I blushed and snatched up the phone, knowing that there was only one person with the number—Alex. I’d texted her to avoid a long discussion just after I’d activated it and warned her not to give the number to anyone but that had been hours ago.
Was she just getting my text now or had I missed other calls?
I guessed I was about to find out.
“Hey,” I murmured in a low voice. “What’s up?”
“Are you alone?” The alarm in her voice sent shivers of apprehension through me and I glanced at the seven shattered bodies splayed all over the hotel room.
“Yeah. Why?” I lied, ducking into the massive bathroom and closing the door.
“Shit, where are you? Are you inside the lab?”
“I’m in the bathroom.” At least that was true. “What’s going on?”
“I’ve been looking into Mirror, Mirror like we talked about and I’ve already found some interesting things.”
The prickles on my skin were like hard balls. She still knew nothing about the attempt on my life, let alone that I was in Scotland with the drillers. I’d tell her I’d found safety after she told me what she learned.
“You were right,” Alex continued, her voice breathless. “Your company is into some pretty shady shit.”
“Tell me about it,” I mumbled but she wasn’t listening.
“From what I can see already, they seem to have a subgroup working for them,” Alex said.
“What does that mean?”
“Well, as you suspected, the environmental side of the company is a front. What they’re really doing is finding a way to create more chemical fuels and possibly even warfare.”
“Jesus Christ,” I muttered. “How could I not have seen it?”
“You weren’t party to what was really going on. There is a whole base of operations who researches ecological aspects but that’s not where Mirror, Mirror makes their money. You couldn’t have known. That’s why it took so long for you to get funding to Iceland in the first place.”
She was losing me as I tried to keep up with what she was saying.
“Why?” I asked blankly.
“Because they couldn’t justify the expense without having a real reason to send you. The moss collecting was just a front, just like everything else you’ve been doing. You’re really there so they can test their chemical product on the environment. Sasha, you have to come home.”
I gritted my teeth.
“You can’t—are you even listening to me? You don’t have a real job. It’s a front. You’re a paid actor and you didn’t even know it.”
“I understand what you’re saying but I still can’t come home. It’s okay, Alex, I’m safe.”
“YOU AREN’T SAFE! You know too much! What if Queenie finds out what you know?”
I inhaled and closed my eyes, sinking onto the edge of the jacuzzi tub.
“She already knows that I know,” I confessed. “She tried to kill me.”
There was such a long silence that I was sure Alex had hung up.
“I hope that’s your idea of a stupid joke.” Her voice was surprisingly controlled when she spoke.
“Okay, that’s it. I’m coming for you. Where are you? You better tell me where you are right now!” The panic in Alex’s words broke my heart but I couldn’t go to her, not when Queenie knew about my life. It would take her and Mirror, Mirror ten seconds to find me in New York. No, I was in the safest place I could be.
“I’m not in Iceland anymore,” I explained. “But I promise, I’m not in any danger.”
I shouldn’t have made that promise. For all I knew, Queenie was flying to me as we spoke.
“You better start explaining before I get on the phone with every law enforcement agency on the planet,” Alex choked and I knew she meant it.
“I’m with the drillers,” I sighed, sorry that I’d dragged them even further into this mess than I already had. “They saved me after Queenie shot me.”
“After Queenie…” She trailed off and I was terrified that she’d fainted with the information. “Oh my God…”
“Listen, I know this sounds really bad but they’re good guys. They saved me once already, remember?”
Alex inhaled deeply.
“Sasha, I’m scared for you.”
“You don’t need to be,” I promised. “I’m fine.”
“You’re fine.” She was scoffing. “You are not fine. Not in the least. You are the furthest thing from fine that could be.”
“Sasha!” Graham’s voice startled me.
“I have to go,” I told Alex. “Keep in touch, okay but swear you won’t say anything to anyone about where I am.”
“I don’t even know where the hell you are!” Alex screamed.
“Sasha?” Graham knocked on the door and I called out to him.
“A-are you sharing a room with one of them?” Alex demanded.
“Oh, take your time,” Graham called back, relief in his voice. “I just panicked when you weren’t out here.”
“Oh God, what are you doing?” Alex chided me. “You’re fucking one of the drillers?”
“No,” I replied truthfully.