Helllllllo my pretties! I'M NOT DEAD, I SWEAR!
Hahahaha, please don't hate me, I'm sorry, I swear I'll never leave you for eight months ever again. I'm done with university now. I've officially got all the time in the world for you. Okay, not all of the time but a shit ton more than before. It's okay, I am so sorry. How about you pull on a chair, lock your door, cancel your weekend plans and read this extra long on I wrote for you guys and forget about how much of a terrible person I am. Much love people, much love. Anyway, here is the chapter! Thanks for all of you who reviewed! Remember to carry on reading, adding this to your story alerts, and to review as well!
Summary: Through a series of strange circumstance, Rea finds that she must join the army to support her struggling family. What starts out as her duty turns into something much more, when she meets the gorgeous and hard-to-please, Lieutenant Caleb Harver.
Chapter 32: 11,177 words
Francis came to the office, the air changing around us as we saw him, a storm to our calm, as he waltzed in. He didn't bother greeting us. We had barely gotten out of our seats to salute him when he dragged Caleb from his office, and made us all sit in the meeting room. Harte was on his month leave, something I knew would bite us on the ass because he seemed to be the only one Francis listened to.
We sat there, silent and passing glances at Caleb, who didn't hide the fact he was staring daggers at the new Head General'. He ordered me to dim the lights, before asking me for a cup of coffee. I blinked, looking at Caleb who remained stone faced before leaving the room. When I came back the war hero commented on the drink, stating he didn't expect nothing less from a woman than the ability to serve a half decent cup of coffee.
I sat down red faced and swallowing my tongue.
Unfortunately Caleb didn't.
"Private Arvin's coffee skills are the bottom of the list of her credentials. Wasn't it you that pointed them all out when you insisted that she join the division? What was it you called her, a prodigy among our ranks with skills that surpassed your own."
He looked at him, "I don't recall that. It was Collin's that said it."
"And it was you that agreed, several times and in earnest." He gave him a tight-lipped smile. I say smile, it looked like someone was forcing his lips to curl, "Now if that will be all, sir, you best be on your way."
They were already briefed? Shit, how long was I gone for?
"Do not tell me what to do Harver."
"You've presented the mission clearly. We don't need to insult your intelligence by insisting to remain here when we all understand what we need to do. Last I checked, you have an army to run and you want to at least seem like you're doing your job."
He glared at him, eyes a blaze. I never saw anyone else hate someone as much as I saw Francis hate Harver. I suppose the treatment was vice versa.
He left. Porter sighed and spun on his chair.
"This mission is shit."
"What's the mission?"
"Recon B-level ground work by the Ughour-Reinghells boarder. Basically they've lost contact with an entire base there and want us to look into it."
Timothy rolled his eyes, "It's Francis' way of saying we're basically his clean up squad."
Porter snorted, "Clean up squad? He's saying we're his bitches. He's obviously still pissed at us."
Caleb sunk himself down on a chair next to Timothy. The long haired boy looked at him, "Don't worry about it Harver, he's a dick. It's nothing new."
"I couldn't care less about Francis. The mission's search and recon but we're two men short."
"Oh shit," I remembered now, "Porter, you're still barred aren't you?"
The curly haired boy nodded, "Yeah, I can't go on this one. Which puts us at an inconvenience."
Timothy nodded, turning to Caleb, "Having a mechanic is important."
"Yes, unfortunately our one can't come and the other person with a basic understanding of machinery is on holiday with his family."
"Tim, you fix planes. You must have an inkling of an idea."
"Fix planes is a bit of a stretch, I know how to maintain copters. And that won't help us diffuse a bomb."
I rolled my eyes, "It's not like that's hard. All bombs have off switches."
Porter laughed at that. Tim rolled his eyes before smirking at me. Caleb passed me a glance and smiled slightly, his mind elsewhere in thought.
"It's a small mission, it's just going to be a little harder with the lack of people. We've done harder with less."
"Yeah, but Rea and I weren't there in the golden trio glory days."
"And you won't be still." Timothy said, "It'll be the next generation trio."
"That's an awful name." I said with a laugh, "When do we leave for this anyway?"
"Couple of hours. The sooner the better with this, but at least the region isn't a dump. That part of the Imperial Regions is a rather wealthy one."
"It shouldn't take you guys too long. Two days tops." Porter mused, "Nice break from the shitty missions we've been getting lately."
I snorted, "Odds are something is going to go wrong."
Caleb frown at me, a small smile playing on his lips, "Bit negative."
I shrugged, "Last mission someone tipped off the mercs. Negative's the wrong word, I prefer cautious."
Tim turned to Harver, "Yeah I forgot to ask, what that was about? How'd they know we were coming?"
Caleb looked at him, "I don't know. According to Collins, that information was Board protected."
"Then how did the information get out to the mercs if no one else had access to it?"
Porter got up and gave a little stretch, "The Board had access."
Timothy rolled his eyes, "You know what I meant."
I did a double take at Porter's comment. My change of face drew Caleb's attention.
"Something wrong Private?"
I looked at him, my cheeks pinking a little bit. I nodded a little too quickly, the cogs of my mind working the background whilst my heart jolted over being interrupted mid thought.
"Just thinking about the mission, it's nothing." I got up and followed a moving Porter out, "I'm going to go pack, I'll meet you both back in an hour and a half."
Caleb's eyes didn't leave mine right away. He blinked before nodding and turning to Timothy, mentioning that they both best prepare too. Porter and I left the office right after, the curly haired boy frowning over my sudden change in mood.
He questioned me on the elevator ride back.
I looked at him and nodded, my poker face solid. He didn't mention anything of it. I thought a little bit on what Caleb said.
No one could access the details for Special Ops missions. If only the Board had access to that information, then by default, the only logical explanation was that someone from the Board was accessing it. So, if someone in the Board was accessing it, then only someone from the Board could hand that information out.
Which meant, by default, there was a mole. Or, rather, a strong chance that there was one. A mole amongst a select few who ultimately decides every individual movement anyone in this army makes.
In the back of my mind, I heard it like an echo.
There was a mole in the Board.
Over half of army-related causalities were accidents.
The army was killing off soldiers.
And like a jigsaw, I saw the whole thing in my mind. Those bits of information, like unplaced pieces that changed the image of what I thought this place was to what it actually was. A façade, an illusion, a fallacy.
I blurted the question as my mind overfilled itself with unanswered questions and theories. I only just registered that we were back home in the living room.
"You don't think someone tried to off us last mission do you?"
