14 Chapter 14
As I walked into the office, I put a grin on my face and my used mu usual confident walk with my shoulders back and my head held high. I sat in my chair and looked up and Wilker. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see Garret staring at me and smiling. I had thought he would be one of the ones to see through this act I was putting up, but he was one less person to worry about. But I could see in Wilker's eyes that he didn't believe this. It was going to be hard to convince him I was fine.
He stared at me for a minute then he asked, "So, is that outfit a little more up to Jaycie standards?" I nodded. Then quickly added, "There not my clothes, but they will do." I looked over at Garret and he was smiling at me. I could tell he wanted to come over and give me a hug, a kiss, something. But he didn't so much as shift closer to me. I wanted so much to just be able to stand up, and go give him a hug, but something in me had changed. My feelings for him, they had changed. He was still close to me, but in a different way.
I knew it wouldn't be me making the first move. I looked away from him. I felt guilty for some reason. I shook it away, and Garret asked, "So, what has been going on for you for the past two months?" People keep saying two months, but it felt more like six, seven months. I think back over it. So much time in the mirror room. To much time in the reception room. And that father and son. I never saw the son's faces because he had taken to wearing a lower face mask and some tinted glasses. I thought over everything it did, and everything that hat happened. I didn't even thing to answer before Wilker said, "Jaycie if you need time, take it. Don't keep pushing yourself to your limits." I closed my eyes, took another deep breath, and put an amused grin on my face.
"There are so many stories I could tell. God, If I had all the time in the world, I don't thing I could fully explain the furry in Xalem's face. Or Sairyia's face for that matter." Both Wilker and Garret perked up. "What did you do?" Garret asked, right as Wilker asked, "Who are they?" I decided to answer Wilker first. "They are the leaders of the sand city. Xalem is like the king for lack of a better term, and Sairyia is like the queen." I keep on explaining everything I learned and observed, from the many hidden passages to the small things like guard routes. Wilker started writing it all down. I purposely kept out the mirror room, I was going to wait for Garret to leave, to tell Wilker about that.
When I final finished with my explanation, I turned to Garret, but didn't meet his eyes. "As for what I did. You are better off asking what I didn't do. I did everything from chucking my heel at the guards head, to dancing and singing on top of the dragon statue. To say I was the worst pink there in the history of the city is an understatement. And a big one at that." Garret laughed. "That's my girl." I felt myself frown slightly at that statement and turned away from Garret, so he didn't see it. But I instantly regretted it, because Wilker saw my frown.
I shoved a smile on my face and said, "If you don't mind Garret, I need to talk Wilker alone." Garret immediately stood. "I understand. Take your time. I will be in the sparring room. Come find me when you are done okay?" I nodded and he walked off. When I turned to Wilker, he was staring at my with a peculiar expression. Before he could get a word out, I quickly let out the news about the mirror room. I came out in on big rush and felt like a weight coming off my shoulders. When I finished telling him, his face had gone stone hard.
"And they repeatedly put you in there?" I nod. "Yes, but I deserved it. I shouldn't have been throwing things at them and killing them. Causing trouble and making scenes. It is my fault I got in there so much." I could feel my mask falling away. The me that Xalem had made was shining through. Wilker sat straighter in his chair. "Jaycie, look up at me." I meet his eye and he started talking. "Whatever they told you to justify their actions was all I lie. He saw you in need of help, and he tried to take advantage of that. He tried you to shove you into a mold that was made for someone else. I know you, and I know you are faking everything right now. Don't try and fool me, because I am a lot smarter than that and you know it."
I nodded trying to keep tears back. I don't know where they were coming from, but they were coming weather I wanted them to or not. I felt one slip down my cheek, and I covered my face with my hands. I spoke in a small voice. "I am trying to act normal. I am trying to be strong. But I can only be so strong for so long. I can only give so much before I have to take something back." It was quiet for a moment, then I felt a hand on my shoulder. "Jaycie, you have given enough. Take some time. Get yourself in order. Then go out and try to give more. But you will break yourself beyond repair if you try and give to much."
I look up at him and say, "What if the only way to get myself in order, it to completely fall apart and start from scratch?" I ask. He looks down at me and gives me a smile.
