“Oh this is perfect!”, I exclaimed, plopping down on the sofa in front of the entrance door. “I could live here all my life.”
Hayden gave a short laugh. “Are you sure? There are bigger places that our company has rented before.”
I scrunched my nose at that. “Bigger doesn’t mean better. And something about this place just appeals to my inner introvert self.”
And I wasn’t lying. The place in itself wasn’t huge, but the way the furniture were organized made every nook and cranny look amazing.
The walls were light grey and covered in black and silver patterns. The main door was a solid black wooden door and on the wall beside hung a large flat screen T.V. The sofa I was sitting on faced the T.V. and was long enough to fit at least five people at the same time. Well, I know what I’d be doing in my free time.
I was walking towards the kitchen when Hayden cleared his throat loudly. I looked at him and he gestured at my suitcase that was standing beside him.
“What?”, I asked.
“Aren’t you going to carry your own bags?”, he asked, raising his eyebrows at me.
I shrugged. “You offered to carry them for me.”
“That was a show of chivalry”, he replied, emphasizing ‘chivalry’, but I was already walking away, my eyes set on the refrigerator that I was promised was stocked.
“Well, complete the show. I appreciate it”, I answered, searching the refrigerator with an excited grin. I think he huffed and walked away. I couldn’t be sure because my mind was only focusing on the food.
Just as I reached for the contents of the refrigerator, my cell phone rang in my back pocket. It was a call from father almost as if he knew I was a few centimeters away from a ton of food and called to scold me. I took a step back, closed the door with disappointment and picked up the phone.
“Meg, have you reached yet?”, he asked as soon as I put the phone to my ear.
I chuckled. “Yup. It’s a good apartment.”
“One of the best normal apartments, I made sure”, he replied. ” You all have your own rooms, don’t you?”
“Yeah, I chose the one closest to the kitchen”, I said with a grin as I walked into my room. The walls were beige with black swirly patterns on it. The floor was softly carpeted. The heart of the room was definitely the king sized bed, which, considering my petite size, I didn’t really need but I wasn’t complaining. There were two mahogany nightstands on either side with coral night lamps on them. Two large windows, with tied-up chocolate coloured curtains, on the adjacent wall let in the orange sunlight into the room. Another table, for reading I presume, of the same material stood next to the wall opposite to the bed. It had an LED screen on top of it but I couldn’t see any CPU next to it. Beside the table was a wooden dresser large enough to fit possibly all my clothes and on the other side was the door to the bathroom.
Father sighed but I could imagine a hint of a smile on his lips. “Always the eater. Just make sure you stay fit. Have you checked out the gym yet? It’s not that big but the three of you can train well there. That reminds me… ” He paused to clear his throat. “Uh, Hayden is staying in the room farthest from yours, isn’t he?”
I blinked. “Um, I think so. Why?”, I asked before realising the reason. “Oh God, Dad, that’s not going to happen! You don’t need to worry about that.”
He chuckled sheepishly. “A dad’s got to do what he’s got to do. Now go check out the gym.”
The next fifteen minutes went by with father showing me almost the entire apartment via phone. It seemed like he’d already committed the layout of it to his memory. I didn’t want to intrude on Hayden and Carly’s privacy so I left their rooms out of my tour. When I hung up and walked back into the kitchen, Hayden was there at the counter, using his phone and munching on a chocolate bar.
He’d changed into a comfortable pair of sweatshirt and sweatpants. I looked down at my clothes and decided that I needed to change as well.
“Where’s my suitcase?”, I asked him in confusion. “It’s not in my room.”
“It’s outside”, he simply replied.
“What do you mean by outside?”, I asked slowly, walking towards the window that overlooked the entrance of the building. My jaw dropped when I saw a familiar red suitcase in my sight.
Hayden smirked at me and tipped an imaginary hat off to me. “Have a nice workout”, he said before walking into his room and closing the door, leaving me to drill holes into the door with my glare.
Carly tried to appear cool as she rang the doorbell and waited. To her surprise, a machine beside the door turned on. A face recognition machine.
She furrowed her brows at that and tentatively leaned forward as the machine requested. A smile broke out on her face when the machine replied, “Match found.” Guess he decided to continue letting her in after all. She felt happy.
The door clicked open and she focused her attention to the familiar tall man standing on the other side. He had his jet black hair tied down, piercing grey eyes peering into her soul and his usual mysterious smirk right in place. He was dressed in a white T-shirt and baggy sweatpants but they didn’t hide his hard-earned physique.
He stepped back to let Carly in and then closed the door after her, a satisfied smile spreading across his face as he heard the door lock again.
Carly turned at that sound, looking at the door before moving her gaze to the six-feet-four man in front of her. “I thought you weren’t going to let me in.”
He smirked again before stepping closer. “Why would I deny the food that willingly came to my door?”
Carly gave him a flat look, which, to both their surprise, sobered him up. The man cleared his throat and pointed at the bag of canned food hanging from her hands.
She shook her head at him and walked to his refrigerator, which was huge but mostly empty as usual. She proceeded to fill the refrigerator with as much food possible. When she finished doing that, he held out a hundred dollar note to her. She pursed her lips and pointedly ignored that. “You’re offending me, Jake.”
“It’s money. Isn’t every teenager excited if they get handed a hundred?”, he asked with nothing but curiosity.
She spun around, angry at him. When she saw the twinkle in his eyes and the irksome signature smirk on his lips, her anger grew. “I’m doing this because I want to, and you know that. Stop treating me like some teenager who volunteered to mow the lawn for you just for a couple of bucks. And stop smirking at me-!”
