Spy Glass Page 35

“Of course I miss her. She’s in Ixia with the Commander while I’m here,” Valek said, leaning his “stick” against the wall.

He used the wretched pointer to tap me at the location my body or my face revealed a lie. The middle of my forehead ached from multiple pokes.

“Isn’t being away all the time hard on your relationship?” I asked.

“No amount of time or distance can break us apart. Besides, Yelena would kill me if I allow you to go on a mission you aren’t prepared for.”

“Two seasons isn’t much time.” I sighed. Our goal was to be done with this business before Mara and Leif’s wedding at the end of the warm season. And the constant worry about something happening to my blood before I could find it rubbed on my nerves.

“You’re making excellent progress. And I must confess I have ulterior motives.”

“Really?”

“I’m hoping all this training will be put to good use.”

I smiled. “As in, I’ll enjoy sneaking around and playing spy so much that I’ll agree to work for you?”

“Exactly. Now tell me you love me.” He picked up his stick.

“I do love you, Valek.”

He gawked. “You do?”

I laughed. “Of course, you’re practically family.” He relaxed.

“But that also means I hate you, too. It’s part of being in a family.”

“I see.”

“And right now, I’m leaning more toward hate. Because if you poke me with that horrid stick one more time, I’m going to take it from you and whack you over the head with it.”

He slid his feet into a fighting stance. “You can try.”

“Gotcha!” I smirked. “You believed me!”

“Well done. Take tomorrow night off. You earned it.”

I started to protest, but clamped my lips together. Needing a break, I mulled over the possibilities. I could visit Devlen, or have dinner at the Pig Pen with Nic and Eve, or take Quartz for a long ride. Interesting how I listed Devlen first.

“I’m glad you came back,” Devlen said.

We sat in the same visiting room with the table and chairs, but this time Pellow cuffed Devlen’s wrists to the chair’s arms.

“I wanted to be here sooner,” I said.

He brightened. “You did?”

“I wanted to explain—”

“No need. I understand. After all the pain I caused you…” He grimaced. “I still haven’t done enough for you. I don’t know if I’ll ever do enough to compensate for my actions.”

I shook my head. “You don’t understand. You surprised me, that’s all.” Which was true. I didn’t need to mention the fire.

“I’ve been thinking of ways to help you with your…money problem.” He turned to Pellow. “Can you give us a minute?”

The CO’s face creased into a mixture of amusement and shock.

“I broke up that fight yesterday and saved Sewer’s job,” Devlen said to him. “You can let me have one minute.”

Pellow hesitated a moment more, then nodded. He said to me, “Yell if you need me. I’ll be on the other side of this door.” Then he left.

“Sewer?” I asked.

“One of the officers. He smells awful.” Devlen lowered his voice. “That’s not important. Finding your blood is. Here’s my idea. I lose points every time I break the rules, and if I become a problem, I’ll be sent to Wirral. Once there, I can—”

“No.” He wanted to be transferred so he could talk to Tricky and Ulrick. “No. Do not become a problem.” Why not? I had complained over his light sentence.

“But—”

“They didn’t trust you on the outside, why would they talk to you in prison? Besides, I have another way.” I could see he wasn’t convinced, but the thought of him inside Wirral upset me. “Promise me you won’t cause trouble.”

“Why not? I can help you. I want to help you.”

“I need you here.” I almost smiled at his puzzlement.

“Why?”

Good question. “Because I can’t visit my Story Weaver if he’s incarcerated in Wirral.”

His confusion turned into utter astonishment. I couldn’t erase my statement, and I suspected I had gotten myself in deeper with Devlen. I hoped I wouldn’t regret it.

Pellow entered, announcing the end of our session. He unlocked Devlen’s wrists from the chair.

“Promise me,” I said before they could leave.

Devlen grinned. “You have my word.”

His word. When had I started accepting it? Perhaps all those lessons in body language had given me more of an insight. Or not. If I could learn how to lie with conviction, Devlen could, as well. I stopped second-guessing myself. Nothing but a headache to be gained for it.

After I left the prison, I headed toward Justamere Farm. Located on the western edge of Fulgor, the boarding and training stable was within walking distance of my new home. Quartz greeted me at the pasture’s fence. A shy Thoroughbred stood next to her. She had made a friend.

I loved the stable. Clean, neat and in good repair, the buildings housed a number of horses and an indoor training ring as well as one outside. With another hour of sunlight left in the day, I decided to saddle Quartz and do a few practice jumps.

If Devlen was my Story Weaver, then Quartz was my best friend. Spending time with her, I let all my worries and frustrations melt away. A creature of power and energy, she flew over the hurdles with ease. I needed to imagine dealing with my own problems the same way. Stay on task, keep a steady pace, launch at just the right time and land without upsetting your stride.

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