Sierra had her hands on the wheel and her foot on the break. Cars were passing by on the road and honking at them as strangers watched the scene unfold. Who is going to win in this standoff? Will Avery be able to finally arrest Sierra or will history repeat itself? Find out in the next chapter of Catching Time!
[Read First Chapter Here.]
Chapter 11: A Really Bad Day
Avery placed her hands on the hood of the car defensively as it jerked forward and abruptly lurched to a stop.
“Don’t fucking do that!” Avery yelled out. Her heart skipped a beat. She was playing with fire and feeling uncertain. The voices in her ear shouted back in disapproval at her brash move.
She couldn’t give Sierra another chance to try again. Avery knew from experience that Sierra would defend herself if backed into a corner. It was important that Avery reacted fast. Quickly, Avery pulled herself a few steps back, aimed the Glock at the tire, and fired.
Sierra was trapped.
Looking up through the windshield, Avery locked eyes with Sierra. Her eyes were wide in shock. It was the first time Avery saw fear. Something about this image looked wrong. Sierra had an air about her that she was always under control but at this moment she looked as human as anyone else.
No, Avery couldn’t think like that, she needed to stay focused.
“Ensign, what’s going on?” Dr. Fabre said in her ear. She had heard the gunshot.
“I got her, she’s not going anywhere,” Avery responded. Her voice sounded confident as she said the words out loud. Inside, she still felt the adrenaline and panic from almost getting run over. Luckily, her voice didn’t falter.
“Good. Get her on the road and I’ll give you the coordinates on where to go.” Dr. Fabre said.
This was all going to be over soon and it wasn’t a moment too soon. Avery was ready to go home. This whole ordeal lasted longer than she’d liked. This time period made Avery feel like she was from a different planet. With a sigh of relief, she made her way to the driver’s side window with her gun drawn.
Sierra looked up at Avery, her window was rolled down and the rain was getting into the car. Her hands were raised up slightly over the steering wheel and she was wearing a black and teal sweater. Nothing about her screamed that she was out of place. Seamlessly, she blended in. Avery wasn’t so subtle, she might as well be yelling how out of place she was to each new person she came in contact with.
Cars were passing by on the road and honking at them as strangers watched the scene unfold.
“Put that thing away or we are both going to be seeing the inside of a jail cell.” Sierra turned towards Avery. She looked like she had regained her composure.
Avery needed to stay in control of the situation. This was the part that was going to be difficult. She couldn’t let Sierra get under her skin now that she had put her mask back on.
“Shut up and get out of the car,” Avery ordered, still holding the handgun and pointing it through the window.
“Alright,” Sierra said. Slowly she unbuckled her seatbelt and opened the door. She stepped out into the rain, the water droplets soaking her hair and sweater immediately but it didn’t seem to bother her.
“Get in the truck,” Avery continued, motioning to the truck she arrived in.
“No,” Sierra said back. Her arms were raised palm up. She looked defiantly at Avery.
“What do you mean, no?” Avery walked in closer. She knew Sierra was stubborn. The last thing she wanted to do was shoot. “Do you want me to drag you back?”
They were about a foot apart and Avery should have guessed what was going to happen next. Sierra rushed at her trying to fight back. This had been her signature move. This time Avery was ready for her, she didn’t fall for the same trick twice. Sierra wasn’t a skilled fighter once the element of surprise was taken away.
Avery took Sierra’s arm and spun it around her back, pinning Sierra against her car.
“Let go.” Sierra struggled under her but Avery held her in place using her body weight to press her against the car.
“No.” Avery had a good grip, it was her turn to refuse. She didn’t notice that the voices in her ear had stopped. The cell in Avery’s ear had fallen out in the struggle. She had also dropped the Glock in a puddle of mud.
“Let go!” Sierra yelled this time.
“Shut-up, we’re already making a scene.” Avery put her hand across Sierra’s mouth and hoped that it was raining hard enough for the people driving not to notice what was happening.
Avery waited until Sierra stopped trying to break free and pushed her harder against the car. She needed Sierra to know that she didn’t stand a chance against her.
But they couldn’t stay like this for long.
Avery knew that Sierra had a point that they were drawing too much attention. Sierra needed to stop fighting and they needed to get going fast. She was afraid that the cops were really going to show up.
“Are you done?” Avery asked and she felt Sierra’s body relax. Sierra nodded against Avery’s hand.
Avery was cautious, she waited a few more seconds before she slowly removed her hand from Sierra’s mouth. Now, she rested her free hand on Sierra’s shoulder. At a moment’s notice, she was ready to push back. She still didn’t trust her.
