Little British Girl...

- Decide where you belong -

In a world split into two zones, north and south live separately. The sole-superpower, America in the north, and every other country lives in the south. Trespassing is punishable by death.
When Elia, a British citizen, wakes up in the northern zone she is forced to trust local cop Daniel to keep her safe. With no memory of how Elia came to the north, and no recollection of why, she and Daniel decide to try and figure it all out. But along the way secrets are uncovered, allies are made, and Elia begins to play dangerous games, with tragic costs.

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13. Chapter 13

Luci is normally obnoxiously confident, but at this moment in time, with her eyes wide and her jaw dropped, the authority Annabeth has over her is undoubtable.

“I asked you a question!” Annabeth’s face is red, which contrasts with her white knuckles. A part of me wants to intervene, after all, this is more my fight than Luci’s, but a larger part of me is so afraid of Annabeth’s anger that I don’t dare.

“I, I was just h-helping out Elia.” Luci stammers, I don’t blame her for shifting the conversation over to me, even if it does terrify me. Annabeth turns to me, slightly calmer now that the shock is out of her system, but still acting as a stranger to me.

“Elia, why is there a picture of Xander Moore up on the wall? And why on earth are you under the impression that he is your father?” Unlike with Luci, Annabeth keeps her hands to herself, but everytime she speaks they jolt at her side, like they’re being sparked by an electric current. I look away when I speak, for if I were to look into those blue eyes, now anything but calm, I know I wouldn’t be able to get a word out.
“When I was in California Daniel used his security clearance to find out some information about my birth father, it turns out he’s American. When I came here Luci offered to find out who he actually is, and, well, she did.” I point up to the screen at the end, not a lot, but enough for the gesture to be clear. I hear Max sigh at the back of the room, he’s kept his distance from us three since Annabeth started yelling, I think he’s a little scared of her too.

“Your birth father is Xander Moore?” Annabeth checked, her voice an angry whisper. If I’m honest, I think I preferred it when she was shouting. Her whispers are not only alarming, but unnerving too.

“Apparently so.” I nod. I expect Annabeth to act out again, to punch the wall, push me backwards, or scream at the top of her lungs. Instead, she flops. She falls back into the chair behind her, her head in her hands. Like a cigarette that’s been stomped on, she is a lifeless corpse spread out across the seat. The three of us just shadow her, none of us sure of what to do next. I look to Max, he’s the one who spends the most time with her, but his face is blank, he has no clue how to handle this. After two long minutes, Annabeth sits up, wiping her face dry with her sleeve, but her eyes are still bloodshot.

“Luci, contact head office.” She orders her, her voice almost back to normal. She gets up and walks over to Max. “We need to take this matter to Washington, go fetch the files.” With the two useful people briefed, she turns to me. “You just stay out of the way for an hour or so.” I obey immediately, heading for the door. On my way out she grabs my arm, stopping me in my tracks. “I mean it Elia,” she warns me, “This isn’t going to be pretty.” I want to tell her that I wasn’t planning anything anyway, but don’t think she’d believe me, I don’t think I believe me.

I find myself heading upstairs to the room that is sort of my bedroom. I don’t want to call it that, because I’m not planning on staying here long, so instead it is the room where I temporarily sleep until I get Daniel back and safe. Still, I can find some sense of a comforting solidarity inside it’s walls. As soon as the door shuts behind me, and I know I am completely alone, I let myself drop to the floor. My back against the wall, my heart in my stomach, I let it all out. I’m surprised I managed to hold it in this long, after all, I just found out that my father is the chief of northern Security, and perhaps the biggest hypocrite on the entire planet. That’s one heck of a blind spot mum...one heck of a blind spot.

Even after I manage to stop crying, my face is damp and sticky from the tears. I always find the time after I cry is worse that the actually crying part, I have to wait at least ten minutes for my face to turn back to it’s normal calm colour before rejoining humanity, and even then I always worry that people can tell. I hate people knowing that I’ve cried, because then they want to know all about it, whilst all I ever want to do is forget it. It’s the look they give you when you step inside the room, a look that says ‘you have problems’, ‘I feel sorry for you’, and ‘we’ll talk about it later’ all at once, making me sick in the stomach. I force myself up and drag my body to the bathroom, wincing at my own reflection. I look as if someone has rubbed mouldy ketchup all over my face. Shutting my eyes, I splash myself with cooler water from the tap, and gently rub myself dry. I spend a further five minutes fiddling with my hair, putting it up into a ponytail, then down, then up again, and so on, each time unsatisfied. In the end I chuck the hairband to the other side of the room in sheer frustration, no longer caring about how I appear to the outside world, for now at least. I kick the door further ajar and enter back into the main bedroom, throwing myself onto the bed so that now all I have to look at is the cream coloured ceiling with cobweb coated corners above me. My head’s doing that throbbing thing that it always does after I’ve cried, and I feel generally lighter than before. After at least fifteen minutes of staring at the ceiling, there is a knock at the door.

“Who is it?” I shout to the person on the other side of the door, my tone as neutral as my mood.

“It’s Max, can I come in?” Max calls out from outside.

