I should be ashamed of myself for not writing anything. The note with half of the new chapter is crying for my attention for almost a month!
Truth be told, I have started working, well, as a volunteer and it’s taken almost all my free time. College can be stressful, with lotsa people you used to talk to but they forgot who you are because you were kind of absent. If you want to lose some weight, go to Uni. Happened to me, but I still think I weigh a ton.
I was supposed to submit the complete story this month to NaNoWriMo, but it turns out November has other plans for me. Isn’t it sad that this story has no name? It is…
I do have some ideas, for the story, but I need time and calm. I’m always leaving home so I don’t get to spend time in my “mind palace” and wander around its rooms for inspiration.
According to this WEBSITE, Emily has more “fab” nicknames than Victor.
Oh, God. I need to write something. One of the factors that’s causing my “writer’s block” is real life. I am so sorry, I’m new to all of these things (writing, school, some chores)
Since you guys have some questions and the askbox is not available at the moment, read the paragraphs below.
Q: Who is writing this story?
A: A person with 2 legs, 2 arms, basically a normal body and a clear vision… On/about the future (sort of).
Q: I don’t like it (the story).
A: I’m not responsible for anyone’s reactions, so…
Q: Can’t you just turn it in a cheesy love story?
A: No. But! To be honest, it was originally written as one… Or rather the first sentences were going to introduce you to the lovey-dovey atmosphere of the first ideas.
Q: Why is it updating so slow?
A: This story is a project, and, like every single project of mine, it has to be nice, original and detailed. The original chapter is posted for a couple of minutes then saved as a draft and proof-read after a few days.
I have a weird wannabe writing schedule, for example: I start writing the end of the chapters at night because I watched TV before bed, or I write a scene because I was bored in class.
Q: How do you get things done for the chapters? Also, why spies and England?
A: Ever since I was young, my father has been a James Bond and spies movies and books fan. I always wanted to go to England, I started learning English in kindergarten (sorry for any mistakes while writing). I was reading a glossy magazine in August and there was a small article about a Bond anniversary. Also, a friend thought a spy story would be better.
Q: So English is not your first language. What other languages do you speak? Oh, and do you consider yourself a writer?
A: woah there. You’ll see as you read the future chapters. No, I hardly think I can write an essay for school, so, I can’t say I am a writer. This story is the result of boredom and the need of showing my friends that there is no need to keep those “what ifs” ad “if only” thoughts in their heads.
Q: The askbox isn’t working :<
A: Messages on tumblr are kinda forgotten for a few days in the inbox. I am really sorry! I just started being busy sorting emails and school files, my mind is filled with lists and stuff. But, don’t fret! The story will get updated.
In a cafe near his high school, Victor was sipping coffee from a delicate white cup while James was cutting the slice of pound cake he ordered, with a fork. They both had sheets of paper in front of them, but the only one who was reading them was James. The 12th grader was busy pouting and contemplating.
“Buy her flowers, then show up at her uncle’s house and beg for forgiveness.” The young student suggested.
“Are you mental? Every girl likes a strong and independent man, I was humiliated in front of her by those two…”
“Honestly, Norrington, you deserved it. How do you expect a kind girl like Emily to trust you when you hurt her friends and you think that you’re not responsible for your ‘crimes’.”
“So what kind of flowers should I buy?” Victor smiled.
Young James sighed and shook his head. He told the upperclassman that roses are overrated and that he should purchase hydrangeas. “According to Google, these flowers symbolise the ‘I’m sorry, please forgive me, thanks for understanding’ words that are needed in your situation. I believe Emily fancies blue, she once chatted with her friends about some dresses in a magazine, most of them being blue.”
“You’re scaring me, Welch.”
“I am not a stalker. I wanted to ask her for her phone number but I had no guts to interrupt their discussion.” He blushed.
“Before having the courage to ask her out, gather information about those students.” Norrington handed his papers to the freshman. “Did anyone from your family tell you about the ‘trustworthy’ ones?”
“Not at all. I guess you two will have to figure it out on your own.” He said, eating the last bit of pound cake.
Chestnut Gardens was known for being a quiet Hammondshire neighborhood. This was one of the reasons why old people owned houses there, and also why ‘out of the ordinary’ was ‘out of discussion’. It didn’t matter how much Victor Norrington wanted to apologize to his partner with a random cheesy Beatles song playing in the background while he was jumping through one of Emily’s temporary residence’s window. It wasn’t happening. This is why he was trembling in front of her house, holding a beautiful blue hydrangeas bouquet. He waited a couple of seconds after ringing the doorbell, only to be greeted by uncle Theodore.
“Hello, I was wondering if Emily Reiniger was home. I’m, uh, Victor Nor-“
“Nice to finally meet you!” he smiled kindly and shook hands with the younger male. “Theodore Freeman, MI6. Now, keep that bouquet in front of your face. Alright then. Emily!” He shouted.
Still confused, Victor could hear a faded “Yes?”, which was answered by the man standing in front of him: “There is this gentleman searching for you… He has a gift for you.”
The voice of the girl along with stomping could be heard louder and louder: “If it’s that incompetent bloke, I’ll give his face a gift…”
She stopped and looked at Victor, who was hiding his face behind the bouquet, avoiding a potential ‘gift’ from Emily. The girl, who was dressed in her pyjamas, snatched the flowers from Norrington’s hands, and told him to follow her. Victor entered the house, walking along a corridor with beautiful paintings on the walls. Emily opened a door, waiting for the other student to get in the room.
“Lovely…” He said, inspecting the place. A mahogany wardrobe was against one of the ivory walls. There was a desk with an iPad and a small LCD TV on it. Emily’s uniform was placed on the chair in front of the desk. “Your uncle has great taste, I like the paintings-“
“Say it.” She said, sitting on her bed, brushing her hand against the flowers.
“Uhm. Yes. I am sorry… For not being honest with you. For being like this. I hurt them, I hurt you, the only person my age I can trust completely… I cannot, you know, I couldn’t accept the fact that…”
“You’re in love with this Olivia, I know, I figured it out a while ago…” The girl got up and put the bouquet on the desk. “First love sucks, huh? I heard once from my friends that you hardly had any buddies in high school. I can relate….”
“What can I do to, you know, fix this?”
“You can start by apologising to Alice and Greg. Plus reflecting on your past. If you really love that girl, prove it. Just, keep these feelings away… Away from our job. I need to make allies, friends, I need to keep everyone safe. I don’t want to make everyone upset…”
Mr. Freeman went inside the room, carrying a tray with a kettle and two cups on it. “Earl grey?”
“Oh, yes! Yes, please!” Victor said.
“I’ll take it from here.” Emily smiled and watched her uncle leave. “So, what would it be?”
“I… Uhm… I will apologize the first thing in the morning, also try to talk to Olivia…”
“Yes, I figured that out, but I wanted to ask you if you wanted biscuits, marmalade, milk, honey besides the cup of tea.”
Victor blushed. “Milk is okay.”
Audrey, Amy and Rachel were exchanging files and papers in an empty classroom.