“You can let go now,” Sierra said calmly.
“I’ll decide that.” Avery was glancing cautiously at the vehicles that passed them. She didn’t feel confident that Sierra wasn’t going to attack again. “We need to get out of here.”
“That’s the truck from the news, right?” Sierra tilted her head towards the truck, changing the subject. “Are you really that dense to be driving that thing around?”
“What?” It took awhile for Avery to process what Sierra was saying in their current circumstances. She hadn’t realized that she had been on the news but after her entrance this morning, she wasn’t surprised.
“I have a spare tire in my trunk. It’s better that we take my car.”
“Your car?”Avery was surprised that Sierra would rather take her chances with her than local law enforcement. Something about this wasn’t right. “You really want to avoid the cops that bad?”
“Listen, I don’t want the cops calling my family. There are records here that show that I’m a four-year-old from Arizona. This won’t make much sense, will it?”
“Well no.” Avery took Sierra by the arm forcefully and lifted her away from the car.
“Let go, and I’ll go with you.” Sierra dropped her shoulders. All the fight seemed to have drained from her but she sounded confident and calm. It was as though she wasn’t the one being held at gunpoint.
Something was off about this. Avery was sure that Sierra was forming some kind of plan but everything she was saying made sense. All Avery knew was that she had a better chance at this if she could get Sierra to go with her willingly. Whatever she was planning Avery could deal with later.
“Alright.” Avery was cautious. She didn’t want to get arrested either. There was no record that she exists in this time period and pulling strings would cost time. At this point, she just wanted to go home.
“Thank you.” Sierra yanked herself away from Avery’s grip, turning around to face her.
Nodding, Avery acknowledged Sierra and took a quick look at their surroundings. She walked back a couple of steps and picked up the Glock from the mud. Shaking it off, she stuck the gun in the large pocket in the front of her overalls. Sierra watched her cautiously.
“What are you waiting for?” Avery asked, raising her voice to sound authoritative.
“I need to get my keys from the car to open the trunk.”
“Well, get them.” Avery motioned to the car in the rain. It was getting colder. She watched from a distance as Sierra opened her car door. She noticed that a car had pulled over on the other side of the street. It was dark but it looked like a man and a woman were watching them.
Sierra had noticed too. She waved at them and pulled her keys from the ignition. “We need to watch those two.” Sierra closed her car door and walked to her trunk. “There’s a SevenEleven with a payphone up the street. They can call the cops if we give them reason too.”
“And we haven’t already?” Avery didn’t understand half of what Sierra said but she didn’t want the cops. She didn’t notice the car when she had shot Sierra tire so the couple must have arrived when she had her pinned against the car.
Avery waited until Sierra had her back to her before talking with Dr. Fabre again. “Give me the coordinates now. I don’t want her to know I’m in contact with you,” she whispered for Dr. Fabre to hear.
No one answered.
The realization made Avery’s stomach drop. She reached her hand to her ear and found that the cell wasn’t there. Frantically, she looked at the ground for the flesh-colored object on the cement. It was getting too dark and there was too much rain.
Sierra popped the trunk and looked behind her.
“You’re talking to them aren’t you?” Sierra asked.
Avery should have known that Sierra knew that she was talking to the lab. Avery had forgotten that Sierra had done this before too.
“Get the spare out,” Avery ground her teeth. Her expression must have slipped and Sierra gave her a smirk. In that brief exchange, Avery knew she lost the upper hand.
“You’re looking for this?” Sierra held out her palm. The little flesh-colored device that she used to communicate with Dr. Fabre was in the center of Sierra’s hand.
“Give me that!” Avery stepped forward but it was too late. Sierra dropped the device and in one motion, she stomped on it with her foot. A distinct crunching noise was heard and Avery knew that the cell was gone.
Avery starred at Sierra in shocked silence and Sierra glared back.
“Is everything okay?” The man who had been watching had gotten out of his car and the woman followed. He shouted from across the street.
“Yeah, everything is fine,” Sierra shouted back and gave a short wave.
“Are you sure?” The woman said on the passenger side of their car.
“Yeah, we’re fine,” Avery shouted at the couple. She pulled herself together. She’d have to bring Sierra in on her own. Unfortunately, describing Sierra as difficult was an understatement.
The couple continued to look at them quizzically across the road for a few seconds before they finally got back in their car. What they had said seemed to have convinced the couple for awhile but they continued to watch them from across the street.
“Did the people back at the lab tell you how to get back?” Sierra asked, she seemed to be keeping an eye on the car across the road too.
