Psion Alpha
putting her on his team? Despite the
fact it had nothing to do with her and everything to do with him didn’t matter.
She’d likely blow up and avoid speaking to him for weeks or months. Like she’d
done in the past … three times.
than one mission is going to happen,” he finally told her as he hunted down the
game’s cards and stowed them away. “I’m sure you’ll be on one of the teams.”
not yours?”
didn’t say that.”
didn’t have to.”
stopped what he was doing so he could look at her. “What does it matter right
now? Nothing is happening yet. Stop worrying.”
you listening? I can’t stop worrying!”
His frustrations mounted. He started slamming chairs back into place at the table,
feeling the darkness inside him rising. “How can I put you on a team when I
don’t even know what the teams are for yet? That’s what I keep trying to tell
you guys!”
quieted him by resting her hand on his. The anger inside him dissipated.
looked at her, expecting to see his tough, fierce girlfriend, but instead finding
a lost, scared teenage girl.
want to be on your team. Not Thomas’ or Gibbons’ or anyone else’s.”
never even been on a mission together, Jeffie. Rio, Omaha, Akureyri … even in
Orlando, I was in the building while you fought in the garage. What if we don’t
work well—?”
can’t do it again! I can’t be separated from you. Maybe it comes across as
being needy or clingy, but fine! I’m needy right now. I’m clingy. When I think
about being apart from you for more than a day, I start shaking and freaking
out. I would rather follow you into hell itself than be stuck here waiting to
find out if you’ve survived another mission. Okay? I’m through with that crap
for good.”
took a long sip of water to stall for time while he tried to think of an
answer. “I—I can’t promise anything, Jeffie. I don’t know what—”
is the smartest person in this camp?” Jeffie leaned in close and tapped the
table with her finger. “You. Who is Thomas Byron going to listen to above
anyone else?” She tapped the table again. “You. If you want me to go with you
on the mission, who can make it happen?” She tapped a third time.
don’t know that.” He said this even though he knew she was right. Worse, she knew she was right.
frown deepened, her forehead lined with wrinkles. “I—I get the feeling you
don’t want me on your team. Or maybe you’re blocking me. I don’t know why I
think it, but I do.”
noted her nostrils flaring again. She did know why he didn’t want her on the
team. Or at least she believed she did. “Wouldn’t you rather be here where it’s
safe? Why do you and the others have this need to rush into battle? Haven’t you
experienced enough? Because I have!”
you listen to what I just said?”
don’t want to be apart from you! I don’t care if it puts me in danger. You’re
all I have! You’re what I care about.” She glanced down at the table. Her face
and neck reddened. “Is this—is this because I got shot when no one else did?
Back in the garage in Orlando?”
is, isn’t it? You don’t think I can handle myself.”
of course I trust you. I’ve been shot far more times than you. Heck, I’ve been
shot in almost every battle I’ve been in. Maybe you shouldn’t trust me!”
his little joke, Jeffie’s expression stayed utterly serious. “Then what is it?
Why am I getting this feeling that you don’t want me on your team?”
don’t know,” Sammy said, but immediately Jeffie looked him in the eye,
challenging him. “I’m—it isn’t about trust. Believe me.”
what is it?”
can’t do it. I can’t have you on my team.”
you can.”
can’t. Al and Marie weren’t on

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