I opened my mouth to ask why she never told me, but then closed it because I knew the answer. Secret agents were exactly that, secret, and if she would’ve told me when I was younger I probably would’ve blabbed it to everyone. I nodded and looked down, not knowing what to say.
“I know it’s hard Rylee, but we couldn’t tell you until it was time for you to start. It’s a rule everyone has to follow.” he said, his voice sympathetic.
“I just, I don’t know. It’s just hard for me to, kind of, understand it.” I said, glancing between the table and their faces. A minute ago I had almost believed them, but then my common sense and reality kicked in, saying I was being stupid for believing this and wondering why they wanted me to believe this so bad.
“Or believe it.” he said, looking at me knowingly. I sunk a little in my seat and gave an apologetic and kind of embarrassed frown. I felt bad for not believing them, and the truth was, I really wanted to. How cool would it be to have a spy mom? And how cool would it be if I went to the school where she learned her spy skills along with tons of other spies-in-training? It would be really cool, but my mind wouldn’t allow me to believe what it kept stating as fantasy. My mind said there was no such thing as spy schools, and there was no way a spy would be a teenager because they were too young.
“I’m sorry.” I said, but he held up his hand almost immediately.
“Don’t apologize, I understand. How can you believe us when you have no proof that any of this is real, right? Well, you’re a smart girl, and so we’ll prove it to you.” he said, and an eager and happy smile lit up his face in anticipation of something.
“How?” I asked, “Are you going to take me to the school?”
“Heavens, no. It would take hours to get there.” he said, getting up from his stool. “We’re going to show you your school supplies.” He smiled once more before he and Mom both disappeared down the hall leading to their bedroom.
I sat there for a second, wondering what to do, and then decided to go ahead and eat breakfast because I was suddenly starved. Talking about all that had completely taken me by surprise. So I got some eggs, two blueberry pancakes with butter and syrup, and reseated myself at the island.
They were gone for a few more minutes, and then Mom reappeared holding a pair of black tennis shoes and my uniform on a hanger. “Ooh, pretty.” I said, taking the hanger and looking the uniform up and down appreciatively. It had a pleated red plaid skirt that looked a little above the knee, and a white short-sleeve shirt underneath a red sweater vest. Altogether it looked very flattering, which also made it much more bearable to wear every day. I touched the material and noted that it wasn’t even close to being the cheap kind.
Mom noticed this and said, “Atlas only uses the best materials for its students. Not to mention, they have more clothing options in the catalog.”
“They have a catalog?” I asked, surprised. I’d never heard of any school having their own catalog.This school must be very high up.I thought, and that made me even more curious about what lay ahead of me at Atlas.
“And a store on campus. I’ll give you the catalog after this and give you some money for the store campus before you go, but you need to pack some ‘civilian’ clothes too because you’re allowed to wear that on weekends and after school hours.” she said and I nodded as she disappeared again, only for Dad to reappear carrying a pile of books.
“What are these?” I asked as I put my plate on the counter and he laid them out on the island. I picked up one of the books closest to me and it read ‘Things the World Doesn’t Want You to Know: Conspiracy Theories Uncovered’. I cocked an eyebrow suspiciously and thought,Weird.
“These are your schoolbooks.” he said, looking at all of them with a look of reminiscence in his eyes.
“And notebooks, pens, and pencils.” Mom added as she came back into the kitchen, holding one notebook for each book and a pencil bag with both pens, pencils, and other school items.
“But I already have those.” I said as she moved one of the books and set her load down in its place.
“Not these.” she said, glancing at me with excitement and eagerness in her eyes. I gave her a confused look and she smiled and said, “These are made especially for Atlas use. Here, write something.” Then she opened one of the notebooks, got a pen, and handed them to me. I looked at them for a minute, both of them nodding encouragingly, and then wrote my name on it.
It was in blue ink, but I didn’t see anything special about it. It was just my name. I looked at them in confusion and said, “What’s supposed to happen?”
“What did you write?” she asked, glancing between the paper and me.
“My name, you can see it right here.” I said, pointing to the paper with the pen, but she shook her head, still smiling.
“But I can’t.” she said, “Watch your name.” Then she took the notebook from me and I gasped. As soon as she even touched it, my name disappeared.
“What happened?” I asked, my eyes wide.
“This paper was specially made with little microchips in it that are programmed to only show what’s written on it when you’re touching it. Each notebook is programmed for a certain person, and if you want to let someone else be able to read it, just write their name on the back of the cover and they’ll be able to see it. You’ll have to write all your teacher’s names for the notebooks in their subjects.” said Dad, looking absolutely delighted that I was seeing the proof of what they were talking about.
“This technology is actually pretty new. They didn’t have that when we attended.” Mom added.
“What about the pencils? Do they do the same thing?” I asked and they nodded. I looked at everything that was spread out over the island and found myself actually starting to believe that this might actually be true. There was too much evidence to be denied.
“Oh, wait. There’s something else you need.” Mom said suddenly and disappeared back down the hall.