A/N: Chapter Two! Enjoy. :)

My eyes slowly fluttered open. I was laying on a bed that I had never seen before in a room I had never been in before. The walls were bare and white- impersonal like a hotel room. A surge of pain shot through my head, allowing for a small whimper to escape from my mouth.

"Em!" Gracie exclaimed. She strode toward me from the other side of the room. "Oh thank God, Em. I've been so worried." She sat next to me on the bed and gave me a small hug.

"Where are we?" I croaked. My voice sounded like hell. What had happe-

Guns. Angry men. Blood. It all came rushing back to me. Panicked, I tried to sit up. Bad idea. An even greater pain took hold of me.

"Shhh, just lay down," Gracie whispered. "I don't really know where we are. Some safe house or something. Though I don't know what I consider to be safe anymore." She looked to the corner of the room. For the first time, I noticed that Jake was sitting on a chair in the corner. He remained still; his face didn't hold a hint of humor or joy in it.

He and Gracie were supposed to have been married by now.

"Did I get shot?" I questioned. It didn't seem likely as the only pain I felt came from my head, and I probably wouldn't be alive and functioning if I had been shot there.

"No, but you hit your head pretty hard. You've been unconscious for nearly eleven hours," Gracie replied.

"What happened after I blacked out?" I asked. She looked to me and sighed. I had never seen her look so sad.

"I can barely remember. It's all just one big blur-" she trailed off. I squeezed her hand. The front door opened, and Evan entered the room. He looked to Jake, then to me and Gracie. If he felt any relief that I was awake, he didn't show it. His face remained even colder than Jake's. Evan looked back to Jake.

"We'll stay here until the morning. I don't know if McLaughlin and his guys know about this place, but I don't want to take any chances," Evan informed him. He acted like Gracie and I weren't even in the room, like our opinion didn't even matter. Jake looked to us.

"You girls better get some sleep before tomorrow. We have a long day ahead of us," Jake announced. I shook my head. Not only had I just apparently gotten eleven hours worth of unwanted sleep, but there was no way I was letting them go another minute without telling me what was going on.

"Before we do anything, I need answers," I told them.

"Now's not a good-"

"I think now is the perfect time," I cut in. Jake stood up and approached the bed.

"What about you, Gracie?" he asked. "Do you need answers?"

"Yeah," she whispered, not looking up at him.

"The less they know, the better," Evan told Jake.

"They're already in this. They might as well now everything," Jake argued.

"The less they know, the better," Evan repeated.

"This affects me more than it affects you. Let me tell them," Jake said. Evan stared down his friend, giving him a look that made it clear that he didn't agree with his decision.

"Fine," Evan finally relented. "It's your relationship that you're going to ruin. Remember that." He moved to the chair in the corner and sat down.

"So?" I questioned.

"It started four years ago," Jake started. "We were recruited right out of high school."

"Recruited?" I asked. "Like for the military."

"Not exactly. Not the military. Recruited by a man-"

"McLaughlin?" I guessed. Jake's eyes reflected a hint of surprise. He must not have thought that I had paid attention the two times McLaughlin's name had been mentioned in front of me today.

"Yeah, McLaughlin. For the first two years or so, we were given smaller assignments. But then one day, he calls the three of us into his office, saying he has an important job for us- one that would take a lot more time than any of the previous jobs."

"Wait a second," I stopped him. "The three of you?"

"Yeah. Me, Evan, and-"

"And?"

"And Derek." I took in a deep breath. Derek was in on this too?

"Derek? Who I dated for the past two years?"

"Yeah," Jake replied. "But you weren't our assignment. Gracie was."

I looked over to Gracie. Her face was void of any expression.

"What did you want from Gracie?"

"McLaughlin had some beef with her father. He wanted…well, he wanted me to get her to fall in love with me. I was going to get in tight with the family and become an internal mole. Then, I was supposed to kill Gracie and destroy the family." Gracie's face turned pale. She looked as if she might faint at any moment.

"So what happened?" I questioned.

"What do you think?" Jake stared down at Gracie. From the look in his eyes, the answer was pretty obvious. "I fell in love."

I sighed. This definitely was not helping my head feel any better; if anything, it was now throbbing even more. But I still had one more question that needed to be answered. The others could wait until tomorrow.

