Chapter 11

Kaliba

Part I

Just for the record, John had to say that getting shot sucked.

The bullet would have pierced his heart – goodbye, future savior of mankind, do not pass go, do not collect two hundred dollars – had he not seen the muzzle flash and turned sideways at the last second.

Thinking, through the mind-numbing terror, Rookie. I can’t believe I just opened the fucking door without looking.

He felt a pop in his left shoulder, almost like he’d snapped a tendon. The bullet’s impact drove John backward; he let himself fall, years of training with his mother forcing two essential words into his brain: TAKE COVER.

The pain didn’t hit immediately. His shoulder hurt, like he’d banged it really hard, but it wasn’t agonizing. Probably he was in shock.

While John was falling, the living room erupted into a full-on gun battle. The gunman – a muscular, nearly-bald man with a brutal, rat-like face – stepped around the doorframe and peppered the kitchen with bullets. Sarah and Derek dove for cover, squeezing off shots as they tumbled. Cameron, however, took the small arms fire in stride. Ping, ping, ping, the bullets glanced off her endoskeleton, not phasing her in the least as she marched forward three graceful steps, leveled the shotgun, and delivered a single round to the dumbfounded gunman’s chest.

Blood, tissue, and bone spattered the walls and ceilings. The gunman crumpled at the foot of the stairs, his head lolling to the side, facing John, who was lying where he’d fallen beside the couch. The pain was starting to set in; his shoulder ached, and his fingers were numb. Dimly, John registered his mother screaming his name.

A second gunman appeared on the threshold. This man John recognized: George, the guard from Desert Canyon Heat and Air. Dammit, John thought, I knew that op was too easy…

Derek leaned out of the kitchen and fired off three shots in quick succession, driving the gunman back out the door. George the Guard fired around the frame, forcing Derek to take cover again. Sarah, meanwhile, was slithering belly-down across the living room floor, where she flung her entire body across John’s.

“Stay down, John,” Sarah whispered in his ear. “Stay down.” He nodded.

Cameron marched past them, reached outside, seized the gunman by the throat and hauled him into the living room. She swiftly scanned the yard for more enemies, then kicked the door shut with her foot. George gagged and flailed, the gun slipping from his fingers as she lifted him off his feet.

Cameron looked seriously pissed.

“Don’t kill him!” John cried, his words muffled by Sarah lying on top of him.

Cameron continued to hold the squirming, choking gunman above her head. She gazed down at John with her flat Terminator eyes. “Why not?” she asked.

“Because I want to know who sent him.”

Rather reluctantly, Cameron set George on his feet. She kept her hand around his throat, relaxing her grip just enough to let him draw a breath.

Derek was securing the house, checking all the doors and windows, gun in hand. Sarah, white-faced, ripped John’s T-shirt open to inspect his wound. “How bad?” Derek called from the kitchen, where he was scanning the backyard for more gunmen.

The ache in John’s shoulder had become white-hot pain. He felt tremendous pressure beneath his collarbone. Breathing hurt. A lot.

“I don’t know,” Sarah called back to Derek. “Maybe bad.”

John wondered how bad “maybe bad” was.

“I’m sorry,” he managed to say. A single tear leaked out and slid down his cheek; he gritted his teeth against the pain, not wanting to lie there and bawl. “My fault.”

If he’d just looked before he opened the damn door…

Sarah shushed him. “Not your fault. Not ever your fault,” she said, almost fiercely.

“The yard’s clear,” Derek announced as he entered the living room. He went to kneel beside the first gunman’s gory corpse.

Cameron gave George a little shake. He gagged, clutching uselessly at her hand around his throat. “Are there are any more of you?” she demanded.

“No,” George croaked.

Cameron looked at Sarah. “He could be lying. We should go.”

“The cops will be coming anyway,” Derek threw in. He was searching the dead man’s pockets, coming up empty. “The neighbors will have heard those shots.”

“Can you move?” Sarah asked John.

Oh, this was going to be fun. Suck it up, he ordered himself.

“I can move,” he said, with more confidence than he felt. More like, I can stand up and pass out, will that help?

“I can carry him,” Cameron said.

Derek pressed his pistol to George’s temple as Cameron effortlessly scooped John into her arms. The pain was so incredible now he couldn’t even be embarrassed that his girlfriend was carrying him out the back door like a baby. Every breath was pure agony; the pressure below his collarbone was so intense, he thought his chest might explode. John’s vision dimmed, his pulse running thready in his veins.

