Bar towards the left of Lincoln Park. Blonde, height: 6’4″, an eyebrow piercing, interests: girls.
The more I recalled the facts, the longer my frown extended. I took a bite out of my granola bar and listened to the video that was playing on YouTube.
“You need to initiate lots of physical contact to show him that you’re interested”, Julia, the seducing expert on the screen, spoke to the camera, flipping her flaming red hair back occasionally. “Try to laugh at every one of his jokes, even when they’re not funny. That’ll certainly make him intrigued and attracted towards you.”
I frowned before taking another bite. I took my jokes seriously so laughing unnaturally will be a problem to me.
“Do not appear too clingy or-“
“We need to have a ta-“, Hayden started, walking into my room, but stopped and narrowed his eyes when he saw me stumbling to close the laptop’s lid. “What’re you up to?”
“Huh? Nothing”, I replied as innocently as I could. I raised my eyebrows when Carly followed behind him. “Oh, you’re here.”
“Yes, she is”, Hayden cut in. “And we’re going to investigate some things. You can stay here and keep us informed if you find out anything.”
“Okay”, I chirped. I didn’t want to bother to mention that I’d find nothing if I just stuck in the apartment, which was obviously his motive. I was going to some investigation of my own while they’d be gone anyway.
“Look, this is an important job, too, and- wait, ‘okay’?” He looked at me suspiciously.
I nodded impatiently, wanting them to get out already. “Yes, I’m fine with that. You guys clearly don’t want to work with me so I won’t force you.”
His suspicious gaze didn’t waver. “Oh. You’re trying reverse psychology on me.”
“What? Of course not. I’m fine.”
He scoffed. “Girls are never ‘fine’. You’re cooking something in your mind but I won’t let you execute it. You’re coming with us”, he told me, walking away. He was clearly used to giving orders.
“Wha-no! You can’t do that!”, I protested, moving towards him. I had plans and he was ruining it. “I’m not going to obey you like a little baby, okay?”
“For the first time, I agree with her”, Carly spoke up, her face showing an incredulous expression. “Why are you bringing her along!?”
“Because we need to work as a team”, Hayden replied, walking out the door. “Do you two need to hear it from the Boss?”
That immediately shut both of us, but the scowls on our faces deepened.
I kicked my feet up on the dashboard grumpily.
“Don’t ruin her”, Hayden said, pushing my feet down, before concentrating on driving again.
Carly had left again to meet with her computer-loving friends after getting a call. After I changed into the first pair of clothes I found, an oversized blue t-shirt and tapered black jeans, I grudgingly stepped out of my apartment. In the fifteen minutes we’ve been in the car, we’ve just been staring at empty roads, waiting for one of our suspects to pop up and say hi. If this was his idea of an investigation, we’d be here for hours.
I glared at him before changing the music in the car. I came across several songs before settling on a classic Beethoven melody, the only soothing music among all the heavy metal beats he had.
He noticed my slight frown at that. “I had a metal phase when I was fourteen or fifteen. My brother must’ve messed with this again”, he told me offhandedly before looking out the car window again.
Gritting my teeth, I made a decision. “Okay, stop the car.”
He gave a surprised glance in my direction but obeyed. “What, did you see anything?”, he asked, looking around slowly.
“What do you expect to see here!? Braxford was suspected for money laundering, not for stealing from pedestrians.”
He frowned at me. “Well, we have to start somewhere. We don’t even have a lead yet. We can’t just barge into their mansion. They have too much security there.”
I sighed. I didn’t want to tell him about what I found but, if I didn’t, we’d be circling the town for hours until we got caught by the police for being too suspicious. I held out my right palm. “Give me the car keys.”
“You’re kidding”, he replied flippantly, looking around again. “I don’t even let my brother drive it.”
“Well, your brother doesn’t have a lead”, I replied smugly.
He turned his inquisitive gaze to me. I stared back as I watched him decide whether to believe me or not. “I’ll drive”, he said after a moment of contemplation.
I shook my head, protesting immediately, and watched him hesitate for another few moments before a resigned look crossed his face. He tossed his keys at me and I grinned as I caught it.
