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Badar Consultant Agency
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1 - Entropic Spiral - 4C
Apr 15, 2018
6 Mins Read
No Plagiarism!mQGWZTePMVK8OxT4w6Yhposted on PENANA

One Week Earlier… copyright protection17PENANAux8Vadh71q

“Hey, who let the dog out?” Jenna laughed when Woody slipped into the cafeteria seat across from her. He grunted at her in greeting. It wasn’t the first time she’d used that joke. It wasn’t any funnier the fifth time around. She pawed at her cold french fries as she said, “You look like hell. What was the occasion last night?”copyright protection17PENANAWngDkgxy6j

Woody sniffed. He smelled like the two bottles of bourbon he’d put away last night. It made his stomach churn. Jenna on the other hand smelled like gun oil, lavender, and a lot of cheap beer. If he answered her seriously, he’d only want to know what she’d been “celebrating” herself. He didn’t want to know that much about her. He wasn’t a mind reader, but he knew she liked him. He knew and it made him ache. It made him ache because he knew her affections didn’t just end with him. But Jenna’s attention did have its uses.copyright protection17PENANAuQsinlnTsl

Sherwood, you’re always so conflicted when it comes to women. Nothing’s changed… Keep your distance, he continued to remind himself in the back of his mind. I might have to rip this place apart. I can’t afford to feel attached.copyright protection17PENANAbWTkS3xabz

He gulped down his glass of orange juice before he answered her. “What’s the word?”copyright protection17PENANAA7XRKh7iQd

She frowned at him, the good humor going from her heart-shaped face. “Jaeborn’s going to move. He Saw Jude… It’s too late for him. The last message your vamp friend sent was a warning. Jae didn’t like that, so he risked it. Took a lot out of him, but he managed to See it. Jude’s close to breaking. He’ll succumb if we don’t move in the next week.” The vibration mage kept her voice low, pitching it just between the molecules in the room so only Woody would hear. She didn’t have Charis Taggart’s noise dampening talents. Nana’s skills were developed in other areas.copyright protection17PENANABk33Dqp0kR

Woody nodded his head shortly. “Will he still be able to teleport us all even weakened?”copyright protection17PENANAmwOfQGjoQu

“He said he’d manage…” Her uncertainty told the werewolf she didn’t think so herself.copyright protection17PENANAXqCVhndoF3

Woody picked up his triple-decker tuna salad sandwich and, after three big bites, sat back, satisfied with his quick breakfast. Jenna was giving him a look that panned between disgust and impressed. “Will he?” Woody asked, wiping delicately at his mouth with a paper table napkin as he pushed his empty tray forward.copyright protection17PENANAChoFl26K3q

She shrugged. “We’ll see… Are you still holding out?”copyright protection17PENANABqXpFN6ZcW

“Jude went under for you fucks. He’ll come up out of this for you too. When Jaeborn makes his choice, I need you to be there for me. Convince him that we’re good for it. Jude doesn’t betray lightly. Money or power or otherwise. He’s not motivated by conventional things… He’s not normal.”copyright protection17PENANAtan55Fti48

“Oh, really?” Nana questioned with a smirk. “Kinda like you.”copyright protection17PENANAmGpKlKNrvR

Woody raised an eyebrow at her. “I mean, he sees through bullshit. He smells it from a mile away. He doesn’t need to read minds to know when someone’s fucking with him.”copyright protection17PENANAS7hPxWDDVP

“The best kind of liar detectors make the best kind of liars,” Jenna said under her breath.copyright protection17PENANAApZXv5CYnH

Woody chuckled. “That’s a helluva compliment… He hasn’t turned on us. He hasn’t.”copyright protection17PENANA7KnxvIiiaN

Jenna looked down at her fries and picked out the squishy ones that had soaked up the most salt and oil. Through a mouthful of potato, she asked, “So, the girls’ve been wondering…”copyright protection17PENANA93UqTsnx5j

“What?”copyright protection17PENANAmGJmDfsgdQ

“Are you single?”copyright protection17PENANAXlAlS54bne

Woody laughed.copyright protection17PENANAYxiTYbllIr

“Well, are you?” she demanded playfully.copyright protection17PENANAF57osLDU2R

“It’s taken you two months to ask that. Was it a courage thing, or…?”copyright protection17PENANAK0dkl6pphN

“More like a politeness thing,” Jenna said, brushing her hands off on her pants. “You wonder why they avoid you? Why they only seem to open up in the practice ring? I told them to stay away from you.”copyright protection17PENANAEfkW9j8vEQ

He frowned, but nodded his head. “I get it. All-woman compound. A rooster who’s always gone, leaving the hens to rule the house. Add one seriously unstable wolf into the mix and well… You’ve got a coup full of feathers and bones.”copyright protection17PENANAWkW4JpPnjS