Porter turned to me and frowned, "Off us?" He walked to the fridge, "Like, permanently?"
"You don't hear of many temporary deaths."
"I also don't get asked if someone tried to murder me often." He answered pouring himself a drink, "Why, do you think someone tried to do us in?"
A blinker in the back of my mind told me to tread carefully, "Well, don't you think it's a bit of a coincidence that top secret information got leaked out to people in an area we were working right after a mission we nearly died in."
He thought it over, "Weird yeah." He mused it over, "You know, now that I think about it, that's a massive blunder. Board information shouldn't be accessible like that."
"Right?" I said. I was messaging the usual contacts about my latest mission departure. A couple of replies inquired over why this mission came so quickly after the last one. I ignored it and turned back to Porter.
"And how many miscommunications happened when we were held hostage? We weren't cleared by the Board, we weren't given access to medical aid, and no one knew the mission was happening."
"What are you trying to say Rea?"
Dangerous water. He had stopped what he was doing and looked at me, his gaze sharp. I shrugged.
"It just, I don't know. It just seems too uncalculated, too strange."
He smiled, "Weird shit like that happens like that all the time Rookie," he said, "Besides, Francis was negligent with his authority over us in that mission. The last one was an information leak, probably hacked from the Board. Don't worry."
I nodded, his words comforting me slightly. Porter wasn't stupid, so his reasoning comforted me. We spoke for a bit and let it gloss over my head whilst I went to my room and packed.
It was only after I grabbed my Forty-Nine did I remember that Francis was a member of the Board.
I wanted to vomit the whole journey there.
Not only did my new found train of thought on what was either the most brilliant conspiracy theory or tragic reality shake me at my core, but I was sat in the empty passenger hold with Caleb Harver on the other side of me. The flight was smooth, not a tremor of turbulence, so if I spontaneously gaged I couldn't blame it on motion sickness. No, my nausea was a direct correlation with my developing feelings for the blond boy I was glancing at.
He was asleep. His chest rising and falling, the creases of his deep blue army coat crinkling with the movement. He'd been asleep for most of the trip and we were due to land any minute now.
I found myself looking at him a lot more than I liked to admit lately. I forced myself to stop watching him sleep. Infatuation was not an excuse to stare at someone when they weren't even conscious. My thoughts wondered again.
I was debating whether to talk to him about what I thought. About Francis, and the accidents. About all of this. I wanted to tell him, more for the fact that if I were right then we might be in serious trouble. Still, the fear of him disbelieving me weighed equal with the fear of him thinking I was telling the truth.
Suggesting that the current Head General was a murderous soldier killer had implications. I had a family to support. I couldn't afford to be a proclaimed traitor.
The soft thuds of footsteps leaving the cockpit disturbed my thoughts. I bolted up when I saw Timothy. He laughed, waving me still.
"It's okay, she's on autopilot. Just coming in to tell you we're landing soon."
I smiled, "You freaked me out."
"Like I would just let Baby Jr drop." He said, "Nah, trust me, she's safe."
"I'm allowed to have my doubts on this machine." I countered, "I don't want to nose dive straight to hell."
"Come on Princess, have a little faith."
I smiled, "I have complete faith in you Tim. I just don't trust your death trap."
He shrugged, turned to Caleb, "You going to wake him or should I?"
"You go land, I'll wake him up."
He nodded and headed back. I stood up, wobbling a bit as the copter swayed before heading next to him and kneeling. I looked at him, eyes traveling along his skin until they rested on his shut lids.
He had thick wispy lashes, the kind that made girls jealous. I rested my palm on his warm rouged cheek, rousing him softly. He stirred, just a little, not enough to wake him up.
It was addicting sometimes, the little touches we had. One I knew I had to kick out of my system. My hand rousing his stubbly face was a betrayal only to myself.
"Caleb," my cooing wasn't in vain. I stroked the cheek despite my internal order against the action. His skin was so warm, a contrast from my rough cold hands. His eyes flickered open, the green a vivid shade against his pale skin.
He turned his face against my palm, his eyes widening only a fraction from the contact. I pulled away. It was all I would allow myself as I reinforced my own internal boundaries. Feelings aside, we were at work and I didn't want to be unprofessional.
It wasn't any better when he was a sleep. But at least I there was no audience. He was awake now, and though not fully aware, I didn't want him catching any clues about my feelings for him. Not yet.
He didn't distance himself from me though. A few precious seconds of waking, and he just lay there, looking at me, still serene. He stretched slightly.
"Are we here?"
"Yeah, Tim's about to land."
He nodded, wiping the sleep from his eyes. He sat up then, and I shuffled over so he could sit properly. Heat radiated off of him, drawing me like a chilled moth to a flame.
It was quiet cold in the copter. I failed to repress a small shiver as we waited to land. He turned to me, still a little groggy.
He stretched his legs before getting up. In one fluid movement he leaned over and draped his coat on me. I smiled at him in surprise.
"Thanks, we're about to land though, I don't really need it."
"One jacket for another, keep this up and I'll have worn all your outwear by June."
"Maybe then you'd actually dress right."
"You're just saying that because your clothes look better on me."
He looked at me, a smirk betraying his face. I raised my brows, waiting for the witty retort. He chose to give me a look, and to be honest, from the way his eyes glinted in silent mischief it was enough for me.
He was still smirking when he turned to check on Timothy.
We landed Baby 2.0 a half hour's walk from the base. Paranoia regardless, Timothy and Caleb both agreed that considering our current track record, any advantage we had we may need. We trekked carefully through the thick forest, the smell of mud and lichen eloping among the stilled vegetation.
I breathed it in as we walked with our weapons at the ready. This place smelt of home. This was a territory I knew well.
As we closed our distance to the base, the wet slaps of rain hitting lightly against our skin in an escalating frequency, we stopped. There was the base, empty and uninviting.
Except it wasn't empty. It wasn't empty at all. Timothy's face strained as looked through his binoculars.
"Harver, there's people there."
Caleb took his own out and looked though, "How many?"
"Twenty, twenty five. They're unarmed. Fuck, Harver they're civilians."
"Let me see," I asked. The pony tailed boy handed me his binoculars. Low and behold, out in the yard people of all ages were all sat in a compacted circle. Surrounding them were three armed figures, all in a navy, all masked.
Apparent recon mission turned hostage situation. Even for us that escalated quickly. I gave the binoculars back to Timothy.
"Francis conveniently left out this detail." He said.
