Breed Book 3, Part 4


Irene had been clicking her pen since Tucker’s car left Bellingham, sometimes in time with the music, at others, Mikaela assumed, to the rapid beating of her heart. “I’m nervous,” Irene said finally, folding over the back seat.

“It doesn’t take a psychic,” Tucker said.

“You damn near wore out the spring in that pen,” Mikaela said.

“Shit,” Irene said. “Sorry.”

“It’s okay,” Mikaela said warmly. “It’s okay to be worried. It’s okay to let that worry manifest in slightly obnoxious ways. This is kind of a big deal.”

“Not helping,” Tucker said, a little too loudly.

“I know it is,” Irene said. “That’s why I’m anxious. What these men did- it wasn’t just threatening to the campus, or students. It was a statement, to make sure that every single one of us, no matter where we went, no matter who we became, or no matter where  people like us are now- we aren’t safe. We need consequences, because otherwise it will be a beacon to people like them, declaring open season on people like us. Societal sanction, saying the rest of humanity stands with us against people who would intimidate us. Only… humanity are kind of selfish, frightened jerks, a lot of whom would kind of rather we just went away and stopped making them feel like they aren’t always at the top of the food chain, anymore. So it’s kind of an uphill thing.”

“Yeah,” Mikaela said, “but when they asked us what happened, you were the one who caught their eye. They had a whole campus full of witnesses, and they chose you. They have faith you can deliver for us- and so do we.”

“That helps,” Irene said, beginning to click the pen again unconsciously. The third click broke through her fugue, and she grimaced. “Sorry,” she said, and handed the pen into the front seat.

“It’s okay,” Tucker said. “We’ll get you a fidget spinner for the drive home.”

“You think I’ll still be nervous on the trip home?”

Tucker smiled. “Unless your testimony is so awing they decide to skip large swaths of the trial, including jury deliberations and closing statements, I think we’ll all be driving home wondering how it will turn out.”

“Crap,” Iren said. She started to fidget, balled her hands and tensed all the muscles on her face before relaxing them. “Could I have my pen back?”

“Sure,” Mikaela said, handing it back to her. “There isn’t, uh, anything you could do?”

“Messing with brain chemistry isn’t something I do lightly,” Tucker said. “She might get up on the stand sounding like she’s on horse tranquilizers. Or enough cocaine to kill half of Wall Street.”

“I think I’ll be okay without,” Irene said. “And after last year… I’m kind of looking forward to having my day in court.”

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