“Thanks for helping out, guys. Diane left early… again!”
“No worries! It’s my way of apologizing, you know, for not being there yesterday.” Amy smiled.
“By the way, why didn’t you join us?”
“The choir teacher called me, we have a contest next month in Birmingham. Weird, though, we usually get such invites earlier, like, 2 months before the contest.”
Rachel opened her laptop and typed some words from the papers in a Word document.
“Don’t you think…”
“What is it, Rachel?”
“Don’t you think there’s something weird going on? Emily said she passed her exams, Victor is always around her…”
“I get it now! You’re jealous!”
“Well… I am really curious why he’s hanging with Emily…”
Amy put her hands on Rachel’s shoulders. “You know she is friendly with… Almost everyone. Let him be, maybe she’ll help him with his crush on Olivia.”
“And start dreaming about her? No, no!” Miss Johnson protested. “Not with Townsend in the game!”
“What are you on about, lovely?”
“He wondered if Emmy is going back to Liverpool after NUC.”
“I hope he asks her out, I’m tired of seeing her upset because of John.” Gallagher sighed. “She’ll be around for quite a while. Emily told me that she is not interested in going to the graduation ceremony and party at her school.”
“Thank God our classmates are nice! I believe Roger will ask you out, I caught him staring at you for the past three months!” Amy whispered.
“Woah, that’s cute!! You ought to go to the party with Evans!”
“We’ll see about that. Let’s finish the paperwork, shall we?” Rachel said, trying to hide her blushing face from her friends.
Back in Chestnut Gardens, the two new MI5 employees were waiting for a message from James and the headquarters. Victor was eating a chocolate biscuit slowly, looking at the cup of milk tea on the desk, and Emily was playing Fruit Ninja without a care. The Francisc Rotenbery student wanted to break the “no-talking-please-reflect-upon-your-actions” moment.
“When I go to Olivia’s house, she always gives me a glass of water. But that’s all.”
His words made Emily pause the game on the Apple gadget so that she could give him “the evil eye”. Victor shivered, looking away. The girl was still upset, thinking that spartan education was needed at the moment. The boy heard a light bell sound, which meant that the Liverpudlian got an email. It wasn’t from James, but from someone they both knew.
“I want to thank you for being such a good friend. I heard you’ll be around for another week. I’m inviting you, Greg and the girls to Cloverfields. My dad is currently working there, but he wants to meet you guys. -Alice”
Emily stopped reading and checked on Victor. The boy was gazing at the cup of tea. Smirking, she wrote to Alice: “I’d be delighted to meet your father, and spend more time with you and the rest of the gang! Let me know when and where we’re meeting.”
Norrington was quietly observing the wardrobe, pondering. His phone started ringing, it was James. He answered, putting it on speaker mode.
“Is Emily next to you?”
“Unfortunately.” She replied. “Any news?”
“I knew you guys would make up. So, my dad found some files about Cole and Waterhouse. Their families own a crewing agency, and they have been caught forcing people to work for free. Robertson’s family, lawyers, manipulated the judges, so that Waterhouse and Cole would get out of this mess without going to jail.”
“So the Robertsons are more dangerous than the other two.”
“Everybody is dangerous, but these ones need to be kept busy or followed when we send the rest to court. That’s about it, I mean, what we found.”
“All in all, don’t give them the evil look tomorrow.” Emily smiled.
“What are you going to do tomorrow?” James asked.
“I don’t know… I’ll probably sit around the house, watch the telly… Wait for Victor to return from school with news…”
“That’s one busy schedule you have there, Emily.”
“Whatever, I’ll figure something out, just… go home, and you, James, finish your literature essay. I heard that your teacher is quite mean.”
“How did you-“
“Bye, kiddo.” The girl laughed and hung up. She handed Victor his phone, winking. “Sarah fancies him.”
“Did she tell you? Spill it!”
“Oh, no, no, Mr. Norrington! I have a really really full Monday, I must get my beauty sleep!”
“If you promise me you’ll say “I am sorry” to my friends, I promise I will tell you about Sarah and James. Pinkie… No, wait, handshake, because pinkie promises are rarely kept.”
“Deal.” The two students shook hands, smiling. After that, Victor headed home, thinking about the things he had to say to Gregory, Alice, and, also, Olivia.
“Please understand! I didn’t mean to hurt him, I swear! I mean, he was annoying, but I wanted to show-“
The phone call ended. The girl was shaking, tears brushing down her red cheeks. She was really upset, that she kept looking at her cell-phone’s screen. The screen showed her that she received a new message.
“Hush, Georgie. I don’t remember asking you to ‘run errands’, I don’t remember asking for a personal assistant. Your family is safe this time, but stay away from that guy and his allies. That’s not your job.”
The girl started breathing normally, when, suddenly, she got another text. “While we’re at it, tell. Details.”
Apologizing is hard, especially if you’re Victor Philip Norrington. Waiting with a half asleep Emily behind him, both dressed in their school uniforms was not the way he imagined the week would start.
“Why am I here again, Cookie-kins?” She mumbled.
“So you can witness yet another biblical scene featuring yours truly. Also, dad wrote me a note saying that you and me have an important project for our, well, imaginary Foxhole internship, and if you’re dressed in your uniform, the principal will buy it.”
“How- what? When did you make that up?”
Shrugging his shoulders, he replied: “Last night. I can’t just leave you alone. Not when there are terrorists out there to get us! Oh, oh, I ‘spyyyyyy’ with my little eeyyeeee an Alice and a Greg!” Victor giggled in excitement.
“Oh, gosh, stop embarrassing me.” Emily tried hiding her face from everyone passing by them.
“Emmy! And… Norrington…”
“Morning, Alice, Greg. I’m, uh, visiting.”
“I actually have something important to say to you two and I would like you to hear me out.” Victor explained.
“Really? Or is it another dumb thing that will waste our time?” Alice glared at the boy’s face.
“No. I want you to know how truly sorry I am… For being so mean. I’m not the type who admits that he screwed things up big time, but… I’m learning, you guys are nice to Emily who is my old friend and I need to… Trust you, not cause misfortunes. I’ve never meant to steal what was important to you guys… I felt so jealous and alone, it makes me feel uncomfortable, despite the fact that it’s been a while…”
Victor stared at his shoes, feeling his cheeks and ears turning red. Townsend and Holmes were confused, trying to find their words. “Norrington… Being sorry and saying sorry. Woah woah, freaky Monday.” Alice whispered to Greg.
“I swear. I swear I won’t do any harm.”
Gregory took his right hand out of his jacket’s pocket, waiting for Victor to shake hands. Norrington took and deep breath and seal the deal, Alice putting her hands on theirs’. Emily drew a cross in the air above the ‘bond’.
“Come on, miss Holmes, we’ll be late. See you, Emily, Norrington!” Townsend said, waving and heading towards the building.
“One down, one to go.” Victor whispered, allowing Emily to enter the school’s main garden first.
