This is what she becomes because of me… what do you think of here… do you like her or heat? Are you going to hate her for this?
‘They don't leave. They bring in their food from the outside, from quite far away sometimes. It gives their guard something to do when they're not out annihilating mavericks. Or protecting Volterra from exposure…’
‘From situations like this one, like Marcel,’ I finished her sentence. It was amazingly easy to say his name now. I wasn't sure what the difference was. Maybe because- I wasn't planning on living much longer without seeing him. Or at all, if we were too late. It was comforting to know that I would have an easy out.
‘I doubt they've ever had a situation quite like this,’ she muttered, disgusted.
‘You don't get a lot of suicidal angels.’
The sound that escaped out of my mouth was very quiet, but Olivia seemed to understand that it was a cry of pain. She wrapped her thin, strong arm around my shoulders.
‘We'll do what we can, Bell. It's not over yet.’
‘Not yet.’ I let her comfort me, though I knew she thought our chances were poor. ‘And the Ministry will get us if we mess up.’ Olivia stiffened. ‘You say that like it's a good thing.’
‘Knock it off, Bell, or we're turning around in New York and going back to Pittsburgh.’
‘You know what. If we're too late for Marcel, I'm going to do me damnedest to get you back to Mr. Anderson, and I don't want any trouble from you. Do you understand that?’
She pulled back slightly so that she would glare at me. ‘No trouble.’
‘Scout's honor,’ I muttered.
She rolled her eyes.
‘Let me concentrate, now. I'm trying to see what he's planning.’
She left her arm around me, but let her head fall back against the seat and closed her eyes. She pressed her free hand to the side of her face, rubbing her fingertips against her temple.
I watched her in fascination for a long time. Eventually, she became utterly motionless, her face like a stone sculpture. The minutes passed, and if I didn't know better, I would have thought she'd fallen asleep. I didn't dare interrupt her to ask what was going on.
I wished there was something safe for me to think about. I couldn't allow myself to consider the horrors we were headed toward, or, more horrific yet, the chance that we might fail-not if I wanted to keep from screaming aloud.
I couldn't anticipate anything, either. If I were very, very, very lucky, I would somehow be able to save Marcel. But I wasn't so stupid as to think that saving him would mean that I could stay with him. I was no different, no more special than I'd been before. There would be no new reason for him to want me now. Seeing him and losing him again…
I fought back against the pain. This was the price I had to pay to save his life. I would pay for it.
They showed a movie, and my neighbor got headphones. Sometimes, I watched the figures moving across the little screen, but I couldn't even tell if the movie was supposed to be a romance or a horror film.
After an eternity, the plane began to descend toward New York City. Olivia remained in her trance. I dithered, reaching out to touch her, only to pull my hand back again. This happened a dozen times before the plane touched down with a jarring impact.
‘Olivia,’ I finally said. ‘Olivia, we have to go.’
I touched her arm.
Her eyes came open very slowly. She shook her head from side to side for a moment.