She'd slept in.
It wasn't really surprising. Rebecca had stayed up talking with Conrad about the Leviathan for a good few hours. And despite the apprehension eating at her gut, when she finally picked a berth and lay down, she'd fallen asleep instantly.
When Rebecca did wake it was already late in the morning. It was hard to tell the time of day inside a tin can. She wandered up to the bridge, rubbing at her eyes.
Conrad shot her a grin. "Hey. If you want to take that look outside we're in a fairly safe region at the moment; nothing on my scanners."
"You coming up?"
"Nah. Got to babysit this." Conrad patted his inbuilt Control. "Go back up to the dock, then straight up the ladder and through the hatch."
Rebecca did as instructed and only took a moment to work out the opening mechanism for the hatch. Cool, damp air hit her face, sweeping her hair back. It sure felt a lot better than the stale air inside the Leviathan.
The deck extended around her, ringed in by a metal railing. Behind the hatch was what looked like a weapons turret and a clump of equipment. In front of the hatch was bare. Rebecca hoisted herself up to the flat of the deck. There was no one around but everything looked quite safe.
Rebecca walked up to the railing. It was a good thing it was there. She grabbed the upper bar as she reached the edge and felt herself sway. Stretched out around and below her, beneath the sloping hull of the Leviathan, was a landscape of broken jagged rocks and sea spray. At least, she assumed it was a sea. She had never seen one before.
The largest body of water she had ever seen was the Purge. It's surface was a vortex, but the water here seemed almost as violent, though on a far larger scale. Instead of swirling down into a small chasm it was spread out of far as the eye could see.
The sea was broken by clumps of twisted spires of rock. Some of these were short, jagged, crumbling. Some reached up beyond even the height at which the Leviathan cut through the air, hundreds of meters up. They were pocketed by holes and crevices in the rock. Most were quite bare, with only the tallest showing signs of vegetation clinging to the heights.
Between the spires the water surged, breaking against them, running fast in roughly the direction the Leviathan was headed. It wasn't difficult to imagine that those waters may have cut the myriad of holes and caverns visible in the surface of the spires and cliffs.
Rebecca swallowed hard. She already had an idea what the Leviathan looked like from Conrad's schematics. Beneath her she could see its rounded nose, poking its way through the air. The hull itself was a dull ocher colour, similar to the colour of the rock spires around them, though parts of the paint was rusted, grey and orange patches showing through. It was supposed to be a big ship. But in comparison to the bleak, gargantuan landscape around them, it looked like a gnat.
"So do you still think I'm crazy?"
Rebecca jumped and grabbed the railing tighter.
"Sorry. Didn't mean to startle you." Jason slid up next to her. He leaned heavily on the railing, arms spread out and gripped it tight. He looked out in the same direction she had been. "I imagine this would take a bit of getting used to."
"I..." Rebecca trailed off. Her throat was dry. And her mind had no words to offer up.
"What? No arguments?" Jason smiled at her faintly. This was bringing him some amusement. Surprising, because in the City Jason had been a bundle of tension. He still was, to some degree. He was gripping the railing quite a bit more tightly than he should need to. But hell, he was smiling at her. Sort of.
"You're in a good mood."
"Maybe. We're not dead. That's always a good thing." He glanced down at his hands. He was wearing both Controls. "I came up to see if I could pick up any Peacekeepers."
He didn't answer that question directly. "I haven't felt anything. Do you want to have a go? Maybe you'll be better at it than me."
Rebecca shook her head. "You've been doing this a lot longer than me. And doesn't this ship have equipment to pick things like that up before you would?" She already knew the answer. She had already been through enough of the Leviathan's systems with Conrad last night to have a pretty good idea of the ship's capabilities.
"Yeah. Ninety percent of time she does. I know I'm a bit paranoid. But I'm also not dead." He let out a breath. "But I think Conrad might be right. I don't see how Valerie could have made it through that vortex. Maybe another reason I'm in a good mood."
Rebecca looked again at the landscape slowly slipping by. She chewed at her lip. "I'm sorry. You were right; you're not crazy. It's just... I had no idea all this existed. They don't exactly encourage asking questions in the City. And they don't tell you about this.”
"Yeah. And I get the impression you're all to busy most of the time to bother asking."
"No, we're all too worried about losing our jobs."
"But I mean it, you were right. I had no idea about this. I'm sorry I made out like you were nuts or didn't know what you were talking about. I'm still freaking out a bit, but this is still pretty amazing."
