Chapter Sixty-Two

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I immediately brought Mace over to the bed in the room which I knew to be Abi's. She helped me, seeming unable to form a response to our sudden intrusion.

"What...?" she asked. I didn't respond. All I could see was the blood continuing to seep out of Mace's gunshot wound. If somebody didn't stop that soon, it'd be too late. I grabbed the pillow case off of Abi's pillow and looked towards Abi. She seemed to know exactly what I meant. She grabbed the case from me and quickly but carefully started to wrap it around his thigh and tie it to lessen the amount of blood coming out. I'd assumed she would know what she was doing more than I would. She'd been here longer, and they'd only just begun to teach us how to deal with injuries.

I began to pace the room anxiously, not knowing what to do with myself. It didn't seem like there was much else to do to help. I wasn't sure how I was emotionally, but I did know I was extremely confused and needed answers.

But right now didn't seem to be the best time.

There was probably a logical explanation for all of it. Maybe Mace just forgot he was supposed to tell everyone and decided that at that point leaving was the best option. Maybe he didn't realize he hadn't invited everyone else. And maybe Abi's distraction just hadn't worked at all.

Except the entire plan went down awfully. A part of me worried it wasn't all just bad luck...but voicing that would only cause unnecessary fighting, and I had to focus on Mace.

Mace...who was...

The door slammed open and I only then realized I forgot to lock it behind me. I barely turned around before the person came right up next to me and whispered with an intense undertone of anger, "What the hell happened?" If he'd been allowed to talk louder, I had a feeling that he'd be yelling.

Asten stood next to me, seeming so unbelievably unsettled. I was almost too focused on his emotional reaction to even realize that he shouldn't even be there. As I inspected his expression further, I realized it wasn't really anger there, but an extremely deep-seated concern. He noticed me looking and locked eyes with me. "What did you do?" he asked again, except this time much gentler.

I stood there with my mouth open, not knowing how I was supposed to respond. "I...I...how..?" I sputtered. He sat down on the bed on the opposite side of the one Mace was on and kept looking up at me.

"You guys aren't good at whispering...," he mumbled, before returning his gaze to Mace and steeling his expression. "So, really, what happened out there?" His emotions were taking me on a confusing  roller coaster ride. I could tell that he was probably annoyed at being excluded, but still wildly concerned.

Abi was focused on her work, but I knew she was hearing all of this. She didn't seem to want to answer, so I did. "Mace got shot...we tried to escape....," I said quietly, feeling like it was partially my fault. Asten nodded like he expected this, and got up quickly. He looked over Abi's shoulder at Mace worriedly and then glanced back at me.

"This was such a bad idea from the start. You could've gotten killed." His expression began solidifying into one. He leaned against the bed post, his face filled with anxiety. I felt like any second he was going to blow up yelling about how stupid this was, despite the danger that would put us in. Abi remained silent, and I understood why. This wasn't her fight.

But it was mine. And although I hated to argue, I felt like I had to tell him the truth.

"We could've also gotten out," I pointed out. "It wasn't that bad of an idea."

"You were going to leave us all behind," Asten responded. He crossed his arms over his chest.

"I wasn't planning on it.......but that doesn't matter. We're okay now. We're both perfectly fine...," I explained, trying to comfort myself, too. Were we really okay? Mace definitely wasn't.

Asten closed his eyes, and a pained expression came over his face. When he opened them, he seemed to look me over for a second before walking towards me and grabbing my hand. "Come with me," he said before starting to walk towards the bathroom, pulling me along. I stumbled at first, but then decided to just go along with him. I glanced quickly at Abi, just as she looked behind her at us in curiosity.

"I'll be back...," I whispered to her, before following Asten into the bathroom.

He left the door slightly ajar behind him before looking at me. "You got a cut...," he said softly. I knew exactly what he was talking about and when I turned to look in the mirror, I noticed just how obvious it was. If I walked into the cafeteria tomorrow like this, they would immediately know something's up. Asten wasn't so wrong about this being such a bad idea. I hadn't even considered the consequences if we had failed.

He began shifting through the cheap medical supplies that every dorm room was provided with until he found a bottle and some gauze. "You know...I could probably do it myself...," I commented as he began unwrapping the gauze.

He raised an eyebrow at me, and I felt like it was the first sign that his anxiety was dissipating, if only a little. "Really? Didn't you think that about escaping, too?"

I blushed, practically agreeing with him. "But I wasn't totally alone...."

"Close enough." He took one of the clear bottles and emptied a bit of the liquid onto a wad of cotton, also found in the first aid kit, before looking at me. "And by the way, next time maybe you should at least tell somebody about your completely illogical plans so that you have backup." He took the cotton and gently began cleaning out the cut on my cheek. I just hoped it wouldn't be as noticeable as it was now. I had to hope that nobody would notice. There had to be some way to hide it.

When he finished cleaning it, he pressed gauze against it and taped it down before backing away from me. Worry still lined his features, but now that the immediate death threat was over, he and I were both able to relax. I wasn't still out in the snow. I was safe for now. Even if for now only lasted until tomorrow.

"Thanks...," I said after a couple seconds of him shoving medical supplies back under the sink. He closed the cabinet and looked up at me.

"Anytime," he replied. He sighed and looked back towards the door where I knew he was thinking of Mace. We both were. Mace had been hit pretty badly and we didn't have a surgeon who could help him. The only person we knew was Kyan, but I felt like bringing him into this would only put more risk on him, too, and I didn't want to do that to him.

"We should go back in there," Asten said after a couple awkward seconds. "We have a lot to talk about."

I kind of wanted to stay in the bathroom. It was nice. Being able to just sit there and forget that there was still a world outside of the door that demanded our attention. But it couldn't last forever. The world would continue even if I didn't want it to. "I know."


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