“I just… I’m gonna miss you,” I swallowed hard.
“Rem, I’m not going anywhere.” He bent down and kissed my shoulder. “You can’t get rid of me if you tried.” When I didn’t smile, he figured it out. “Wait. You’re going somewhere.”
I hadn’t planned to tell him anything, but I had to. I couldn’t let him think that this was his fault, that he was the one making me this upset. Taking a deep breath, I rolled over more so he could see my hip, all bandaged up.
“Remember how I said this was nothing?” I peeled it back, so he could see my healing wound, and his eyes widened. “That’s a zombie bite.”
“What do you mean?” His skin blanched. “You’re… you’re infected?”
“No, I’m not. This bite is a week old.” I bit my lip and watched for his reaction, but he only got more confused and upset. “I’m immune, Lazlo.”
“Why do you make that sound like a bad thing?”
“It’s not.” I sat up and pulled the sheets over me, feeling self-conscious about being naked. “But… I’m gonna switch places with Max.”
“What are you talking about?” By now, anger and fear had seeped into his words. Lazlo pieced together what I was getting at.
“They’re killing him,” I explained. “I can’t leave him in there. I promised I would protect him, and I’m not. I have to do something.”
“Right. So, let’s break him out and get out of here.”
“No, I can’t do that either.” I shook my head. “First of all, they’d come after him with everything they had. But more importantly, the whole world is dying. And I might hold the cure. I can’t sit idly by and let everything be destroyed. Not if I can save it.”
“But you just said they’re killing him!” He looked incredulously at me. “So if you go in there, they’re gonna kill you too!”
“Maybe, yeah,” I admitted and looked away from him.
“They’re not gonna find a cure. You know that. We just need to wait this thing out. The zombies will all die and the virus will die. It’ll just take time.”
“Maybe. But people shouldn’t live like this!” I gestured to the trailer around us. “We’re not supposed to live inside a glorified cage! And the virus might get in here too! I can’t just let that happen. You and Harlow and Max and everyone deserve better than this! I want you to be able to have a long full life where there isn’t a risk of getting eaten by a zombie or infected with a crazy virus! My god, Lazlo, I care about you too much to let that happen!”
“If you care about me, then just run away with me!” Lazlo pleaded with me. “What are you gonna do with Max, anyway? Just open the door to the building and wish him luck?”
“No.” I looked away from him, knowing he wouldn’t react well when he found out that I’d talked to Blue and Tatum, but not him. “Blue and Tatum are helping me get in the building. Tatum is helping them break out of here, and Blue’s gonna take Max back to the compound with London.”
“Blue is taking care of Max?” Lazlo tried not to sound hurt, but he was far too transparent.
“Yeah. He’s good with a gun, he’s a doctor, and I didn’t want to put you in anymore danger than you need to be,” I said. “You and Harlow will be safe here.”
“You expect me just to stay in this stupid trailer while they’re in that building, killing you?” He shook his head. “No way, Remy. No way!” He got up out of the bed, angrily pulling on his boxers. “I won’t let you do this! I can’t let you do this!”
“It’s already done!” I shouted. “We’re going just before dawn.”
“Tonight?” He gaped at me. “You’re going tonight?” I nodded. “Oh my god. You weren’t gonna tell me, were you?”
“I just thought it would be easier,” I tried to explain.
“Oh my god.” He ran a hand through his hair and looked away from me. “I just told you I loved you, and you didn’t say anything! You were just gonna leave me forever!”
“Lazlo, it’s not like that.” I got out of bed, wrapping the sheet around me, and walked over to him. He stood with his back against the wall, refusing to look at me, and tears were standing in his dark eyes. “I didn’t want to hurt you.” I reached out to touch him, and he pushed my hand away. “Lazlo, please.” I put my hand on his chest, staring up at him with tears in my own eyes. “You’re going to be the last person I ever love.”
“I don’t know why you say that like it should comfort me,” he said thickly.
“Because it comforts me.” I felt his heart, beating erratically under my hand. Finally, he looked down at me.
“I wouldn’t have survived without you. You saved my life like fifty times. Even when you weren’t literally dodging a bullet for me, you gave me a reason to keep fighting. What am I supposed to do if you go?”
“You’re stronger than you think,” I forced a smile at him. “You saved my life, too.”
“Remy, you can’t save the world,” he said plaintively.
“I have to try. So many people have died, and I couldn’t do anything. If I didn’t do this, if I just let Max die, or if I just let everyone else die, I couldn’t live with myself. I can barely sleep as it is.” I looked up at him, begging him to understand. “I don’t have a choice. At least, not one that I can live with.”
“You’re really gonna leave in a few hours?” Lazlo asked, and I nodded. “I should spend that time arguing and trying to change your mind, but… I guess I’m too selfish. If I only have a few hours to be with you, then… I just wanna be with you.” He leaned forward, kissing me softly.
The front door slammed loudly, startling us. I pulled open the pocket door and peered down the hallway. Nobody was in there, but a new pile of clothes had been discarded at the end of the hall.
“Harlow,” I sighed.
Lazlo offered to talk to her, but I figured that I should. I pulled on my clothes as quickly as I could, and I pushed open the front door, preparing to launch a manhunt to find her. Instead, I found her sitting on the front steps, her arms crossed over her knees.
“How could you do that?” Harlow asked quietly.