from "Rebel, Rebel" by Tod Davies

“Sssshhhh,” Dea hissed. I hit my shin on a malfunctioning DreamRec™ someone had left sticking out in the middle of the passageway. I swore, then I giggled, and Dea’s hand clamped down over my mouth.

“Quiet, you idjit,” he ordered softly. We were creeping down the passage in front of Malinda’s door. As we passed, it opened, and light streamed out, a detail I clocked later as weird. I knew Helpers didn’t need light to maneuver. Now I know Cade was in there with her, having figured out things I should have known myself, dammit, if I hadn’t been so full of my own opinion of my supposed high IQ. I’ve learned since that if you want to trip up an opponent, lay on the flattery. It works every time.

Malinda glided out from the light and looked at us, expressionless. She took in everything, the way she always does: us both frozen, holding our shoes in one hand.

I giggled again. Dea kicked me in the shins.

Still expressionless, she looked us up and down. Then turning, she soundlessly disappeared, shutting the door. The gold beam of light went out.

If I’d been thinking, I would have wondered about that.

“She thinks we’re going to sex!” I whispered, gleeful. I tried so hard not to laugh, tears shot out of my eyes.

“That was my plan, idjit!” Dea grabbed my hand and yanked me on. So we ran, holding hands and our shoes, down the passageway and out the door.

We weren’t going to sex, of course. This was far more exciting. After all, we could sex any time, with any klatchmates we wanted. But this way it looked like we wanted a little privacy—as if Dea has ever wanted a little privacy from an audience ever! We thought it was the one activity that Malinda wouldn’t monitor. Blocked. We’d been told she was blocked from this one area of our lives.

I know now that was just a lie.

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- from "Rebel, Rebel" by Tod Davies

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