“Sure, whatever.” I shrug, granting him entry, but not making any effort to sit up and open the door for him. A second or so later, he emerges into the room, taking a seat on the edge of the bed. I’m glad that I’m back to normal now, if he knew that I’d been crying then-well, he doesn’t, no-one does, as far as they’re concerned I’m just happily keeping out of the way. “Aren’t you supposed to be downstairs?” I keep up the casual act, my tone and expression careless and uninterested.

“I’m not important or intelligent enough for any of that.” Max shook his head, sarcasm leaking into his voice. I leaned forward, slightly intrigued. Max always appeared to be of equal status with Luci, and only slightly below Annabeth, who was clearly the leader of the small team.

“What is your role here Max?” I ask, I’ve never thought about it before, but I now realise I have no clue what he spends his days doing.

“I’m sort of the bouncer,” he reveals, wording it carefully, “I man the CCTV, provide some extra muscle on missions, and run background checks on people. I’m good with computers too, not in the same way as Luci though. Luci can hack like there’s no tomorrow, I’m more hardware based.

I fix her computer when it breaks down, in fact, it’s the only time she lets me anywhere near it.”

“Bouncer huh? Cool. Seen a lot of action?” I try to hide my burning curiosity, but I think my question offends him, or rather, the way I ask it. He sort of looks away and shifts in his position.

“Not exactly.” He mutters, a lot more dismal than a few seconds ago. I move closer to him, concerned by his change in mood. I’m not too close with Max, but I don’t like seeing him upset.

“I’m sorry if I offended you,” I apologise, “I shouldn’t have pried, I guess it’s not all fun and games over here.”

“Actually, mostly it is. The resistance never seem to send us out on missions.” Max contradicts me. I’m thankful to see a small smile return to his lips. His eyes seem to go distant, as if memories are flying towards him. Then, as quickly as the grin appeared, it goes. He looks down at his feet, as if he’s ashamed. “The resistance are tactical, they mainly use propaganda to take on the government, after all, we wouldn’t win in a war against them, they’re much more advanced than us in their military.”

“That sounds...smart.” I nod, treading carefully. Max’s head lifts slightly, and a sigh escapes his well-bitten lips.

“Sure is. I just realised that a little late.” He grimaced, I can almost see the pain of the memory in his pupil, and his iris seems to darken. “When I first joined I was very young, only seventeen. I was too eager, I wanted to get out there at fight, but they told me no, they told me to ‘wait until the time was right’. Impatient, I snuck out one night with a couple of mates, we tried to storm a local meeting, but we weren’t at all prepared. We all got arrested, and I had to be bailed out by my parents. When I returned to the resistance, they sent me down to this smaller base, where I wouldn’t be able to do any more damage.” I listen intensively to every word, flattered that he’s opening up to me. I can’t imagine Max doing anything so rash, he always seems to be so laidback and easygoing, maybe this is the reason why? Experiences shape people, I know that more than anybody, a couple of months ago I was a law-abiding southern citizen, and now I’m spending my days in a secret resistance base in Arizona.

“That was years ago though,” I remind him, trying to cheer him up, “It’s probably all water under the bridge now.”

“Then why aren’t I in that meeting downstairs?” Max turns to look me in the eye, his voice shaking a little. I’m beginning to get very worried. I think he might cry in a minute, and if he does, so will I, and I really hate to cry.

“The same reason I’m not,” I place my hand on his shoulder, and lean in to whisper in his ear, “We’re both far too opinionated.” He looks up at me, confused by my response. I just chuckle lightheartedly, amused that he can’t see it the same way I do. “The resistance aren’t used to big bold attacks, because they want be seen as trustworthy by the public. You have a history of acting out against orders for what you believe to be the greater good, and even if that side of you doesn’t exist anymore, they certainly think it does. I want to storm a hugely important trial to rescue Daniel, and if that goes wrong, then the resistance’s image could be ruined forever. Neither of us comply to their way of thinking, both of us have our own opinions on what is right.” I judge his face to see if he understands, but he’s still as dumbfounded as ever. “That meeting going on downstairs will go a lot better if everyone agrees, and the best way to ensure that? Kick everyone out who might not!” I raise my voice and stress my words, praying that he might finally get it. Thankfully, I see his eyes widen, and he at last realises what it is I am telling him.

“You’re a smart kid.” He shakes his head, “A really smart kid…”

Max is cut off by a knock at the door.

“Um...come in?” I yell at the door, unsure of who might be on the other side. The door creaks open, and Luci steps inside, she seems hesitant, no, guilty.

“You’ve been asked to attend the meeting.” She announces quickly, not stepping any closer towards us. Max stands up to leave, but she holds out her hand and stops him. “Not you,” she tells him, “her.” I feel a shiver radiate down my spine as her finger points out at me, and I shrink backwards towards the headboard of the bed.

“Me?” I check.

“You.” She confirms, her tone apologetic. I gulp, rubbing my sweaty hands against my shorts. I get up from the bed, and walk past the security of Max, over to where Luci stands. Before I leave the room, I turn to him.

“I promise I’ll try my best to disagree.” I assure him, causing a laugh to burst out of his lips.

“You do that.” He winks at me supportively. I turn back to Luci, and let her lead me to possibly one of the most important moments of my life.

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