Ayn really didn’t know how to make a meeting with Nev happen. She called Mearzt, but her friend wasn’t speaking to her. Ayn couldn’t really blame her. In a way, it was her fault Nev had gone missing. Still, she wished more than anything that her best friend were acting like one. She’d never felt so alone. Or so afraid. It was as if her life were slowly being taken from her.
Every day Lettie “checked in” on her progress in finding Nev. The iron-haired woman had completely moved in, and even though she mostly ignored Ayn, just having her there made it so Ayn was never completely at ease.
Her dad had all but disappeared, living at the lab. When he did come home, he was accompanied by Black Suits, and barely noticed her.
School was her only refuge, but even there, people treated her differently since the vid about the Terrestrials had gone viral, asking if it were true about the Terrestrials being used to harvest the minerals. They didn’t go so far as to ask if her dad were responsible for experimenting on the people from their home planet, but Ayn thought she saw the accusation in their eyes.
She was out walking Zoe one afternoon, when her phone vibrated in her pocket. She pulled it out, and let out a gasp when she saw Mearzt’s number. “Mearzt!” she smiled.
“No,” a familiar voice said, “it’s me.”
“Nev.” Ayn’s voice fell to a whisper. Her heart pounded. She’d put out the word to several of his friends, hoping that word would get to him that she wanted to talk to him. “Can we meet?”
“Look, I know you’re in trouble. I think I can help.”