Inquest Chapter 14

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Chapter 14

Celia

“Milo, you can’t spend the next two years brooding over this,” I say. He ignores me, of course, and sits on my little dresser. “Um, I don’t think that thing’s sturdy enough for you to sit on.”

“Are you doubting my carpentry skills?” he asks, still frowning.

My derisive laugh makes him frown even more. “Yes, actually. I watched you put it together, remember? I still think those extra screws should have gone in there somewhere.”

“I still can’t believe you made me put it together by myself,” he says. But he does get off the dresser. He almost sits in the sling chair we got along with the dresser before thinking better of it and joining me on the bed. That chair looked comfortable, but it was definitely not.

“You deserved it,” I remind him.

“Ha, see if I ever buy you anything again.” He lies back on the bed and sighs. I think his worry is finally starting to mellow. Thank goodness. This room is small enough without his nearly six-foot-tall frame pacing around all evening.

I lie down next to him, propped up on my elbow. Resisting the urge to snuggle up next to him is even more difficult than usual. I don’t like seeing him so wound up. Even more, I hate knowing that being around me is doing this to him.

“Why don’t we do something?” I suggest. “You said you brought some movies to watch, right?”

Milo growls at me, which unfortunately for him has the completely wrong effect on me. I have to bite my lip to keep from laughing. “How can you not be as freaked out about the Seekers as I am?” he demands.

“I am freaked out, Milo.”

“Well, you sure don’t act like you are. It’s…irritating that you want to watch a movie when a group of assassins we didn’t even know existed until a few hours ago could be coming for you.”

I can’t help smiling this time. Not only is his worry over someone he should hate very endearing, but he’s incredibly handsome when he’s frustrated—despite his hair and lack of fashion sense. Milo doesn’t appreciate my amusement. He jerks back up and turns away from me.

I pull myself up behind him and place my hand on his arm, tugging gently until he turns to look at me. “Milo, I’m not trying to irritate you. It’s just that I’ve been dealing with this my whole life. I’ve always been afraid that someone was going to sneak up on me and slit my throat. Being afraid for my life is like an old blanket for me. It’s nothing new. The Guardians are all poised to kill me on Howe’s orders. Lazaro’s followers are out there right now hatching a plan to get rid of me. Now there are Seekers. They’re only one more twig on an already high stack of fears. I wouldn’t know what to do if I didn’t feel threatened.”

“People shouldn’t have to live like that. It’s not right,” he says softly.

“But it’s how things are.”

My hand slides down his arm to cover his hand. He doesn’t pull away. Instead, he turns his palm up and winds his fingers with mine. Warmth races up my arm and surrounds my heart. I start to fill dizzy, so I lean my head on Milo’s shoulder. Mostly because of the dizziness. I’m not sure if we sit there for seconds, or minutes, but I have to stifle a groan when Milo pulls away from me.

“You still up for a movie?” he asks.

“Sure. What’d you bring?”

He smiles, and says, “A classic.”

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