She wasn’t sure if his plan would work. Judging by the headmaster’s face, he wasn’t the type of man to be convinced. Emily couldn’t hear a thing, so she had no idea what was happening behind the oak doors. Bored, she stared at the wall in front of her. The cold marble made her shiver, it was so quiet. Someone opened the door, that made her heart skip a beat. Emily could merely see a shadow of, possibly, the person who got out of a classroom.
The Liverpudlian sighed, hoping that Victor would get out safely. She hardly skipped school, so she was kind of glad she was helping a friend with such a thing. The office’s door opened, the headmaster’s laughter breaking the awkward silence.
“Oh, Mr. Norrington, your sense of humour never ceases to amaze me! I won’t forget to write about it in the letter of recommendation! Also, make sure Vauxhall is doing fine, this darn economy is tricky. Nice meeting you, miss Reiniger!”
The principal closed the door, leaving a puzzled Emily and a smiling Victor alone on the hallways.
“… Today I’m weirded out.” She whispered.
“Oh, I just added the times he and dad would go to the Hammondshire matches in high school. He’s two years older than my father, but they had common friends. And the usual random witty remarks.”
Young miss Reiniger was still amazed. She didn’t expect him to be this lucky today. There had been a bit of manipulation, but honesty made him shine earlier.
“I didn’t expect your horoscope to be this accurate. Usually, it makes breakfast more silly.”
“Really? What did it say?”
There it was, curious Victor. That’s one of the things that made him interesting, curiosity. Emily smiled and tried to act as of she was the fortune teller. “Today your words will move mountains. You are capable of amazing everyone around you because you’re fabulous.”
Victor started laughing. “Go on, go on, I like where this is going!”
“Actually, you are really lucky, for the stars shine and the moon is bright. How can you be this splendid today, person born in the days of Ach-“
The two looked around. A tall and preppy girl was staring at them. Her hair was long and silky, not to mention perfect. The uniform was clean and her makeup was flawless. All in all, it was as if dark haired Barbie was crashing a Monty Python marathon, more or less.
It was her, Emily felt her heart drop down her stomach, while Norrington wondered why this meeting had to happen right now. He stood in front of the student from Liverpool, protecting her from the imaginary knives the model would throw Emily.
“Good morning! Don’t be surprised. Internship, Olivia, I merely have time to breathe.”
“Who? Oh, someone who’s not a student here!” He chuckled.
“I can see that, but what are you doing? You told me not to go to the pub, I heard principal Fleming laugh, there’s this student behind you, you’re skipping class!”
“And she suddenly gives a damn.” Emily whispered.
The tall girl started walking towards them. “What was that? Excuse me, miss, could you-“
“No, no! Not right now! Vauxhall awaits! I really have to go, Liv! Oh, so late, so late!”
Victor grabbed Emily’s arm, and the both rushed out of the school, leaving Olivia Lawrence alone on the hallways. The two kept running until they got to their car, huffing and trying to calm down.
“I did not plan this. I’m so sorry about this.”
“My horoscope did warn me though about a weird encounter, I thought it was the one with Alice and Greg…let’s just… You know, let’s go.” She smirked.
I reaaaallly don’t know what to say.
How is it that school got a bit cooler after I started writing? But, really, I have no ideas whatsoever. Well, I do, but I am going to save them for later. But just so you know, I’m secretly “bullying” dear Victor. In fiction. As in I am writing mean stuff.
Kidding, but really, he has to work hard to get into Cambridge and Emily is getting really bored. What to do what to do.
I have been procrastinating these days, oh, God, you have no idea! I even forgot to watch the last 3 episodes of Doctor Who!
I do promise that I shall proofread everything that I’ve wrote in September (5 and 6), and publish the posts. School’s starting tomorrow so I suppose I’ll be quite busy. But, do not fear, I’m not giving this story up. There are plenty of things to be written! Plus, the writing style might change. I forgot that I had a special book that will (hopefully) help me.
What an amazing day for a picnic. The grass was green, the sky was lacking clouds, the wind was blowing slowly that it ruffled her long hair. She gently brushed her hand through her locks, smiling sweetly. Today, she was wearing her jeans shorts and light blue shirt.
“I swear to God, I shall kiss your lips, you’re tempting me! Stop it!” he complained with a smirk on his face.
The girl giggled and lightly punched his cheek. He backed away slowly and tried to stop her but the girl kept punching him as if it was a game they had to play. The boy woke up, a cat gently pressing its paws on his face.
“Piss off, Rucola!” Victor complained, pushing the white Persian cat off of him.
With his shaky hands, he reached for his cell phone and checked what time it was. 7:15 am, he could have slept for ten more minutes. He could have spent more time eating outdoors with Olivia. The boy rolled back in his bed, staring at the ceiling. It was 3 years ago, when he met her. He was near a pond, in Bristol, with his classmates and other students, when he noticed Olivia, about to fall in the muddy water. Obviously, he saved her from drowning and having a ruined outfit. But the girl didn’t seem to care about her lifesaver for the next 2 and a half years.
Victor gently slapped himself and got out of bed. He dragged his half asleep body downstairs, got in the kitchen and made himself a cup of instant coffee. Mr. Norrington senior was reading The Telegraph in the living room.
“Good morning, oh, suddenly-hard-working-son. Treating Emily Reiniger well?”
“For crying out loud, father, why would you want to know about my friend in the morning?”
“Oh, I have no idea. Wait, I believe it’s because I have nothing else to ask about.”
The only son of the Norringtons rubbed his eyes. He left his glasses upstairs and was too lazy to fetch them. He put a green apple and cold pancakes on a plate and carried it to the living room, along with the cup of hot coffee.
“Have you had-“
“Yes, put I popped them in the microwave, I don’t like cold pancakes.”
“Okay then.” The young adult sighed, biting the green apple and staring at their reflections in the flat screen LG TV.
“How’s the research going?”
“Emily has been told that there were some kids plotting, we don’t know if they were doing their job for NUC or actually talking about their parents’ dirty jobs. We’ll ask the coordinators who has been missing, and write down the kids’ names.”
“That’s great. I though you’d be doing something else, like watching the clouds pass by.”
“Dad, seriously now!” Victor protested.
“Admit it, you have romantic dreams, that’s why you’re late for school. It’s a good thing I let Rucola in your room, it seems like she did her job well.” the man winked.
“So it was you!”
“Keep it down, you oaf. Your mother is still sleeping.”
It was one of those classic Sunday mornings in the Norrington household. A zombie-like Victor, arguing with his father, while his mother was asleep and the two cats, Prosciutto and Rucola were napping in their hand woven willow baskets.
A thought crossed Emily’s mind while waiting in the second garden of the school. What if her friends were in the mafia, what if they kept their secret better than she kept her’s. It was quite cloudy and windy outside, and the other students who arrived early were smoking and chatting in front of the school. The delegate of Germany had enough time to spare to walk around the school. She wanted to see what was behind the school’s fence, so the girl got up on the nearest concrete table. All she could see was a white marble gazebo covered in ivy, a maze and a garden of roses.
“Emily?” a male voice asked.
