Only the good spy young, p.13

Only the Good Spy Young, page 13

 part  #4 of  Gallagher Girls Series

 

Only the Good Spy Young
 


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Page 13

 

  Chapter Twenty-One

  "What about the old ventilation shafts in the basement?" Bex asked as we sat beside a roaring fire in the library late the next night.

  I shook my head. "Covered with eight inches of fresh concrete. "

  "The trick fireplace on the second floor?" Macey tried.

  "Maybe. " I considered the locks and bars that had been added over winter break.

  "Assuming we could get a blowtorch. Do any of you have a blowtorch?"

  Liz perked up as if she were about to say that yea, she did have a blowtorch in the back of her closet.

  "Im afraid to know," I said, holding out my hand to stop her.

  "Boy, they really want to keep us in, dont they?" Macey said.

  "No. " Bex shook her head and stared at me. "They want to keep the Circle out. " She waited a second, as the truth of the matter settled down on the three of us. "This is dangerous. Too dangerous. "

  "Im with Bex," Macey said. "Hes asking you to take a really big rick, Cam"

  They were right, but all I could think about was the way hed walking into the center of the very people who were scouring the world to find him. "Maybe its my turn. "

  "Okay. Fine. Lets say it isnt true," Bex offered. "Lets say Mr. Solomon is innocent and wrongly accused and that he didnt kill . . . " She looked away, then back again. "Lets say he is the man we know. Does the Mr. Solomon we know tell you to sneak out of the Gallagher Academy, go into town, and meet up with a know fugitive? Does Joe Solomon tell you to be stupid?"

  The answer was obvious. That was probably why none of us said it.

  "Why dont we go?" Liz said, pointing to herself and Bex and Macey. "See him. Get the message. Bring it back. "

  "I cant explain it, guys," I said, shaking my head. "I just know Ive got to go. "

  "That doesnt mean you have to be stupid!" Bex shot back, and I realized that Bex was being cautious. Bex had become the voice of reason.

  "You didnt see it, Cammie," she went on. "You didnt have to watch them drug you and drag you away like a doll. You were there, Cam, but you didnt have to watch your friend almost go away forever. You dont know how that feels. "

  "Yeah," Macey said softly. "She does. "

  I looked at the girls I would trust with my life. Then I thought about my dad and the man hed probably trusted with his.

  "I have to go," I said. "Its my mission. "

  "Its our mission," Bex countered.

  "What are we saying?" Liz exclaimed. "Cam, we dont have to sneak out. We dont even have to go by ourselves. I bet your mom -"

  "No," I said, cutting her off. "If she got caught helping Joe Solomon . . . No. Were on our own. "

  "I know, Cam," Bex said, stopping me. "I know. But if we do this with our backup -"

  "What if theyre wrong, Bex?" I pleaded. "What if he the only chance well ever have at finding out what happened to my dad? What if while everyone is chasing him, no one is trying to stop the Circle? What if he didnt do it?"

  Bexs voice was flat and calm and strong as she looked at me. "What if he did?"

  Chapter Twenty-Two

  Covert Operations Report

  The Operatives utilized a basic Trojan horse scenario. If, instead of a horse, you substitute a 1987 Dodge Minivan.

  Well, it turns out that when one of the worlds most dangerous and covert terrorist organizations is after one of your students, school officials care less about keeping in than they care about keeping people out.

  Or at least thats what Bex and Macey and I told ourselves as we crawled beneath a tarp, a blanket, and about ten million physics notebooks, and lay as quietly as possible in the back of Lizs van.

  "Where to this evening?" the guard at the front gate asked. I could picture him leaning against the drivers side window, chomping on his gum.

  I had to hold my breath as I waited for the soft, Southern voice that answered, "Just a road check, Walter. "

  "Whats she up to now, Lizzie?" the guard asked. In the light that crept in through the weave of the blanket, I saw that Bex was holding her breath too.

  "Almost four hundred miles per gallon," Liz blurted. "I mean three ninety-five to be specific - which I can be. Specific, that is. You know me, Walter. Im a very detail-oriented person. Im just going out to test it in stop-and-go driving. Im not hiding anything!"she blurted, and Bexs eyes went wide.

  __________

  PROS AND CONS OF BREAKING OUT OF SCHOOL

  (A list by Operatives Morgan, McHenry, and Baxter)

  PRO: As Trojan horse operatives go, the back of a minivan isnt nearly as bad as it can get.

  CON: Rebecca Baxter, despite her many good qualities, is a cover hog.

  PRO: Theres nothing like a completely unsupervised, possibly illegal covert operation to take a girls mind of the terrorist organization that is after her - not to mention her Culture

  & Assimilation homework.

  CON: The girl really should have been doing her Culture & Assimilation homework.

  PRO: When you havent had a real CoveOps lesson in months, youll take any practical experience you can get.

  CON: When you havent had a real CoveOps lesson in months, you cant help but feel really, really rusty.

  _____________

  I know the streets Roseville. Ive walked them with my classmates. Ive held hands on them with my first (and technically only) boyfriend. Ive seen them filled with football fans and parade spectators, with ladies selling cakes and candies for the church auxiliary, and kids out for a Saturday matinee.

