By the time I make it back to the bunks that evening, everyone is asleep. I'm exhausted, but I make time to undress before I climb the ladder into Lexi's bed. She looks up at me through half open eyes, rolling to one side so I can plop down beside her.
"What's up, Q?" she asks, resting her forehead against mine. She smells like sweat, which makes me smile.
"Nothing, A," I reply, remembering that I'm not supposed to talk about what happens at the HQ. Yet, it's caught in my throat, clawing its way out. I'm afraid for my sanity if I don't let it free and tell someone. It is confusing, and for the first time in a long time, I don't know what to do.
"You can't lie," she whispers, finally opening her eyes all the way, "Just tell me."
So, I do, recounting the video call with Jaelyn and her cohort. Lexi listens, focusing in on every word carefully.
"I've never heard about any phases," she says, pulling in closer so that no one will hear us. Someone walks by to the bathroom, barely looking at us.
"Me either, but it's on my list of things to look up when I get back to work."
"Are they coming to try and attack us?" she asks.
"I think so, but General Kovach and I have been planning a sort of warning message to send to them. A surprise attack on Compound 4."
Lexi is quiet for a minute, before she opens her mouth again.
"Can we trust General Kovach?"
"Of course we can," I snap, "She's our president. Why would she ever lie to me?"
Lexi sighs, asking me again.
"Are you sure we can trust the general?"
My voice shakes as I answer again, "Yes."
Lexi nods, closing her eyes.
"I can't be sure, but I trust you, Q."
In a few seconds, she's asleep again, snoring lightly the way she does. I'm too afraid to move, too scared to wake her up. So, I wrap an arm around her. It isn't the first time we've shared a bed, and it probably won't be the last time. If it were any other girl, I might be embarrassed or hesitant, but Lexi reminds me of summer nights on the sand with campfires and little white crabs, of the songs my mother sings as she cleans the house when she knows she has no sense of pitch, and of laughter. Endless, beautiful laughter.
She reminds me of everything I miss about home.
When the alarm sounds the next morning, I start awake, and Lexi catches me before I roll off the bed. She opens her mouth to speak, but I press a finger to her lips.
"Not a word about last night," I whisper, glancing at everyone who is up and moving around us.
She nods, sitting up.
"What about last night?" a quiet voice asks from below. It's Naomi, and her eyes are the size of the moon staring up at us.
"Oh, nothing," I mutter, scrambling to follow Lexi to the floor.
"Sure doesn't look like nothing."
I notice now that Lexi is a mess, hair all tangled up, shirt hanging off her shoulder. She catches my eye, looking down at herself. It dawns on her slowly what it looks like.
"Me and the Queen?" she hisses, bursting out laughing, "Not in a million years, Naomi."
Right then, a group of boys walk by, towards the bathrooms. One of them is Toby, who sneers at me.
YOU ARE READING
Selected (Book 2 of the Immune Series)Science Fiction
"As far back as I can remember, I've been surrounded by water. The salt in the air even now makes it hard to breath, forcing me to squint. Sand clings to every inch of me, caking my pants and shoes. The wind from the ocean picks my hair up, sending...