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*Final instalment in the 'Little British Girl' Trilogy *
One year after Elia’s death, and the entire planet is rebelling. With the news of Xander’s assassination attempt against his own daughter alarming the world, Elda and Luci are leading a powerful resistance, competing with the Southern rebellium, with no powerful government to stop either of them.
And yet, nothing seems to have changed.
Annabeth, alongside Beverly, Zacharia, and Steve Ryans, hide out amidst the chaos , unable to prevent what’s happening right in front of them. Disheartened and helpless.
Then one day, a girl turns up, a girl with heterochromia, with some interesting letters, and some even more interesting information. Could it be that Xander Moore had another daughter? And that Luci has a half-sister?

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12. Chapter 12

I wake up in a room I don’t recognise.

Small, simple...beige.  It’s just a couple of beds, a bathroom, and a desk. Quinn is in the bed to my right, still sleeping. I sit up, catching a glimpse of a slip of paper in the corner of my eye. Still hazy, I pick it up off of the desk and read.

You fell asleep half way into the journey. Meet downstairs at 8.

I check my watch, it 7:15, forty-five minutes to go. Taking care not to make too much noise and wake Quinn up, I grab a change of clothes from my bag and head into the bathroom to dress. When I return to the main room Quinn is awake, sat up in bed, yawning.

“What time is it?” She asks me.

“About twenty-five past seven, we need to be downstairs at eight.” I tell her, scrambling in my rucksack for my phone. I remember trying to hide it beneath scarfs and jackets on the journey over here, which seemed like a good idea at the time, but seems to be causing a bit of trouble now. Eventually I find it, turning it on and opening up the maps application.

“What are you doing?” Quinn slurs, sliding back down beneath her covers as she speaks. I walk over to pull them off her, shocking her awake.

“I’m trying to find out how to get to a particular house that’s somewhere in this area.” I reply vaguely, unsure about how much I should let on. I trust Quinn, but I also know that what I tell her she tells Zacharia and Beverley, and I’m not sure if they’d be happy with what I’m planning to do.

“Why?” She finally gets out of bed, pulling out some creased clothing from her bag.

“We’ll need all the help we can get on this mission, and I think I know someone who can help us.” I struggle to not give away too much without sounding secretive, wishing she’d just head into the bathroom to get dressed already.

“And you’re sure you can trust this person?” Quinn checks.

“He’s family.” I nod, briefly making eye contact with her before turning my attention back to my phone. She disappears to get dressed after that, leaving me in peace.

Even after all these years I can still perfectly remember the address. I type it perfectly into my phone. Did he remember it flawlessly too? Or did he need to find it written down somewhere? What if he’s not there anymore? That would make me look like a complete idiot. What if he is? What if he sees me and slams the door in my face? What if he doesn’t want to help me?

“Do you want to head down early so we can grab some breakfast?” Quinn bursts back out of the bathroom, interrupting my train of thought.

“Yeah...sure.” I agree, shoving my phone into my back pocket and swinging my rucksack over my right shoulder.

When we get downstairs Zacharia and Beverley are nowhere to be seen, and it’s 7:45, giving us fifteen minutes to grab some food from the hotel canteen. We don’t have much money, Zacharia divided up his remaining share of the Southern currency up between us all last night, and that didn’t leave us will a lot each. I get a banana and a bottle of water, then sit back down in reception and wait for everyone else. Soon enough Quinn appears, with an already-bitten apple in her hand. Before she’s even sat down Zacharia and Beverley emerge from the elevator, chatting away. They notice us sat down, and walk over.

“We’ll spend most of today trying to get a better idea of the blueprints of the factory, as well as trying to figure out if the alliance are watching over it or not. Then, just like before, we’ll break in after it shuts. Quinn will keep a lookout from a few feet away, here- these are the people you really need to keep an eye out for.” Zacharia explains the plan to all of us, handing over a pile of headshots and pictures for Quinn to memorise.