Cameron cradled him gently, somehow managing not to jar him as she walked. John let his head rest on her shoulder. The night air was blessedly cool on his face; he was sweating, feverish from fear and pain.

“The bullet didn’t go through,” he heard Sarah telling Derek.

Get it out, John wanted to say, but he didn’t want to be a whiner.

“Where are we going?” Derek asked.

Cameron was opening the back door of the SUV, easily supporting John’s weight one-handed. “The hospital,” Sarah answered. Derek must have had a look, because she snapped, “We don’t have a choice. He needs a doctor.”

“No hospitals,” John grated out.

With exquisite tenderness, Cameron laid him across the backseat. Her lovely face loomed over his, dark eyes glistening in the starlight. She settled the fingers of his injured left arm on his stomach, oh-so-carefully.

“No hospitals,” John repeated, in his best this-is-a-direct-order voice. “Take me to Charlie’s.”

Cameron looked him right in the eye. “Don’t leave me, John,” she said.

Pain arced through him. He arched his back against it. “I love you,” he gasped, and blacked out.

In the darkness, a campfire flickered, casting eerie shadows across a graveyard of bleached skulls and twisted metal. Soldiers’ voices rose and fell, singing in English-accented Spanish:

“Negras tormentas agitan los aires
nubes oscuras nos impiden ver
Aunque nos espere el dolor y la muerte
contra el enemigo nos llama el deber…”

The youngest soldier turned to John, who recoiled in shock as he realized he was looking into his own face – his sixteen-year-old face, God knew how many years in the future.

Future-John was sitting with Derek and Kyle Reese amidst the ruins of Los Angeles. Cameron was there, too, petting a German shepherd, and it slowly registered to John that the dog wasn’t barking.

Future-John smiled at Present-John and sang in English, “Black storms shake the sky, dark clouds blind us; although death and pain await us, duty calls us against the enemy…”

John woke up on a soft bed in a dark room. The pain in his shoulder wasn’t excruciating any longer, though it was still there, tendrils of it working down into the tips of his fingers. He pushed up onto one elbow – wow, that hurt like a son of a bitch – and took in his surroundings: a twin bed, the smell of the ocean, second-hand curtains, a dog bowl in the corner.

The lighthouse. They were at Charlie’s.

He heard raised voices in the living room. Gingerly swinging his legs over the side of the bed – dizziness rolled over him, and he gripped the edge of the mattress until the world stopped spinning – John slowly got to his feet, slipped a black zip-up hoodie on over his bare chest, and paced out into the living room.

George the Guard was handcuffed to a straight-backed chair in the middle of the room, and he was clearly having a rough night: His right eye was swollen shut, two of his teeth were missing, and his cheek was split open nearly to the bone. Derek and Sarah both had scrapes on their knuckles, as though they’d been taking turns beating information out of the man. Cameron sat placidly on the couch, observing. The idea of torturing somebody made John queasy, but he reminded himself that this man had tried to kill him and his family hours earlier.

Sarah started when John appeared. “Should you be up?” she asked. Meaning, Go back to bed, you don’t need to see this, he assumed.

“Where’s Charlie?” John asked.

Cameron had risen and glided across the room to his side. She helped him over to the couch, slipping her fingers into his. John offered her a quick, grateful smile.

“We put Charlie and Riley on the boat after he patched you up,” Sarah explained.

John glanced down at the bloody bandage packed against his left shoulder. “Did he get the bullet out?”

“Luckily it wasn’t in too deep. He was able to control the bleeding pretty fast, but he said you need to rest.”

“I’ll rest later.” John leaned back on the couch, mindful of his wound, and Cameron settled back with him, fingers entwined with his. “You okay?” he asked her. “It didn’t mess up anything, when he shot you back at the house?”

She looked down at her chest. She had changed shirts; the bullet holes were no longer visible. “No. It didn’t mess up anything.”

Relieved, John nodded at their captive. “What’s he told us so far?”

“George here was just explaining how Desert Canyon Heat and Air downloaded their security cameras to an off-site monitoring facility,” Derek said. “Apparently they got us on tape breaking into their warehouse.”

John frowned. “I disabled the security system.” Had he fucked that up, too?

“They had a back-up,” Sarah told him. “When we opened the safe without the code, it triggered a secondary system.”

