6 - The Lying Heart (II-III)

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It was late when he finally got the chance to say something about the Maria situation again. They were back at West's, the lights all on, but Mikie was in her room and Andy was flat-bellied on the roof, and West was downstairs going over the provisions lists to see if there was anything else they would need to steal before winter hit full force. And so he knocked on Mikie's door because he'd spent all night thinking and he couldn't hold the words in anymore.

"Come in."

He stepped inside, speaking as he moved. "So I've been thinking. We should tell Dad."

Mikie's eyes flicked up from her book. "No."

"Why not? He's my dad. He deserves to know just as much as I do, don't you think?" He took a breath. It didn't make sense that she'd only tell him and not West. He'd watched his father mourn for a year. They at least owed him the fact that his sister was still alive, that she was looking for a cure, that they were planning on helping her. That would ease his mind. That'd let him focus more. "It'd help the group."

"No it wouldn't." Mikie turned a page and then closed the book with a sigh. "Do you honestly think telling him that his only daughter is alive, that she's found camp again, and that she's trying to convince us to go on a journey to help my supposedly long-dead mom figure out a cure is really a good idea?" She fixed him with a cool stare. He hated that look. It meant she was three steps ahead of him and had already thought through all of his arguments. "You think it'll help him focus on what's best for the group still if he knows we're potentially on some wild goose chase?"

"So you don't even know if you believe her?" He countered. He didn't like feeling attacked, didn't like how she always seemed to read his mind.

"I believe her. I just don't know if that belief will be enough. I...I want it to be true. I want Mom to be alive. I want her to be working on a cure." She threw up her hands. "But the likelihood of that is slim to none. Which is why I want you with me, Gare. It's why I showed you. To convince the both of us I wasn't absolutely losing my mind here. Because every hour that goes by all I can think bout is following Maria and seeing Mom again. And I don't know if that moment will ever happen, if that'll ever be real. And so if I'm going to do this I'm going to need someone who can bring me back to earth." She shook her head. "And frankly that person's you right now. So that's why you know and that's why West is still downstairs pouring over provisions lists so he can prep for winter and we can find out if I'm really insane or not. Because my life, is not his problem."

He shifted his weight. He hadn't been expecting that kind of explanation. He knew Mikie was good at making sense, but he didn't expect her to be this good at it, not tonight. Not about this. He expected some half-assed "because I said so." Or "he's busy right now, maybe later." Because he expected her to understand that it was the right thing to do, to tell his father about Maria. About the daughter he lost to the Virals surviving this long. It was only right.

"And do you honestly expect him not to react the same way you did? Or even worse?" Her voice was low, soft and curious as if she didn't want the air to hear her. "Garrett, you shouted at Andy to shoot her today. How much do you think that hurt Maria to hear?"

He sucked down a breath. "She's different. She's not—"

"Fully human," Mikie cut. "But she's still Maria. The fact she didn't flip out on you today and clamp down on your neck should be proof enough that there's still a good part of her stuck in there somewhere. And I think we need to trust that. At least see where she can lead us. If not to Mom directly, maybe to other survivors, other camps. There could be more people out there than just us and the ones who've split off."

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