Harver said nothing, his eyes glued to the binoculars, his mind working.
I looked around, "If we can see them from here, then odds are they could definitely see us too. The vegetation gets sparser the closer we get to the base."
"Plus patrollers. We need to move, we're too exposed."
Caleb tore himself away from the binoculars and spoke.
"You're right. It doesn't help that they already know we're hear."
I blinked, "What?"
"Twenty-seven civilians, nineteen of which are fully abled adults, and they've only got three people watching them." He explained, "A hostage situation this large, this out in the open, they have must have another five men at the least."
"They know we're here." I said.
"They know we're here. And they're patrolling. We need to go back, get to a safe place to plan our next-"
He stopped mid-sentence, his hand coming up hushing us. I didn't move a muscle except for my grip on my semi-automatic tightening. We stood like that for a couple of seconds before I heard it.
Soft, barely a decibel over the forest symphony.
But manmade, accompanied by the whispered sound of breathing.
It happened too fast. I hadn't registered it. I saw it all before the sounds consumed me, Timothy throwing his knife in precision accuracy and Caleb ducking a silent bullet that danced past my ear.
The muddied slump of a dead body shocked my own back to life. I turned, my eyes scanning, my gun pointed high and searching. No, no other targets.
I crept carefully to the assailant, my team mates behind me. He was behind a wilting bush, his body lying face first in the mud. Timothy lugged the body over, the well-aimed knife lodged square between the hooded killer's neck. A buzzing of white noise scratched against our calculated silence. It was coming from the victim's ear –his head set.
Caleb picked it up, placing it in the middle so we all had a chance to hear the dialogue.
"4 what's you're status?"
I looked at Caleb. This guy could've been anyone of them. He cleared his throat and covering his mouth, spoke in muffled speech.
"Don't know about the rest of you but all clear. Over."
There was a pause, the white noise crackling, "All clear over here 1. 6, sure it's fine? Thought I heard something."
A small sigh of relief. Caleb went on, "Affirmative, all clear." I saw him inhale a small breath, "We've got the advantage anyway, no way they'll beat us with their numbers."
"Don't count them out, I've heard of these whack jobs. Ten to three isn't an advantage, it's an equal playing field."
I repressed the urge to snort.
Nope, that was not an equal playing field. Reputation be damned.
"Stop chatting and shut up. Report in 5 minutes."
"On it 9, over and out."
"Keep guard, they should be here any second. Over and out."
The line cut off. Caleb gave the headset to Timothy, "Lock into their signal. You too Private."
I nodded, grabbing my own headset and tuning into their frequency. The Lieutenant crouched over the body, a pool of crimson slowly pumping out of the gaping wound. Whoever that man was had drowned in his own blood, the death slow and painful.
I tried to push it out of my thoughts. I knew it was better him than me, but it was still horrifying to witness. Caleb glanced at my expression before speaking.
"There are nine of them. Three of which are off field." The blond said as he pulled out a magazine cartridge from the stranger's pocket, "We need to neutralize the ones holding the hostages first and then pick out the others as we come. We can't protect that number of people outnumbered."
Tim looked up, "We could snipe them out. Shoot them down whilst the others patrol."
Caleb nodded, "Once they're out the others will come out quick. The hostages will be left defenceless so we'll need one sniper and the other two down protecting and moving the hostages."
"Who's sniping?" I asked.
Caleb got up, "Corporal, you'll snipe. Gun down whoever you meet once you've gunned the first three and meet back here. Private and I will move the hostages to this location and we'll take them to the copter. Should anything go wrong, retreat."
"What about the hostages?" I asked.
"I'm not losing soldiers on an impromptu search and rescue. Your lives take precipice over theirs."
I didn't argue. I didn't agree, but I didn't argue. Timothy looked around and grabbed his sniper. Caleb pointed up a densely bushed incline.
"Set yourself up there, we'll head down. Keep a note of their movements and if they get to close, get out. When we're ready, you strike." He said, "Got a silencer?"
He nodded, "Yeah. Got everything."
Caleb turned to me, "Let's go."
We left Timothy to climb, traversing our way through the forest as the small talk of our assassins played like music in the background. It was cold, the rain getting heavier as we made our way down. I looked up as white light blazed the skies.
First things about thunderstorms, never be next to trees. Great.
"You think the rain's going to let up?" I asked him?
"Right now, I hope not. Lower visibility for both of us, but there's more of them to see."
Mud stuck to my boots as we snuck our way to a dip. The ditch was deep enough to shelter us from the storm. We were as close as we could be, the soaked hostages a 30 meter sprint.
The radio signal suffered as the storm disturbed the frequencies. Caleb radioed Timothy, and I prayed he heard us. We stood there, wet, waiting.
He turned to me, "It still disgusts you."
I frowned, "What?"
His eyes were neither hard nor judging. It was a statement to him. I looked back out of the ditch.
"The dead bodies don't. Neither does the actual killing part. It's," I looked for the words, "It's the fact that I'm more than capable to end a life. That's what disgusts me. The fact that, if I absolutely have to, I could and will."
He brought his assault rifle closer to his frame.
"That doesn't make you a bad person. It makes you human."
I looked at him, about to answer. The radio interrupted us.
"CP to LH, in position, over."
He pressed a finger against his headset, "Do you have a visual?"
"Positive. First target locked."
"Rodger, en route to base. Over."
We ran through the rain, creeping between the foliage. Should the rain decide to pass we would've been spotted. We blended in amongst the downpour, the thudding of heavy rain drops following the rhythm of my heart.
The doubt pressed against me like a blunt knife. This was the largest attack I've ever helped orchestrate. It wasn't like if I fucked up we had the numbers to help ourselves out. One mistake and we were done.
"First and second target down, go out now, I'm about to neutralize the last one."
I didn't get a chance to be afraid. We were face to face with the last one before the bullet sliced through the air and landed in the poor bastard's skull. He thumped to the ground whilst we rushed past him to the yard. I pulled the nearest hostages up, Caleb doing the same as he addressed them all.
"We're here to rescue you. Come with us. Stick together. Don't lag behind."
A scurry of frightened people huddled together, standing and moving towards the forest when we heard it. There is a distinct cracking sound a gunshot makes that the raw animalistic melody of thunder can't quite match. The refined sound of a bullet screeching through the forest echoed to us, and like fireworks through the trees, more followed.
We didn't dare turn back. I was in the front and Caleb at the back, moving the crowd like collies herding sheep, past the danger, not a single person spotting us. A full five minutes of running, trekking, pushing people up and pulling them through, our headsets crackled. It was Timothy.