John remembered thinking it had been a bad idea for Cameron just to rip the safe door off its hinges, though of course he didn’t say that out loud. No reason to make her feel guilty, when she’d simply been doing her job. “How’d they find us?”

“The lawyer,” Derek sighed. “The one your mom and I have been following. Kaliba knew what files were on those hard drives, so they sent our photos to the security details of anyone whose information we might’ve been able to access. George was just explaining how the lawyer’s bodyguard clocked us the day before yesterday, but he hadn’t yet gotten around to telling us how they found out where we lived.”

Cameron slid a switchblade out of the pocket of her jeans. “You should let me question him,” she said, and John suspected this was not the first time she’d made the suggestion. “It would be more efficient.”

George paled. “I’ll talk,” he said quickly.

Sarah looked like she wanted to strike him again for good measure, yet she restrained herself. “So talk,” she snarled.

“The security detail tried to tail you home, but they lost you,” George related. Derek smirked; John supposed his uncle had been the one driving. “It was your little tag-along friend they were able to follow.”

Sarah shook her head, mystified. “Our tag-along friend?”

“That little dark-headed Aussie broad.” George shrugged. “We never got her name out of her. Which is surprising, ’cause usually Ed can make anybody sing.”

John was completely lost, but Derek had turned ashen. “Where did you follow this little tag-along to?” he asked, his voice tight with…What? Dread? Rage?

“A hotel downtown,” George replied.

Oh, shit. Jesse.

Derek went into the kitchen and stood staring out the back window. Sarah, her gaze flicking to John’s uncle with something close to pity, grabbed a fistful of George’s shirt and hauled his face close to hers. For a second, John thought his mother was going to bite the man in the face, her expression was so vicious.

“Did you kill her?” she demanded.

Shaking, George nodded. “Eventually, yes.”

Sarah released him with a disgusted grunt. Familiar hollowness expanded inside John’s chest. Someone else had died for him. Another life ended for the cause of John Connor.

John flashed back to his odd fever dream for a moment, to his future-self (which had looked, inexplicably, exactly like his present-self) singing, “Although death and pain await us, duty calls us against the enemy…” He drew a strange comfort from the memory. Jesse had been a soldier, at least. She had gone willingly into battle, had chosen to lay down her life for the Resistance. She wasn’t just some innocent bystander like his foster parents or Charlie’s wife.

“Jesse didn’t know where we lived,” Derek said from the kitchen, his eyes still on the darkness beyond the window. “I never gave her the address.”

“Riley knew,” John pointed out quietly. “She would have told her.”

Derek nodded. “Right. I should’ve realized.”

Seeing his uncle so rattled unnerved John. He’d never seen Derek struggle to hold it together.

“I want to know where the Drone is,” Sarah said to George. “We know they’ve built it. People have seen it. It wasn’t at the warehouse, so where do they keep it?”

George swallowed audibly. “Lady, you might as well kill me. It’s less than what The Company will do if they find out I told you that.”

Sarah crouched in front of him. “You have a daughter, right? Zoe, isn’t it?”

Mortal terror filled George’s eyes. “How did you…?”

“You’re not the only one who can do recon,” Sarah answered snidely. “I’ve stood in front of your house. I know where your family sleeps. You tell me what I want to know, or I swear to God, I’ll kill everyone you love.”

Sarah Connor was an excellent bluffer, John noted. It must have been the righteous fire in her eyes: She looked like a fanatic. Few people knew that, deep down, Sarah was anything but a murderer.

“It’s in a pond,” George whispered. “Near the warehouse.”

“The one with the dead cows around it?” Sarah guessed. He nodded. She rose from her crouch; John could see the wheels turning in her mind.

“What are we doing, Mom?” he asked. At the moment, he was too tired and sore to be the leader. Besides, this was what Sarah excelled at – getting them out of impossible situations.

“Derek and I will go out in the desert and see if we can’t find a way to destroy this Drone,” Sarah decided. She pointed at George. “You’re coming with us. The two of you,” she turned to John and Cameron, “are going to stay right here. You need rest, John.”

John wasn’t going to argue with that. “What about Charlie and Riley?”

“It’ll be safer for them to stay away until you’re gone. I told Charlie not to come back until we called him.”

Meaning if they never called, they were all dead, and Charlie and Riley should simply move on.

