Threader by Rebekah Turner

Book: Threader by Rebekah Turner Read Free Book Online
Authors: Rebekah Turner
    â€˜H-hey, Cora,’ he stammers.
    Archer looks at him with a frown. ‘Beat it, techno-nerd.’
    The skinny guy’s face falls and he hurries off and settles down at an empty table before Cora or I can say anything. She throws me a stricken look while Archer and Cooper just chat among themselves like nothing happened. I heave a sigh and stand, knowing I’m probably about to commit social suicide. Somehow, this feels like high school all over again.
    â€˜Come on, Cora.’ I pick up my tray. ‘Let’s go.’
    â€˜Don’t leave,’ Archer protests. ‘Come on. If you want to sit with the dork, we don’t mind. I’ll call him back.’
    â€˜Don’t do me any favours,’ I say, then cross the room to the Indian guy, who’s staring at me like I’ve grown a second head.
    â€˜Are you crazy?’ he hisses when I sit down. Cora joins us a second later and she’s breathing kind of fast. The conversation in the room dips and I realise people are watching us.
    â€˜That was unexpected.’ Cora puts her tray down. ‘Josie, this is my friend, Darsh. Darsh, meet Josie.’
    â€˜You do realise that was your big chance to join the elite group,’ Darsh tells me.
    I shrug. ‘What does it matter?’
    Cora gives me a funny look. ‘Like I was telling you before, Galloway Industries only offers limited positions to graduating cadets. A lot of it comes down to politics, families and who you know. Cooper and Archer both have corporate capital. Archer’s dad is a high ranking judge and Cooper’s heir to some pharmaceutical empire. You can be pretty sure that come graduation, they’ll be offered positions with Galloway Industries. They’d be good friends to have.’
    â€˜And you just blew it with them,’ Darsh points out helpfully.
    â€˜Josie’s not like them,’ Cora tells him, then turns to me. ‘But he’s right, you know. Life would be pretty easy inside their group. Most of them have been at the academy since primary school, so they think they run the place.’
    â€˜Screw the elite,’ I mutter. Sure, Cora and Darsh couldn’t do anything for me socially, but sitting here just felt like the right thing to do. I guess I’m lucky Helios isn’t interested in me for my street smarts. ‘Doing things the easy way has never been an option for me, why start now.’ I offer up a winning smile to Darsh. ‘So, what’s your talent?’
    â€˜He’s a technopath.’ Cora jumps in before Darsh can say anything. ‘A really good one.’
    â€˜And all the ladies love me for it.’ Darsh pretends to adjust some imaginary cuffs. ‘I used to work at my family manufacturing plant in Bangalore, before I was offered a place at Helios.’
    â€˜Cool,’ I say, then add awkwardly, ‘well, I’m a threader.’
    â€˜Oh yeah?’ Darsh looks more impressed than he should be. ‘How good are you?’
    â€˜She only went to Assessment today,’ Cora says. ‘Give her a break.’
    â€˜What kind of tests did they want you to do?’ he asks, shovelling some pasta into his mouth.
    â€˜I met Aaron Galloway,’ I say. ‘And they wanted me to do stuff with him.’
    Darsh pauses between mouthfuls, his eyes darting to Cora. ‘That sounded creepy to you as well, right?’
    â€˜It didn’t go so well. I may have broken his brain.’ An idea forms in my head. ‘How good a technopath are you?’ I ask Darsh. ‘Are you as good as Aaron Galloway is supposed to be?’
    Darsh swallows before answering. ‘Uh … no. He’s kind of the best there is.’
    Cora’s eyes dart behind me. ‘Don’t look now, but Olivia Galloway just walked in.’
    â€˜Who?’ I turn to see a long-legged redhead stride into the canteen. Her clothes have the Helios logo, but I haven’t seen anyone

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