“Shut up.” Avery didn’t have a plan and she was livid. She had no idea what she was going to do. She yanked the keys from Sierra’s hands and opened up the driver’s side door. “I’m driving, let me know when you’re done with the tire.
Avery couldn’t do anything brash with the couple watching. She had to act as if everything was normal. She repositioned the Glock in her front pocket so it wouldn’t be visible. She let Sierra struggle with the tire on her own.
The moon was out and it was freezing inside a cheap motel eight. It didn’t help that Avery’s hair was still soaked from the rain.
Nothing went as planned, Avery considered this whole situation a mess. They left the truck on the side of the road after Sierra replaced the tire. The couple that had been watching them had eventually drove off, leaving them alone without another word. They drove up to the motel in silence and Sierra had to pay for the accommodations when they arrived.
“Are you sure you don’t want to shower?” Sierra got out of the bathroom, she had finished blow-drying her hair after taking a shower herself.
“No.” Avery was under the covers in the bed closest to the door. There were two beds in the room and she was fiddling with pieces of the Glock. She was cold but she didn’t want Sierra to run if she disappeared to take a shower. Instead, she found a robe in the closet and striped, leaving her clothes to dry over a chair as Sierra freshened up.
Avery decided to clean the Glock as soon as Sierra got out. The mud needed to be removed anyway and she wanted to keep the intimation factor up. She then loaded it, making sure that Sierra could see what she was doing.
“Are you sure?” Sierra said, glancing briefly at the gun. She had taken out her contacts and her eyes were golden yellow again. Sierra looked comfortable in clean pajamas and dry hair as she sat on the edge of her bed watching her.
“I’m sure.” Avery set the Glock down. She pulled the blankets around her. Her wet hair was making her shiver and was drying in frizzy curls.
“Ok.” Sierra didn’t argue. They hadn’t said much to each other since they got in the car. There was tension in the room as they tried to feel each other out.
“You came here in one of those machines too. Where is it?” Avery asked as she watched Sierra get under her own covers. She needed to form a new way to get back to 2091. It could be possible if she could get ahold of Sierra’s machine.
“It’s of no use to you. It’s been confiscated by the government like the one you came in.”
“Well, are you sure of that?” Avery didn’t know if Sierra was lying. She had no way to tell.
“I reported it to the authorities here. Even if you did find it, it’s useless. I destroyed the power core.”
“Shit.” Avery pushed her head back against her pillow. She really didn’t know what she was going to do. Where did the government keep stuff like that, Area 51? That place was debunked decades ago.
“I have a question for you.” Sierra cut through Avery’s thoughts, “How did you find me?” She looked intently at Avery.
“You didn’t know?” Avery had considered it to be obvious.
“You give off a radioactive signature that’s only found in the 2090s. The lab tracked that and told me where to find you.”
“Oh,” Sierra said and was silent for a while. She turned away and faced the front of the room. She looked deep in thought.
“Did they tell you it was dangerous to time travel before you started?” Avery was intrigued. She wondered if Sierra did this knowing the full repercussions of working for the Organization. After reading Sierra’s files, she had finally figured out what made Sierra’s eyes yellow. It was the radiation used to power the machine’s and it took years for it to set in.
“No, I didn’t know until my brother got sick.”
Avery didn’t say anything for a while. She didn’t know what to say and she didn’t want to push the topic on radiation. It scared her to know that she also went through time and how that can mess you up if you were unlucky enough. Dr. Fabre told her that she should be fine since she was just going through once. Sierra had done this for years. Instead, Avery decided to focus on the topic of Sierra’s brother.
The file did say something about Sierra’s family and she did read about Jason Mirza. He was recruited first and brought Sierra into the mix. He was a marine in the military and was supposed to have died in a helicopter accident during a training mission in 2019.
After reading both of Sierra’s and Bliar’s file, The Organization liked picking up people from the past with a certain skill set. In the files, it had noted that they picked up people and saved them right before they were supposed to die. Their death wouldn’t affect the timeline and they could help with the war efforts in the future without dipping into the already depleted population.
What was strange about Sierra’s file is that she wasn’t noted to have had a fatal accident before she was recruited. The Organization went against their own rules to bring her in. Avery didn’t know why.
“Why did The Organization choose you?” Avery asked.
“Because I’m a doctor,” Sierra said with a huff, as though the answer was obvious.
“Really, I thought you were a vet.”
“Oh, so you do remember?” Sierra’s mood shifted, she didn’t look as tense. It was almost as if she remembered that they weren’t exactly strangers, “I don’t know, guess I didn’t mean anything to the timeline but now… I want to go home. I just want to be average.”
