To expand on a recent Twitter post and my last update (in which I complained about how much trouble I was having with What All’s Said and Done), I think I’ve maybe, finally solved a rather tricky quandry that I’d run into.
Here’s an excerpt from me clawing my way out of that quagmire:
“Ky,” Ridley murmured, fingers tangling in my sleeve and face pale as death as he looked away from the tinted windows of the minivan. Matthew had borrowed from the FBI pool to transport Ridley and Julia to a safehouse a few blocks away from Damon’s apartment. I’d tagged along for moral support at their mutual insistence.
We’d faked their deaths the day before—more to the point, the FBI had faked their deaths. It had been on the evening news, though they hadn’t released the names of the dead, pending notification of the families. I didn’t envy the person who’d have to lie to Julia’s parents about their daughter being dead. I wondered if the person doing the informing would actually know the truth.
When I didn’t answer him right away—in truth, I hadn’t heard him—Ridley tugged on my sleeve, his tone turning urgent. “Ky, look out the window. Look out there, at the coffee shop across the street. The red-head on the patio.”
I looked and my heart started to beat faster. Is that Allyson?
“What’s wrong?” Julia and Matthew asked in the same voice.
“You weren’t in contact with anyone, were you?” I asked him.
He shook his head quickly. “No, no one. Laren was the only one after they released me from the facility, and I haven’t talked to her since the motel.” He shot a glance at Julia, whose gaze bounced between he and I.
“What’s going on?” she asked, a hint of urgency to her voice. “The only person I talked to back in Andover was Paul and I haven’t heard from him since.”
“Ky.” Matthew didn’t look back at me, but his tone insisted I answer, and quickly. I tamped down a mixture of annoyance and fear.
“Ally’s a mimic. She can do whatever the hell she wants.” I gave Ridley a long, hard look. “Did they try to pair you up after what happened?”
“Who are we talking about?” Julia asked, sounding desperate now.
“The girl at the coffee shop,” I said. “With the red hair.”
Julia looked and gave a little gasp. Matthew growled and instead of slowing down, sped up, driving up the block before he swung the van around a corner and parked it on the side of the street. He twisted in the driver’s seat and glared at all three of us.
“All right, what the hell is going on back here that no one decided to the guy with the badge and the gun about?”
Stupid as it might have been, I held up a hand to forestall further comment from him, staring at Ridley and waiting for him to answer me. Dammit, Ridley! If they tried to pair you two up, she’s got a link to you that she can use. She may not have a lot of power in that direction, but it’d be enough for her to track you.
He stared at me for a few seconds that felt like hours before he nodded, looking away. “Yeah,” he whispered. “It took them two months to figure out it wasn’t going to work.”
“But long enough for her to learn your tricks,” I muttered. “Damn.”
Matthew reached back and grabbed my arm, squeezing so hard it hurt. “In English, Kyle.”
I jerked my arm out of his grip, rubbing it and glaring at him. “We think we saw Allyson.”
“I gathered that much. What does it mean? She works for the Institute, doesn’t she?”
I glanced at Ridley, who winced and whispered, “Yes.”
Julia stared at him and shook her head. “No. I don’t think so.”
Matthew stared at all three of us for a few seconds, then started to get out of the van. “One way to find out.”
“Wait one goddamned second here!” I got out after him, leaving Ridley and Julia in the van. “You have no idea what you’re up against.”
“A teenager or a twenty-something that both you and he knew on the inside, which means she’s got some kind of ability that I may or may not be able to combat. Sound right?” Matthew checked the clip on his sidearm and slid it back into its holster, then adjusted his sport coat.
“What are you going to do?”
“Get a cup of coffee and watch,” he said, slamming the van door shut. Julia and Ridley piled out behind me.
“We’re coming with you,” Ridley said firmly, positioning himself at my shoulder.
“Absolutely not,” Matthew said. “Get back in the van and wait for me to come back.”
I shook my head. “Somehow, I don’t think that we’re going to do that. You don’t know Ally. Ridley and I do.” Though what would make Julia think that she’s not working for the Institute is something I’d certainly like to know. I glanced sidelong at Julia, whose hand was wrapped tightly around Ridley’s. “You said you don’t think she works for the Institute.”
She shook her head quickly. “No, I don’t. I’ve seen her before.”
Ridley paled again, turning toward her and taking her by the shoulders. “When?” he asked hoarsely. “How?”
Julia reached up, cupping his face in her hands. My pounding heart began to ache at the tenderness of her gesture; I had to shove the thoughts of Hadrian that swarmed up back down again so I could concentrate. Soon, Ky. Soon.
“I went to have a look at the installation outside of Andover, remember? That’s when I saw her,” she said softly. “She told me to go back to town.” Her gaze flicked momentarily to Matthew. “And she left me a note to Google him.”
I was stunned, and from the look on his face that he couldn’t quite smother, so was Matthew.
“Why would she tell you to do that?” he asked.
I stared at my sneakers. “Because she loved Tim and she knows why he was there.”
This is a huge shift and departure from the original universe (Allyson wasn’t featured in the original draft–but then again, neither was Ridley, and Julia didn’t exist). It’ll be interesting to see where this goes.
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