Chapter Nine

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Kita awoke to fog covering the nearby hills. She rolled her neck from side-to-side to work the kink out from sleeping against the tree. Her stomach still ached, but not as bad. It's tolerable. I'll live. She stretched her legs out into the tall yellow grass. Her jeans were dirty and torn in two places. Rip jeans are all the rage, right? Her right arm was covered in blood and ran down her hand onto her fingers. She only had a little blood on her flannel. The cuts weren't bleeding, so she unrolled her sleeves to hide them. At some point, she would have to find a place where she could clean the cuts and the blood off her.

I wonder where this road goes? She didn't have her phone, so she had no maps to navigate by. Maybe I should sneak back to the lab and get my phone. It's on the outside, I don't have to go near the lab. Otherwise, I'm lost. She had been too sick last night to know how Arcee got here. It might be better to go the way we came. At least that way I know there is civilization. I can hitchhike into the city and get a bus ticket home. Hopefully, I have a home to go back to, and Ralph and Mickey haven't screwed things up too bad. Who am I kidding? They won't have done a thing without me.

Kita sighed and stretched. Let's make it easy on myself. Find my phone and hitchhike back the way we came until I get into town, then get to the bus station and go home. I have to pass the lab, but I can do that without being seen. Plan in place, Kita stood up and dusted herself off. She turned to climb up the shoulder onto the road and yelled, "What are you doing here?"

Arcee sat on the shoulder and stood when Kita yelled. "I'm here to tell you I am sorry. I couldn't do what I promised. But, please, don't go. We need you."

"Take Ryan," Kita growled as she walked up the shoulder.

"I need you," Arcee said quietly. "Please, come ride with me. You don't have to say a word and I won't either. Just come with me. Please. When we're finished, I'll take you any place you want to go."

"Take me home?"

"If that's where you wish to go."

"I need my helmet."

"Do you not trust me?"

Kita could hear the pain in Arcee's voice. "Why should I? If last night proved anything, it was only I can save myself."

"No person is an island, Kita. We all need friends, and those friends make mistakes. I made one last night, and you had the fortitude to overcome it. I'm sorry. I don't know how Barricade found us. We're investigating our movements, looking for how we made a mistake. It's a major failure, and it nearly cost me you."

Kita crossed her arms. "That is not your failure. That is mine. They followed my phone using my tablet. I should have remembered, but I didn't think about my phone's and tablet's connection. You don't owe me an apology for that. I owe you one. I'm sorry for blowing our cover. I figured it out too late, but I did my best to use it against them. My phone is hidden under some rocks behind the lab."

"Is that why Barricade was tearing up the fence?"

"Yep. I'm sorry. I should know my stuff better. But, you shouldn't have left me alone."

"I'm sorry," whispered Arcee. "I thought I was doing what was best for you by getting you the medicine you needed. I should have waited for Bumblebee to arrive."

"Did you get some?"

A compartment on Arcee's chest opened. She pulled out a bottle of pink stuff and gave it to Kita. After removing the safety wrapper, Kita opened the bottle and took a long drink.

"Ugh. Stuff taste's awful. I can feel it going all the way down." Kita did feel a soothing sensation in her stomach and the pain dulled.

"Are you better?" said Arcee as she took the bottle and put it away.

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