They weren’t expecting Mara to come through the doors. She had retired and all the codes had been changed at least a dozen times since she’d last been a part of their team. By all rhyme and reason–she shouldn’t have been able to get in.
But then again–if anyone was going to get in–it would most definitely be Mara. “Where’s Andrew?” She was barely in the room before she was yelling, “Where is my brother, I swear to god–”
Diane looked at her in shock, but Ava and Colin both jumped out of their seats in immediate crisis mode. “We don’t have Andy–” Ava admitted slowly, staying out of Mara’s reach, “But we know where he is, we know he’s okay, and we’re going in to get him back.”
Mara looked up at Colin, knowing that he couldn’t look her in the eye and lie, not about something as important as this. “Do you have a good plan for getting him back?”
“We’ve had better–but this one should work with minimal complications,” Colin confirmed.
“Is there a plan that works better if I agree to be on the team again? Is there a better plan for four?” Mara demanded.
Colin didn’t answer–which spoke volumes. Mara turned to look at the other women in the room. Ava didn’t say anything either, but Diane stood up. “Yes, we have a plan that would work very well with four trained members.” Diane walked towards Mara, “but you’ve been off the team for two years. How do we know you’re even any good anymore? How do we know that you won’t be a hindrance?”
“Mara untrained is still better than you trained,” Colin burst out before he could stop himself.
Ava waved her hand sharply and cut off Diane’s argument before it could start. Colin even had the decency to look a little ashamed of himself for his outburst.
“I’m sorry, Diane. Colin might have exaggerated a little, but not by a lot. Remember this was Andrew and Mara’s vision. Together, they have been training longer than you, Colin, and myself combined. If Mara wants back on the team, we let her back on–and go with the better plan. Can we all agree to that?”
All three of them nodded, although, Diane did look a little grudgingly as she did so. “Okay,” Ava waved her arm again. “Let’s all head down to the strategy room and go over the new plan.”
Diane stormed out of the room, and Ava was close behind her, preparing to sooth the wounded ego.
But Mara called Colin’s name before he could leave the room. He stopped, stuck his thumbs in his pockets and gave her a little half-smile. “Thanks for sticking up for me to Diane.”
Colin shrugged, realizing they were very close to the thin line that they could never cross, not again. “I just told her the truth. Andy would have said the same.”
Comparing himself to her brother–a seemingly casual and yet very calculated move. Mara took the hint with grace. “Well, thank you nonetheless.”
“My pleasure. Should we join the girls?” Colin suggested quickly Mara nodded and followed him out of the room. They’d rescue Andy, then Mara would worry about her head getting screwed on straight. Only one panic-inducing thought at the time.