I wasn't sure what to do so I went home. On my counter was a bottle of lemonade with a note under it. "Though you might like this –Bass" I sat it back down and then left the house again. I walked to Monroe's office, the guards let me through. I pushed the door to his office open and walked in. "Enjoy your gift?" he asked without turning around.
"Who's the woman you're keeping prisoner next door?" I asked. He turned around and looked at me.
"How'd you get in there?" He asked. He didn't seem angry, just curious.
"Your guard wasn't very vigilant," I said with a shrug. "Want to tell me what she's doing there? She's obviously important."
I rolled my eyes, I'd gathered as much from talking to Rachel. "Why is she so important?" He laughed and showed me a piece of paper with a drawing.
"Have you seen one of these before?" He asked.
"On a necklace right?" I asked. He looked surprised and I realized whatever this thing was it was really important. "Yeah, I've seen it before. Don't remember where though." I remembered exactly where I saw it; Sarah had one that belonged to her mother. "What does it do?"
"These pendants are the key to turning the lights back on," he said. I looked up at him.
"I did promise I'd never lie to you, didn't I?"
"So why do you need me then? If you have power you don't plan on making peace, do you?"
"You are plan A, I don't want to go to war but I will if I have to. Think of the power as insurance. Wouldn't you rather be here than Georgia anyway? We'll have electricity; you'll be living with the ultimate luxury."
"So what, Rachel is just going to help you turn the lights back on?"
"More or less," he said with a shrug.
"Why do I feel like you have some, what did you call it? Insurance?"
"Because I do. You're good at asking questions, very to the point. I like that about you Ciara. It's a shame I'm wasting you on a lieutenant. You know it's not too late for us to change our deal, you don't have to marry Jason."
Nate flashed across my mind. "What are you saying?"
"You could marry me instead," he said. I backed away.
"You aren't serious are you? You're like twice my age."
"If you married me you'd be in a position to control what happens in the Republic. You could take up some of those social issues you're so passionate about. We could try to start a school system, maybe even include history classes? We'd have electricity; we could do anything we wanted to."
"As tempting as that sounds, I can't do that. Peace treaty plans or not, you basically kidnapped me and I don't have Stockholm Syndrome yet so…"
"Suit yourself," he said. He smiled like he'd been telling some funny joke the whole time, who knows maybe he had been. "See you tomorrow, Ciara."
I left Monroe's office and went home totally confused. Julia was sitting in the living room when I walked in. "Oh there you are Ciara, you got up pretty early this morning didn't you?"
"Yeah, I wanted to take a walk," I said.
"Are you alright? You look a little pale."
"Yeah, I'm ok. I think I'm going to lay down for a little bit."
"Feel better," she called as I walked up stairs.
The next morning I slept in much longer than I expected to. When I woke up the sun was high in the sky and I'd realized I'd slept past noon. I was supposed to go with Julia to meet Tom and Jason soon. I jumped out of bed and noticed a note lying on my vanity table. "You were sound asleep so I went to meet them without you, get ready and meet us downstairs. –Julia"
I sighed in relief; I wasn't looking forward to seeing Monroe today anyways. I went to my closet to pick out something to wear. Julia had filled my wardrobe with dresses, skirts, nice tops, jeans and more pairs of shoes than I could count. It was even bigger than my wardrobe at home; In Georgia I had typically only dressed up if I had to go to something official, my dad never cared what I wore on a day to day basis. My hair was a mess and I brushed it and then put it in a loose braid. I picked out a dress that didn't look too uncomfortable and put it on.
I walked downstairs, no one was home yet. I went into the kitchen and had an apple. I stared at the bottle of lemonade on my counter. I opened the window that looked out over the lawn and poured the bottle out. I could get my own lemonade, thank you very much. I stood around for a while waiting, then went upstairs and took out my braid. My hair looked wavier now and I ran my fingers through it quickly. The longer it took for them to get there the more nervous I got. What if Julia's son had gotten none of her caring nature and sense of humor? I twisted a piece of hair around my fingers.
Then I heard the front door open downstairs. The noise scared me and I jumped about a foot before realizing what it was. I stared in the mirror for another second. "Ciara?" I heard Julia call.
"Coming!" I called back. I walked to the stairs slowly. Down in the foyer I could hear them talking.