"CP to team, did you get through?"
Caleb ushered me to a stop, my weapon at the ready.
"We're through, where are you?"
"I'm heading your way, hotwired a vehicle at the base-"
"You headed to the base?"
"I was surrounded six to one, I made a run for it and stole a truck. They're coming our way. I think they're regrouping."
"How far are you from the copter?"
"About five minutes. I'm legging it."
"Get there, start her up and we'll load them in."
"We don't have much time."
I barely had a chance to understand the conversation had ended before we started running. The copter was not too far ahead. When we arrived, after shoving people ranging from grown men to children in front of me, the copter was ready to fly. The blades spinning ready to leave at any moment.
I ran up to the doors, banging them, signalling Timothy to open them. No sooner did my palms hit against the doors did they slide open and the stream of people flowed in, filling the copter to the brim. In about twenty something seconds, twenty something hostages were on the metal bird. All breathing. None dead yet.
Timothy signalled in, "We're at full capacity."
My head darted to Caleb. We didn't have enough space to fit us in. He looked at me, pressing a finger on his ear piece and speaking. I held my gun close and gave a quick look over of the area.
"Fly them out. PA and I will check the base."
"That's suicide. There's too many of them for you to fight off."
"It's the mission. Get them out and head back quick."
"That's an order. Now go!"
He gripped a hand on my arm, and pulled me away from the copter as it started to rise from the ground. He didn't stop at a few safe meters of distance, instead he pulled me back into the forest. Back into the fight.
I turned to him, releasing myself from the contact, "What are we going to do to now?"
He gave his gun a one over, "Kill every operative still out there and search the base."
He looked up, "What Rea?"
His eyes were holding a focus reserved only for serious situations. I swallowed my fear, trying to hold my head a little higher, trying to force the fear out.
"I think they're special hire. They'll be expecting the worst."
He nodded, "I know they're special hire." He said, "I'll bet my life on it."
"I'd rather you didn't."
He was rigid. It was like he was trying hard not to notice the reply. He nodded before making his way back, shaking my hand off in the process.
"They'll be here soon." He said getting into position, "They'll be following the copter."
"I'll go on the other side, better chance of surrounding them."
I made my way opposite where he was, hearing the heavy thuds of rushing men and pouring rain. I barely got into position before four of them arrived.
It was like a dance.
Before any of them had a chance to stop running, Caleb had shot. Bang, one down. Like a domino, the unlucky bastard fell. Dead.
Guns blazing, the one closest to me turned to his back, yelling at the last men coming, number five and six, to turn back before I found my finger squeezing the trigger and boom. Another one finished.
My first kill.
My first kill ever.
I didn't have time to register it.
Number four shot at me, the bullet grazing my left thigh, a stinging pain I hardly felt as a punch to my gut expelled all the air in my lungs. I took the butt of my assault rifle and wacked him hard in the face, staggering him back enough to shoot him in the chest. No luck. He had a bullet proof vest.
Caleb, in an effort to help, had pulled him out of my way, a little too late. Number four staggered by a tree and punched the blonde boy hard, taking a knife and lunging at him wildly. He grabbed at the bare blade, blood trickling and shot the man in the inner thigh.
Femoral artery. He'd be done in ten minutes, just like when I shot Ledger those months ago. Except this time, it was no accident.
The assailant doubled over in instinct, his body exploding in pain, his hand faltering. Caleb grabbed the knife and shucked him in the throat, slashing sideways. He was dead in seconds.
Blood on his hands; blood on mine. Two left of them; two of us. Caleb gave me a quick glance, his hand clutching his severed palm.
I took a breath and reloaded my ammo. He didn't bother wrapping his wound, instead he wiped the stolen knife on his muddied trousers, and waited for my signal. I nodded when I was ready to go and we made our way to the last of them.
The rain did not let. It did not die or weaken in its ferocity. We stalked the wet and fresh tracks past the base, the minutes ticking.
We hiked until we reached an opening, and like we had rehearsed it, we moved with a fluidity that rivalled that of the rain hitting our faces. Well calculated steps and anticipated strategic manoeuvres. We moved that way until we reached the opening, a body of water greeting us between the curtains of rain.
And again, a bang, a bullet, a charge. The last two faced us, tête-à-tête. It was only when I felt myself bending, felt myself moving with a speed I never knew I had, felt my hands grab at my standard issue knife, grasp onto my rifle, spin against my target's stiff body, that I knew that Special Ops turned me into a force of nature that rivalled the sheer velocity of this storm.
The man turned. A millisecond was like a million seconds, and to him, it was a second too late. My hand grasped the top of his mask, flipping it off of him whilst my fingers managed to slice his throat and my hand had lodged the nozzle of my firing gun against the top of his forehead. He dropped, like virgin snow. Cold, pale, lifeless.
I didn't have a chance to catch my breath. Once again I found myself being kicked down, the air in my lungs pouring out of me. I turned only to have my face punched hard by a firm fist.
My head was pressed against the wet mud. I was sputtering out the sticky sediment as I felt a boot press against my back, pushing me further into the ground. Memories of what suffocation, of the inability to physically breathe, came back as I felt myself involuntarily panic. I couldn't breathe.
And then, as if by the Gods, the weight was lifted off me as quickly as it had been placed on. I half expected a stamp as I took my chance and rolled out, spurting the dirt from my mouth. I was on my feet and my heart skipped a beat when I saw Caleb wrestle the last man standing.
It was a sight to behold. His weapons had been pushed aside, the knife he stole from the man he killed moments ago, forgotten. He was beating the man with his bare bloodied fists, had taken the soldier's mask off and was punching him, again and again and again.
That was until Caleb was then bashed on the side of his face with the perpetrator's gun. And like turned tables, in one fell swoop the beaten became the beater. He got a couple more good hits with the gun against the blonde's face, before I saw the gun raise to the lieutenant's head.
He wasn't killing Caleb. I wouldn't let him.
I grabbed on to the man, slipping on my way, and we both fell into the lake. The water crashed around me, the cold hitting me first before the darkness. The man thrashed around me, my arms holding on to him tight before I felt yet another damned punch to my gut.
Again, I was winded. I let go, my chest kicked in the man's attempt to escape. I kicked upwards, I felt my body sink lower into the dark and I knew that if I didn't get to the surface fast I'd be done for.
A weight hit against my body. No. My hands frantically felt around, reading the object like braille. This was a body. There was a body on top of me.
