He laughed around the panic clogging his throat, but his gun never wavered from its target. Jared kept his hands relaxed at his shoulders, not even looking at the barrel trained at his chest. “Okay. I don’t want to hurt you. As a general rule, I try not to hurt anyone. But if someone doesn’t start explaining to me what is going on, I am going to start breaking rules really fast.”
Riley and Jared shared a look and came to some kind of understanding that Mark couldn’t even begin to fathom. “Mark. Don’t freak out.” Riley’s voice was low and calm.
Mark laughed again. “Ri. That is not an explanation. And maybe we don’t use our patronizing voice on the man with a gun who has just found out he has been LIED to for a long time.”
“Okay,” Riley’s voice was still calm. “I’m not trying to be patronizing. I’m just overcompensating for the fact that I am terrified right now. Considering that you have a gun and are very angry at me can we agree that I have every right to be scared.”
“And I have every right to be angry!” Mark countered.
“Yes. Yes, you do.” Jared answered this time, his voice a little less calm, “I understand that you’re angry but to be honest I don’t think that I will be able to think clearly with that gun aimed at me. I’ve seen what a shot you are, Mark, I know I wouldn’t live if your finger so much as twitched. Can we compromise?”
“What did you have in mind?” Mark asked.
“I won’t move. Not even a twitch. And if at any point, you don’t like what is going on, you can retrain that gun directly on my heart and I won’t even complain. But if you could please give me the chance to explain without a gun trained at my heart I would appreciate it greatly.” Jared rambled perhaps a little too fast. He wasn’t very good at the calm and low that seemed to come naturally to Riley.
Mark considered this for a while, before slowly bringing the gun down to point at the ground. “One false move, Jared, and I swear—You’ve seen my training, you know I can get you if you cross me.” Mark countered.
Jared let his hands come down slowly as well, watching Mark carefully to make sure that the movements were allowed, lowering them until his hands were just hanging limply at his sides. His eyes followed the gun now—finally looking at the danger he had been in. He didn’t make any other moves, though, making sure not to anger Mark any further.
“Okay then,” Riley tried to smile, looking between the two men, “What is it that you want to know?”
“Everything, Riley.” Mark’s hand twitched on the gun, but he didn’t raise it again. “Tell me absolutely everything that I don’t already know.”
Riley looked once more between Mark, Jared, and the gun before she sighed. “Okay. Everything.”