She fake-punched Drew’s arm. Brian shook his head and adjusted her hand so that her thumb wasn’t covering her knuckles.
“If you punch like that, you’re going break your thumb.”
“I can be taught!” she said with a reassuring smile.
“Find something else,” Brian said with an exasperated sigh.
But it wasn’t fine. She was sure there was something else that she could do for Elle besides work in that insufferable lab. She wanted to feel like she was really doing something. At least doing something that didn’t trigger her PTSD from her kidnapping. But no one would listen to her.
“Just keep doing what you’re doing,” Brian said reassuringly. “I’m sure something else will open up and you won’t be stuck in this limbo for long. When we get back, why don’t we do something with you and Laura. It’ll be great.”
Reyna grinned. She was looking forward to spending time with her brothers and Laura some more. “That’d be good. Now, show me that flip thing again.”
Drew laughed and stepped forward into her space, showing her how to flip him over her shoulder.
“But your best option is to run, Rey,” Brian said, looking her square in the eyes. “Run as fast and as far as you can.”
“I know,” she told him.
But it didn’t help her last time. It didn’t help her against anything she had ever encountered. Running only did so much good. She wanted to know how to defend herself. Better yet how to stop any of this from ever happening to her again.
* * *
Reyna tore off her workout clothes and stepped into the scalding shower to rinse off her workout. Her muscles ached in the best way. But it was her mind that never shut off.
Sometimes when she closed her eyes at night she still remembered the person who had reached for her in Everett’s apartment. She could feel their hand clamp down on her arm. She could see their masked faces. Smell the fear in the air. Sense the disaster that was unfolding around her. Sometimes that hand dragged her under and the nightmares started. Sometimes she was lucky and it was only the needles that blurred her sleep. But usually it was B.
She shuddered at the images that unfolded behind her closed eyes. The water hit her in a fierce spray. She didn’t think these memories would ever leave her alone. When something traumatic happened, there were only two choices: sink into the pain or grow around it. It never went away. It became a part of her.
Reyna shut off the water with a sigh. She wasn’t going to sink into that pain. She would have to rise above. Take back control of her life. One step at a time.
She toweled off and wrapped her long dark hair up on the top of her head before exiting the bathroom. She screamed when she saw someone was in her room.
“Jesus,” Reyna cried. “Some warning next time, Jodie.”
“Sorry. Thought you were going to move into the shower, you were in there for so damn long.”
“What are you doing here?” Reyna asked as she yanked jeans and a T-shirt out of her closet.
“I hate this place. I mean, I don’t hate it as much as Visage, but I still hate it. How can you stand to stay cooped up like this? I can’t keep breathing recycled oxygen. I need to be free.”
“We are free.”
Jodie snorted. “Then try to walk out the front door and see if they stop you.”
They would. Reyna knew they would. Sydney had made it clear that she was too valuable to leave. Her and Jodie’s blood unlocked the answers to questions they had long been asking. No one was going to let them out to do whatever they wanted. On some level she understood it, but she’d been a prisoner once before and she didn’t relish being one a second time.
“Maybe we can try to get out of here?” Jodie suggested.
Reyna stepped out of the closet. “There’s no way out of here other than the heavily guarded way we entered.”
Jodie sighed. “There has to be another way in and out. We’ve never seen Sydney in this building but we know that she’s here. How does she get around? How is she so secretive? Plus, aren’t there other sleeper agents? They wouldn’t want to be seen if they’re playing spy, right? No one is supposed to know who they are? Which means we can find another way out.”
Reyna stared at Jodie for a split second before her jaw dropped. “Oh my God, I know how they’re getting around.”
Reyna stepped back into the closet and jiggled the doorknob that was all but invisible normally.
“Christ on a cracker, is that a secret door? Tell me it’s a secret door.”
“Beckham used it,” she whispered. She’d been trying not to think of him or the fact that he hadn’t been back. She still hadn’t seen him in over a week. “It’s locked from the outside though. I don’t know what security is on the door.”