I thought of Caleb. I couldn't see who it was, I didn't know if it was him. My thoughts suddenly pinpointed to a moment we shared, a moment a couple of months ago.
Didn't he say he had a fear of the water? What if this was Caleb? What he had jumped in?
I knew it could be the last assassin. I knew that was just as likely. But that feeling of dread sunk me faster than the unmoving body that floated below me, sending me to a watery grave.
So I kicked up. I grabbed the body in one arm best I could, and kicked and flapped my way to the surface, pushing the body up first for air. I tasted the rain water as I gasped for breath, my head barely pushing upwards against the weight of the person I saved.
I was then shoved down.
I felt the body I had dragged up slip past me. I grasped around, clenching against the wet darkness, trying to feel for anything. Anyone.
I got nothing. I shot up for air, not even opening my eyes before swimming back down and trying to find him. I didn't get too far. My hand was dragged upwards, my body pulled to the surface.
I was then pulled up to shore, sputtering, as I tried to get my bearings. I turned around, pushing whoever grabbed me into the lake before I registered who it was. I threw myself back in without hesitation.
It was Caleb.
He was alive. He was alive.
He floundered for a second, before I grabbed him and pushed him to shore, swimming after him. He pulled himself up, a little shaken, before helping me out. He lay on the bank, his chest rising and falling. I fell on my chest, twisting my head so I could breathe freely.
We stayed like that for a couple of minutes, silent, adapting to the adrenaline surge that had flooded our bloodstreams. I felt a weak hand pat my back. I sat up and looked at him.
His eyes were half closed, his face swollen and bruised. His hand was still bleeding, so was his lip and eye. His clothes had been cut up, his hair was black with mud, and he was shaking, from cold or fear I wasn't sure.
I doubted I was a vision of beauty myself, but the sight of him did something. I gave his body a one over, patting him to check for any gapping wounds before crawling away and burying my head in my hands.
He was okay. He was alive and he was okay. We made it.
Whatever the hell that was, whoever the fuck those people were, they were forgotten. I listened as the thunder continued to roar and tried my damned hardest to calm myself down and fast. The mission wasn't over just yet.
His voice was hoarse. I didn't turn, I was too wired.
"I need a minute." I said. Fuck my voice was shaky. He didn't talk right away. Instead I heard him get up, a gentle palm soothing my back.
"We need to find out who they were."
I took in a breath and stood up. I didn't have the guts to look him in the eye. Not so soon after I thought he'd nearly drowned. I just nodded and made my way to the body of the man I had gutted and shot.
The bile rose quickly to my throat. I swallowed it down. Caleb stood by me before crouching down and searching the body quickly. Pockets, cases, boots, belt and bag. He found something in the left jacket pocket.
A folded sheet of paper with the face of every Special Ops operative on it.
We were silent as we searched the rest of the bodies. Every soldier was no different to the first, each had a document with our names and faces on it. A mini dossier of our general profiles condescended into a single sheet of A4. We dumped the bodies in the lake, taking their supplies and filling their pockets with rocks so they would sink down with the other one.
When we were done, we made our way with lagging caution into the base. It was empty, only recently lived in. Timothy was yet to come back for us, and the storm still blazed. Caleb had radioed the pilot in, and one barely audible transmission later, we got through to him.
He said that a bolt of lightning had hit the copter as he descended to the closest town from the base. The battery blew a fuse, nothing that couldn't be easily fixed, but it would take the rest of the day to procure it and as a precaution he would fly to the base when the rain eased up. We said we would sit tight, on guard in case the dead soldiers had radioed in for back up.
We both suggested it knowing it was an unlikely scenario. Whoever these men were, they were sent there to kill us all off, taking the hostages in for a cover. They would've been private hire and considering the job, I doubted many people were put up for it.
We broke into a barrack after, securing it best we could before heading to the team supervisor's quarters. We locked ourselves in, Caleb searching for a medical kit and I blacking out any windows. Only a lamp was turned on for light, and we slumped ourselves in the middle of the large empty office, the papers sitting between us.
I took a small compact out of my bag as Caleb attempted to assess his wounds. The person staring back at me through my little mirror was a sight. I looked awful, bruised cheek with a swollen lip and pale as ever, but alive. I noted rather dully that I had looked bad before looking at Caleb.
He had indeed looked better. He was patting his half swollen and purple face, wincing in pain as his fingertips grazed the bruised flesh. His hand was wrapped in a piece of ripped cloth that was stained in dirty blood.
His eyes glanced over at me, darting forward when he caught me looking at him. I put the compact down, getting up and making my way into the bedroom. Like the rest of the base, it hadn't been lived in for a while. It had a single double bed, one that I doubt either of us would sleep on tonight, and a wardrobe I was hoping that had a set of clean clothes. I was lucky in my pursuit, finding several fresh sets of dusty, albeit extra-large, khaki uniforms.
I grabbed a pair, heading to the bathroom next and sighing in relief when I turned the taps to find running water. I heard footsteps, not bothering to turn round. Caleb cleared his throat.
"What are you doing?"
I looked at him, "I found some clean clothes and wanted to take a shower before I patched myself up. There's more over there, if you want to shower too."
He nodded. I bit my lip, he really didn't look so good. He frowned.
I had to repress the urge to mummy him. I shook my head, "He hit you hard."
He rubbed the swollen side of his face, giving me a look that would have grown a smirk on my face if I wasn't so tired and mentally drained. This was his way of trying to get me to calm down, he had done this before.
"Really? I barely felt a thing."
"He hit you just as hard as he hit me."
"But as bad as my mug looks, yours is ten times worse."
"I see no difference in your face Arvin."
I couldn't help myself, I smirked, "Likewise, Harver."
He rolled his eyes and left, "Get in there, you stink."
I shut the bathroom door, stripped my clothes as fast as my aching body would let me and all but crawled my way into the shower stall. The hot water was like a blessing and a curse, easing the knots out of my tired muscles but smacking the bruised skin. I leaned against the shower wall, sliding my naked frame downwards until I sat there, the water trickling down me.
It was like the dam broke but the water didn't flow out. I wanted to cry, I wanted feel upset, to break down and scream and lose it, just a little. But I couldn't, not because I wasn't capable of it, no far from it, I just didn't feel comfortable doing it there.
Those feelings, those sacred, precious thoughts of vulnerability were not going to be explored in a barrack in the middle of Reignhells. Even though I wanted to, they were to be let lose in the comforts of my own bed at night. In the terrors of my own dreams.
