Chapter Thirty-One Part Three ~Maddie~

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I didn't even realize they were in the room but I nod, taking in the confidence of their words as I slowly lower myself to the ground and curl onto my side, squeezing my hands into two tight fists to ease the shaking.

Travis steps up to the front window, pulling his gun from the waistband of his pants. "Aiden, go keep watch at the back of the house. Sanders, keep an eye out from the kitchen. I'm gonna stand guard here. Don't forget your guns, and do not hesitate to use them."

"You got it," Sanders says, leaving for the kitchen.

"On it," Aiden replies too, disappearing down the hall.

My eyes stayed glued to Travis, watching his every move, watching every thought as it passes through his mind. I can see his training and months as a Hunter shining through in the way he carries himself. Confident, calculating, ready.

It calms me, watching him.

He turns to me, his eyes meeting mine, and a small smile tugs at the corners of his lips. "It'll be okay; we'll be okay," he says, and I know he means it, his words making it a little easier to breathe.

I don't know what it is about him that does that for me, but it's such a relief. Just being around him calms keeps my mind at ease. When he looks at me, the weight of all my worries are washed away. And when he holds me, it's almost too easy to forget how hard it's been all these months. How could I not want to pull his arms around me and hide in them forever? He makes it all go away. 

Pulling his gaze away from me, he drags the phone from his pocket and makes a quick call to Jim, informing him of our current situation as his eyes stay glued to the window, watching everything that's happening outside. He says Jim will have the helicopter on standby, that we'll call him and let him know when it's safe again.

And then we wait. We wait for what feels like a lifetime before the sounds of the helicopter and Humvees disappear, and then another short eternity before someone finally speaks up.

"I think we're good," Sanders says, walking into the room. "I haven't seen anything pass by in a while."

"Same here...thank fuck," Aiden adds, joining us.

"I second that," Danielle agrees as she pulls herself up, sitting against the wall. 

"Me too," Alex says with a loud sigh.

"For now," Travis cuts in, making his way across the room. He stops when he reaches me and lowers himself to the ground, sitting on the carpet beside me. "Should probably call Jim back so he can get us the hell out of here."

He pulls the phone from his pocket as I sit up, and he scoots towards me, pulling me into his arms, his chest to my back as he makes the call. I hear the line ringing through the speaker, one ring after the other, before he snaps the phone shut.

"No answer," he says, frustrated. 

"He'll call us back, man," Sanders says, then nods towards Becca as he continues. "They've got vested interest in making sure we get out of here, too."

I look between Sanders and Becca, who's still curled on the ground, facing the wall, then up at Travis, and realize I still don't know what that's all about, but I know right now isn't the best time to ask about it.

"So we just wait?" Alex asks.

"Looks that way," Travis begins. "We don't really have much choice but to lay low and wait."

"And if they don't come?"

Travis squeezes me closer as he answers, "They will," he says confidently.

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