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Ordinary anything but se.., p.5

Ordinary (Anything But Series Book 1), page 5


Ordinary (Anything But Series Book 1)

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  “What are you going to do to me, shoot me?” Honor’s voice was high and unnatural. She hated how weak and pitiful she sounded. She told herself to be strong, to not show any fear. It was hard when all she really wanted to do was fall to the floor and weep.

  The men exchanged a look and Burns chuckled.

  Honor’s jaw clenched. A spark of resentment zapped her, adding some fire and life back to her. It was better to be mad, at least she wasn’t as scared then. “Glad you find this so amusing.”

  “Not this,” Burns replied. “You.”

  Honor didn’t even try to understand his ridiculous words.

  They were in a narrow hallway. It smelled strongly of antiseptic. Metal doors like the one she’d first walked through lined the walls on either side of them. She glanced at one. It had a small rectangular cover near the top of it over what could only be a window. The cover looked like it slid open to offer a view inside.

  “What is this place? What are you doing to people here?” Honor asked in a faltering voice as she unconsciously jerked into Agent Burns. Honor’s teeth began to chatter, her body shaking. Cold, she was so cold.

  “She’s in shock,” Agent Nealon murmured from the side of them.

  Burns snorted. “Wait until she sees them.”

  A squeak left her. See what? See who? She was struggling to draw air into her lungs and she had the horrifying thought that they were experimenting on people and she was next. She could handle death…sort of. Torture and experiments of any kind…no.

  Honor’s only thought was to flee, somehow, some way. She’d been waiting for the right moment to make a run for it, but it appeared the right moment was not going to show itself. She took a deep breath and slammed her elbow back with all the strength she had. Burns grunted and his hand dropped from her.

  Honor ran.

  A door loomed before her at the end of the hallway and she raced for it, almost slamming into it as she shifted from a sprint to a dead stop. Honor grabbed the handle and pulled. It wouldn’t budge. Her eyes raced over the cool metal, searching for a lock of some kind. She found a deadbolt, flipped it, and made a sound of relief as the door opened.

  She glanced over her shoulder. Burns and Nealon walked down the hall at a brisk pace, their eyes on her. Why did they look so calm? Honor darted into the room and locked the door behind her. The window was uncovered and she could see them stop and talk to one another. Two, three, four figures appeared behind them and joined the conversation. Eyes turned her way and she ducked her head.

  She pressed the side of her face against the cool metal, feeling the burn of tears in the corners of her eyes. She couldn’t get away. They knew it. That was why they looked so calm. There was nowhere for her to go. There was no escape. She was prolonging the inevitable and had been since that afternoon. She rested her head against the door. Honor’s shoulders shook with sobs. She slowly dropped to her knees, her hands sliding down the door as she went.

  She saw her mother’s sad smile in her mind. Honor felt the silky softness of her sister’s hair against her cheek as she held her close. Her shoulder felt the weight of her father’s warm hand. Where was her father’s voice now? Why couldn’t she hear him? Honor was all alone and it was a horrible place to be.

  Another sound mixed in with her crying and Honor paused. She swiped a hand across her wet face and stood, slowly turning around. Along one wall were cabinets, a counter, and a sink. In the middle of the room was a table. A body was on the table. It was a long figure, male, and his arms and legs were strapped down with fabric of some kind. She scrambled back until she hit the wall.

  The face was turned away, but the shaggy dark brown hair, wet with sweat, was familiar. The locks curling at the nape of the neck and over the ears were ones she’d gazed at every day in history class. She’d even wondered what they would feel like against her fingers. Honor slowly stood and took a step closer. He wore a white tee shirt and white pants. His feet were bare. Like someone in a mental institution. Was that what this place was? Some form of a whacked society harvesting teenagers or something? A sick feeling weaved through her, making her dizzy.

  Honor moved around the table with her eyes trained on the unmoving form. “Christian?”

