Stephen and I take the clothing from the rebel's hands, filling our own grips with the red fabrics. As we sling our helmets under our arms, Tanner instructs us to go into a nearby office to change. The rebel leads us to a room next to the lobby, same the room he must have gotten the Screener gear from.
We step into the office, the automatic doors already wide open. With a slight nod, the rebel steps into the lobby with Tanner and the others. "Let me know when you're both done," he says before the door shut us into the office.
Releasing a much-needed exhale, I set all my clothes onto one of the desks. Pushing my hair out of my eyes, I turn to Stephen while leaning on the surface. "How on Earth are we not dead yet?" I ask him with a disbelieving grin.
Stephen half-smiles and shrugs his shoulders in the most attractive way possible given our situation. His brown eyes lock with mine for a second before I surrender all my logic and fear to him as the city continues battling just a few dozen feet away.
"I have absolutely no idea," he says. "I'm just glad we made it through."
Adrenaline continues to pulse through me. I can't relax, I need to keep going. Then I hear myself say, "Oh, what the heck. Come here and kiss me."
Within seconds, my hands are on Stephen's shoulder and my lips press against his. Stephen's arms slide down my waist, pulling me closer to him. His boyish scent engulfs me like a fragrant perfume, intoxicating me. This is not the right time to be making out, but neither of us stops.
Stephen kisses me again, making up for the time we didn't before, the love the Project stole from us. I kiss him back, absorbing every second like I have no more left for him.
My mind runs wild as our kisses become deeper and longer. Screw the rebels. Screw the Enhancement Project and all the Screeners. I feel like life is somehow normal and non-terrifying again with Stephen Moore, and no one can stop me. No one.
Stephen and I continue to kiss. My arms twist tightly around his neck, and I pull him as close to me as I can. I want to do nothing more than forget everything else, but a voice clears its throat from the doorway.
At first, Stephen and I ignore it, too busy to care. The voice coughs again, and this time, it sends cold instinctive fear through me. My eyes spring open, and we stumble apart, knocking over everything on the desks. We face the figure at the door.
"Didn't mean to interrupt anything," the Screener says. "I just wanted to check on you two."
Stephen and I stutter for words, looking at each other and then back at the rebel Screener.
"Two more minutes," he declares, unfazed and unembarrassed. He turns to exit the room again, this time with 120 seconds on the clock.
"Wait," I say suddenly to him. The rebel turns his head to look at me through his helmet.
"Um," I start, startled by the fact that I'm talking to a Screener. "Uh, what's your name again?"
The rebel takes off his helmet, completely understanding of why I stuttered. In the process he reveals his young features and a dark crew cut. "I'm Landon."
"Landon," I repeat with a half-smile and a relieved voice, "Well, I'm Holland, and that's Stephen." I motion to Stephen, and he nods at him.
"Oh, I know that already," Landon says simply.
"Know that al--" I say, clearly surprised.
"Of course," Landon says, "You both are going to be as close to famous as it gets in the Camps."
Before Stephen and I can furrow our eyebrows in confusion, Tanner calls from the lobby. He asks if we're changed yet. I yell a "no" over Landon's shoulder, but Landon interprets Tanner's voice as a cue for him to step out of the room. He lets the doors close.
"Camps?" I immediately repeat to Stephen.
"That's what he said," Stephen says, running a hand through his hair, "It has to be where all the rebels are coming from."
"It has to be," I repeat, my mind flashing back to the first sightings of rebels in Grand Rapids. "but I thought Delphin said she controlled lower-class citizens, not outside rebels. She didn't say anything about Camps."
"Maybe the Camps recruited her?" Stephen suggests. He fails to unbuckle his bulletproof vest as we begin to change our clothes. I wave him over to me so I can help him take it off.
"That's true," I continue, unfastening some straps. Stephen shrugs the vest off his shoulders and lets it fall to the floor. I turn around so he can undo mine. "But then how did the rebels know who to recruit?"
"I dunno," Stephen says as my vest loosens around my torso, "but we'll find out when we make it out of here."
"Of course," I say, "That's probably where they're taking us. To the Camps."
From behind me, Stephen suddenly presses a kiss onto my cheek as I smile. I feel him grin against my skin as he kisses me lightly again. I turn around, drop my vest off of my shoulders, and kiss his lips one final time.
"Now for the fun part," I say with a taunt of my eyebrows, "Re-dressing."
Stephen laughs for a second before retreating back to his desk so that I can get dressed in peace. I shed my dress as a soft shirt and pair of pants fall from the clothes pile. I slip on the pants first.
"Quit staring at me," I say to Stephen as I face the wall. I throw on the shirt and free my hair from beneath the neckline. I turn back around to grab the red Screener disguise as I match Stephen's grin.
"I wasn't staring," Stephen says, "I was admiring my beautiful girlfriend fully-clothed."
"Yeah, sure," I mock him as my mind perks at the word "girlfriend." I know it's too early and dangerous to be crushing, but it's now or never. I unfold the red uniform and step into it after unlacing the rebel boots. I pull the red armor around my legs and slide my hands through the arms of the jumpsuit. I pull the outfit to cover my entire front, leaving the back to be zipped by Stephen.
After we both finish zipping each other's suits, we bundle our clothes and search for a place to stash them. Stephen spots a cabinet drawer against the wall, so we bend to our knees and stuff our clothing into it. At the last second, my eyes catch on something dark sticking out of one of the vests. I reach my hand into the drawer, pulling out a rather heavy minibomb.
Shrugging at Stephen, I hang onto the bomb as the drawer closes and locks itself shut. It feels funny to have something so deadly tucked within my own pocket. I like it, though. It makes me just as deadly as the bomb.
Stephen and I stand up again, and Landon pokes his head into the room from the doorway, letting us know it's time to leave. We grab our helmets and follow him back to the group of rebel Screeners in the lobby. When no one give us any smirks, I nod at Landon to thank him for being our secret-keeper. He nods back curtly.
"Okay," Tanner begins, scanning the group for a final head count. He tosses on his red helmet, flipping his visor towards the ceiling. "Let's get this show on the road."
-- -- -- -- --
i'm going to assume you all enjoyed the hephen scene in the beginning of this update? (❤️) I sure hope that ya did.
if only the boys at school were as sweet and respectful as stephen... lol
in other news, i haven't picked/ written the "twisted" choices yet from the last chapter, but i will. also, as of 3/6/15, no one picked my number yet! so here's a second chance for everyone (i didn't change my choice, so i'm not cheating; i promise):
Question: Pick a number between 1-30. HINT: my number is odd!
Follow-up Question: Pick a word: male or female.
Follow-up to the Follow-up Question: Pick another word: swarmed, trapped, or blocked.
YOU ARE READING
Welcome to the nation. Welcome to the place where everything is monitored... everything is portioned... everything is perfectly under control... Everything except the SkyTrain Holland Renner was aboard. In a matter of seconds, Holland finds herself...