“Where is the fucking exit from this place?” Sasha yelled, her voice echoing outward across the marble headstones. She kicked a patch of grass and sent dirt flying into the air. They’d been stuck in the same room for nearly ten minutes and her original demeanor was positively divine compared to the funk she’d degenerated into.
“I’m sure we’ll find it,” Vince assured her. He examined another headstone, reading the inscription, checking to see if it had any give and feeling around for hidden compartments.
“Like you’re even trying.”
“I promise you, I am doing my best to get us free from this place.”
“Oh, wow, you promise? Now if only you weren’t a lying fuckwad who’d spent a year deceiving me that would mean something. Too bad.”
Vince held his tongue yet again and moved on to another grave. Sasha was right: he had lied to her. He’d lied to everyone, and regardless of what his reasons were, he had to accept the consequences. He just wished the consequences would let it be for a few minutes.
Sasha was in no mood to let up, unfortunately. This was her first real time alone with Vince since the revelation, and at long last her stewing anger had an appropriate outlet. “I bet you already found the exit when we got here, you’ve just been keeping it secret.”
“You’ve looked almost everywhere I’ve looked,” Vince pointed out.
“Right, because you’d never do something like conceal the truth so others couldn’t find it.”
“Sasha, I don’t disagree that I lied to you about what I was before we met. That doesn’t mean everything I’ve told you is a lie, and it doesn’t mean that I want to stay in this fake graveyard while you yell at me all night.”
“And why should I believe that? You spent a year lying to keep me near, what makes this any different?”
“Because whoever you are tonight isn’t the girl I fell in love with. You’re angry, you’re loud, and you seem to lack empathy for anything outside of yourself. Now, I’ll take responsibility for what I did and I’ll not stop apologizing if you want to hear it, but that doesn’t mean I want to be around you like this. Trust me: no one wants to get away from here more than me.” Vince stared at her, watching Sasha’s throat bob up and down as her face flexed through a variety of emotions too quick and too complex for Vince to make out.
“Fuck this, I’m getting out of here,” Sasha said at last. She’d regained most of her composure, but some of the fire seemed to have gone out of her voice.
“How else, jackass? I’m going to tear this whole place apart until I find the door. Shouldn’t take more than a minute.”
Vince jumped up from his position of perching over a headstone. “You can’t! Remember the signs at the front? They said every room had cameras for surveillance.”
“Who cares?” Sasha knew she was being obstinate just for the sake of it, but she couldn’t help herself.
“If anyone who watches that video goes to Lander or is even associated with the college you could be reported. You’d be gone before Christmas.”
Sasha looked at him; all he wore on his face was concern. Vince had come as close to calling her a bitch as someone like him was capable of, yet he still cared that she was putting herself in danger. For some reason, that made her already knotted stomach twist in a horrifying new direction.
“Worth the risk.” Sasha took a step back and prepared to start her rampage through the graves. Vince’s strong hand closed around her arm, not squeezing but still holding her firm.
“What about Jill’s secret? Or Camille’s? Rich, Chad, Alex, all of them are your friends and you’re putting them at risk. We came here together, we all moved as a group. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out if you’re a Super we might be, too.”
Sasha pulled a little and found Vince’s grip unyielding.
“I don’t want you to do something stupid and endanger yourself, but given our past, I don’t think I have the right to stop you. However, this isn’t just about you. What you do right now can seriously impact the people who trust you. So even if this sucks for a while, just try and bear with it. Please.”
You’re so centered on Vince lying to you and the betrayal you feel over that, have you ever stopped to really ask yourself why he did it?
“You’re such a bastard.” Sasha didn’t turn around; she kept her eyes trained on the dark edges of the room. Everything seemed a little blurrier than before, and Sasha felt something warm on her cheek. “You can’t even let me hate you properly.”
“I’m sorry.” Vince let go of her arm but didn’t make any other motions. She was clearly facing away from him on purpose; he didn’t want to move until she was ready to be seen.
“Of course you’re sorry. You’re always sorry for things you even think you did wrong. I want you to tell me something: why did you lie?”
“Excuses don’t matter, I still did it.”
“I’m the one who got deceived. I get to decide what matters and what doesn’t.” Sasha pretended to run a hand through the side of her hair so she could wipe away the tears with her wrist. It wasn’t a very fluid motion, and she doubted it fooled him, but it was the best she could do.
“I guess that’s fair. We weren’t supposed to tell anyone for our own safety. We didn’t know how people would react. We had a hunch it would put us in danger, at the very least.”
“I’m not asking why you lied to everyone. I’m asking why you lied to me. After everything we shared, after all that time together, did you really think you couldn’t risk your secret with me?”
Vince hesitated, contemplating what to say next. He’d asked himself that question so many times over the past few months, and imagined just as many variations of what he would tell Sasha if given the opportunity currently before him. In the end, he went with the only thing that had ever seemed acceptable to answer with: the truth. “I would have taken the chance and trusted you; I really believe I would have. But it wasn’t my risk to take.”
“You were worried about the others.”
“I was. Letting this out changed everything. It’s made us pariahs and targets. For the rest of our lives we’ll be known as the first batch of freaks, the ones who changed everything. We’ll never get normal lives, not even what passes for normal in the world of Supers. I couldn’t gamble everyone’s future on my faith in anyone, not even the girl I loved. It wouldn’t have been right. Not that what I did was right, either. I had a hard choice and I made it. I’m sorry it hurt you.”
“Me, too,” Sasha said. “Look, let’s just work together and get out of here, okay?”
“Okay,” Vince agreed.
“I’ll check the tombstones on the left, you do the ones on the right. Sooner or later we’ll crack this thing,” Sasha instructed. She headed off toward some graves, doing her best to wipe away the remaining tears as covertly as possible. Vince noticed, of course, but he didn’t say anything; instead he went back to work.
Though they were still trapped in a spooky graveyard room in the middle of a maze, it was curiously peaceful now that all the yelling had dispersed.