Six - An Unlikely Ally

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Phoenix

I've faced my own death more times than any one human should, but I am convinced I won't be able to cheat it this time. I've seen what this tribe can do and will do to their "enemies", and it appears as though they are done playing house with me.

I am being guided through a series of underground tunnels to where I am not quite sure, when I hear a ricochet of bullets going off down the hall from us. I drop down to the ground, narrowly missing one, and instead one of my captors takes a bullet in the shoulder. He grunts and then falls down loudly onto the hard floor, writhing in pain.

I take the opening to break free of my second captor and run toward the bullets. I know, terrible plan, but I'm not really thinking and my adrenaline is pumping. My eyes try to make out what is in front of me. I know her, I've seen her multiple times on television.

The president's daughter.

My stomach drops, and I feel instantly sick. I can't be someone's blood bag again unless it's my idea. I can't have that right stripped away from me again. "Phoenix," she says lowering her rifle. "We've been looking everywhere for you." There are two secret service agents behind her with weapons still pointed at me. "Francesca Jackson, pleasure to meet you."

"I know who you are," I say shortly, her golden hair, freckles, and caramel eyes all too familiar. "Why are you helping me? Why did you come back?"

Francesca's face softens. "What my father did was a mistake, but what we really need to do is set up a lab and begin manufacturing the antiserum, to which we can begin testing on the infected. We are going to need your blood to do so."

I don't trust anyone at face value anymore, so I'm not sure why I am entertaining the idea...but she did save me. "I'm sorry about your mom," I say softly, almost ashamed. I know it wasn't my responsibility to protect the people that wronged me, but I still feel responsible.

"Thank you," she says sadly, averting my gaze.

"Where is Cullen?"

She looks around confused. "Who?"

"Ace, Ace Cullen," I say his full name, hoping it will jog up some memories for her.

She shakes her head dismissively and still looks befuddled.

I don't have time to play games. I know Cullen is here, I saw him with my own eyes and I am going to find him. Pushing past them, I head back toward the outside. "Wait! We have to get you out of here. It's not safe out there!" Francesca calls after me.

Just as I turn my head around to reply to her, I run smack dab into a human wall. It is tall and muscular, and when I look up, the eyes looking down at me are his. Cullen. I grab his arm instantly, squeezing it to make sure it is real and not a dream.

"Phoenix," he says, clearly out of breath. He runs his hand over my hair and ear lovingly. "I didn't know if I was ever going to see you again."

I can tell he blames himself for the predicament I found myself in. "Shhh," I say, pressing my finger to his lips to silence him. I kiss him then, in the middle of all the chaos and ruin, in front of the president's daughter, I kiss him with everything that I have. "I love you, Ace Cullen."

He pulls back, surprised, yet smiling. "What now?"

"Francesca wants to manufacture more of the antiserum," I say casually.

"What?" he bellows. "No. Absolutely not." He addresses her then, "She has been through enough. I am taking her home with me."

I should have known Cullen would have my back through it all. "Home? Is the White House really our home though?"

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