Jason frowned. "Amazing?" His eyes narrowed, and he looked at her hard. But then he just sighed and shrugged again. "Yeah, well I suppose you've only seen the view."
It was a good a time as any. Rebecca only hoped Conrad's opinion of the man, and Jason's current frame of mind, could be trusted. She still hadn't forgotten him tossing her in a stolen car. And trying to shoot Nick's boss. "Speaking of asking questions... you've dragged me down here for a reason. And I'm pretty certain it's not just to enlighten me."
Jason scuffed his boot over a rust spot on the deck. "I already told you. I need you to rescue someone for me."
"You went to a lot of trouble to get me. So why me? There must be some reason you need me specifically."
Jason sighed and looked back up at her. "Yeah, of course there is. I just..." He swallowed and gripped the rail tighter.
Well, she might as well go for it. It wasn't like angering him would get her tossed overboard. She already knew he needed her. "Conrad said she may have been important to you."
"She's important to the resistance," Jason said quickly. Then he added: "And me."
"So why me?"
"You ever lost someone you care about? What would you do to get them back?" Jason was no longer distracting himself with rust stains; he stared her right in the eye.
Rebecca looked away; that intense gaze made her uncomfortable. "Maybe, I... maybe, Dad? I mean, I assume he's somewhere safe. That happens sometimes in the City. People get other jobs, get moved. Sometimes you don't see them again. But I was in my teens. I mean, I miss him, I'd like to know where he went. But I've got Nick. Although, I suppose if I knew something bad had happened to him, I'd like to think I'd go to a lot trouble to get him back."
Jason drew in a breath. "That's it?"
"What, not good enough?" Rebecca snapped back at him. "I said I was sorry about not believing you back in the City; right now I'm actually trying!"
Jason shook his head. "Sorry, I'm just... trying to find some way for you to understand... I mean, no friends, lovers, your other parent..."
Rebecca frowned. "No. Other parent? Is it your mother you're trying to save?"
"No,” Jason growled.
"Because if you're looking for empathy I can't say I've got much for mothers. Mine left us when Nick and I were kids; I don't even remember her. As for friends or lovers? No."
Jason turned and stomped across the deck.
"Hey, I'm trying!"
He turned back around. "I know. Forget it. This is not something I find easy to talk about."
Rebecca let out a huff. "I can't forget it. I want answers!"
"And I'll give them to you!" Jason barked. He drew in a breath. "I'll give them to you," he said again, his voice lower. "Just... give me some time to... work out what I'm going to tell you."
"Okay, then how I'm going to tell you." He drew in a breath and his shoulders slumped. "I do intend to tell you. And I know I didn't really endear myself to you back in the City."
"You did try to kidnap me."
"I know. That was wrong; I'm sorry. You're not my enemy. I'm not going to drag you into something you don't want to do. But we're barely an hour from Refuge; we're nearly home. Let me get us back there, let me sort out anything I have to there. And then we'll talk. Deal?"
Rebecca leaned back against the railing and folded her arms. She wanted to know now. She'd spent most of her life without getting answers to anything she truly wanted. That was now highlighted clearly. Here she had the chance for some answers now. But she also had the promise that should she choose to be patient, she could still get those answers in short order.
Jason was watching her, waiting. He just stood there, the wind whipping back his hair and the tails of his coat. He made no attempt to pressure her further. Perhaps he meant what he had said and his behaviour in the City had only been a result of stress.
Behind them the hatch in the deck flew back with a resounding clank. Loud enough that Rebecca wondered how she had missed Jason slipping up onto the deck earlier. Nick's head popped up through the hatch. He looked between the two of them suspiciously, as if he could somehow read the tension in the air from moments before.
"Bec," he said, though he was staring hard at Jason. "You alright?"
Rebecca sighed and rolled her eyes. "Fine, Nick. Just taking in the view."
Nick leapt onto he deck, followed by Steph. "Weird, isn't it?"
Rebecca smiled faintly. “That's one word for it."
They stayed up on deck until they reached Refuge. It didn’t take very long. The Leviathan approached what appeared to be an almost blank cliff face. It was hard to clearly see its surface, because most of the lower half was in a constant state of being drenched with sea spray. And the Leviathan was dropping, approaching the lower part of the cliff face.
"Um... Jason?" said Rebecca, gripping the railing tighter.