"Jaycie, sometimes I wish you were more like the boys. They would just take the time off and come back telling me they were fine. You are to smart to do that." I give what I think is a small laugh. "I want to kill them." I say. "Who? The boys or Xalem and his wife?" I am about to give say Xalem when I feel a remark come to me. I say it, not with my usual snarky tone, but I still say it. "Can't it just be both?" He laughs and says, "When ever you are ready to go take Xalem down, tell me. I will be waiting." I stand up and nod. "I want to take the break. If not to get myself in order, to get my thoughts in order. To figure out what I need to do. If Garret comes looking for me, don't tell him I went home. Please." He nods and says, "Go home. Go to sleep, figure out what you want to do. We will all be here in the morning."
I nod and walk out of his office. When I pass the door of the sparring room, I look in and see Garret smiling. He is talking to one of his friends. They are circling each other, getting ready to attack, but they are still joking around. I watch for a second before walking out of the building. "Call me a coward, but I can't face him right now." I think. I walk through the streets, no one bothers me. I can't help but see the irony. "When I am wearing all my blades, and am a hard target, I always get attacked. The one time I am not wearing a single blade, I don't. I mean I am not complaining but, go figure." I thought.
When I get to my apartment, I let out a deep breath. It feels surreal to be back. I thought I would never see this place again. I quickly made something to eat, then changed into my pajamas. I neatly stacked Garret's clothes in a chair, then lay back in my bed. I expected my thoughts to keep me up, but I felt myself falling to sleep quickly. The last thing I think of before I am dragged under is, "I am finally safe. Or at least as safe as an assassin gets."
When I wake up, I feel like I have calmed down. I see Garret's clothes on the chair and sigh. I am going to have to take them back today. After laying down for a few minutes, I get dressed. While I ate breakfast, I decided on something. "Before I get over everything, I need to finish off Xalem. And I already have a plan. I will need Garret to be on board with it though." After putting away my dishes, I grab his things and work my way back to the guild.
When I get in, I walk directly to the sparring room. Sure enough, Garret was in there, with about half a dozen other assassins. Training and fighting. Zachery was among them, in fact, he was stepping up to have a go at Garret. I saw the smirk on Garret's face. I hurried to the middle of the room, grabbed Garret by the arm, and pulled him to the far side. At first, he looked annoyed, then realized I was the one who pulled him off and looked happy. I handed him his clothes and said, "I think these belong to you." He laughed off the comment that had taken me the whole walk over to come up with. "I think you are right." He said.
I opened my mouth to say something when I heard Zachery. "Hmm, now I wonder how it ended up that Jaycie had Garret's clothes at her place." He knew very well that I had worn them out of the guild, but very few others did. From the shock on the other assassins faces, and the fact that they were looking in between us, I knew exactly what they assumed. I stormed up to Zachery. "Why do you think. You saw me wearing them home." He smiled coming up with a way to turn that on me to. "So, you couldn't even wait to get to your place first?"
I was speechless. I looked at everyone else in the room, "Every last one of you know that I have been missing for two months. I had no other clothes when I got here. I just barrowed his." Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Zachery open his mouth again and I spun to face him. I expected my fist to fly, instead I heard words coming out of my mouth. "Zachery, please stop. You know why those were at my house. Please, just stop talking." My words are only loud enough for him to hear.
He looked shocked that I didn't take a swing at him and just stood there. After a few seconds he nodded and just walked off, like he was thinking. I turned to Garret, and he looked shocked as well. "I need you to come with me. I have a plan and you are part of it. I just need Wilker to approve it." Then I walked out. I didn't wait to see if Garret followed. When I was almost all the way to Wilker's office. I felt a hand wrap around mine. "Jaycie, what is wrong? Why are you acting like this?"
I try and pull away, but he doesn't let go. "Acting like what?" I ask playing the innocent card, but it didn't work. "Practically begging Zachery to be quiet. Not talking back every chance you get. Missing out on a chance to slap Zachery silly. What's up?" "How did you know what I said to Zachery?" I ask. "I can lip read. Remember?" I had completely forgotten about that. He used the skill a long while back and I use to tease him about only using it as an excuse to 'look at my pretty face' while he was practicing.
