“What time is your client Elle?”
“He arrives at three,” I say, checking my watch, “So i’ve got about thirty minutes. Why?”
“Well,” Theo smirks, “I wanted to see if our clients were around the same time so we could make things more interesting.”
I rolled my eyes, Theo was always trying to make things “more interesting,” as if our job wasn’t interesting enough as it was. I sigh, “What did you have in mind?”
“How about a bet? Last one to the metro has to wash Gus’ socks for a whole week.”
“How did he get so lucky? Either way it is a win for him!”
“Poor guy gets left behind all the time, I feel bad.” He raises his eyebrow at me, “So you in?”
“No sloppy work.”
Putting his hand to his heart Theo looks at me and feigns hurt, “Do you even know me? I will be perfectly professional, while I kick your butt.” He winks at me and takes off down a side street.
I have always been a fan of big cities, New York was no different. Big buildings and hundreds of people make it so easy to blend in, to fade into the background, and that is what I do best. I don’t turn heads as I walk past, or leave a lasting impression in a passing encounter. I’m just another girl.
That is why I am so good at my job.
Crossing a busy square I enter a building in the corner that gives me the perfect view of the goings on down below. After getting all my things together I take to people watching as I wait for my client to show up. I feel calm, Theo had bet he could beat me but the client was more important than washing Gus’ socks, no matter how awful those things smelt. Right?
This is my favorite part about my job. I spend a lot of time waiting around for people and that gives me the opportunity to watch. It gives me a glimpse into people's lives. Sometimes I like to pretend I know their lives, other times I imagine how it would feel to be them.
I see him.
The client is a short pudgy man who sort of waddles as he walks. He seems in no rush this afternoon as he slowly makes his way to a bench and sits down. He is making a phone call and he is yelling at someone, I felt bad for them. I’m sure there is no way they deserve to be spoken to like that. One second he is red in the face and yelling into his phone and then suddenly his head falls back and his phone drops.
I quickly gather my things and make my way down the stairs and out into the square. There is a crowd forming around the man now. His yelling has been replaced by the yelling of others.
“Someone get at ambulance!”
“Call the police!”
The crowd had moved the man to the ground, a pool of blood is beginning to fill the spaces between the cobblestones. I don’t join the growing crowd. No one notices me walking past amidst the chaos. I can’t help but steal a glance as I walk past.
He’d been shot.
Right between the eyes.
“Bullseye” I thought. I can only imagine the look on Theo’s face when he hears about this.
* * *
School. Never had I been forced to endure the utterly mundane existence of a high school student. To be quite frank it was killing me.
In the past I had imagined what it would be like to be a typical girl who attended a typical school. I had seen all the movies about the unassuming girl who stole the heart of the sports star and became popular or the life long friendships that were forged around high school drama. I couldn’t help but imagine what it would be like. Well, I didn’t have to imagine what school was like any more. I was living it. And I was hating it.
To make it all that much better I was in a boarding school. An all girls boarding school. That meant I was here alone. That meant I was stuck here 24/7. To say I was annoyed with this assignment would be an understatement.
There was one perk, I laughed to myself as I made my way down the crowded halls, Theo and Gus were boys. They weren’t allowed in the school, not even on the grounds, so they had gone underground. Quite literally. I give Theo less than a week before it drives him insane.
What a lot of people don’t know about the maze that is the Paris Metro is that not all the lines that are started get finished. Due to funds, environmental issues, or any other number of reasons a few tunnels are abandoned. The boys made the best of that and set up base in one of these abandoned areas. Well hidden, but decently easy to access if you know how. It was the perfect set up.
We had been given this assignment a few months ago but it took a while to get me enrolled into the school. I guess a private boarding school that houses children of many international dignitaries isn’t the easiest place for some nobody to get into. Our boss didn’t want me to even attend here to begin with, so we had that red tape to get around. We have a simple assignment, locate the girl and be done. But I don’t like to get my hands dirty before I am sure no one got anything wrong.
Someone got something wrong once. They blamed it on poor paperwork, a clerical error. It was brushed off as if it was no big deal, and to them it wasn’t. But me? I was the one standing there with innocent blood on my hands.