"Relax. Conrad knows what he's doing."
As the Leviathan dropped Rebecca realised the sea spray was, at least partially, concealing a gap in the cliffs. The opening appeared small but the Leviathan was dwarfed by it as it neared. They passed through and Rebecca squinted as an overly large wave threw a mist of water over the deck.
She pushed damp hair back from her face. Around about the cliff wall extended backwards and outwards, opening up into a large pocket safely nestled between towering rock walls. All of the internal surface was covered in buildings. Some were chiseled directly from the rock. Some looked as if they had been built in situ, some looked as if they were made up of random bits of scrap that had been dumped between the more secure looking structures. Most were greys and browns, with only a few splashes of colour in between. There were dozens, maybe over a hundred, and they extended almost all the way up to the top of the cliffs.
The Leviathan slowed, and the sudden drop in pitch of the background hum of the engines made Rebecca realise how used she'd become to the sound. They slowed to almost a crawl. Conrad began to steer the Leviathan towards one of the larger buildings. It was towards the back of the large cleft, at the bottom of the stacked buildings. Perhaps forty meters below the seawater that had entered the cleft surged, but it came nowhere near any of the buildings. A wooden dock was stretched out towards them, and Conrad brought the large ship expertly up against it. He had evidently done this many times before, because there was only the faintest of thunks as the metal hull touched the wooden posts supporting the dock. The engine continued to chug for a moment longer and then this shut itself down with a tired clunk.
On the dock a grey haired, older woman waved up at them, then moved to the side of the vessel to offer a hand disembarking. Jason was first off. He waved away her offered help and jumped down nimbly. He only briefly paused to regain his balance but this was enough time for the woman to grab him around the middle and give him a quick hug.
"Alright, alright..." Jason grumbled.
"Sorry," the woman smirked at him, looking very much like she was not. "I'm just glad you're back safe. You had me worried; he gets a bit crazy sometimes." She directed this last bit up at the three yet to disembark.
Nick broke into a grin as he too leapt down onto the dock. "Yeah, I'd noticed. Name's Nick," he extended a hand.
The woman shook it warmly, looking up and over her glasses as she studied him. "Sarah. You're a good looker, aren't you?"
Nick's face turned bright pink. Rebecca had to try very hard to stifle a giggle.
Steph leapt onto the dock behind him. "Too late, Sarah. I've already claimed him."
"Yeah? That'd be right,” Sarah grabbed the young woman up in a hug. "Glad you're back safe too, hun."
Rebecca was last to disembark and Sarah reached up a hand to help her down. "And you must be Rebecca." She must have been over a sixty, but the woman's grip was as strong as any man she'd shaken hands with. She was only a little shorter than Rebecca, with a few wrinkles, and her smile was warm. Like what a mother, or a grandmother, should look like. Not that Rebecca had much experience with either. "Finally, another engineer. I'm tired of trying to explain things to someone like Jason; he just stares at me blankly."
"That's me being polite," Jason said flatly.
"And you're a Controller too?"
"Apparently. It was news to me..." She liked Sarah. But that probably had something to do with her declared profession. And that she had successfully stirred up Nick. He still looked a little red.
"So," Sarah turned to Jason, "what's the plan? Are you actually going to show a bit of interest in what's going on around here? Or are you just going to take off again?"
Jason folded his arms. "That didn't take you long, did it?"
"I have no idea what you mean."
"No," Jason relented. "I'm not going to 'take off'. Not straight away. I need to think some things through."
"Good. Because we might have a bit of a situation. We'll need the Leviathan. And preferably you're input."
Jason eyed her for a moment. "Something's happened. What is it?"
"Bruce just got back from patrolling the villages under our protection.”
"Is he okay?"
"Yes, he's fine. But he nearly ran into a bunch of Peacekeepers. And they may have attacked one of the villages. He found an escaping vehicle, and..."
"Well, what did whoever was piloting that vehicle have to say?" Jason asked.
"They weren’t in any condition to talk,“ Sarah sighed. "Look, let me take you up to Bruce. He's not really feeling too happy about not being able to do anything about it right away. And he'll be better able to tell you what he found; you won't keep interrupting him either. Come on." She turned and headed up the dock.
Jason shook his head.
Nick caught Rebecca's eye and gave her a quick wink. He was up to something. He turned to Jason. "So, who's she? You're Mum?"
