Content Warning: Strong language
It didn’t take long for May’s cheerful excitement to give way to unease.
“As much as I’d like to believe you just wanted to surprise us, something -” she glanced back at Dom’s unfamiliar travelling companions “- tells me this isn’t a social visit.”
Dom’s jaw tightened. He gave May’s hand a quick squeeze.
“I wish, Maybe. I really do.”
“What’s going on?” Worry settled heavy across her brow. “Who are-”
“Let’s wait until we’re somewhere more private before we get into it, okay?” Dom cut her off. May didn’t argue.
They made their way out the back of the tent and into an open lot teeming with activity. May waved and exchanged quick words with the fellow cast and crew milling around. The last remnants of the night’s props were being locked away in the shipping crates and boisterous laughter drifted from an inviting-look dining tent. Beyond that, a sea of mobile trailers clustered just out of the tent’s circle of light.
“You’ve gotta tell me what this “Ginger” thing is all about,” Dom remarked after a fourth person referred to May by the name.
May laughed quietly. “We’re on the run, Dominic. It wouldn’t make much sense to go by our real names, now would it?”
“Fair enough.” He gestured at the scene around them. “Nice work hiding in plain sight by the way.”
At this, May beamed. “Yeah, we’re pretty proud of ourselves.”
“You must be happy to be dancing again.”
“I really am. I didn’t realize how much I missed it, to be honest.”
A voice was cleared from behind the pair, who looked over their shoulders in unison.
“Your performance was very lovely,” said one of the two women who followed them with a soft smile. “You’re very talented.”
May flushed; for someone who loved to perform, she was still getting accustomed to praise.
“Thank you! That’s very sweet of you to say.”
Her gaze lingered on the woman a moment longer. She was striking; warm brown skin that was etched with painstakingly detailed tattoos on her face and forearms. But it was her brilliant golden eyes that held May’s attention the most, their familiarity causing her to shiver involuntarily.
Giving her head a slight shake, May hoped she hadn’t been staring too long and changed the subject.
“Rose was in the shower when Bertram came to find us,” she said, speaking Rose’s name slowly as though she were still getting used to it herself. “But she should be done by now.”
They made their way through the small village of trailers to one with fairy lights framing the door. May skipped up the steps and poked her head inside.
“Babe?” she called and listened for a reply. Jeremy tensed and shot Dom a look who pretended not to notice. “Huh. Maybe she went looking for me. Would you like to wait inside?”
The troupe filed into the cramped trailer – a space not suited for quite so many bodies – and clustered in the awkward silence that followed.
“Sorry it’s so small,” May murmured, bashfully shoving stray laundry out of sight. “The other trailers have more room but we took this one so we wouldn’t have to share with anyone else.”
“Smooth,” Dom replied with a chuckle. He nudged at her with his elbow, bringing the blush back to her cheeks. She gave him a swat.
“So what’s going on?” She gave the group of strangers her full attention for the first time. She tried to ignore the anxiety that gnawed at her gut under the intense stare of the man with fiery hair. He had been fixated on her from the very first moment – the entire walk to the trailer she had felt his dark eyes boring into her, but now she couldn’t avoid them. “Is everything okay?”
Before Dom could reply, the red-haired man reached into his pocket and produced a tattered, folded piece of paper. Opening it carefully he stepped forward and handed it to her without a word.
Panic gripped May’s insides when she saw the photo – herself and Em, caught on a security camera in Tenna nearly a year ago. She could pinpoint the moment precisely, her shoulder wedged under Em’s arm as the two wove through alleys to escape a Loyal agent named Melanie.
“Why do you have this?” May’s voice hitched, her breathing shallow. Her eyes darted fearfully from the man to her friend. “Dom, what is this?”
“May, listen,” he tried to sound reassuring but there was grief in his expression that filled May with dread. “You’ve got to hear them out.”
But her mind was already racing.
“We trusted you.” May felt as though she were looking at a stranger. She couldn’t imagine anyone who knew about that day in the photo having anything but bad reasons for wanting to find her and Em – surely Dom realized that. “Dom, how could you bring them here?”
With her heartbeat thundering in her ears, May could see that the others were talking to her but she was too busy scouring the room for a way out. The strangers blocked her path – would she be able to fight her way through?
“We’re not here to hurt you,” insisted another one of the strangers; the other man, beautiful and earnest. He reached tenderly to her as though she were a wounded, frightened animal and she jerked away only to back into Dom.
“C’mon, Maybe,” he pleaded. “Just list-”
Panic overcame her and she screamed. Aliases be damned, she screamed Em’s name and lunged for the door just as it swung open. Dom and the strangers pulled back in surprise, leaving room for May to stumble into the arms of a woman with pearlescent skin. Hair like polished silver poked out from where it had been hastily tucked beneath the ragged ball cap Dom has often seen her wearing in the photos she sent him. She clutched May close while her haunting diamond-blue eyes took in the scene.
The room went silent and she spoke.
“What the fuck is going on?”