On the Clearwater’s kitchen table sat a pencil with a chewed eraser, a notebook splattered with coffee stains and scribbled notes, an empty bowl of cereal, and a glass of orange juice.
The phone rang.
Kiralee got up to the handheld and looked at the caller ID. She answered it.
“Hey, Sam,” she said tiredly.
“You have anything?”
“No, I don’t,” she said, slightly annoyed. Sam had called her for the past three days—since they had the meeting—to see if she’d thought of anything yet. It felt weird that all these adults in their twenties were looking to a fourteen year-old for answers. “Sorry.”
“Okay. I’ll check-in in a little bit, but call me if you get anything before then.”
“Yeah, sure,” she said, hung-up, and sighed.
Before she could even put the phone down on the table, it rang again. Thinking it was Sam, she didn’t bother looking at the ID, and answered it angrily. “What?” she growled.
“Hey, kiddo!” Jake answered in his usual happy, perked tone. It was obvious that he ignored her rude greeting, a greeting that she immediately regretted. Her face burned.
“Oh—hey, Jake. What’s up?” she said, attempting the same happy voice.
“Well, I know that Ginger and I have been spending a lot of time together, and we haven’t hung out in a while. My bike needs a good tuning, and it’s not a one-man job…you up for it?” he asked merrily.
“Don’t I know it,” she muttered to herself before saying, “Yeah, okay. But, Jake…” she said, biting her lip. She didn’t want to finish her thought.
Kiralee remembered the last time he rode his bike—before Bella had left. Nobody dared to ever bring up the conversation of motorcycles again when he was around, except for stupid Ginger,
she thought, then shook her head. No,
she thought again. I won’t—I can’t—bring her up when around him. It has to be kept between me and the rest of the pack. Total secrecy.
“Are, are you sure?” she asked quietly. She could almost see Jake’s expression turn from joy to seriousness—she hated having him remember painful times.
“Yeah, Kira,” he said, his tone somber, but Kiralee noticed a hint of self-realization. “Yeah,” he repeated, and she could hear his confident smile. “I’m fine.”
She smiled, relieved. “Well, then I believe I will be seeing you.”
He laughed, the somberness gone. “Alright, when will you be here?”
“Well, I’ll leave when my mom gets home…which will be soon. Probably fifteen minutes. Is that okay?”
“That’s fine. See you then.”
“Bye,” she said, and hung up.
While she waited for her mother to return from work, Kiralee reviewed her notes that she’d taken for the whole situation with Ginger. As she read them, she laughed at some (which were absolutely ridiculous) and shook her head at others (which just wouldn’t work). She exhaled in frustration.
The front door opened and then closed. In walked Sue.
“Oh, Kira,” she sighed, placing her purse on the island countertop along with a stack of papers from her law office. She stood with one hand on her hip and the other leaning on the counter. “Have you been sitting there all day?”
Kiralee nodded slowly.
Sue walked over. She picked up the bowl and the glass and dumped them into the sink.
“What have you been doing?” she asked again, and proceeded to roll up her sleeves and turn on the sink to wash the dishes.
Kiralee focused down on her piece of paper.
“Ma, I got a question,” she said, and quickly thought of how to put it. “I was…reading this book today, one of the mysteries that I found at the library. It’s about this girl—the main character—and her friends who meet this other girl, and now they’re all friends and whatever. But the main character soon finds out that the other girl…isn’t who she pretends to be, and really she’s apart of this…spy agency,” Kira shrugged slightly in spite of herself. “Now, this spy agency sent her to America to investigate some other people, not the main character and her friends. But the main character and her friends have a secret of their own, and the main character needs to protect that secret. Now, the main character finds out that the spy agency girl found out about the main character’s secret, okay? And the main character needs to protect that secret and not have the other girl report to the spy agency about that secret. Okay?”
Sue stopped washing the dishes and was now looking at her daughter with curiosity.
“Alright…” Sue said. “But, where are you going with this?”
“Just listen for a sec, ‘kay? My question is coming up.”
Sue went back to washing the dishes.
“So,” Kiralee said, “the main character needs to find out how to eliminate the spy girl in order to protect the secret from the spy agency, but she doesn’t know how to do this without the agency finding out and then coming to get her and her friends. So, my question is…what would you do, Mom?”
Sue shut the sink off and dried her hands. Placing the dishes back into the cabinet, she said, “That’s easy.”
“So….how would you do it?” Kiralee prompted, trying to hide her excitement. She’d been working on it all day and had come out with nothing.
“Obviously, you wouldn’t kill the spy,” she said, shaking her head. “Because then the agency would know, and they would come to find you, and even kill you. So you wouldn’t do that,” Sue said again, as if confirming her own statement. “And then, well, you could deny the secret…but that won’t get you far,” she shook her head again. “I guess you could confront the agency. Didn’t you mention that the spy girl was out to investigate someone else?” she asked, and when Kiralee nodded, she added, “then, yeah, you could tell the agency that you weren’t the victim they were originally after, and that you’ve got nothing to do with them and they’ve got nothing to do with you. So, back off,” she added again with a laugh.
Kiralee smiled enthusiastically. “Yeah, thanks, Mom,” she said.
“When you finish that book, tell me how it ends,” Sue said, turning back to the sink. “I want to know how far off I was.”
“Oh, I’m sure you did just fine,” Kiralee said to herself with a grin, and ran up to her room to grab her jacket for Jake’s.