Elijah reached over and squeezed her hand. He must know, Beth thought.
“It’s nice to see you again, Beth. It’s been a while,” he said.
“Yeah, it has.”
“How are you getting on?” he asked, genuinely concerned for her.
She smiled slightly in thanks. “I’m getting along, I think. I just wish I knew if he was okay.” She shrugged, curling in on herself a little.
“He’s alive. Though I can’t tell you anymore than that.”
“How do you know?”
He hesitated. “Just trust me, he’s still breathing. We’ve all been praying,” he said quietly.
Beth looked at him silently for a few moments before nodding. Yes, she trusted these men, these large and muscular warriors that she knew would protect her; they’d put their necks on the line to save her once already.
“How much did Robert teach you about self-defence?” he asked her, quite out of the blue.
She blinked in confusion. “He taught me how to shoot.”
“He didn’t have time to teach me anything else. My parents sent me to do martial arts when I was younger though.”
“I stopped when I was thirteen, after starting when I was six.”
“Seven years? Not too bad. How much of it do you remember?” Eli challenged, an eyebrow raised.
“I don’t know. It’s been a while since I’ve thought about it. I quit because I wanted to be a ‘proper girl’, as I put it then.”
Elijah looked thoughtful, a small smile on his face.
“No, Eli,” Aaralyn said sharply when she caught onto his thoughts.
“Why not?” he asked.
“Just no,” Aari responded, glaring at him.
“No,” she reiterated.
He shrugged, as if whatever it was meant nothing to him.
“Wait, what?” Beth asked.
“I was wondering if we should test you. You need to be able to defend yourself. You may not have a gun with you; you don’t know how to use a blade well, if at all. I want to see if you know what to do.”
Beth considered this. Now that Elijah had mentioned it, she was curious too. She wanted to know how to use a knife like the Brothers did. Maybe she could go and get Robert herself that way. Well, with the help of the others anyway.
“I’d be up for that,” she said after a short while.
“Would you?” Elijah asked, sounding a little surprised.
She then thought about her possible pregnancy. She was sure that they wouldn’t go so hard on her that she couldn’t have a break if she needed one. They wouldn’t hurt her—well, not too much. She didn’t think she had much to worry about.
“When?” Eli asked.
She nodded. “Could you teach me how to use a knife too?” she asked, unsure of what the response was going to be.
He thought for a few moments. “We’ll see how you go hand-to-hand first.”