Orihime in Hiding 19 & 20
19- Fifteen Miles
They were nearly dry by the time they got back to the house that afternoon. The commotion in town was enough to clear the streets, and they had been almost the only pedestrians walking in the wrong direction on the sidewalk.
Renji unlocked the back door to the small house as Ishida looked around the back yard, eyes narrowing at the truck and grill.
“Hey, what’s all the fuss, man? They busting someone?”
They looked to where Raider was hanging over the hedges between their yards, his sagging face minus its usual grin, a look of alarm in place.
“Fire at the library,” Renji told him, twisting the doorknob.
“Oh.” Raider heaved a sigh in relief. “Is that all? Okay.”
“Who’s this guy?” Ishida asked, adjusting his glasses to see the neighbor better.
“That’s Raider,” Orihime offered, leaning closer to him as her voice dropped. “He’s a dreg of society.”
“He is?” Ishida looked to Renji as the door opened.
“I didn’t pick this place; Tenth Division did.” He opened the door wider and went in, glancing cautiously around the kitchen as Orihime and Ishida followed him in. “Stay here. I’ll check upstairs.”
He moved through the small house, satisfied the main floor rooms were empty, and then headed up the stairs, only to find Orihime and Ishida behind him.
“You’re supposed to wait,” he told her.
It was Ishida that answered. “You’re not going to go wandering around her room without –”
Renji stopped halfway down the second floor hall and turned to the Quincy. “Listen, Ishida, we’ve got a system down and it’s been working well for the last month,” he said as patiently as possible. “I know what I’m doing, so don’t interfere.”
“I see how well your system worked this afternoon at the library.”
“It did work. No one got hurt.” Renji turned back to the hall and led them to the end bedroom. Once there he looked around the room, finding nothing amiss. “Everything’s okay, Orihime.”
“Thanks, Renji.” She moved farther into the room and went to the closet.
Ishida had colored a little, uncomfortable in her bedroom. He looked at the broken doorknob that still hung askew. He sent a pointed look to Renji. “What happened here?”
Orihime moved her clothes to one side of the rack in her closet. “Oh, Renji did it when he broke in.”
Ishida frowned at the shinigami.
Renji shook his head, wishing Orihime had phrased it a little differently. “Come on. I’ll explain.”
They settled at the kitchen table, their t-shirts only slightly damp now, and began with the passel of unanswered questions on Ishida’s mind. It took Renji a full five minutes to detail the events that had led to Orihime’s broken doorknob, and when he was done, Ishida seemed only slightly peeved. Then Renji moved the subject to what had interested him earlier.
“Let me see the paper you got.”
Ishida hesitated, but then reached into his t-shirt pocket and set a small slip of paper on the table.
Renji took it and studied it in detail, frowning. “That’s it? That’s what got you here?”
Ishida nodded, still looking over the kitchen, eyes resting on the two green and purple basil plants in the window sill over the sink. “Urahara said it was longitude and latitude, and he was right.” His dark eyes dropped to the paper. “The man in the restroom at the library, he’s wrong, Renji. There aren’t a dozen; I think there’re fourteen.”
Renji looked to him for a few seconds, then down at the number fourteen circled on the paper. “You might be right.” He removed the tied black cloth from his head, setting it aside on the table to dry better. “Any idea who gave you this?”
“Someone who knows what’s going on.”
“Maybe they’re using it so you can find Orihime, and then they can find you.”
Ishida shook his head. “If they know this much,” he nodded to the paper, “why would they need to follow me?”
“I’m not sure.”
They both looked at the paper for a long moment.
“Don’t you think you should talk to that girl? Leah.”
Renji looked up from the paper. “Why?”
“To see if she’s okay, Abarai. She got shot at this afternoon.”
“Oh, well, she’s okay.” He turned the paper over. Nothing written on the back of it.
Ishida looked at him with disbelief. “So it’s just a matter of course that she gets shot at when she’s with Orihime?”
“No.” Renji read the suspicion crossing the Quincy’s face. “I don’t know where she lives, Ishida. I’ll ask her tomorrow.”
Ishida looked to the new doorknob still in its plastic packaging lying on the table near the wall. “How many have been here?”
Renji followed his gaze to the hardware. “Two.”
