Chapter 7

Linds' POV

"I'm impressed, Lee," Jaz says dramatically as she slumps down next to me in our spot. She's soon followed by Noodle who sits next to her Indian stile.

"Me too, three weeks," he adds with an appreciative pout.

"In a row," Jaz stresses out.

"Right, I feel like cutting myself with a sheet of paper," I reply to their mockery.

I hate everyone in this school at the exception of those two. It goes without saying that we belong in the outcast social rank.

Jaz, or Judith Ann Zia – 'think about how stoned my parents were when they came up with that one' – Brewer, is the first friend I made in my new cage. It didn't work right away between us, we actually had to be stuck together on an assignment to find out that we had the same views on that place and that we might as well share our ride through hell together.

She's the most impassive person I know after me, always keep her emotion in check and has one of the finest sarcasm boxes around. She has a pale complexion which is only accentuated by her dark jay hair and piercing green eyes. She's here because her parents – though completely oblivious of her and her siblings, and always on the run – wanted the best for her. She's the one who helped me understand the need to compromise to get mom off my back.

'Give her what they want, it's the only doorway to complete freedom', she said to me. And she was right, mom has never been as relaxed around me ever since my scores aren't keeping her up at night – something I couldn't understand to begin with, but as parents do, right?

Norman Woodleton, or Noodle, is the archetype of the boy living in his brothers and sisters shadows. They are academically brilliant and he's the baby of the family which means that his father doesn't expect any less from him, without being impressed at his record so far; after all five of his children have already done it all – 'just keep up the good work son'.

No it's not our ability to be invisible that brought us together; we are teenager and most of us are invisible to our parents. We are old enough to emancipate ourselves a bit and it is my belief that parents wait for adolescence to try to get back some of the years they've spent watching over us H24. The reason why Jaz, Noodle and I hang around together is because we just didn't really fit in any of the groups surrounding us – not that we cared enough to try to fit in – so we just made our own.

I wouldn't call them my partners in crime since I'm the only one 'getting loose' during school hours; Jaz and Noodle don't care, which is one of the thing I like about our association; each one of us basically does their own things. We are independent, we're not the 'attached by the hip' type of mates. However we are each other's alibi when one of us needs one.

"So, you're really not going to break out of here?" Noodle asks seriously.

"No," I keep reading my book.

"Why not? I mean that's not like you to stay that long in our lovely cage," Noodle frowns.

"Because she still has her piggy tail," Jaz snort.

"Glad you find it amusing," I reply flatly.

"Her what?" Noodle is lost. He's a bit out of the loop since we haven't been spending much time all together.

"There's a good looking young fellow in a suit near the flag pole," I tell him and he discreetly looks at the right direction. "Meet detective Alonzo."

"You're kidding?" he chortles.

"Oh yeah, watch me," I tilt my head.

"Alright, forgetting that you know his name, what makes you so sure that he's here for you?" he challenges me. "I mean, even I can find at least five reasons for him to be here."

"Noodle, what are the golden rules?"

"Always be ahead in the game," he replies immediately.

"And the one before that, the most important one is 'know the players'," I come back. "My mom works for the LVPD. However brief her history with Sara Sidle was they trust one another to some extent. Sure she believed me, it doesn't change the fact that Sara has put the seed of doubt in her mind. So she needed to find a way to keep an eye on me just to make sure I didn't lie to her without appearing like she didn't trust me. What better way than to ask a colleague for a favour? How convenient that detective Alonzo, who's on paternity leave, just decided to come around our school?"

Noodle gives a thought to my theory. "Right… maybe you're a little paranoid."

"I don't think so, there's a reason why I suffer the LVPD lab parties three times a year; trust me it's not for my entertainment, it's to keep track of names and faces of their whole teams."

"Wait, I've seen a new kid around, what if she had infiltrated our school to keep an eye on you?" he asks, his blue eyes sparkling.

Jaz snorts and shakes her head, I just roll my eyes. "I said that my mother was working with the LVPD, not the FBI."

"Anyway, where does that leave us? Because you know that I can't play the model student for too long without feeling like murdering someone," Jaz declares.

"I second that; unfortunately I don't think I'll be able to do anything for at least another two weeks, but I'm betting on three."

"You're not serious… another three weeks of this hell?" Jaz asks while putting one of her locks behind her ear. She's pissed, I can tell, even though it doesn't show.

"I know…" I sigh. "It's not like I had the choice; he comes at random time which means that I can't lose him," I explain.

"Oh well…" Jaz sighs accepting this new twist of event.

I told them about the Sara Sidle situation, the last time I met Sara was a rather close call. Not that I never have a back up plan but still it forced me to put a halt on my well oiled system. Like I said, I know the players and I know my mother, so I was expecting her to pull something like that, either come herself randomly at school or ask someone to keep a 'discreet' eye on me.

Why dragging Jaz and Noodle along? Easy, they hang out with me and I need my mother to believe that my frequentations are good and reliable; otherwise I might as well put a target on my ass. So the three of us have been good students for the past weeks, only having fun during the after school time.

"I hate you so much right now," Noodle broods, his good mood vanished.

Yes because being good means that we can't use, at least not during the day; and Norman doesn't use after school because he's afraid of slipping in front of his father. He doesn't mind going through the whole day at school but the other kids here put him under stress because every now and again he get picked on, and the way he stays above it all is by using.

"I'm hurt," I state flatly.

"Well fuck you Lee," he replies vehemently. "Because frankly I don't give a damn about your piggy tail"

"Aren't you feisty today," I say with an even voice.

"Your little screw up didn't come at a right time," he reproaches me.

"It's not exactly like I had planned it, is it?" my tone is sharp.

"Yet, we are paying for it…"

"Hey, you don't seem to have such a hard time when you're the one screwing up," I cut him off. "Even less when I'm the one getting you out of trouble, so tune your attitude down."

"That's easy for you to say, you don't have goons breathing down your neck…"

"Every one takes a chill pill," Jaz intervenes calmly. "Noodle, stop whining you sound like a junky," her tone is icy cold. "Lee will make it up to us, so suck it up and take it like a man okay?"

If I didn't hate Sara Sidle before I'd hate her right now. Jaz just basically let me know with no ambiguity that I'd be paying the high price for this one. There's nothing more that I despise than being in debt toward anyone.

Lucky me I'm going to have way too much to think about to care about that problem just yet. I'm going to use this time to map out my playground again, I don't want another unexpected run in with someone like Sara, and I need to tighten the screws on my system, you know, make sure everything works the way it should.

I'm still ahead of the game though, and I've been thinking about ways to sort my 'Sidle problem'. It's going to take time and a game all in finesse from me, but I'll make Sara see things my way; better yet she'll be the new addition to my system. I need to be careful though because I have but very little room to operate.

I have no doubt I'll pull things off the way I want to though, I'm brilliant and there's absolutely nothing I can't achieve once I set my mind on it.

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