chapter four

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     I grab the lady's gun and stuff it into my bag. Liam raises an eyebrow at my actions. "What? It might be useful."

He chuckles slightly, shaking his head, "I leave you two alone for ten minutes and you run into a tracer and threaten to kill her."

"A tracer? What's a tracer?" I ask. Liam holds open the door for me as we walk out of the store, "A tracer is someone that tracks us down. That one, Lady Jane," He points into the store, "Is hellbent on catching us."

     I nod slightly, "Good to know." We walk back to the van where Zu and Charles were already sitting and waiting. Zu had piled all her findings in the minimart onto the floor.

Charles head shoots up as he hears us walking closer. He slides out of the van and turns to us, "What the hell happened back there?"

I slide the bag off, gently tossing it into the van, "Long story short, I was a badass." I smile, climbing into the passenger's seat.

Liam sits next to me in the driver's side, turning back as Charles steps back inside, sliding the door closed behind him and peeking his head in between our seats. "We ran into Lady Jane. She threatened to kill her, so, she told Zu to run and find us."

   Charles looks to me for a moment, his eyes filled with an emotion I could only identify as thankfulness.

   "Charles, it —" I begin to say it was no big deal, anyone would've done it, but he cuts me off by holding up a hand.

   "No, no, call me Chubs." He smiles, holding out his hand as if we were meeting for the first time. I look between his hand and his eyes, still set on me. With a grin, I slowly shake his hand. "No telling what could've happened to Zu if she was there alone, so thanks."

   I was glad Charles — Chubs — finally considered me as someone who he could trust; I hadn't had someone trust me in a long time.

I released his hand, a grin still present on my face when I turned to Liam who held the same expression. "Alright, what do we do now?" I ask.

"We try to stay alive and make it somewhere safe." Liam starts the van and begins driving.

   Deciding to camp out in the woods tonight, we had laid blankets around the small fire pit that still had to be lit.

   Chubs gestured to me, "You mind lighting it up a bit?"

   I give a smile, "I'd stand back if I were you, just in case." I stand up, brushing off my pants. "This one is always a little difficult to control."

   I took a deep breathe, letting the familiar warmth spread through my veins and into my hands. My skin crackled with a red glow that illuminated the trees around me. I finally let the fire gather in my hands and touched it to the small pieces of wood to ignite it.

   I closed my hand, putting out the flame and letting the warmth leave my whole body. I looked up to Zu, Chubs, and Liam, giving them a cheesy grin. "Anyone got marshmallows?"

Liam was the first to sit down beside me, "I wish, Chubs ate all of them." He pointed a finger.

"That is a lie." Chubs sat down with Zu, "You and I both know you ate most of them."

   We had sat around the fire talking for what seemed like hours, just joking and telling stories. After a while, Zu and Charles fell asleep, bringing a quietness over Liam and I.

   As I watched sparks from the fire fly up into the sky, he nudged my shoulder, "Hey, I never got to thank you for looking out for Zu earlier. So, thank you."

   My gaze fell to the small girl that was asleep next to Chubs, a calm expression on her face. "You don't have to thank me, it wasn't a big deal, Liam. Anyone in their right mind would've done the same thing."

   "You forget that a lot of people aren't in their right mind anymore." He sighs, resting his arms on his knees, "We live in a messed up world, Emily."

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