We made our way downstairs, using the actual steps this time, and joined the group sitting around a large whiteboard by the rolling door. Most of the men were already present and those who weren’t were attaching weapons to their bodies wherever they could. We stood at the back, side by side in silence, waiting for someone to start talking.
My mouth felt thick as I swallowed, trying not to psych myself out. I needed to stay calm tonight. Worrying about Nicole and Mouse wouldn’t help anything.
Matt made his way down to us after the final man joined the group. My breath caught sharply at his appearance, decked out in tactical gear similar to ours. He wore it well; if Nike was badass, there were no words to describe Matt.
He was accompanied by two others. On his right was the redhead Mouse had talked to at the night club, on his left another man I recognized from that group too. They were both older than him, early to mid-twenties, but they let him take the lead.
He spoke quietly to one of the men at the front before raising his eyes to catch me looking at him. I turned away and busied myself with the straps of my vest. I groaned on the inside as I thought of what a loser he must think I am. How did he seem to know whenever I was watching?
I took a chance and raised my eyes to watch the crowd and take everything in, but my thoughts turned to Mouse and Jake, standing at my side. Jealousy once again reared its ugly head. They’d clicked together so easily. They looked comfortable, but if I were to so much as glance at Matt, I became nervous and embarrassed. I wasn’t myself around him.
Matt called the group to order. He flipped over the large whiteboard to show the map that had been spread out in his office earlier. The spot where the counter sat now held a big red circle with a small cross in the center.
He laid out the plan, naming the teams and objectives, the things he’d told us when we first arrived. My team, including Matt and Nike, would be the second one in, responsible for retrieving the captives, as he called them.
The third team was a combination of technical and tactical, tasked with retrieving computer files and clearing everything out at the end.
The security team left first, dressed in white garb to blend with the snow that had fallen around the mountains. An hour later, Mouse and her tech team were ferried off to do their bit. We had to wait for another hour after that before they sent us the okay. They’d hijacked the surveillance and now it was ours. The path was clear.
We all moved toward the vehicles, but someone caught my hand as I went to leave the warehouse.
“Kayla,” Matt murmured, pulling me back.
“Be safe, okay?”
For a moment I didn’t know what to say. “I’m always careful.”
“Sure.” He stared at me for several moments then raised his hand, enclosed in a heavy protective glove. The rough fabric grazed across my cheek, sliding along my jaw to the tip of my chin. He tilted my face upwards until our eyes locked in place. He leaned down, his lips brushed across mine, as softly as a butterfly and as swiftly. Before I knew it, he drew away, tucking a few stray hairs behind my ears.
Without another word, we left the building and climbed into the black Range Rovers waiting outside. Being confined in a car with four other people weighed down with weapons wasn’t the most pleasant of experiences. Matt sat next to me and, as the motor started, his hand found mine.