"So, what is wrong?" He asks. I shake my head. "Nothing. I just needed sometime." "And I still need more." I add in my head. "No, there is more to it. Come on Jaycie, you can trust me." I yank my hand away from him and keep walking. "Yeah, I know." I say, thinking about when I was trying to leave and how hard he tried to stop me. He grabbed my hand again, only this time he also wrapped an arm around my waist to keep me from pulling back again.
"Jaycie, it is okay to open up." I shook my head harder and tried to pull away with no luck. "Just leave it be Garret. You don't know what is okay and not. Just stop pushing me." "I am not pushing Jaycie. I am chasing. You keep pulling away from me. You keep pushing me away. I don't want to lose you." I feel tears in my eyes. "Garret, please just stop." "Why?" He asks. "I want to help you. I want to do what's best for you." That last comment makes my burst into tears. Something I would never do, much less in the middle of the guild. "You want what is best for me? Then why don't you do what I ask? Can't you just trust I know what I need?"
He looks shocked. "Jaycie, I didn't mean to make you cry. Heck, I didn't even know you could cry." I glare at him. "Just because I don't show my feelings often doesn't mean I don't have them. I can only take so much. I can only give out so much before I start to fall apart." He is speechless. "Jaycie..." "No, just back off. All I need is for you to be my back up. Other than that, we just happen to work in the same building." I turn towards Wilker's door and I see it come open right as Garret grabs my hand again. "Jaycie. You don't mean that. I know you don't." I yank my hand away again in back up. "You say you know me and what I need, but you don't. Stop trying to control everything. Stop trying to control what I mean, do, and what I feel. Just stop coming into my life."
As soon as the words come out of my mouth, I feel like someone hit me in the gut. With tears still stinging my eyes, I rush into Wilker's office, pushing past Wilker. He is staring at me in shock, then he looks at Garret suspiciously. Garret is just standing in the hall, watching me. As I enter the office, I rush into the bathroom. I need to collect myself. I needed to stop whatever was happening before I ruined Garret and I completely if I hadn't already. I shut the door and slide down it pulling my knees to my chest and resting my forehead on them. I take several deep breaths. I calm myself. I needed to get my calm collective self back.
I took several minutes, but I hear footsteps coming towards the door. Before they withing knocking distance, I hear Wilker say, "Garret, sit. Let her cool off." "But sir, she needs someone with her. To help her." Garret answers. Wilker is quiet for only a moment. His words are quieter this time, and I can barley hear him, but I still do. "She doesn't need anything from anyone. She can handle everything on her own. Trust me, I know. If she want's help she will come to you. Or maybe to someone else. If you keep trying to help her, she will never come to you. I may just seem to be heartless, not trying to help her, but I am helping her more by stepping back then you are by stepping forward."
Garret takes another step closer to the door. "I have to at least see if she meant what she said about getting out of her life." "Garret." Wilker says again. "Yes?" He answers. "The second you knock on that door, is the second she will never trust you the same way again. Weather she trusts you more, or more likely, less after you knock, it will never be the same. Trust me. I have been exactly were you are. I just happen to get lucky with her trust."
I feel more tears in my eyes. Wilker was right. He was lucky when he had tried to figure out what wa wrong. I had ended up trusting him more then ever, but I could feel it deep in my bones. I needed Garret to back off, I needed him to trust me and to not try and push me. I needed to be able to trust him. But if he kept pushing me, I knew whatever was between us would break. Maybe even for good.
I hear Garret take one more step towards the door and I suck in a breath. I silently beg for him to back off. To listen to Wilker. "Garret. Trust me. If you don't want to lose her, let her go." Wilker said. I heard Garret's feet retreat. I let the breath out and it came out shaky. I stood up, and pace in the bathroom for a few minutes. After collecting myself, I walk out of the bathroom and go sit in my chair. I don't look at Garret, and but I can feel his eyes on me. "Wilker." I say. "I have an idea."
Wilker tilts his head slightly and says, "What?" So, I start telling him my plan, and I know that even though I an not talking directly to Garret, Garret is still listening to my very word. "It starts with us going back to the sand plains. I would die my hair a different color first, and get eye color, so they didn't know it was me, but we will go back and kill Xalem. And his wife. They are having guests over next week, if I remember. I can go in as a 'new pink' and get close. Garret will be a guard. We can go under new names. They will be busy with making sure these princes are well taken care of, that they won't notice us. I have everything planned out; I just need your approval."
