Only the Good Spy Young, page 27part #4 of Gallagher Girls Series
As she talked, her hands went almost involuntarily to Mr. Solomon - straightening his blanket, smoothing his bandages - and I knew that, unlike me, she couldnt stop touching him. She would heal him with her bare hands if she could.
"Dads alive. "
And just like that, my mother pulled her hand away.
"Hes alive, Mom," I said, cursing the wheelchair, needing to face my mother and the world head-on and not like an invalid, like a child. "Hes alive. She . . . Zachs mother said so. "
Mom sank to her knees and looked into my eyes. "Listen to me, Cammie. Listen. They will say anything - they will do anything to get what they want. And what they want right now is you. "
"Why?" I asked, the question burning inside of me. "They came to Blackthorne because Mr. Solomon told them Dads journal was there. Theyd go anywhere to find me. What do they want?"
Mom smoothed my hair. "We dont know, kiddo. I think your father was probably getting close to something. I think thats why they killed him. "
"She said hes alive!"
"Dont let yourself be fooled, Cammie!" my mother snapped, then dropped her voice to a whisper. "Dont let yourself . . . hope. "
I know too well how dangerous hope can be, how it grows and sometimes dies, taking its host with it. Its most powerful than anything Dr. Fibs keeps in his labs, more precious than all the secrets in Sublevel Two.
"Maybe she wasnt lying," I said. "Right? Tell me she might not be lying. "
"We dont know. " She said each word slowly, carefully, as if they were as much for her as for me. "But Ive spent years looking for your father and I think - in my professional opinion - he probably isnt . . . alive. "
Operatives who always lie make the worst spies, their intel is discounted, their mission are abandoned. There always has to be some truth among the scrap. Covert Operations call it chicken feed. But in that room on that day, my mother simply called it hope.
As my mother pushed my wheelchair to the door, I handed her the old spiral-bound notebook. "Mr. Solomon wanted Zach to have this. Can you see that he gets it?"
"Give it to him yourself, kiddo. Hes waiting right outside. "
His face was still covered with soot and ash. His clothes had been singed. There were bandages on his right arm, and yet everything about Zach was perfect. He had come through it all unscathed. Alive.
My mom pushed me toward him, but he didnt take my hand. We didnt hug or kiss. The fire somehow was still between us, and neither of us moved toward the other, afraid we might get burned.
"Here. You should have this. " I held out the journal. "When he wakes up . . . "
He reached for the journal. His fingers brushed mine. There were a million things to say, or maybe more, but the feeling of his skin was enough in that brief moment. We were warm. We were still alive.
"Cam!" My roommates voices echoed down the hallway, followed by the sounds of hurried footsteps against the hardwood floors.
"Cammie, we were so worried!" Liz cried. Bex and Macey threw their arms around me with slightly more force than someone should use on a person who has a full-body bruise and a dislocated shoulder.
"Im okay, guys," I pleaded. "Im fine. Zach and I are -"
But then I trailed off. I turned to look behind me and saw nothing but an empty hall.
PROS AND CONS OF THE LAST FEW
WEEKS OF OUR JUNIOR YEAR
PRO: Bexs mom volunteered to take a temporary leave from MI6 to teach CoveOps for the rest of the semester.
CON: Mr. Solomon was still sleeping.
PRO: Turns out, when a current Gallagher Girl gets seriously injured by and ex (and evil) Gallagher Girl, other Gallagher Girls from all over the world send awesome get-well presents - like chocolate. From Switzerland.
CON: Your roommates new "Cammie doesnt go anywhere without two of us"
means the chocolates dont last very long. At all.
PRO: Being on the P&E "Cautious Practice" roster gives a girl lots of time to work on her crossbow skills.
CON: Crossbow practice almost always includes Liz (who only grazed Madame Dabney that one time, no matter what you might have heard).
PRO: An incredibly smart, incredibly hot, incredibly mysterious boy had come to the Gallagher Academy.
CON: Not one of us could let ourselves forget why.
"What about Lisbon?" Bex asked the day I left the infirmary. The sun was shining, and she stretched herself out on a blanket by the lake, closed her eyes, then bolted upright again. "Oooh . . . Geneva! My mom loves Geneva, Cam. I bet we can get my parents to -"
"Geneva for what?" I asked, trying to sit down beside her. My pride hurt as much as my body when Macey took my good arm and helped me to the ground.
"For this summer, silly," Liz said.
Summer . . . I stared blankly at the lake. Id totally forgotten about summer.
"I go to the ranch in summer," I said, as if they didnt know that.
"Well, see, Cam. I heard my mom talking to your mom about it, and -"
"Its too dangerous," I finished for her.
It was sunny there by the lake, and yet a shadow seemed to fall across my best friends
"Mom and Dad are going to help," Bex blurted. "Just like winter break. And your mom too. And . . . itll be fun. "
"I dont know . . . It sounds . . . " Risky. Dangerous. Deadly. "I dont want you to give up your break for me. "
"Are you kidding?" Macey asked. "Itll be great. Hey, what about my parents ski house in Austria? The place is a fortress. " Macey crossed her long legs.
