I left the room, closed the door behind me, and went off in search of Matt. I found him easily enough, in the office opposite ours once again. He was alone again. “I thought I told you not to go wandering around without me or Nike,” he said without even looking up from the map he was studying.
“I wouldn’t call this wandering around. I didn’t even go downstairs.” I couldn’t keep the bitterness from my tone.
His face softened a little, but not much. “What do you need?”
“I wanted to know if you knew of anyone who might be willing to trade for some ammo.”
He lifted his gaze. “What do you want?”
I rattled off our requirements and the weapons we were willing to trade. His eyes widened. “How
much stuff do you have?”
“Just what we managed to gather as we were leaving the labs,” I answered.
“I’ll get it for you,” he promised. “You don’t need to pay for it.”
“Thanks,” I said curtly, and turned to leave.
“Can we talk for a minute?” he asked with a tone in his voice I hadn’t heard before.
I paused and looked back over my shoulder. “It depends on what you want to talk about.”
“I’m sorry about the other night.”
I bit my lip to keep myself from tearing up again. How was he able to make me upset? I didn’t even like him.
“I guess I’m a bit cynical.” He shrugged. “I may not have been raised in a lab, but Mom didn’t exactly believe in leaving her work in the office.”
“Your mom?” I didn’t know what she’d have to do with it.
“Oh. So were you mixed up in a test tube, too?” I couldn't stop my voice from turning sour.
“No, I just got the training. I’m completely human.” He said it like it was a bad thing. “Do you think you can forgive me?”
“I don’t know…” I really didn’t. I hated that he could make me so confused, even after he’d treated me like trash.
“If you can, I’d like to take you out for dinner. Once this is all over, of course.”
He caught me by surprise, my mouth dropped open a little. I didn’t know what to say. Ideas raced through my mind, none of which were appropriate. I finally settled on something I could talk confidently about. I dragged out the chair and sank onto it. “I have information you might be interested in.”
A look I couldn’t decipher dragged his face down, but it was gone before it could settle and he kicked back in his chair. “Oh, yeah? How much is it going to cost me?”
“The first one’s free.”
He simply watched me.
“The other experiments they were working on, did you ever hear about them? I mean, more than what your mom said last time?”
“A little.” He seemed curious now.
“Well, now they’re free and they’re popping up decapitated in hospitals all around the east coast. If you don’t already, I suggest you begin carrying a blade. The only way they seem to die is if you cut the spinal column.”
He nodded, not shaken at all.
“How many were there to begin with?”
“Hundreds. I don’t know how many are left, but they’re infectious and spreading like wildfire.” I paused for a moment, considering something. “Do you think you could rustle up some bad publicity for certain people with this?”
“Yeah, but I need proof.”
“What if I said I had proof?”
He seemed curious now. “What proof?”
“Just a second.” I ran back across the catwalk, the sound of my shoes echoing around the tin building. I pulled a photocopy of the young guy’s information that we’d found on the clipboard from my bag and returned to Matt.
I’d made duplicates of everything at the mall on Friday while Jake picked out new clothes. As I passed them to Matt, his eyes caught mine and I couldn’t seem to pull away from his gaze. My fingers lingered on the papers.
I realized I was staring and shook my head, trying to shake myself free of whatever trance his eyes caught mine in.
“They already have the bodies in the morgue. Perhaps they might be able to match the picture to a corpse or a missing persons report,” I suggested, a blush staining my cheeks.
“Thanks for this, Michaela,” he murmured.
“Call me Kayla,” I said standing up. “Let me know what you plan to do with it.”
“Sure.” He watched me as I turned and walked from the room.
I got halfway across the catwalk before stopping. I sat down, dangling my legs over the edge.
The men were still hanging around. There wasn’t much to do but wait. If they kept coming and going, it would draw unwanted attention. Some of the men, like the one from this morning, tapped away at laptops or talked on their phones, others cleaned and polished their weapons. Still more were gathered in a corner of the building that had been converted into a gym.
All of these men, and not a single one of them had any effect on me apart from Matt. What was it that attracted me to him? He was hot, yeah, but I’d seen plenty of good-looking guys recently. None of them made me all stupid and gooey inside like he did. I didn’t even know who the real Matt was. Was it the Matt who danced with me that night, holding me carefully as though afraid I’d break? Or the one who stood by Marissa, so comfortable with ordering men around? Was he playing with me again?
“Oi, what are you doing?” Nike’s heels echoed on the metal as she walked. The sound reminded me of the steps below the night club and made me shiver.
I looked up, snapping out of my contemplation. “Nothing.”
She swung down to sit next to me, staring at the men below. Turning my head slightly, I could see Matt running his gaze over the recruits from the door to his office. Catching my eye, he gave me a nod of acknowledgment before a small smile tugged at his lips.
Nike saw my expression, and I could only imagine she saw the heat that crept over my cheeks. She knew who I’d been looking at. Shaking her head, she stood up. She pulled me to my feet and propelled me into our room with a hand on my shoulder.
“Really not a good idea, Miss. Human boys aren’t for you. Keep your eye on the prize.”
She was right; I had to focus on Nicole and the others. Letting myself get distracted by a cute guy could only hurt things.
The rest of the night passed slowly. Mouse, Jake and I hung around in our room, while Nike came and went as she pleased. Iona came back at dawn and went straight to sleep. We thought it would probably be a good idea to do the same, since we had to be awake at five in the evening, and a good sleep was in order.
Mouse walked Jake to the door. I set about straightening my covers. He leaned down to kiss her good night and I averted my eyes. She flicked the light off and picked her way across the floor to her little bed.