“We’ll call you once it’s done and tell you where to meet up,” Sarah continued. “We’ll leave you the truck keys and take the SUV.”

Weariness overcame John. He was too tired suddenly to even contemplate walking back to his bed, so he stretched out on the couch, his head in Cameron’s lap. Gently, she touched the side of his face.

Don’t leave me, John, he remembered her saying. A blush crept up his cheeks as he recalled his response: I love you. Probably they needed to have a conversation about that…

But not right now. Right now, the future leader of mankind needed to sleep.

Part II

Late that night, in response to a request from Sarah Connor, James Ellison called in a favor from one of his old buddies at the LAPD – amazing how few of those he had left, given all his years of faithful service to the FBI – and was briefed on the crime scene details of a Jane Doe found dead that evening in a dumpster along Hollywood Boulevard.

Tortured. Doped. Whatever the attackers had wanted out of Jesse Flores, they’d apparently gotten it, after several excruciating hours (and by several, the M.E. was guessing at least twenty). Sarah Connor and her clan were on the run, again, this time from the Kaliba Group.

But now, they weren’t on their own. Ellison was on the case.

Although it was the middle of the night, Ellison left the seedy bar where he’d met with his old buddy and drove to Zeira Corp headquarters. He had a hunch Weaver would be there, and he wanted to find out if she or the A.I. had any information on Kaliba he might be able to pass on to Sarah. The woman had sounded a little desperate; Ellison thought maybe some intel would help her through this latest tragedy.

John Henry creeped Ellison out. Cameron he was scared shitless of. Weaver he couldn’t get a fix on. Sarah he respected in spite of himself. John he liked. The computer – the computer gave Ellison nightmares.

Maybe it was the face. The face of the monster that had killed so many of his comrades that awful day, when God himself had forsaken James Ellison. Or maybe it was the idea of Skynet, the world burning in nuclear holocaust, machines rounding up people and marching them off to death camps, a brutal and tireless assault on humanity. In any event, Ellison was worried that John Connor had made a mistake by trusting Weaver’s creation.

Naturally, Weaver picked right up on his misgivings.

“You think John Henry is going to betray us,” she announced. She and Ellison were alone in the elevator, as usual, riding down to visit John Henry. The fact that it was two o’clock in the morning hardly seemed to register with her.

“I think he shows a lot of interest in his brother,” Ellison hedged.

“Don’t mistake interest for desire, Mr. Ellison,” Weaver advised. The doors pinged open, and she stepped out, gliding smoothly down the corridor with him in tow. “John Henry values human life. John Connor explained to him what Skynet will do, what Judgment Day will mean for us all.”

“The end of the world,” Ellison murmured.

“Not literally, of course.” Weaver paused with her hand on the doorknob, looking back at Ellison. “The world will go on. The question is, will humanity?”

Ellison folded his arms across his powerful chest. “What’s your stake in all of this, Ms. Weaver?”

“My stake in saving humanity? I’d have thought that would be obvious.”

And that wasn’t an answer, Ellison thought, but he’d learned not to push her. Instead, he rephrased, “How did you find out about Skynet, Judgment Day, all of that?”

“I read the FBI file you created for Sarah Connor,” Weaver answered. She smiled at his surprise, one of those Hannibal Lecter smiles of hers. “After everything we’ve seen, James, did you really think I wouldn’t believe her story?”

With that, she pushed open the door and sang out, “Hello, John Henry.”

“Hello, Ms. Weaver. Mr. Ellison.” John Henry sat stiffly in his chair, his hands folded on the table. The screens behind him were whirling with data; Weaver studied them as if she understood it all perfectly, while Ellison didn’t bother trying to make heads or tails of the mixture of websites, images, and binary code flooding the screens.

“Have you discovered anything about the location of your brother?” Weaver pressed the A.I.

“Yes,” John Henry replied. An image popped up on the screen: a sky-scraper with a pyramid-shaped top, glittering silver-and-black under the California sun. Ellison glimpsed The Golden Gate Bridge in the distance. “This building is the headquarters of the new Cyberdyne Systems Genetics Division in San Francisco, California. The building is owned and operated by the Kaliba Group. It was purchased eight months ago.”

“Cyberdyne,” Ellison mused, surveying the screen with renewed interest. “That was where Miles Dyson worked. I thought Sarah Connor blew that company up.”

“She blew up a building, not the company,” Weaver corrected.

