Christiana found Connor in The Bubble, talking to Liam again. He laughed at something and smacked Liam’s back. She watched him for a moment without announcing her arrival. He was so light and carefree. He looked as if he hadn’t a care in the world. She remembered for a moment the dark pit of pain she had felt from him the night prior. She dismissed that immediately. She was pissed at him, and she was going to let him know about it, regardless of what he might be feeling.
Christiana cleared her throat and he turned to see her, his face lighting up even more as he jogged over to her. She felt her resolve slip slightly at the sight of how happy he looked to see her. But she held onto it, this needed to be discussed.
“Hey, you got my message!” Connor said, reaching her and pulling her into a massive hug.
“What message?” Christiana asked.
“Didn’t Katie tell you to meet me here?” Connor asked, then dismissed it. “Never mind, you’re here. Come on, I’ve got loads planned for today.”
“Connor, wait.” Christiana said, every part of her screaming at her not to ruin his light, playful mood.
Connor seemed to ignore her and continued to pull her along. “I’ve had this idea.” He said. “We tried touching outside, but there was something else I realised we never tried.”
“I’m against this, by the way.” Liam chipped in. “From what you two were like yesterday, I’m pretty sure the machine will explode.”
“Relax, Liam.” Connor said. “It’s fine. Me and Christie can control ourselves, right?” He flashed her a wide grin.
“There’s something that I need to…” Christiana once again tried to get out.
“Once we’ve had a brief trip outside again, I’ve got loads more things planned. There was this amazing French styled park that I came across during the scouting mission. It’s only about a mile a away from here, and I know you’re going to love it. But we can’t got there for another couple of hours because… well, that you’ll have to wait for, got to keep some of it a surprise.”
“Connor, stop!” Christiana yelled.
Both Connor and Liam stopped what they were doing and watched her. Liam looked really awkward all of a sudden and quickly excused himself, making his way to the monitors at the other side of the room.
“We need to talk.” Christiana said. “Back in the room maybe?”
“What’s wrong?” Connor asked, suddenly full of concern.
“Don’t give me that look, Connor.” Christiana said.
“Like you give a damn about me.”
“Why the hell would you think I didn’t…”
“Two words: ‘Mission Outside.’”
Connor’s face went pale.
“Yeah, maybe we should go back to the room.”
Christiana led the way, storming out of The Bubble and not checking to see if Connor was following. If he knew what was good for him, he would be. With every step she took, she felt more and more angry until by the time she reached home, she was seething. The moment that they both were inside and the door was shut behind them, she turned on Connor.
“What the hell were you thinking?” She spat.
“It’s not like I had a choice in the matter.” Connor said, trying to keep his voice calm. “Kelly insisted.”
“Oh whatever, Connor. It’s not like you’ve never said no to her before.”
“Not when it comes to work. No.” He said. “If she needs me, I need to be ready.”
“One month, Connor! Not even that! Three weeks we have left until you once more disappear off on something without discussing it with me first.”
“I was going to,” Connor said. “I told Kelly that you wouldn’t agree with it last night.”
“Last night?!” Christiana erupted. “You mean to tell me that you knew all about it whist you were with me last night and you didn’t say anything?”
“I didn’t want to ruin the good time we were having…”
“You mean, you didn’t want to ruin the chance of getting laid.”
“Nice, Christie. Good to know you have such a high opinion of me.”
“I try to think you’re a decent guy, but every time I do, you do crappy things like this.”
“You think I’m doing this just to spite you? Believe it or not Christie, this has nothing to do with you!”
“Exactly!” Christie was screaming now. “It’s never to do with me. If I was asked to do some life threatening thing, you would be the first person I would consult with. But you? You just go ahead and throw your life away as if no one else’s opinion matters.”
“It’s not as dangerous as you think…”
“Really? Did you know that Daniela doesn’t agree with you guys going out there, because she doesn’t trust the suits? Does that sound like it’s something that’s not dangerous?”
“We’ll make sure that everyone stays safe.”
“I don’t want to hear this speech again. I heard it all the first time you disappeared.”
“And look who that turned out! We all came back, completely incident free.”
What you’re saying is; you did it once by not consulting me and it went fine, so therefore you don’t ever need to talk to me about anything?”
“Oh come on,” Connor said, his voice raising to match Christiana’s. “Like I had a choice. The moment I raised it, you would have reacted like… well, like this! Forgive me if I didn’t want to spend my first night back with a crazy person.”
“Oh, so I’m crazy now!?”
“I’m just saying, you spend enough time with a certain kind of person, it’s bound to start to rub off on you eventually.”
Woah. Christiana couldn’t quite believe he had said that. His words seemed to fall down on the conversation like a ton of bricks. Connor sighed and dropped his head.
“I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have said that.”
She could feel tears prickling at her eyes. She blinked them away angrily and met his eyes levelly.
“You know what? I’m going to make this really easy for you.” Christiana said eventually. “Either you go to Kelly now and tell her that you’re not going, or you can take all of your stuff and get out.”
Connor’s eyes widened at her ultimatum. “Christie, can’t we at least talk about this?”
“Why? You make decisions without talking to me all the time. Now I’m giving it a try. Either you stay here and let the others go on without you, or we’re done.”
Connor seemed to weigh up his options. He stared at her like a rabbit in the headlights for a couple of seconds. Eventually he sighed.
“I have to go, Christie. I can’t let my men go out there without me.”
Crap. He hadn’t chosen her. He had left her alone and wanting. She stifled a sob, and drew in her breath. Determined not to show him how much that had hurt. When she was sure she had her emotions under control, she spoke.
“I’m going to go for a walk. I’ll be an hour. When I get back, I expect that you and your stuff will be gone.”
She turned to leave and Connor dashed forward, grabbing both her arms.
“Christie, wait. Please don’t do this.”
Christiana refused to meet his eyes, knowing that if she did, she would cave. Instead she shrugged him away and headed for the door. Opening it and dashing out just in time to hide the mountain of tears that began to fall down her cheeks.