Jenna was shaking her head long before he finished. “Weirdo. The average age around here is nineteen… and you know about the werewolf craze, right? I did it for your protection.”copyright protection17PENANAf4SspdyPCP

Woody’s frown deepened. “So… they want to know if I’m single… because they’re a mob of supernatural fangirls who will probably cage fight to the death over me?”copyright protection17PENANADh5YdfhlKW

Jenna barked a laugh with enough force that she snorted. “Yeah. Uh-huh. Exactly.”copyright protection17PENANAcHg8MZxCnR

The werewolf mulled this over before a conspiratorial expression took him over. He leaned over his tray and Jenna did the same. He asked casually, “You wanna really fuck with ‘em?”copyright protection17PENANAuCWm4mzDbc

“I’d like nothing better,” she said, a mischievous curl taking over her thin lips.copyright protection17PENANAtPtyNHO42z

“I’m not. Single, I mean.”copyright protection17PENANA0fgho2hWEE

“Oh, the scandal. Who’s the lucky lady?”copyright protection17PENANAO8gKvk75Xi

“Does it have to be a lady?”copyright protection17PENANAhq8LZVsOZv

“Oh… I see where you’re going with this,” Jenna said, clasping her hands together in revelation. But then her face took on a confused sort of shade. “Downside is… It’s a little too plausible, isn’t it?”copyright protection17PENANAn0LDi9Gz5l

Woody balked. “How the hell do you figure that?”copyright protection17PENANAdUutEZOL4M

“I dunno, it just seems a little too… predictable.”copyright protection17PENANA4mdc8d8B18

Woody let his temper get the better of himself and he crossed his arms, saying mildly, “Predictable? That’s funny coming from you. You and Jaeborn are a little predictable too.”copyright protection17PENANA7o8S2q1I07

Jenna winced, but put her hands out and smiled. “Wow, that’s mature.”copyright protection17PENANA4d1yHGywsC

“Does Taggart know?”copyright protection17PENANAixZwJ8JSJK

This time Nana had the decency to look guilty. She knew he was serious then. Good. She shook her head. Then she asked, “So… is it true about you and Jude?”copyright protection17PENANA0Q88JazKTz

Woody shrugged. “You said it’s plausible, isn’t it?”copyright protection17PENANASXNUwvA413

“Oh, that’s cruel,” she said with a little laugh as she stacked both of their trays.copyright protection17PENANAHkAGQkOzcy

“Well, until you come clean to Tag, I’m not coming clean about my own employer.”copyright protection17PENANAjcpsl8DVTw

“We love each other,” Jenna said quietly, looking around the deserted cafeteria. “Is it really any of your business, in the end?”copyright protection17PENANAuLuiG0Nh4P

Woody shrugged. “You brought up the questions. Call it tit-for-tat.”copyright protection17PENANAkL9VsZfhyr

The vibro mage shrugged herself, that easy smile still playing over her lips. “Tit-for-tat… Are you with Jude?”copyright protection17PENANAQSEflZnYUg

He stood up from their table and grabbed their trays. “I guess you might find out if he comes back from his assignment alive and well, eh? So put in a good word to your boss man and make sure that he doesn’t pull the fucking trigger before asking questions.”copyright protection17PENANAvp2ZHI0v04

“So you’re telling me I could watch?”copyright protection17PENANAklQugjtvA2

“You really need to get out of this compound every now and then, pervert,” Woody said, rolling his gold eyes toward the porous ceiling tile.copyright protection17PENANAXqVBFgA3eu

“I’ll mention it, Woody,” Jenna promised as he turned to drop their dishes at the mess cubby. “Hey! I mean it. I’ll make sure Jaeborn doesn’t go all… paranoid-schizo on us, okay?”copyright protection17PENANAjJUmJC5J75

“I’m counting on you,” the werewolf said seriously. He came back over to the table and put his palms flat on the cold plastic surface. “He’s that important to me. You know that, right?”copyright protection17PENANAOsqEWHXqcy

Her face went carefully neutral. “I know… I have a family in the center I’d take a bullet for. You’re not the only one with loved ones on the line.”copyright protection17PENANAs9ZnLFElIS

“Yeah, well, your fucking family isn’t in the heart of a blood mage cell.” He stared at her.copyright protection17PENANAQ2CKolmt4u

“Point taken,” the vibro mage eventually mumbled.copyright protection17PENANAzSX0xTHvjU

“Training yard?” Woody asked.copyright protection17PENANA3M43aPIOaq

“That’s your olive branch? You’ll let me kick your ass?” Jenna laughed.copyright protection17PENANAH1sjMRE8lJ

“Ya think it’s a shitty olive branch?”copyright protection17PENANADUCAVauDFN

Again, her easy, vibrant smile overtook her otherwise plain features. “We’ll see,” she said.copyright protection17PENANAxJzBMJquyB

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