I was woken up a few minutes later by another shock. Paladins really like electricity, apparently.
I opened my eyes and saw Roland and the woman standing over me.
"What?" I demanded. "Can't a girl get some sleep around here?"
Roland smiled. At least he had a sense of humor. Then he pressed a button on the remote and I got electrocuted again. Never mind.
"I love this little contraption," Roland mused as he twirled it in his hand. "So small, and yet it's so very... Convincing."
I snorted. "Is that what they're calling it these days?"
His expression turned serious. "Magnolia, quit with the jokes. Last time I checked, I was the one with all the power. I want information about O'Connor and you have it. And believe me; I always get what I want. Frankly I don't give a damn about what happens to you so if you want to live, I suggest you tell me what you know."
I rolled my eyes. "Listen, grandpa. I know about as much as you do; probably even less, actually. Griffin's just some guy I hooked up with; I don't know what you guys are talking about. Now can I go home?"
Roland sighed. "Do you really think we're going to fall for that? We know you've been involved with Griffin since you were a baby."
"Hey, it was worth a try."
He held his finger above a button on the remote threateningly.
"Okay but I honestly don't know anything about Griffin anymore. It's been thirteen years."
Finally the woman broke in. "But you've been with him for a few days. We saw you together. What has he told you?"
"Look woman, he kidnapped me, questioned me, and let me go. I learned nothing. I don't know who Griffin is or what he's been doing these past thirteen years, okay? Now shut your trap and let me go."
She turned red with anger and tried to grab the remote, but Roland stopped her.
"Magnolia, if you'll just tell us what we need to know, then we'll let you go and you can go back to your mom, and all this will be just a memory. Or you can refuse to tell us and suffer the consequences, which, I assure you, will not be pretty."
He waved the remote menacingly in my face. I did not want to get shocked again. I started to panic.
"I told you already, I don't know anything!" I screamed at him, spraying spit all over his face.
He wiped it away calmly, and then pressed a button on the remote. I screamed in pain and outrage as the electricity ripped through me, setting every cell on fire.
"You people are crazy," I gasped.
Roland smiled. "You don't understand, Magnolia. We're the good guys. Jumpers kill people. They may start out with good intentions, but they're always corrupted sooner or later. Only God should wield the power of omnipotence; everyone else goes bad. They kill people and harm countless others. They need to be eradicated, for the sake of all mankind."
"Before you go preaching, I'd like to point out that I'm in a chair getting shocked for information. And I'm not even a damn Jumper."
"She's got a point, you know," a voice said.
I looked over Roland's shoulder and saw Griffin standing there, hefting his precious baseball bat.
Roland snarled and called for security.
Griffin grinned and Jumped to the woman. Before either she or Roland had time to react, Griffin landed a punch to her jaw that knocked her out cold. As she fell he grabbed something from the inside pocked of her jacket. Then he Jumped out of sight just as Roland tried to tackle him, leaving Roland to fall flat on his face.
Griffin appeared in front of me just as Paladins came rushing in. He fiddled with an item in his hands – keys, which had been what he had taken from the woman's pocket – and tried to fit them into the locks on my cuffs.
As the alarms blared and the Paladins shouted, I yelled, "You're late!"
He rolled his eyes and continued fiddling with the locks.
"BEHIND YOU!" I yelled, warning him about an approaching Paladin.
Griffin disappeared, leaving the key in one of the locks. Then he was all over the place, jabbing and kicking and bruising skulls with his baseball bat.
I tried to unlock my cuffs, but it was hard to do with zero hands.
"Griffin! A little help?" I shouted over the ruckus.
Within the span of a second he Jumped to me. He unlocked one hand, saying, "Just can't do anything on your own, can you."
Then he Jumped on top of a Paladin, shoving her into a group of attackers.
"Behind you again!" I yelled again as I fumbled with the last lock using my one free hand.
Griffin twisted and simultaneously landed a roundhouse kick to the attacking Paladin's jaw.
I got free and stood up, only to be captured by a vengeful Paladin with a gun.
"Stop Griffin, I got her! Now freeze, before I blow her head off!"
I heard a thunk behind me and turned around to see my would-be captor lying on the floor, with Griffin standing over him, holding a blood-smeared bat.
I ran to him and as he hugged me I felt a huge wind blow. Then we were back in the cave.
Griffin didn't let me god; he just hugged me tighter. I buried my face in his neck, inhaling deeply. We were both breathing heavily.
Suddenly, Griffin pulled away and gripped my arms, shaking me roughly as he shouted, "Don't ever do that again! Are you daft? Why'd you go with that creep in the first place? I have half a mind to take you back there and let them shock some sense into you. Don't ever scare me like that again!"
And with that he kissed me softly.
That was the last straw. I started crying.
Griffin drew away, a worried expression on his face. I just clung to his shirt and wept.
This whole being kidnapped and electrocuted deal had taken its toll on me. My nerves were frayed, and Griffin had a very nice shoulder.
He sighed and held me, rubbing my back comfortingly, saying nothing. That was good. Talking was stupid.
Then he picked me up bridal style and sat on the couch, positioning me so that I was in his lap.
I continued crying for another five minutes or so before I finally managed to regain my composure.
"Sorry about your shirt," I apologized as I sniffled.
He grinned. "No problem."
Then he took his shirt off and threw it to the ground a few feet away.
I rolled my eyes. "Showoff," I muttered as I snuggled against his bare chest.
He chuckled, but didn't refute the claim.
We stayed silent for a few minutes before he asked, "So you're not hurt?"
"So you ask me this after you shake me so hard I think my eyes got knocked askew?"
"Yeah, sorry about that. I was just frustrated with your utter stupidity."
"Well I apologize for being kidnapped and electrocuted multiple times. I'll try harder to not get taken against my will again."
I poked a bruise that had formed on his arm. He flinched and flicked me on the cheek lightly.
"That hurt," he murmured.
"It was supposed to. You're a big fat jerk."
"But a very attractive big fat jerk."
"As you wish."
I could hear his eyes rolling.
Then he threw me out of his lap and stood up.
"Get some sleep," he ordered. "We're going somewhere special tomorrow."
He kissed me quickly and disappeared.
I sighed and lay down on the couch, covering myself with a ratty blanket.
There was no way I was going to sleep anytime soon. I had too much to process. It was going to be a long and lonely night.