The rotating cab meant that I gave Mori one last shot at the drill. When we were a good distance away, I gave into her shouts and pummeling on my arm and swung us sideways so she had a clear shot.
“Don’t act like you’re doing me this huge favor,” she said, scooting to the edge of the cab and putting both hands in front of her.
I wanted to shake her, just shake her. How could anyone be so aggravating and charming at the same time? It seemed impossible. I’d just saved both our lives! We’d nearly died a dozen times—some of which were her fault. I was doing her a favor.
“Don’t take the shot if you’re not sure,” I said.
“Oh, and now you’re telling me how to bolt?” She tossed me a look over her shoulder that seemed like it was meant to make me wither up and die on the seat.
I leaned forward and rested my arm on the steering wheel while shaking my head. Mori was something else. She was a piece of work. When I was leaning forward, I could see even more crows circling above us. I’d never seen this many near the line.
The drill was coming hard and fast toward us, but it had been damaged by some of the trees it had torn through. I was less worried now that we were off the ground. If worst came to worst, I could always swing my bucket and maybe knock the nasty tunneler onto its side. It was a possibility anyway.
Mori was grumbling “wait… wait… wait…” under her breath.
“Don’t wait too long,” I said, just to annoy her.
She snarled without looking at me. It made me smile. Something might be wrong with me that I was starting to enjoy fighting with her. It was most likely too much adrenalin and maybe the radiation even. Still, she looked beautiful when she was angry. Blessed earth, she looked beautiful all the time.
She groaned a sigh. “I can’t get a clear shot, Coby. That stupid drill is in the way.”
“Are you giving up?”
She gasped… which was answer enough even before she said, “Of course I’m not, you silly trencher.”
“You’re a silly trencher,” I murmured, smiling.
She glanced over her shoulder at this, and I didn’t drop my grin in time.
“You’re enjoying this.” I thought I could hear a smile in her voice, but she’d refocused on the drill which was now listing slightly to the side and clunky in its movements. She bolted a few crows while waiting for my reply.
I sat back against the seat. “It’s probably madness setting in from being in your company too long. Every time you start to make sense… I should just punch myself in the head.”
“I’ll punch you,” she offered and finally took the shot when the drill tipped just a bit. The bolt hit like a brick to the digitals inside, and it thunked to a stop only a hundred yards from us. She leaned back with a very satisfied smile.
“Nice shot,” I said.
“Yeah, it was.” Nice. Real humble.
O’course I sort of liked that about her.
Yeah, I should just let her punch me in the head for that.