Jason just glared at him, then followed Sarah.
"Come on," said Steph. "We'll see what's going on."
"So, what's up with them anyway?" Nick asked, falling in beside her.
Rebecca followed behind them. Nick certainly had taken to this girl.
"Well, we're supposed to look out for some of the nearby villages. Protect them from Peacekeepers, that sort of thing. But for that we really need the Leviathan. I'm not so sure Sarah was particularly happy with Jason's decision to take it away for so long."
"To look for me," Rebecca said. She only realised she'd spoken out loud when Steph glanced back over her shoulder.
"Yeah, but that's not your fault."
Rebecca glanced back at the silent Leviathan. It certainly looked the sort of vessel a place like this couldn't do without, assuming they needed to protect themselves. Conrad had just come up onto the deck. He caught her looking and grinned and waved at her.
She waved back, smiling sheepishly, then jogged to catch up with Nick and Steph.
Sarah led them into a building at the end of the dock. It was quite large, and as she pushed open the large double doors a wall of noise greeted them. It was a large hall, packed with tables, people and a long bar that stretched along the back.
By himself, in one corner of the hall sat a broad shouldered man. He was focused on a glass but didn't really seem interested in actually drinking from it. The man looked like a brute. He was wearing a dirty white t shirt stretched out over his large muscles and carried an energy rifle slung across his back.
"Relax," said Steph, catching whatever look must have been on her face. "Bruce's a teddy bear."
Bruce stood to his feet as they approached and introductions were quickly made.
"You can tell them what you told me," Sarah said. "I need to go make sure you haven't trashed that poor ship." She left.
Bruce drew in a breath. "I've just been out on patrol. We picked up a kid. He was in a small escaping ship, with his mother. But she was..." Bruce trailed off. He swallowed and looked at the floor. "Well, I was only able to get the kid back. And he's not talking much. But I'm fairly certain there were Peacekeepers in the area, so I couldn't go check it out. But that village has been struggling with their crops, so I can't say I'm surprised they've finally decided to… you know."
"Get rid of the asset," Jason finished for him in a low growl. He put a hand on the man's shoulder. "It's not your fault. You couldn't do anything without the Leviathan. We can take it out now though and find out what happened. But might be good if I can talk to the kid first. He might be able to tell us what happened."
"Are you sure that's a good idea, boss?" Bruce asked. "Not questioning your judgement or anything; but he's been pretty quiet. I don't think you'll get anything out of him."
"I could help talk to him... if you want," said Steph. She chewed her lip. "I can't imagine a child that saw his mother die would really need two big blokes interrogating him."
"We're not going to interrogate him," said Jason.
"She might be right," Bruce shrugged. "I'm positively a troll. And you know you sometimes scare the kids."
Jason frowned. "They like me..."
"Only the one's that know you, Jason," Steph said.
"I can take you to him. I dropped him off with the other children," said Bruce."He's physically unharmed. So I figured letting him play with some other kids might help settle him down."
Bruce took them to a nearby building, a short walk along twisting paths made out of the very rock. Inside, the walls were covered in children's drawings and scribbles. The floor was littered with toys.
There were about twenty children running around like headless chickens and in the midst of it all a young man and woman, somewhere in their twenties, engaged in much the same behaviour.
"Henry," Bruce called out. He began to make his way cautiously across the room, picking his way between screaming and giggling children. "Chloe!" Somewhere along the way to the two adults he collected a little boy, who latched onto his leg. This didn't slow him down in the slightest.
Jason began to make his way across the room behind Bruce but it took barely seconds for the children to spot the incursion.
"Jason!" three little girls screamed at the same time. They pelted through the other children and crashed into Jason's legs. "Can we brush your hair yet?" one of them giggled.
Jason held his arms out as he fought to maintain his balance. "No!"
"Because I like it the way it is..."
Nick snorted and grinned at Rebecca. She had to admit, it was pretty funny seeing Jason being bested by three little girls. Steph was already making her way through the children and Nick and Rebecca followed. Rebecca had to stop with Nick a couple of times to introduce themselves to a few of the more curious ones. By the time they had made it across the room Bruce had managed to haul the young man from the sea of children to a relatively safe area off to the side.
"Bruce,” Henry removed the boy from the man's leg, leaving him to run giggling back to his playmates. "The boy's over there." He pointed across the room to where a dark haired boy of about four or five played with a set a blocks. A small girl was keeping him company; not really talking to him but just playing quietly beside him.
