Valerie punched Tony square in the jaw. Tears blurred her vision and she took another swing. Needles in her hand lasted a split second and she pulled back again. This time he hugged her into him.
“I’m not against you, Valerie. Trust me.”
“I can’t trust anyone.” She cried into his chest. His thin shirt muffled her scream. “Especially you.”
Two hands on her cheeks he pulled her away and looked Valerie in the eye. “I would let you walk away if I knew it wouldn’t kill me.”
“If you stick around too long, that’s exactly what will happen.” With all of her resolve she broke his warm, comforting embrace. It hurt to simply walk away from his negative magnetic charge, but not in the same way as leaving August behind. She had known Tony less than fifteen minutes yet she knew it would destroy her if she ever walked away from him.
“Here,” Tony said tossing her the wrist band. He slid his on and sighed.
Valerie put hers on and looked at him again. With the effects of their DiaZem genes muted by the device, Valerie still felt a sting from her separation. His force was stronger than Lucas or August.
“Hey Tommy! You guys come out here for Christ sake. What the hell, man? Don’t you know who this is?”
“My queen,” a man said as he walked out of the woods. “I’m… I’m so sorry. I didn’t realize.”
“Knock it off,” Valerie said crossing her arms. “I’m not who you think I am. I never was. I don’t care about the rebellion. I don’t care about any of this, but if you tell anyone you saw me I swear I’ll kill you. And you know I will.”
Valerie looked beyond Tom to the tree line. About twenty faces looked back at her: some women, teenaged boys and girls. Then she heard a baby cry. Her eyes burned before she could stop the gut-wrenching reaction.
“Come on, Valerie,” Tony whispered. “We have to keep moving or the Council will be on us before we get to cover.”
“But you said…”
“The Reactance has your kids, but the Council shot you down. I can explain once we get home, now let’s go.”
“Home? Don’t you dare take me back.”
“My home! Seriously, let’s go. Please? I’m not going to force you to do a thing, and honestly this is not the kind of Tuesday I had in mind when I woke up today. I’m willing to help you, but I am not willing to sit here and argue while my people are sitting ducks in the open.”
He would let her go, Valerie decided. He gave her the choice. Free will. Liberation rose like electricity in he...