Only the Good Spy Young, page 21part #4 of Gallagher Girls Series
"No," I mumbled, still fighting and half asleep.
"Its okay, Gallagher Girl. Its okay. Wake up. "
There are many ways a self respecting (not to mention sane) teenage girl might react to having a teenage boy suddenly appear in her bedroom in the middle of the night.
But I didnt do any of them. Not right then, because I was lying tangled in the sheets and Zachs arms. Tears streamed down my face as I thought of my father and Mr. Solomon and Gilly - for a split second I knew what it felt like to be Gilly.
"Its okay, Gallagher Girl. " He smoothed my hair. "It was just a bad -"
"What are you doing here?" I whispered.
Two feet away, Liz shivered and rolled over. In the corner, Bex was starting to snore.
Macey lay perfectly still on her back, her dark hair splayed across her pillow like Sleeping Beauty. I jerked my head in their direction.
"Tell me why I shouldnt wake them?" I whispered. "Tell me why I shouldnt push that?"
I pointed to the panic button on the wall.
He smiled. "Now, where would be the fun in that?"
"Zach," I hissed, and let my hand creep closer to the button.
"Okay," he said, reaching out to gently take that very hand. "Im here because we need to take a walk. "
When we were in the tenth grade, Zach went to my school for an entire semester. Wed shared the hall as classmates. As equals. But walking into Madame Dabneys empty tearoom, the playful look hed had in his eyes that semester was completely gone. Im not sure what kind of look I had in my eyes, because I totally avoiding my own reflection in the gilt-framed mirrors. (Now was not the time to be worried about pillow-cheek wrinkles and middle-of-the-night crazy hair. ) instead, I studied him.
"Do I want to know how you got in here?" I asked.
He shook his head. "I only broke a few laws. " He held his fingers a half inch apart. "Little ones"
Dim chandeliers hung from an ornate ceiling. Our feet were quiet against the polished parquet floors. Almost a year ago wed stood in this very spot while Madame Dabney ordered us to dance, but Zach didnt reach for me this time. I didnt feel like swaying anymore.
"Does the Circle really have him?" I asked.
"Yes. " Zachs voice was flat as he ran his hand through his hair and dropped onto one of Madame Dabneys silk-covered fainting couches. He looked entirely out of place.
"Why? I mean, if he isnt working with them -"
"They werent exactly doing him a favor. A cozy little CIA prison is probably looking pretty good to him right about now. "
I walked to the tall windows and stared out over the grounds. Zachs reflection stared back at me in the dark window. Somehow it was easier not to face him.
"People dont leave the Circle easily, Gallagher Girl. "
"I know. "
"Anyone who knows how they work or where they work - anyone who knows anything . . . " As he trailed off, there was something new in his voice. He sounded tired in a way that had nothing to do with the hour.
"I know. "
"Theyre tying up loose ends. "
I tried to focus my eyes on the forest outside, the way the sun was just starting to color the sky. "Is that what I am?"
Zach stood and moved to my side at the window. Tears stung my eyes, and I kept my gaze on anything but him.
"Gallagher Girl," he said softly, reaching for me. "I dont know. But I promise we will find out. "
A feeling swept through me when I thought back on the last year: Zach on a train racing through the Pennsylvania countryside; Zach lying beneath the bleachers in Ohio. And finally Zach gripping my hand, leading me away from a white van on a dark street in Washington, D. C. Zach standing between me and an attackers gun, the attacker looking at the boy beside me and saying, "You?"
"You should be dead, Zach. " I looked down and saw the way my shadow stretch across the floor between us. "That night - in D. C. - he had a clear shot. I should be gone and you should be dead. "
"Gallagher Girl . . . "
"Why didnt he shoot you?"
"Everything that night happened so fast, Gallagher Girl. "
"My name is Cammie!" I didnt think about all the people I could have woken, all the alarms that might have gone off. I just snapped, "How did you know about Boston? Why are you working with Mr. Solomon now? Are you my friend or are you my enemy, Zach?
Or, wait, let me guess, you cant tell me. "
"I dont know why they want you. And for the rest . . . its better if you dont know. "
Need-to-know basis is a real thing. It exists for real reasons. But that doesnt mean I have to like it - and, coming from Zach, it sounded a whole lot different than it did coming from my mother.
"Why do you get to know?"
"Whats the matter, Gallagher Girl? Jealous?"
"Yeah," I yelled, even though Im pretty sure hed be kidding. "I am. "
"Times up, Zach," I said. "Tell me when you know or -"
"Or what?" he reached for me. "Youre not going to hurt me. "
"I wont," I said, then risked a glance toward the door at the three angriest Gallagher Girls I had ever seen. "But they might. "
PROS AND CONS OF HAVING REALLY CUTE
BOYS SNEAK INTO YOUR SCHOOL TO SEE YOU
CON: its a little creepy.
