Chapter 13

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"I'm ............ steal ....... gun," Matteo whispered so low, to the point where I could only make out a few words. But those few words were all I needed to understand exactly what he was trying to say.

I looked up from my almost empty plate and stared at Matteo who was sitting on my left. His eyes were trained on his fork and the piece of meat that was stabbed on the end.

I took a breath and exhaled, "no," just audible enough for the few people in my vicinity to hear.

Willow, who was on my right, looked over in my direction. "What?"

"He wants to steal the gun," I whispered back.

Confusion flashed across Willow's face as she leaned forward and peered at Matteo before looking at me. "Well if we all attack him at once, I highly doubt he'd have enough time to shoot all of us."

"I don't care," I replied. "It's not going to happen. I won't let it."

Matteo leaned forward and rested on his arms and stared at me like I had lost my mind. "Why not-"

"Alright," Ace said from the front of the room, getting our attention right away. "It looks as though you all are done eating, so we best get you all back to your room. But first..." He walked closer to us and pointed towards the blond-haired girl and a curly, brown-haired boy. "You two are going to be staying with me."

The girl and boy both gazed at each other, the girl looking terrified, the boy looking... I couldn't put my finger on it. He didn't look afraid at all... but there was also something else there.

"Let's go," Ace said with a hint of impatience in his voice, the crooked smile leaving his lips as he turned towards the exit.

We all got up from our spots on the table.

Out of the corner of my eye I could see Matteo taking the meat off of his fork and then hiding the utensil carefully under the bottom of his shirt. I bit the inside of my cheek in worry for Matteo as I looked away from him. If Ace saw that Matteo had kept the fork, Matteo was sure to join the teens who were lying dead in the large beep test room.

Ace suddenly let out a very exasperated sigh and then spun right back around, his eyes landing on Matteo. "Leave the fork."

Everyone in the room froze and held their breaths as they waited for whatever was going to happen next. I watched as Matteo's lips parted in surprise.

"Come-" he said just barely over a whisper. He cleared his throat. "Come lo hai saputo?"

"I know you, Matteo," Ace replied. "That's how."

My eyes wandered back and forth between the two of them as they continued to stare at each other. Matteo still looking surprised and Ace looking disappointed, yet I detected a bit of amusement in the way his eyes gleamed.

Ace's hand made its way down to the gun, wrapping his long fingers around the handle. "Take the fork out of wherever you put it," he said, "and place it back onto the table. Don't make me repeat myself."

Matteo looked down at the floor as he reluctantly took the fork out the bottom of his shirt and placed it back onto the table. As soon as it had left his hand and he had turned away from it, Ace removed his hand from the gun and smiled.

"Perfect. This way."

We all followed him out of the room and down the hall we had come from. This walk was silent, just like the walk to the cafeteria. I could only hear the sound of our bare feet slapping down against the cool floor and the breathing coming from the warm bodies around me.

Once we made it to the familiar door of our chambers, Ace opened up the door and gestured for us to go ahead with a wave of his hand. I followed the people in front of me and then turned around -once inside- for Ace's next instructions, whatever they were going to be.

"That will be it for today," he said from the doorway.

The two teens that were to help him with the laundry were both beside him, the girl looking as though she were close to tears, and the boy with the same strange expression that I was still unable to put my finger on.

"You guys can rest up for the duration of the day," Ace went on, "and then tomorrow we'll be doing some more fun stuff." He glanced at the two waiting teens at his side and then turned to us once again. "I will be coming back shortly to return these two. When I do though, I expect all of you to be in bed and trying to get to sleep. You will be woken up early tomorrow and need as much energy as you can muster."

Ace nodded towards the two teens before leaving with them and closing and locking the door behind them. Almost as soon as I heard the click of the lock, I walked towards my cot and flopped myself down onto my stomach, resting my head on my arms. I hadn't even realized how exhausted I really was.

"We need to talk."

I raised my head up and stared at Matteo who sat down on the cot that he was on earlier when talking with Willow and I. Willow was right beside him and staring at me with a blank expression.

"Talk about what?" I asked, generally confused.

Matteo raised an eyebrow. "Killing the bastard?"

Oh yeah. That.

"You were all aboard the idea earlier," Willow said. "What changed?"

I sat up and shrugged, my eyes training on the floor. "I don't know. I just think it's best if we don't do anything. We'll just wait and get out of here when everything is over."

Willow shook her head and glanced over her shoulder. "He's not going to let us go."

I stared at the ground in silence. There was a big part of me that knew he wasn't going to let us go in the end, but the other small part of me just didn't want to believe it.

I squeezed my eyes shut and took a breath before staring back at the two of them. "I want him dead just as much as you two, but what are you going to do after that? Think of Austin and Marcus. There could be way more of them in this place."

"So you want us to sit back and just let them kill more of us and watch you girls some more?" Matteo asked, arching his brow.

"No." I shook my head and stared down at my hands. "I just think you need to think about this more. Your actions could result in all of us dying. Just-" I took a deep breath and stared at the two of them. "Just please think before you do something."

After a moment of thought, Willow nodded her head. "Alright."

I half-smiled at her and then looked towards Matteo and raised my eyebrows. "Matteo?"

He let out a sigh and then stared up at the cracked ceiling. "Fine."

"Good." I nodded my head and looked around the room. "We should probably get everyone into bed. I have no idea when Ace will be back, and I don't want to make him mad."

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