Garret is the first to speak. "No. It is to dangerous. If they catch you, they might kill you." I take a deep breath and keep talking to Wilker. "I will be fine. I was with them for two months. What are a few more days? You give us a week, and then come get us in the carriage."
Garret speaks again. "Jaycie, it is to dangerous. You need-" I turn to him and cut him off. "What I need is to be able to make my own decisions. What I need is to be able to know that Xalem can't treat anyone else like he treated me. What I need is to figure everything out. What you want is for me to play it safe. What you want is to try and keep my locked in the guild. What you want...well it doesn't really matter. I choses you for this mission because I assumed you would help me, but I can find someone else if I need." I purposely enunciate the 'I need' and 'you want' so he can hear the difference.
I turned my back to him and looked back at Wilker. "If I make you a mission report, can we go?" Wilker thought. "Make the report, I will look over it. We will talk then." "Okay. I will be in the other study." I walk out leaving Garret there, and as much as it hurt, I had to stop him from telling me what I needed. I heard Wilker start talking to him, but I didn't stay long enough to hear what they spoke about. I quickly work my way into the far study and pull out a blank mission report.
I start to fill in the aliases. I would go under the name Kiya Farsaye. Whoever went with me would go under the name Avi Greyson. I would dye my hair brown with hair dye that would eventually wash out. Then make my eyes a purple color, just because I always wanted to use that color. Since they didn't really see Garret, he was fine. Pretty much any assassin would work other than Zachery. I put in all the information that it required. After about two hours, I heard a light knock on the door. "Not here." I yell.
I smile because that is something I would usually say. Zachery walked in. "Okay, then I won't come in, and I am not going to talk to you. Deal?" I smile and nod. I sit back in my chair and he sits in front of the desk. "How are you doing? I haven't asked. You asked me as soon as you woke up, and I didn't even bother to see if you were okay." I nod and lift my shirt high enough to show him my back, were the sword hit me. It left a white line. It had gone far enough into scar. Zachery showed me where the sword struck through him. "Looks like we have matching scars." I laughed. "Yeah. Now every time you see it you can remember how you got all sentimental and just had to save my life." I scoffed playfully. "No, I just happened to fall out of the carriage and knew if I only saved myself, Garret would have thrown me to them.
I roll my eyes. "And what about when you killed that Guard with a dagger?" He thought for a second, looking for an excuse. "You mean that crappy throw, It was on accident. I just slipped and the knife went flying. Don't flatter yourself. You are barely worth saving." I let my head fall back. "You will never change no matter how many times I save you will you?" He laughs walking around the desk and sitting on the corner, looking down at my filled in report. "Nope. I will always be a pain in your-" I push him off the desk before he finishes the sentence. "Off the desk." He smirks at me and stands up, leaning against it this time.
"Well, sometimes you need someone annoying so you can remember what peace feels like." He smiles. "Yep." I just stared at him. This felt like a truce of sorts. We were still going fight, and argue, he was still going to make fun of me, but when it really mattered, I could trust him. As if he read my thoughts, he nodded. We were at an understanding. I didn't realize how this would look to someone walking in until I saw Garret staring at us from the doorway. He looked hurt. As if I had betrayed him. Zachery looked back and saw him "Well, I am going to go." He walked out the door, and I saw Garret growl at him. Zachery smirked and just walked by.
Garret walked all the way in and just sat in the chair in front of the desk. "I am going on this mission." He said. I could see in his eyes he wanted to say something else. He wanted to ask me if I was okay, but he didn't. "Good." I answer. I walk to the door with my file, but before I walk out, I say something to Garret over my shoulder. "Please, don't come to my apartment tonight. I am trying to figure things out. I will see you tomorrow. If you do somehow know what I need, you will know I need space." "Okay." He answered simply. My next two words were barely a whisper. "Thank you."
Then I walked to Wilker's office. I set the file on his desk and looked him in the eye. "I will be back tomorrow to see if we can leave. I will be back, and ready. I am taking the rest of today off." With that, I left. I just went to my apartment to think things over. To think everything over. And to figure out what I was going to do next. Figure out my next steps, sort out my life.