Remember how I said that I loved surprises? Forget I said any of that.
I just stared at Jinn after she dropped that little bomb on me at the dining room table. It was like getting slapped in the face and told that something obvious was right in front of my face the entirety of my adult life and I never noticed it.
How is it that my ex-wife was not only a Prime, but also the one person Han and his Society were actively fighting? Then, of course, I asked the obvious question. The one that I had been asking since the beginning. Why me? Why did Han and his people have such a big interest in recruiting me into their club? Once I asked that, everything started falling into place.
Something budged in me just then. All that built up anger and frustration took hold and suddenly the coffee mug sailed across the room and crashed into the china cabinet, breaking one of the little glass windows. Yeah, I didn’t take this very well.
Jinn’s eyes widened. She clearly wasn’t expecting this kind of reaction. She stood up and moved back from the table.
The table was much too large and heavy to knock over easily, so the candle holder and the silverware was next on the list to get flung angrily to the floor.
“Stop,” she said, her voice rising above the clamor. “You need to–”
“Fuck you,” I said in a surprisingly calm tone. “All this time you were just using me. Using me to lure her out. Who even knows what else you lied to me about?”
She held her hands out in front of her and never tore her eyes away from me. “You have to understand that there’s no way for us to find her. She’s destroying people’s lives and we think she’s trying to control the Worldmind.”
“You think or you know?” I yelled, moving closer to her. “How the fuck do you know?”
“My grandfather taught her how to transfer. She was one of us!” she began to yell the closer I got.
I went around the table, grabbed her by the throat and pushed her into the wall. At this point, I was completely out of the driver’s seat.
“Bullshit! I was married to her for fucking ten years! How the hell did I not know any of this?”
But I knew the answer as soon as I had asked the question. The Sandra I knew, the one I was married to, was not a Prime, she must have been a channel. Han and the others had explained the difference between being a Prime and a channel. As a Prime, we were kind of like a source of consciousness for all the other versions of ourselves. Channels were like shadows of that consciousness.
Being this close to Han’s granddaughter I noticed the bandages underneath her shirt. Testaments to the injuries she received in India from those gunmen. Injuries she was still recovering from. I shifted my grip from her throat to the area around her clavicle and above her left breast. I put my weight into it, grimacing.
She screamed and something about that shook me out of the moment. It reminded me of the way Sandra had screamed on the boat the day we lost Max.
In the back of my mind, I was wondering why she had even let me get this close to her. From everything I had seen, Jinn could handle herself. Even having just been shot recently, she had already proven to me that she was tougher than she looked. Why wasn’t she fighting back?
That question was answered almost immediately following her scream when I felt Khalil’s arm wrap around my neck, pulling me away from her.
Instinctively, I reached up with both hands to loosen his steely grip. I heard the groaning sound of wood against wood as we collided against the table, pushing it away. I caught a glimpse of Jinn moving away quickly before Khalil shifted his weight and hip threw me to the floor. This was not like practice.
“You will stop now,” he said.
I coughed and nodded, putting my hands up in a sign of surrender. When I looked back up after a moment I saw Khalil’s open hand above my head. I took his hand and he pulled me to my feet. The adrenaline was still pumping through my veins, so I felt no pain at the time. He didn’t need to know that, though.
As I got to my feet, I used the momentum to slam my fist into Khalil’s face, causing him to wince in surprise and let go of my hand. I immediately started running to the door leading out into the patio.
“Don’t let him–!” Jinn yelled. “We need him alive!”
I got partway around the pool and to the fence before Khalil charged at me like a bull. I tried to throw him into the Olympic pool in the same way he had thrown me to the floor, but he was over two hundred pounds of pure muscle and my footing was all wrong.
We both went tumbling into the warm water of the pool.