She almost fell off the table but the male student grabbed her arm and helped her get down.
“I’m… so sorry I startled you! I wanted to greet you…”
“It’s okay, I shouldn’t have gotten up the table. I was wondering, what’s with that marble gazebo behind the school’s fence?”
“Oh, you’re talking about Cloverfield! It’s such beautiful garden. It has been property of the Holmes family for more than 70 years.”
“Holmes. Alice Holmes owns it?”
“Yes. Though the Holmes family doesn’t welcome visitors that aren’t good friends with one of the members. There was a fight three years ago, Susan Davies, tried to steal Alice’s keys during physical education class.”
“Dear lord, your school isn’t Heaven as I imagined it. You seem to know lots if stuff, Greg.”
Sighing, she then bit her lip. There were lots of things she wanted to know, but there was a certain piece of information her heart required. Emily grabbed her bag and saw Townsend arching his hand as if he was inviting her to walk with him. She accepted, their arms forming an infinite sign.
“I think I know what’s on your mind. Ask away.” he whispered.
“How should I put this… There have been a lot of moments during my stay in Hammondshire when I have felt as if there was this invisible ‘idol’ on everyone’s mind, especially on-“
“Norrington’s. You’re in luck, I don’t really stand Olivia Lawrence. Things aren’t peaches and gravy, I was a guy who wanted to fool around with someone who looked like a beautiful, shiny red apple. Boy, was I wrong, the apple was rotten.”
Puzzled by the Prime Secretary’s word, young Reiniger asked him: “So you two dated and you eventually got rejected. Hey, pretty girls fool around a lot, they don’t know that they actually hurt lotsa people. My classmates dumped a lot of great guys.”
“Should I start doubting you?” Gregory laughed softly.
“That’s… you know what, the assembly starts in a bit, I should-“
“Yeah, let’s go to the auditorium.” he said, letting go of her arm.
Emily was glad that she told Victor that she didn’t want to go to school with him that morning. Spending time with a guy who wasn’t obnoxious and disliked by the entire school population was like a breath of fresh air. Cloverfields would make a great hiding place for those who want to take the Mafia down, but it was Alice’s garden. Considering the unfortunate event three years ago, she was probably not keen on sharing the beauty of the garden with anyone.
Speaking of Alice, there she was, waving from the nearest entry, wiggling a piece of paper.
“There you are! Here, I highlighted their names with green. What are you up to? Punishment?”
“Hey, that’s a good idea! Let’s spice up the closing hour with punishments! Are those the names of the kids that were absent from your debates, Alice?”
“Mhm.” she nodded.
“I mean, if you skip, you must do something to entertain the hardworking bunch!” Emily pointed out.
“You two should be my assistants, really! Unfortunately, have to work alone, but share those ideas with me. I like that one with the punishments, let me ask the rest of the committee coordinators for their lists.”
Gregory took Alice’s piece of paper, and ran, leaving the two girls standing in front of the entrance, confused. If he was helping Emily, and wasn’t part of the Mafia, he would have been a better MI5 agent than Victor.
It was Audrey Johnson’s time to “shine”, but she was rather annoyed. She spent the night working on Diane’s paperwork, the girl sitting next to her in front of the delegates. The girl tried not to let her anger get to her, so she sent a piece of paper with a square divided in 9, and an X in the middle to Emily. In other words, the two friends started playing X and 0, making a 5th grade messenger dizzy. Emily wasn’t paying attention to the discussion in the auditorium, but found the burgundy curtains really pretty. Her phone vibrated in her bag, next to her leg, almost causing her a heart attack.
“How come Gregory Townsend got the lists before me?! What is he doing?!” Victor wrote.
Sighing, the girl texted back: “Don’t worry, he’s going to help us, without knowing what we’re really after.”, looking around the auditorium for Victor. He was sitting a few rows behind Emily, and he mouthed: “He’s not James Welch!”. Surprised, she replied: “I know, but trust me!”. Victor was jealous, he couldn’t do anything to track the Mafia. “What about me” he whispered, patting his right hand on his chest. The only reply he got was Emily’s shrug.
Audrey took the microphone and said: “Head of Emergency Committee, if you have something to say to a delegate, write them the message and send it via a messenger.”
“But I wasn’t-“
“Use the piece of paper, Mr. Norrington and leave the delegate alone.” she replied.
Clearly Victor wasn’t accepted by his partner’s group of friends. His classmate, Diane, was doodling something on a piece of paper, and couldn’t care less about the assembly being disturbed. He huffed and kept quiet.
Victor and Emily had no time for lunch. They had to resume their interrupted conversation.
“Since when are Gregory Townsend and Alice Holmes part of our project? Wasn’t James supposed to gather information?!”
“James doesn’t know about our idea! Plus, he has plenty of time to check each student’s background after NUC!”
“I don’t CARE if there’s still time, his job is to help us. We didn’t hire Townsend and Holmes!” Norrington shouted.
“Why are you so against my friends?”
“You have to understand that this is serious! Our country’s future is at stake! Thousands, even millions of pounds are spent by the Mafia as we speak!”
“When did your mind get flooded with the things you’re supposed to do?”Emily cried. “There are clearly lots of things I don’t know, and most of them will probably remain unknown. But, please, don’t screw it up. Don’t make me feel like I don’t belong here, even if I think 5% of Hammonshire is ‘home’. Don’t take that away from me.”
Rachel’s voice could be heard from the auditorium’s entrance. “Emily! Norrington! Are you there? Why are you shouting?”
“Call Greg and Alice. Please. Tell them I need to talk to them!” The delegate of Germany shouted back.
“What are you doing? We don’t have time to chat with them! We must reach Welch and get those lists!” Victor explained.
“I’m going to solve a personal mystery right here, right now. As far as I know, we still have to deal with our personal lives, so that we could go to bed knowing that nothing is holding us back from serving our country!”
The two agents looked at each other without saying anything. They were both blushing, since their fight was a big one. In a minute, they heard footsteps. Alice Holmes and the Prime Secretary went to the 1st floor.
“What’s wrong, Em?”
“Though it might not be my business, I cannot sleep well in this town until I know at least one of the reasons why Victor and you guys don’t get along.”
“Emily, don’t be silly-“
“Many people tried to be friends with me so that they could get to spend time in Cloverfields, a beautiful garden owned by my family. To impress Olivia Lawrence, Victor Philip Norrington knew the secret of getting closer to a girl - befriending her buddies. He told one of her best friends, Susan Davies, that the current owner of the garden is her classmate. She was so desperate to get in there with her bunch of witches, that she attempted to steal the key during physical education class. He tried to make me give the key to Olivia plenty of times.”
Alice was so angry that she clenched her hands into fists. It was obvious that Cloverfields was really important to her, despite unknown reasons. Miss Reiniger tried to find the perfect words to cheer her girl-friend up, but her mind was a mess.
