Huey woke from his sleep. It had been a light sleep, as fitful and restless as always. Annoyingly, his more pleasant dream recounting the misfortune suffered by another cherub on Basic Training had been replaced by something far less appealing. The voice telling him to 'look at them'. Look at what? He couldn't remember the dream to recollect that detail in any way. It irked him.
He rubbed the sleep from his eyes, fingers instigating the transition from the dream world to the real. He blinked, not recognising the ceiling above him. His head darted around but he didn't recognise the bed he lay in or the room which stretched out beyond it. The only things he had seen before were his clothes which, as of now, were like the lights on the edge of a runway forming a rough path to the door from the bed.
As the rest of his mind booted up, more recent memory returned to him. He remembered, with a Cheshire grin, the events leading up to this point. He had accompanied Maya home, where she had proceeded to babble about 'having had her life saved' and 'there being no adequate recompense'. Huey hadn't really been paying full attention to the girl as she continued; he was far more focused on the potential vantage points he could bug the house from. His train of thought had been cut off by the girl latching onto his face rather forcefully and Huey, ever the gentleman, returned the favour in kind.
And so here he was.
It was Maya's ceiling, and Maya's bed, and Maya's room, Maya's shopping bags huddled in the corner, and – he threw back the bed sheet in order to dispel any notions of Schrodinger's blanket – Maya herself, sleeping naked against his frame, one arm draped possessively over his chest. She was smiling contentedly.
He remembered that at some point during the preceding few hours, he had come to the conclusion that Maya's leg injury in no way impaired her pursuit of more 'physical' exploits. His grin didn't dissipate as he absently ran a finger along Maya's side, enjoying the touch. Huey briefly entertained the whim of just lying there in the comfort and company of the bed. This didn't last long when he remembered why he was here.
Well, the other reason why.
Careful not to wake her, Huey slipped out from underneath her arm and moved towards his clothes. He took a quick glance at his phone as it lay on the floor, peeping out of his jeans pocket. Eleven nineteen. It was still Saturday, just barely. She had informed him as they had made their way back from the tube station that her Luis and her mum were visiting relatives in Sussex and wouldn't be back till the following day. Her father was out on 'business'. She hadn't been more specific than that. Huey suspected she knew more than she was telling but made no effort to pry.
His feet danced lightly on the carpeted floor, the rest of his body moving in sync to slip his clothes back on with as little sound as possible. It was a routine well-practiced with previous encounters with certain females on campus. Unlike them, she wasn't a spy trained by military intelligence, making the use of techniques learned in Covert Exercises seem rather over the top. Yet unlike her, Huey had never felt any kind of urge to stay in the bed afterwards with the previous girls.
Given the manner in which Maya had brought him to her home, it was understandable that she'd neglected to give him the full tour of the house. It mattered very little.. Slipping out of her room, Huey treaded across the hall way very softly. From surveillance intelligence, Huey had a rough idea of the layout of the house and could identify the key areas easily enough, he imagined.
The corridor curved into an L shape, with Maya's room on the shortest side. The longer side had three doors, two on the left which were spaced out by a staircase going up and down. The third door was directly opposite. This door lay slightly ajar and from the off white tiling, Huey could see this was the bathroom. Checking the door on the near side of the staircase resulted in the discovery of Luis' very neat, very ordered room. Although he couldn't be sure in the dim light, Huey was certain that there was a poster of Michael Phelps, the American swimmer plastered on the side of his bed.
He knew the room at the end was the master bedroom from surveillance photos. He spied the lone door at the apex of the staircase on the third floor, the lock glinting in the moonlight. That would be Manuel's office and the probable location of anything worth seeing.
One step at a time, he climbed the short flight of stairs. With each step, he prayed that that Manuel cared enough to fix any squeaky floorboards that could potentially alert Maya to his activity. Those were the longest eight steps of his life and Huey had to take a moment at the top to allow his breath to resume normal cycling.
Pulling his wallet out, he slipped a lock pick set out of the hidden pocket. It would have been too obvious to bring a lock gun along and this would only set him back thirty seconds or so.
Three minutes later, Huey was all but scraping the pick inside the lock, torsion wrench stressing with the pressure his fingers were applying.
It sounded like a chorus of angels to Huey's tense ears. He pushed the door open slightly, making sure not to hit anything that may have been behind the door. He was in. Fin-a-fucking-ly, he was in.
For an office, it seemed remarkably boring. Granted, most of the offices that Huey frequented were in the field of espionage or medicine, not accounting. Filing cabinets, a computer desk, a few chairs and a dusty metal cupboard. Nothing fancy.
Reaching into his pocket, he undid the hidden zipper in his wallet to remove the small bag of listening devices he'd be using to monitor this office. He pulled out the bag and gazed at what once used to be £8,000 worth of gadgetry, all cracked and smashed into pieces. Huey didn't dare make vocalise his anger but he fumed internally. The act of saving Maya from that yellow harbinger of death earlier had cost him the pack of 10 electronic monitoring devices.
