People scrambled to eat their food and gulp down their drinks. I was starving, but I couldn't help looking around the table at everyone.
There was the intimidating-looking Amber, who wasn't eating either. Instead, she was going through some checklist on her phone. My brother had gotten up to move next to her. He kept pointing at things on the list while shaking his head.
Lavender, as mentioned earlier, was sitting across from me, sipping a colorful drink and twirling a strand of her equally bright hair. She looked up and briefly offered me a smile, which I returned. Her purple hair was a stark comparison to her olive skin.
On her right was a girl who seemed just as intimidating as Amber. She didn't make eye contact with me or smile either. She had pale skin and strawberry blonde hair that she kept up in a high ponytail, highlighting her high cheekbones. Even without any makeup on, her skin beamed naturally. She was in full work out attire and was eating something that looked way too healthy to be considered breakfast.
On Lavender's left was a tall boy with dark curly hair and a deep tan. His eyebrows honestly looked better than mine, and the rest of his face kept hidden in a book he was pouring over, his coffee untouched.
Directly next to me where two girls, the slim girl with inky black hair who had moved over to make room for me. The other girl was a petite black girl with long undulating wavy hair that went down to her waist. She was in an in-depth conversation with the other girl, and I didn't want to intrude. They were laughing and talking as if they had known each other for ages.
I quietly sipped my coffee and got up to throw the remains of my chocolate croissant when I stopped in my tracks.
Across the room, next to the coffee bar, was the other boy from our group, looking right at me. I don't even remember when he got up or how long he had been looking at me, but I couldn't look away.
His eyes were a dark grey color, like a stormy sky on a rocky shore. He wasn't as tall as the other boy, but there was an air of confidence that made him seem a lot taller. He was slightly tan, and his hair seemed too dark to be natural. His eyes looked at me with a mixture of contempt and disapproval, as if I had done something to insult him. I shivered slightly and finally broke eye contact, moving to throw away my trash.
I didn't know what the hell his problem was, but I wasn't about to let it distract me. I headed back to my table, noticing everyone was now quiet and focused on Amber.
We were now moving to headquarters where she would be placing us into our teams. How had they determined who we would work best with? I couldn't help but think of the Sorting Hat in Harry Potter. I wonder who else in our group was a Slytherin.
Everyone picked up their trash (secret agents don't litter) and headed out of Starbucks. Some people had their own cars; others like me rode with another supervisor.
"Head towards the school," was all Amber explained before she got into her own car and drove away.
I followed my brother out to his car, but I couldn't get into the passenger side because the Jeep that had parked next to us had the driver's door open. I crossed my arms and tapped my feet anxiously. I didn't want to be the person that showed up late to headquarters.
"Excuse me?" I called out to the owner of the Jeep. He ignored me and kept his car door open as he rummaged through something in the front of his car. I huffed and called out again.
"Hey, we need to move. Can you close your car door?" I demanded, my voice a little louder in case he didn't hear me the first time.
"You should learn to be a little more patient," a voice replied. The owner of the car stepped out and closed the driver's door. I came face to face with those intense stormy eyes for a second time. He looked just as pissed off as the first time.
"Well, you should learn to park in the lines. Having your car door open wouldn't be a problem if you hadn't parked in our space," I retorted. I didn't know what his problem was, but I didn't much care.
He didn't reply but kept staring at me quizzically, as if not understanding what I was doing in front of him. This time, I didn't look away but stared right back at him.
"Charlee, let's go," my brother announced, interrupting the stare-off. I glared at the guy one last time before turning around and getting into our car.
"What is his issue?" I asked George once he had pulled out of the Starbucks parking lot.
"That is Eric Alonzo,"
"Okay, but why is he an asshole?" I questioned.
"He's already a full-fledged agent, like Amber and me. He's your age, but the CIA recruited him a while ago. Eric got into some trouble on his last mission, and now he's on probation. Aunt Ally recommended he work on this assignment as a trainee to regain support. He's not too happy about being treated like a newbie," George explained.
I understood the frustration of trying to prove yourself to others. Growing up in my family, I couldn't wait to show that I had what it took to become an agent. But that still didn't give me the right to treat others like shit simply because I was frustrated.
I tried to put him out of my mind and instead focused on thinking about headquarters. It made this all seem so official. Even if I didn't know what the hell this mission was about or the fact that I would have to be in school, having headquarters made it real.
We drove along the PCH, George informed me that stood for Pacific Coast Highway. The PCH was the highway that operated along the California coast, from the border between Oregon down towards San Diego. I had heard horror stories about the traffic in Los Angeles, but so far this was the most beautiful car ride I'd ever been on. I could get used to seeing the ocean out of my car window wherever I went.
The school was a short distance away from Starbucks. There was a long winding road that led up into the Malibu mountainside. At the end of the path, there was a gleaming black gate with perfectly trimmed green hedges all around. Next to the entrance, a golden plaque gleamed Winchester Preparatory, Malibu California. We pulled up to the gate where a security guard sat inside a little cubicle box.
"Name?" he asked in a bored voice.
"Wynters, we're here for the noon tour," my brother informed him, and the man nodded his head. He reached over and crossed a name off a list he had. Moments later the gates opened inward and we were able to park.
The school looked modern, sleek, and nothing like the school I went to in Idaho. But it also looked very regal. There were fountains and courtyards with tables. There were more hedges found throughout the large school campus, and vines trailed down the sides of the school walls.
"No one is in school today since it is a Saturday, so it's the perfect day to give you all the tour," Amber smiled as we joined the group.
"You are all expected to attend classes and events like regular students. You go to class Monday through Friday, and you are to maintain your cover. I don't think I have to remind you not to tell other people about this assignment unless they're in our group," she reminded us, and we all silently nodded.
We walked around the campus as she showed us where the classes were, where the nearest bathrooms could be located and how to find the cafeteria (even spies have a hard time thinking on an empty stomach).
We veered out of the central school building and passed a large soccer field towards a smaller building.
"This is the gym. All of you will be taking physical education," Amber exchanged a smirk with my brother.
"Let's show them the locker rooms," he smiled, and we all looked at each other in confusion but followed them towards the locker rooms.
"Boys follow me!" George exclaimed, and the rest of the girls followed Amber into the empty girl's locker room.
They looked like any locker room I've ever seen before with bathrooms, shower stalls (that probably don't get used anymore), and rows upon rows of tall light blue lockers. We followed Amber down the rows of lockers until she stopped next to a locker at the very end of a row.
Unlike the other gleaming lockers, this one was beaten up, slightly rusty, and looked like it was jammed.
"Welcome to headquarters," she exclaimed, and we looked at her with questioning glances.