When I finished with my shower, my hair relatively cleaner, and my body draped in my oversized uniform replacement, Caleb was sat there with the papers in hand. I sat down next to him, shaking my long wet hair with my hand. He turned, passing the papers to me.
I gave them a one over, my eyes scanning them with a state of indifference that was new to me. As terrifying as nearly being killed off was, I was hardly surprised. I looked at him and cleared my throat.
"If I told you something, something potentially damaging, how likely will you boot me out?"
He gave me a hard look, giving a slight stretch before answering.
"Depends on what you say."
I inhaled, finding comfort of the familiar soapy scent wafting around me, "I think Francis is trying to kill us, and I don't know why."
He was not as stoic as I thought he would be. Instead, he ran a hand through his dirty hair.
"You care to explain?"
I nodded, "That last mission we were commissioned by Francis for was the one in Tadurn. The missioned we were captured and held hostage, and well, you know."
He nodded. I rubbed my shoulder.
"The one we did before this one, the one with the nuclear plant, the information that was leaked out could've only come from the Board. We both know Collins wouldn't do it, and I know it's a stretch in the dark but I would bet anything that Francis gave the information away."
"That's hypothetical Rea."
"Well I hoped it was, but now this has happened, on a mission he's put us on once again, and I know we wouldn't be surprised if getting in contact with HQ would be a bit near impossible right now. Despite the fact that we're in a TFCB and are virtually defenceless." I edge a little closer to him, "Why did Timothy have to get a spare replacement part from where he was instead of requesting a backup copter? Probably because he did request one but wasn't granted one and had to deal with what he had to his disposal."
He mused this over, "He mentioned it, his access being denied."
"You were searching for information in the other room."
"Well there you go." I looked at him seriously, "Caleb, be honest, you must've figured something wasn't right with things lately?"
"Trust me, I've figured something was wrong for a long time."
I frowned. Despite the seriousness of the situation he gave me a small, slightly lopsided smile, "I've been in the army longer than you Rea. Things have been bad for a while now."
"Does this have anything to do with our rising casualties?"
He gave me a look, confused with how I knew that information before he nodded, "over the last half decade there has been an increase of-"
"Accidental in field causalities but a decrease in actual Shivitain cased causalities." I said, "More people are dying because of accidents than the actual war."
He frowned, "How did you figure that out?"
"What do you mean?"
"That sort of information isn't exactly available to most people and we don't get to look at those files."
I chewed on my plumped purple lip, "A friend of mine in IGI was placed in charge of looking into casualty numbers. He figured it out and told me."
"Like hell would I tell you that, what we're talking about now is good enough for a dishonourable discharge."
"Yeah but no one is allowed to look into those files. They're hidden pretty deep."
I frowned, "He told me it was grunt work."
"Nothing about the accidental casualties investigation is grunt work. It's the army's best kept secret, and if your friend is getting grunt work for it then it's because someone wants him to figure it all out."
I thought about it from Caleb's perspective. It explained why no one else seemed to be freaking out as much as Kevin and I had about it. It made sense.
"All these accidents, all these miscommunications and access denials and information hacking, and these people that have tried to kill us. It must be connected."
"Well, because they are." He sat up, "You're right."
I blinked, my eyes adjusting to the rapidly dimming light, "I am?"
He nodded, "You are." He spread the papers that were laying scattered on the floor with his hands, his long fingers staying on my crinkled black and white photo. He was still smiling, as if he forgot we nearly died today, "I'm impressed though. You figured all this out and you have next to none of the facts."
I raised a brow, "Well start talking Harver, "I said, "What facts are you on about."
It took me a millisecond to realize that goofy cute smile was as real as winter was warm. He was faking it, faking it not out of spite or cruelty, but because he seemed one truth away from crumbling. I scotched closer, my face contouring as the worry spilled through my features.
"Shit, what happened."
He shook his head, "Nothing." he said turning away, smile still stitched on his face, "These accidents, they're like seeing the woods for the trees. Right in front of you but something I never noticed until I forced myself to look."
"What do you mean?"
"I looked at my father's," he swallowed, "At the Head General's death report. Accidental death, air troopers gunned down his battalion when he was making a round in Ughour."
Oh shit. He didn't bother keeping up with the smile anymore. He didn't care for it and I was glad.
"Collins brought that to light for me. He came in after I told him about the leaked information and started talking about all of this. Went on about how this was all bigger than we knew. He showed me the death record when I asked him to help me find out how the information for the Hetgot mission slipped."
Collins was involved in this? How deep did my little paranoid conspiracy go?
"Why did he show you?"
"He told me that he thought that Francis was trying to kill me. Said he was playing us, and had been playing us for a while, and that everything that happened in Special Ops, everything happened because of Francis."
"I'm a little lost, I need context."
"Let's say Francis is trying to kill us, the methods he's been using, the miscommunications and faulty access approvals and constant accidents, they are all and have all been authorized by him. He is the head war strategist, so by default he is in charge of where the troops will be attacking and who they will be attacking. It would not be difficult for him to order a battalion or squad to kill our own if he said so, they'd be acting under official orders straight from the top."
"But why kill your own men? Why do it?"
He looked at me, a little bit of the mirth I had grown fond of seeing in his eyes spark again. My cheeks pinked a bit.
"Sorry. I have a tendency to butt in when I want answers."
"It's alright. It's a flaw of yours I find charming. "He said, "Your heart's in the right place."
I didn't want him talking about me like that. Now was not the time. He cleared his throat.
"There is no understandable reason to kill people off other than to keep the infield causalities high. They've been dropping. This war has been going on for most of our lives Rea, and the Shivites just aren't dedicated to fighting anymore. They want out. The only reason I've got for Francis authorising these attacks is so on paper we can still prove that this war is still going on." He sighed, "That we still have a reason to fight the Shivites."
It made sense. Francis was giving everyone a reason to keep the war going. What didn't make sense was why.
"But, what's the point? Why do it?"
"I don't know. All I do know is that people who want this war to end and people that go against Francis' thinking end up dying. Abraham being one of them."
"Then why kill us? We've literally got nothing to do with this war. We just do the missions no one else does."
"That's what Collins spoke to me about. Francis proposed the Special Operations division become an active department in the army. He thinks it was Francis' way of controlling anyone he thought of as a potential threat to his endeavours. I'm not sure, I don't have enough evidence to back that up."
I thought about it, "Well, I don't really see us as threats, but to each his own."
He cocked a brow, "I saw you take down two armed men twice your size like it was nothing."
