“Fair enough. I doubt any sane person would want to tell about their alliances with the enemy,” I said, turning to face her, “But I do have one question.”
“What?” Riley asked, for the first time not caring to hold a barrier between us.
“Why did I have to die by falling off an elephant?” I asked, trying to look serious, “You know how painful that is?”
“Well, serves you right for being such an annoying twat and following me all the way to Boston,” she giggled, nestling her head into my chest.
I must admit that I was utterly confused then. Wasn’t she supposed to hate me? How did her feelings turned around that quickly? My entire spy training screamed at me to beware of plots, beware of her sweet words that would turn around and bite me later. I tightened my hold of her, pulling her in so tight that her body melded around mine. I was going by the rulebook after all. Keep your enemies closest to your heart. So close that you can’t tell the difference between hate and love anymore.
“Did I ever tell you that I may possibly love you, Barker?” Riley said, her voice dreamy.
“Only a few times,” I replied, then changed the subject, “A woman called Polly called me up last night telling me about you. She’s from AWD too?”
“Yeah. You know you are quite slow sometimes. Was it that hard to figure out what AWD meant? I thought you knew the second you saw it on my wrist!” she said.
“Well, even the best spy can fall short at times. Didn’t you learn that one when you were ten, Miss Smarty-Pants?” I retorted. Thank God she didn’t notice the abrupt change in conversation. I wasn’t ready to investigate my feelings for her yet, let alone admit them to her.
“Oh, stop it Jackson,” she sighed, “I lied. Never got an hour of extra tutoring myself. Daddy believed in keeping me fit and healthy so that I could be his poster girl. Intelligence was not his first priority for me, he never really cared if I did badly at school.”
“How did you know about the steps to extracting info then?” I asked.
“I didn’t,” she murmured, “Just wanted to make a good impression so that people respect me for more than just my being Daddy’s girl.”
“You know you were the most annoying person to have ever walked into class that day?” I said.
“Well, my acting skills have never been that great. Neither is my hiding skill for that matter,” she said, “How did you find me, by the way?”
“Well Missy, all I’ve got to say is be careful where you use your credit card next time,” I winked, wanting to break the sadness that was drowning us both.
“Ha, I never thought you could track someone’s credit card history,” she smiled, “Guess I’ll have to be more alert next time we have spy classes then.”
“Wait, does that mean you’re going back?” I said, my voice full of astonishment, “To World Domination or to AWD?”
“Nah, neither. It’s just too much for me to handle right now. People in both places know me as Mr Jone’s daughter, the poster girl, or in AWD’s case, a powerful tool.” She said wistfully, “I want to be me, you know. Without all the labels attached.”
“Where then?” I asked.
“I dunno. Didn’t you use to dream of catching the train and changing trains at every station to see where you end up?” she said, “I did as a child, and still do. Maybe I can just let my dream come true.”
I hesitated. This was the part where the guy says “of course I’ll come with you, to the ends of the earth”. But I didn’t know if I was ready for that kind of commitment though. For God’s sake, I was only sixteen! She looked up at me and I pulled her in even closer. Her pale lids fluttered over her blue eyes, and she smiled just a little.
“Thanks for agreeing to come,” she whispered against my chest.
WHAT? When did I say that? Oh crap...