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Frozen where he stood on the stair, Miller scanned the area around Aliss, eyes avoiding her as he hunted for something he seemed unable to find. She couldn’t help smiling, as she thought back to the look on Hugh’s face when he’d seen her do the same sort of thing and run away before she could speak.
She noticed Miller’s fingers clinging motionless to the railing and walked over to place her hand over his. Stroking his skin with her thumb, she tried to compose the right beginning for a story he couldn’t be ready for.
He examined the scenery over Aliss’s shoulder, standing quiet another moment before parting his lips. “What the fuck …” he said, lips still moving as his words cut off.
“It’s all right, Miller,” she said. “It might not seem like it, but things are better now.” The light behind her smile dimmed and brightened as she gauged his reaction, but didn’t go out. “I’ve remembered some important things today.”
“Remember …?” he mumbled.
“There are things I have to explain … so much I have to tell you.” She watched him close. “What did you just see?”
Miller shifted his attention and weight upward on the stairs.
“Let’s not go up there,” Aliss said, grasping his hand.
Frozen again, he glared straight ahead, then back at the patch of lawn at the corner of the building.
Aliss said, “Let’s go someplace and talk. Someplace else. You’ll understand better if you can see what I mean. Come down and let me show you.”
“Show me … what?”
“Just come and see.”
He responded to her gentle tug and came down the steps, eyes searching ground.
Aliss kept hold of his hand, backing away with him in tow, his body loosening rag doll-like, aiming his limbs where gravity dictated, until his fingers locked and resisted her pull. When the tension took him over, he shook his hand free and grabbed her wrist, holding it up inches from his heart. She waited for him to say something, watching disbelief, shock, and fear as they overlapped in circuit across his face.
He said, “I saw you walk through a wall.”
“No, I didn’t …”
“I know what I saw. How the hell …”
“I came out in front of the wall, not through it. I can explain.”
“I’m not losing my mind …”
“I know you’re not. Let go of my wrist so I can show you what happened.”
His fist gripped tighter.
Beneath each of the emotions she understood, Aliss saw anger in him that made her chest clench inside as it had every other time she’d seen that kind of heat up close. How Miller could be capable of that without her having seen it before, escaped her. She was in no mood to revisit her own raw emotions, to be scared again, especially of him. And it was just that easy for her to purse her lips and rip at his fingers with her other hand. She thrashed at them until she felt moisture under her nails. It was when he didn’t flinch, that she realized how deep his shock had been. He hadn’t been able to look into her eyes. Perhaps his wasn’t another dominating personality to run from. Maybe he was that scared.
“Miller,” she commanded, “look at me.”
His eyes moved in her direction. “What’s happening here, Aliss?”
She modulated her voice, hoping to calm. “You’ve trusted me until now. Think about why. You know me. Stop hurting my arm.”
He breathed harder and let go of her.
She placed his hand on her shoulder. “I’m not afraid, Miller. I know what I’m doing and I’m not afraid. Why are you?”
“Because things should make sense,” he said.