Moving further into the trees proved harder than I’d imagined. We had to be more quiet than we’d been before, with the chance of guards working their way towards us for Max’s body. And Lillian kept stepping on branches, no matter how many times Steph or I shushed her.
After a couple of tense minutes, I thought we were probably hidden enough from view that we could stop and wait for Damon.
“How long do we wait?” Steph asked once we’d sat behind a fallen tree.
“What do you mean?” I watched Lillian crawl further under a bush for cover and pull her jackets tighter around her.
“Well.. what if Damon doesn’t make it around the hard way? He could get hurt or get caught… and then we’re just out here waiting to freeze to death.”
She had a point. But I didn’t have an answer. The only thing I could think about was our last conversation before they had picked us for the next group of runners. I had to avoid meeting her eyes for too long at a time so she wouldn’t read it on me. I wanted us to stay friends. I’d never wanted to put that in jeopardy.
“Mandy… tell me what you’re thinking about.” Steph’s voice was barely a whisper.
Damn. She could read it on me, anyway. That’s why we’d been friends for so long.
“I’m sorry… I just… “ I cleared my throat and changed the subject. “We’ll wait for… an hour. Damon should be able to get around in that time. And if he hasn’t shown up and we haven’t seen or heard anything from the guard, we’ll keep moving. We might have to backtrack a few times and try different paths, but we should be able to find the safe house. He’d said it wasn’t far… just not the direction.”
I knew Steph was staring hard at the side of my head, but I didn’t turn to look at her. I couldn’t break right now. Someone needed to be the leader.