“Hi,” Orihime said brightly, her wet shirt replaced with a dry pink tank top, her denim skirt now exchanged for a yellow one. Her smile was genuine when she looked to Ishida. “Would you like something to drink?”
Over a round of soft drinks they recounted the incidents from the last few weeks, and wrote them down on a sheet of paper, bringing the count to eleven.
They sat staring at the list for several long moments, the clock reading six o’clock on the wall. Ishida sighed.
“Are you sure about all of these?”
Renji nodded, sitting back in the chair, hooking one arm behind it. “There were two gunmen at the Jasper Middle School, two at a bus stop in Taylor trying to pick-up the Chinese girl, the guy that broke in here –”
“The one you buried in the garage?” Ishida asked with distaste, looking at the doorknob.
“Yeah. The crossing-guard –”
“The what?” Ishida asked.
Renji related the crossing-guard incident as Orihime brought them a pitcher of iced tea and refilled their glasses.
Ishida looked at Renji with skepticism. “You killed a woman?”
“No; she got hit by a logging truck.”
“Oh,” the Quincy said slowly. “I see…”
“She wasn’t the usual crossing-guard,” Orihime said. “Oh, we have brownies.”
Renji grinned as she hopped up to bring out the platter of curry-frosted brownies. This will test the Quincy’s resolve, he thought.
Orihime placed the platter in the center of the table and found napkins for them all. Renji watched the apprehension slip over the dark-haired man’s face as he looked to the plate of brownies, half of them frosted with a thick, sweet reddish-brown curry.
The brownies weren’t bad; it was the topping Renji had had issues with. Ishida blinked twice at the plate. Orihime moved it closer to him.
“Go ahead, Uryû; we have plenty.”
Ishida smiled warmly at her. “They look delicious.” He took one, the scent of thick chocolate mingling with the spicy topping. He took a bite, chewing slowly, then raised an eyebrow. “Very good, Orihime. Thank you.”
She beamed, blushing slightly. “I’ve been cooking at school.”
“Oh? Is this a recipe from school?”
“Oh, no. This is my idea.”
Ishida glanced to Renji, a look of dare on the shinigami’s face. Renji reached for an unfrosted brownie.
“There were three gunmen at the Montcalm school last week,” he said, resuming the conversation, finger pointing to the list on the paper. “And the two at the library today. That makes it eleven.”
“So there are three more.” Ishida took a long drink of his iced tea. “Are you sure the others are related?”
“I don’t have newspapers to the stories, but I think they’re all tied together.”
Ishida looked at the list for a moment. “I have the newspapers.”
Orihime had just picked herself out another brownie. “How can you have the newspapers if you’ve only gotten into town?”
“The man who died, whose,” he hesitated, looking guiltily at her, “whose house I’m borrowing, no one stopped the paper delivery service. There’s a month of newspapers there.”
They talked more, mostly in circles, none of them wanting to think about the possible other three assassins still lurking, perhaps even in Brooklyn, waiting for Orihime Inoue. After they’d eaten half the plate of brownies — of which Ishida bravely had three, with curry — Renji ordered a pizza and went upstairs with the new doorknob in hand.
He’d barely knelt at the door to the rose colored room, assorted screwdrivers beside him on the floor, than his communicator buzzed. He reached for it immediately, having forgotten all about returning Matsumoto’s call.
“Yeah?” he said into it.
“Yeah yourself, Abarai,” Matsumoto’s voice came over the device. “What’s up with ignoring me? Got company?”
Renji sorted through the screw drivers, frowning at the back of the plastic package’s instructions for installing a doorknob. At least the replacement kitchen door came with the knob attached. “No. This is the first call that’s gotten through. We were at the library.”
“Library? Ooh, sounds so domestic.”
He grunted in reply.
“So, anyway, where’s Shunsui? He isn’t answering my calls?”
“He probably can’t. He’s got the technology he picked up from here.”
“Oh? Yeah? The chip and band. Hmm.” There was a muffled sound and Matsumoto spoke to someone else for a moment.
Renji looked closer at the diagram on the back of the doorknob package. What the hell was a Phillips screwdriver? he wondered.
“Well, I guess we’ll just meet him at the airport. Tatsuki says hello to Orihime.”
“Okay, I’ll let her know.”
Matsumoto clicked off and Renji stuck the communicator back in his pocket, leaning over the broken door assembly closer. After working for a few moments with the flat-ended screwdriver to no avail, he was tempted to just break the damaged knob off. The communicator buzzed again. He stood up and answered it.
