The intrepid reporter Caroline Gomez has no idea of the story she’s breaking with her report. The blurbs of me refusing to answer any of her questions about what happened to my foot flicker across the screen, ignored by both me and Milo. The picture they flash of Milo’s startled face—they didn’t catch his name, thank goodness—only airs for two or three seconds, but we both know it will be more than enough time for the Guardians to identify him. We watch the entire piece in silence.
Only when the pleased reporter finally signs off do we turn away from the restaurant’s TV mounted above our booth. We thought it best to be in a public location when the story aired, hoping the numerous people around us would put off any immediate attack. Caroline Gomez’s smile is forgotten along with my hope. “Milo, I’m so sorry,” I whisper.
His cell phone rings and he snaps it open. “Well?” he asks. I can’t hear the response, but a second later his shoulders slump and he sighs in relief. “Thanks, Celia. I owe you big time for this.” He listens again. Then groans. “Fine, I did promise you anything you wanted. I’ll take care of it.”
A few seconds later he closes the phone. It drops to the table and he sighs.
“Good news?” I ask.
“Well, that depends on how you feel about ballet,” he says. “I just promised to take Celia to the Nutcracker at Popejoy Hall this weekend. I hate the ballet.”
“That’s not what I meant,” I say drily, “but I happen to love the ballet. I see the Nutcracker every year. Did she keep your parents from seeing the news tonight?”
His demeanor turns more serious as he nods. “She threw a temper tantrum about them not letting her go with her friend up to their cabin in Colorado for Christmas. She didn’t actually want to go, but it turned out to be the perfect excuse.”
I’m relieved, of course, but it only goes so far. “Milo, is that really going to help, though? What if someone they work with saw it and mentions it to them? They’re going to find out eventually.”
“I know,” he says.
“They’ll want to leave, hide you and Celia again.”
“Maybe you should go,” I say, “at least for a little while. Your parents aren’t even the real problem. Guardians are going to come after you. I can’t even help protect you with my leg the way it is.”
“You can’t protect yourself either,” he reminds me.
Right away I know that isn’t true, not with Lance around, but I don’t care to point that out right this minute. “Milo, I know you’re worried about Celia.”
His eyebrow quirks up. “You know?”
“Because I know how much you love her, not because I’m digging into your emotions.” My eyes roll as I say it. Now that I know his Perception was just a big act, he’s very adamant that I keep my own talents to myself. It’s really irritating. “Milo, I have spent years trying to block other people’s emotions out. Believe me when I say I’m not purposely trying to intrude. I hate having other people’s feelings inside my head. The only time I ever get anything from you is when your emotions are really strong. And that’s not something I can do anything about.”
Milo accepts my explanation, but that familiar note of something not fitting like it should creeps into my mind. I felt the same thing earlier today when Milo got mad at me because he thought I was intruding on his emotions. My brow crinkles as I try to remember what exactly he’d said that made me doubt. He accused me of trying to manipulate him, which was quite offensive, and then he told me the least I could do was stay out of his emotions since he couldn’t block me.
YOU ARE READING
For Libby Sparks, turning sixteen means only one thing…death. Guardian rule demands she attend the ritualistic Inquest that will unveil her talents and secure her place in society. But that isn’t all that will be revealed in Libby’s case. The more t...