Part 1 - Chapter 14 - Serious Conversations

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When I asked Stina if she had attended the G8 meeting, I looked into her eyes to see how she would react. I expected to see surprise or recollection. Instead, her entire body went rigid, the smile on her face disappeared, and her expression turned cold. Her glare made me shrink back.

The others stopped what they were doing and stared me down. It felt as if the air had been sucked out of the room and that time had stopped.

Larry spoke first. "Who in the hell are you? What has Boone been telling you?"

"Boone? He's got nothing to do with it."

"Bullshit, how else would you know about Berlin?"

Before I could respond, Grant got in my face. "That's some story about you losing your mother and your home. Is it true, or is it just part of your legend?"

"My what?"

"Tell us everything, from the beginning. How is it that you have come to live in this apartment?"

I glanced at Stina, hoping that she would rescue me from this interrogation. She had been the friendliest. But she appeared to be in a state of shock, lost in thought.

Kristi is the one who offered me some hope. "His story checked out about his mother and the fire. I researched that myself."

Larry ran a hand through his hair. "Then I don't get it. What game is Boone playing with us."

"It might not be a game," Kristi went on. "We all know how important that young man, Trent, is for our future. He and Sing apparently are a package deal."

They continued talking among themselves while I sat there. From their conversation I concluded that they knew a whole lot more than I did. I also knew better than to ask, so I sat there and kept my mouth shut.

Eventually, Larry turned his attention back to me. He looked ready to kill. "I still want to know about Berlin and the G8. How could you possibly know about that?"

I held up my hands in surrender. "Nothing. I know nothing about Berlin."

"Too late to deny it, kid. You're the one who brought it up."

"More importantly," Larry added, "how much does he know about what we did there?"

He leaned in and shouted in my ear. "Answer me!"

Larry scared me so badly I almost peed myself.

Stina suddenly snapped out of her funk. "Stand down, Larry. Let me handle this."

He backed away. Stina stepped toward me, a smile on her face. I didn't trust her smile. "It appears, Sing," she said, "that you hold some secrets."

"Look, I don't know anything." That sounded lame. Even to me.

A hand clamped down on my shoulder, none too gently. Larry glared at me. "Whatever it is that you think you know could get people killed if the wrong people were to find out. Maybe even you."

"Stop it," Stina said. "You're scaring him."

Larry released me.

"I think all of you should leave," Stina said. "Let me talk to Sing. Alone."

After a brief hesitation, Larry and Grant picked up the cooler and marched out. Kristi followed them and shut the door behind her.

Trying to lighten the mood, I said, "Do they always follow your orders? I thought Larry was the boss."

"Sometimes Larry needs a kick in the ass," Stina said.

She looked at me. Neither of us spoke. I didn't know what to say. Stina took my hand, led me to the sofa, made me sit beside her.

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