Rule 6: Outside communication is forbidden. Only the Government can achieve this.
We walked down the deserted corridors, the tapping of our heels on the linoleum floor the only sound. I guess we were both too tired for talking. Silence cloaked around us - it was a few minutes until work shifts ended, and I tried to savour the quiet while it lasted.
Alec stopped where the corridor split in two different directions. He turned to say goodbye when I realised I hadn't asked the most important question.
"What was that room?" I felt stupid for not asking it before, but I guess all that crying over my father pushed it out of my mind. I thought I saw something gleam in Alec's eyes.
"That's our ticket out of here."
I laughed, thinking he was joking. But when I looked at him, his face was totally serious.
"Excuse me?" I choked, not letting myself hope for even a moment that I could finally be free.
"It's our ticket out of here." he repeated. Seeing my unbelieving face, Alec sighed and continued, "What you saw there was mine and my father's own little...office. We've been using that computer-"
"So that's what it was," I interrupted, thinking back to the flashing box. Alec raised his eyebrows. "Um, carry on." I said sheepishly.
"With our computer we've been sending out signals; a sort of alarm so that anyone outside of here will be able to see it on their computer -or whatever they have- and trace it to us." He grinned. "And then they rescue us and we all live happily ever after."
Now I raised my eyebrows. "If it's that simple then why aren't we out into the sunshine already?" I asked skeptically, crossing my arms.
A dark look passed over Alecs' face. "The signal's radius isn't wide enough yet. I'm hoping to get it to France, but without dad..." Alec trailed off. He stared intently at a spot over my shoulder.
We stood awkwardly for a minute. Then, before I could stop myself, the question came tumbling out of my lips.
"How did he die?" Instantly I clamped my lips together, inwardly cursing myself for being so insensitive.
"Heart attack." The words were terse, hiding his real emotions. Alec had his arms crossed over his chest, as though protecting himself from an unknown threat. Although he was tall and well-built, in that moment he seemed so vunerable. Without thinking (again-what was wrong with me?), I put a hand on his arm.
Alec looked at me, surprised. He took a step closer. My heart doubled in pace, his gorgeous face now inches away from mine. I could smell his heady aftershave....
The end-of-shift bell sounded loudly, and we sprang apart. Hundreds of people started to fill the corridor around us, chattering excitedly. I felt my cheeks burn, and Alec coughed, hiding embarrassment.
"Well, see you around," he said finally.
"Yeah. See you." I replied faintly, the crowd swirling around me. But Alec had already disappeared.