Was I paranoid, or was someone after me?
I really didn’t know. I wasn’t sure. Could they know? I mean, we were talking about spies here, spies in a clandestine organization who did spy on people for a living. They probably had all kinds of surveillance equipment everywhere, hours and hours of video. They had to have every moment, every single humiliation on film locked away in the archives. They might have known before I did what I was, what I could do, who my parents were, all of that.
I was, admittedly, rather frightened by that prospect.
I had to know what they knew…
“I can’t help it. I’m really starting to freak out now.”
April grabbed hold of him and shoved him down on the couch. He tried to get up, but she sat on the side of him, leaning against the arm rest and put her legs on him, holding him down. “Stop it. I realize that this is hard to accept—and it could mean any number of horrible things, but it doesn’t have to. What you need to do—other than breathe, of course, is think about what you can do about those possibilities. You need to find out what’s really going on. If they know anything, maybe they can help you.”
“Or they’ll lock me up and experiment on me.”
“You let Larabee experiment on you.”
“Not exactly let, and he could have been working with them all this time. It’s not the same. And I don’t know. It’s—Larabee’s been the only one I can trust, the only one that believed me, the only one that knew about what I could do. I lived with him. I saw him naked. If he’s in on this…” Clayton hung his head. He didn’t know what to think. Did he trust Larabee? Should he trust Larabee? He didn’t know. He wasn’t sure he had anyone at this point. April might have been there, but Clay didn’t know about her, either.
He didn’t like this. He didn’t like feeling alone and unable to trust anyone or anything. He was ready to give up, really. He wanted to throw in the towel at this point. He didn’t know what to think or do at this point. Giving up almost seemed easier. He wouldn’t have to try and figure out who he could trust or what he should do. He sighed, closing his eyes.
April kicked him. “Hey. If that sigh is what I think it is, knock it off.”
“We’re going to figure out something to do, not mope. First step, establishing whether or not you can trust Larabee.”
“Oh, right. You don’t trust me now, do you?”
Clay moaned. “I don’t—it’s not that I don’t want to, but I just… I don’t know what to think anymore. And now you’re going to hurt me for admitting that, aren’t you?”
“I should. In fact,” she leaned over and punched him, hard, in the arm. He grimaced, reaching over to rub the sore spot. “Still, you’re human. I’m not surprised that you started wondering about me, too, but I’m also angry. And hurt. Why would you immediately start doubting me? I didn’t even believe you, remember? Why would you think that I had anything to do with them? I told you about your boss contacting me.”
“I know. It’s just… You’ve been very forgiving ever since the whole random age shift and I just… It feels too good to be true because nothing is easy with me,” he admitted. She gave him a look, kicking him again. He shrugged. “I’m sorry. I’m definitely a worst case scenario thinker, okay?”
“Not saying you need to be an optimist all the time, but you do need to work on that attitude of yours. I think you’re better than when I first met you, but not by much.”
“I doubt that you have anything to worry about with Larabee. If he’s given them any information it’s probably without his knowledge,” April said, shaking her head. “I know he works with them, but he doesn’t seem the type. Not after those costumes.”
Clayton laughed. “He does like his spandex.”
April leaned over and kissed Clay’s cheek. “Come on. We may as well use the direct approach on Larabee.”
“Clayton! April! So good to see you both,” Larabee said, opening his door. One look at the man’s outfit, and Clay could tell that Larabee had just barely put pants on. It seemed crazy to think this man could be a part of any kind of conspiracy, but it was not impossible. “What are you doing here?”
“Clayton’s boss came to see me.”
April shrugged. “I don’t know. We were starting to think that it might be something to do with Clayton’s ability.”
“Ooh, you think they know? That’s not good. That’s very, very not good. Though… It would explain a few things, really.”
“The fact that I don’t have a family? The whole internship and job thing?” Clay began, shaking his head. He didn’t know about this. He sighed. “It doesn’t matter. We need to find out if they do know. And we need to know what you told them.”
“Me? I’m not working with them. Why would you think that? Why would you doubt me?”
April patted Larabee on the back, then frowned at her hand. She shook her head, wiping it off on her jeans. “He thought I might be working with them, too.”
“Wow. I never realized how big of a conspiracy nut Clayton is,” Larabee began with a smile, laughing a little. Clayton frowned. What about this was funny? Nothing was. This was a bad situation. He didn’t know why they’d be interested in him, but he didn’t think it was good. And who were they? Probably not the whole organization. Was it just his boss, the suit? Or were there more? How big was this conspiracy? What was he going to do about any of it? His head hurt. There were too many questions, and never enough answers, as always.
“It is possible that I gave them information without meaning to, though,” Larabee said with a sigh. “I’m going to have to go over everywhere with a bug detector. It’ll take a while, but after we clear an area, we might want to stick to it. Three locations are a bit to maintain, you know.”
“Well, Clayton’s apartment is out. That place is barely big enough for one person.”
“This is just an excuse. He wants us to move back in with him,” Clay muttered, shaking his head. “Well, me to move back in with him. You never lived with him. And you shouldn’t. Ever. Don’t.”
“I think he might have a point,” April began, and Clay tried to stop her. She couldn’t really believe that he needed to move back in with Larabee. Why were they accepting that Larabee didn’t work with them, anyway? Because he didn’t wear pants?
“I am not doing this. I don’t care if it’s a risk. I can’t move back in. That’s back sliding.”
“Look at it this way—if you really think that they know what you can do, it’s time to really put your power to use,” Larabee said, rubbing his hands together with glee. Clayton frowned, looking over at April for a second before running for the door. “Wait! I have a new costume to show you!”