“Well… I really… Alice, it’s been three years and I know it’s-“
“And last year, Olivia Lawrence was MY girlfriend. We were supposed to attend the same New Years’ party, but Norrington told her that he saw me hang with another girl during lunch break, near school. That girl was Louise, my brother’s fiancee, who asked me if I could give her my key. He accidentally got locked inside the house, mum forgetting that our doors are automatic and that he left his set of keys at his own apartment.”
“Come on, Greg, I mean, your brother-“
“If it wasn’t for me, he would have missed an important meeting and he wouldn’t have gotten a wonderful job in Stockholm. Me and Olivia… We broke up for no valid reason. Just because Norrington pulled some strings and turned a stupid lie into a monster, she didn’t believe me despite the fact that I had proof that I didn’t cheat.”
Emily knew she shouldn’t have asked her buddies to say such things, but she was too shocked by her partner’s jealousy. At first, their problems seemed silly, but considering the fact that, basically, their families were involved, things got serious. Victor was breathing heavily, at that moment he knew that his friendship with the Liverpudlian was shattered.
“Did you lie to Gregory, Victor? Did you try to get the key from Alice?”
The head of the Emergency committee bit his tongue. He wanted to deny everything, but he was aware of the fact that sooner or later Emily would find out why he isn’t actually welcomed in Francisc Rotenbery.
“Yes.” he mumbled, looking at his shoes.
The girl sighed. It was too much for her, and there were a lot of things that had to be taken care of. Trying not to let the tears flood her eyes, she hissed:
“Tell James that he needs to write down the names, after all, he basically volunteered. Don’t follow me, Victor, I think we’re… done for today.”
She sighed and went downstairs, being followed by her two angry friends. Victor wanted to punch something to let his frustration out. He thought it was pointless to explain that his depression turned him into a possessive and jealous person. He shook his head and searched for James Welch.
“So you’re saying that I need to write down the names I hear?”
“Not all of them, just the ones you hear when they mention ‘punishments’. I suppose those people are part of the Mafia.”
“But you’re not sure of that.”
The two sat in the back of the auditorium, next to a group of chatty girls. Norrington looked away, still angry.
“Listen, Welch, don’t force your luck. Thank God that I accepted your offer. Write those names, and start searching for any odd deals their families made.” Victor hissed.
“Fine, fine. Don’t get so angry. Say, where’s Emily?”
“I don’t know.”
“But she should sit next to us, look, I’m going to keep this seat-”
“Ah, Norrington. We’re taking Emmy away from you because you’re nasty. ” Audrey said, passing by them. “James, you’re free to join us, but do keep in mind that he’ll tell you a lie or two once in a while. You’re welcome” She smirked and left.
The ninth grader was amazed by what he just heard. Victor placed his palm a few centimeters away from James’ face, telling him to stop talking. Gregory Townsend got up on the stage, carrying a laptop.
“Thank you everyone for participating in this year’s NUC conference. I am absolutely convinced that if Francisc Rotenbery was the UN, the world would have been a better place right now. A better place as in: ceased wars, zero corruption, and etcetera. I would like to congratulate not only the delegates, but also the heads of committees and the staff for making this event possible. Now, before we start having tears in our eyes, I would like the following students to come up here.”
Gregory opened his laptop and started calling names. James was ready to write them down in his notebook.
“Richard Cole, Hannah Waterhouse, Deborah Choi, Jennifer Ryan-Watson, Jeremy Brown, Zane Douglas, Molly Robertson, Michael Lee.”
The students got up and walked towards the stage, worried. As soon as they were near Gregory, he continued: “There were some complaints from your coordinators, you guys skipped a few sessions. Now, I know that you might have tried to form alliances and solve the issues, but it is unfair to those who staying in their classrooms. So, as ‘punishment’, you have to dance on PSY’s ‘Gangnam style’.”
The students looked relieved. They started laughing with the rest of the NUC members and danced on PSY’s song, trying to imitate the singer’s moves in his video. James Welch finished writing the names, while Victor was searching for Emily in the auditorium. She was laughing with her friends, and trying not to look upset. He sighed, thinking of a way to explain everything later before it was too late.
The day passed without any major events. For a few seconds, most of the students felt sorry for Georgia Clarkson, but, as Victor and Emily hoped, everyone was eager about the social event.
“One more event to go, one more night to try and mingle with the crowd.” said Emily, playing with her hair.
“You’d better hang with Victor, you never know when a mafia kid might kick him in the buttocks. Isn’t that right, Mr. Ferdinand?”
Emily’s uncle has been a divorcee for five years, his former wife was a Norwegian agent, and, occasionally, a model. They met in the MI6 headquarters, actually in the elevator. He was carrying a brand new laser gun, which caught the model’s attention, they started talking and, eventually, they got married. Two years later, she was caught cheating with her Norwegian boss. To mend his broken heart, uncle Theodore bought a Persian cat and named it “Ferdinand”. He hates the song “Norwegian wood” by The Beatles.
“Are you going on a date?” he asked, petting the cat.
“Hah! No, I’m working!”
“You know, someone once said that to feel good you must look good, so I suppose that liking your job means dressing up! ” he chuckled.
“I hope it will work, because I feel as if I won’t contribute with anything.” She grabbed the remote control, changing channels and sighing. She secretly hoped that someone would get in a fight with Norrington, so that she could arrest that person and track down the mafia.
Sitting on a bench near the bus stop, Victor was reading a big advertisement on a building.
” ‘With Vodafone, you’re taking your mates around, wherever you’re going… Try the new 300 minutes pack…’ Rubbish! I knew I should have used Orange longer, their offers are better!” he mumbled.
“When I talk to myself, I usually have those conversations inside my head, not out loud.”
“Gah!” Victor jumped off the bench. “Emily! Bloody hell, don’t you ever scare me like that!”
“Fine, fine, where’s our car?” she said, crossing her arms.
“Dad said it’ll be here by 7:20, but it’s… 7:19.”
Emily looked down the street to check if there was a vehicle coming. In less than a minute, two similar black Vauxhall Meriva cars stopped in front of the bus station. Mr. Norrington got out of the second car, handing his keys to the man who drove Victor and Emily’s car.
“Good evening, kids! Try not to drink tonight. You’re working, and you mustn’t crash THIS beauty.” he said, pointing at the car in front of his. The man handed Victor the keys to the new vehicle, returning to the second car, then driving away. The two exchanged looks, wondering who will drive the brand new car.
“Your father said…”
“Bollocks! Trust me, Emily. I promise nothing bad will happen!”
The students got inside the car, fastened their seat belts, and in a few seconds, Victor started the car. Emily drew a cross in the air, discreetly, before they left the bus stop.
“Hope you don’t mind, but I’m going to chat with the ladies tonight.”
“This means I’ll get to know your schoolmates. I must say, I wish I had classmates like my friends. Everyone in my school is cold and cunning. The girls are like wolves, if someone from another group is doing something stupid, they keep an eye on them and make sure they’re publicly humiliated at the right time.”
“Did they ever bully you?”
“No, not really. I mean, they ignored me, they never cared about me being part of that class. I don’t feel sorry for them, they have no prom.”
