“Look, talk to Phoenix troop, talk to Phoenix,” Sarah hissed in Marcus’s ear.
“He might want to steer clear of me for a few days first though,” Jason growled.
Sarah looked up at Jay’s voice, having nearly forgotten he was there. She pinned Marcus tighter as he struggled to free himself.
“You’re female?” Marcus had obviously not found his investigation conclusive.
“I thought I was a pansy faced frump,” Sarah threw his own words back at him.
“And engaged?” Sarah noticed Marcus had been pinned such that his head faced her hand with the ring on it.
“Damn I forgot about that. I should have had you take it off,” Jason exclaimed.
Not on your life! Sarah thought loudly at him, making Jason grimace.
“Well you ought to move it to your other hand then,” he suggested.
Too late now, she snipped back.
Sarah turned her focus back to Marcus, who was still struggling. “Are you going to tell on me?” She had no idea how far down the chain of command her secret had been passed. “You know,” Sarah adjusted her hold, “I kept my eldest brother down from dinner to sundown once.”
“Does your Fiancé know?” He nearly managed to free himself.
“Know what?” Sarah asked annoyed.
“That you are here, as, as,” Marcus struggled with his words.
“As a man? Yes he does know and he,” she glanced to Jason with an ironic smile, “is well aware of why I am here. Now,” Sarah adjusted her position again, not willing to let Marcus up yet. “Are you going to tell anyone?”
“This is not right,” Marcus muttered.
“What’s not right?” Sarah leaned her head down to be near his. “That I am a woman? Or that I’ve bested you?”
“This is not right,” Marcus muttered again. He had stopped struggling.
Sarah groaned and got off Marcus who stayed on the ground. He slowly rolled over to look up at her. Extending her hand to him Sarah smiled. “Yeah, it ain’t right but,” she shrugged as Marcus refused her offered help, “King’s orders are King’s orders.” Leaving him to puzzle it out she made her way to where the crowd was waiting.
Sarah that could be considered classified information, she heard Jason think at her.
If I didn’t say he’d likely go tell everyone and then it would all come out, Sarah responded. She smiled as Reed, Aaron and Kirk broke apart from the larger group to greet her. Let him puzzle out why on his own, least I didn’t tell him of your boast.
She felt Jason’s sigh of resignation.
“That was astounding!” Reed exclaimed as soon as he was over the fence. “The way you just flipped Marcus onto the ground and held him there.”
“Yeah, well I wish I hadn’t had to.’ Sarah sighed. “But,’ she smiled as they walked back to the fence, “hopefully he won’t be messing with me during the Trials.”
Once they were among the other boys, there was much congratulating of Sarah. Even London was there though he hung back. Sarah made a point to shake his hand. Apparently, she was only the most recent one to bear the brunt of Marcus’s pranks, though no one else had had it as bad.
“How’d all you guys know to come here anyway?” Sarah asked as Class B, minus Michael Bennett and Marcus, split off from the others to collect Sarah’s gear. “There are at least two hours till dinner.”
“Well London here,” Reed jerked his thumb back to London, “told us there might be something going on.”
Sarah looked to London who trailed behind them as if unsure of his acceptance. He hesitantly returned her smile. “Thanks,” she told him.
“I just couldn’t stand it anymore,” London spoke quietly, “and I know he was planning something for during the Trials so I had to tell Commander Josiah. He seemed to know already and when I saw the look on Marcus’s face after the Commander talked to him I just thought...” his voice trailed off.
Sarah stepped back and put an arm around the boy’s shoulder. “Hey, you did well. No one likes to tell, but in this case, I think it worked out. Don’t you guys?” She looked to Reed, Aaron and Kirk as she removed her arm from London’s shoulder.
“Yeah,” Reed agreed as Kirk and Aaron nodded.
London smiled as Sarah made room for him in the group. Strange how familiar this is, Sarah thought, except instead of four older brothers, I have four younger ones. Jason chuckled.