Only the Good Spy Young, page 3part #4 of Gallagher Girls Series
Baxter on the other, waiting for the world to stop spinning in the wrong direction.
But, of course, for all Rebecca Baxters talents, waiting totally isnt one of them.
"What was that?" Bex exclaimed as soon as the van doors slammed.
"Quiet, Rebecca," her mother ordered.
"Because it looked like the two of you just tried to arrest Joe Solomon," Bex said. "Is that what it looked like to you, Cam?"
"Not now, Rebecca," her father said.
"So what was that, then?" Bex asked. "Training op?"
"Bex," her mother hissed.
"Perimeter security test?" Bex tried.
"Rebecca, I will have that agent pull this van over," her father warned, but Bex just plowed on.
"Because, correct me if Im wrong, but isnt Joe Solomon one of the good guys?"
I wish her parents had cut her off, scolded her, said something - anything - because nothing could have been scarier than the look that passed between Mr. and Mrs. Baxter just then. Even Bex went quiet at the sight.
A minute later I felt the van veer and slow and, all around us, the world got dark.
Through the vans interior light, Bex looked at me. "Tunnel?" I guessed.
She stared at me and whispered back, "Zach?"
Before I could answer, the tunnel lights flickered, and we were lost in total darkness as the driver yanked the wheel. Tires screeched. I grabbed on to the seat, felt the swerve of the Baxters on either side of me, and yet no one screamed or braced for a crash as we careened fast -too fast- toward the tunnel wall. In the darkness I felt my best friends hand reach out and grasp my own, as suddenly, that wall in front of us parted, and the painters van was swallowed up whole.
I spun in my seat, and through the vans dusty rear windows I saw the hidden door close.
"Cool," Bex whispered.
Then there was a light at the end of the tunnel (literally). Everything grew brighter while the van slowed and the passage grew wider until the space we were in was anything but a tunnel anymore.
"Welcome to Baring Cross Station," a high voice said as the van door slid open.
Instantly, Bexs mothers arm was around my waist; her fathers hand was gripping mine, and the best and brightest part of Her Majestys Secret Service were staring, watching me climb out of the van as if I were the most interesting thing in that cavernous space.
The ceiling must have been five stories high. Catwalks sprawled above, and more vans sat to my right, parked at strange angles. All around us, people ran, shouting orders.
There were stainless-steel staircases, polished chrome risers and frosted-glass partitions everywhere. I couldnt help but think that it had been almost exactly a year since Id been escorted into another super-cool, super-secret underground facility, beneath D. C. had been because of a boy. (Or . . . more specifically . . . a boyfriend. ) In London, it was because of a man. (Or . . . more specifically . . . a teacher. ) The year before, Id known the trip was coming. This time nothing about the day was in any way routine. Last winter, my mother had taken me to that facility to answer questions. But this time I stood beside the Baxters, consumed by the thing I didnt know.
"Are you okay?" a woman asked.
"Did he hurt you?" a man with surgical gloves and a white coat wanted to know.
"How the bloody hell did he get so close?" another man snapped.
"Traitors Gate," one woman answered. "He came in through Traitors Gate. "
Of course he did," the man mumbled, and I tried to shake the words from my head. They were gibberish. Nonsense. Because "he" was Mr. Solomon.
"He" was one of the best spies Ive ever known.
"He" was my fathers best friend.
As we walked past a massive wall of screen, images of the city flashed by so quickly it was a miracle anyone could see a thing.
"Satellite is up!" a young man in horn-rimmed glasses yelled.
"Get me eyes on every tube entrance, every intersection, every airport. Were close people!" an older woman cried. "Lets not let him get away. "
Bexs eyes found mine, and I knew what she was thinking: our teacher wouldnt have walked onto that bridge if he hadnt had a way of getting off; he wouldnt have come to London if he hadnt had a way of getting out; and when Joe Solomon doesnt want to be found, theres not a camera, satellite, or operative on earth who can see him.
"Baxter! A voice called from the catwalk above us. "You have the girl, then?"
Bexs father placed his arm around my shoulder. "Shes here. Shes fine. "
The man gestured to a metal door at the end of the catwalk. "Then come this way," he told me, but Bex stepped closer.
Well be happy to wait in there," she said.
The agent looked at Mrs. Baxter, whose face was just as determined as her daughters.
"Im going with her," Mrs. Baxter said. "Cammie is our responsibility. "
"Then you should have thought about that before you took her bloody ice skating," the agent snapped.
I wanted to say something in protest - to remind them that it wasnt the Baxters fault -
whatever "it" was. But Mrs. Baxters hand was on my shoulder, gently pushing me forward, telling me that the path I was on now was one I had to walk alone.
PROS AND CONS OF SPENDING THE NIGHT IN A TOP SECRET ROOM OF A TOP SECRET FACILITY, BUT NO ONE WILL TELL YOU WHY
(A list by Cameron Morgan)
PRO: Turns out, top secret underground government facilities are an excellent place to warm up after ice skating.