"And Derek? What about him?"

"You mean, what were his motives with you?"

"Yeah," I replied softly. My heart rate quickened as I held my breath.

"Somebody had to get close to the subject's best friend. You were his side assignment. If you want to know if he really did care for you- well, you'll have to ask him that. I don't know."

"Yeah," I whispered. But I didn't need to ask Derek. At that moment, as much as I didn't want to believe it, I knew the answer. I stood up from the bed.

"You shouldn't be walking right now," Jake said.

"I need to go think. And I think you and Gracie need some privacy," I told him. "Is there another room I can stay in?"

"Yeah. Down the hall, last room on the left."

"Okay. Goodnight." I took one last look at my best friend before leaving. There was nothing I could do to help her now. It was up to Jake to convince her that he really did love her. And if she still wasn't convinced after that, well, then she and I would need to find some way to escape.

The room Jake had directed me to looked nearly identical to the first room. There was nothing personal about it. The colors were simple- white and brown. Luckily, there was a bathroom attached to the room. It was a fairly decent size, complete with a big bathtub. As soon as everything I had just learned sunk in, that bathtub was going to be put to good use.

I glanced at myself in the mirror. After nearly being killed and having fallen unconscious for eleven hours, the pink dress and cute hairstyle definitely did not look so beautiful. What I wouldn't give for a pair of sweats and a baggy t-shirt to hide in.

A knock came from the door. It creaked open. I left the bathroom and found Evan walking toward my bed, a small bundle of clothes in his hand.

"I figured you might want to change out of that dress. Here's some sweatpants and a t-shirt. It'll probably be too big, but it's better than nothing. Unless you like to-

"Thank you. It's just what I wanted, actually," I told him. This seemed to be a landmark moment. It may have been a small gesture, but it was the first decent thing Evan had ever done for me.

Besides save my life back at the wedding. Though he and Jake had been the ones to get us into the situation in the first place.

"Goodnight," Evan said, turning to leave. His eyes still lacked any emotion whatsoever. I don't think I've ever seen any hint of even a happy gleam in his eyes. Well, with the exception of when he managed to make me look like an idiot in front of people- but even them, there was something strangely blank about his expressions.

"Evan?" He turned around, his hand on the doorknob.

"Yeah?"

"What about all the people at the wedding? Do they know what happened?"

"No."

"Then are they looking for us? Are they-"

"We came up with an elaborate story. No one suspects a thing."

"What did you tell them?"

"Gracie was too nervous to go through with the ceremony in front of everyone. She decided at the last minute that she wanted something small, so she and Jake are going to elope in Vegas. Of course, as the best man and the maid of honor, we went with them."

"Who told them all that?"

"Derek."

"Oh."

"Goodnight."

"Wait."

"What?"

"Did you ever find the ring?" I questioned. Evan smirked.

"Yeah…I guess it was in my pocket the entire time," he replied. Of course. "Goodnight."

"Wait."

"This is the last time," Evan said impatiently.

"I just-" I started.

"What?"

"How do you do it?"

"Do what?"

"Not let your emotions get the best of you-ever. Is it something you can teach because I'd really like to learn."

"You wouldn't be able to do it," he ensured me. "Now I'm going to bed. If you need anything, don't bother Jake and Gracie right now. I'm two doors down. But only if it's an emergency. I don't want to get woken up in the middle of the night because you had a nightmare." With that, he left. I picked up the clothes he had left, feeling a strange sense of accomplishment. Well, there it was. My first ever civil conversation with Evan Barrett.

An hour later, I was freshly bathed and ready to sleep. There had been some Ibuprofen in the medicine cabinet that I had gladly taken for my head. I was almost ready to sleep, but there still seemed to be one last thing I needed to do. Something that still seemed off-

Oh crap.

I leapt off the bed and hurried out my room. Two doors down. Evan's door was shut, but he did say if it was an emergency…I knocked loudly at the door, hoping he would hear if he was sleeping. The door flung open, and an angry-looking Evan stood on the other side.

"What?" he asked harshly.

"I need to make a phone call," I explained.

"No," he said, beginning to shut the door.

"Please! It's important. I need to make this call," I begged.

