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Kaline

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I drop my gaze when I realize he’s staring back at me. I count backwards from 100, hoping he turns away but when I reach 77, I look back, unable to help myself. Then I immediately regret it because not only is he staring at me, but the entire table is as well. This is one of those moments I wish I was invisible – not the high school popularity invisible, the invisible invisible. I busy myself with the first trig problem I see on my sheet. What’s cosine theta if cosecant theta is –
“Hey, you’re Kaline right? Mind if I talk to you for a bit?”
I look into brown eyes, plain brown ones. Not chocolate warm eyes, nor wooden sharp eyes or any of that. Just brown eyes that didn’t smile even though his lips were. The point of this was to observe him discreetly, not make the entire popular table criticize me as if I were an object. I felt eyes staring at me from that table, and I forcibly tamped down my annoyance as I turned my attention to the boy standing before me. Luc was not going to be happy.
“Yeah, sure.”
I wait for him to talk and then I realized he meant in private. Shoot, Luc’s definitely not going to be happy.
Grabbing my folder and bag, I get up, motioning him to lead on. As we walked towards the trees that lined the school, I felt even more stares scorch our way. A group of girls narrowed their eyes at me, as if they were hoping to shoot poison darts at me from their eyes in an effort to make me stay away from the boy I was following. Chill, I thought, grimacing inwardly, he’s all yours.
*
“So, how’s the school?” he asks pleasantly, though I’m sure he’s begun to feel a bit suspicious at my not so discreet staring. For the past two weeks. Oh yeah, I better come up with something fast before he realizes anything. And whaddaya know, I actually, finally get one of those light-bulb moments.
“Um... I know it’s kind of sudden, but I was wondering... are you doing anything Friday night? There’s this new movie that came out...” I trail off, hoping he rises to the ‘bait’.
I bit my lip, genuinely nervous. If he didn’t believe me, months of planning would blow up in my face, and I’d be facing a suspension from my boss.
I look at him as his eyes travels slowly from my face towards my legs. A warm breeze blows towards my face, fanning out my white blonde hair. I stare at my Vans, grateful that I wasn’t playing the dumb-pretty-blond-girl role this time. The jeans and v-neck I’d thrown on this morning felt too casual and boyish. Damn, I thought. I should’ve put on something prettier. Heck, why hadn’t I thought of this earlier? Trying to make him think I was crushing on him would’ve made the job a hell of a lot easier.
He’s still examining my face, as if I was a watch and he was making sure it didn’t have any dents or scratches on it. I knew what he saw. I’d looked at the face countless times as I’d turned it into someone else at every job. Green almond-shaped eyes, almost Asian, that were now staring back at him hopefully.
He chuckled as if he was sharing a private joke with himself.
“I’ll pick you up at 7 then?” he asked, his eyes now smiling as well.
I appeared relieved and managed an ‘okay’ as he sauntered away, whistling back towards the benches that housed most of the population of Lenworth High’s students.
*
“You did WHAT? Didn’t I say ‘discreetly observe’? Do I have to drill that into your mind until you get it? What was all the training for? To make sure he didn’t even notice you. And you mess it up already.”
Luc stared at me, his arms crossed and at that moment, he appeared as intimidating and mean as rumoured. Of course, I don’t believe in rumours. I calmly bit into my pizza as he paced around the couch, occasionally stopping to glare at me.
“Are you going to eat the pizza? Cuz I don’t want to waste it and if you’re not – ”
He sighed in defeat as he took a sit across me and began eating the pizza I’d ordered.
“Trust me, he doesn’t suspect anything. Just go along with it and we’ll bust him just as we’d planned. You worry too much,” I tell him as I reach for another slice of pizza.
“You better be right,” he says as his hand slides into mine.
*
I felt his arm slide around my waist as he casually smiled my way. The evening had gone fine, he’d picked me up exactly at seven and we’d watched the new horror movie without bumping into any of his friends. Now as we walked along the boardwalk to get to the parking lot, he was slowly getting bolder. The bastard.
I glance down at my sandals, pretending to be shy while inside I seethed. I’d picked my outfit with care, pairing a dark blue dress with a thin cardigan. Except the dress hem line was 4 inches above my knees. This better be worth it, I thought as a particularly cold breeze raised goose bumps down my bare legs.
We’d reached the parking lot and I was about to head towards the passenger side of the car when he grabbed me by the wrist and used his other hand to roughly grab my neck.
“Well, well, who’ve they sent now? Nothing on the database, so you must be new, or higher up than I thought.”
And that was when the sweet smell of chloroform enveloped me in its arms.
*
I open my eyes, grimly noticing how sluggish my movements were. So much for stunning my kidnapper with that new kick I was practising. The smell of smoke, combined with urine and other bodily fluids assaulted my nose. I was in a cage. Literally. Smooth steel bars surrounded me, and I was pretty sure I couldn’t pull a cat woman and slide through them. Crap.
