“Okay, be calm and don’t ruin everything.” Justin told me as we walked to the club. “I’m not gonna…” I started but he interrupted me again. “I’m just worried since you’re a still a tyro.” I glared at the red light across the road. Justin is getting on my nerves. He keeps on giving me advices and treating me as though I have no idea what the hell I’m doing. He texted me an hour ago, informing me that we will be visiting the club and meet the others. I was excited since our job is much straight forward and easier to get on to now compared to the first day. The excitement lasted for about a minute after Justin arrived. His ‘I know the best’ attitude is driving me up the wall. “Justin, you don’t have to remind me that I’m still a tyro for the tenth time. Look, I’m not dumb and do yourself a favor, follow your own advice. Be calm.” I snarled at him before crossing the road when the traffic light turned green. “What? I’m calm as the night ocean.” He followed my angry long strides easily with his long legs. “Oh please, you can’t stop talking ever since you arrived. You’re unbelievably annoying. Take a chill pill.” We arrived at the club entrance. The entrance is closed since it’s the day time but apparently the uncommon criminals stay in here most of the days. Justin laughed as he unlocked the door with a key. Justin has been with this group for a month now and they trust him enough to give the key to get into the club anytime he wants. “I know I’m talking a lot today and that’s your fault.” He winked at me before walking into the dark room. I stared at the now empty space in confusion.
“That doesn’t make sense. Your logic sucks.” I followed him in. “Of course, you don’t understand, you’re a…” I didn’t let him finish this time. “Shut up!” I told him, rolling my eyes. He laughed again, “I was going to say something else, honey.” He casually stated and walked into the large room. My jaw dropped open, “Don’t honey me, Just....” I came into a halt when I saw a tall guy in a singlet shirt and torn jeans standing in the middle of the large room, watching us. “Trouble in paradise?” His voice echoed in the dark room. “I guess.” Justin smiled at him and then at me. I have never seen Justin smile so I can’t stop myself from staring at him. His soft face expression and the candy sweet smile are new and definitely fake. “Is this her?” the other guy asked him. “Yeah, she’s the one. Is it okay to bring her in?” Justin came over and put his arm around my shoulder. I went still. Justin carefree behaviors spook me like I never felt before. I stopped myself from glaring at him and kept my eyes on the stranger. He shrugged, “We checked on her and nothing fishy. Come on in.” He walked to the back and disappeared behind the door beside the bar. “What is going on?” I demanded in a small voice. “I told you they know about you, my new partner in crime and now time for introducing you to the group.” We went to the back passage that led to another room. “You know you could do a lot better than just standing like a statue.” Justin whispered to me before entering the bright room. There were five people in the room, two girls in trashy clothes and three boys with bad tattoos. “Hello, red.” A super skinny boy greeted me. His smile was too wide for his tiny face. I gave him a full smile. “She is hawt.” Another boy spoke up. His gaze swept over me up and down in a very creepy manner. I wanted to punch his ugly face. “Watch it, Ross. She’s taken.” Justin stood close to me. “Oh, your new girlfriend.” One of the girls stated. I looked up at Justin in question. He smiled at me cheekily. “Found out anything new?” The other girl asked Justin. She spared me no glances. We joined the group around the snooker table. Justin kept his hand on my shoulder. “No, I went to her house twice and tried to find some clue but nada.” Everybody looked at each other sourly. I looked up at Justin. He was watching the other’s expression. Maybe the rest could not notice it but I could see the scrutinizing glare of Justin. His face was well composed to hide his distaste of these people. He looked down at me. “Yes, sweetie pie?” He questioned me. “Nothing.” I looked away. “If you brought her for romancing then I suggest you to leave.” The same girl stated rudely, cutting me a look. “Don’t take this out on me, Roan. I‘m here to help as well. Taissa was her friend too, she was with her the days before Tyra and James went missing.” Justin raised his voice. All five pairs of eyes looked at me. I felt uneasy under the heavy gaze but kept my face firm. “Yeah, she was my first friend since I moved here.” I started. “She don’t make friends. She makes alibi for her and her boyfriend.” Roan interrupted. I was not surprise to hear that. I thought about Rachel and Mia. They were too loyal to Tyra. I imagined how would have they reacted to this. “Oh, I thought she really liked me. She even brought me to her private party.” I told them, looking down at the floor hoping I looked sad. “That was where we met.” Justin said out. “I remember, you kept on talking about a girl that night.” The thin guy stated. I raised my eyebrow in question, “He did? How sweet of you.” I elbowed him hard instead of simply nudging him sweetly. He scoffed a cough. “What else do you know about them?” The other girl questioned me. “Well, Tyra did mention about going away with her boyfriend once. I’m not sure where to.” I lied. “That is strange. Why would she tell you such a thing?” The rude one asked me. I shrugged, “Maybe because she trusted me.” I leveled my gaze on her. “Even if that’s true, we can’t risk carrying out our business. Let’s stop everything for few weeks. Until we find out exactly what happened to Tyra and James, we should be extra cautious.” She told everyone. Obviously, she’s in charge of this group. “We should tell him.” The one that admired me stood up from the bench. “No, there’s no need for that. He’s coming here.” The boy sat back on his chair. I could only guess that the one coming is the head of this group. I knew who that would be. With the perfect timing, we heard sound of unlocking the door at the entrance. “He’s here.”