  The relief she felt at finding him alive was so powerful she would have sunk to her knees if she hadn’t grasped the edge of the table in time. But the relief was also false and it didn’t last long. There was nothing good about the situation, not even finding Christian. He was unconscious and tied down to a table, not exactly the scenario Honor would have chosen for him to be in, had it been up to her. His face was ashen and his eyes moved behind closed lids. His jaw was clenched, like he was in pain. Christian’s hands were fisted at his sides so tightly the veins popped up and his knuckles stood out.

  “What did they do to you?” she whispered.

  Her eyes examined him for bruises or cuts and found none. There was nothing visible on the outside to warrant the apparent agony he was in. She chilled at what that meant about Christian’s insides. Had they done something to him undetectable to the human eye? Honor swallowed; dizzy with fear and nausea. She hesitated, and then slowly reached out a hand to lightly brush bangs damp with sweat from his forehead.

  His brows lowered and his teeth gritted, making her think even her light touch pained him. She frowned and dropped her hand. Honor wanted to help him, but didn’t know how, or if she even could.

  A light knock at the door forced her attention away from Christian. She could make out the outline of features through the small window, but that was all. Honor stood there, staring at the door. She knew whoever it was could have unlocked the door. So why didn’t they?

  “You might want to unlock the door now. For your sake…sooner is better than later,” a dry voice told her.

  The voice was familiar and mocking. Recognition hit her and took the air from her lungs. Honor sucked in a ragged breath, unable to comprehend why he was on the other side of the door, in the church, with the bad guys. A second of something like betrayal went through her, diminishing any and all nice thoughts she’d ever had of him, which hadn’t been many to begin with. Instant fire flared through her veins.

  Gone was the hopelessness, the despair, the fear. She should have known. Why was she surprised? He was a despicable person, who did despicable things. Nothing should have the power to shock her where he was concerned. He was one of the bad guys. Honor bolted for the door, her fingers flicking the cold lock. She wrenched the door open, knowing it would be his face she saw first and still thinking she was mistaken somehow. But no, it was him, looking his polished self He appeared unconcerned and even amused.

  Ryder smiled. “Hello, Honor.”

  She stared at his handsome face, hating it, hating him. His face should be ugly, just like everything inside him.

  “You’re involved in this?” she said in a voice that shook with rage.

  Honor’s entire being trembled with it. Her only thought was that she wanted to hurt him. She wanted to punish him for making her think, for even one second, that maybe he wasn’t so bad. She wanted to hit him for making her doubt herself, rethink his intentions, and even find him slightly likeable.

  “We’re all involved in this, Honor.”

  “I hate you.”

  Something indescribable flickered in the shadows of his eyes. “I know you do.” Then he smiled with his lips, but not his eyes—never his eyes.

  She hated that smile. She never wanted to see it again; she wanted to make it disappear. Whatever they’d done to Christian, whatever was going to happen to her, Ryder was part of it. She would never forgive him, never. Christian might die, she might die, and there Ryder stood, smiling that cynical smile of his. It was too much. With an animalistic cry Honor swung her fist into his pretty face, satisfaction going through her at the sound of something crunching.

  He grabbed his nose and fell back, hitting the wall with his shoulder and sliding to his butt. Blood seeped through his fingers and dripped d
own to his expensive shirt. Honor went for him again. She had a handful of his shirt when someone grabbed her and hauled her off, vise-like arms holding her immobile.

  She tried to get away from the strong hold, but it was like stone. “You’re part of this! I should have known. You’re scum, Ryder! You hear me? Scum! I hate you! I hate you!”

  A small figure knelt beside Ryder and he waved her away. It was Natasha. Honor screamed in fury, feeling like she could explode with it. Natasha too? She wanted to make them pay, make all of them pay. She kicked and clawed at whoever held her. Honor’s hair partially covered her face, strands of it in her mouth. She spit it out, wanting to scratch Natasha’s eyes out.

  “What did you do to him? What did you do to Christian? I’ll kill you for this. I’ll kill you!” She was dragged down the hall. “You’re dead! You’re all dead.” The arms tightened and Honor’s voice cut off. She wheezed in a breath, not able to get enough air through her lungs.

