“I still say this is a bad idea. We’re going to spook him.”
“Just relax. He knows how anxious we are to hear from him. He may have something to tell us. Either way, we need to touch base with him.”
Stephen still wasn’t convinced, but he held his tongue. The two of them were waiting in Alex’s car outside of Sebastian’s classroom, both on the lookout for their young friend. It had been a full week since they last heard from Sebastian, and Alex was driving Stephen crazy in the meantime. So, against his better judgement he tagged along on this stakeout, hoping to catch Sebastian alone to see if there were any new developments.
“Surely if he had anything to tell us, he would have contacted you by now”, Stephen asked. “Or worse, he has been contacted and they are waiting on us to expose ourselves.”
“Look, there he is.” Just then, Sebastian exited the building and started heading towards his car, which was not coincidentally two cars down from Alex’s. Alex flashed his headlights twice to get his attention. Sebastian looked confused as he walked towards the car, trying to place it. Once he realized who it was, he scanned the rest of the parking lot to make sure no one else was around. He quickly got in the backseat of Alex’s sedan.
“Jesus, are you guys following me now? What if someone saw you?”
“Sorry about all of this, but it’s been a week. How have you been?” Alex tried to sound as non-threatening as possible to put the kid at ease, which was obviously not working. Maybe this was a mistake after all.
“Don’t try to pretend like you care how my life is going. We’ve already established that the whole ‘friendly professor’ was just an act.”
That remark stung Alex more than Sebastian knew, but he pushed it out of his mind for now.
“Look, I know you’re still upset that we lied to you. You have every right to be. But this is serious business we’re talking about. We haven’t heard from you in a while, and we just wanted to make sure that the other side hasn’t made contact with you.”
Sebastian didn’t respond, as he continued staring straight ahead while Alex spoke. But Stephen noticed a slight reaction when Alex mentioned being contacted.
“Is there anything you need to tell us Sebastian?”, Stephen asked.
He remained silent, but both men in the front seat turned around to face him, sensing that he indeed had something to tell them.
“Sebastian, please. If there is something going on, let us know. I promise you, we’re on your side.”
Sebastian thought long and hard about it, even putting his hand on the door handle as if to get out. But he had to tell someone.
“Yes. They contacted me. Two nights ago in fact. I haven’t slept since.” Just getting it out there was an instant relief. He looked ahead at Alex and Stephen for the first time since getting in the car, but both men were just staring at each other in disbelief.
Alex was the first to speak up. “Are you sure? They made themselves known to you?”
“Oh yeah. There was no doubt about it. I’m supposed to meet the guy tomorrow night to discuss it further.”
Alex and Stephen were elated. They wanted to high five each other, but tried to keep their emotions in check.
“That’s fantastic Sebastian. You’re going to be the closest anyone has ever been to them without actually being a member. So, tell us. Who was the man who contacted you? Do we know him?”
“Yeah, you probably know him. He’s not a celebrity but he’s definitely well known.”
“Well, don’t keep us in suspense. Who is it? Where are you meeting him?”
Sebastian took a few seconds before answering, not knowing how to answer their questions. “Here’s the thing guys. I am going to meet him tomorrow night. I’m going to listen to everything he has to say, like I am seriously considering joining their group. But I can’t tell you his name or where we are meeting though.”
“What? Why not?”, Stephen asked, but Alex suddenly understood.
“Stephen, don’t you see? He can’t tell us anything about his contact or his meeting. What if they have eyes and ears at the meeting and spot us? That meeting would be over before it began. Right, Sebastian?”
“Not exactly. I can’t tell you anything about the meeting because I don’t want you there. I think I’ve decided to accept their offer.”