It was fine.
It just meant he would have to adapt.
The two filing cabinets closest to the door were his first port of call. Using the mobile phone as a flashlight, he started to flick through the documents inside, taking special care to snap high resolution photos of anything he thought related to Ricardo Mosquera or the Calacito Cartel.
Huey wasn't an accountant. He didn't know what these figures and shorthand meant just by looking at them. Both filing cabinets empty, he had taken six or seven photos of tax returns and licenses relating to Mosquera's nightclub.
Doing his best to step around the uncomfortable looking chairs, Huey's attention focused on the desktop computer sat on the rather ugly desk. The moment he nudged the mouse, the room was illuminated by the computer coming back to life from its hibernation. A desktop screen blared at Huey, whose eyes had to take a couple of moments to get used to the now bright environment.
Smiling to himself, he produced his wallet from his jeans once more and slipped out the final item: a small USB drive. It seemed that the computer was in fact connected to the internet. The glowing yellow light on the back of the PC attested to that. Taking a few seconds to root around in his hard drive, Huey found that Manuel's computer wasn't connected to the same network as the other computers in the house, explaining why the VNC program hadn't picked it up. In addition, the files and folders all demanded a secondary password when Huey tried to access them.
Passwords meant one thing: useful information.
He didn't know whether or not the USB device he held in his hand had also been damaged in the tumble earlier. He wouldn't know until he tried. Plugging it in, Huey let out a breath he didn't know he'd been holding as the device come to life on screen. It quickly began to install a program which would monitor and send all the information to the workstation which Gabriella had set up in the house. There, they could decrypt the protected files and find out what they needed.
Less than 40% in, Huey heard the last thing that any male teenage spy would have wanted to hear: the sound of Manuel's car pulling into the gravel driveway. Huey didn't know what was worse, the fact that he was stuck in the office of a man with connections to a dangerous drug cartel with –he checked the computer screen- two minutes to go till program completion or the fact that he was stuck in the office of a man whose daughter now lay in post-coital slumber.
Either way, he'd be utterly buggered if he didn't think fast. The monitor was the first thing to be switched off as Huey's heart pounded in his ears. He timed the closing of the office door just right as to be drowned out by the noise of Manuel opening and closing the front door.
He could hear the heavy gait of the man as he trundled up the stairs. With moments to spare, Huey flung himself into the cupboard as the sound of jangling keys grew louder and louder. The light flicked on and Huey, peeking out through the slits in the cupboard door, gazed upon the portly brown haired man who had set his briefcase down upon one of the uncomfortable looking chairs. Simultaneously holding in a sneeze and bracing himself against the side of the cupboard, Huey momentarily reflected upon the absurdity of the situation. Here he was, hiding from a man who looked as though a decision to wear both a belt and suspenders on the same day would cause him to turn into sausage links and he himself was precariously balancing on top of a pack of dust covered ACCA books.
Huey was snapped out of his musings by the sound of a phone ringtone. His sphincter clenched with the force of one thousand suns fearing that it could be his. Gladly, it was not his. For one, his phone was on flight mode which would prevent such occurences. Two, he wasn't hearing the soothing tones of Moonlight Sonata. The classic Nokia theme tune rang through the room and Manuel answered the old vibrating phone, the thick Colombian accent with which he spoke Spanish straining Huey slightly.
"Hello? No, no we can't change it." Manuel moved to unclip his briefcase. Reading off of the documents produced from inside, his tone began to contain a more worried note. "Yes, it's understandable for anyone. We have to keep the club as clean as possible and that means that we have to keep it at the garage. All the excess goes through the club and the government is less likely to come snooping around. You know this Ricardo, that's why we do this. Don't let the Spaniards dictate how you run your operation. No, I don't have it. It's in my car. I will call you back."
He ended the call and slammed the phone on his desk before storming out the door, visibly angry. Huey waited until he could hear the man descend the second set of stairs before he emerged, coughing from the cupboard. The computer blinked on as he fiddled with the monitor. The program had finished installing and he ripped out the USB without safely ejecting, he was in that much of a rush. He didn't have time to take pictures of the documents in the briefcase but he quickly scanned through them, finding the address of the garage that had been the topic of conversation.
He had just gotten out of the office when he heard the car door slam. It made him jump slightly as he vaulted down the stairs and into the bathroom. In here, he was safe. This security lasted all of two seconds as he heard the sound of the bathroom door handle being opened. Without missing a beat, Huey flung open the window.
Gripping the edge of the window frame, Huey launched himself out of the bathroom and onto the grass behind the house. Checking that he still had all his major organs, he let out a sigh of relief as he shimmied in between the fences which separated the homes from the street and into freedom.
He had a garage to check out.