They reached a roundabout, Victor turning left and driving straight ahead. “That’s horrible! I mean, that’s a party, and finishing high school is a reason to celebrate!” he said.
“I don’t care… It’s not like I cared about a bunch a people who probably wanted to shove me in the dumpster.”
Victor could understand the sadness Emily had in her heart. He sometimes felt as if he didn’t belong, like his classmates thought he was a fool. He gripped the steering wheel, sighing. Soon, they reached ‘Cheers Pub’.
“Could you park the car a few meters away from the pub?”
“James’ jokes about us being together are starting to annoy me.” Emily mumbled.
Victor rolled his eyes and raised his eyebrows. “Fine, fine.”
They got out of the Vauxhall, making sure that nobody saw them. They spotted James and Sarah chatting at the entrance.
“Hey, guys! Is everyone else inside?” Emily smiled.
“My sister is waiting for you, with Alice and Corinne. Amy is going to show up later, choir practice.” Sarah explained.
Entering the pub, Emily could hardly see anything. There were lots of students smoking, and the music was blasting out of the speakers. She finally found a part of her group of friends sitting at a big wooden table, near the stage. Next to them, Corinne Burton-Smith, Rachel’s desk-mate, was checking her phone.
“I missed you!” Rachel said, hugging her best friend.
“Me too!” said the girl from Liverpool, high fiving Alice and Corinne.
“Emmy, Alice told me you’ve been hanging with Victor Norrington, is that true? I mean, as far as I know you don’t quite trust guys.”
“Yeah. Well. Uh… we met when we were 6, but we didn’t keep in touch. Mum was teaching some engineering type of class and his mum was one of her students. They got along and, well, I got to know Victor when I visited London with my family. His mum took him to this conference our parents were attending.”
The three girls kept looking at Emily for a few seconds, without saying a word.
“That’s so sweet! I had no idea! I’m sorry I jumped to conclusions, Em!” Alice apologized.
“So so sorry I am late, ladies! Stupid Dianne did not show up and now I have to take care of these!” Audrey showed up, carrying some files.
“I was hoping that Dianne would snap out of it and help you.” Corinne commented.
“She’s going out with that bloke, who’s totally smart and is sometimes absent, a classmate of yours.” Audrey explained.
“Mhm. Him. I swear to God, I’m going berserk! Mrs. Donovan told me that she doesn’t care if Dianne is absent, someone has to read and sign these things.”
Rachel chuckled. “Weird guy, Miller. At least we know that Harry and Cheryl are working on a presentation for tomorrow, that’s why they’re not attending social events. Dianne has no excuse whatsoever.”
Emily was tired, the smoke surrounding her made her think she was in a psychedelic world. Through the strobe lights and small clouds, she saw two boys chatting, one of them looked like Harry Morgan, the other one was a tall and skinny student, with a bored look on his face. He seemed familiar.
“Say… who are those two? One of them reminds me of Harry, but the other one… I feel as if I have seen him before.”
“They’re my classmates. The Harry-look-alike is Thomas Boyd, he’s in Victor’s committee. The other one is Gregory Townsend. He’s the head of the NUC staff, and also the Prime Secretary! I think he seems familiar because Harry posted an interview with Townsend a day ago on NUC’s website.”
“Townsend?” Emily whispered. Yesterday, when she got home, she noticed that there was a new article on the website with the boy’s picture in it, but she skimmed it.
“Oh, dear, I thought Thomas was cute when I was a freshman.” Alice sighed, smirking.
“Gregory got drunk at a party and asked me out. He’s not my type, though he’s a nice guy.” Corinne confessed.
Since the tall 12th grader was the Prime Secretary, Emily thought he should be one of the first Francisc Rotenbery student that was not in her group of acquaintances to be interrogated. Once Thomas left Gregory alone with his beer, Corinne waved at him, inviting the lad to sit at their table. Rachel introduced her classmate.
“Townsend, this is my best friend, Emily Reiniger!”
“How do you do?” he asked, shaking hands with Emmy.
“Good, thank you. I’m trying to stay awake, I don’t fancy breathing cigarette smoke.”
“I haven’t seen you in our school or around town. I suppose you’re not from Hammondshire”
“I was born in Liverpool, my parents are from Sheffield. I don’t have an accent, even though I have been living there for 18 years.”
“Liverpool? I often watch their football team play on the telly. I’m more like a Hammondshire Fan.”
The girl smiled. She did not know what else to ask Rachel’s classmate, to discover if he was part of the Mafia or not. Victor was somewhere outside the pub, chatting casually with a group of students.
“Do you know The Who?”
“I know of them.”
“Any favorite song?”
“Not really, but I guess it’s ‘Baba O’Riley’. Hate it when people call it ‘Teenage Wasteland’!” He leaned towards Emily’s ear and revealed a secret. “You know, dad said that he and Pete are related… Cousins or some sort. The people who wrote dad’s surname in his birth certificate might have been drunk, since it’s lacking a ‘h’.”
“Really? To be honest, for a moment there I though you were Pete in his younger days!”
“Seriously? Blimey, nobody told me this before, probably because not too many people or age listen to The Who! Oh, by the way, call me Greg!”Townsend chuckled.
Emily felt at ease, since he asked her to start calling him the shorter version of his name. Suddenly, miss Reiniger got a text message from Alice, and ‘company’. It said: “Say ‘bye-bye’ to annoying Norrington and your so-called-boyfriend. This one’s a keeper, and also a boy with killer dance moves!”. Her friends didn’t seem to mind having Gregory around, but it wasn’t the right time for match-making. Annoyed, the girl gave her friends her evil glare, which in her ‘language’ meant ‘cut the crap’.
‘Boring Norrington’ was actually ‘Annoying Norrington’, considering the fact that he asked a group of students from Manchester a lot of things and he still didn’t get the idea that he wasn’t welcomed in the clique. He noticed his partner chatting with Gregory Townsend, and a part of him felt jealous, because the other gentleman was entertaining his friend. He was distracted by that scene that he felt his new phone vibrating in his pocket a few seconds later. When Victor saw the caller’s number, his heart skipped a beat, it was Olivia!
“Hi, Victor, it’s Olivia! Ah, I see you’re busy with the social event!”
“Y-yeah, it’s pretty crowded here!” he mumbled.
“Where is this ‘here’? I would like to join you, we have to catch up!”
There it was, Olivia finally showing some interest in Victor’s life. All those years he waited for attention were finally paying off, but once he saw Emily smiling at him and pointing at random groups of students, he knew the timing was absolutely wrong.
“I’m so sorry, Liv. I can’t tonight, everyone’s going home in almost one hour because we have to attend the assembly and Final Meeting tomorrow. Fresh as a daisy!”
“Oh, okay. I guess I’ll see you at school on Monday.” Olivia said, hanging up.
Emily thought it was the right time to start investigating.
“Say, Greg. Don’t you find Georgia Clarkson’s departure a bit… Odd?”
“Hm? Oh, no, it happens! Last year, a boy from our school fell of the stairs and broke his leg during NUC! He’s fine now! Though, I did found some students that were missing from various committees in a vacant classroom.”