"Mom, I told you-" a guy said, the voice sounded a little familiar.
"All I heard was some nonsense about wanting to be reassigned to Maine, which isn't going to happen by the way," Julia said. I walked to the steps and started going down, I was concentrating so hard on not falling down the stairs that I didn't even look over at them.
"Elizabeth?" I heard. I looked up and gasped.
"Nate?" I didn't even make it down the last two steps; I just sort of fell towards him and hugged him. I let out a massive sigh of relief, I had been so nervous but it was just Nate. Nate was Jason. "Your name is Jason?" I asked leaning back.
"And you're Ciara, and you aren't in Maine." He smiled.
"I guess we both have some explaining to do." I glanced over at Julia and Tom who were looking at us totally confused.
"I think, maybe we should all go sit down," Julia suggested. We followed her into the living room and we all sat down.
Tom held out a hand and to shake. "Tom Neville," he introduced himself, though I had already figured out who he was.
"So you two know each other?" Julia asked.
"After my soldiers and I were attacked by rebels, he found me in the woods. He walked with me all the way to Lancaster," I told them.
"All of that and you didn't even mention who you were," Jason said.
"Yeah, well you didn't exactly tell me everything either," I reminded him.
"You told me you were moving to Maine. I basically told you the truth."
"You just conveniently left out the part where you were in the militia."
"I told you I lived in Philadelphia," he said. He was right; he mostly told me the truth. He told me where he lived, where he was going and a very basic version of what he was going to do there. I told him I was just some girl going to find her family in Maine.
"You can see why I didn't tell you though, right?" I asked. "I mean, I'm the president of Georgia's daughter. That could be pretty important."
"That's why those looters didn't just kill you, they knew," he said.
I nodded. "They found a letter from Monroe that ordered the militia to let my group pass."
"This is insane."
"I'm not going to argue with that."
"So you wanted to go to Maine because you thought "Elizabeth" was going to be there, but the girl you met was actually Ciara and now here the two of you are," Julia said catching up. We both bobbed our heads and then looked at each other and started laughing. Tom and Julia, who still looked a little bewildered, smiled at us. "It seems to me that things have worked out just the way they were supposed to."
We spent the afternoon with Tom and Julia talking about everything, Julia pulled out old photo albums and showed me pictures of Jason. "Wasn't he just the cutest?" Julia said grinning. Jason looked embarrassed. I poked him in the side and smiled at him.
"Dinner is supposed to be arriving soon," Tom informed us.
"I wish we had some of your baby albums, Ciara!" Julia said.
"Oh, yeah, don't know if we still have those around," I said. I had buried them in the attic years ago so that my mom couldn't pull them out to show all of my father's new friends. No one needed to see my fat kindergartener phase.
"The food is here," Tom said before Julia could find some more photos or launch into another embarrassing story about Jason as a kid. We ate dinner together and Tom mostly talked over Julia about their last assignment. I noticed that Tom never looked at Jason the entire time and Jason never said a thing. After dinner Tom and Julia disappeared, leaving me and Jason alone.
"So what happened out there that has your dad so ticked off?" I asked. I stood up; if I sat at the table any longer I was probably going to want another piece of pie.
"I disobeyed a direct order. Monroe isn't going to be too happy when he finds out."
"What did you do?" We walked into the living room and sat down.
"Saved a girl's life," he told me.
"Someone they want dead, I assume?"
"They want her captured at least. I don't like the way things happen around here."
"Me either. That's why I'm here." I smiled.
"Why are you smiling so much?"
"Because this worked out so much better than I thought it was going to!"
"You were just going to show up here and marry some guy you'd never met?" He asked.
"I didn't think I'd ever see you again and I have a job, so yeah." I paused. "You were really going to go after me?"
"Yeah, I wanted to."
"Have you talked to Monroe yet?" I asked.
"He let us come home tonight. We're supposed to report to him tomorrow about what happened."
"What do you think he'll do?"
"Send me to California, if I'm lucky."
I thought about the conversation I'd had with Monroe yesterday. "He probably would." I shook my head. "That isn't going to happen. You're going to stay here, or I'll just have to go to California with you."
The idea was just crazy enough that it made him smile. We both knew I couldn't actually leave the Republic and still negotiate peace with Georgia, but for one night we let ourselves believe it.