Nia Sanderson

"Nia."

I don't look up. Jack hasn't yet earned my respect for the day, and I'm rather disinclined to listen to anything he says. Instead, I inspect my own calloused hands. Damn. My fingernails are getting long. I begin filing one on the rough stone I'm leaning against.

"Nia," he says. "You said you'd do it."

"I did nothing of the kind," I say, still scraping my nail across the granite wall. "I said I would try." My pulse throbs in my ears, but I ignore it. "You didn't mention he'd be utterly incompetent."

"Pepper is a capable agent," Jack says, his tone weary.

"Then why don't you partner with him?" I say, glancing up.

Jack's sharp blue eyes narrow. "I'm going to pretend I didn't hear that."

A wave of heat rises up into my cheeks and scalp, and before I'm fully aware of what I'm doing, I've stalked over to brace my arms on Jack's desk, teeth clenched. Jack doesn't blink.

"This is what it comes down to, chief," I hiss. "If you can't find me another partner, then I'm out. Got it?"

"Then leave, Nia," Jack says evenly. "We're done here."

Swearing under my breath, I do.

The End

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