CON: The warming-up process includes no friends, no family, and absolutely no answers.
PRO: Sometimes its nice having a moment alone to compose yourself after fairly traumatic (and totally confusing) experiences.
CON: The "moment" stops being nice when it goes on for almost two hours.
PRO: Three words - Extra. Credit. Essay.
CON: Two words - No. Bathroom.
PRO: Knowing there are fifty operatives and at least two hundred cameras between you and the people trying to get you.
CON: Realizing, you know even less about those people then you thought you did. A lot less.
Every good operative knows there are several reasons to keep someone waiting before questioning them. Sometimes you want to make them nervous; sometimes you want to let them think; sometimes you need to gather the facts; and sometimes talking to them isnt that important. But there was only one reason that occurred to me when I heard the door creak open and pulled my head and arms off of the cold steel table.
"Is my mother here?"
The door slammed, and I turned to watch a man Id never seen before walk to the other side of the room. He was tall with black wavy hair and deep blue eyes, and as he spoke in his rich British accent, both the spy in me and the girl in me became instantly aware of the fact that I was drooling.
"How are you, Cammie?" he asked, but barely waited to hear my "Fine. "
"Is there anything you need? Water? Something to -"
"What happened on the bridge?"
The man chuckled softly. "Well, thats what I was hoping you could tell me. " He dropped a file onto the table between us and moved to the chair opposite me, but there was something about the gesture - the sound of his laugh - that felt strange to me. Nothing seemed that funny anymore.
"He didnt hurt you?" the man asked.
"Mr. Solomon is my teacher. He would never hurt me. "
"Are you sure we cant get you something? Some hot cocoa, maybe?"
"I dont want cocoa. I want to know why a six-person grab team just surrounded Joe Solomon. I want to know why one of the CIAs best operatives had to break me out of M16s protection to talk to me. I mean, we are on the same side, arent we?"
And then the mans smile disappeared - faded in a flash. "Oh, we know who our friends are. "
"Really? Because it seems -"
"What happened on the bridg
"Thats what Im asking you. "
"What did Joe Solomon say on the bridge?" he gritted his teeth as he reworded his question.
"I dont know. It all happened so fast. I didnt really understand. "
Again he laughed, and this time mumbled, "Of course you didnt. "
"Whats your name?" I asked, but he didnt answer. "Youre MI6, right?"
"Impressive," he said, but something in his tone told me he wasnt impressed at all.
"Who are you? Where are the Baxters?"
He shifted in his seat and leaned forward. "Thanks to the Baxters, half of London saw what happened today, which, in our business, is a bad thing. So the Baxters are a little tied up at the moment. "
I didnt know what was worse, that Bexs parents were in trouble because of me, or that the man across from me was talking to me like I was an outsider - a fraud. Sure, I am a sixteen-year-old girl-slash-operative-in-training get me wrong, the sixteen-year-old -girl part has come in seriously handy on occasion, but he was giving me the kind of look Ive come to expect from people who didnt know the truth about my school - and the man across from me was supposed to know the truth.
At least I thought he was.
"Um . . . just out of curiosity," I said, "what level clearance do you have?"
"What level of clearance do you have?"
"I asked you first. "
The man smirked, then said, "High enough. " Which wasnt really an answer, but I didnt think this was the time to say so.
"Why is everyone looking for Mr. Solomon?" I asked. When the man leaned back in his chair, I leaned closer and searched his blue eyes. "Theres been some kind of mistake," I told him. "Call the Gallagher Academy. Call my mother.
"What did Joe Solomon tell you on the bridge?" the man snapped, but I barely heard the words.
"My mother is Rachel Morgan, operative ID 145-23-6741. Headmistress of the Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women. You have to-"
"I know who your mother is," he stated calmly. "Now tell me about Joe Solomon!"
I let the words wash over me, tried to find the center of my rage, of my fear, before I slowly whispered, "The pigeons. Mr. Solomon told me to follow the pigeons. "
I waited for him to laugh again, but this time he studied me. "Does that mean anything to you?"
"Not a lesson youve had? A cutout youve used?" he asked, then shook his head in frustration. "A cutout is a go-between two spies might use to carry information between
"I know what a cutout is. "
"And the pigeons dont mean anything to you?" he asked again.
I closed my eyes, thought back to the feeling of the cold wind on my face and the pressure of Mr. Solomons hands on my arms, but it was his eyes that I saw most plainly.
"It happened so quickly. He was scared. He wasnt himself. "
"Theres good reason for that," the man said without a hint of emotion. "You dont know Joe Solomon. "
"Youre wrong," I said flatly. "Theres been a mistake. Mr. Solomon is on the Gallagher Academy faculty. Hes CIA, and he came to London to protect me or warn me . . . he was just worried because of the threat. "
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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