Step Five: Interpret Cryptic Warning
That Monday morning I sat at the island in our loft, eating breakfast. I was the first one in my family ready, seeing as I had to leave earlier then everybody else. Haven Academy was practically on the other side of Manhattan. I had to leave an hour before school even started.
I sat at the island alone for a bit, drinking my coffee and having my french toast that I had made. The first person to come down was Cynthia, dressed in a black tutu, tattered fishnets, and a neon green tank top with a black skull and crossbones on it. The bottoms of her hair were now green. She was always dying them. But pink was her usual standby.
"Morning Belle," she greeted me, grabbing a mini frosted cupcake out of the box on top of the fridge.
"Is that really the best breakfast?" I asked.
"It's the best tasting," she said with a shrug, licking the pink frosting off of the cupcake.
She perched herself lightly on the counter as she continued to eat her cupcake.
A moment later Randy came down, dressed in jeans and a blue and white striped polo shirt. As you can see, him and Cynthia differ in their opinions on style. They differ in a lot of ways. The only thing they have in common is a birthday. They look alike sure, but just as siblings, you wouldn't think that they were twins. Randy could probably pass for sixteen while Cynthia barely looked fifteen.
"Need. Coffee," he said when he entered the kitchen, going straight for the coffee pot.
"You know Mom doesn't like you drinking coffee," Cynthia sung.
"And you know that Mom doesn't like you sitting on the counter or eating cupcakes for breakfast," he pointed out as he poured his coffee, "So yeah. Suck it."
"Is that what you told Melissa last night?" she teased, "Or is that what she told you?"
In a very typical-Randy move, he poured his hot coffee all over Cynthia's head. I wasn't that surprised, but seeing as I was the big sister, I stood up and exclaimed "Randal!" as if I was.
Cynthia sat there frozen for a moment. Her expression was one of mortification.
Smirking to himself, Randy saluted her and turned around. He grabbed his bag off the floor and walked out the door. About three seconds later, Cynthia unthawed.
"I'm gonna kill him!" she screamed, jumping off of the counter and running for the door.
I went after her and grabbed her by the wrist. "Cyn, don't you think you should take another shower and change first?" I suggested.
She looked down at her wet clothes. "God damn him! Does he even realize how much planning I put into my outfits. I dyed my hair for this tank top!"
"Randy just doesn't understand clothes," I soothed, wiping coffee off of her face with a towel.
"That's cause he's too busy taking his off all the time . . ." she muttered.
"Yes yes, we all know Randy's a whore," I said, annoyed, "But do we have to talk about it all the time?"
"Yes," she said, "Because it bothers him and makes you squirm."
I sighed and rolled my eyes. "You know, maybe if you didn't constantly torment Randy, he wouldn't pour coffee over your head. Ever think of that?"
She shrugged. "I did . . . But I can't give it up. It's too much fun to annoy him about his sex life."
"Well believe it or not," I told her, "I don't enjoy hearing about my little brother having sex."
"Is it because you're not having any?" she asked.
Yes, my little brother has more sex then me. It's not my fault. I work for the FBI for Christ's sake, that doesn't leave too much time for hooking up. But it does leave some . . . Which I have taken advantage of in the past. In fact, I'd taken advantage of it at Vince's party on Friday.
"You know who else has sex Cynthia," I deflected, "Mom and Dad."
"Ewwwwww!" she screamed and ran up the stairs.
I laughed and sat back down to finish my breakfast. Once I was done I grabbed my designer bag, and left the apartment. Downstairs, none of my neighbors were present in the lobby. They were all at work. They only canoodled down here at night.
I left the building and was about to hail myself a cab when a black town car pulled up right in front of me. I immediately got in. Now, that may sound stupid, but even though the windows were heavily tinted, I knew exactly who was in this car. I recognized the licence plate. I'd been picked up by this mysterious cars many times before.
I got in the back seat and closed the door behind me. The driver was dressed in a very cliche chauffeur outfit; black suit, white gloves, and even the hat. Sitting in the back seat next to me was Drana, her sleek short black hair perfectly straight and dressed in a perfectly tailored power suit. She was stirring some kind of coffee drink with the little sticky thing.
"What a lovely surprise Drana," I said.
"I surely hope you've learned to anticipate my random visits by now Maribelle," she said primly, "If you're in the field, you can't afford to be surprised."
I know she seems cold, but she loves me. I can tell.
"Yeah, down at Haven Academy you never know which one of your classmates is gonna end up in rehab next. You gotta be ready for anything," I muttered sarcastically.
"Exactly," she said, ignoring my sarcasm. "Do you have my reports with you?"
"Right here," I said, reaching into my Louis Vuitton bag and handing her my spiral notebook. Now, that notebook wasn't full of trig notes and doodles, it was full of "crucial" data for this case. Or in other words, every single thing I'd noticed about the Strykers that I thought was stupid but Drana had insisted was nessecary. When Vivianne had texted under her desk in history on Tuesday, I recorded it. When Ashton had dropped his credit card in Masa on Wednesday, I recorded it. When they got to school three minutes late on Thursday, I recorded it. When Vivianne lost an earring at the banquet on Friday, I recorded it. I recorded everything.
Drana flipped through the twleve pages of records I'd gathered in just five days, and I watched her with apathy.
"Interesting, interesting," she mumbled before shutting it promptly and handing it to me. "Make me a copy of that," she instructed.
"Oh . . .kay," I mumbled, putting it back in my bag.
"Now I have a new task for you today," she said.
"Bitchin'," I said, "What?"
"Do you know what these are?" she asked, holding out her hand. In it were three extremly tiny metal devices with blinking red dots on them.
"Trackers," I said automatically, "What do you want me do with these?"
"I want you to attach one of these to a personal item of both Vivianne and Ashton," she told me, plopping them into my hand gently.
I really wasn't that surprised. Drana kept treating this case like it was as high-stakes as our usual work. In my oppionon, it was all pointless. Vivianne and Ashton seemed harmless to me. If I didn't know better, I would've said that Drana and Felix had just made up the whole thing about the Strykers to make me feel like I was on a real assignment. But I did know better. Felix didn't like deceiving his own employees, but I wouldn't put it past Drana. She was all about the mind games.
"What do I do with the third one?" I asked.
"Attach it to Ashton's car," she told me. "I've had the signals from these trackers programmed into your cellphone so you can know where the Strykers are at all times. Alright?"
"Okay . . . I can do that . . . I don't think it's nessecary, but I can do it," I said honestly, putting the trackers carefully into a safe compartment in my purse.
"Soon you'll see that this isn't a game Maribelle," she said, sipping her drink, "Soon you'll see."
"Kudos on being all mysterious just then," I said, giving her a thumbs up, "Major props. I got chills."
"One day Maribelle . . ." she sighed, "One day you'll see that you're not the only one."
I turned to look at her and raised an eyebrow. She wasn't looking at me though. She was stirring her drink with her eyes closed, looking peaceful.
"One of what?" I asked.
She didn't look at me and she didn't say anything.