“Yeah?” He glared at the damaged knob.
“Captain Hitsugaya, Lieutenant.”
“Captain Hitsugaya,” Renji rephrased, groaning, wishing he’d checked to see the code of the caller first. “Sorry, Captain.”
“How are things going there?”
Renji leaned against the wall and looked at the doorknob as he related the afternoon to the Tenth Division captain, including the emergence of Ishida. There was a long pause on the other end of the line.
“I see. Well, he’s an acceptable addition, for the moment. At least now we know where he is. About the technology you’ve collected, Lieutenant Ise has delivered it, and Captain Kurotsuchi’s report lists the chip as a tracking device, but it’s malfunctioned, and probably hasn’t been active since you’re arrival there in Brooklyn.”
Renji stood straighter. “It wasn’t working?”
“Not for the last few weeks. Its sending abilities weren’t functioning. It still had the capabilities for interference, but that’s about all it was doing.”
Renji nodded. “I see.”
“Twelfth Division hasn’t determined the metallurgical properties of the band yet, but Captain Kurotsuchi recognizes the technology. It was ours, at one time, and remains active from human tissue. Live human tissue.”
“Yes. As of now, you’re staying in Brooklyn, but that may change.”
“I understand.” Renji frowned. “Matsumoto contacted me, and she said Captain Kyouraku hadn’t arrived yet in Germany.”
Hitsugaya sighed, his voice taking on a near growl. “Captain Kyouraku was retained by German authorities; we’re sending Lieutenant Ise back out to retrieve him. Some mix up about undeclared materials or something. I’m not sure on those details. I’ll call Matsumoto now.”
“Okay. Thank you, Captain Hitsugaya.”
Renji closed the communicator, half expecting it to buzz again, but it didn’t. He looked to the door, the Hello Kitty dangle staring back at him. He grabbed the screw driver with the starred tip and set back to work.
In the kitchen Orihime had presented Ishida with another glass of iced tea as he contemplated the list before them.
“Oh, thank you, Orihime.”
She smiled, regaining her seat at the corner from his. “I’m glad you’re staying for pizza. I’m glad you’re here, too.” her cheeks heated at the words, but she only pushed on. “I knew someone was in Pierport last week. I could fee it.”
He looked pleased, watching the blush fade from her cheeks. “Are you really doing okay here? With Renji?”
“Oh. Uh-huh. Everyone thinks I’m an exchange student.”
“So you’ve been lying to Leah and your friends?”
She nodded, her features clouding slightly. “I don’t like to lie to them, but we have to.”
He nodded, watching her hands fold together before her on the table. “Do you have any idea who would try to help warn you of these assailants? Is there anyone in Las Noches who would help you?”
Her eyes dropped, a frown pulling at them. “I don’t think anyone there would help me, Uryû. Aizen-sama would bully anyone who tried to rise against him.”
He nodded, feeling in his t-shirt pocket for the small cloth wrapped item there. “I think someone would help you, Orihime.” He withdrew the rolled white handkerchief from his pocket and set it before her on the table. “Someone sent those to me. For you.”
She looked down at the handkerchief, frowning. “For me?”
He smiled. “Open it.”
She nodded, unrolling the cloth slowly. Beneath her fingers the hairpins were revealed, never looking more welcome. For a second she remained unmoving, and then she clutched them fiercely, nearly bending them in her enthusiasm.
Ishida wasn’t prepared for the rush of arms, hair, and the rest that was Orihime as she stood and flung her arms about his neck, happily engulfing him in a consuming hug.
Her arms gripped tight until he could smell nothing but peaches and sunflowers, her head in jarring impact on his glasses. She removed herself just as suddenly, looking down to the hairpins in her hands.
“Oh, thank you so much, Uryû!”
Ishida dodged her abrupt bow, his face turning an intense color as she murmured to the hairpins, nearly oblivious to him for a few moments. He settled his glasses onto his nose better, grinning at her enthusiasm.
“You’re welcome, Orihime.”
She smiled, and removed her fish barrettes from her hair and gently slipped the hairpins in place. She touched them lovingly, and turned to the toaster on the counter behind her. She bent to see her reflection in the metal appliance. It was a distorted image, but she smiled at it anyway.