Someone coughed, which was when I realized that there were captives in the other ‘cages’. And none of them, judging by their pretty faces and dull eyes, bothered to look at me. Either they were too strung up on drugs... or this sort of thing happened a lot. Crap. Times infinity. If that was possible.
I panicked as I heard movements from the floor above. We were in a basement, I realized. A door at the far end of the wall opened, spilling yellow light into the room. The boy sauntered over towards my cage, ignoring the other girls.
“Comfortable?” he asked, visibly pleased with himself.
I gritted my teeth, wanting to punch him until his face was bloody. When Luc came blazing in with his guns, along with reinforcement, he was going to keep me off the working shelf for as long as he could.
“What’s wrong, Kaeli?”
He giggled.
And I cursed myself. How the heck had he found out my real name? Even Luc didn’t know and yet this sick psycho did. And that may’ve been a bit harsh on a 18 year old boy, but getting girls off the street to be sold did not get him anywhere on my friends list on facebook. Or in real life. Of course, I don’t have an account since Carl had made me invisible on the Net, meaning no facebook, but you know what I mean.
“Don’t worry, it’s a secret between you and me. I won’t tell anyone, promise.”
His smiling and giggling was getting on my nerve. Plus I don’t have much faith on his promise. Where was Luc? The GPS should’ve signalled him my location, but obviously he was taking his sweet time getting here.
Just then, I heard gun shots from upstairs as well as men shouting. Finally. I relished in the boy’s astonished and then fearful face as I rested my back against the wall. A few minutes passed and as the shouts ceased upstairs, he still stood frozen. The door he’d come through burst open which finally prompted him to move. But by then, men had begun to surround him while pointing gnarly looking guns at him. One of those men came forward and freed me from the cage. The boy finally made a move, grabbing me by the shoulder and pointed a knife at my neck. This was a bad move on his part.
You see, I do what I’m told (as in jobs), I don’t complain (during the jobs), and I don’t bother my seniors (unlike the other rookies). But after the whole busting part, that’s when my role-playing ends. And when you hold a knife up to my neck when I’ve gone on a date with you and spent every moment of it pretending that I was interested in you when I was counting down the seconds you would lift your hand off my waist; you’ve pissed me off.
I stomp on his right foot and grab the hand with the knife. Using his surprised look to my advantage, I manage to knock away the knife and I deliver a few punches before he drops like a rock on the floor. Out of his neck, I see a tiny yellow dart. Tranquilizer dart. 3, 2, 1...
“What the heck happened to your neck?” Luc asked, narrowing his eyes at the bruises that had appeared there.
Just then, I heard a familiar voice.
“Target acquired, on his way to extraction point. Spade will report. Warehouse beside the location. House has 12 girls, all drugged; they’ll be coming with the rest. I didn’t think he would grab her this early, but it’s done. Yes.”
A man wearing a suit came downstairs with a phone on one hand and a gun in the other. His blue eyes lingered on my neck, moved to the boy and then Luc.
“Move as instructed. The cleaners will be here soon,” he told the men as he motioned for Luc and me to follow him.
“I trust this wasn’t as unpleasant as the last one,” the man asked, his face expressionless.
“No sir.”
Luc answered for both of us.
“Well, next one’s in Arizona; flight is in two days.”
We were all silent as we got in the car. Luc took off his jacket and passed it to me. The man raised his brow but said nothing as I accepted the jacket. Luc got in beside me and the car started moving as soon as he closed the door.
“Follow the original plan next time Kaline. And self defence isn’t forbidden you know.”
The man chuckled, but I kept quiet.
“I will. And that might’ve aroused suspicion.”
“Doesn’t matter now. I got you two days off; Luc, we’ll talk soon,” and with that the man got out of the car that had stopped briefly, in a flash.
Soon, we were riding away, leaving him in the night.
*
“He’s in the library... Jim will observe, plus the Director wants a word with you.”
I stared at the phone as the caller hung up on me. A ‘bye’, would’ve been nice. Apparently it was common to just hang up the phone without warning the person on the other end nowadays.
My phone buzzed again and I pressed talk as I brought it up to my ear.
“Embers, Jones, & Anderson, you’ve a month,” the voice on the other end said and then abruptly cut off the line.
Again? Are you kidding me?
“Kaline! Hey! Hurry up, they’re selling pork buns in the cafeteria dude!”
Nick Anderson waved from a distance as I saw Luc come towards me in my peripheral vision. I pointed at Luc and Nick smiled as he walked back towards the cafeteria.
“So I heard they’re selling pork buns.”
I turned around to see Luc grinning at me. I frowned as he pulled me towards him.
“You didn’t get me any?” I asked, genuinely disappointed.
He smiled as he produced a white paper bag from his pocket. I saw the steaming bun inside and chuckled.
As I bit into the bun, I felt his eyes staring at me.
“What?”
“Follow the plan next time, okay? I don’t want to see you get hurt. Makes me angry when it’s on a job. ‘Kay, Kaline?”
He says this quietly, his face strained.
I bring him closer until our faces are inches apart.
“I will,” I whisper as I look at him.





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