoved him lightly on the chest, but forcefully enough he had to take a step back not to fall. “What if this is your fault, what then? We're still stuck here.“ Lou knew it was hitting below the belt to call him Winnie, to shove him. He can't fight me and we both know it. What's wrong with me? She knew what it did to him, especially now, in this situation, with them trapped. What it does to every boy when they realize they can't beat me. The effect was immediate, Winston's face pulled in on itself, and his mouth twisted into a grimace. He shouted back at her through clenched teeth and jaws. “Don't you ever fucking call me Winnie again... you fucking lesbo... freak!“
Lou's stomached flipped. The feral, rage drenched look on his face was alarming. She had seen its like before. Only his was far more intense. It didn't fade away. It made him look absolutely bat-shit insane. Has he ever had anything denied him? People were always intimating Lou was gay, even though she wasn't. She was used to it. It was always seemed so odd to her, people who could look at her and see only a lesbian could look at Izzy and see something else entirely, at times it made Lou want to say something, but Izzy's secret was her own to tell. That was not Lou's way. And it was neither here nor there, with an enraged Winston looking at her as though he truly had forgotten for a moment just who would win should they fight. Her hands clenched into fists and she bounced on the balls of her feet, ready for a fight. If he swings I'm going to knock him out. She hated people cursing at her.
The camera above her head clicked as it moved. Lou hadn't noticed it before that moment. Winston had. His head jerked towards it. It was like a gong went off in her head, brought her back to where she was. To reality. Her body went slack all the tension fleeing out of her.
I won't hit Winston. Ever. He's my friend.
Deflated, she stared at the ground. “We shouldn't be fighting with each other, Winston. I'm sorry.“ The words were bitter, hard to say, but strangely, Lou realized she meant them.
A few seconds of quiet passed. She felt an hand on her shoulder. The touch was light, tentative, but comforting. “It's OK. I'm sorry too. You're right. I just got so... angry. I've never been caught before. I feel trapped. And I hate that name. And I feel cold. Scared. I've never been that way before. Scared. Not like this, and... Lou. I... I don't. I wouldn't. I mean...“
Lou didn't know how long the boy would have gone on had she not cut him off. “It's OK, Winston! We'll figure something out. I don't think they want to kill us, right? Or they would have done it already. “
But what she thought was: of course, you've never been cold or scared. You're a Fillmore. Rich. Beautiful. Privileged. She sighed inwardly. Winston had lived such a lush life it was difficult to summon empathy over jealousy. Jealous was not something Lou wanted to be.
“There has to be some way out of here, right?“ She asked trying to get Winston's mind on something else.
He looked around the room, eyes scanning. A new energy suffused him. His eyes stopped momentarily on the air conditioning vent, high above their heads, but then kept going. “No. Not that I can see. The vent and the door are the only ways in or out. And the vents are too small, I don't think Myth could fit in one. Usually these office buildings have crawl spaces everywhere, especially in the ceilings. But the roof in here, it looks bolted together. None of this was in the plans! I don't know exactly where we are. I know we're up high. Even if it we could get through the walls or ceiling... they'd see us.“
Lou's eyes went to every place Winston mentioned as he mentioned it. She agreed with his assessment. We're trapped.
The door opened, shocking them both.