Ishida stood, feeling a little awkward at her backside in the yellow skirt presented to him.
She turned, smiling up at him. “I hope everyone is all right,” she said, patting the pins.
He nodded. “Me, too.”
Less than fifteen miles away Karl Rybak had found Pierport Middle School. He spent the sunny Monday afternoon winding his way through the emptying parking lot, mapping out the exits and bus loading zones, examining the delivery doors behind the building where the food and paper service trucks were admitted by way of a service drive.
He then made a similar trip to the high school less than a mile away, behind the baseball diamonds and football/track field. A typical set-up for schools, he was learning.
Of the thirty-five school districts he had had to investigate, only seven were left. He was only a little concerned he hadn’t heard from his Employer; after all, communication was to be made only after he’d secured the girl. He looked down at the one-inch square mechanism he’d been given by the strange white-haired man with the squinted eyes and eerie smirk. It was simple, with only one button on it, without a screen or any other marking. The one button was only to be pushed upon completion of his assignment.
A press of a button that would yield a pound of grade D diamonds, or the equivalent monetary amount in the denomination of Rybak’s choosing.
He looked across the high school parking lot, and then headed back into town to see what amenities Pierport had to offer.
20- Almost Truth
The fire at the Brooklyn Public Library that was not a fire at all resulted in massive water damage from the sprinkler system, prompting an immediate township meeting to improve the fifty year-old extinguishing system to a water-less one, in keeping with the times.
The fire alarm had, however, shed light on a news story that brought out the best and worst assumptions across town. It was this article that held Ishida’s attention as he sat in the truck with Renji the following Wednesday as they watched the high school from the teachers parking lot across from the building, amid the pouring rain.
Ishida shook the paper to straighten a wrinkle so he could see the rest of the story, which had taken up a good portion of the small town’s news section. “According to this, Renji,” he said to the red-haired man sitting behind the steering wheel, “the township plans to upgrade the sprinklers, and replace the seven computers and books in the estimation of $90,000 within the next six months, providing the next special increase passes tax-payer approval.” He looked to Renji. “Nice going.”
Renji gave him a sharp glance, and then sighed. “Couldn’t be helped. What kind of idiot puts a water sprinkler in a library?”
Ishida nodded, folding the paper to see the story continued on an inside page. “So, this is what you do all day?”
Renji looked to him, slouching behind the steering wheel that was limiting movements of any kind. “Well, usually I’m on the rooftop like we were yesterday, but since it’s been raining so hard today — and you’re still here — I figured this is better.”
Ishida nodded, eyes skimming the article. “It says here they ” …discovered two bodies, males, in their mid-twenties, in the men’s restroom of the library. No identification present … due to the extinguishers, much of the forensics evidence is absent … in what appears to be a bizarre murder-suicide or double homicide.” He looked to Renji. “It doesn’t look like the authorities will be able to figure it out anytime soon.”
Renji nodded, eyes on the high school. The wipers made a single trek across the windshield, blurring and distorting view of the building for a moment. “Any idea who sent you the stuff?”
Ishida leaned back in the seat, stretching his legs as much as he could in the confined floor space of the passenger seat. “No one you haven’t thought of.”
Renji nodded, watching the Gordon Food Service van pull into the side street by the school and take the service street around the building. He frowned. “Food deliveries come on Mondays,” he said. “What’s he doing here on a Wednesday?”
He turned the key on the truck ignition, but before he could put it into gear, the van returned and passed slowly by the parking lot, easing to a stop at the front of the school. The driver got out and hurried into the building, only to return a moment later.
Renji sat back and switched off the engine as the van pulled back onto the street and headed to the intersection where Brooklyn-Pierport Street crossed. The van made a right and went deeper into town. “Probably looking for one of the other schools.”
Ishida nodded. “Is that Leah girl all right with getting shot at?”
Renji nodded as the rain covered the windshield again. “Orihime keeps pushing to tell her the truth.”
“Are you going to?”
“I don’t see how we can.”
“You’ve got to tell her something, Renji.”
“Why me? She’s Orihime’s friend.” His hand was still on the steering wheel, fingers tapping it, nerves bunching until he wanted to get out of the stuffy truck cab and find a little trouble, anything to break the monotony that was Brooklyn. Maybe it was just any human town for that long, he thought. He’d never spent so long in any town or city that hadn’t involved Hollows of some sort.