“You, average? You are the most interesting per-” Avery slipped. She immediately regretted saying it and stopped mid-sentence. They were getting too familiar.
Awkward silence held in the air at Avery’s outburst.
“Well, I might stick out to you because I’m not meant to be in 2091. You are as awkward as hell in the ‘90s.” This was the first honest thing Sierra had said to Avery since she got her memories back.
Avery watched Sierra as she replied. The way she spoke, the way she moved, what she was wearing or maybe the lack of what she was wearing, Avery lost focus for a second. This reminded her of seeing Sierra in the bedroom of that house. That moment seemed like a lifetime ago.
God, Sierra was beautiful.
Avery turned away and shivered again. This whole situation was a mess. The Organization shouldn’t have hired her. This now seemed to be something that she kept repeating to herself.
“Shut-up.” Avery blurted. It was the only thing she could think of and it sounded childish.
Sierra looked at Avery curiously. She didn’t respond to her and it looked like she didn’t know what to say. She kept glancing at the gun and maybe it was preventing her from saying something impulsive. Avery wasn’t sure. The room got quiet again.
Avery hoped that Sierra couldn’t see right through her the way she thought she could. Sierra couldn’t see that she had no idea what she was doing or that Avery also found her attractive. This was only infatuation and it was throwing Avery off. She could jeopardize this mission. Avery needed to get away for a second, she could feel Sierra’s eyes on her as she seemed to be trying to make up her own mind.
Pulling back her covers, Avery got up from the bed. The Glock needed to be placed somewhere safe and she stuffed it in the pocket of her robe.
“Avery?” Sierra looked puzzled at her sudden movement.
“Sit-up,” Avery ordered, she wished Sierra didn’t know her name. This would be easier if they didn’t know each other. Sierra slowly lifted herself from the covers and Avery continued, “Now, scoot back and give me your hands.”
Sierra held out her arms and Avery took her wrists, lifting them to the bedpost. This probably wasn’t the best idea but she felt like she needed to get away from Sierra for awhile. It was best if Avery had some time to think on her own. There was still a possibility that Sierra was going to run but this was the only idea that Avery could come up with. Avery moved abruptly from the need to get away and clear her mind.
“I’m not sure if thi-”
“Shut-up.” Avery interrupted her and looked down at Sierra. This felt awkward but she didn’t know what else to do. With nothing else on her, she had to use the belt of her robe to tie Sierra’s hands. Realizing what that would mean, she started to feel self-conscious, “I’m not… this… what are you thinking?”
“You get flustered easily.”
“I’m not going to hurt you, okay.” Avery continued to hold Sierra’s hands up. “I’m cold, I’m tired, and I really am going to take a shower and get some sleep. I don’t want you to run.”
“Okay, I won’t run.”
“I don’t trust you.”
“Okay, that’s fair.”
“Close your eyes for a moment.” Avery hoped that she got what she meant across.
“I’m not sure if I trust you yet either. What are you going to do?”
“I’m going to tie your hands with my belt.”
“Look at what I’m wearing.” Avery sighed, she hadn’t thought this through. Her bra was drying on the chair along with the rest of her clothes.
“Oh.” It seemed to dawn on Sierra, “I’ve seen you before,” she said it like it was nothing.
She had to say it like it was nothing, Avery thought and she sighed again.
Avery took the cloth belt, untied it with her free hand, and pulled it loose. Her robe fell open quickly with the added weight of the Glock. With each second that passed, she had to remind herself how flatly Sierra responded to her. It didn’t help. Avery felt her face get warm as she tied Sierra’s hands.
“Stay here,” Avery said, pulling the belt in a tight knot. She closed her robe with her hands and was unable to meet Sierra’s gaze as she pulled away.
“You’re having a bad day,” Sierra stated softly.
“Yeah.” Avery replied, feeling Sierra’s gaze. She walked towards the bathroom and she closed the door behind her.
The shower felt great. It was warm and the chill that she had in her bones was soon gone. Avery used this time to let her mind wander and didn’t focus on anything specific. A plan was going to have to be thought of some other time. Right now, she needed to use this moment to decompress and then she needed sleep. Whatever was going to happen next would fall into place tomorrow.
Avery turned off the water and stepped out. The blow dryer was a nice addition to the hotel room and her hair no longer stuck to her in cold curls on the nape of her neck. She pulled the robe back on and stepped into the room feeling better. Avery was expecting to see Sierra still tied on the bed.
Instead, the room was empty.