~21~

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After my little blow-out with Nathan, my training falls into a more comfortable routine. He has me using my legs now, and I'm beginning to feel more like myself.

Sunday is spent in preparation for the real mission, and I become officially enrolled in college...that is to say that Sang Freeman is signed up for all of Kota's classes after Victor works his genius on some fake transcripts for me. Kota goes over the current class assignments, and though a lot if it is unfamiliar to me, we're both surprised with how well I'm keeping up. While I've been cooped up, healing from that night, Kota has managed to become 'friends' with the TA that they've suspected. He's been doing a dance of his own with this guy, skirting around the actual words, but arranging it so that it appears that he's someone to be trusted.

As the night wears on, everyone makes their way to their own beds, and I lay awake, anxious to get to work, and scared that I'll let these amazing guys down. A little after two in the morning, I get up and wrap my comforter around me as I pad my way to the silent living room. There's a slight glow coming from the other side of the couch, and when I draw closer, I see that Owen's lying down, fully dressed, scrolling through something on his phone. He looks up as I come into view and crinkles his eyes at me in a slight smile.

"Couldn't sleep?" he asks, sitting up and patting the cushion beside him.

"No," I respond as  I take the offered seat and snuggle down into Owen's residual warmth. "My mind keeps racing and I'm afraid that I'll mess things up for you all." I pull my knees up and rest my forehead on them. "What are you still doing awake?"

"I'm always up the night before one of us goes undercover. I've got to make sure that everything is set and that I've plugged as many gaps as possible in our plans. It's just the way my brain operates." He places his phone down on the end table and turns slightly to look at me. "It's normal to have a little bit of stage fright before a mission." He wraps an arm around my shoulders and I lean into his side. He pulls my blanket up and tucks it in under my toes. "Try to relax, and you'll be asleep in no time."

I appreciate the warmth, and am more comfortable than I'm ready to admit. "I don't really think it's stage fright," I murmur into his side. "I just feel like tomorrow is the beginning of my new life, and I don't want to fail. It'll be the first thing I do that's after- you know?"

Owen rubs his hand up and down my arm and we sit in comfortable silence for a bit. I'm surrounded by the fresh scent of Irish Spring, and I feel my eyelids grow heavy.

"Sleep," he whispers as I cuddle in closer. "You're safe here, Darling."

I feel a smile tug at the corner of my lips as I drift off into warm dreams of strong arms and stormy eyes.

***

I walk into class nervously with Kota, and he leads me to a seat near the front of the room. It's smaller than I'd imagined, maybe only thirty students or so, and the seats are arranged in pairs with armrest style writing tops. I take off my new dusty rose jacket and drape it over the back of my chair.

"You look really nice, Sang," Kota remarks as he sees the outfit that Gabriel's put me in for the first time. I'm wearing a new pair of dark blue jeans with a soft collared white blouse and a grey, v-neck pullover layered on top of it. My feet are toasty warm inside my new dove grey boots, and although it was mortifying at first, I'm incredibly comfortable in the new bra as well.

Kota's eyes sparkle, and he looks over to the TA and then back at me. He seems to be trying to say something, and I shake my head slightly when I can't figure out what it is. I see his fingers flick against his thigh and I note that he's signing two words to me.

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