3.2K 295 45

I laugh at their comments, shrugging them off as the type of banter that happens between friends, and Kota shakes his head, picking up speed  once more. He glances over to me, and his expression kills my laughter and twists my stomach into knots. It speaks of the future, and of family and a place to belong. Something in his eyes has me second guessing my assumptions, because every intuition I have starts screaming that he wasn't kidding.

"Sang," Owen says into the earpiece, pulling me out of my thoughts. Kota's eyes linger a moment longer on me before turning back to the road ahead. "When things calm down, I'd really like it if you'd do an assessment with a friend of ours."

Kota hums in agreement, and he reaches over, intertwining our fingers.

"Is this an Academy thing?" I ask, more than a little curious about their top secret spy organization.

"Yes,  Darling." I can't help the smile that crosses my face at the idea of  them trusting me enough to share their secret society, and I give Kota's hand a tight squeeze. I still can't quite shake the feeling of forever radiating from him. "I can't speak for my brothers, but I'm almost certain they'd agree with me when I say that we want to keep you with us. You fit into our family like the piece that we didn't know we were missing. You are skilled in unique and diverse ways, and you see things that others miss. You are-"

"Wait," Kota interrupts. "Not  that this isn't important, Owen, but we need to stay focused, and the things you're heading towards should be discussed in person, and with the whole family present. We're ten minutes out. How's Vic?"

Owen clears his throat and I can't help the smile that grows at the revelation that he's flustered! Kota gives my hand one more squeeze before letting go and gripping the steering wheel tighter. Our speed increases, and I watch the white landscape outside fly by.

"He'll arrive about the same time as the two of you. You'll be cutting it close, Kota, so I'm going to conference him in on our line. You two can get everything organized in transit." Several beeps sound, and he comes back on the line. "Victor, Kota, can you hear one another?"

I smile when Kota nods.

"It's going to take a while to get used to hearing you call me by my name, Owen," Victor laughs.

"I can hear you both loud and clear," Kota responds.

"Me too," I add, not wanting to be left out.

"How was it?" Victor demands. "Princess, are you alright?"

I  look to Kota, and he shrugs. I thought Victor was monitoring us, so I'm confused. "Weren't you listening?" I ask, fingering my bracelet. "I  thought  you would be listening in while Owen was in our ears."

I feel proud for asserting my questions, and Kota rewards me with another smile. Those things can get addicting.

"Of course I was, Sang. You were incredible. I wanted to know how it all  made you feel, though. I couldn't see you, and I just want to make sure  you're alright. You've been through a lot recently, and then to do this...it's hard to sit on the sidelines."

My heart warms at his concern. "I'm fine, Victor. I even got to dance for a little while. Don't tell Sean, okay?"

He hums noncommittally, and I have the feeling that I'll have a Dr. Green  scolding in my future. Kota and Victor go back and forth about some  t-ray machine and I have a hard time following it. I surreptitiously pull my phone out of it's secret pocket when I'm sure Kota won't see me and open my  messages with Owen.

"What are they talking about?" I ask.

My phone buzzes almost immediately with a response. "It's a machine invented at MIT that specifically reads ink through layers of paper. We're hoping it will allow us to read the message contained within the envelope you are delivering."

On Broken WingsRead this story for FREE!