Ishida set the newspaper back on the stack between them. They were mostly old papers that he’d brought from the house he was using, dating back a few weeks, but with every story of the attempted high school abductions within fifty miles. It still put the total at eleven, as far as Renji was concerned.
“Three more,” Ishida said, giving a number to the subject on both their minds. “Has Soul Society given you any sort of time frame?”
“No. As long as it takes.” His thoughts turned to Rukia, wishing she’d left more of a message the day before than ‘Don’t blow this, Renji’. Word certainly traveled fast when it needed to in the Seireitei, even without the Butterflies. At least it was something from her.
Ishida looked at the newspaper that was folded too many times on the top of the pile. “Are you sure none of my fingerprints can be found in the restroom?”
Renji nodded. “Positive.”
Friday marked the seventh game in a series tied at three apiece in the Stanley Cup finals. Orihime was anticipating the idea of entertaining for the evening, particularly since Ishida had agreed to sit through the hockey game despite the sport’s nominal appeal to him. She’d convinced Renji to make a special trip to Busch’s for supplies to make some of her favorite treats, which she took great care in preparing. And he’d promised to tell Leah the truth.
Well, not the entire truth, she knew, smiling as she opened the oven to look inside at the pinwheels baking. Tasty swirls of rye and pumpernickel with pastrami, brown mustard, and cheese, according to the cookbook.
She shut the oven door and looked out the sink window at the rain changing from a sprinkle to something more. She glanced to Renji as he came into the kitchen.
“It’s raining harder,” she said needlessly.
He looked at the picnic table in the backyard where the surface was dancing with raindrops, then shook his head at her unvoiced query. “I’m not picking him up. He won’t melt in a little rain.”
“I was thinking about Leah,” she said, raising an eyebrow.
“Oh.” He frowned at her. “She won’t melt either.”
She nodded, slipping off the oven mitts, her gaze settling on the basil plants. She pinched off the flower buds that started to form at the ends of the stems, bringing the scent of basil to the room. She was about to say something more, when a knock came from the back door. Renji looked through the door’s single-pane window curtain, and opened the door to let Ishida in.
“Oh, hi,” she said when she saw him.
“Hi, Orihime.” Ishida smoothed back his damp hair and handed her a plastic bag with a two-liter beverage inside.
“Thank you,” she said, smiling, looking in to see the heavy bottle. “Ooh, Lipton Iced Tea, with lemon. Thank you.”
Renji looked to each of them for a moment, and then dismissed himself into the living room. Ishida grinned at the oven hopefully.
“It smells good in here,” he said. “You’re cooking?”
“Hai,” she said, smiling. “We made them at school.”
He looked at the hairpins she now wore. “How are Shunshun-Rikka?”
Her smile broadened as she put a hand to the clips at her hair. “Quiet. We had a very small talk yesterday night,” she said, her voice lowering as she glanced at Renji sitting at the sofa, flicking through television channels. “I’m not supposed to summon them, but Tsubaki had a lot of questions, and Shunou and Ayame were concerned about where we are now, and …” She stopped, looking guiltily at him. “Renji said not to work with them now, to leave it for later, when we’re out of Brooklyn.”
He nodded, pushing his glasses farther up the bridge of his nose. “I suppose that’s best. As long as everyone is okay.”
She found a platter from the overhead cupboard, standing on tiptoe to bring it down.
He reached over her and handed her the oval platter. “How has everything been here for you? With him.”
She frowned at him for a moment, and then nodded. “He’s okay.”
He looked to the clips holding her hair to one side, fighting the flush that started across his face. “I’m glad you’re all right.”
She smiled, the pink tinting her cheeks. “I’m glad you’re here.”
It was almost seven o’clock by the time Leah showed up at the small house, and the rain was steadily increasing. She wasn’t too wet, Renji decided, trying to allay guilt at not offering her a ride. They ate the delicacies Orihime had made, and half the spinach dip and crackers Leah had brought over the next hour, before Leah finally brought up the issue Renji had been avoiding since the hockey game started.
She looked to him during the first intermission break of the game on the television as Ishida made excuses to follow Orihime into the kitchen.
He ignored her through the first half of a commercial, and then looked to her when she turned beside him on the couch.
