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Ana had never been so exhausted in her life. Jones was seated next to her, digging into that infernal backpack of his. She sat huddled next to the building on the outskirts of the city, her arms clasped around her legs, chin resting on her knees. Her body was shaking with a mixture of weariness and shock. It seemed a lifetime ago since she'd had a moment of sleep. Or a glass of water. She'd kill for either.
She opened one eye, looked at him. "Does Rambo know you've stolen his outfit?"
His voice was sour. "Funny."
"No," she said reflectively, "what's funny is you appearing in the capitol, dressed like a second-story man, complete with the tools of the trade." He was garbed completely in black. Black jeans, black long-sleeved T-shirt, black watch cap. Even his pack was black. "Mind telling me just what you were doing in the capitol offices?"
"Not at all." His eyes remained trained on the compass. "Just as soon as you tell me what you were doing there."
A moment ticked by. Then another. "I...I was looking for a bathroom."
"And I was looking for dance partners for the Ice Capades." Their gazes did battle, at impasse. She looked away first. That narrowed flinty stare was too hard to face while her mind was racing furiously for a reasonable explanation that he would buy.
"Well, there's a bit more to the story, I guess."
"Yeah, I guess."
Ignoring his caustic comment, she gave him a carefully edited version of the events of the last twenty-four hours. The creative oath he uttered when she'd finished had her brows raising. "Pardon me?"
"You need to be locked up," he said succinctly. "Under armed guard. 24/7. You're a danger to yourself, not to mention to those stupid enough to get involved with you."
Anger snapped through her veins, dissipating a bit of the exhaustion. "If that's a referral to your involvement, I can certainly attest to the stupid part. It's your turn, now. What would make you think you could find me upstairs in the capitol's rooms?"
"I did find you upstairs in those rooms," Jones pointed out.
"Not because you were looking for me." Her certainty in that fact was growing. "Is that the story you're sticking to?"
He rose and looked down at her, the goggles making him look utterly foreign, utterly dangerous. "Are you sticking to your story?"
Her mouth snapped shut. "Yes."
"Then so am I. Let's hit the road."
She stood, silent only because she needed to think about all the inconsistencies in his tale. There was plenty he wasn't telling her, that was for sure. Even more than what she wasn't telling him. And it occurred to her, as she brushed the grit off her dress, that the man standing next to her was a stranger. And a much different person from the one she'd assumed he was on the day she'd hired him.
She wasn't any too certain what to make of that.
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