“Go on…” the girl requested.
“I eavesdropped, but I could hardly figure out what they were on about. I think I heard something about money, mafia, euros from Switzerland, families and links between them. I walked into the classroom, asking what they were doing. They said that they needed to figure out how to solve their committee’s problems. I didn’t bought that and so I sent them back to their classrooms.”
He stopped to drink from his beer bottle and then started talking again. “I honestly don’t know what’s wrong with these kids. Yesterday there were other students planning things in an empty classroom. I’m not the police or anything, but I’m tired of hearing complaints from our teacher that there are empty seats during the sessions.”
“Yeah, but don’t you have, like, a list or something, with those kids’ names?”
“No, not really. The coordinators must have lists with everyone in their committee, with phone numbers and emails, plus, they know who was missing.”
Gregory had no idea how helpful he’s been, Emily was so happy that she decided it right to reward him somehow. So, she leaned towards him and kissed him cheek. Her friends almost choked on their drinks, Victor just finished talking to Olivia and was about to drop his new phone.
“He’s cute.” she told her friends.
“Thank you… oh, wow” Gregory mumbled.
Victor grabbed his partner’s arm.”We have to leave, Emily.”
“Come on, Victor, it’s not even 12 yet.”
“I said that we have to go.”
“Now wait a minute, Norrington, if my best friend says she doesn’t want to leave, then she’s staying here!”
“Rachel, it’s okay, I should go… My uncle wants me to get plenty of sleep. Tomorrow is a busy day…”
“Even so, you don’t have to grab her!” Audrey shouted.
“I’m gonna go now. I promise I’ll call you when I get home! Nice meeting you, Greg!”
The two left, everyone at the table was confused. Emily went ahead, slightly upset. She just got to know someone and Victor had to burst her bubble. When they reached the car, they started arguing.
“Why did you do that?”
“Kiss Townsend’s cheek!”
“Problem? It’s my right, plus, it’s not like I owe you an explanation, why do you even care?”
“He might be an enemy!”
“Cross your heart and hope to die?” The girl chuckled.
“You’re not listening! He might be part of the mafia!”
“Gosh, he gave me some info, plus, you keep drooling after mysterious Lawrence 24/7! Where is this girl? Does she even exist?!”
“Yes! Yes, she exists! She wanted to join us, but… I said no.”
“You said no. For real?”
“Yep. I just had to… We’re working after all…”
They got in the car and headed towards Emily’s neighborhood in silence. Both stubborn, the did not want to talk to each-other. Finally, Victor asked the girl about her conversation with Gregory.She explained everything she heard.
“There was nobody missing from my committee, but I’ll ask Harry if his committee had members that skipped the sessions, also, don’t forget to ask Alice.”
Emily rolled her eyes and started playing with her hair. “We need to see the suspects tomorrow. It’s going to be a looooong day.”
“Are we… still friends?”
“You said no to Venus and befriended Medusa. Of course, silly!”
“Say, did Olivia tell you anything about me?”
“No, she didn’t mention you.”
Victor was enjoying every second spent with Georgia, hoping that the girl would tell her things about Olivia.
“Let’s just… skip this subject. Did I tell you that you look beautiful tonight?”
“There is no need for you to say such things.”
“Why not? I speak the truth 24/7! You are a beautiful girl, I’m sure you’re turning heads at school!”
Victor couldn’t finish his sentence. Georgia suddenly punched his face. The young adult fell on the ground, his cheek was bruised and a few blood drops were coming out of his nostril.
“I’d like to turn your head, because you’re a TWISTED swine. Tell me, is it the 5 or 6? Who’s with you?” she shouted. Norrington was too flabbergasted by her attack to even concentrate on the girl’s words. He did mumble something about not giving her any information.
“Really?” Georgia Clarkson kicked him in the stomach. “You bloody coward.”
She grabbed her cellphone and text-ed someone. By the time she finished typing, Victor got up and grabbed her by the wrists, pinning her to the wall, against the cold rough bricks.
“Who the fuck sent you? Who are you working for? Tell me now!” he yelled.
A car drifted along the street, stopping in front of the club’s main gate. Georgia kicked Victor’s left knee, releasing herself. She ran to the car, which was a black Range Rover and in less than 5 seconds she was gone. The student tried to drag his body to the club’s garden, but the pain was too much for him. He searched for Emily’s number on his cellphone and dialed it.
“Where are you? I have been worried, actually,..we have been worried.”
“Main… gate… please… come alone. We have work… to do…” he said, clenching his teeth.
It took Emily a minute to say good-bye to her friends and make sure they don’t see her running. She saw Victor, who was trying to hold his balance, leaning on the metal fence.
“Oh dear lord, were you with Georgia Clarkson?!”
“Maybe. I called someone to pick us up… Remember when I told you… that you have… you have to meet someone?”
The girl searched for a pack of paper handkerchiefs, instead of peeling the sticker, she tore the thin plastic wrapper. She tried to wipe the blood, putting a piece of handkerchief in Victor’s nostril. She hugged him lightly, fearing that she might break him, and she ran her hand gently through his hair.
“Gosh, you’re such an idiot. Trust no one, even if they look like an angel with rosy cheeks and gold locks.”
A silver Vauxhall Insignia parked in front of them, and the driver helped Emily get Victor in the car.
“Miss, I will take Mr. Norrington to the infirmary. Go to the tenth floor, straight ahead, don’t knock.” the driver explained.
The Vauxhall reached a tall modern building that looked as if it was filled with offices. The driver parked the car inside the building.
“Hang in there, I still need you!” Emily shouted, grabbing her bag and rushing towards the elevator.
She pressed the “10” button, ignoring “Mr. Sandman” playing in the background. A couple of seconds passed and Emily ran again, heading towards the room she was supposed to be in. Slamming the door, she stopped for a bit to catch her breath. It was a big office, with a lovely nocturnal view of the town. In the dark she saw a silhouette of a man, who pressed a button and made the lights go on. Now the girl could see him clearly. The man was dressed in a black suit, and looked like the older version of Victor, only that he wasn’t wearing glasses and his fringe was on the opposite side.
“I’m so happy to meet you, Emily. I’m sorry, you’re still shocked, have a glass of water! Sit, sit!” the man smiled.
“Are you…” As soon as Emily sat on the chair in front of the man’s desk, he poured water and a few slices of lemon in a glass, handing it to her.
“Eric Norrington.” he chuckled. “Not to worry, my careless son is going to be fine! Now, shall I explain to you how I will contribute to your mission?”
The girl nodded, still confused, and amazed at the same time. She sipped the lemon flavored water.
“Alrighty then, since I am working for Vauxhall, it is my duty to supply both the Security and Secret Intelligence Service with great cars. Well, great as in not so flashy cars like those you see in spy movies, because, if you drive an Aston Martin, you’ll blow your cover! If you have seen Top Gear, don’t listen to-“
“Jeremy isn’t even my favorite. A car is a car, and he should remember this.” Emily giggled.
