“Simon whispered to me, “But is everything okay?”
“No,” Tori said. “I kidnapped her and forced her to escape with me. I’ve been using her as a human shield against those guys with guns, and I was just about to strangle her and leave her body here to throw them off my trail. But then you showed up and foiled my evil plans. Lucky for you, though. You get to rescue poor little Chloe again and win her undying gratitude.”
“Undying gratitude?” Simon looked at me. “Cool. Does that come with eternal servitude? If so, I like my eggs sunnyside up.”
I smiled. “I’ll remember that.”
“Oh, right. You must be starving.” Simon reached into his pockets. “I can offer one bruised apple and one brown banana. Convenience stores aren’t the place to buy fruit, as I keep telling someone.”
“Better than these. For you, anyway, Simon.” Derek passed a bar to Tori.
“Because you aren’t supposed to have those, are you?” I said. “Which reminds me…” I took out the insulin. “Derek said it’s your backup.”
“So my dark secret is out.”
“I didn’t know it was a secret.”
“Not really. Just not something I advertise.”
“Backup?” Tori said. “You mean he didn’t need that?”
“Apparently not,” I murmured.
Simon looked from her to me, confused, then understanding. “You guys thought…”
“That if you didn’t get your medicine in the next twenty-four hours, you’d be dead?” I said. “Not exactly, but close. You know, the old ‘upping the ante with a fatal disease that needs medication’ twist. Apparently, it still works.”
“Kind of a letdown, then, huh?”
“No kidding. Here we were, expecting to find you minutes from death. Look at you, not even gasping.”
“All right, then. Emergency medical situation, take two.”
He leaped to his feet, staggered, keeled over, then lifted his head weakly.
“Chloe? Is that you?” He coughed. “Do you have my insulin?”
I placed it in his outstretched hand.
“You saved my life,” he said. “How can I ever repay you?”
“Undying servitude sounds good. I like my eggs scrambled.”
He held up a piece of fruit. “Would you settle for a bruised apple?”