“I can’t believe you almost said something against the Mach-capo,” she hissed. “Think, Ileah!”
“My house is bugged?” I gaped at her, horrified.
“Of course. Come on, you had to know that.” Her expression changed, and the sympathy returned. “You really didn’t?”
I shook my head, my mouth dry.
“Oh.” She sighed. “I suppose I didn’t think about it before the Island, either. That’s when I learned that I never have privacy unless I’m outdoors – and even then, I need to stay away from the fences and paths.”
I looked around. “We’re on a path now,” I said.
“Yeah, but this part is too steep and open to hide anything,” she said. “Besides, we’re keeping our voices quiet, right? Listen, we can’t take long. My dad will wonder if we’re not back soon. But something’s going on – something big. They were all really serious about it in Naples. None of the lower tiers know anything, but the Five do.”
The Five included her father. “Uncle Adam didn’t tell you?” I asked.
Alexis made a face, but I saw hurt underneath it. “Of course not,” she said, her voice barely above a whisper. “Daddy doesn’t like to worry me about those things.”
She started moving again, and I had to wait until we were almost to their property line to ask more. “Why do I have to go? What can Uncle Adam possibly do to me?”
Alexis sent me a look, and for a second, she looked like she had as a child – innocent, sweet, and confused. Then weariness entered. “He won’t do anything to you, Ileah.” She glanced down the hill where our rooftop was barely visible. I got it.
“I guess I’m leaving tomorrow then.”
Alexis jogged up the path and opened the steel gate, waiting for me. “If you insist, I suppose you can take the jade dress too.” She gave me a pointed look.
I swallowed and tried to sound excited, to play my role. “Sure. I like that one.”
It's always such a challenge to build suspense without driving the reader insane...definitely something I'm hoping to learn :) Happy Tuesday, my friends!