  Its all-American as a town can possibly be, with its white gazebo and movie marquee and town square, but it seems different as I stood in the library bell tower, staring down at the square. There was nothing there but me and sky - no walls, no guards - and yet I felt stranded. Like the ravens, I know I couldnt fly away.

  "You have good cover here," Bex told me.

  I could hear Macey through the comms unit in my ear, saying what I already knew: "The square is clear. " I could see Liz in the van, circling the block.

  "Liz is tracking you from the van," Bex said. "Weve got back-up relays outside of town in case the van is compromised. "

  Bex kept talking, but all I could think of was how the air was colder. The stars felt brighter. The breeze was softer as if blew against my check. It was as if all my senses were in overdrive, and I couldnt help but think most people feel like that sometimes -

  when theyre alone or in the dark. When they hear a noise in the closet or a creak on the floorboards, they sense it. Its not about being scared - its about being alive. The nerves work harder, carrying messages to the brain, getting it ready for fight or flight, and that night, well, lets just say that night my nerves had their work cut out for them.

  "Cam?" Bex asked as if I hadnt heard her. But she was wrong. That night I heard and saw and smelled everything. "Im gonna get into position. Are you satisfied with this position?"

  I scanned the square and nodded. "Yes. "

  "Youre safe here. " She touched my arm almost as if she were trying to get my scent, as if she might soon be chasing me around the world.

  And then I watched her go.

  Standing alone in the tower, I reminded myself of all the things in the world that I knew to be absolutely true: Rebecca Baxter was the best spy at the Gallagher Academy and the absolute last person who would lie about my safety. I had GPS trackers in my watch, my shoes, my ponytail holder, and my stomach (thanks to a new edible model Liz had been trying out).

  My roommates and I all carried panic buttons that could summon an army within the blink of an eye. They could track me anywhere in the world (and ,Liz firmly believes, the moon).

  And yet I couldnt shake the feeling that the square seemed smaller from where I stood, or maybe the world just felt bigger.

  I held a pair of binoculars to my eyes and scanned the streets, telling myself that I was as safe as I could possibly be. I was prepared. I could handle anything. I rea
dy for everything . . .

  Except for the sight of a tall figure with broad shoulder, appearing as if from nowhere at the edge of the gazebo, and saying, "Hello, Gallagher Girl. "

  Chapter Twenty-Three

  Perspective is a powerful thing. Seriously. I highly recommended it. There are things you just cant see unless you take a good step back and watch very, very closely.

  I mean, if Id been standing in the town square and not the bell tower, I might have heard the girl say, "Well hello yourself," but I might have missed the way the boy stumbled backward as she turned. I might not have noticed the way his shoulders fell and his head jerked in the manner of someone who had not found what he was looking for.

  I might never have realized that Zach was disappointed to find another girl in the gazebo.

  "Macey?" Zach asked as if he couldnt believe his eyes, which was maybe the most flattering thing ever. Because no one has ever mistaken me for Macey McHenry. Ever.

  But it was dark, and even without access to the worlds greatest closet for deception and disguise, Macey was still the daughter of a cosmetics heiress. And in a wig and Zachs old jacket, she made for a good decoy, or at least good enough.

  "Wheres Cammie?" Zach asked.

  "You look disappointed to see me, Zach," Macey teased. "Dont you like my jacket?"

  "Where is she?" Zach demanded.

  "At school," Macey lied without missing a beat. "Watching from a live video feed. "Shes safe. " She inched closer, staring up at him.

  "The jammers at the school wouldnt allow that, Macey. Now where is he?" he turned. "I know shes around here somewhere," he said, scanning the alleys and buildings that lined the square.

  "Shes safe where she is, Zach. " Bex stepped out of the darkened alcove by the movie theater and moved into place behind him. "And were going to keep it that way. "

  "I need to talk to her," he told them.

  "So talk," Macey said. "Weve got comms. She can hear. "

  "I need to see her. "

  "Im coming down," I blurted, desperate to be off the sidelines, but Bexs hand was on her ear. She was shouting at me. "You stay where you are!"

  But I was already gone.

  "Shes lucky to have you," Zach said after a long time. "She needs you. "

  "What are you doing here, Zach?" Macey asked, but Zach only shook his head. He looked down at the ground.

  "Its complicated. "

  "So un-complicate it. " Even as I said the words, I knew I might regret them. And soon.

  Maybe Zach was bait and I was walking into a trap. Maybe Bex would save the Circle the trouble and kill me on the spot, but I couldnt stay away.

  "Youre with him," I said.

  "Technically, hes on an errand halfway around the world right now," Zach tried to joke, but my mind raced on.

  "Liz and Macey told me that just because you go to Blackthore doesnt mean . . . " My voice caught. "But you really are with him. "

  "Gallagher Girl, listen to me. "

  "So . . . what happened, Zach? Did the Circle recruit you too?"

  He looked at me for a long time before he lowered his head and whispered, "Not exactly. "

 
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