“What are you thinking about?” Will asked after a while.
I shrugged. “My mom mostly. Do you want to see your family?”
He shook his head. “I guarantee they’d turn me right back in.” He was trying not to seem so upset about it.
“You know we’re morally obligated to get revenge for you, right?”
He grinned. “Please go on.”
“I’m thinking TP-ing. But like, ridiculously.”
He chuckled. “Casey too?”
“Casey first! Or better yet, just let me have a few minutes with all of them. They’ll wish they never looked at you wrong let alone sold you out.”
“Okay, I do love the enthusiasm, but it’s fine. We can just forget about them.”
I hated them, but other than that, I knew very little of his family. He’d only ever told me they’d abandoned him.
“Are you an only child?”
“No, I have an older sister and a twin brother. Heather and Brian.”
“You are not a twin.”
He nodded. “I am. Fraternal, but everyone swears we look alike. Brian was a genius and skipped a grade. Otherwise he would have been in our class.” I noticed just a hint of resentment in his voice.
I was just drooling at the idea of there being two of him. Two copies of absolute perfection.
“What does he do now?”
“He’s a math teacher. Heather’s a veterinarian. They’re both major geeks.”
“It must run in the family.”
He shot me a look. “I got the brains and the brawn. Law enforcement isn’t for skinny math wizards.”
I rolled my eyes. “You know I practically worship the bod. It was a joke.”
He smiled. “You’re ridiculous.”
“Way to catch on. Neither of your siblings tried to help you with the arrest?”
His smile fell. “We’ve never been close. That’s kind of why I’m so gung ho with this love thing. I’ve always wanted to connect with people the way my family never connected with me. I wanted loud, obnoxious expressions of feeling. My whole house was calculating and exacting. I’m just not a math-science guy.”
I smiled. “Huh.”
“You’re a family defector. You see so many legacies these days. I always love finding the rebels.”
He shook his head. “I don’t get how anyone could settle for what they’ve grown up with. Where’s the fun in that? I mean, I get it if you’re good at it or honestly enjoy it, but a lot of people just seem too lazy to actively search. Not doing what you’re passionate about is just…”
“Exactly.” He looked at me. “Did I just figure you out?”
He was still holding my hand, but I wrapped his arm around myself. “You’re getting closer.”
It was actually really comforting that he understood the necessity of passion in one’s life. It gave me hope that we weren’t purely situational but compatible as well.
“Speaking of getting closer, do you feel that?”
I stopped. The tunnel was shaking a little. Far ahead, I could see train lights coming for us.
“That must be today’s batch of newly dead. Get to the side and try to blend in.”
It would have been better if we’d had dark clothes, but hopefully the passengers were too scared to really notice anything out the windows.
We had to get closer to the wall than I’d anticipated. It zoomed past less than a foot from my body. Will had his arm up, guarding me in case I felt the inclination to get closer to a speeding train. But with my history, maybe he did have reason to worry.
When the train passed, we could both breathe a little easier. We continued on our way.
“Do you remember when that was us?” he asked.
“You act like it was years ago. Of course I remember. I was so ready to die that day.”
How much easier would it have been if that had been where my story ended? Sadder, maybe, but definitely simpler.
“And I was so not ready to let you go.” He had my hand again, and I sensed him recalling the memory.
I remembered his arms around me and how strangely wonderful it had felt. I’d come up with that stupid theory about how final moments were always magical. Now I knew that it had simply been Will and his dazzling effect on me.
It was all I could do not to stumble over my own feet. Had I loved him since the train? Had those beautiful little tremors been my body’s way of telling me he was the one? What was I even thinking? The one? Love? These were things I hadn’t decided yet. They were open-ended hopefuls that I was putting off until I absolutely had to deal with them. But why was it so easy to think of him that way?
“How much longer?” he asked.
I looked at him. He was trying to be casual, but I saw how tired he was already.
“I think we’re about halfway. Maybe it’s time for a break. I could use the chance to prep for my mom.”
He nodded. “That’s probably smart.”
We sat down, backs against the wall. Will closed his eyes and leaned back. As sneakily as I could, I got an arm around him and had him lean on me.
Maybe I’d miss taking care of him one day. Maybe these sweet little moments of masked weakness would be a fond memory eventually. But in the moment, I wanted him healthy. I wanted him strong.
Especially when another train started coming.
“Will.” I shook him a little. “Get up. There’s a train.”
“Again?” he asked as we got to our feet.
It was unusual. There’d been nothing on the schedule about a train coming from Terminal B. Unless somehow we’d strayed onto a different track.
Will got his guarding arm up again, and we prepared to wait it out. But as it started to pass us, something wasn’t right.
“It’s slowing down,” Will said grimly.
He was right. We didn’t have the room to run or any idea which end would be safer. My heart started pounding. This wasn’t happening. Not after all I’d staked on it.
The train screeched to a halt, and doors slid open right in front of us. There were several officers waiting, one more intimidating than the rest.
“Get on the train,” he ordered.
They were armed. We didn’t have a choice. And that may well have been where my life finally ended.
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