Jon is calling again. He’s the only one who would call me this late. I roll the short blonde off of me and feel around in the dark from my phone. I find my pants, pull out my phone and answer it while I’m creeping out the door.
“Lita. I’m going out to the desert tomorrow, and I need you to come with me.”
I find the bathroom, close the door and switch the light on. I tuck the phone under my ear and start to get on my pants. “What’s going on?”
“I need to take down Rex Tyler, and I’ve got some information that says he might’ve been tied up in Empress Myra’s assassination.”
“Holy shit, Jon, Rex Tyler? Prince fucking charming? Wasn’t he banging her before she got killed?” I looked at myself in the mirror, dressed only in slacks, no panties, topless, and wondering how I’m going to get out of this girls apartment. “What do you need me for?”
“I need you to do the job. I can only be there for a day. Enough people know I’m Chester’s #1 scumbag to attract too much attention.”
“Did Rex and Chester turn on each other?”
“Are you going to get me killed?” The door opened. The blonde was awake and after me.
“I’d never put you in a situation where you couldn’t handle yourself.”
“So you want me to fly with you to the Cemagi desert and solve the Myra assassination on my own? That’s kind of a tall order.” The blonde had her arms around my waist and her head on my shoulder. I sighed.
“You’re a sniper, right? You can figure out what I can’t from how she got killed. And like I said, I have new information.”
“All right,” I said, “just text me the flight information and I’ll pick up my ticket at the terminal.”
I turned around and the blonde had the sweetest expression on her face. She was cupping my tits. Her face fell when I told her I had to leave. I couldn’t think of a way to ask her what her name was.
I’d spent a year in the Cemagi desert when I was in the army, and I wasn’t anxious to get back there. I hate being hot, stinking with sweat, dried out hair, sand in my crack, my boots, my mouth. Everything was always dusty.
I got back to my apartment and packed. Jon said he wanted me as a sniper, so I got out my rifle, took it apart, cleaned it, and packed it into my travel footlocker. I threw in a couple pistols and as many bullets as I could, and locked it up. Then I got my old desert gear and shoved it into a bag: my old camouflage trousers and boots, T-shirts and scarves, bandannas and socks.
A taxi dropped me at the airport, and I wheeled in my footlocker. Jon was waiting at the terminal, sunglasses on his forehead, lips pursed. “Glad you can make it.”
“It was good timing, actually. I was with a girl I had to get away from.”
He shook his head. “I wish you could meet somebody nice.”
“I meet enough people. I’m the one who isn’t nice.”