35. Traitor? Not a Chance

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Been busy, my apologies for the wait on the update.

Nicky's POV 

Ryder stops for a second and puts his hands on his knees, taking deep breaths. "Shit," He mutters as he stares at Quinn's back as she continues on through the forest. "How the hell can she keep going?"

I stop next to him and stare at his side pointedly. "She hasn't been shot," I state. "And hasn't refused to have said gunshot wound treated until we get somewhere safe."

Of course, I'm currently beyond exhausted myself just trying to keep up with her as well. Quinn may be small and fragile looking but that girl was having no trouble moving through this forest at a near sprint for the first ten minutes or so when we were originally trying to get away.

And she isn't even winded in the least.

Ryder glares at me and pushes up so he's standing tall. He winces in pain and presses his hand to his side all the while demonstrating his creatively colorful vocabulary.

"Tell me," He starts as we both continue on after Quinn. "Do you think it's a good idea to stop in the middle of," He spins around with his arms spread out wide to gesture at the surrounding area. "nowhere? Where we can't see anyone coming for us? Yes, brilliant idea, genius. Let's sit down here, take unnecessary time to patch up a wound that doesn't need immediate attention and you know, get shot some more while we're at it."

I feel my face flush and I glare right back at him. "Kind of like your brilliant idea to split up, huh?"

Ryder's face flashes in anger. "If you had listened to me. If you had stayed away. If you hadn't started walking across the clearing when I specifically told you not to-"

"You'd likely be dead by now."

Ryder groans and throws his hands up in the air. "Maybe," He says. I feel my heart stop at the thought and refuse to give it another thought. "But-" He cuts off abruptly and runs a hand through his hair.

"But what?" I press.

He shakes his head.

"What?" I continue to press him. "Out with it."

He looks up at the sky and closes his eyes as he mutters to himself. Then he addresses me. "You'd be safe."

I stare at him blankly, not completely processing. "What?" I question.

He rolls his eyes in annoyance. "You. Would. Be. Safe," He takes great care in annunciating each word like I'm stupid. He shakes his head. "Yes, I might have ended up dead, but it would have been worth it if you had been safe."

I stare at him for a long moment, not entirely sure what to say. "Wow," I say finally. "That makes me feel so warm and fuzzy toward you. But wait, I wouldn't have been able to express that to you because you would have been what? Dead. DRT. Dead Right There. Dead," I reply flatly.

Ryder glares at me. "And you almost got yourself killed coming after me!"

"You shoved me down a hill. I was coming after you to shove into the depths of hell."

"I'm surprised you didn't get yourself shot on the way over since you tramp through the forest like a thousand-ton elephant. Do you even know how to be quiet?"

My anger with him and maybe a tad bit of fear-just a little mind you-of the possibility of watching him bleed out or get shot again, is making me a little irrational. And I'm feeling like this is an argument that I need to win. Not want to win. Need to win.

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