“You’ve picked up too many civilized sensibilities,” Thea informed me as we headed back to the safehouse.
“Because I didn’t kill him? He’s misguided, not evil. He doesn’t even hate me. Why kill him?”
“It’s the only way to be sure you’re rid of an enemy.”
I didn’t ask her about the others. I didn’t ask her how many she had killed – knowing it was likely to be more than one, less than all of them. But I didn’t think I could ever become…easy about it the way she was. Or maybe the way I had been before. “I’m not…whoever I was before.”
“Oh, you are. People just change and drift and sometimes drift back. You don’t even have to have memory problems for that.”
I knew she was right. I had changed and would change. “I want to protect people, not hurt them. I want these people to stop going after me and I would rather not have to kill all of them to do it.”
“I’d rather not have to kill all of them, either. But I don’t want you getting hurt.” We’d reached the door. “…because of your sensibilities. Next time, shoot the guy.”
So, that was her concern. “I’m better hand to hand and you know it.”
“At that range?”
She had a point. I let out my breath, which blew hair away from my face, although the wind put it back there a moment later. Irritated, I brushed it away as we went inside.
To discover we had been compromised. There was a note on the table. It was addressed to me. I started to go over.
“Gloves,” Thea cautioned.
“Worried about contact poisons? Maybe a face mask too, just to be safe.” We had those lying about. But there was no white powder in there that might have been anthrax or cocaine.
Just a note, written in an elegant yet masculine hand. “Mr. Otter.”
“Might have known. What does he want?”
“Believe it or not, lunch.” Did I say yes or no? He was probably going to try and convince me to give him the horn again. Or something. “I don’t think he means any harm.”
“I am pretty sure he would never hurt you,” Thea said quietly. “Intentionally, anyway.”
“Maybe he already has.” I wasn’t even sure why I said that.
“Intentionally,” she repeated, heading for the fridge to raid snack food. I stared at the note. He wanted lunch. He named the place – not one I’d been too before, out along the orange line.
I somehow felt it would cause far more trouble to refuse than to accept.