I stared at the glass container that held my leg immobile. I didn’t understand how it made it better inside there, but even I couldn’t deny it was working. My skin was already stitching itself back together and it had only been an hour since I’d been hooked up to this contraption.
“I see you’re feeling better.”
I glanced up at the sound of the male voice in surprise. “Daniel.”
I wasn’t sure if I was happy or upset to see him. I remembered waking up and seeing him sleeping in the bed next to me, his arm in a sling. His arm was still in a sling now, though he’d changed back into his expensive suit and no longer was covered in blood.
“You look well,” he said.
Well. That was the polite way to say it. If he’d said I looked good, it could have meant he was still attracted to me. But “well” meant my physical well-being. We were going that route, apparently.
“Thank you,” I replied, quietly. I cleared my throat. “Supposedly, I should be healed in a couple days.”
“Yes, Doctor White told me,” he said.
I shook my head. “It’s crazy. How can I recover from a knife wound that should take weeks of physical therapy to heal in just a few days?”
“There’s a lot about Section Five you don’t know,” he whispered. His throat worked up and down. The muscles in his jaw clenched and unclenched repeatedly. “It’s a hard life to live, Naomi. Hard on the mind, hard on the body. We all make choices here, and we try to make the right ones. The ones that keep us alive.”
I didn’t say anything. I wasn’t sure what to say. Daniel obviously had a point to the conversation that he hadn’t made yet. He sighed and sat down on the bed, so close I could smell the natural scent of his body mixed with the light after shave he’d probably used that morning when he woke up.
His hand reached out toward me, smoothing loose strands of my hair away from my face. He sighed. “What we did, what happened between us, was dangerous. It was careless.” He glanced around like he was the kid who’d stolen a cookie he’d been told he couldn’t have.
“You didn’t enjoy it?” I asked, smirking. I knew full well how he had liked it. I’d felt the evidence.
“You know damn well that’s not the point.” He ground out each word. “It can’t happen again.”
“You’re breaking up with me? In the hospital?” I chuckled wryly.
He stood up in a huff of frustration and shoved his hands in the pants pockets of his suit. “Don’t be a pain in the ass. There’s nothing to break up. It was a weak moment for both of us, but especially for me. I should have known better. You’re still new, and you’re living on the rush of emotions still.”
Anger burned through my blood. He was taking away the one thing that made me feel human here and I was just supposed ot accept it? “This place is a shithole of misery, Daniel. We had a moment we both enjoyed. Why not take as much happiness as we can get?”
“You need to learn to react with reason and logic. You can’t just… do that… anytime you want.”
“Why not?” I asked. “We’re only human. Well… I am, anyway.”
He shook his head. “Look, you need to learn. You don’t form personal attachments. Not here. You don’t create anything that can be used against you.”
I frowned, tilting my head just slightly. The way he’d said that… You don’t create anything that can be used against you. What had they used against him? What made him so careful? “What do they have on you?”
He didn’t answer. Shit, his face didn’t even change. I looked away from those striking blue eyes, wishing I’d never seen them. The crazy thing was… I wasn’t looking for forever from him, and I didn’t want his love or his promise to be with me. The kisses we shared… They were the last bit of human interaction I had. I wasn’t ready to lose my humanity. Not in this place. Not now.
“What?” I snapped, finally glancing back at him.
“It’s safer this way.”
“Safer?” I laughed. “For who? You? Definitely not safer to me. Doesn’t matter either way for me.” I narrowed my gaze, focusing solely on him and gave him a dangerous smile. “I can’t wait to find out your secrets, Daniel.”
“There’s nothing there to find out,” he said.
“Oh, I doubt that. I’m going to find them all out. And I’m not going to stop until I do.”
He blinked, like he’d seen a ghost when I said that. But as fast as the face had come, it was gone, replaced by the robotic expression he carried around all the time.
“Naomi… You won’t like what you find if you do.”
“I don’t fucking care, Daniel. I hate this place. I hate everything in it. My life is gone because of it. Stolen. And I promise you this…if it’s the last fucking thing I do… I’ll find every little secret in this place that there is to know, and I will broadcast it to the world.”
He pinched the bridge of his nose. “You still haven’t learned, Naomi.”
The corner of his mouth twitched like he wanted to smile, but otherwise he didn’t react. His eyes met mine, burning through my body like dry ice. “Unfortunately, that is not part of the curriculum. I’ll see you in class on Monday.”
“YYou start training on Monday. Rest this week.”
As he left—Jesus, I wanted to scream so bad. The sound bubbled inside my chest, aching to get out, pushing against my rib cage until I thought I’d explode. Section Five had created me as this nightmare of incontrollable rage, as sure as they created Daniel.. But, with Daniel, this place might have been almost bearable. But he didn’t want that. Didn’t want me.
Daniel had just solidified my choice for me. My time was coming soon. I’d leave this place in a blaze when it did.
Fuck Section Five.