  “You need to calm down,” Nealon said into her ear. “We didn’t do anything to your friend but put him on that table. And only because he’s a danger to himself and others.” He gave her another painful squeeze and kicked the door shut that led to the hallway. She was hefted up and an arm hooked under her legs.

  “Put me down,” she said in a voice that shook.

  “I don’t think so.”

  The strength seeped from her and Honor went limp, her body trembling. Her eyelids drooped. She was so tired. Her throat hurt and the hunger that had been gnawing at her insides was gone. She just wanted to sleep.

  “Adrenaline is wearing off. Good. You need to rest.”

  Honor let her eyes close as she was carried away. She couldn’t fight it anymore, that numbing sleep that called to her. She longed for the blackness that would take all thoughts and feelings away, at least for a little while. In that dreamlike realm, she wouldn’t be scared, she wouldn’t worry.

  “Where are you taking me?” Her words sounded mumbled and slurred. A door opened. She was carefully set down on a bed. A blanket was pulled over her shoulders. The door clicked shut. A key turned in the lock.

  Sleep took over.

  Something tickled her nose and Honor rubbed at it, wanting to sink back into an unconscious state. Then reality hit her. Her eyes snapped open and she jolted upright, pushing away the blanket. Everything from the past twenty-four hours came rushing back, and along with it fear and anger. It would choke her; debilitate her, if she let it. She couldn’t. Honor had to find a way out, had to keep fighting. She had to somehow get Christian and escape from the church that wasn’t really a church. Honor felt queasy when she thought of all the possibilities the place really was.

  She was in a small room with white walls and a bed. Honor noticed the antiseptic smell she associated with hospitals, nursing homes, and funeral parlors. It turned her stomach and though she was starving, she was almost glad it was empty. She went still, sensing another presence in the room. She felt the heat of eyes on her and looked up. A lone chair sat in a corner and Ryder occupied it. His nose was swollen and a white bandage covered the middle of it. There were purple bruises under his eyes, which amplified the greenness of them.

  His arms were crossed over his chest and he didn’t look happy. Regardless of his face, his hair was styled and he wore a red Diesel shirt and fashionably faded jeans. Some things never changed. Honor was sorry for hitting Ryder for about a second until she reminded herself where she was, what had happened the day before, and that Ryder was somehow involved.

  “Why are you in here?”

  “Because I can be.”

  “So you just sit in random girls’ rooms while they sleep? Talk about creepy.”

  “I guess we already discussed this, didn’t we? Disturbingly creepy, that’s me.” He leaned forward in the chair. “I can be wherever the hell I want to be. Just so you know.”

  Face on fire, she snapped, “You shouldn’t be in here. You shouldn’t be anywhere near me. If you were smart, you wouldn’t be.”

  “Save it, Rochester. You almost broke my nose.”

  “Does it hurt?”

  He lifted a hand toward his face and dropped it. “You could say that.”


  He nudged a tray on the floor with his boot. It had oatmeal, toast, and orange juice on it. “Hungry?”

  Honor’s stomach growled. “No.”

  Ryder’s lips turned up in a fleeting, sadistic smile. He kicked the tray across the room. It hit the wall and overturned. “Good.”

  Honor’s mouth dropped open. She was so used to his attempts at charm that she was stunned by his current behavior. Apparently he was no longer trying to pursue her, if he ever had been. She supposed her almost breaking his nose might have something to do with that. Honor absently flexed her swollen and sore fingers.

  “I’ve been watching you the last two years, Honor, and I have to say, you’ve become a disappointment to me. I don’t even really feel like trying to impress you anymore. I am so over it, so over you.”

  “I care.” The sarcasm in her voice was blatant, but the jolt in her stomach said she did care, at least a little bit. “And watching me for two years? Not stalker-ish, at all.”

  “Don’t pretend like you didn’t like it.” He knocked on the door and it opened. Ryder gave her a half-smile over his shoulder. “Payback’s a bitch, isn’t it? I’m going to make you regret that little stunt you pulled last night.”