PRO: When someone else sneaks in, you get a lot more sleep than when you have to sneak out.
CON: Impromptu visits by boys significantly increase the chance that theyll see you in your least cute pajamas.
PRO: Almost everyone looks good in moonlight.
CON: Five hours of very deep sleep is almost guaranteed to do very unfortunate things to your hair.
PRO: Waking up in the middle of the night means . . . well . . . waking up.
CON: Eventually, whether you like it or not, your roommates are going to find out about it.
"Hello, Zachary," Macey said, striding in. "Youre looking well. "
"Hey, Macey. " Zach turned to the shortest and blondest of us and tipped an imaginary hat. "Liz. " And then finally, he looked back at Bex. "Rebecca. "
If the use of Bexs full name was supposed to make her angry, it was entirely too late. She stood by the door, leaning against the frame with her arms crossed. Someone who didnt know her might have thought she was still tired, but I knew better. She was guarding the exit.
"We were talking about Mr. Solomon, I said.
Macey raised her eyebrows. "Oh, is that what you were doing?"
Bex kept her eyes on Zach. "What have you heard?" She asked.
Zach shook his head. "Not much more than you have. The Circle broke him out. The CIA is saying its because hes with the Circle, but really -"
"Its because hes against them," Bex finished.
Zach nodded. "In almost two hundred years no one has come closer to bringing down the Circle than Mr. Solomon. " Zach cut his eyes at me. "And your dad. " He waited, as if I might burst into tears or something, but I didnt. "The Circle needs to know what Joe knows, and what hes told others. "
"Like me?" I guessed.
Zach nodded slowly. "Im willing to bet theyre going to have a lot of questions about you. "
"Good," Bex said. "That means theyll keep him alive. "
I turned back to the window, stood staring out at the shadowy grounds. They need him alive.
"Were going to get him back. We have to get him back. " I felt my roommates looking at me like was crazy, but I turned to Zach. "Where would they take him?"
"I dont know. "
"Dont lie to me, Zach. Dont tell me you dont know things, because you do. Now where would they take him?"
"I dont know! Do you think Id be here if I knew?"
Ive seen Zach in a lot of lights, but in the early m
"What about the man the CIA has in custody - the one who shot Abby?" Macey asked.
"He might know. "
But Bex was shaking her head. "Hes compromised. No way the Circle is using anything he ever knew about. "
"So thats just . . . it?" Liz asked. I could see it weighing on her. There were no databases to crack, no satellites to hack into. I thought about Mr. Solomon and his insistence that technology is a crutch, and a real spy should always be able to walk without it.
"Mr. Solomon would know," I admitted softly. "I wish we could ask him. "
The room was quiet in the gray light of early morning. The school still slept. No one was jogging across the grounds. We were alone when Zach whispered, "Maybe we can. "
* * *
"What do you mean there is a second journal?" Bex asked ten minutes later. She was looking at Zach, and Zach was looking afraid.
"The one Mr. Solomon hid in Sublevel Two was your dads Cammie. If anything ever happened . . . it was supposed to go to you. It was your dads, so now its yours. But Joe kept one too. It goes all the way back to his time with Circle - all the way back to Blackthorne. "
Zach stood at the windows, squinting against the slowly rising sun.
"No one had ever known more about the Circle than Joe. He started writing everything down as soon as they recruited him. And then when he realized what they were, he kept writing because . . . well . . . he knew something like this would happen eventually. He said if I ever needed it, I should go get it. "
"Go where?" Macey asked.
Zach looked at the four of us for a long time before taking a deep breath. "Blackthorne. "
I know it will sound crazy. I know you wont believe me. But I that split second I ran through every scenario I knew - calculated all the odds. It was an informed decision that made me say, "Well go get it - right now. Before everyone is up. "Well -"
"We?" Bex cut me off. "You think we should . . . what? Jump into Lizs van, drive all night, break into a top secret facility, and, oh yeah, take you away from the safest place in the world?"
"Think about this, Cam," Liz said. "We dont have to go anywhere. All we have to do is tell your mom, and shell call the CIA and -"
"My moms not here, remember? And you read Dads reports - you know the Circle has people at every level of the CIA. Mr. Solomon knew he couldnt trust just anyone with this, and neither can we. "
Bex shook her head. "No. Its too risky. "
"Its not that risky. We drive up, get the journal, and see if it has any clues about where Mr. Solomon is. Its not like were going to break him out by ours -"
"What?" Bex and I snapped at the exact same time, turning to stare at Zach, who was giving us the oddest look.
"Nothing. " He crossed his arms and shrugged. "I was just wondering when the two of you switched bodies is all. "
It was true. Bex was not supposed to be the cautious one, the careful one. But then again, a lot of things had changed on that bridge.
"I have to do this for him, Bex. I have to do something. "
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