"Are you going to tell me what's going on now?" Scott demanded, his voice low and husky from strain.
"Listen to your instincts, Scott. They're more reliable than people any day. Instincts say you can trust me. And I'm going to prove it in a few seconds."
"We have to figure out what to do before Mr. Fox gets here."
"Fox? Why's he coming here?" He stalked over to stand in front of the couch, exactly where Malone had stood. Rhea wondered if the whole day would be like this.
"He wants us to help catch you and your father. He was on his way here when he saw you. Bad luck, huh?" Rhea felt choked by the slow fury in Scott's eyes.
"How long did you wait there?" He looked down at her, hands on his hips. Rhea sensed his struggle not to dash for the door.
"I wasn't waiting; and I only learned about my mission now, when Malone gave me this folder." She handed the photos to him. "Fox won't tell, but I can guess why he's hunting you. Different is dangerous, no matter who you are."
"Why did you help me?" he shot back.
"Because that's what I do." She sighed, feeling more tired than ever. Scott only stared back at her, his face a mask of confusion and hurt. "I travel the country looking for people who have learned -- usually by accident -- how to do the impossible. With their minds. I can tell where they are by the vibrations they give off. I felt your panic, so I helped. I know what it's like, watched, in danger of becoming a lab rat. I won't let it happen to anyone else."
She got up and went to the refrigerator. She was thirsty, and she needed to give Scott time to digest what she had told him. Rhea poured the last of her cranberry juice for them both. Scott would not take the glass she handed to him. It was almost amusing -- and reminded her of a time when she trusted no one and nothing, not even the stray dogs she met on the street. Rhea sipped from both glasses. Scott finally accepted the glass.
"You sensed something in me, or you would have waited longer before taking my help," she said. Rhea wished she had more energy to push against this boy's mental and emotional shields and make him see she could be trusted. Force, though, would only negate the message.
"Well...yeah," Scott admitted. He took refuge in his glass, downing most of it in a few swallows.