“I’ve been thinking...wouldn’t it be better to have two lookouts? You know, one from each direction?” I suggest.

“Yes, but who? Us three will all be needed in the factory, and Quinn is already on lookout.” Beverley gets the wrong end of the stick, failing to see the real meaning to my words.

“There is someone nearby who might be willing to help us.” I drop the bombshell, wincing as I speak. Even I’m not sure if this is a good idea.

“Annabeth, I know you want to think the best of him but we just can’t afford to take those sort of risks,” Zacharia sighs, his tone more pitiful than argumentative, “You haven’t seen him in over a year, you have no idea what sort of state he’s in...have you prepared yourself for the fact that he might be...different? Death changes people.”

“If he’s not in the right state of mind then we won’t let him help us.” I shrug, trying to act as though these words are easy to say, “But if he is, then we’ll minimise so many risks! It doesn't mean that he’ll come back, I know that, but surely he’d help us just this one time?” When neither of them seem convinced by my counter-argument I plead with them one last time, “At least let me try! Let me talk to him. What’s the harm in talking?”

“We’ll all still have to study the building, you’ll have to go alone.” Zacharia reminds me, beginning to cave in.

“I’ll meet you there when I’m done.” I promise. Zacharia sighs, giving in.

“Fine,” he agrees, “But you only have a couple of hours to get to the factory before we assume you’re out too.”

“Thank you, you won’t regret it.” I assure them, getting up to leave before they have a chance to change their minds.

I head back in the direction of the border, moving away from the crowded streets surrounding the hotel, and towards the almost-deserted countryside. I can see why Daniel would come here. It’s stunning. Miles of undisturbed open fields, vibrant green grass, tall strong oak trees...the occasional buttercup or daisy. If I wanted to go somewhere and forget everything, this would be the perfect place.

I notice the house in the distance, standing out like a beacon amidst the empty fields. It’s smaller than I imagined, more humble, it’s just a large cottage. For some reason I’d been expecting a big white modern mansion. I walk up to the front door, but hesitated before ringing the bell. It’s not too late to turn back, to go back to Zacharia and Beverley and Quinn and forget about Daniel the same way he forgot about me. I could leave him in peace and we could both go the rest of our lives without each of us ever having to see the other again. But even as I think these things my hand slams into the doorbell, my stubbornness taking over.

I almost don’t recognise the man who opens the door. From the purple bags under his eyes, to his rough chin and exhausted expression. But it’s still him. It’s Daniel. Standing right in front of me, even more shocked than I am. I don’t know what overcomes me next, one second we’re standing there and the next a well-buried pile of rage rises up inside me, and the next thing I know my fist is colliding with his face, knocking him backwards, causing him to stumble back inside and hold onto the table as his hand rises to his bleeding nose. As quickly as the anger comes it goes again, and I find myself leaning over him, checking him over to make sure I didn’t do too much damage.

“I-I’m sorry Daniel, I...I don’t know what came over me, it- it just sorta happened, um, I...I…” I fumble around, grabbing a tissue from my pocket and handing it over to him.

“It’s fine Annabeth, it’s probably still more than I deserve.” He gets back to his feet. For a few seconds we stand in silence, waiting for something, anything, to happen next, until eventually he says, “You’re here.”

“I am.” I nod, my voice quiet and hoarse.

“Why?” He asks, a hint of hurt in his voice, I choose to believe it’s from the punch-induced nose-bleed, and not my unexpected arrival, causing the pain.

“Do I really need a reason?” I reply, the same anger from before beginning to creep up on me again. He’s the one who abandoned me over a year ago, why should I need a reason to come and find him again? Don’t I at least deserve an explanation from him for doing what he did? Daniel notices the bitterness in my voice, taking a small step back away from me.

