Myth stared at the screen of her iPhone while she sat in the back part of the van Helen had mysteriously acquired. Helen, in the front seat, snoozed lightly. Myth put her phone in her lap, dropped her head into her hands, and sighed.
“Don't get all sulky now, dearie.“ Helen said, apparently not snoozing at all. “after all, we're on a stakeout! I would simply hate to have to blow cover and strike you.“ The old woman tipped her beret at Myth and grinned wildly.
Myth sighed again, this time much more quietly. Great,the others get to raid a building, do a whole bunch of cool shit and I'm stuck here, babysitting a potentially violent housekeeper, who looks like a seventy-something Twihard.
She sighed again.
“Myth, dear, have you heard anything?“ Helen asked a few minutes later, maybe ten, maybe fifteen. Myth had gotten a little lost in being bored and sulking. We should have heard from someone by now.
“Um. No. Nothing.“ Myth murmured.
“That's odd, don't you think, dear?“ Helen said.
“Well, yeah...“ Myth said. The plan had been for Taylor to get pulled into Behrstable's office, get access to the building's computers systems after Lou and Winston used the wiper to make it into the control room and set off the alarms, hopefully giving Taylor the chance to do his hacking and break away in the confusion. The main thrust was to start havoc in the building, enough that using the distractions they would be able to get Taylor's little brother out safely. Something should have happened by now. Someone should have texted.
Myth grabbed her iPhone, pushed a few buttons, and fired off a text to Izzy, “What's goin on?“
More minutes passed.
“What's that, dear?“ Helen asked, though Myth hadn't said anything. She blinked and stared at Helen for a second before telling her about the text and the lack of response.
“I've got to go in there. “ Myth said finally after another stretch of quiet minutes. She looked up nervously at Helen, expecting to be shot down angrily. The older woman seemed to draw back, pause and think. Helen smiled, wanly, tipped her beret back to a jaunty angle before she said, “Well, if you're going in , dear, so am I.“
Myth should have known there wouldn't be argument from Helen. The woman seemed almost eager! This is an adventure to her or something? She needs to take it seriously! Helen wasn't Isabel or Sue-Ann, Myth had to remind herself. Being excited by the prospect of adventure, of entering the building, not just feeling like a real spy, but actually being one isn't so bad. More than a spy, if the others were in trouble, Myth would be a hero, in rescuing them. Being able to see the look on Lou's face when she pulled them out of whatever mess they had gotten into...
“Let's go...“ Myth said, grabbing the last of the three Tasers she had made and a spare key ring full of building access cards. Helen trundled behind, a child-like grin on her face, her beret tipped for adventure. They exited the van.
The pair hadn't made it but a few feet from the parked van when a large, round shadow disengaged from the building and blocked their path. Myth tried to raise her Taser, but the shadow was too quick, it reached out and plucked the thing right out of her hand. Myth wanted to scream. Helen bumped into her from behind and gave a low muffled yelp!
“What's go...“ Helen began, peering over and around Myth's shoulder.
“Don't move!“ A deep, male voice ordered quietly. “They could be watching.“
Myth knew the voice. Knew it very well. It was not one she expected to hear, if she could have been expected to hear any. “Mr. Tate?” Myth said incredulously.
The shadow resolved into the corpulent figure of Tate, who looked around nervously. He waved them into the little hollow of the building where he had been hiding when as they approached.
“What are you doing here?“ Myth said, her tone harsh, quickly remembering just how angry she was with Tate. “Where were you? You abandoned us!”
For his part, even in the semi-dark, anguish was clear on Tate's face.
“I couldn't do it. I couldn't let you guys do this by yourselves.“ He sounded miserable. “Besides, they came after me anyway.“ She thought he shivered. Helen had moved up and now looked Tate up and down, her mouth turned down. “Fat, slovenly bast...“ she murmured angrily, cutting herself off at the last moment. There was definitely no love lost between them. If Tate heard her he didn't react.
“I assume the others are inside already? And they're in trouble or you two wouldn't be out here.“ Tate said, still looking around searchingly. “I was just trying to think up a way in.”
Myth didn't know whether to tell the man the truth or not. But he didn't really give her a chance.
“You don't have one of their devices either. We won't make it past the first desk with this thing.“ He twirled her little Taser at her and grimaced. “Listen, I know you don't trust me and you have reason: I'm a coward. I wasn't always, but I've been too comfortable for too long. Teaching at Willow Prep and getting fat and letting danger stalk everyone else...I... well. I won't make that mistake again. You two need my help if we're going to do this.“
He sounded strained and his words sent a chill through Myth. She also realized he was right and for all her bravado, she was up against something so much bigger then herself, she really did need the help. Helen wasn't enough to get them inside.
For her part Helen wasn't so easily won over. “Now you listen sharp and you listen good you putty-faced jackass, whatever it is you're up to, you just leave us be like you did before! We'll get the job done, thank you very much. Now twaddle off and have some comfort pancakes, fat boy.“ She snarled the last words. Myth was shocked. Helen had never had such an acidic tongue before unaccompanied by a jovial tone. The transformation and lack were simply incredible. I guess I've underestimated Helen!
Tate stood and absorbed the woman's bile, nodded along as if she were right! He said, “I deserved all that. But it doesn't change anything. You still need me.“
Helen grunted. Myth was convinced, now. Tate's right, we do need him. “OK, Tate. But if you blow this for us, I'm totes gonna let Helen stab you.“ Myth said.
And Helen, from somewhere, actually pulled out a small folding knife, flicked the blade menacingly at Tate. She waved it at Tate with a mean grin. Even in the semi-dark Myth saw the man blanch and swallow hard.