The battle lines were drawn. I never expected to actually be at war. I’d done the training with Demi and Aden and I knew that if I had been chosen for the army I would have to go to war, to fight for my city—but I never imagined that I would actually be on the lines of a war. I never imagined.
Aden wrapped an arm around my waist, and guided me into one of the little tents that were dotted through the camp. When we were hidden from the eyes of all the other soldiers, when we tucked away safely, he put his hands on my shoulders and leaned in to press his lips on my forehead. “I’m so sorry, Bree. I never wanted you to be here. I hoped we could avoid this. You don’t want to fight. I know. I just—I’m so sorry, Bree, and if you want to panic, please, feel free.” He squeezed me tight in a hug as if he expected me to burst into tears right there. To be honest, I was fully expecting to burst into tears right at that moment too.
But for some reason, I was calm. “I think I’m okay, Aden.”
He took a half step back, looking at me with raised eyebrows. “You are?”
“Well—Okay might be a bit strong of a sentiment. I am terrified. I wish that Demi was closer to us on the line so that I could see her more and worry less about her. I wish we never had to end up here, and I appreciate that you are sorry we ended up here—but I’m calm.” I offered him my best smile. He watched me for a moment longer, studying my face for any sign that I was lying. There wasn’t one.
“Okay,” He said, standing up a little taller, becoming the warrior I loved a little less than my husband, but the man we needed in the moment. “Okay, let’s do this.”