  Through the door Honor heard him say, “She threw her tray. Guess she’s not hungry.”

  Honor’s face burned and she ground her teeth together. Had she briefly, even for one millisecond, found something likeable about Ryder? Clearly she had been out of her freaking mind. Everything about Ryder Delagrave was a lie—a big, fat, untruthful, faithless, mythical—lie.

  Nealon strode into the room. His brown hair was short and neat, and she hadn’t paid attention last night, being kidnapped and all, but a goatee covered his chin. His eyes were brown and intelligence shone in them. Nealon had to be in his thirties or close to thirty. The supposed agent was attractive, for an old guy. He wore tan slacks and a dark blue dress shirt, gun and holster clearly visible.

  He folded his hands before him and looked at her. He didn’t repulse her like Burns did, but he didn’t exactly give her a warm, fuzzy feeling either. He was dangerous, that much was obvious. Remember that.

  Honor fidgeted with the blanket. When she could take the heat of his eyes no more, she blurted out, “What are you going to do to me?”

  “That depends.”

  She swallowed. “On what?”

  He tilted his head. “Are you feeling cooperative today?”

  “As opposed to…yesterday?”

  He nodded. “As opposed to yesterday.”

  Honor shrugged.

  “Ryder says you threw your tray against the wall.”

  She kept her eyes trained on his brown shoes. Honor itched to reveal the liar Ryder was, but what would be the point? That would only make things worse for her and she wasn’t a tattletale. She would handle Ryder’s behavior in her own way, minus others’ interventions. She’d always stood up for herself in the past, always fought her own battles, and that wouldn’t be stopping now.

  “Come on.” He gestured with his fingers. “Let’s go.”

  Honor stayed where she was. She didn’t trust him. She didn’t trust anyone. Who knew what they planned on doing to her? They could act like they meant her no harm and turn around and shoot her. Or worse, stick needles in her arms and screws in her brain. Slice and dice her, fillet her. Amputate some limbs. Her stomach lurched and she pressed her arm against it. They wouldn’t really do those things…would they? Unfortunately she didn’t know.

  “I want to go home. I want to see my mom.” Honor lifted her chin when her voice wobbled.

  What was her mom thinking, and Scarlet? They had to be worried sick. She couldn’t stand the thought of them wondering and distressing about her. She couldn’t stand the thought of
bringing them pain. They’d been through enough already, with her dad dying and all. Honor didn’t want to be the cause of any more sadness for them.

  Her eyes burned and she lowered her face from Nealon’s probing gaze. She did not want him to witness her sorrow. Honor would give anything to go home, to let her family know she was okay—for the moment anyway. She’d never been so homesick in all her years, not from the week spent at summer camp when she was twelve, not from the class trip she went on last year to New York, never.

  “I’ve talked to your mother.”

  Honor laughed. “Oh, really? And what did you tell her? That you kidnapped me, have me locked up, and are going to do who knows what to me? How did she take the news?” She turned her head and took a deep breath, trying to gain the control that was starting to slip away.

  “She was very understanding.”

  He must have thought her really naïve, or really stupid.

  Honor raised her head and glared at him. She spoke through gritted teeth, “Bull shit. You’re lying. If you really did talk to her, which I doubt, then you lied to her. Because she would not be understanding about all of this. You’re lying to me.”

  Nealon straightened. “There is much you don’t know. First of all, I hardly ever lie.”

  “I don’t know anything because no one is telling me anything.”

  He crossed the room and leaned down, his face inches from hers. Nealon smelled like toothpaste and cologne. Honor reared back. “Because every chance you get, you run,” he said slowly. Nealon stared at her a long minute, and then stepped away.

  Honor released a breath she hadn’t realized she was holding. She raised a shaking hand to her matted hair, and then dropped it. “So if I…if I…cooperate…you’ll tell me what’s going on?” The words burned her throat. Honor tried to swallow and couldn’t. She didn’t want to cooperate. She wanted to leave.

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