11. Midnight Scare

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      I wake up slowly, still drowsy. I'm on a hard surface, and even though I'm awake, my eyes refuse to open.

      What underneath me? I move my hand slightly, feeling a solid exterior. I hear a groan and freeze, eyes flying open to see white ceiling above me. 

Last night comes to mind, reading and then being carried to Zero's cot and drifting off to sleep.....wait a second, that must mean the thing beneath me is Zero.

  Slowly, my head turns to see what my hand was just feeling.

 I come face to face with a bare chest, and quickly snatch my hand away, falling all the bed with a small, surprised yelp. 

Why is his chest bare?? Did he take off his shirt?

     Zero sits up, panting, his face with a slight red tint to it, like he was holding his breath.

       "I'm sorry, Zero, I didn't mean to. I-" I'm cut off when Zero reaches out and grabs my arm, pulling me up and back onto the cot. He wraps his arms around me and pulls me close, letting rumbles out of his chest.

I tense up, feeling extremely awkward to be embraced by a huge muscular and naked chest.

 I push his face, which has gotten nearer, away and stand up. "What time is it?" I ask, yawning.

       Zero points to the clock outside of the window and I feel myself freeze again.  It's nine o'clock, which means it's an hour past the time Mrs. Clark said I would stay. Is my dad back yet?

I turn back to Zero, a panicked look in my eyes like he might hold the answer even though he most likely has no idea what's running through my head at the moment.

      He pauses, his head cocked to the side like he's listening to something. And then he points behind me, towards the glass wall, and I turn around just in time to see Mrs. Clark step out of the elevator. 

I smile, giving Zero a thumbs up.

"I think it's time I leave," I start to say, and Zero's eyes widen, not a good sign, so I rush to continue "But um, well, I'll be back really soon. So please just stay put for now." I say quickly, praying that I don't get turned into a sack of potatoes again.

Zero let's out a huff, but it sounds like he agrees, although a little reluctantly,s o I walk over to the door, swiping the card and exiting while Zero watches me the entire time from his cot.

 "So how did it go?" Mrs. Clark asks eagerly once I've left.

   "It was......fine." I say hesitantly, and her face goes sour.

      "Fine? I sent you in there for information, and all you give me is fine?" She asks and I cringe. "Maybe you were right. I should find another person for this-"

      "No!" I say, cutting her off. I'd hate if another person like Sylvia was hired, and I still haven't gotten the chance to ask Zero about the connection, now that I know he can understand and speak English...well not that I've heard him speak it, only through my head.

 I take a deep breath, racking my brain for something. "Zero has more powers than changing temperature." I blurt, hoping it's true.

      "Oh?" She says, raising an eyebrow.

      I nod slowly, wondering what I just got myself into. "Yes, but he won't show you."

      "And how did you find this out, Ashley?"

       I shift from foot to foot, my mind racing. "I felt it through the connection. He's holding back something."

       Mrs. Clark nods thoughtfully, tapping a finger on her clip board that never leaves her side.

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