"Thanks, Macey, but -"
"No. Seriously. It is an actual fortress. In the Alps. No way the Circle gets you there. "
They sounded so confident - so sure. It was the prettiest day wed had in weeks, and practically the entire school was outside, rowing across the lake, jogging through the woods, or, like us, lying on blankets, studying in the sun. Fresh air filled my lungs, and I could almost forgot about the smoke and the tombs. Almost.
"Oooh," Bex said. "He appears. " As she pointed across the grounds, she made it sound as if Zachs presence at the school at the was less visiting student and more ghost. Watching him walk through the woods, far out of earshot of the passing girls, I could easily see why.
His hands were in his pockets. His head was down. He seemed paler somehow.
"So . . . " I started slowly, "how is he?"
Macey shrugged. "We dont know. We hardly see him. "
Bex looked at me. "How should he be?"
But I just stared off in the distance, thinking about all the things I did not know The Sunday of finals week, I woke up early and crept out of the suite, leaving my roommates sleeping as I softly closed the door.
The halls were empty. A heavy dew was on the grass, and as the sun rose, it cast a sort of rainbow across the grounds. The world was beautiful and quiet and seemed utterly at peace as I climbed the stairs to the infirmary and pushed open Joe Solomons door.
The machines still beeped and buzzed, but the bandages were fewer. The bruises seemed to have faded. Fresh flowers sat in a vase on the table, but the biggest change was the fact that, this time, my mother sat in the chair beside his bed. Her head rested on his pillow.
Her fingers were laced with his as they both slept - both waiting for my teacher to come home.
It felt like I was spying on my mother (and not in the cool covert sense of the word), so I was easing back toward the door, trying to slip silently into the hall, when I ran into something tall, broad, and strong.
"Sorry," Zach blurted. He gripped my shoulders gently as if to keep me upright. We hadnt spoken - hadnt touched - in weeks. Standing there, I felt like we were still in the tombs, the walls closing in around us.
"I didnt see you . . . Sorry," I blurted dumbly, then turned and ran away.
Zach found me with the pigeons.
I didnt turn when I heard him. I just said, "He should be awake by now, shouldnt he?
Hes never going to wake up. "
"Of course he is. "
"This is never going to be over. "
"Of course it is. "
"This is -"
"Cammie. listen to me. "Dont talk - listen. " There was fear his eyes. "This isnt going to stop on its own. Its not going away. We cant stay here - we cant hide forever. "
"Shes your mother?" I asked the questions that had been burning inside of me for weeks.
"Im sorry, Cam. I -"
"You could have told me. "
"No. " he shook his head. "I couldnt. I couldnt lose the one person who didnt see her when they looked at me. I couldnt lose that. "
"Is my father alive, Zach?"
"I dont know. "
"She said he is. "
Zach studied me. "She lies. "
"We should be dead," I said after what felt like forever.
"I know. "
He stood beside me, inches away. And yet we didnt touch. A charge coursed between us like a wire, a spark. We had already seen our share of fire.
"Mr. Solomon isnt waking up," I said.
"We dont know that. "
"Why does everyone get hurt but me?"
"And me," he said. He tried to laugh but faltered.
"I cant go to Nebraska this summer. Its not safe for Grandma and Grandpa to be near me. " I ran my hand against the cold stone of the ledge. It crept dangerously close to his, and I whispered, "Im not safe. "
"Where will you go?" He eased closer.
"I dont know. "
"What will you do?"
I shook my head, found that his should was so close I wanted to rest there, but I didnt dare. "I dont know. "
And then his arms were around me. When he kissed me it was hungrier somehow, as if this moment was all we had, and we had to taste it, drink it, savor it, and not waste a single drop.
"Run away with me. " Zachs breath was heavy and warm against my face. I didnt hear the words, I only knew that the kiss was real - the kiss was safe.
I kissed him again.
"Gallagher Girl," he said, pulling back, holding my face in both of his hands, "we can go.
We can run. We can get off the grid and stay off the grid until its safe. For everyone. His eyes were inches from mine as he whispered, "We can keep each other safe. "
"What are you saying, Zach?" I tried to push him away.
"Were the only two people in the world the Circle will think twice about killing. "
"Thats not funny. "
"Im not laughing. " He held me closer. "Youre right - no ones safe with us around.
Listen to me, Cammie, we could do this. Weve been training our whole lives to do this. "
"I cant. " I shook off the thought before it could take root somewhere inside of me. "No.
No. My mother -"
"Would understand," Zach snapped. "Im surprised she hasnt had the same idea. " His hands found mine again. "If no one knows where we are, then no one can find us. "
Other author's books:
- Id Tell You I Love You, But Then Id Have to Kill YouUncommon CriminalsHeist SocietyCross My Heart and Hope to SpyPerfect ScoundrelsNot if I Save You FirstA Gallagher WeddingCheating at Solitaire
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