I threw a weird look at the parking valet before handing the keys to him and walking forward, leaving behind Hayden, who was searching every part of the car for scratches.
I looked incredulously at the extravagant night club as I got out of the car. The building was huge and the only visible entrance was blocked by two giant bouncers. Clearly, Leo missed out a lot more information, I realized as I halted in my steps.
“Okay, you were pretty alright at driving but doesn’t mean I’m going to let you drive it ever again”, Hayden told me before noticing what I was staring at. “A private club, huh? How do you plan on getting past them?”
I was pursing my lips, thinking of ways to enter the club when something blue blocked my vision. “You. Weird girl again. Are you stalking me?”
My eyes lifted to meet those of none other than Leah Braxford. I stepped back a little and blinked. What is she doing here?
Before I could respond, her eyes shifted to the person behind me and she raised one of her eyebrows. “A new member, huh?”, she asked with a tilted smile that clearly said she was interested.
Hayden pushed me aside and returned her smile. “Not yet. But now I’m very much interested to be.”
I rolled my eyes. Oh, give me a rest.
The seductive smile on her face became more pronounced. “Well, who am I to ignore such interest? Follow me”, she purred unnecessarily, walking towards the entrance.
Hayden was about to follow her, eyes fixed on her swaying unnatural hips, but I jerked his jacket. “What. Are. You. Doing?”, I gritted out. “We’re on a mission.”
He pulled his jacket back, scowling at me. “You’re the one who brought us here without any plan. I’m helping out so you should be grateful, not still annoying.”
“But there are other ways to get into the club!”, I hissed.
“Like what?”, he challenged and I looked around the place. The back door? Locked. The windows? Too tiny to squeeze through. The bouncers? Possess strength to push a few burly men back. I’d say I trained enough to be stronger than them but I’d be lying. “Thought so”, he said with a smug smile before continuing on his way. My gaze swept over the area once more before I grudgingly trudged behind.
Leah put her hand on his arm as soon as Hayden reached the entrance. “I was wondering what took you so long”, she drawled, flicking her gaze at me for a second before looking at the bouncer. “Vince, this is a friend. Would you please allow us to go in?”
Vince took one look at her fluttered eyelashes and moved aside with a grin. “Of course, sweetheart. Anytime for you.”
I cringed at the exchange before following behind them but was stopped. I looked up in surprise.
“ID?”, the other bouncer asked.
“Oh, I’m with him”, I gestured to Hayden, who was about to disappear into the crowd.
He gave me a look of pity. “Third wheeling, huh? That must suck. I would let you drink if it were my party but, sorry, you have to be invited by the members here and I didn’t hear your name from her lips.”
I resisted as he gently pushed me aside. “No no, you don’t understand! Call him back. He’ll tell you. We’re the best of buddies! Kind of”, I added after a thought.
“Whoa, what’s going on here?”, a smooth voice cut in.
I looked up at the guy behind me. Maybe because I’ve always been with either my brothers or the other trainees, whom I’ve fought so much that I consider them my brothers, lately, my eyes subconsciously sweep over the whole body of almost every guy I pass by. And this one was definitely attractive. Tall, Lean body, faintly visible muscles, structured jaw, straight nose, blond hair-blue eyes combo, a silver eyebrow piercing ring with an intricate design- wait, that sounds familiar.
“This pretty lady here has been left behind by her friend, it seems”, the bouncer told the guy. “She was a third wheel. I’d allow her in but it’s not my party.”
“C’mon, Marcus, be a gentleman sometimes”, the blonde teased, lightly punching the bouncer in the arm. “Put her name under my name, will you?”
Was he who Leo mentioned? What was that guy’s name again?, I scoured my brain for the name. Noah? Noel?
“Nolan”, the guy introduced himself, extending a hand to me.
I accepted the handshake. “Me-“, I paused, debating on whether I should give him my real name or make up a fake one.
“May?”, he asked with an inquisitive look.
I didn’t even have to cover that up, I thought as I smiled at him and nodded. “May. Yes.”
“Last name?”, Marcus asked.
Before I could think of any, Nolan pulled me inside. “Just put my last name there”, he ordered over his shoulder before giving me a wink.