Blood pooled in Nyla’s stinging palm and slid down her wrist. She was afraid the sight might make her sick to her stomach, so she refused the temptation to take her eyes off Ethan. She focused on the sharp chiseled features of his face. Some might have thought the slight upward tilt of his chin looked arrogant, but to her the angle made him look confident and strong and right now, she needed his strength.
Ethan tried to offer comfort, but all Nyla could see in his weak smile and his coal-colored eyes were the depth of the pain he was feeling on her behalf. She hated to see him suffer on her account, but his caring touched her heart.
“Come on man. It can’t be that hard to find,” Ethan demanded as he wiped the blood gliding down Nyla’s arm before it reached her shirt.
“Back off. It’s not as if I want to cause her anymore pain than I have to. You know the lighting in here stinks. I can hardly see what I’m doing.”
Nyla bit down hard on her lip to take her mind off her throbbing hand. She fought to keep from whimpering because she didn’t want Jared to feel bad or for Claire to chicken out.
“Got it,” Jared declared as he held the tiny microchip up in triumph.
“Didn’t hurt a bit,” Nyla lied, hoping to ease the apprehensions of her friends.
Jared cleaned the small but invasive piece of technology, careful to avoid any damage to the chip which would expose their plan, while Ethan tended to Nyla’s wound. Ethan pressed a cloth firmly to her palm to stop the bleeding, and then dried her skin, applied an antibiotic ointment to the cut and secured the chip to her palm near the incision with a flesh colored dressing.
“Who’s next?” Jared asked, slowly pulling the blade of the scalpel through the flame.