21 ※ Fleeting Moments

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Chapter 21 Fleeting Moments

'Do I have a choice?' Elle examined the contraption closer, no windows, only a skeletal frame built on the small level floor. He shrugged and shot her another award-winning smile. 

Naturally, he wouldn't satisfy her damned question. The smug bastard was probably revelling in seeing her show some uncertainty. He held the door open, hand outstretched to help Elle up. 

'Do you trust me?' He asked again. She didn't answer, nor did she take his outstretched hand when stepping into the contraption, leaving him to secure and latch the little door himself behind her. Woven together with sturdy branches, the structure was doing its job soundly, and the assassin couldn't help but marvel at the entwining shoots holding their ground. 

Boyo nodded at the pair inside the cramped box, his mischievous smile reflecting his youth. Bless the guy; Elle felt a small pang of sympathy for him – his only entertainment being when guests enter his lift.

With a sudden start that almost made her lose her balance, the box began to climb.

Looking downwards, Elle saw Boyo below them, waving maniacally. Cerid chuckled, lifting his hand in farewell, 'He's kind and has remained a stable friend to my family for years.'

Elle hmmed in agreement, observing him get smaller and smaller until Boyo faded back into the general greyness of the agency. Seeing the Vault's floor from their height made her feel dizzy, she shut her eyes tight for a moment before reopening them.

To have most of the agency underground was a unique idea that would have taken years to construct, there was no need for the scattering of warehouses and allies around Saryn.

The problem with the frame of the old shaft was that her eyes couldn't wander far before a reminder of how far they would fall if one of the taut ropes would wear and break. Being constantly jolted on the bumpy journey up to only Gods know where didn't help her anxiety about falling out of the side of the thing since there was only a branch at waist height to bar the gaping frame slightly.

Cerid, seeing her edginess, started to bounce around the confined space, causing the entire contraption to swing and move with him. Elle gripped onto the bar, whacking him with her free hand while he laughed. 'Does this make you feel uncomfortable?'

'I'm not frightened of heights; I'm afraid of falling. There's a difference.' She retorted defensively.

'How about this?' Cerid unlatched the door before she could stop him, swinging it open while suspended in the air. Sitting down, he let his feet dangle over the lethal drop, a wild glint in his eye. Elle slowly lowered herself down to the edge next to him, gripping the platform so tight her knuckles whitened.

It was bizarre to see DETRA go on as usual from such a detached place. She followed agents rushing around the Vault, shooting this way and that in the shafts.

Cerid leaned closer, entrapping her in the constricting shaft. 'Or this?'

His nose was almost touching hers; she could feel his cool breaths brush against her skin like an artist creating his masterpiece. Elle froze: why wasn't he moving away? Her heart was thumping so loud she was certain he could hear its palpitations. Her mind was a hazy mess, partly due to her dizziness earlier, she couldn't think straight. Eyes fluttering closed, a million thoughts raced through her mind in a heartbeat; she should pull away, she should–

Cerid huffed as he reluctantly pulled away, biting his lips. As her eyes flitted open they found his– she searched for any mockery in his expression, waiting for the teasing to begin. Silence greeted her.

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