"You can't make any calls right now. It's too risky."

"Please," I repeated, my voice cracking. I was not afraid to resort to crying, though I doubt my tears would have any affect on Evan. He sighed.

"Fuck," he said softly, more to himself than to me. "I don't think my cell is being traced, but I don't want to risk it. There's a gas station down the road. You'll use the phone there. If you take too long, I'll hang up for you." Without waiting for a reply, Evan walked back into the room and found his clothes. I suddenly realized that he had only been wearing a pair of boxers. Don't stare, Emeline. The last thing I needed was for his ego to grow if he caught me staring-

But still, he had a beautifully muscular body and a handsome face- if his eyes would ever show even a hint of emotion, I'd probably be a lot more attracted to him.

"You can stop staring at me," Evan declared. His back was facing me, so I couldn't see how he would know.

"I wasn't," I lied.

"I can feel when someone is staring at me. Call it a lesson of the business," he said, grabbing his keys and walking past me. I followed.

"You never even explained what this business is."

"The less you know, the better."

We drove to the gas station. I looked to Evan expectedly. Once again, he let out another agitated sigh and dug into his pocket, pulling out a few quarters. I hurried to the payphone and dialed in a familiar number. It had surprised me that Evan hadn't even asked who I was calling, especially considering the situation we were in.

"Hello?" a sleepy boy's voice answered. My heart melted.

"Christopher," I said.

"Emmy!" he exclaimed.

"What are you doing awake? Little boys like you should be sleeping right now."

"You never called."

"I know. I'm sorry. Is Lucy still awake too?"

"She's sleeping in front of the TV. Why didn't you call earlier?"

"Oh I was really busy and lost track of time. I'll never do it again. I promise."

"That's okay."

"Well, you should probably go to sleep now. I just wanted to check in. I'll call you back later, okay?"

"You promise?"

"I promise. Goodnight Christopher."

"Goodnight Emmy."

I hung up the phone, feeling a sense of relief. Evan waited inside the car. I got in, expecting him to start speeding away, but he remained still.

"So who did you call?" he asked. There it was- the question I had expected earlier.

"Nobody."

"Emeline, I'm serious. Who did you call?"

"Look, it wasn't one of the bad guys who are looking for Gracie or anything, so-"

"Damn it, Emeline. This isn't the time to keep secrets," he said. I could sense that as soon as the words left his mouth, he regretted it. If he wanted to give me ammunition to use against him, he had pretty much just served it to me on a silver platter.

"This isn't the time to keep secrets?" I repeated, making sure I had heard him right.

"Eme-"

"Here's the deal. You tell me the truth, I'll tell you who I just called."

"We told you the truth earlier," Evan claimed, looking out his side window.

"There's a lot you haven't told me. For one, you've given me absolutely no reason to trust you. I mean, I understand Jake's reasoning for betraying the business you guys were in. He fell in love. But you- you're practically a robot. You didn't fall in love, you have no bonds that are keeping you with us. So tell me, why the hell should I trust you?" I questioned. Truthfully, all these questions and thoughts were all occurring to me at once. Evan, not surprisingly, remained still and calm.

"The less you know, the better."

"Will you stop saying that? The less I know, the more frustrated I get!"

"You need to ignore that right now."

"Excuse me? I don't have an on/off switch for my emotions. And I can't just shut them down like you can. Everything you say and do is just another reason for me to not trust you." I looked outside, letting my own words sink in. If this was a movie, it was obvious to see how the ending would turn out. The two lovers and their best friends would run from the bad guys, only to be caught because of a leak within the group. And there was only one person who had absolutely no reason to stay loyal to us- Evan. I opened my door and jumped out.

"What the-Emeline, don't be an idiot!" Evan called out. I walked back in the direction of the house. This probably wasn't my smartest move; it was two in the morning, I was in the middle of nowhere, and there were people out there who wanted to kill me. Well, they probably didn't care about my life as much as the others', but McLaughlin and whoever else worked for him would have no trouble killing me. Evan drove up beside me and slowly followed me. He rolled down the side windows.

"Go away!" I yelled.

"Emeline, you can't honestly be this stupid," he said. "You don't understand anything." He didn't raise his voice, but his stern tone gave me goose bumps.

"Oh I understand perfectly well!"

