(Catch up on the story, here)
"So where exactly—" Barrett starts, but he doesn't get to finish.
Not even the courtesy of warning that screeching tires provide before we're slammed into by another car. My body flies forward and is jerked back by the seatbelt that's suddenly become a steel bar across my chest. My head snaps against the headrest.
"What the heck was that?" Barrett asks. "Are you okay?"
I'm too busy trying to jam the red release button on my seatbelt to understand his question. "Red light," I mutter to myself. "We were stopped, at a red light. How does somebody hit someone else when they're stopped?"
"Hey," a gentle hand touches my arm. I glare up at Barrett but he's undeterred. "Are you okay?"
"Yeah, I'm fine." If I ignore the throb in my head and the bruise already flowering across my chest. "Just pissed."
"Let me talk to them." He starts to get out of the car.
"Stay here, I'll take care of this." I open the car door. Of all the things to happen when I'm on a time crunch. Now I have to deal with the hassle of exchanging information, calling the police. The thought of it all puts me in an even sourer mood. "This guy's gonna wish he never—" I don't get to finish my mumbled threat.
Two iron hands grab the front of my shirt and slam me up against the car, knocking the air out of my body. For a second all I can do is stare wide-eyed at the man who's inches from my face. His face is leathered from the sun, a thick dark beard covering his face. My body finally kicks in and my lungs suck for air. I start to cough.
"June!" The car shakes as Barrett jumps out.
The man holding me pulls a gun out from behind him so fast I stop breathing again. He's pointing it across the roof of the car at Barrett. "Get back in the car," the man says with an accent identical to Grampy's. "At the moment, this doesn't concern you."
"Let her go," Barrett growls.
I've never felt like there was a strong possibility I could die. Not until right now. And even though the gun's pointed at Barrett, I can't help but think what my last words would be. Please, Barrett, get in the car. That's what'd I say. But even though I'm scared, I know these aren't my last moments and I know those wouldn't be my last words.
"If you persist in getting involved, you will be treated like you've been involved the entire time. And that won't be pretty."
"Please, Barrett," I choke. "Get back in the car. I'll be okay."
There's silence before I feel the car rock slightly as he gets back in. I notice, though, that he doesn't shut the door.
"I take it that rear-ending me wasn't an accident," I say. The man loosens his grip on my shirt and I slide down the car a bit.
"Think of it as a warning," he says.
"A warning for what? Who are you?" But I have a fear deep in my stomach I already know the answer.
"Tell your grandfather to stop playing games."
"I don't know what you're talking about."
He slams me up against the car again. I gasp. "He knows the rules. Nobody quits the organization unless they're dead." He lets me go and smoothes out the wrinkles he created in my shirt. He leans in close whispering in my ear, "And that can be arranged."
He walks smoothly to his car. As he gets in, he says to me, "Go home June. Go home before it's too late." He shuts the door and pulls out around our car. Even uses his blinker.
Home I think, before I sink back into my seat. My hands are shaking with adrenaline, heart pounding, breath coming in quick pants.
"Are you okay?" Barrett asks tentatively.
"I'm pissed." I grind the gears of my car, squealing the tires in a cloud of smoke as we jump forward. "That guy's gonna wish he never met me."
But I'm not listening anymore. I hadn't wanted to get involved. Now I have no choice. But I'm going to show these jerks they can't get away with this.