Octavia has never been more revolted by Shard's attitude. There's no telling what he has done to Mindy or what condition she is in yet he acts like nothing happened as he bounces on his toes while waiting for the for the cell door to open. Once in the cell, he slides the covered tray onto the table and slides himself in the chair across from Octavia.
"Today's meal!" Shard says as he uncovers sandwiches and water. "What shall we talk about tod-"
"Mindy." Octavia cuts him off. Something had finally been struck in Octavia. Shard's blasé attitude towards Mindy digs deep under Octavia's skin and starts to simmer.
Shard blinks in surprise at Octavia's sudden assertiveness. His brow raises.
"Didn't I tell you that was a bad idea to ask about?" Shard says. "How about we talk about this great story I heard on the NetNew about this kitten saving somebody...or something like that."
"Is she alive?" Octavia asks, refusing to let the topic change.
"I think the kitten was a boy, but yeah he's-"
"I don't care about the kitten," Octavia says.
"Harsh," Shard says. "I thought girls fawned over cute stuff like that. The kitten was a real cutie, too. Such big little eye-"
"I don't care about some damn kitten you heard about on the news!" Octavia screams. She slams her fists into the table. "What did you do to my friend? Is she alive?"
Shard narrows his eyes.
"She's alive," he says. "Now can we talk about the kitten?"
"No! What did you do to her?"
"Why do you care so much to know? I told you that she is alive. Why go into the boring details?"
Octavia's eye twitches.
"Boring...details?" she says.
"Yes. Boring. B-o-r-i-n-g. She's a tough little nut to crack," Shard says as he tears at sandwich with his fingers. "The most interesting thing I got from her was right after I took out one of her eardrums, one of the new ways we learned to use that hair pin of hers, and threatened to take out the other."
A nauseating quake rattles Octavia's core. Maybe it was better for her not to know. But she has to know if Mindy has healable or disfiguring injuries, and eardrums can be repaired without affecting her appearance. Octavia knows this.
"She told a touching story of how she promised to be your sister after the death of yours," Shard says. "And I must say, the new little sister you chose is quite irritating."
Octavia's mind freezes at the mention of her sister. She grew rigid as her blood began to boil.
Shard continues, "Your first sister, Aurora...was her name? The time I spent with her-"
"What?" Octavia says over him.
The blood drains from her face at the mention of her sister's name. It feels as if Shard had shoved a brick down her throat and made sure it hurt as the brick hit her stomach.
Spent time with her, Octavia keeps repeating in her head. He 'spent' time with her?
The brick twists in her stomach. Muscles in Octavia's jaw tighten.
"Oh. Did you not know I met your little sister?" Shard says. "I may not've been in charge yet, but I met her. Why would I not? She was a Rhinehart. And you should know I'm such a fan of you Rhineharts." His eyes laugh at Octavia. "And the time I spent with your sis - much, much more interesting than, Winters. As you can imagine."
The smirk in Shard's eyes finally strikes the right chord in Octavia. All the anger, grief, and helplessness she had buried away for years from her sister's death mixed with fresh emotions from Mindy's treatment rises in her chest and pushes a scream out of her, letting out the hot steam her boiling blood built up. Blinded with rage, she throws the lunch tray at Shard. Food covers Shard as the tray hits him in the chest and crashes to the floor. Glass from the cups on the tray miss him, though, and shatter on the ground. Octavia jumps over the table at him. She claws at him and manages to draw blood from his forehead and temple with the single swipe she got in.
Shard grabs Octavia's arms before she can inflict more damage and throws her back on the table. Octavia hits her head on the table edge. Shard shoves her off the table and to the ground. Despite her vision blurring from dizziness, Octavia springs off the ground in a drunken manner to go after Shard. He easily evades her. She lands on the ground. In a flash of clear vision, Octavia sees the tray. She grabs it and, aiming randomly in a blur, swings and charlie-horses Shard with the tray in the back of his knee. He falls to the ground next to her.
Tam and the other guard struggle with the key that has jammed in the cell door.
Octavia, steadying herself with the table, rises and goes to jump on top of him, but Shard holds his arms out and catches her shoulders in his palms. She shouts and claws at him but dangles above his face - missing him with each swipe. Shard swipes Octavia's feet from under her with a kick. She returns to the ground. Shard quickly gets on her and pins her with his knee pressed in the small of her back and keeping an arm behind her. Her other arm is smushed between herself and the ground. Shard uses his other hand to press Octavia's head into the ground. He chuckles.
After taking a breath to speak, Shard says,"That got interesting real fast."
Octavia squirms under him.
"You killed my sister!" Octavia cries. "You killed her! Aurora is dead because of you!"
"Did I ever say that? No. I didn't," Shard says. "Geez. You all love puttin' words in my mouth. Killing and torturing little girls in wheelchairs is not what I do. Too boring and easy. I can't speak for others, though." He leans into her ear and whispers, "You won't fight for yourself, but you'll fight for others? How nice..."
The key finally unjams, and the guards come bursting into the room. Tam helps Shard up as the male guard takes Octavia. When her face rises from the ground, her left eye is no longer squished closed against the floor, but when it opens, she still can't see out of it. Panic and dropping adrenaline cause her to shake.
"Are you okay?" Tam asks Shard.
"Yes," he tells her. Teasingly, he adds, "But no thanks to you."
"I'm sorry," Tam says sincerely. "The key jammed."
"Remind me to have a word with the key when we're done here," Shard says. He makes his way to Octavia and grabs her face between his thumb and index finger. "Winters could be right. You could have a heart in there. But despite how 'sweet' your temper tantrum was, you ruined our lunch. So, I hope you don't like eating, or drinking water for that fact, either, because you won't get a crumb or a drop for the next couple days to make up for the food you wasted. And we don't have an unlimited supply of cups around here. There's broken glass everywhere now." He kicks a few pieces. "You're gonna clean it up." He crunches a big piece under his boot and spreads the pieces around with his foot. "And you're gonna clean it up without a fuss and not try anything interesting unless you want Marque to put a bullet through you. I'll be back with a hand broom and dustpan." He lets her face go.
There's a slight limp in his walk as he exits the cell.
"Come with, Tam," he tells her. "I'm sure Marque will hold his own since Sweethart knows he has a gun, and I can't get caught in the crossfire."
"Yes, sir," Tam says, almost pouting. She follows behind Shard and shoots deadly eyes at Octavia that make her cold.
Without looking behind him, Shard reaches and pinches Tam's ear. "No scaring the wildlife now," he says to her as he pulls her out of the cell by the ear.
She winces and mouths 'ow's.
Octavia is relieved Tam leaves with him but remembers Marque's remark of being on the same page as Tam. She swallows hard and hopes he's not as impulsive as Tam.
YOU ARE READING
Being the daughter of the most powerful people in the country places a high societal value on Octavia. The glamour of this public-placed status wore off for her years ago as tragedy after tragedy has followed Octavia because of it. But the glamour n...