Justin dragged me to the corner of the room, away from the room entrance. Justin stood very close beside me. His expression was enough to let me know that he’s didn’t expect the man to join the group today. His protective stand beside me made me feel nervous. Justin had been with this group for a month so he must have known the situation quite well. A tall, bald elderly man walked in, Russell Chant, the principal of the college and the right hand of Drago. His eyes fell on me the moment he walked in. He looked at Roan. “Justin brought her. She was with Tyra and James last couple of days.” She explained. Her voice was careful. “Why bring her here? You could simply have asked her and let her go.” His voice was concern and gentle as he asked Justin. “I brought her because I think she could join us. She is very capable.” Justin answered. Justin posture relaxed beside. I frowned in confusion. “New member. Good thinking we lost three already.” He nodded at Justin. “What? We haven’t loose Tyra and James. They went away for some reason. You! Tell him.” Roan yelled at me furious. She made it very clear that no one should replace Tyra. I nodded, “Yes, she told me that but that’s it. No any other details.” The old man scratched his chin as he considered my answer. “Alright, let’s put this on hold. We have received a new task from D. I need all of you to meet me at the warehouse tomorrow evening. Make sure you leave no trail behind you.” He stopped talking and gave me a hard stare. “That includes you, once you’re in there’s no way out.” He finally said in grave voice before stepping out of the room.
We separated after the brief meeting. Justin and I went to the coffee shop Anna works at but she was not around. It’s break time for her but normally she doesn’t leave the shop. The owner was working behind the counter. Justin volunteered to get the drinks. I went and sat at the corner small round table. Justin bought the same drinks for both of us, brewed coffee with a little whipped cream, the Café viennois. It’s perfect for the afternoon. I felt relaxed since our little mission had gone well. I’m now a member of the gang and we are invited to the warehouse tomorrow. I never expected it to be easy. However Justin was not in my mood zone. His grave looks are back. He sipped the coffee while watching the pedestrians outside. I saw a few young girls stared at him as they pass by. He looked like a male model trying to pose an elegant coffee drinker look. As much as I wanted to tease him, I do notice the dark look in his eyes and kept my mouth shut. “Enjoying the view?” He asked me, not looking at me. “What?” I was too absorb in guessing his thoughts that I didn’t expected him to try to make conversation I looked at the road out there and said, “Not great of a view.” I answered. He half smiled. “You were not staring at the road.” He stated. My face grew warm when he pointed that out. “You’re a very strange man and not to forget self absorbed. This morning you annoyed me by talking and now you’re making no sound.” I changed the subject. He put his cup down and regarded me with his deep brown eyes. “Are you worried about me?” He asked me. “No, I’m worried about the situation. Clearly, something is bothering you in regards to the group meeting and you’re not sharing.” I told him accusingly. “This is why I don’t do partners, sharing is not my style and it’s very disappointing to see how ignorant you are.” He blandly stated. “What do you mean?” “Russell Chant.” He said out the name as though that’s the answer. I wrecked my head to understand him. “Who is he? Did you even do your homework, Jane?” His belittling me attitude angered me, “Of course I did, he’s one of the most wanted man by the force, Drago’s important man.” I stated. “And you don’t find it suspicious that he quickly agreed to let you in the group. It’s very disturbing.”Justin frown deepen again. “Yeah, you’re right.” I agreed. “I know I am. Never mind I will try to work on that one. You don’t get distracted.” He stood up, wanting to leave. “And work on you being my girlfriend attitude, I will see you tomorrow here, honey pie.” He left after the mocking words. I was feeling dumb to reply something witty at the moment. I stayed there longer. I wanted to kick myself hard since I failed to consider the danger that Justin saw. Suddenly the idea of me joining the group tomorrow sounds risking. But I can’t bail now and I have Justin by my side. Justin looking after me was kinda nice in a weird way.