Quinn released his hold on Tara. She pushed herself up until she could wrap her arms around his neck. She buried her face into his shoulder and the tears on her cheeks soaked into the cloth of his shirt.
“I’m so sorry,” she said.
He wrapped his arms around her back and squeezed her shaking, naked body to him. His fingers found their way up her back and into her hair. “I know,” he said. Her eyes sparkled beneath him and his lips quivered anticipating the kiss demanded by the intimacy of the moment.
A clanking on the bars of their cell interrupted the tenderness leaving an unfulfilled void of tension in its wake. Together they twisted toward the source of the interruption and boiled with a mix of embarrassment and anger upon seeing Rex. His face openly displayed the pride he felt in himself and the amusement their predicament provided him.
“How touching,” Rex said, punctuating his words with a chortle.
Quinn stood placing his body in the path of Rex’s view of Tara. She rose to her feet and pressed her body to Quinn’s back, gazing over his shoulder at Rex with a disgusted frown on her lips.
“What do you want?” Quinn asked.
Rex grinned and tipped his hat away from his forehead. “Kit has a stash of money aboard. Tell me where it is.”
“What have you done to her?” Tara demanded.
“Nothing at all,” Rex said, “but if I don’t find her money and bring a replacement load of the drugs you dumped, she’ll be dead.”
Quinn said, “Now why would you use that money to bring a replacement load back here when you could just take it and run?”
“That’s not good business, especially in my line of work,” Rex said.
Tara said, “And betraying your shipmates is?”
Rex shrugged. “We all do what we have to do. I wanted my ship back and I’m not going to apologize for doing what was necessary to get it.”
“So how do you see this playing out?” Quinn asked. “We help you find Kit’s stash and we all go our separate ways, no hard feelings?”
“I could live with that,” Rex said. “I not opposed to the Doc sticking around. Her skills could come in handy and she’s kind of cute being all embarrassed about not having her clothes on.”
“If you expect our help,” Quinn said, reaching a protective hand back to rest on the side of Tara’s naked upper thigh, “you’ll have to make room for both of us aboard and I’m afraid the Doc is going to be wearing clothes too.”
“You’re not in a position to be making demands,” Rex said.
“If you’re serious about using the money to buy the stuff you owe these people and getting Kit out of the trouble you’ve put her in, I’ll tell you where the money is,” Quinn said.
Tara took a step back from Quinn. “You can’t trust him,” she said.
Quinn looked at her over his shoulder. “We don’t have much of a choice, but I’m not going to just trust him,” he said and looked back toward Rex. “We stay on board with you and when it’s time to pay for the cargo, I’ll deliver the money myself.”
Rex shook his head. “And how do I know the two of you won’t just turn on me? Neither of you has shown much loyalty to Kit as it is and I’m sure you won’t show any to me.”
“What choice do you have?” Quinn asked. “I’m betting without out that money you’re as dead as we are.”
“I’ll find the money with or without your help,” Rex said.
“If you were so certain of that, you wouldn’t be here asking for our help,” Tara said.
Quinn nodded. “You need us and that means you are taking us with you.”
Rex smiled. “I have a better idea. I’ll take the Doc with me and you’ll wait here with Kit until we get back.”
“I’m not leaving her alone with you,” Quinn said.
Tara said, “I don’t even know where the stash is anyway.”
Rex shook his head. “Well then I guess the Doc stays behind and you come with me. You’re obviously protective of her so her well being should be enough insurance for me to trust you to do the right thing.”
“She comes with us or I’m not helping,” Quinn said, crossing his arms in front of his chest.
Rex shrugged. “Then you’ll both stay and I’ll take my chances of finding the money on the way.”
Tara rested a hand on Quinn’s shoulder. “Go with him. I’ll be fine as long as you promise to come back for me and Kit.”
Rex rolled his eyes. “How sweet. Do we have a deal or not?”
Quinn looked over his shoulder at Tara. Their eyes shared a moment of mutual understanding and commitment before he turned back to Rex. “Fine, but if I even get the hint of betrayal from you, it’ll be the last thing you ever do.”
Rex turned toward the exit and the guards. “You can take her with you, but leave him in the cell.”
The guards moved to the cell door with their weapons drawn. Tara leaned down collecting her clothing with the obvious intention getting dressed. Quinn raised his arms and kept his body between the guards and Tara. The guards opened the door.
The guard on the left said, “Drop the clothes, turn around with your hands behind your back and walk back to us slowly.”
“At least let her get dressed,” Quinn said.
The guard chuckled. “She won’t be needing clothes where she’s going.”
Tara did as instructed and when she reached the guards the attached shackles to her wrists, binding her arms behind her back. The silent guard grabbed her forcibly by the arms and pulled her from the cell while his partner secured the cell door. They led Tara past a grinning Rex who clearly enjoyed the unobstructed view of Tara’s nudity. She blushed long after his leering expression was nothing more than memory. The ship left the hangar with a thunderous and roar and she was all alone with the guards walking the dirt path toward an uncertain future.