Catching Smoke: Ch. 9

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Of all the places Colin’s career had taken him (and there were plenty), Brazil was his least favorite. He had history in Brazil. History he would gladly give both his eyeballs to leave behind him. Permanently. 

But now, thanks to Emmalee’s blind and reckless whim, he was flying straight toward his past.

He had been just a kid when he first arrived in Brazil, though he was far from believing so. He had just turned eighteen, and was cursed with that smug sense of freedom and wild wanderlust that tended to come with the legal recognition of adulthood. He’d shove his birth certificate in the face of anyone who dared to challenge the responsibility of his age.

But even then Colin didn’t fight fair. There wasn’t a challenge that he couldn’t overcome. Just ask the men who dared to challenge Colin to a game of poker. They were the reason Colin had been able to afford the trip to Brazil.

Colin remembered he had arrived three days after his eighteenth birthday, just in time for the celebration of Carnival. The whole country seemed to be celebrating his birthday with him, and the whole world seemed suddenly full of possibilities. He was eighteen. He was smart, wild, reckless. He thought he would be able to live that way forever.

Now, as he sits in the pilot’s pulpit on Emmalee’s private jet, he shakes his head and chuckles sardonically at his youthful stupidity. Then, before he can waste another second thinking of the past, he gets up to make sure Emmalee hasn’t hatched a dangerous escape plan. Knowing how reckless and bold he had been before his training, he wouldn’t put it past her.

Thankfully, she doesn’t appear to be contemplating a suicidal disaster, though she’s definitely wide awake and alert. Her eyes jump to his the second he walks into the room, narrowing into a penetrating glare as she crosses her arms over her chest, watching him walk over to her. Colin grins, knowing that underneath her forced strength, she’s absolutely terrified. And that’s a good thing. As long as Colin remains terrifying and untrustworthy to her, he won’t have to put her through the hell of his own recruitment.

A recruitment that took place in Brazil.

But Colin isn’t thinking of that. He can’t. Not now. So he forces the glimmer of anger and betrayal of his past away before it can do any damage.

“Can’t sleep?” Colin asks Emmalee, smirking.

Emmalee’s glaring gaze remains glued into place, but she doesn’t speak. He waves his hand in front of her face mockingly, but she doesn’t blink. She just glares, her eyes searching his for answers, intentions, and thoughts Colin will never reveal.

“Okay, Zombie. Suit yourself.” He says, dropping his hand and turning around. “We land in three hours.”

He goes back to his pilot’s pulpit, and sighs.

Three more hours until his past returns to punch him in the face.

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