I know, it’s been a while, but in my defense I was busy with Camp NaNoWriMo, and it’s almost impossible for me to ever focus on two projects at the same time. So if this is your first time reading this or you just need some catching up to do, click here first to read the last eleven chapters.
Kathy was chasing after us, which was really annoying because she used to be on the cross country team and could apparently still run for long periods of time, despite the damage her lungs had suffered through over the years. The two of us got three blocks away and halfway up a fence before she finally caught up.
“What the hell are you doing?” she asked, after pulling the both of us down from the fence.
I was too exhausted to answer right away, so I used the time it took to catch my breath to think of a clever reply. Couldn’t come up with anything. So I went with, “I was just asking him some questions,” which of course she didn’t buy. Then I noticed she was looking at the gun in my hand.
“Is that a real—”
“No,” I said, annoyed she would even ask. “It’s not a real gun. I wouldn’t threaten to kill someone with an actual gun. I have morals, you know.”
Her arms were crossed and her eyebrows were raised, in pretty much the quintessential skeptical figure. “Did he know it was a fake gun?”
“No, of course not.”
“So you basically just threatened to kill someone.”
“Well that’s just an unfair way to put it.” Leave it to Kathy to make things sound worse than they were. “These were the kids who kidnapped and beat up Adrien. I kind of wanted to get back at them.” I looked behind her, just to make sure no one had followed us. I wasn’t expecting to hear sirens, but I was still relieved to hear none.
Kathy, meanwhile, didn’t seem too concerned with the police, or basically anything else that didn’t involve being mad at me. “I don’t know,” she said, “you seemed to be in a pretty good mood, until your gum was stolen.”
“And ten thousand dollars!” I said. “How is that not important? And they broke into our house; huge invasion of privacy right there, and now there’s a detective investigating us and I’m suspected of selling drugs, which I’m not. Everything that happened today was because of them.”
She didn’t say anything, but the accusation still hung in the air. That this was all my fault. I for one blamed Adrien, assuming he did send the photo to Mrs. Romero. Except now I wasn’t so sure. But no one else had a motive.
“We’re going home,” she said after a lengthy silence.
“What? No. I’m just getting started. I’ll be visiting Diesel next, that should be fun—”
“It’s gum, Wyatt. You’re going to point a gun at someone over that?”
“A fake gun,”I reminded her.
“Yeah, I think we should just leave,” said Sean, quietly. He kept glancing down the street every few seconds. “I mean, I didn’t know there was a detective after you. And I’m sure the cops are coming now at any moment.”
I was surrounded by idiots. “A detective with no real evidence, with a theory that isn’t even true to begin with. And do you hear any sirens? It’s been like, ten minutes now, we should’ve heard something. Connor doesn’t want the cops to come, just as much as us.” I turned to Kathy. “At least let me talk to Diesel first. He’s the calmest of the three, the least likely to attack us, plus his name is Diesel. That’s pretty cool.” I could see Kathy wouldn’t be okay with that, so I improvised.
I never liked manipulating my sister. It made me feel terrible, especially since she had nothing but good intentions towards her young brothers. Still, I needed to talk with Diesel; his main trademark was his loyalty, so I didn’t think he’d switch over to James’ side unless there was a good reason. “You know,” I said, “Mom’s going to be pissed that you knew where and didn’t immediately tell her.”
“So? I’m not looking to win her approval,” she said, with an almost disgusted look. “It’s not like she could punish me anyway.” Kathy always seemed uncomfortable when you mentioned her mother. Their relationship wasn’t exactly friendly, and I had come to the conclusion that Mom’s terrible parenting techniques had gifted Kathy with a low self esteem and a desperate need for approval, but perhaps that wasn’t the case.
“Oh,” I said, seeing her more clearly than I had in a while. “Well, you know what would really get her mad?”
And so she agreed to let us go to Diesel’s, providing she’d drive me over herself, and since our cars were parked in around the same area, the three of us walked back together.
“Oh, and thanks for texting me, by the way,” I said, making sure to add bitterness.
“Why?” she asked, and I explained: Before Connor could tell us anything of importance, his mother had come home. At the worst possible time, I should add. So I pointed the gun at him and said I’d shoot him if she found out we were here. It would’ve worked, too, but a few minutes in, my ringtone started blasting and gave both of our positions away. I could’ve sworn I’d turned it off, especially after Mom and Kathy’s calls, but either I forgot or my phone just felt like being a dick today and turned the volume up by itself.
“Well, I’m sorry,” said Kathy, “I had a bad feeling about sending it, anyway.” She stopped suddenly, and I realized she was looking at her car.
“What is it?” I asked as she ran over. She yanked the door open and stuck her head inside.
“Adrien was in the car,” she said softly. “When I started chasing after you.”
And she called me irresponsible. “Why would you bring Adrien with you?” I asked. “He can barely even walk.”
“That’s what I said.” She took out her phone, then put it back in her pocket again, letting out a frustrated groan. “He doesn’t even his phone on him.”
“Well that’s just annoying,” I said, looking at Connor’s house to find most of the lights off. We didn’t see any crutches lying around or anything, nor any trace he may have left. “Where could he possibly have gone? The kid’s holding us up.”
“The kid?” said Sean, laughing a little.
“Forgot his name for a second there,” I joked, then to Kathy, I said, seriously. “Look, how about you go and look for Adrien, and we’ll go to see Diesel? This way, we can get two things done in faster time. And we’ll come right back when we’re done.”