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“Morning,” she greeted him without even raising her head. A large duffel bag, the one she usually sported, was already tossed over her shoulder, and she was anxious to get a start on the day’s shopping. No one liked moving through the lower levels, and tackling the second floor was close to the bottom on her list of things she wanted to be doing with her time. But the prospect of the unknown sent adrenaline coursing through her veins. Mixed feelings swirled through her, but one thing was for certain - she was ready to get the day’s task over with.

“Morning.” Sebastian was still shaking the sleep from his eyes, and Anna wondered if he was feeling all right. She didn’t know a single member of their rag tag group that really slept anymore; if anything, he should be fighting off bouts of pure exhaustion like the rest of them. Instead, he looked as if he had just woken up from a 36 hour nap. She instantly squashed the jealousy that rose within her, for she knew he was just as tired as she was.

“Shall we?” she asked, opening the door to the stairwell and motioning him past her. Always the gentleman, she waited until he was through before she followed him. Thanks to her tireless hard work that morning, their flashlight was already wound up and ready to go. She flicked it on and shone it down in front of them as they descended the stairs.

Sebastian let out an audible yawn as they hit the first landing and continued on. The urge to reach out and smack the back of his head was strong, but she resisted. Of all the characters in the group, Sebastian wasn’t too bad to deal with. He didn’t make unwanted passes at her, and he kept his noisy questions into her personal life to a bare minimum. He didn’t try to fill the endless hours of shopping with pointless small talk, one of her biggest pet peeves. And since they didn’t talk much about personal matters, she had to admit that he wasn’t half bad company.

He wasn’t the control freak that William was, and he didn’t feel compelled to force his opinion on others or to seek power in every situation, which made it easy to work this particular detail with him. He didn’t have Davidson’s military background, which granted could have been useful on some on their sweeps, but it also meant that he wasn’t on constant edge and trigger happy when they went wandering around in the dark.

She found him honest and simple. He didn’t hide his personality behind a blank facade like Daniel, and he wasn’t self absorbed with just himself and Lenore like Nathan and Hayley.

They reached the second floor landing without incident, and this time he held the door into the hallway open for her. “Ladies first,” he commented as she slipped past him.

“You see any ladies here?” she scoffed as she slid past him cautiously into the hallway.

She got a dry laugh out of him for that comment. He hiked his duffel bag up on his shoulder. “No, I suppose not.” The stairwell door slammed shut behind them, and she reflexively held her breath for a moment as they both froze and scanned the vacant hallways. Her eyes caught his waiting for a cue from her, so she nodded and they relaxed their posture simultaneously. “Unless you are feeling like a lady today.”

She was famous for not knowing when someone was flirting with her, and this was such an instance where she wasn’t sure if he was trying to make a suggestive comment or if he was simply continuing the banter. Anna didn’t dwell on such matters though, and she let the comment pass as if he hadn’t spoken it at all.

She patted her right hip, comforted to feel the knife tucked safety against her pants. With an inclination of her head to the left, they got down to business. Chit chat was reserved for idle times, and once they settled into working mode, neither of them felt like chatty Cathys, which was yet another reason why Anna didn’t mind working with him at all.

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