New Bits, pt 4

As promised, here’s another fiction fragment for your enjoyment(?). Let me know what you think if you’d like.

It took Howitz about thirty seconds to get the squad leads out of his office. Jules emerged about thirty seconds after the others. She grabbed me by the upper arm and pushed me toward the door as the other squads of four gathered around their leads for briefings.

“Let’s go,” she said, still pushing a little too hard for my taste.

“Wait. Aren’t we going to do a briefing?”

“Didn’t read the file, did you?” She pushed me even harder, out into the passage, forcing me into a right turn toward the motor-pool.

“Of course, I did.”

She looked at me like my mom used to.

“Well, I read most of it.”

Suddenly, she was my grandmother.

“Okay, I skimmed it. What?”

“How the hell did I wind up with you for a partner?”

“Just lucky, I guess.”

We passed an empty office and she shoved me in. For only being five-foot-five and maybe a hundred pounds soaking wet—in a parka—she sure could throw me around.

“Look, Simmons,” she said, reaching up and grabbing my throat, pinning me to the wall, “I need your head on straight for this one. You’re a good agent, but your tendency to piss me off is starting to get old.”

“Okay, God. Alright.” I said, putting my hands on her wrist to gently pry them away from my neck.

She released me of her own accord and stepped back.

“Are you ready to work or not?”

“I’m always ready to work, you know that.”

She spun around on her heel and moved toward the door, expecting me to follow. I did.

“I should have left you in that back-water ‘burg,” she mumbled as I tried to catch up to her, “instead of bringing you into the Division.”

“Hey, look. I’m sorry.” I had to raise my voice as she accelerated down the corridor toward Egress.

“I read the fucking report, okay?”

She stopped on a dime. So did I, or else I’d have run her over.

She slowly turn her head, until she was forced to turn her shoulders, then the rest of her body, to face me. I’d stopped so close that she was forced to look almost straight up to see my face.

I’d never been so frightened before. Not even the first time I’d used Egress, and that scared everyone, or so I’d been told.

“Why—?” She started.

“Christ, Jules. I was just fucking with you.” I took a step back, mostly because I couldn’t stand being within striking distance. “I may make some questionable decision, but it’s not because I don’t read the mission briefs.”

Turns out, three feet is still striking distance with Jules.


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