“Cyberdyne Systems went into bankruptcy following the destruction of its Los Angeles headquarters in 1995 by Sarah Connor,” John Henry recited. “The company was subsequently purchased by the Kaliba Group. Cybderyne’s most promising research, on the creation of artificial intelligence and cyborg technology, has been relocated to its San Francisco offices.”

“So this is where Skynet is being built?” Ellison queried John Henry, gesturing at the building.

“I don’t know. I believe that is where my brother is located,” John Henry responded, in his precise way. “I de-encrypted the hard drive John Connor left with me,” more binary code flowed across the screen, replacing the image of Cyberdyne Genetics, “and discovered that the signal for remote operation of the Drone originated from this I.P. address,” more numbers, meaningless to Ellison, “which corresponds to the address of Cyberdyne Genetics.”

Ellison was trying to keep up, because he hated being outsmarted by a damn computer every day. “You think your brother is the one operating the Drone.”

“Yes. On the hard drive, I discovered the same code that was left behind when I was attacked.” The pyramid symbol of Cyberdyne Systems appeared on the screen behind John Henry.

Weaver looked absurdly pleased. “This is excellent work, John Henry.”

“Should we call Sarah and John?” Ellison asked her.

“Not just yet,” Weaver decided. “We may have located the beast, but we haven’t determined how to slay it.” A maniacal gleam in her eye, she added, “But we will.”

Part III

Derek didn’t speak the entire drive out into the desert, which took nearly three hours from the lighthouse.

He drove. Sarah sat in the back with a pistol on George McCarthy, whose hands were still cuffed in front of him with his own plastic restraints. He didn’t speak, either. Sarah tried not to think about what to do with him. They couldn’t let him go; that would be stupid, reckless. But she wasn’t accustomed to simply executing people, either.

It was easier fighting machines. Cleaner. Simpler.

No dead cows littered the pasture this time. Derek hauled George out of the backseat by the collar and shoved him roughly down the bank to the water’s edge. Sarah followed, grief thick in her veins. Not grief for Jesse. She hadn’t even known the woman, and what she had known of her, she hadn’t liked. Her grief was for Derek.

I’d die for John Connor, everyone always said. What nobody ever realized was they might only get to do that after they’d had everything they loved taken away from them.

“How do we get it out of the pond?” Derek was demanding of George, when Sarah reached them.

“It’s remotely controlled,” George responded. “We used to have controls at the warehouse, but obviously, you blew those all to hell.”

“Maybe they’ve moved it,” Sarah put in. “Maybe they were afraid we’d find it.”

Derek kicked dirt at George. “Did they move it?”

“If they did, they didn’t tell us,” George said. “But that doesn’t necessarily mean anything. Ed and I were just security.”

“You mean hitmen,” Derek corrected, his blue eyes icy. George looked away. “I saw the monitoring station you and Ed manned. What’d you do, George? Listen in on your neighbors, and if one of them started talking too freely about life at the office, you and Ed would pay them a midnight visit and dump their bodies out here in the pond?”

George didn’t answer. He didn’t have to: His expression told Sarah that was exactly what Ed and George had done.

“Mike Thompson,” she blurted out.

George stared at her. “How-how did you…?”

“Your daughter, Zoe. She said they used to live across the street from you.” Rage boiled inside Sarah. “How could you kill innocent people like that, on orders from some ‘company’?”

“It was a job,” George mumbled.

“Being a waitress is a job,” Sarah shot back. “Being a mother is a job. Being a soldier is a job. Being a murder is not a job.”

Derek forced George onto his knees. Sarah held her breath, expecting him to simply put a bullet in the other man’s brain; instead, he turned to her and said, “I’m going in.”

“Going in? To the pond?”

“We have to see if the Drone is still down there, don’t we?” Derek shed his jacket, kicked off his shoes, tugged his T-shirt off over his head. Sarah tried not to stare at the mishmash of scars on his muscular body. Kyle Reese had borne similar scars, and she had hurt for him, too.

“Keep your gun on him,” Derek ordered, which really wasn’t necessary, but Sarah cut him some slack.

“Be careful,” she said, and he dove.

Seconds ticked by like hours. Sarah tried not to be frightened. She wished they understood what had killed the cows. Perhaps it was proximity to the Drone. Maybe it gave off some kind of super-radiation or something. She glanced at George, who had his eyes closed and appeared to be praying. We should have sent him down there, she thought, though obviously they couldn’t have trusted him to tell the truth.

