Author: P Hana

Page 56


“Why is everyone hugging you?” I asked.

“I don’t know. I’m likeable?”

I grinned at him, because I knew exactly why everyone was hugging him, and so did he. A human caught his eye and smiled, and he nodded at her. Callum had said that saving people was one of my favorite things, but it was he who needed that, who could muster up that kind of passion for people he barely knew.

“Rumor has it the HARC facility wasn’t hit,” he said. “I could use a rest before we figure out what to do.”

“Me too.” I laced my fingers through his and pulled him closer as we headed away from the schoolhouse. We walked in comfortable silence, his thumb occasionally rubbing circles on my hand. I considered telling him I’d killed Micah, but the words died in my throat. I was happy he was gone, but I didn’t want to celebrate, or brag, or even talk about it. Callum didn’t ask, so maybe someone had already told him.

Although the look he was giving me suggested he wasn’t thinking about Micah at all. He should be exhausted, but his eyes were bright as they met mine.

When I stopped at the entrance of the facility and rose up on my toes to give him a kiss, he grabbed me around the waist and pressed his hands into my back, bringing my body closer to his. I traced my fingers across his jaw as his lips met mine. He started to pull me closer, then stepped back, glancing down at his clothes.

“Maybe I should shower before . . .” He let his voice trail off, leaving me to imagine what we’d be doing after.

“Me too.” My cheeks were warm, but I held his gaze, his dark eyes burning into mine.

We walked to our room for new clothes and back down to the showers. I cast a smile over my shoulder at Callum as I pushed the door open to girls’ bathroom.

I was the first back to the room, and I sat down on the bed, swallowing down a sudden flurry of nerves. How exactly did this work? Was I supposed to say “Hey, let’s have sex!” or did he already understand? I thought we’d sort of been giving each other signals, but maybe it was in my head.

I looked over at the glass wall. The other Reboots were around the corner, out of sight, but I certainly wasn’t getting naked for everyone to see.

The other bed still had sheets on it, so I hopped up and pulled them off. I pushed a dresser closer to the door and stepped on top. I shoved the edges of the sheet into the crack between the glass and the wall and released it. It fell down almost to the ground, covering half the room. I grabbed the other one and put it on the adjacent side, so the whole room was obscured. It was kind of obvious what we were doing in here, but maybe that worked in my favor. I wouldn’t have to say anything to Callum. He’d pick up on the hint by himself.

The sheets moved as I pushed the dresser back in its place, and Callum emerged from behind them.

He looked from them to me, a small smile on his face. “Good idea.”

“I spent long enough with those stupid glass walls,” I said, sitting down on the bed. He walked to me slowly, hands in his pockets, his expression nervous. I was relieved he wasn’t totally calm, because my hand was shaking as I reached for his arm. When I ran my fingers over his skin, he slipped his hands from his pockets and leaned closer to me.

I looped my arms around his neck and scooted forward on the bed until my legs touched his. He placed his hands on the bed on either side of me, his lips barely brushing against mine. I grabbed the buttons of his shirt and brought him closer to me, until his soft lips on mine made warmth zip through my body.

I pulled him closer and closer, until we were tangled together and he was running his fingers down my scars and I was laughing when he told me I was like a hot cyborg. Then there was nothing but the sound of his breath and his warm skin against mine and I forgot to keep one ear on the door or watch for threats or scan the closest location of weapons in my head. It was just him, his smile against my lips, his arms around me, and I was gone.



I WOKE THE NEXT MORNING TO WREN ASLEEP AGAINST MY CHEST, her arms tucked up underneath her chin. She was wearing my shirt, which I’d wrapped around her when her arms had begun to prick with goose bumps. She’d buttoned it crooked, and I could see the tip of her scars, the first few of the metal staples holding the skin together. I tightened my arms around her and pressed my lips to the top of her head.

I hadn’t slept so well or so long in weeks—not since I was a human—and I blinked in the dark room. Was it too much to hope that everyone would leave us alone and I could spend the day right here?

Murmured voices trickled in from the hallway and I sighed inwardly. Of course it was. HARC was still out there and, thanks to Micah, we could already be too late to save the Reboots in the Rosa facility.

Wren stirred, and a smile crossed her lips before she even opened her eyes. She snuggled closer to me so her face was in my neck.

“Good morning,” she mumbled.

“Good morning.” I brushed a kiss against her cheek.

“Is it too late to take you up on your offer to leave and forget about everyone else?” she asked, humor in her voice.

I laughed. “Never. Let’s go right now.”

She grinned at me, because we both knew it was way too late for that.

“Hey, is Callum Twenty-two in here somewhere?” a voice nearby yelled.

I sighed as I swung my legs over the bed. “Yeah?”

“There’re people downstairs in the lobby for you. They say they’re your parents.”

I blinked in surprise. Even though David had said he thought they wanted to see me, I didn’t think they’d actually come.

Wren rolled out of bed and reached for her clothes. “Want me to come with you?”

“Yes. Please.”

I pulled on my clothes and shoes so slowly that Wren was standing by the hung-up sheets, watching me in amusement as I tied my boots.

“We could sneak out another door,” I said, half joking. “Or jump off the roof.”

“Breaking our legs just to avoid your parents is a little extreme.”

I released an exaggerated sigh as I stood. “Fine.”

Wren reached for my hand and tugged me from the room and down the stairs to the ground level. She pushed open the door and light flooded the stairwell. I walked out onto the black floor.

My parents and David sat in the chairs at the far side of the room, like they were waiting for an appointment with HARC officials. I took a tentative step forward and David, spotting me, jumped to his feet, a big smile on his face. My parents stood, too, and started toward me.