Chapter Forty-Three: Diana
Jesse beckoned me to his side, away from Natalia. "Are you alright?" he asked me.
I shot a glance over my shoulder. Natalia was down on her knees with her fingers interlocked behind her head. Deep down, I knew she could easily overpower Jesse, but she didn't. Instead, she just stared at me. Why?
"I'm fine," I said.
Jesse walked over to Natalia and tapped on the barrier surrounding her. That was the one push she needed to peel her eyes off me. "How long have you been working with the TWA?"
Natalia dropped her hands from behind her head and stood up in her box; she almost hit her head on the low ceiling. "Why do you suddenly believe every word that leaves Diana's mouth? What happened to the trust between us?"
Jesse shot a glance back at me. I could tell he was doubting my claim. He'd known Natalia much longer than me. Not to mention, I was new at this whole being a Molecular thing. I'd have doubts too. "I'm taking a huge risk here, Diana. Are you sure?"
Natalia's emerald eyes met mine as they pleaded for my mercy. She was trying to play on the bond between us. "Yes."
Natalia shook her head. "I cannot believe this."
Jesse crossed his arms. "I don't know what happened to you in Efland."
Natalia chuckled. "Do you really think the TWA could turn me in a matter of hours? Do you really have such little faith in my abilities?"
Jesse glanced over to me once again. "I have to trust Diana. She was in your mind."
Natalia started laughing as if she lost her mind. "I see what's going on. This is all too cute, Jesse." Jesse's attention was right back on Natalia. "Do you always adopt Molecular strays or is that just your type?"
Jesse pointed at Natalia. "You don't know what you're talking about."
Natalia placed both hands against the box. "I want to know what happened between the two of you while I was tortured in Efland."
Jesse's hands clenched into fists by his sides. Natalia was playing him like a violin. "Nothing."
Natalia backed away from the wall toward the center of her little box. "You saw her memory. You witnessed the moment Thalia and Nate left her on those humans' doorstep helpless and alone. She's your next project. Admit it."
Jesse slammed his fist against the wall between him and Natalia. "Why do you think I'd betray you like that?"
Natalia looked down at the ground before meeting Jesse's eyes. "We aren't truly together because you're dedicated more to your stupid cause than me." Natalia locked her eyes on mine. "Be careful with this one," she warned me. "He has some baggage weighing him down. He has for a while."
I walked up to Jesse and placed a gentle hand on his back. He tensed at my touch. "She's trying to get in your head."
Jesse pulled his fist back from Natalia's barrier. "How long have you been a TWA spy?"
Natalia took a seat on the ground. "The fact that you're asking that tells me where your loyalties lie."
Jesse shook his head. "I want to believe you."
Natalia sighed. "Put me in the holding cell with Todd. There's nothing left for me to say that'll change your mind." A portal opened beneath her and she fell into oblivion.
Jesse tore down the barriers rather violently, sending bonded molecules in every direction. "How could I be so stupid?!"
I took a step back to give him some much needed space. "If she's been a spy this whole time, she fooled us all."
Jesse spun around, leaving a circle in the dust. "But I should've seen it! I'm supposed to protect this place. Instead, I let a TWA spy run around! Do you realize how many people I put in jeoparyd?!"
Tell him. Tell him it's much worse.
I bit my lower lip. "She's not just a spy, Jesse."
Jesse tilted his head. "What?"
My mind instantly wanted to take back the words lingering in the air. If I told him she was a TWA princess, would he know there are two? Would I be exposing myself? I mean, he saw my first memory. Nate and Thalia both had a silver crown on their black jumpsuits. Saying it out loud would jeopardize my standing here. I couldn't be associated with Natalia. Not now. Not ever.
I cleared my throat. "She's an asset. She could help us figure out what the TWA has planned for the base."
Jesse nodded. "You're right."
Jesse and I exited the dormitory and walked straight across the abandoned section of the warehouse. "Where are we going?" Jesse didn't answer. "Jesse?"
He shook his head. "I can't accept this."
Jesse walked into the building I rescued him from after Natalia locked him inside. He walked right up to the one-way mirror. Natalia was sitting next to Todd, not trying to escape the unlocked building. Why would she stay here after I refused to leave with her?
"What got you in here?" asked Todd.
Natalia smiled as she turned her head to the one-way mirror to make direct eye contact with me. She knew we were watching her. "They think I'm a TWA spy." She said it as if it was the joke of the century.
Jesse looked at me. "There's no way she's a spy. She can't be."
I walked toward the one-way mirror. Her smile grew larger. She knew I couldn't write her off. She knew I could feel the connection to her, the one I desired to deny. "She tried to take me back to the king."
Jesse shook his head. "Why?"
Because you're the other princess. I hushed the voice in my head.
I cleared my throat. "I don't know."
Jesse placed his hand against the glass as he leaned his weight against it. This was taking a toll on him. "I can't believe they turned her."
I knew better. Natalia was always faithful to the TWA. She was corrupted by the king at a young age. She knew nothing else. Her betrayal of the Rebels never happened because she never had the chance to accept them. She'd always been a TWA spy.
Natalia stood up from her place on the floor like she knew we were talking about her. She walked over to the mirror smiling widely and kept our eye contact intact. "Even the strongest must fall," I said.
Natalia tilted her head as if she heard me. "You can't hide the truth about who you are for long. Imagine what the Rebels will do when they find out you're one of the TWA princesses. What will you do then?"
I broke my eye contact with Natalia. "They'll never find out."
Natalia pounded the side of her fist against the glass. "It's only a matter of time, Diana. They'll find out the truth and you'll see where their loyalties lie." She said the last sentence psychically.
Jesse looked at me. "What's she talking about?"
I turned my back to Natalia. I could look at her without losing control of my emotions and that's exactly what she wanted. Any slip up would allow her to play the hero. She'd whisk me away to the king, completing her mission. "I don't know."
Natalia chuckled, sending chills down my spine. "I'm not the TWA spy here."
Jesse turned his back to the window too. I looked down at my shoes, unable to look at Jesse. Natalia's words dredged up a memory I was hoping I could ignore. "Does Brittany know your mom is a TWA officer?" I risked a glance to find Jesse watching me curiously, not mad. "I heard you shout 'mom' when we were in my memory. I didn't want to bring it up, but..."
Jesse nodded. "I was hoping you hadn't heard that." My heart stopped. He's going to kill me.
Jesse pushed off the window and moved toward the door. "Brittany knows. It's one of the reasons the Rebels gave me shelter when I was a child. My parents are both high ranking officers in the TWA. I'm both leverage and an asset, though I think I'm more of an asset than anything."
Natalia pounded her hand against the mirror. "I trust you, Jesse! You were supposed to protect me!" Jesse and I walked out, leaving Natalia pounding on the glass. "You were supposed to protect me!"