xi. motorcycle rides

Start from the beginning

"Alright Cupcake, get on," Ace asserts. The engine of the motorcycle roars to life like a dormant animal as he starts it.

"Wait what? Why do I have to get on the same motorcycle as you?"

Ace winks at me. "I don't bite, unless you want me to."

My face scrunches up at the inopportune comment. The truth was, I haven't even been on a motorcycle, and I certainly don't know how to ride one.

"Fine. But know I'm going to be fighting my gag reflex."

"Whatever helps you sleep at night, you know, when you're not dreaming about me."

"That is verbatim the dictionary definition of a nightmare."

Ace chuckles but starts chasing after the vans. There are a total of three vans driving discreetly in the busy city traffic, each about thirty feet apart. Ace mans the motorcycle so that it stays a safe fifty feet away from the last one.

The motorcycle constantly rocks left and right as we zip through the incoming traffic. The motion cause me to cling on tighter to Ace's stomach, right where I can feel stone cut abs. For some reason I start to blush uncontrollably.

"Like what you feel? You're grip is getting tighter," Ace teases. The blunt, not to mention accurate statement does nothing to stop the red spreading across my face.

"Are you driving poorly on purpose?" There is no way I'm giving in.

"So what if I am? You didn't answer my original question."

I could already imagine the signature cocky smirk plastered across Ace's face. The lack of a witty response on my part most definitely adds to his unwarranted satisfaction.

"I've felt better, we can talk about this after the mission," I unconvincingly retort. "More importantly though, I've started the gps hacking program. Just hold this distance. We'll be done in about three more minutes."

Suddenly, Ace jerks the motorcycle so hard that I nearly drop my computer. The disturbance undoes the entire sensitive setup, resulting in my laptop rebooting the program, and me hurling a string of creative curses into the ill-deserved sky.

"Ace! What the hell—"

"Seven and five o'clock," he seethes.

Damnit. In the mirrors, five other motorcycles begin to close in on us. They systematically weave through the fast-paced vehicles under the Manhattan sun.

~

"Alright Octavia," Ace states with an impressive amount of composure. "I need you to go into my bag, get my gun, and start shooting at their wheels—try not to miss."

I rummage through the bag to find a pistol. I end up firing two bullets, one of which hits the windshield of an innocent car, and the other hits the sidewalk.

"Okay, plan B, give the gun to me. You can't aim." A disgruntled Ace takes the pistol to shoot with one hand and steer with the other.

He fires once at a sharp right turn. It hits one of our pursuers and flips the motorcycle onto another car. Comrades of the fallen vehicle begin to draw their own weapons. Ace gruffly weaves through a fast-paced maze of traffic, cursing, and flying bullets.

"Xavier!" I shout into my earpiece. "We've got four hot on our trail, we're heading your way now. Do me a favor and take them out."

Xavier's pitch slightly becomes higher than normal over the earpiece, as if he's excited. "Hang on tight Rookie, I've got you since Ace is shit at steering."

"I'm great at steering," Ace growls. "How long will it take you to change the gps signals?"

"Five minutes, tops," I shout.

I quickly pull out my computer to begin the program once again. A whizzing sound approaches us, and Ace instantaneously leans against the handlebars. Silver cladded the bullet, the source of the whizzing noises, and more progressively surrounded us like a storm.

One flew directly by my ear. An embarrassingly shrill sound escapes my lips at the close proximity of the bullet. I grab onto Ace even tighter, so much so that I'm almost worried about me suffocating him.

"Octavia, just keep your head down. I've got you," Ace affirms. "I need you to concentrate on running the program."

I breathe in deeply. Alright. Treat this like any other scenario. Focus.

"Three more minutes!" I yell over the commotion.

A sharp pain suddenly enters my back.

"Son of a shitty wankstain," I spit.

One of the bullets managed to land precisely on my right shoulder blade.

"Shit," Ace responds. He quickly veers in front of several cars which increases the space between us and our attackers. "Try not to lose too much blood, okay?"

"I don't think I can control blood loss, Clara Barton."

"No, but you can control how much you run your mouth, Mark Twain."

I bite my tongue after that. Ace had enough to worry about, with getting us out of here alive and all.

Soon we're by the building where Xavier is waiting for us. A faint figure stands on the rooftop, welding a precise rifle in one hand. Xavier's exact movements are too far to see, but its effects are graciously obvious.

One by one, the tires of the motorcycles behind us start to burst on the road. My computer finally finishes running the program too. I use the last bit of energy to input the new address into the gps system.

"Alright Skye and Chase," I say lethargically over the earpiece, "The hen has laid the eggs."

"The hen has laid the eggs?" Ace repeats.

"Yes, you twat. I'm barely breathing yet you still somehow manage to annoy me."

My veins, high on a dangerous mix of adrenaline and blood loss, are still shaking even after Ace parks the motorcycle in the empty alleyway. A haze started to settle on everything.

I steady myself against the concrete walls. All of a sudden I felt my heart's every movement. Darkness was entering my vision, my breathing became shallow, and my legs became weak.

"Octavia—stay with me," Ace demands with concern. His voice strangely anchors me down.

The last thing I saw before complete darkness was a pair of golden suns. The last thing I felt before emptiness was a pair of strong limbs lifting me into the air.

Ace: "Vote if you want Cupcake to feel better"

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