The pang of what I had done scratched against the hollows of my chest. That's right. I had killed people today.
People were dead because of me.
He saw it, placing a hand on my crossed knee. I didn't want to think about today right now. I just wanted facts. I could pretend for a little bit that it never happened if I was just getting all the facts.
I was very aware that he hadn't lifted his hand. I was also aware that he hadn't noticed he placed it there.
"So Collins figured something was fishy, I'm guessing if it's Collins he'd figured that for a while now, told you all this information about the accidents and the Head General, and still let Francis give us missions and prance about the division like he owned the fucking place."
"What else could he do?"
"If Francis is behind all of this-"
"Let's be honest Caleb, he is behind all of this."
"If he is behind all of this," he said again, "He's probably blackmailed every Board member into doing his bidding. No one does terrible things because they want to. You'd be surprised how many people have very little choice in the matter."
"A crazy megalomaniac with a twitchy trigger finger is killing our soldiers and they're just letting it happen?"
"Yes." he said simply, little concern in his voice, "Because if they don't that same crazy megalomaniac might kill them, or worse, kill the people they love."
Thoughts on the Head General floated against my mind. Caleb suddenly became very aware that his hand was on my knee. He snapped it back to his side, and I couldn't help but smile over it. It didn't go unnoticed.
He looked away, "Sorry."
My smile didn't falter, "I didn't mind." I said, "It was nice. You know, in comparison to being stomped on and your face smashed into mud."
His features went dark again, "That bastard got what was coming for him."
I frowned, "He's dead. No one deserves what he got."
"He hurt you."
The swelling on his face had gone down, but I couldn't help but cringe over the pain he must've felt. I shrugged, trying to remind myself that we were safe. He was safe.
"He hurt you too." I told him, "You scared me out there, I thought he was going to get you."
He furrowed his brows, "Is that why you charged?"
"What do you mean?"
"One minute I was getting the shit beaten out of me from that fat fuck, and the next you've wrestled him into the lake and he's drowning you."
"He was going to shoot you."
"I had the situation under control Rea."
"He had the gun to your head, I wasn't going to let him kill you. I would've done anything to stop him from doing that."
"Well I shot him the second he surfaced." he told me, "You have no idea how scared I was when I saw him pop up so quick after."
I looked at him, no amusement in my face, "I carried him up Caleb." I told him, "I thought it was you. It was dark and I felt him fall on top of me, and I could've let him drop but I thought it was you."
He went quiet. I carried on.
"And when you shoved me down after I pushed him up for air, he slipped from my grip, and I thought I let you go." I told him, "I thought I let you drown. I thought you died."
Damn lump was like solid marble against my throat. I wasn't going to cry. I didn't want him to know how much I cared, how in that brief moment that I thought I lost him it ruined me. I didn't want him to know.
Soft fingers, timid and shy, cupped my hand before awkwardly intertwining themselves around my clammy digits. I looked up, a mixture of shock and repressed trauma simmering close to my features. He was looking at me with that look, that familiar too close but not close enough feeling suffocating me.
"I was fine, you didn't need to do that. I don't need you saving me."
I snarled at him. The statement uncapping an anger that had accumulated to the surface. I felt it rush over me in waves before I found myself speaking. My tone curt.
"Don't ever tell me I shouldn't have done it. Don't ever suggest that I shouldn't ever try to save your life. The fuck is wrong with you?" I let go of his hand and stood up.
I was angry, so very angry with him. He just sat there. Not taking a single eye off of me.
"They were going to kill you. They would've dumped your body in that lake, filled you up with rocks and they wouldn't have cared. Don't you ever tell me not to stop that from happening to you, not to take a hit for you. Your life is worth just as much as mine, and you don't get to lecture me on trying to save you when I know you would've done it for me and for Tim and for Rich and for Porter."
He stood up, hands open trying to calm me down, "Rea-"
"No, no!" I had snapped, "No. You don't get it. I told you, I told you when we were out there, I told you it disgusts me. The killing disgusts me, it proves that I'm no better than any of them. But I will be damned if I let any of them murder you because of your pride, or because you would rather they kill you than me. It makes it a waste. You throwing your life away is a waste, it's selfish. Fuck Caleb! I saw you with that guy, you were throwing punches at him with your gun stuck in the mud. You were about to fucking die. Don't you ever tell me you don't need saving, you're not a God, you're human and if you have died," my throat went dry, "when I thought you died. It. Shit."
My vision was blurry. I wasn't going to let him see me cry. I'd be damned if I did. I turned my head away.
Silence filled the room. Terrible, sickening silence. It stayed that way for a few seconds before his hand returned to mine awkwardly stretched. He tried pulling me towards him.
I couldn't look at him, "You don't know how much we care about you damn it." I said, "Goddamn it Caleb, you have no idea what we would do for you."
He pulled me forward, I expected to just be turned to face him. Instead I found myself shelter between his two strong arms. A hand, the hand that had been cut, cradling my head like a mother cradles a baby, his thumb forming circles against my scalp. It wasn't until I felt his cheek by my cheek, his mouth by my ear, did I realize how close he held me.
It was his attempt to be comforting, or maybe affectionate. Fuck I had no idea what it was. But all I know was that if he was trying to calm me down, it did the opposite. I was stood there, his embracing genuine and warm, and instead of safety, instead of revealing in the resolution that he understood, I was faced with just how much I did care for him.
And the answer was a lot. More than anyone I had ever cared for outside of my family. More than any of my friends and more than Quentin. That made the realization that I almost lost him all the more real to me. The fact that I thought I had let this person, this person I felt so strongly for, slip past me. It broke me inside.
"I'm sorry. I, I didn't mean to upset you." He said, his voice dry. I'd never heard him so defeated before, it made me feel terrible, "What I meant by it was I didn't want you throwing yourself in harm's way for me."
I found my hands clenching at his dirty grubby uniform, holding on to him tight and close, "You do it all the time with me." I said. I didn't sound like I was crying, but I felt wetness by my cheek and I'm pretty sure he did too. He held my face closer to his, soothing me.
"Is it because I'm a rookie? I know I'm not as experienced, but I can look after myself and I can hold my own-"
"It's not that. I know that you're no damsel in distress. I never thought of you like one."
I heard him swallow thickly, "Seeing you get hurt does something to me." He said slowly, "I saw that merc get you and something in me, I, it's hard to explain."