She stiffened when he stared at her solemnly. It was times like these that made her want to stick by him all the time. “I know you’re doing this all for me”, he started and Carly immediately knew what was going to come next. “But for what? I can’t give you anything in return so you’re just wasting your time.”
She glared at the floor instead of looking at him to calm herself. “Why did you let me in then?”, she asked, but he kept silent.
She turned to leave but he grabbed her arm. “Stay”, his order was more like a request.
That was enough to melt Carly’s heart for now though. She snatched her arm away and stormed to the little two seat couch in the middle of the room and plopped down. She spared him a glance and said,”You’re cooking.”
She turned to the TV quick, but not before she saw a hint of a smile on his face.
To say I was seething in anger would be an understatement.
The lone rouge suitcase stood still outside while I rushed to get it and almost bumped into someone. A flash of red went by right in front of me, causing me to stop seconds before brushing against the person.
“Watch where you’re going” , a haughty and annoyed female voice spoke.
I scowled and looked up at her, ready to give the owner of that voice a piece of my mind, when I recognized her. My eyes widened but I quickly concealed my surprised expression before she thought I was a creep.
“Oh I’m sorry”, I said instead.
She rolled her eyes and walked to a car outside the transparent double doors. I realized that my suitcase was right in front of the car, about to be driven over, and quickly pulled it aside, flashing a smile at her in the process. She just gave me a weird look before getting in. I pretended to be fiddling with my suitcase when the car started driving away and caught the number on the plate stuck behind it. I opened my notes on my phone and typed down ‘ZE 36 AUD’ before putting the phone back in my pocket.
I was about to hurry to our apartment to tell Hayden about the latest discovery when I remembered why I was down at the lobby in the first place. I frowned. I would be stupid if I gave every information away to him even when he’s being such a nuisance. Besides, if he has this information, he’d make me stay here while he himself go and investigate. And that’s not okay.
I took out my phone again and dialled Leo’s number. If I called Carly about this, Hayden will know all about this and I don’t want that to happen yet.
“Miss me?”, Leo’s smug voice came through. I bet he thought I called to complain about the job.
“Hardly”, I replied with a snort. “I just need some information.”
“Don’t you have Carly for that? Why would I do free work for you?”
I sighed. “She’s busy. I thought you were almost as good at computer stuff as she is.”
“Almost as good?”, he asked as if I insulted him. “I’m better. I can give you twice as much information as she can. What do you want?”
I bit my smile. Being his twin meant I knew exactly how to get him to do something, which is always a plus. “ZE 36 AUD. I want you to track down this car and send me all of its stop points.”
“Okay but is it a boy you’re following?”, he asked casually. “I know you’re inexperienced in the relationships department so just know that stalking a boy won’t make you like him, little sister.”
“God, no!”, I answered, appalled at the idea. “And I’m older than you.”
“By what? Five minutes? That doesn’t count. Besides, you’re a five-feet-four shortcake so you’re like a little sister.”
“That doesn’t change anything”, I replied, frowning. He always attacked my height when he had no other arguments. He knew it always worked on me. “Do you have the information or not?”
“Steady there, Meg, intellectual brilliance takes time.”
I sighed and wheeled my suitcase over to the receptionist. She lazily looked up at me, boredom clear on her face. I smiled brightly but her expression didn’t change, which made my smile falter.
“Hey, could you look after this suitcase for a while?”, I asked her. “I need to pick up some of my belongings from a friend.”
“Sure” was all she replied with.
I waited for her to tell me where I should leave it, or anything really, but she didn’t. I slowly wheeled my suitcase to her side and gave an awkward nod before going back outside.
“Do you have the information yet?”, I asked into the receiver.
I heard some shuffling before he replied. “Sorry, I got carried away.”
“With what? Is the map that interesting?”
“Not the map, the place”, he replied. “Dave Bowles’ Arrowbends. That’s where the car stopped. No stops in between. And by the looks of it, it’s staying there for quite a while. What kind of a millionaire are you following, Meg?”
“This one is where people with lots of money go for archery, Meg”, he told me, letting out a low whistle. “Look at the place, sister. It’s awesome! As an older brother, I’m supposed to forbid you to hook up with any guy but I’ll let this one slide if you get me free access to that place.”
“It’s not a guy!”, I almost shouted in exasperation but then lowered my voice to a whisper. “It’s Leah. I need to get into that place right now!”
“The Leah? Well, that’s not possible”, he replied with a mouthful of something.
“Why not?”, I asked. “And don’t talk with your mouth full.”
He snorted. “Since when are you such a lady?”
I gave a grunt of agreement. “Since a second ago but yeah, that life’s not for me. I’m going to hang up if you don’t stop getting side-tracked by other topics.”
“Was that a threat, or a blissful offer? Can’t tell”, he replied with a chuckle, and then his voice got serious, like it always does when he’s focused on a mission. “It’s an invite-only club, apparently. Someone needs to invite you in for you to get access.”
I slightly pouted at that. “Who am I supposed to get invited by? Is there an easy target?”
“No”, he replied a little too quickly.
“My twin telepathy tells me you know something”, I informed him with a smirk. “I’ll ask someone else for a name then.”
“Fine! It’s a guy and all the people he invited were girls so it doesn’t take a genius to know he was probably just trying to get into their pants.”
“You don’t know that. He could have good motives”, I offered.
He tsk-ed. “You’re so naive. If you’re going to interact with this guy, I’m coming with you.”
“Don’t be ridiculous”, I replied incredulously. “You’re miles away. And did you forget how I kicked your ass at the Battle League we had last year? I’m enough for my own protection, little brother. Don’t worry.”
“That was one time”, he muttered, irritated. “Do you want it or not?”
“I do”, I affirmed quickly.