Hardships Come With Love

Chapter 9

Thomas’s POV


Newt and I made it in undetected through a shaft in the roof. Then, we had to disable the locking mechanism on the door for Brenda and Teresa to enter. To get to the room where we were able to do this, we had to knock out a few guards. We also found the location of our friends on one of the screens, who are being tracked. That’s weird. They must have put tracking devices in them when they were captured. I guess they’re just taking precautions for if they escaped.

“Tommy, you might want to come take a look at this,” Newt says.

I look where he’s pointing and notice something far stranger. I find a dot with my name above it, tracking every move. Newt and Brenda are also being tracked, but not Teresa. Why wouldn’t they have just come and found us if they knew where we were?

“Teresa,” Newt says angrily. I rarely see Newt mad.

“She couldn’t-” I say.

“It makes sense. Why was she all of a sudden so eager to help us? And look! They aren’t tracking her, probably because they trust her. We were stupid enough to fall for her lies.”

“But-”

“Let’s get out of here with only our real friends.”

“What about Brenda?” I ask.

“Teresa’s probably already turned her in.”

“Can we at least talk to Teresa about this?” I ask desperately.

“So she can trick us again? You have to let her go.”

I feel my heart snap in two and a foreign feeling takes hold. My mind starts speaking to me: You don’t feel anything. Teresa is nothing to me. She is the enemy. You have a mission to complete. Don’t waste any more time thinking about her. You’re giving her more attention than she deserves. You have to save your friends and stop Wicked. Go. I jerk back to life and erase the program that is tracking us permanently. Newt stands still, shocked at my sudden outburst.

“We saw where they are so let’s go get them,” I say, similar to a robot.

Newt puts a hand on my shoulder, “Are you okay?”

“I’m fine,” I say through gritted teeth, “There’s no time for this.”

Newt’s hand drops and I fling myself into the shaft above our heads, navigating the tunnels to our friends. After many turns, we find ourselves above the room where all the immune are strung up. I kick the panel out below me, the clatter echoing in the sterile hallway. Newt jumps down after me as I observe the shocking surroundings. We are too late. Minho, Jorge, and so many other immunes line the walls. I never got to talk with some of them and probably won’t get the chance. Newt runs up to Minho and pulls him off the wall, detangling him from the tubes. I scan the others.

“Newt, look. Some have more time. See the purple vials that are draining them? The ones that have fuller vials are closer to...dying.”

“Well don’t just stand there!” Newt says, exasperated.

We are interrupted by a voice that slices through the air like a knife. A voice that gives me uncontrollable shivers head to toe.

“Well, well, well. I knew our paths would cross once again,” says Dr. Paige.

I have no words to say.

“I’m surprised you gave Teresa a second chance. Perhaps you can dish one out to me as well. Wicked is good. How many times do we have to repeat it?”

My blood boils with rage. At Teresa. At Wicked. At this fucked up world I had to be born into.

“Thomas, give us a chance. By using only one immune, we can save three people with the Flare.”

“Oh, by using one of us? Taking a life to save another? We aren’t your test rats!”

“If you won’t come willingly, then I guess I’ve got no choice but to-”

She is cut off as Teresa stabs her in the back. My heart fills with hope. Newt was wrong. Teresa didn’t betray us. I’m also frozen in place because I have never seen Teresa fight violently before. Brenda stands behind her, amazed by Teresa’s performance. Dr. Paige falls to the ground, a scream stuck to her face. Teresa wipes the bloody knife on her jeans before tucking it back into her boot. Her hair is tied back wildly, loose strands flying everywhere, and a layer of grime coats her forehead.

“Let’s do what we came here to do,” Teresa says, not at all fazed by what she had just done.

None of us argue, as though she is our leader now. I am almost jealous of all the attention focused on her at the moment. She starts to pull down the strung up immune, carefully removing the intravenous tubes. We copy her immediately. I go straight to Minho who is laying in Newt’s arms. I feel for his heartbeat and sigh when I find it. After laying down all the rest of the immunes in a heap, I ask, “How are we going to manage getting them all out of here at once?”

Silence responds for a whole minute.

“Don’t you worry shuck face, of course I thought ahead,” Minho says, smirking.

We all rush to give him a hug. He stops us, “Hey, hey, my body is so incredibly sore right now. Don’t touch me. By the way, who did the awful job of pulling me down?” He asks accusingly.

I point at Newt, who lowers his head.

“Chop-chop, we don’t have all day,” Brenda cuts in.

“She’s right,” Teresa adds, “What were you saying, Minho?”

“I found this device before Wicked got to me,” Minho says, as he scatters it out onto the floor in front of him.

I step forward to grab it, but jump back when the object illuminates a large rippling oval, about my size.

“I presume that all you have to do is step through and it will transport you somewhere safe.”

“Okay, everyone go through. I’ll go last and blow up this whole place behind me.”

Newt doesn’t hesitate and drags Minho through with him as he yells, “See you on the other side!”

Teresa and I help Brenda push all of the immunes through.

“I hope this works,” Brenda mutters as she steps in after them.

“Tom, there’s something I have to tell you.”

“Can we go through first?” I ask.

“I don’t want to start another life until we start fresh, you and me.”

“Okay, hurry up.”

“I did some digging while I was with Wicked and found one of Chuck’s relatives.”

“Alive?” I ask, suddenly curious.

“Yes, he was Brenda’s brother.”

“Oh my god, that makes so much sense now.”

“Yeah, so you should give her that little figurine Chuck gave you.”

“Thank you, Teresa. That makes me feel so much better, knowing that I fulfilled Chuck’s wish.”

I step toward the portal. Teresa puts a hand on my shoulder.

“That’s not all,” she says.

“Hm?”

“I love you,” Teresa blurts out.

I don’t know how to respond. My foot starts tapping impatiently, my heart beating ten times faster. Those words have never been said before to me. Actually, I’m sure they have, but I just can’t remember. I want to say it back, but am afraid. I don’t know what love is, or what it feels like. I know I felt something for Teresa that one time we kissed so long ago in that shed in the desert, but since then whenever she touches me I don’t feel that same spark. That spark must have went out. Brenda can’t even ignite it within me. Then again, I have to know if it’s still there. If I remember that spark correctly, it lit up my world if even only for a moment, and burned away all the pain and suffering. It’s almost like magic, a cure to forget this lousy world.

“I-I” I stutter.

“You don’t have to answer yet,” Teresa says with a smile.

I lean forward quickly and kiss her. At first, she’s startled, but then returns my kiss. This isn’t a one sided kiss. Heck, this isn’t a one sided love. If this tingling feeling that is radiating through me, electrifying my senses, isn’t love, then I don’t know what is! I feel as light as a feather, no burden.

“Good answer,” she whispers into my neck as we take a break to breath. We were kissing so passionately that I forgot completely how to breathe.

A bullet shoots across the room, bringing me back down to Earth. Teresa abruptly pushes me through the portal. Her firm hands that were on me a second before lose their grip.

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