"Maddie, you said you figured out a way to make a weapon out of the neuteroilum," John stated.
"I did." She nodded.
"Would it be possible to somehow make a gun with the neuteroilum that would look like a weapon from that era?" he asked.
She pressed her lips into a thin line as she pondered.
"It's possible, I guess. I couldn't say for certain without some neuteroilum, and the only resource is gone."
"We do have a little bit of neuteroilum on this ship," offered the alien, Vanda.
"A little is all I need," Maddie said.
"Very well." Vanda nodded.
"Will it work?" Jackson asked.
"I'm pretty sure," Maddie replied.
"Maddie, I don't need pretty sure. I need you to be positive," Jackson sternly said.
"I'm positive that I'm pretty sure it will work," Maddie replied.
Jackson gave her a dirty look. She answered his glare by sticking out her tongue.
"What's the meaning of this?" Mr. Galloway demanded as Dean let go of his hold on Trevor's neck.
"He broke my rules," Dean casually said. "He thought he could have his way with Maggie.
Mark raised an eyebrow. "I'm surprised you didn't kill him if that's the case."
"I thought about it. Ms. Piper asked me not to."
"Did she, now?" Mark pressed his lips together.
"She's uncommonly good-natured. She didn't want you to punish me over him."
Mark grabbed Dean's chin, checking out the cut on his face. "She stitched you up?" Dean didn't say anything as his boss surveyed him. "Don't make me regret putting you on the assignment, Mr. Lawrence."
"No, sir." Dean shook his head.
"Anyway." Mark cut his eyes. "I wanted to check in with you. Mr. Piper's men have been scoring the woods in search of her."
"I've encountered one. I sent him back in a pine box."
"Very good." Mark leaned away, smiling. "Just be careful not to spark a war, Mr. Lawrence. There will be time for that later."
Dean nodded that he understood and made his way to leave the house. He paused just outside the door.
"Are you sure about Mr. Ross?" Dean asked.
"This is a time of great turmoil right now. Regardless of which way the wind blows, Maggie is the spark that will set Texas ablaze," his employer told him.
"So we tread lightly." Dean understood.
As much as she tried to will the sun not to rise, morning eventually came. Several women entered her room to assist her in getting dressed. She stood in front of a full length mirror once they were done, trying to see herself under the white ball gown, hair and makeup. The woman staring back at her looked like a complete stranger.
"Randy's heart is going to melt when he sees you," one of them told her.
Maggie gave her a phony smile as she turned away from the mirror.
"Wow, you look amazing," Eric stated as he watched her descend the staircase.
"Thank you. I hope my husband agrees."
"Damn it, Maggie. You're not making this easy for me."
"Oh, I'm so sorry. You're right. This must be terrible for you," she dryly said. "After all, you are the one being forced into marrying someone you don't know."
Eric sighed, shaking his head. He helped her into the back of the car, making sure the door didn't shut on her dress.
"Maggie?" Eric paused after he climbed into the driver's seat.
She looked at him with a bland expression on her face. He sighed, running his fingers through his brown hair.
"You don't know how much I wish the situation was different," he told her.
"You are going to regret this later."
"I already do," he whispered.
"Do you like working for my father?" Maggie raised a polished eyebrow.
"Miss Maggie, it's not appropriate for a lady to ask such things," Darius admonished her.
"My apologies. I seem to forget my place." Maggie looked down at her needle point.
This little interaction only made Eric even more curious about her. The way she shifted her weight in the chair and pursed her lips together showed her disapproval, but she still obeyed.
"You didn't bother me," Eric insisted.
"Miss Maggie is a proper lady," Darius told Eric.
"It's all right, Mr. Young. Ladies are better seen and not heard," she tried her best to keep her tone light.
"You don't sound like you agree," Eric noted.
"Agree... Disagree... What purpose would it serve? My opinion matters not."
"I don't think that's true."
"Regardless of what I think, Mr. Cooper, I am still being carted off to marry a man whom I haven't seen since I was a child. A man whom I only remember as a little boy who liked to set my hair on fire. My marriage is advantageous to my father and his enterprise. My life, my dreams, are being sold. What I want, sir, is irrelevant ," she admitted, her voice void of emotion.
Eric stared at her agape at her admission. Maybe there was more to her than he thought.
"But I'm not supposed to think like that, am I?"
She looked over at Darius, who confirmed with a nod.
"I'm only to be concerned with fancy parties, pretty dresses, and making sure I look perfect at all times. Lest I forget for a moment that I am only a woman. My dreams of traveling the world are only that."
Her tone conveyed a gentleness, but her eyes told another story. Her eyes showed him she had a deep passion, one she wasn't allowed to express.
Her fingers pulled delicately at the lace she worked on. Eric realized she absentmindedly worked on the project. She was just as bored as he was.
Maybe Maggie had more depth than he thought. The awareness made him suddenly uncomfortable. The threat Colton gave him still rang in his ears. Any divination from the current role would result in his death. The only problem was when she looked up from her lace, something in her eyes told him she would be worth dying for.
The elevator doors slid open, and Maddie was pushed into a long hallway. Jackson still held her by her arm and escorted her into what appeared to be a conference room. Maddie sat down in one of the chairs that surrounded the oval table and was left alone.
Maddie lost track of time while waiting. She had gotten lost in her own thoughts when the opening of the door startled her.
"Sorry to keep you waiting," Jackson said upon entering.
"You've been apologizing a lot to me since we met," Maddie flatly said.
"It's not going to stop either."
Maddie paused for a moment, remembering what Jackson had said earlier.
"Alright, I think I'm owed an explanation."
"I'm afraid you're right."
Jackson paused right by the door.
"Again, I'm sorry, Madison," he said before knocking on the wood.
It swung open and a woman walked into the room. The woman had short, pixie-like dirty blonde hair but there could be no mistake: she looked exactly like Maddie.
New teaser for Mirror Image:
"I'm curious about something,” Logan said, breaking the quiet. “You work with our counterparts, correct?"
"I do. They work in a different department than I do, but we work on the same floor," Maddie said.
"How different are we from them?" Logan asked.
"From my experiences, not that different. The eyes give you away though," Maddie told him.
"What do you mean?" John asked.
"I can look in your eyes and see the pain you mask. Seth is better at it than you are, but I can still see it. You've lived a rough life," Maddie told him.
Almost instantly, the three of them broke their gaze.
"It's okay. I can't imagine that this life is an easy one," Maddie said, quickly backtracking.
"It's not," Logan simply said.
"Wow, you got them pegged," Jackson said with a laugh.
"You too, jerkface. You fought in most of the same battles as we have," Seth said, tossing a few peanuts at Jackson.
"You certainly are different than I expected you to be," John said as he put out his cigarette. Logan nodded in agreement.
"And how did you expect me to be?" Maddie asked.
"Honestly? Docile. Meek," John responded.
"I guess I'm supposed to be." Maddie frowned.
"Don't say that. Don't sound like you are apologizing," John said.
Maddie tossed back another shot. "I appreciate that."
"No, I'm serious. Don't apologize for who you are, Maddie. You are a beautiful person, inside and out. You are warm and funny. Plus, you can shoot pool and alcohol like no girl I've ever known," John told her.
"Maybe you've been hanging out with the wrong kind of girls." Maddie smiled at him.
"You may be onto something there." John grinned.