“Jurt, I need to talk to you,” I said.
Jurt put down the gun that he was cleaning, wiped his fingers on a paper towel, and stood up and followed me to my office. It was the same size as Sam’s, and it looked as crowded. I stood with my back to the desk. Jurt, after surveying the room, leaned against the wall to the side of the door. He left his arms in a neutral posture, loose at his sides.
Damn, he was tall.
“I need you to know something,” I said. “You need to understand.” I’d rehearsed it in my head, of course, but as long as we hit all the correct high notes–“I’m grateful to you. I will never forget what you did for me.” Now and without hesitating: “I want to not harm you. Not ever. If it’s within my power. I can’t guarantee that if you if you stay here.”
Jurt waited a minute before he said: “You wouldn’t be able to guarantee that if I left.”
“I don’t know how to protect you. I don’t know that I can. I just want you to be forewarned.”
He was staring intently at me, goddamn it. I was having enough difficulty looking him in the face already and the long goddamned pauses were not helping. He chose his tone very, very carefully. “What are you going to do?”
This time when we locked eyes it was him who flinched and flicked his own gaze aside. His hands remained loose and easy, but he had thought–there, for an instant–about raising them.
I said: “Don’t get in our way.”