We retrieved our car and, as promised, they raised the rolling door high enough for us to drive in.
We unloaded our things and made our way up to the office housing the girls’ sleeping quarters. I could feel Matt’s eyes on me every time I passed his office, but I refused to meet them. I held tightly to my anger.
Iona, I assumed, sat cross-legged on a sleeping roll. She had her earphones in and was cleaning her weapons. Every one of them was disassembled and laid out at right angles before her. She ran her observant gaze over us before lowering her eyes back to her work without even aflicker of acknowledgment.
Another sleeping roll lay next to Iona’s, leaving a large empty space on the other half of the room. We left our things there and returned to the car for the rest of our belongings.
Jake helped us cart everything in. Before we started actually arranging it, we set up a bed downstairs for him. We chose the one farthest from the others; he looked uncomfortable enough as it was.
Every time I saw the sadness and resignation on his face, a huge sense of guilt rushed in on me. We’d pretty much ruined everything he’d worked years to achieve.
We returned to where we’d be sleeping and, for the first time since we had left James and Julie’s, sorted through all of our belongings. We had a lot compared to the men downstairs. Even Iona had very little in the way of equipment.
“Are you okay about working with the techs?” I asked Mouse quietly. I didn’t mind Jake hearing, but would prefer it if Iona didn’t.
“Yeah, you know it’s what I do best,” she murmured back. “I don’t like the idea of you on your own up there.”
“I’ll be fine. Matt seems to know what he’s doing and I want to find out more about this Nike woman.” I didn’t want to work with Matt at all, but if I told her she’d worry. “I wonder what will happen with you?” I asked, drawing Jake into the conversation.
“I don’t care as long as I’m out of the way.” He turned a tactical blade over in his hands.
“Careful, mister,” Mouse cautioned. “I don’t want to have to reattach your finger.”
Her words brought a shy little smile to his face and he placed it back onto the pile.
“We’ll need more ammo.” Mouse tipped a handful of bullets into a box. “I bet we can trade with some of those guys downstairs.”
“Yeah,” I agreed, “we’ll see Matt about it before we leave.”
We had plenty here to trade for some extra rounds. Inside, I groaned, wishing there was someone else I could talk to instead.
Twitching the black fabric to one side, I could see exactly what was going on below. One by one, the men settled in their beds. Most kept their weapons close to hand. When the majority of the men were asleep, Jake slipped silently down the stairs to his little camp bed. Iona had passed out ages ago, the little wires still stuck into her ears. Her music was heavy with lots of drums and screeching and yelling.
She was weird, but considering her line of work, that wasn’t really a surprise.
It was easy to see that everyone here was either a mercenary or an assassin. They worked well enough around each other, but not really with each other. They were used to being on their own and that was the one point that worried me the most.
As soon as my eyelids closed, the door handle turned. My eyes flew open. A woman in black entered the dim room. She stripped down to her underwear silently before pulling the rough blanket over her incredibly long legs. I’m tall, but Nike would dwarf me. She said nothing, although she surely knew we were awake.
Her boots, which she’d discarded haphazardly beside her sleeping roll, had a thick heel on them. This woman was completely badass, the way spies should be.