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Jamie clicked the remote by his hospital bed. He rose the back of the bed into a relaxed sitting position. He removed his dinner tray from his bed and traded it for the laptop Desmond brought in. “You don’t have to do this,” he said. He laid the laptop on the desk and powered it on.
Desmond took the rocking chair next to Jamie. The room was larger than Jamie’s bedroom, with a bathroom along the far wall, mounted TV across from the bed, and large windows looking out on the street below. Desmond picked up the spoon and scooped pudding out of the small plastic cup it came in. “Nah man,” he said with the glob of food in his mouth “I’m addicted to this place’s dessert.” He scooped out another spoonful. “Plus, I need to get the DL on everything you learned while on the other side now that the green team is gone. How is your story holding up?” His phone rang. He checked it and ignored it.
Jamie checked his laptop for any damages. “I mean the military I assume knows the truth since I was saved by them, but my parents and nurses, and I assume everyone at school thinks it was a mugging that went bad.” He paused. “Plus, I just don’t want you to get all harangued for seeing me instead of the team.” He grabbed his phone that was left by his bedside when he woke up and plugged it into the computer.
“That’s what I told everyone. Having Harry know the truth and stuff helped give me some truth to what I said. And I wouldn’t worry too much about that, they won’t mess with me!” Desmond said confidently. “Is that what harangued means?”
“Sure, close.” Jamie nodded toward the laptop. Desmond walked the chair over. Jamie pulled up a video of Dieous hopping into the back of the black van.
“So Dieous does work with the military!” Desmond said. He tapped the cup onto the desk dramatically.
“We already knew that. I think.” Throbbing pain took over, making him rub his head. “I can’t. Too much to remember much. It would help if Harry was here.”
“It’s all good dude,” Desmond said. “He’s busy covering for us anyway so that works. Did you get any more info on who the plate belongs to in the military or government or whatever?”
Jamie tapped on the keyboard. A white square highlighted over a box and zoomed in to reveal the VIN number. “I just need to run this,” he said. He copied the number and put it onto a webpage, hit the search button, then leaned back. “It’ll be a while.”
“I have time,” Desmond said. He put the pudding down and went for the leftover rice and veggies on Jamie’s dinner plate. “I already worked out.” His phone rang again. He quickly checked it and ignored it.
The sounds of city nightlife invaded the room with honking, sirens, and yelling.
“Thanks,” Jamie said after the sirens passed. “You’re a good friend if… I… -If you can call me that anyway.”
Desmond leaned over and tapped his shoulder. He shook his hand out after and went back to shoveling rice into his mouth. “We are. More than Kyane, anyway.” He took out his phone and checked the messages from her again for what felt like the millionth time since he asked her out.
Jamie scanned Desmond’s face. “Why are you interested in her?” he asked. “Most people ignore me, so I ignore them.” He paused and watched the progress bar increase. “She was nice to me once. That was good.”
“I just like her, dude. She’s like really cute,” Desmond said without thinking. An infectious smile spread across his face. “Her voice is soothing and is also really sassy and not in the way the cheerleaders are.”
Jamie shrugged. “If you say so,” he said.
“Cheerleaders are more stuck up. Well some of them are, most maybe. Anyway, they are like stuck up, she’s the opposite. She’s like a hard-edged, with a heart inside.”
“She’s like a Cadbury Creme Egg,” Jamie said.
“I guess. Or well I thought she did. She has been like totally MIA.” He checked his phone again, and regretted it so went back to eating.
“We did-Did-All see-all see some stuff. She’s just differ-different.”
“I guess. But being with people helps and stuff. Going solo doesn’t.” He looked and saw Jamie looking out the window. “At least when you’re on a team if you lose you lose together and grow.” His words didn’t seem to reach. He scrapped the last of the rice out of the bowl and dropped it back on the plate. “I’m hungry. Can we call the nurse and get more desert?”
There was a knock on the door. “What’s so funny?” the familiar female voice asked. The two looked to see Kyane standing in the doorway. She wore a pink sweater, with black jeans, boots, and her hair down except for two strands braided around her cranium.
“What are you doing here?” Desmond asked.
“Take a seat,” Jamie said. “I think Desmond would give up his.”
Desmond shook his head at Jamie subtly, then reluctantly relinquished his seat. They sidestepped each other. Desmond treasured the moment her perfume tickling his nostrils. Kyane sat down, then placed her hand over Jamie’s hand. “How are you feeling? I heard you were mugged or something.”
“I got beat up and almost killed and made it out alive. Not many people can say that.”
Kyane gave a knowing laugh. “You’re right on that one. How did you get out of that situation? Did they just leave you?’
“I wouldn’t ask that,” Desmond said. His arms were crossed, and he leaned against the window. The city’s neon lights streaked across his face.
“Why not?!” Kyane asked. She turned to Jamie. “Why not?”
“I don’t remember all that much.” He rubbed his head again. “I got attacked by a big guy in a suit, like the one who attacked the school, passed over, got hit with some weird gas and was out of it after that.”
“I’m sorry to hear that,” Kyane said. She moved her hand over his arm and ran her fingers through his hair. “I’m glad you’re okay.”
Desmond snickered. “You glad? Yeah right. That’s why it took you three days to come visit him!” His voice was slathered in sarcasm. “What was so important that you couldn’t come to see him the second you could?”