So I do things my way. I didn’t take out a target blindly, I needed to know they deserved it. It annoyed the higher ups, but I liked to think that proved their words true when they said that we were the best. That they did need us.
But then again, loyal teenagers trained from their youth to be lethal weapons are hard to come by these days
Walking down the halls of Concorde Prep I have to physically stop my eyes from rolling over and over as I pick up on pieces of my classmates' conversations.
“She took it. I know she took it. It’s my favorite lip gloss and she’d been eying it all last semester.”
“Her Dad paid a lot of money. There’s no way she lost all that weight on her own.”
“I’m pretty sure my teacher hates me. Just because I was too busy to study doesn’t mean I should be punished with a bad grade”
I’m attending a private school full of rich girls. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t like to buy into stereotypes. I am sure there are nice girls who attend this school, but it just so happens the spoiled brats are generally the ones who talk the loudest.
“No she totally did. Frankie sent me a photo she got from her cousin. It’s Jenny kissing Nat’s boyfriend on the Champs”
I won’t lie, that one impressed me. It looks like I’m not the only one sneaking out of the school. I mean, I expected nothing less from an all girls school that boasts about their top of the line security.
I sigh as I finally reach my class room. This assignment is going to be hard for me. I spend my time with Gus and Theo, not girls. I’ve never had a friend who was a girl. It’s not that I particularly disliked my fellow females, I’ve just never had the opportunity.
To make matters worse I made this harder on myself than it needed to be. I insisted on scoping out the target by attending school with her. I needed to be sure this wasn’t another mistake. It’s been years since the incident but I don’t know if I’ll ever be fully over it. I just need to be sure. Boss decided that if I was going to be in the school anyway then my job was to get close enough to the girl so she would bring me home. At that point the target would be her father.
I walk into a room full of desks and scan the crowd. It was the first day back from summer break. The girls in the classroom were excited to be reunited with their friends. I am the new girl and I’m hoping to use that to my advantage. Finally my eyes rest on the very person I was looking for. I’d been studying different photos of her for the past month by scrolling through her social media pages. It’s alarming how much you can learn about a person on the internet. But possibly more alarming is just how easy it can be to fake who you are online.
I make my way over to an empty desk that sits next to a pretty blond. She's exactly what you would expect an heiress to look like. Her skin is flawless and her hair falls in perfect ringlets as it cascades down her back, there wasn’t a single hair out of place. She has her nose deep in a book as I approach her.
“Excuse me?” I decided to go for a more timid approach. It allows her to feel more in control of the conversation. She looks up from her book expectantly.
“Is.. is this seat taken?” I glance shyly at the floor while gesturing to the seat next to hers. A warmth spreads over her face as she puts her book down and says,
“Nope! Feel free to take it.”
I settle into the seat and I can see her waiting out of the corner of my eye. I don’t look up right away, but when I do she smiles.
“Are you new?” I nod. “ I was new last year,” shesays with a knowing smile, “It can be scary but once you get the lay of the land it’s not too bad” She was offering support and advice. She pitied me, which is exactly what I wanted.
The bell rang and class was finally over. I honestly thought if I had to listen to the fat man in the front of the room wheeze out another Shakespearean sonnet I might have to stand up and strangle him. Judging by his labored breathing it wouldn’t have been all that difficult. Thankfully the bell saved me the trouble.
I gather up the papers on my desk and look over to the girl next to me. She smiles as she zips up her backpack.
“I never asked you your name” she said, “My name is Blair.”
“That’s a pretty name!” I smile, yeah it’s a pretty boring name. I usually get to come up with my own names. I like to get creative seeing as I don’t typically use them for more than a week or two. Why be ordinary when you can be extraordinary! But here my name is on records. I needed a name that would most likely have a million counterparts on the school roster, a name that could be easily forgotten or confused with another.
“Well Emma, it was nice to meet you. If you ever need anything I’m in room 22B” Blair waves at me as she walks out of the classroom.
I stand up and sigh. My first day is over. I survived. Now I just need to fill the boys in.