I shook his hand away from my head and looked up. Any thoughts on personal space was lost now. Caleb was right in front of me, less than a few centimetres apart. If I dared to, if things were different, if we were different, one could say we were close enough to start something intimate.
But my mind was thinking about what he just told me.
"I saw him stamp his foot on your back and I just lost it." He didn't falter his gaze. I felt a hand trace along my spine, along where that man had almost broke my back in two, a shiver running alongside it like a ghost.
He carried on, "And then when you both fell, I saw you in the water and I panicked. I couldn't come in to help you," his voice cracked at the mention of his fear, "And I kept thinking I failed. I couldn't keep you safe, you were under and I couldn't bring you up and it was because you charged and you saved my life. You stopped him killing me and you were the one drowning for it." He swallowed again, "I never want to fail you like that again. Pulling you out of the water, that relief I got when I knew you were safe, I never want that to happen again."
I furrowed my brows, my gaze at him soft. I held his face in my palm and held him close, close so our foreheads were touching. Intimacy and teenage hormones be damned, it wasn't about fucking or wanting to get with each other or any of that bullshit. I wanted him to know it was okay, I wanted him to know we were safe, that we were okay.
"You've never failed me Caleb." I told him honestly. I inhaled slowly, finding between the smell of muck and sweat, that ghosts of his scent, "I'm not saying this to make you feel better, it's the truth. You've never failed me and if you think that I'm wrong you've only failed yourself."
"You've never been one to sugar coat."
"Don't need to when I'm sweet enough."
He smiled, "I'm not worth a bullet though Rea."
"Good thing I try my hardest not to get shot."
He lifted my head again. Then it was over. I doubt he was the only one looking like with that double entendre look of his.
I bet I sported it too, even though I'd never noticed. I became hyper aware of his lips. Millimetres away from my face.
Sore, bruised and cut open. They probably tasted of copper and dirt. Yet those busted up dirty lips were the most attractive things I'd ever seen and I would've given anything to taste them.
But we were on a mission.
And he was hurt.
And I was a little, okay maybe a lot, crazy tired.
Not just crazy. Not just tired. Crazy tired.
So I opted for pressing my head against his again, nudging it gently, my personally poor attempt at affection, before breaking our glorious closeness until we were an acceptable distance apart. Only our hands joined, our fingers making sweet love together in a series of thumb swirls and curled digits.
"You should go shower. It'll help your wounds."
He nodded, "I'll go now."
He didn't go though. He stayed, holding my hand for a half minute longer, looking at me in my oversized uniform and my wet hair and my purple patched face as if I was an immaculate work of art. A miracle in human form.
I knew the minute he stopped holding my hand, this, whatever this was, would be over. Everything would be how it once was and yet with the both of us knowing that he probably felt the exact same was I did. It should've felt scary, being so exposed, but I didn't feel the adrenaline fuelled palpitations that came with fear.
That was what this was.
He let go as softly as he had grabbed on, before heading to the other room and showering.
Not much was said after that.
I had taken it upon myself to watch the door as Caleb showered, my paranoia getting the better of me now that my thought of Francis trying to kill us was highly likely. Yet, despite my resolve, I found my eyes heavy, my breathing slowed and my mind drifting. I was lightly stirred by a pair of arms covering me in a dusty white sheet. It didn't go unnoticed that the good lieutenant had also laid me done next to him, a fair way away of course, but still close enough to be comforting.
Timothy had arrived early. He had a lot to say about the absurdity that was this mission and the lack of personal safety we had. I retorted that our personal safety had always been low, but it was virtually non-existent here. Neither Caleb nor I mentioned what we spoke of to Timothy.
It didn't need to be agreed upon. Talking about treason was dangerous. Even to people in danger.
There were very few times when my Espionage training was cosnsciously put to good use. This was one of them.
By the time we landed Caleb had decided that he was going to have a meeting to discuss what had happened. The minute we touched down he was about to make the arrangements when all of our cell phones buzzed to life with several missed calls and text messages. I frowned as I checked them.
They were all from Porter. But, I didn't recognize the number.
You have four missed calls.
You have one voice message.
'Ring me as soon as you get this'
I was the fastest to dial.
'Rea? You're okay?'
I frowned. There was an urgency in his voice. It was a mix of worry and relief.
"Yeah, we just arrived. Are you okay?"
'I'm fine. Bring the others back to ours. Take the elevator ten floors up from our flat and then take the stairs down.'
The line went dead.
Worry flashed in my eyes, both Caleb and Timothy catching it. I told them what Porter told me.
"What could he want?"
"I don't know, but we need to get to mine right now."
And we did. We took the elevator as high as instructed before heading down the enormous building, storey after storey. We didn't meet a soul, our footsteps, hurried and heavy, echoing around us.
When we got to mine, catching our breaths. I knocked on the door, trusting my instincts against hitting the wood hard and loud. Almost instantly he opened the door, practically pulling us all inside.
"Fuck Porter, the hell's happening?" I asked. He was busy locking the door, his fingers expert at quickly twisting the locks in place.
It was Timothy that spoke next, "Why? What's going on?"
"Just get inside," he said his voice a rough whisper, "And don't talk so loud."
Caleb was already inside before I turned and made my way. The rest of us walked in. The sight hit me in shock, my gut sinking but my heartbeat racing.
Tied up, gagged and on the floor, bruised with dried blood coming out of his nose, was a man. My neck twisted so I faced my flatmate.
"Who the fuck is that Porter?" I asked, "And why the hell is he tied up on your floor."
He looked at me, pressing a finger on his lips, silently urging me to keep my voice down. He looked at us all, before turning his attention to the scared individual sprawled on the floor.
"This man broke in last night," he said, crouching next to him, "And then he tried to kill me."
DU DU DUHHHH. Shit, a cliffhanger? After all that Raleb cuteness that would make your inner angsty teenager explode!? Relax, you won't have to wait another eight months for the next chapter because I'm out of university now and can do better things with my life, like write this! Shit's about to kick off though. Like, full fucking drama.
If you get impatient, you can tell me to get a fucking move on by talking to me on tumblr. Want to ask a question about Caleb's favorite colour? Go there and ask! Belle's hair routine? What you doing still reading this? Is Kevin more a Belieber or a One Direction fan, and how fast would he murder you if you even thought of asking that question? Only one way to find out!
Link is on my profile. Stupid ficitonpress wont let me post it here.
Anyway, REVIEW! Or (pointing at you) I'll get Belle to manhandle you in the middle of an epic thunderstorm! Now fly my pretties! Story Alert, Review, and FLY!