“You said you were going to tell me what’s going on, Renji.”
He nodded, giving her his full attention. “What do you think is going on?”
She raised an eyebrow, pulling her knee onto the sofa, leaning one arm on the back of the cushion behind her. “I really don’t know. Inoue is an exchange student, but something isn’t right around here. She won’t tell me, but she said you would.”
He looked beyond her for a moment to the kitchen, then back at her. “You can’t tell anyone else. Not even Meg.”
“Meg’s a gossip.”
“Do you promise not to tell anyone?”
She looked at him with skepticism. “Of course. Sure.” She studied him for a moment. “You’re serious.”
“I won’t tell anyone.”
He watched the rest of a commercial on the TV for a moment, debating how much truth was enough and how much was too much. He looked at the onyx ring on his finger, then back to her. “Inoue is here because there are some very dangerous people looking for her. She’s staying here for a while, until thinks quiet down.”
She looked to the kitchen doorway behind her, then turned back to him. Her voice dropped and she leaned closer for a moment. “Are you serious?”
“Those guys from the library?”
She thought for a moment. “That’s what happened to your back door?”
He hadn’t planned on her asking about the door. “Yeah. And it wasn’t a dog bite.”
“I knew that.” She glanced at the katana still beside the front door. “So, why is she staying with you? How does your family know hers?”
He was a bit surprised she still believed that part of it.
She sat straighter. “Oh, you stayed with her family when you were an exchange student in Japan?”
“No,” he said quickly, before realizing it was as good excuse as any.
She frowned. “You stayed with Ishida’s family? That’s why he’s here?”
Renji nodded slowly. Dammit, I think this is worse than before, he thought. He looked up as Orihime and Ishida came back into the room with a bowl of animal crackers and a bag of potato chips.
Orihime sat beside Leah as the brunette girl turned back around on the sofa to make room for them. Ishida sat beside her, making a not uncomfortable fit on the couch.
“Did you explain everything, Renji?” Orihime asked as she set the bowl and bag of chips on the coffee table before them.
He didn’t think he had, but he nodded. “She knows you’re keeping out of sight here, and that Ishida’s family was my host when I was an exchange student in Japan,” he said reluctantly, watching the Quincy shoot him a dark look.
“But how do you know Ishida?” Leah asked Orihime as the game started back on the TV.
Orihime looked to Ishida, who stared back at her. He reached for an animal cracker in the bowl before them.
“We’re classmates at school,” he said. “In Japan.”
“Oh.” Leah sat back, watching the game for a while. For a long moment there was no sound other than the announcers for the game. She frowned at Orihime, and then Renji. “So, it doesn’t bother anyone that those men had guns at the library? Because it bothers me. Why don’t you call the police? What kind of people are these that are looking for her?”
Renji knew it had been too easy, her acceptance of their ploy. He grabbed her wrist and stood up. “Come on.”
She glanced back at Orihime, who gave her a small, timid smile. Leah looked to Renji when they were in the kitchen. “You haven’t told me anything, Smith. Or is it Abarai?”
He released her wrist. “Either one, Leah. There’s more, but it’s complicated.”
She looked back into the living room as Orihime sat back in the sofa, content at Ishida’s side. She turned her attention back to Renji. “Why your family?”
He was tempted to tell her more, almost the truth, but he didn’t think it was believable. “Our fathers work together.”
“Oh? Oh.” She looked to his arm. “So, it’s serious, these guys that are looking for her?”
He nodded. “More than you know.”
Her attention rose from his arm. “You’re willing to get beat up and shot at for her?”
He looked down to her fingers as they rested on his bandaged arm. “Yes.”
She looked to each of his eyes, and then nodded, unclasping the bandage hook. “Have you checked this lately?”
“Are you sure?” Her fingers paused at the second hook when his hand took hers.
“Yeah, it’s fine.” He looked down at her hand, then back up on the inquisitiveness in her eyes, then shook his head and turned her back toward the living room as sounds of a cheer went up from the crowd on TV.
She stopped, looking to him. “Why won’t you tell me the rest, Renji?”
He almost did, watching the pout pull at her lips, the frown coming over her eyes. “Maybe later.”
“You missed it, Renji,” Ishida called. “It’s a tie game now.”
He draped an arm over Leah’s shoulder, watching her slight surprise, and turned her into the living room. “Come on.”