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"Your past haunts my future/ I can't escape/ it yanks me down/ down, down, down/

And I can't breathe/ And I can't sleep/ And I'm nothing without you."

-Ian Leonger, Midnight Daydreams album

Marlee shot me a look that said see, told you he was hot.

I ignored it.

"Everyone, this is Agent Wesley Brooks, he'll be your Captain indefinitely. Captain Brooks, your agents--" Leonger nodded to each person as he introduced them. " Agent Brayden Delliger, Agent Evaline Markos, Agent Marlee Jacobs, and Agent Aria Lewis."

The Captain's focus rooted on me.

Shit. Shit, shit, shit.

Captain Wesley Brooks was indeed a hottie. The hottest. He had mildly tan skin that covered his tall build. A simple black long-sleeved training shirt rested tight along his subtle muscles. Dark hair covered his head with matching scruff along his jaw. Other than a barely-there white scar that cut through his eyebrow, he was a perfect specimen.

The scar cut straight through me.

I forced a laugh. At least if I laughed, I couldn't cry. "How'd you get that scar on your eyebrow?"

Captain Brooks gave me a once over, his face a mask of stone. His eyes--they conveyed everything.

I couldn't focus on his eyes. The emotion there had the potential to send me to a place I wasn't ready for.

"It was a bike accident," he said. His voice was low at the back of his throat.

"Must've been one crazy bitch."

The corner of his mouth twitched. "She is."

My heart fluttered in my chest.


No, no, no.

I recognized that breathlessness, the dry mouth, the rock at the back of my throat. I didn't want any of it--the happiness. The relief.

Down in my veins was the embers of an emotion I recognized. It constricted my throat until the ache silenced me.

I forced myself to look at the corner of the wall, where the ceiling started. Later. Deal with it later.

Leonger glanced at the two of us, a calculating expression on.

Brayden gestured between us. "You two know each other?"

Determined to play nonchalant, I leaned back in my seat and crossed my arms. "He's about 16 years older, but yeah."

Leonger and Wes took a seat. Leonger passed out identical manila folders--a full file of documents, pictures, police reports, witness accounts.

I scanned the contents, "good to know at least these haven't changed," I muttered.

Wes clicked a button on a slim black screen on the table. The projector came to life and popped up assorted pictures.

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