“Indeed it is. People still buy our cars, so the company is doing fine! Do you have your driver’s permit with you?”
“Uh… Yes. Yes, I do…”
“Can I see it?”
“Sure.” Emily searched for her wallet, then she found the permit and handed it to Victor’s father.
“Nice photo. Well, then. Just so you know, you won’t be needing it, since I reckon you’re careful unlike ‘barmpot-Victor’. The police will leave you alone.”
“You two don’t seem to get along.” Emily pointed out.
“Oh, no, no, darling. Don’t get me wrong, I love my son, but if he wasn’t cheeky, maybe he would have gotten his driver’s permit sooner. I’m honestly tired of his obsession with Olivia Lawrence. I told him: ‘Why don’t you just marry her, get it over with?!’ and he went on and on about not forcing her.”
The man stopped, staring at Emily. “You seem confused. Any questions?”
“Yes.” The Liverpudlian put the half empty glass on the desk. “Who the hell is this Olivia Lawrence?”
A few seconds of silence were then shattered by Mr. Norrington’s laughter. “Ha ha ha ha ha! My point exactly. By George, aren’t you a great lass?”
“Th-thank you, sir.”
A cellphone started lightening up and vibrating on the desk for a few seconds. Mr. Norrington picked it up and read the text message.
“Come in, Victor. Gosh, you’re a slow typer, and do enable auto-correct. Oh, wait, I forgot. You still have that old Nokia I bought you for your 14th birthday.” he said, giving Emily back her driver’s permit.
“It’s still working!”
Victor limped, his nose was still bleeding, so he had a cotton wipe in his nostril.
“This time, take the damn phone. And learn how to use it.” Victor’s father said, opening a drawer and handing him an iPhone 4s box. “Try not to smash it.”
“No need to worry, I’ll show you how to use it.” Emily smiled.
“Now that you’re both here, we shall discuss what the Security Service really wants you to do. England had problems with the mafia countless times. But I’m not referring to the Italian Mafia. They are a bunch of families, scattered across the country, but most of them live in London. They got rich… illegally, think of them as a bunch of masons.” Mr. Norrington looked over some papers. “It says here that some of the Mafia kids are attending Victor’s school. A few more, who live in other towns, will be present at NUC. One of them, dear Emily, is Georgia Clarkson, who almost annihilated my son.”
Victor pouted, looking at his shoes. “I’m sorry I’m a hopeless romantic.”
“Just keep calm during these 2 days and befriend a few students from the other towns. Do take care, because you never know who might show up with a knife or a gun in their pocket or bags. You’ll get a car tomorrow night, after all, ‘spies’ need a car.”
The man stopped talking, looking at the two students’ confused faces.
“Yes, it’s a Vauxhall. Yes, you can go home now. Victor, tell your mum I’ll be home in half an hour, because I have to print her paperwork.”
The young adult rolled his eyes, allowing Emily to help him get up. The two students excused themselves, eventually getting out of the room.
“And whatever you do, don’t unplug the phone without right-clicking ‘Eject’. Otherwise, iTunes will kind of malfunction when you least expect it.”
“Too bad I have to buy ringtones.” Victor mumbled.
Victor and Emily were sitting on the stairs, staring at the boy’s laptop and new phone. The two heard footsteps, as if someone was running. It turned out to be James Welch.
“May… I talk to you?”
“Who? Me?” Emily asked, getting the answer from James’ nod. “Alright.”
Emily and her young friend went to the first floor, leaving Victor sitting on the stairs, trying to work out iTunes.
“Georgia went home! She left a note saying that her grandfather is in the hospital and she must stay there with her family… I feel so sorry for her, I wish I could comfort her.”
Emily frowned, disgusted by miss Clarkson’s lie. James’ eyes were observing his shoes so he couldn’t see the older student’s disgusted expression. When he stopped staring at his shoes and looked up, Emily tried to look worried.
“Dear Lord, I’m so sorry to hear that. You must be good friends with her-“
“No. Not really. I just asked her if she wanted to hang at the social event, since she’s pretty and I never had a girlfriend. It was worth the shot, somehow.”
Surprised, Emily tried not to burst into laughter. She placed her hands on James’ shoulders.
“But what do you know do far about her? You can trust me. I’m always glad to help.” the girl smiled kindly.
“Well, she is a rich girl, her parents own a farm near Sheffield, and they also manage ‘Dreamwell’, shops filled with furniture and household appliances. It’s a wannabe Ikea! Oh, and she likes chocolate truffles, yellow roses and her Pomeranian, Louis!” James said with a sparkle in his eyes.
“Gosh, that’s a lot! But, you should know that she didn’t seem interested in you. It’s only natural, a girl talking about her social and financial status, as well as likes and dislikes!”
“Was she with Norr-“
“Yeah, she was, for a few minutes. She asked him if he could escort her to a cab.”
“But isn’t he your bo-“
“We’re childhood friends! Aren’t we, Cookie?” she shouted.
Victor almost dropped his new phone. “Uh? Oh, yes, darn best chums, Zookie! I think I finally figured out how all these Apple things work.” he shouted back.
“See? Nothing romantic going on!” Emily smiled. “My friends are your friends, by the way. They seem to like you, Amy said you’re a ‘cutie patootie’.”
“Oh, I’m so happy!” he giggled. “I hope I will ride someday in your brand new Vauxhall, but not with Norrington as a driver.”
“Who? The what? What are you talking about?”
Emily backed up a meter, preparing to scream if the ‘adorable boy’ would pull out a knife or gun. Victor heard what the youngster said and rushed upstairs carrying his belongings. To their surprise, the teenager slid his hand in his right pocket and showed them a piece of paper with his photo on it, plus some extra writing.
“James Arthur Welch, age 14, fresh recruit of the Secret Intelligence Service.”
“What?!” Victor and Emily said, astonished.
“I shall provide you and your future allies information on the students and their relatives. My family has a history of working with spies and is darn good at tracking bad guys.” James said, smiling sweetly.
“What is this… Oh my God, you really know about the project!” Victor whispered.
“I hardly know anything, I’m a rookie.” the ninth grader shrugged. “I will try to blend in and get to know the students. I’m a freshman after all, but… so far hardly anyone talked to me. I’m starting to think that most of the mafia kids are ninth graders, but it’s only my random thought so… Don’t worry, I won’t stalk you. I’ll be busy digging dirt for you, to make your job easier.”
“Thank you, I guess… What now? I mean, you know some things and-“
“Now we go to lunch and act naturally, Emily. The little guy is going to make new friends.” Victor explained, still giving James a suspicious look, not getting over the fact that he spent more minutes with Georgia Clarkson, without getting hurt.
“Well, see you around. Oh, and Norrington, do take some karate lessons. I got my black belt a few years ago, and I also am good at swimming and tennis.” young Welch smiled, hugging Emily, who was still puzzled. When James wasn’t around them, Victor and Emily tried to snap out of it and try to make a plan. It didn’t go well because they felt hungry, and so, they walked towards the teacher’s lounge. ——