"He hasn't said too much. Kate's been playing with him and trying to get him to talk. She says his name's Tim. But I'm not sure if she actually got that out of him, or she made it up..." he shrugged.
Bruce made his way over to Tim's corner and sat down. Kate smiled up at him but Tim, though not reacting in fear to the big man, continued to concentrate on his blocks.
"Hi, Tim," said Bruce.
Tim continued to ignore him, stacking his blocks up into what looked like little towers and houses.
Steph sat down next to Bruce on the floor. Bruce looked at her thankfully. He was obviously out of his depth. Steph introduced herself to Tim and the boy actually looked at her, though he was yet to say anything. He continued to push around his blocks as she talked quietly to him.
"Why is Steph with you again?" Rebecca whispered into Nick's ear. "She's actually doing a pretty decent job."
Nick beamed back at her. "She's awesome, isn't she?" Well, at least he was happy.
Eventually, Steph tentatively asked Tim what had happened before Bruce had brought him here.
Tim pushed around his blocks, picked out two, and put them together. "There was... a Peacekeeper..."
"What was it doing, Tim?" Steph asked gently. Tim wasn't looking at her, instead, he was again playing with his blocks.
Rebecca looked at what the small boy had made. Though it was the hastily cobbled together work of a small child, she could see that Tim had made himself a replica of a small town. The two white blocks he had put together seemed to be his representation of a Peacekeeper. He turned this over in his hands, ignoring both Steph and Bruce's gentle pleas for attention. Then he took the Peacekeeper and moved it over his little town, making the sound of an engine with his lips.
Then Tim took the chunk of blocks and smashed them into the block houses below. Rebecca drew in a quick breath.
"Yeah, looks like a Peacekeeper to me," Jason growled. At some point he had arrived silently at her shoulder, minus the three little girls who had previously plagued him.
Kate picked up the pieces of the buildings Tim had just smashed and began to put them back together, frowning as she concentrated on her task.
"I'm not sure how much more you'll get out of him," said Henry. "And I don't think you should try. Who knows what he's seen."
"We don't need to hear anymore," said Jason, his attention still on Tim. "If a Peacekeeper was there it could only be bad. We need to go and find out what happened."
"Are you sure you don't want me to handle it, boss?" Bruce asked. "Sarah said you've got something else you're working on..."
"No," Jason said with a sigh. "That can wait. You'll need the Leviathan."
Nick helped Steph to her feet. They all made their way out through the throng of children, again stopping periodically to make introductions and have brief conversations. Back out in the corridor, it was far easier to talk. The sound of the playing children was all but silent as they closed the door behind them.
"I want you to come with us, Rebecca," Jason said, without preamble. "We leave as soon as we can. Once Sarah has given the Leviathan the once over."
"Wait, hang on a minute," Nick was quick to interject.
"Nick..." Rebecca sighed. Not that she wasn't surprised and suspicious at the sudden invitation. But if she had a problem with it, she'd have a problem with it. Nick didn't need to look out for her anymore; she wasn't a kid.
Nick ignored his sister. "Why are you so quick to drag her out there, Jason?"
"She's a Controller; she can handle it."
"Okay, then I want to come to."
Nick drew himself up. "And why not?"
"You're not a Controller. It's too dangerous."
"But not for Rebecca? I mean, what about Bruce, he's not a Controller... are you?"
Bruce took a half step back. "No..." he said tentatively.
"Bruce has a gun," said Jason.
"Look I know it's probably a bit too late to be saying this, but I'm just a little bit uncomfortable about this whole thing."
"Nick, leave it," Rebecca growled. "I'll be fine."
"So I take it you don't have a problem with this, Rebecca?" Jason asked.
Nick folded his arms and scowled.
"I..." she stole a glance at Nick. "No, I mean, if I'm as good at Controlling this stuff as you say, then I'll be fine. I mean, it was a little hard learning how to use it in the City, but I was getting the hang of it. Bit more practice might be good. But I still don't know why you'll actually need me out there. Is this part of why you brought me here?"
Jason sighed. "No, it isn't. But like I said we need the Leviathan. And it can only help, you learning what really happens out there. It might make it a little easier for me to make you understand what I need you to do for me."
"Why don't you just spell it out?” Nick snapped. "What you need my sister to do."
"Look," Jason said, with an exasperated growl. "I'll let you keep that trumped up excuse for a vehicle if you drop this, alright?"