"If I really wanted to kill you, I would have done it by now," he pointed out. I continued walking. The car slowed down even more and pulled to the side. A door opened, and Evan jumped out. It was useless to try to run from him; he was twice as big and probably twice as fast. I continued walking, looking straight ahead.

"We're either going to do this the easy way, or we're going to do this the hard way. I'd like to do it the easy way, so please get back in the car," he requested. He now walked next to me, his strides matching mine.

"No," I said stubbornly. He let out a small laugh, shaking his head.

"Then I guess we're doing it the hard way." Before I knew what was happening, I found myself lifted over Evan's shoulders.

"Hey!" I exclaimed. He ignored me, setting me down at the passenger seat before making his way back to the driver's seat.

"I can't believe you're going to make me use the child safety locks," Evan commented. There was no use in talking anymore. If he wasn't going to give me what I was looking for, I had no reason to tell him anything. He sighed, not yet starting the car but looking at me expectantly instead. I rolled my eyes when I saw what he was doing. The jerk wasn't going to drive back to the house until I told him who I called. He'd have to go back eventually. My lips were staying sealed.

After ten minutes, Evan finally broke.

"I'll answer all your questions," he declared.

"Really?" I asked, eyeing him suspiciously. He wasn't going to make it that easy; there had to be a catch.

"But you have to answer my questions, too."

"That's fine. I can tell you who I called.

"Not just that."

"I don't think there's anything else I can tell you that you would want to know."

"Two and a half years ago, you dropped out of college, gave up swimming for your team, even though you had just won four gold medals at the state championships, and left with only a note for Gracie saying that you needed time away. I already know what happened; your parents died. Understandably, you were hurt. What I don't understand, though, is where you disappeared to for five months. You turned off your cell phone, didn't use any credit cards, and didn't call anyone from home once during that time. Even with all of the means I had to find you, I couldn't. Tell me where you went for those five months, and I'll tell you everything you want to know."

My heart nearly jumped out of my chest.

How did he know all that? For the past two years, Evan had been just a guy who I tolerated for the sake of my friends. We rarely talked, and when we did, it was only to argue. And now here he was, asking me about the most personal time in my life.

Two and a half years ago, a robber had broken into my parents' house. They shot and killed both my mother and my father. My little brother, Christopher, who had only been five at the time, hid underneath his bed. He heard every gun shot, every scream. I went back home as soon as possible. Christopher had turned silent; for weeks, he didn't speak, he barely ate, and he slept most of his days away. So I took him away. My father had once told me about an island- he described it as "the one place in the world they can't touch you." So, following the directions my father had written down and hidden in my safe, I took Christopher there. We stayed for five months. It was the first time I realized just how much money my parents had. It took the entire time to get Christopher to start trusting people again. But even now, he won't go to sleep without knowing that I'm okay.

If I had died today, Christopher would have lost all faith in the world. My beautiful, innocent seven-year-old brother would have given up completely. I can't die. I just can't. Not as long as Christopher was still out there, waiting for me every night to call him.

"Are you okay?" Evan asked uncertainly, bringing me back to reality. My face felt wet. I brought my hand to it and found tears running down my cheeks. Sometime in the last few minutes, I had started to cry. I glanced over to Evan, who looked uncomfortable. Evan was the type of guy who understood facts and numbers; for him, everything was black and white. He never seemed to understand the point in showing emotion.

"You first," I stated. This wasn't the time for me to cry. It was time to regain my composure.

"Where do you want me to start?" he questioned.

"What's keeping you here? Jake left the business for love; why did you follow?"

I watched intently as Evan shook his head, taking a moment to seemingly find the right words. Telling him about Christopher wasn't going to be easy, but it didn't look like whatever he had to say was easy either.

"Before I say anything, you need to promise me that you won't have some kind of panic attack or get emotional or anything like that. I'm tired, and that's the last thing I need to deal with right now."

"I promise." I was sick of arguing. I just wanted the truth.

"Jake never left the business. Neither did Derek. Almost everything he told you in that room was a lie. Gracie actually had nothing to do with this in the beginning. Jake set up everything that happened today- including the guys who held you up at the wedding. Jake was never going to kill Gracie. He's planning on killing you. Today."