Nothing fit right anymore, but it didn’t matter. I could close my eyes and see myself standing at the cabin watching the Six banter back and forth over fishing or swimming. Home. I smelled like home.
The serenity of the moment shattered when Riley burst through the door, swearing a blue streak until she realized she wasn’t alone. “Ace. What are you doing in here?”
She didn’t even bat an eye at what I was wearing. Had she been anyone else, I’d have had my ass ripped for being in civilian clothing. “Oliver just took me to get my clothes.”
She noticed then. “Oh!”
I put my hand out, and she stepped into my arms with a heavy sigh. “What’s wrong, Riley?” I asked, gathering her close and kissing the top of her head. Dread ran through me. I had a feeling I already knew.
She tucked her head under my chin and slid her hands down my back until her thumbs found my belt loops. “Nothing.”
I snorted at her lame-ass attempt to cover up how she felt. “You can’t bullshit a bullshitter, Riles. I know you’re not happy with any of this.”
I caught her face in my hands and leaned down to place a kiss between her brows. Right on the spot that pulled together, telling me she was anything but happy. “I don’t know what I did to deserve you, but I’m gonna prove it every day for the rest of my life. I know you’re miserable. I know this isn’t what you wanted.”
“Once we find the leak and figure out what Nicco is up to, we’ll talk with Nadia and Grant and come up with something. Maybe they’ll even want us to transfer to Scotland.”
A real smile broke through that time. “Okay.”
One word was all it took to make the knot in my chest unravel.
I didn’t want to leave Riley, but Oliver was waiting for me in the cafeteria. “I have to go meet with Oliver. Are you staying in here for a little while?”
She shook her head. “I need to meet with Oliver too. I guess we better get going then.”
Riley made it to the door and had it open before I could cross the room.
“Why do you have to meet with Oliver?” I asked, closing the door behind us.
Her hair spilled over her shoulder, hiding her face from me. It wasn’t often Riley had her hair down, so the missing presence of her ponytail seemed odd. Truth be told, seeing Riley with her hair down was like seeing her naked, as weird as that sounded. Maybe it was because the only way I really saw her hair down was when we were… “Oof.” My side ached and my hand went to the offended spot immediately. “What the hell?”
“Um…” She’d been talking to me and I’d tuned her out as I fantasized about her hair being down. “Sorry, I was uh…” Mentally stripping you and watching the way your hair falls over your…
She snapped her fingers in front of my face. “My eyes are up here, Ace.”
I jerked my gaze up to hers, feeling my cheeks blaze. “I know.”
She rolled her eyes and pushed past me into the cafeteria where Oliver waited at one of the tables.
He looked up from the file he had opened in front of him. When he looked between the two of us, he swore. “Please tell me you two aren’t in the middle of some sort of lover’s quarrel.”
Riley flipped him off and then sat opposite of him. I kept the urge to say something smart-ass back at him locked up tight, choosing to sit down instead.
Oliver looked between us again and then back to the file. “Okay, here’s what we’re gonna do.”
My spine snapped ramrod straight. “We? What we? Because I know you don’t mean Riley too.”
Oliver leaned his elbows on the table as he crossed his arms and looked directly at Riley. “You didn’t tell him?”
“Yes, I did. He wasn’t listening though.”
“What do you mean he wasn’t listening?”
I forced myself to listen instead of drift off as I’d done earlier. Damn her hair. She needed to pull it up and get it out of my thoughts!
“…just like that,” she said, waving her hand in front of my face. “Do you think it’s a flashback?” The fear in her voice startled me.
“I’m not having a flashback,” I answered, shifting myself on the bench seat so I straddled it.
“Then what the hell is wrong with you?” Oliver demanded.
My lip curled as I swung my gaze to him. “I’m dead, so, technically, it could either be classified as everything or nothing.”
Oliver shook his head, tapping the folder in front of him. “Do you think you can keep your corporeal form focused for a minute while we go over tonight’s recon mission?”