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Chapter Twenty-One: Natalia

I jerked up in the bed like I did every other time I had that terrible nightmare of my abandonment. It seemed as if it was a repressed memory from very early in my life, one I tried to forget and one that refused to stay buried.

I pulled off the cords that were attaching me to the various machines the doctors hooked me up to, thinking they were necessary. I looked to the right of me to see the girl with brown hair in a coma due to someone messing with her mind a long time ago. Her friend sat beside her bed, clutching the brown haired girl's limp hand.

I hopped off my bed. "How long has she been out?" I asked.

The girl wiped her eyes. "A few hours. Did you find out what's wrong with her?"

I shook my head, looking down at the floor. I couldn't bear to see her friend's teary eyes. "Someone messed with her mind."

The girl clutched her friend's hand harder, turning her own knuckles white. "Is there anything you can do for her?"

I pressed my lips together. "If I try, I'll get pulled right bak in. She needs to work through this herself." The girl's shoulders rose as if she was about to start crying again. "How about I sit with...?"

She wiped her eyes again. "Diana."

I smiled. "So you can get some fresh air. I'll see if there is anything else I can do for her until you get back."

The girl nodded. "Thank you." She walked out of the infirmary sniffling.

I stood next to Diana, observing her peaceful face. "Why would someone do this to you?"

"Where's Natalia?" I looked to the front of the infirmary to see Jesse frantically running in. It was cute to see how worried he was.

"Jesse!" I shouted. He caught sight of me and ran over.

Jesse wrapped me in his strong embrace. "Are you okay? I came as soon as I heard."

I hugged him back just as tightly. "I'm fine."

Jesse let me go. "What happened? They didn't give me all the details."

I pointed to Diana. "Someone toyed with her mind. I got a small preview of whatever they did while I was trying to heal her."

Jesse eyed the girl. "I know her."

I crossed my arms. "How?"

Jesse smiled. "I worked Anthony's party with her. She showed me the ropes." Jesse checked me out. "Are you seriously jealous right now?"

I uncrossed my arms. "No. Why would I be jealous of her?"

Jesse shrugged. "I'm just sensing a lot of jealousy from you." I smacked him. "What was that for?"

I shrugged this time. "I was sensing you really deserved it."

The girl with red hair walked back into the infirmary. "Thanks for watching her."

I lost the playfulness I had with Jesse. It wasn't appropriate in this moment. "No problem. I'll come back to check on her later." I dragged Jesse behind me and out of the infirmary. "So, did you finish your top secret mission?"

Jesse smiled. "I finished the errand."

I returned the smile, unsure why. Jesse had that affect on me. "So, now it's just an errand?"

Jesse twirled me around. "Yep. The real mission comes later."

I laughed. "Are you going to let me in on the little secret?"

Jesse shook his head. "Not yet."

I pulled him closer to me, making sure there were mere inches between us. "I have many ways of making you talk."

Jesse wrapped his arms around my waist, squashing those inches. "I'm intrigued."

I rested my arms on Jesse's shoulders and locked my hands together behind his neck. "Of course you are. I'm an intriguing person."

Jesse pulled me as close as he possibly could, clothes were the only barrier between us. I arched my neck to look into his bright, emerald eyes. "Are you ready to be a soldier?" he asked.

I bit my lower lip, while rising up on my tippy toes. "Depends."

"I have a plan to find your parents."

I dropped to the floor. My arms slipped down from his shoulders. "Yes."

Jesse's hands fell from my waist. The moment between us was over. We were all business now. "Then I'm taking you out."

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