Page 52

I moaned against his shoulder. “Was it only three days? It felt like a hundred.”

His arms tightened around me. “Yeah, it did.”

We sat in silence for several minutes, the sounds of people talking drifting into the room. I finally pulled away enough to see his face.

“So you want to explain how we’re hanging out in an empty HARC facility?”

“After you went missing, I gathered up the Reboots and we stormed the city. Got HARC to leave. And we figured you’d head here if you could, so we stayed.”

I nodded. “Well, I tried.”

“I know. Addie told me.”

“Which HARC facility was I at?”

“New Dallas. We tried to free all the Reboots there, but . . .” A pained look crossed his face. “We didn’t have a lot of Reboots and no human support. We couldn’t get the doors unlocked.” He pushed my hair back with a small smile. “But the point of the mission was to get you, so I’d say it worked.”

“Are all the humans in Austin gone?” I asked in confusion.

He shook his head. “No. HARC ordered them all to New Dallas, but lots stayed here.”

“Ah. They just didn’t want to be part of a Reboot rescue mission.”

“Freeing Reboots is no longer their main priority.” He rolled his eyes and scooted off the bed. “Anyway. Are you hungry? I snagged you some food from the stash downstairs.”

“I’m starving. I haven’t eaten since the reservation.” I slid off the bed and quickly realized standing was not the best idea. My legs were shaking and the world started to tilt again. I grasped the edge of the bed and quickly plopped down on the ground.

“You okay?” Callum sat down in front of me with two pieces of bread and a jar of peanut butter. He dipped the knife into the peanut butter and spread it across one of the pieces of bread, holding it out to me when he finished.

“I’m fine.” I took a big bite and then another.

“You passed out in the shuttle. I was a little worried. They didn’t give you something we need an antidote for, did they?” He cracked a smile. “Although, there are a few left upstairs. We could just start giving you stuff.”

I moaned. “No thank you. I’m fine. I think I’ve had enough weird HARC drugs to last a lifetime.”

“All right. But if you try to eat me, I’m going to go grab a few.”

I laughed and took the second piece of bread he offered me. “So, the humans. It must be going okay, considering you’re all living here together.”

Callum’s face hardened as he leaned back on his hands. “Not really. The rebels are mad Micah betrayed them and most of the other humans are probably only tolerating us because they have to.”

I raised my eyebrows, surprised. “Have you seen Micah since you left?”

“No. I’m thinking that can’t be a good sign. Who knows what kind of revenge he’s planning?” He leaned forward, reaching for another piece of bread as I finished my second. “I think you were right. Maybe we should go.”

“Before we get everyone out of the facilities?”

“I don’t see how we can. We lost even more Reboots because of my stupid plan, and the humans don’t care what happens to us. You were right.”

“Your plan wasn’t stupid,” I said softly, taking another piece of bread from him. “Worked out well for me.”

“Yes,” he said. “And thank goodness. I think I would have lost my mind if I’d lost you.” His eyes met mine. “But you were right. It isn’t worth the risk. I just want to leave with you and let the humans figure this out for themselves. Is it really our problem?”

His voice was heavy, his shoulders slumped, and I sort of missed the overly optimistic Callum, even if he’d driven me crazy at the reservation.

“The humans were never going to come around right away,” I said. “And don’t pretend like you’re totally okay with running off and abandoning everyone. You’re not.”

“But I insisted we stay and you got hurt and—”

“I’m fine,” I said with a frown. “And I made my own choices. I could have taken off by myself if I wanted.”

“We both knew you weren’t going to do that. You like me too much.”

I laughed as he grinned at me. “True.”

His mood shifted and he shrugged, eyes downcast. “But I think you were right. They hate us. They’re not helping us.”

“They’re scared,” I said. “They got rid of HARC and now they want to stay and not worry about anyone else. I can sympathize.”

He expression turned incredulous. “Are you seriously arguing for the humans right now?”

“I . . .” I trailed off, considering how much easier it would be to agree with Callum and take off. It’s what I wanted, just a few days ago.

And it felt wrong now.

“I was thinking,” I said softly. “The night before Addie got strung up at the reservation, she asked me to help her. I just blew her off. I didn’t want to stick my neck out and she got hurt. And we both got dropped from a shuttle.” I glanced at the bed on the other side of the room. “With Ever, it was sort of the same. I had an opportunity to help her, and I didn’t even try to fight for it. I did what I always do, which is to follow orders and keep my head down.”

“Ever’s death isn’t your fault,” Callum said.

“I know. It’s HARC’s fault. But that doesn’t mean I don’t still feel guilty about it.”

He reached for my hand. “I didn’t know that.”

I ran my fingers over his. “I’m tired of HARC controlling everything and thinking they can treat us like this. The first time it got better was when I finally got up off my ass and fought for you. So let’s do it. I’m ready.”

He laughed softly, looking at me with happy, hopeful eyes. “Are you sure? The rebels really aren’t on our side anymore.”

“Let’s just go talk to them,” I said. “If they won’t help, we’ll figure something else out.”

He nodded, squeezing my hand. “Okay.”

“But not right now,” I said, glancing down at my dirty clothes. “I could really use a shower first. Does the water still work here?”

“It does. HARC cut the power, but we got it back up.” He stood and offered me his hand. “Gabe got some people working on it before we left. He got shot in New Dallas, but Tony thinks he’s going to be okay.”

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