Derek surfaced and dove at least a dozen times, checking every inch of the pond for the Drone. It wasn’t all that deep, fortunately; Sarah wondered if the Drone could fold itself up, become shoebox-sized, like a Transformer. She almost laughed at the analogy. Now there would be a children’s cartoon: a Terminator Transformer.

Yup. It had been a long night.

Finally, Derek crawled out onto the bank and announced, “It’s not down there. They’ve taken it.”

“I don’t know where,” George said, without waiting to be asked. The defeat in his voice was palpable; Sarah instantly believed him. “Please, I don’t know anything else. I just did what they told me to do.” He held his bound hands up to Sarah. “Please. I have a family. I have a child.”

“You son of a bitch,” Sarah cut across him. “I have a child. You tried to kill him tonight.”

“I’m sorry,” George sobbed. “I’m so sorry, lady. Please…”

Sarah’s heart was pounding. Could she do this? Shoot a man in the head, no mercy, no remorse? She lifted her gun, not allowing her hand to shake. She was Sarah Connor, bad-ass bitch extraordinaire. She could do this.

She could do this.

She could –

Bang.

Sarah jumped. George fell straight back, a tiny hole right between his eyes leaking a thin stream of blood. Derek lowered his pistol and, quite calmly, reached for his clothes, which were piled neatly on the bank.

“We should get moving,” he said. “It’ll be dawn soon. Don’t you have a safe-house out here in the desert somewhere?”

She did, in fact, but Sarah couldn’t think about anything at the moment except the dead man in front of her. She pictured the pretty dark-haired girl who had spoken to her so warmly on the sidewalk. Zoe McCarthy now had no father.

“You okay?” Derek inquired. He was pulling on his boots. His T-shirt stuck to his damp chest; water droplets skated down his cheeks like tears.

Sarah wanted to be furious with him, though she didn’t know why. “Did you do that because of Jesse?” she challenged. “Was this a vengeance killing?”

Smoothly, Derek answered, “I did that because I didn’t want you to have to do it.”

He was on his feet, moving past her toward the SUV, marching on to the next battle like a good soldier. Sarah grabbed his wrist, not really sure what she meant to say – to scream at him or to thank him or to console him. “Reese,” she said.

And then he was turning toward her, those blue eyes burning into hers, and his fingers were in her hair and her hands were on his chest and her heart was slamming against her ribs, and she was thinking this was a bad idea, but that didn’t stop her from raising her mouth to meet his with a desperate, almost feral hunger.

God, he could kiss. Sarah clutched at him, and Derek hauled her closer, his body solid as marble against hers. Only marble wasn’t nearly so warm. Her teeth grazed his lower lip and he growled low in his throat, his tongue pushing past her lips. Sarah held onto him for dear life, feeling like she was lifting off.

The moment of passion seemed to consume all of the secrets between them – Jesse, the baby, Kyle – leaving nothing but a white-hot flame of wanting. When Derek stepped back, breathing fast, Sarah nearly sank right to the ground, her bones were so soft.

He supported her by the elbows. “I’m okay,” Sarah managed, shakily, though she didn’t pull away from him.

“You look a little faint,” Derek told her.

She narrowed her eyes at him. “You’re not that good of a kisser, Derek.” He smirked.

What were they doing? They were standing in the middle of the desert, mere miles from the remnants of a warehouse they’d destroyed, with a dead body bleeding onto the scrubby grass behind them, John three hours away recovering from a gunshot wound. Get a grip, Sarah’s inner voice commanded. You’re not a teenager. Control the hormones.

“Come on.” Derek slipped an arm around her shoulders and guided her to the SUV. Sarah didn’t argue when he slid behind the wheel; she was in no shape to drive.

“Look, about back there,” Sarah started, her eyes on the windshield.

“What happened, happened,” Derek interrupted. He sounded neither embarrassed nor regretful, which eased Sarah’s jangling nerves somewhat. “It’s been a weird twenty-four hours. You’re upset over John. I’m…whatever I am right now. Maybe we should just let it go at that.”

Disappointment pricked her heart, but Sarah nodded, not letting him see. “You’re right. We should just let it go.”

Derek put the car in drive. “If it happens again,” he added, with a little grin, “then we might need to talk about it.”

Next Chapter

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