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"How long will you be gone?" I ask as he dresses in a crisp set of fatigues I ironed the night before.
He's not my boy anymore--it's morning and he's fallen into soldier mode, his summer smile hidden by a distrustful frown that makes him look older than he really is. I watch as he steps into his pants and pulls them up, the camouflage green covering his sexy legs. "Tomas?"
"I don't know. Rosser said two weeks, three tops. Just a routine mission--"
"So you keep saying." Sitting on the edge of the bed, I sigh. He tucks his olive T-shirt into his pants and zips them up, flashing me a quick grin that says he loves me without words. "I'm going to miss you."
He bends over and kisses my forehead, a rough press of lips that makes me sad. Each time one of us has to ship out, it gets harder and harder to say goodbye.
"I'll think of you every second of every day," he promises, "and all throughout the night. I'll try to call, if we get any leave. And I'll write, you know that."
The Bridge is a good two days' drive, the no-man's-land before the City, and it terrifies me to know he's heading there. The City used to be called Manhattan back before our time, but now it's just a lawless territory of anarchy and hate that no one ventures into because no one makes it out alive.
Lieutenant Rosser is crazy--he's notorious for pushing his men one step further, for disregarding orders and shirking protocol. Peace-keeping activities mean a few watches, a show of arms, but I know Rosser too well. He'll send scouts into the City, and I don't want him sending Tomas.
"Let me call Max," I say as Tomas shoves clean clothes into his backpack. "I'll pullsome strings, what do you say?"
Now I'm the anxious one and Tomas is strong enough for us both. As he shakes his head, I plead with him to stay. "The skirmishes are getting worse. I don't want you there."
He pulls me up from the bed and into his arms. Resting his forehead against mine, he gives me a sad smile. "I don't want to be there. But it's just two weeks and if there's fire, we've got orders to pull out sooner. Rosser--"
"Rosser is an ass."
He grins because I'm right.
"I outrank him. If I can just get Max to reassign you--"
"No." He stares into my eyes and I find myself drowning in his blue gaze. "No, Jace, you can't do that. I won't let you. The 49th is my family--I've grown up with those kids. I know how they fight and I know I can trust them. You know how it is, I know you do."
Yeah, I know, but I can't help the stab of jealousy that twists through me because the 49th will have him the next few weeks and I won't.