Nick flushed. Rebecca suspected he may have actually found that a tempting offer. "I mean, you don't need me now, do you? You've got Bec. You only needed me back in the City, and even then you hardly used me!"
"Nick," Rebecca snapped. "I can look after myself. And I'm going with Jason."
"Take care of her, alright?" Nick snapped at Jason. "You better be damn sure she's as good as you say she is." With that, ignoring Rebecca's glare, Nick turned and stomped off.
Rebecca found her brother back in the main hall, at the bar.
"What's your problem anyway?" she demanded.
"Can you believe it, these guys don't even have any alcohol," Nick smiled coyly at her. He leaned back against the bar in a slouch. He always had been able to easily spring back from an outburst. But he still looked tense.
"Nick, you're right you know," she said with a sigh. "If you had a problem with us getting dragged out here, maybe you could've said something back in the City. Or maybe asked Steph, you know, in all that time you were hanging out before you bothered telling me."
"Steph never worried me..."
"I wonder why."
Nick glared at her. "Look, I don't mean there's something wrong with this whole thing. Steph told me the stuff that goes on down here. And I don't doubt Jason wants you to help him with… something…”
“Saving someone for him,” Rebecca finished.
“Yeah, I know. And that’s what Steph said too. But he hasn’t been very detailed about it, has he? Not with me. So I sure hope he’s told you something.” He let out a sigh. "I don't know. It just seems like if he really wants your help he should tell us exactly what he wants. It makes me uncomfortable."
"You can't really complain about Jason not telling you, or me, as much as he should. You didn't tell me what was going on. And you had months!" Rebecca folded her arms. So that was why she was mad at Nick. Funny how she couldn't really tell until she said it out loud.
Nick pushed himself off from the bar. "Yeah... yeah, I know. But... look, I thought it would be best to work everything out first. Steph had to work out how they were going to get in and out. Though I really think we didn't even follow that plan, thanks to Jason. And I would've had to introduce you to Steph, and..."
"Why wouldn't you want to introduce me to Steph?"
"Because..." Nick sighed. "When I was thinking of it, we still weren't ready to tell you where she was from. I would've had to tell you she was Unemployed or something."
Rebecca frowned. "So?"
Nick smiled at her crookedly. "You've forgotten already, haven't you? How you felt about the Unemployed? I remember once you called them useless pieces of freeloader trash."
"You may have had a drink or two." Nick shrugged.
"Yeah," Rebecca sighed. "Well I'm worse than an Unemployed now, aren't I?"
"Puts things in perspective, doesn't it?"
Not completely Nick’s fault then. It wouldn’t have helped if she’d behaved like a jerk. He was right; she probably would’ve dragged Nick aside and tried to get him to dump his new freeloader girlfriend. Rebecca sighed and leaned back against the bar beside her brother. “Sorry."
"It's not really your fault. It's the whole System. We both grew up with it, you just got the better end of the deal."
"I thought you liked being a mechanic? Suddenly I find out you prefer being a revolutionary."
"I did, but I got paid squat! You know where I worked. The high end of the City, servicing all those big posh cars. And what do I get? Nothing. They wouldn't have cars that work without me and the only thing I can afford is a twelve year old, hunk of junk Swank."
"Yeah, well now you get a new model Pegasus. For free," Rebecca smiled faintly.
"Maybe," Nick grinned back at her. "I'm happier about how things worked out with Steph though. Even if we did get dragged down here."
"Tell you what? When I get back from this trip with Jason, I'll come and let you introduce me to Steph properly. You’re right; I’m being a jerk. I need to get to know her a bit better. I'm sure she's lovely. I'm just still a bit stressed over this whole thing. It's a lot to take it."
Nick nodded. "Yet you're still going off on the Leviathan with Jason."
“Don’t try to stop me, Nick. I’ll be fine, I promise. He's right; I'm a Controller, I can't get into too much trouble. And it's not just going to be Jason, Conrad will be there..."
"Oh, Conrad, huh?" Nick grinned at her.
"Oh, stop it!" Rebecca punched him playfully in the shoulder.
"Okay, I'll stop bugging you then. I'm getting a free car out of it. Of course, it should be mine anyway; we wouldn’t have it if I didn’t suggest it.” Nick shook his head. “Just promise me you'll be careful."
That at least she could give him. “Cross my heart."