“You already said that.”
Liz placed a hand on my arm, her touch not soothing me at all when she said, “It’s bad, Darke.”
I swung my gaze to her and then back at Linc. His eyes looked bleaker than I’d ever seen them, and seeing as we’d been through hell ten times over in Beta, I wasn’t sure I wanted to hear Denver’s info.
Linc passed a hand over his face. “Leon’s a human time bomb.”
“What?” Sweat trickled down my back, as cold as the fear slicing through me.
“This is what our father meant when he told Liz he had a second wave planned. It’s why he didn’t really give a shit when Taft blew up the DCICs. The asshole masterminded a human delivery system.
Leon’s infected with the new Plague.” Linc exchanged bitter looks with his twin brother, Nathaniel. Once again the evil wrongdoings of their father, CEO Lysander Cutler, came home to roost. “I should’ve killed that fucking bastard when I had the chance.”
“What?” I asked again, grasping the edge of the table as my legs threatened to collapse from under me. My body, my brain, my heart, all shut down.
“To kill the Plague, we’d have to kill Leon—his body is a Trojan horse we won’t be able to destroy, because...because...” Words failed Liz.
Bile rose in my throat. I swallowed it back. “Because he’s ours.” He’s mine. “That’s why no one else showed at the water tower. There was to be no handoff, no delivery except to us.”
“The virus is implanted in Leon, but it’s dormant.” Hatch scanned through the message that had been sent to Linc via Denver. Denver was feeding info to Linc because he played a dangerous game, straddling both sides of the war, or so he claimed. I wasn’t quite a believer yet.
“Leon’s body is a weapon for the Company.” Numbed through, I could barely raise my eyes to the others. Nathaniel’s hand was heavy on my shoulder. “Father let Leon go because he knew we’d take him in. Our exposure to the virus will be guaranteed. He wants us all dead.”
An incendiary blaze of hate for CEO Cutler fired inside me. “I’d still take Leon in, no matter what.”
Cannon rose so slowly, bearing such pain, it appeared the big, broad-shouldered man was made of no more than vapor. His voice was just as thin. “Imagine how many others Cutler’s infected.”
“When?” All the life was leached from me in an instant.
“When what?” Linc asked.
“WHEN DOES IT GO LIVE?” I bellowed.
“Middle of August.” Linc grabbed Liz’s hand.
“But that gives us only a couple weeks. There has to be an antidote, a cure, something!” I spun around, only to halt when I saw Leon just inside the door. Shock, fear, and concern all clashed within me. And want, foremost.
I could never get enough of him. I never would. No matter how hard I tried to push him away, I always pulled him back. His bright eyes looked almost kohl black and suddenly too big for his face. His hair was wild, tangled, down around his shoulders. I tensed, reaching for him. I didn’t want him to know. I didn’t want to fucking know.
Leon walked toward me with his loose-legged swagger.
My heart pounded. My mouth went dry.
He ambled closer, and everyone moved away from us. They fell silent, became nonexistent.
“Thought I heard a commotion.” He stopped in front of me.
“Leon.” Angel. “How much did you hear?” My hands clenched beside me. I was desperate to touch him.
His slight smile was tremulous around the edges. “Jus’ a little of this, a little of dat. Somethin’ ’bout me bein’ an incubator for the new Plague and set to infect.” He clicked his tongue against the roof of his mouth. “Mais, I always wanted to be famous.”