“I-I’m sorry, how about we sit down and, uh, talk?” He suggests, making room for me to walk through the doorway into the living room. I sit down on the couch, trying to slow my rapid heartbeat, I need to stay calm and in control, I can’t get angry, or upset...I need to be practical about this.

“I didn’t come here today for no reason Daniel, I need your help.” I get to the point, my tone professional and business-like. He sits down opposite me, a bit taken aback by my sudden change in mood.

“What do you need?” He asks, not offering his help straight away, but not refusing it either.

“I’m here with Zacharia and Beverley,” I reveal, deciding to leave out Quinn for now, not wanting to over-complicate things, “We’re planning on releasing new evidence to the press this afternoon by breaking into a printing factory. We pulled the same stunt in the North a week or so ago and it went great, but we need someone to keep watch this time, in case people are expecting us to try the same thing here. I need you to be that person on watch Daniel, you’re the only person over here that we can trust.” He listens carefully to every word, taking it all in.

“You’re still working for the resistance?” Of all the things to get out of my words, that’s what he chooses to question. I sigh, looking up towards the ceiling.

“The resistance is dead, Daniel.” I tell him, “It’s been too badly weakened by the disastrous alliance with the rebellium. Zacharia and Beverley aren’t big powerful leaders anymore, they’re rogues on the run, just like me, just like you. They’ve both helped me over this past year, Zacharia practically saved my life one time! We’re just three ex-soldiers, trying to do some good in a world where most resistance groups are just resorting to blowing stuff up.” Daniel seems a little shocked by my mini-speech, but I’m not finished yet, “You’ve seen the news. Luci and Quinn are out there assassinating important figures without any concern for civilian casualties, and the remaining alliance are putting bombs everywhere! It’s carnage, and it has to stop. I want to put an end to zoning more than anyone, but not like this. I’m offering you the chance to help me try and go about this the right way, to help me try to save lives. The old Daniel would have said yes by now already, and I know that guy is long-gone now, but surely this new one isn’t all that different?”

“Annabeth, I...I’m sorry but I just can’t do this anymore...I-I just don’t have it in me.” He sighs, burying his head in his hands. I don’t speak, or make up another argument to try and sway him. He’s not going to help me. I don’t want his apologies though, I don’t want anything from him anymore.

“You’re a coward Daniel.” I spit, getting to my feet, “You think that you can get away with just sitting here all day feeling sorry for yourself? You think that just because you live in the middle of a big open field that nothing can touch you? If this world dies so do you! And so do everyone you’ve ever cared about! You can’t just hide away in here forever.”

“I never meant to be gone this long but I still haven’t gotten over her death Annabeth, I can’t get back out into the field, it doesn’t feel right without her by my side.” He defends himself, but his arguments hit deaf ears. And that last point really does it for me, I completely lose it.

“I lost her too Daniel!” I yell, so loud that the house seems to shake beneath my feet, “And I had to find out what happened through a note...can you even begin to imagine how that felt? And this past year I’ve been rushing back out there to fight in her memory, and it hasn’t always gone to plan, because I’ve been feeling angry and depressed and been in denial all at once. But I’m ready now, because I’ve accepted that she’s gone, and I’m ready to go out there and make a difference in the way that she would have wanted me too. I’m not just sitting around all day crying! I’m trying to make things right. And if you think that sobbing all day somehow honors her, then you’re a disgrace to her memory.”

“Annabeth, I-”

“Just forget it, I shouldn’t have come.” I snap, heading back out towards the door. Before I can leave he grabs my arm. I don’t turn around to look at him. I don’t want him to see my tears.

“I’m sorry that I just left you there, that- that was cruel.”

“You’re not sorry,” I shake my head, still keeping my back turned away from him, “If you were, you’d try to make it right. I’m giving you the chance to now but you won’t help me. So no Daniel, you’re not sorry, you’re regretful, but not sorry, no.” And with that, I pull my arm out of his grip and slam the door in his face, rushing off away from that awful house before he has a chance to make me listen to yet another lie.

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