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Home > United We Spy (Gallagher Girls #6)(7)

United We Spy (Gallagher Girls #6)(7)
Author: Ally Carter

Macey rolled her eyes. “I know. Let’s stand around talking about it some more.” Then she started toward the doors with new fire, new purpose. “No. I’m through talking.”

“What are you doing, Mace?” Bex asked, blocking her way; but Macey didn’t even look at her.

“What do you think I’m doing? I’m going to do what someone should have done weeks ago. I’m getting Preston out of there.”

“Come on, Macey,” Liz said. “Let’s think about this.”

“I’m through thinking.”

“They said we shouldn’t go, Macey.” I took her arm, held her there. “They said he’s not in any danger.”

Macey gave a knowing—almost spiteful—smile. “And they’d never lie, would they?”

It only took a second for the words to seep in, and yet it seemed like it took forever. Of course my mother would lie. To keep me safe. To protect the mission. To stop the Circle and its leaders once and for all.

“I’m going to Rome,” Macey told us. “Now, you can stay here or you can come with me. I’m not giving you a third option.”

She turned and started inside, but in a flash, Bex’s hand was on her arm, gently tugging her back as if pulling her away from a cliff.

Macey whirled on her. I wasn’t sure if she was going to strike or just pull away; but she didn’t have to do either because Bex was smiling, saying, “Then I guess we’re going to miss some classes.”

Chapter Seven

HOW TO SNEAK OUT OF YOUR SCHOOL AND CROSS THE ATLANTIC WITHOUT A WHOLE BUNCH OF SPIES BEING THE WISER:

(A list by Cameron Morgan)

Secret passageways. I know I’ve mentioned these before, but seriously. My academic experience would have been extremely different without them.

Roommates with private jets. Again, this makes things a lot easier. I’m not saying that we couldn’t have stowed away on a cargo ship (that was Bex’s original idea), but when Macey made a phone call and said, “The jet will be here in twenty,” we didn’t exactly protest.

Don’t go where you’re going. No. Really. So you want to go to Rome to break out your roommate’s boyfriend…the last thing you do is fly to Rome. Too obvious. Too easy to track. And, besides, we were in Macey’s mom’s private jet. There were going to be flight plans and manifests and stuff. So Rome was absolutely not our destination.

Pack carefully (because even a rolling bag can be inconvenient in a high-speed chase, especially one involving cobblestones).

Be careful.

The shoreline of Marseille was beautiful, I had to give it that much. I stood on the deck of the tiny boat that Macey had hired to take us across the Mediterranean, watching the lights disappear in the distance. Ocean spray slapped me in the face, and I had to keep hold of the railing to stay on my feet. Big swells rocked against the hull. A storm was moving in. That’s when I felt the dark figure that came to stand beside me.

“Have you talked to Preston?” I asked Macey.

“Before we left for break your mother absolutely forbade me to speak to him. Remember?” she asked me.

“I do remember. So”—I looked at her from the corner of my eye—“what did he say?”

Another big wave crashed against the boat. Liz was down below, curled up in a little ball, eating green apples and every kind of anti-nausea medication we were able to smuggle out of the school’s medical wing. Bex wasn’t going to leave her, so that meant Macey and I were alone.

“He doesn’t have a clue, Cam.” She leaned her arms against the rail and stared out at the water, which was as blue as her eyes. “I called him on New Year’s Eve. He was going to a party. He was…fine. That same day, Zach’s mom was murdering a man and blowing up Cambridge, and Preston was talking about spring break. He asked me to come visit.” Macey looked down at the water. “I think he really likes me.”

“Of course he likes you.”

“No.” Macey shook her head. “I mean…he doesn’t like this.” Macey gestured down at her long legs and designer boots. The tight jeans and cashmere sweater. Even on a rickety boat in the middle of nowhere, she looked like she was at a photo shoot, but that didn’t matter to Macey. Turns out, I guess, it didn’t matter to Preston either.

“He likes me.”

Maybe it’s a spy thing, or maybe it’s a girl thing—but when you spend your whole life trying out a series of aliases, it is a great comfort to find someone who knows and likes the person behind the cover.

“You know his schedule?” I asked.

“Some of it,” Macey said.

“Good. When we get in there tomorrow…we’re going to have to be careful.”

“I know.”

“We can’t just walk up and grab him. His dad has to know what is going on—what Zach’s mom is up to. He has to know he’s a target. Which means Preston is going to have guards. And those guards are going to do everything they can to keep him away from the likes of us.”

“I know.” I could hear the annoyance in Macey’s voice, but those things had to be said, and so I took it upon myself to say them.

“It’s not going to be like it was last fall is what I’m saying. We can’t knock on the embassy door and ask if Preston can come out and play. Well…we can if we want his dad to try to kill me again.”

“I get it, okay?” Macey wasn’t snapping, but she was frayed. I could hear it in her voice, see it in her eyes.

“I know you get it. It’s just that this is serious, Macey. We might make things worse. In our business, there’s always the chance that you are just going to make things worse. If we go in there without knowing exactly what we’re doing, then people could get hurt. People could die. Are you willing to take that risk?”

“I know there are risks, Cammie. Okay? I know what’s happening to him and around him…what the situation is and…” She trailed off. For a moment I thought she wouldn’t even finish, but the she turned her gaze out to the water. “That’s why I wish this boat would go faster.”

Chapter Eight

The street outside the ambassador’s residence was quiet. Out front, marines stood guard by the gates. The lines of tourists and people needing visas stretched from the front doors and around the corner, waiting for the offices to officially open, but the four of us had just arrived at our post. It was easy to agree there was no use in trying to sleep.

“What do you think?” Bex asked me.

“It looks the same,” I said from my place by the window. A steaming cup of hot cappuccino was in my hands, but I didn’t sip. It was enough just to feel the warmth.

“That’s good, isn’t it?” Liz asked. “I mean, maybe it won’t be so hard.”

Macey cut her eyes at her. “Looks can be deceiving.”

Covert Operations Report

The Operatives took up a position in a safe flat (i.e., hotel room) overlooking the United States Embassy in Rome. They began taking shifts, keeping watch.

Over the course of eight hours the Operatives noticed five guard changes and the entrance of two motorcades. They also consumed a total of twelve cups of gelato.

The Operatives also observed a variety of strange patterns in the area:

Three separate tourists seemed to be more interested in getting pictures of embassy security than any of the traditional sights.

The Operatives also regretted not packing warmer sweaters.

“So what do we see?” Bex asked through my comms unit later that day. She and Liz were in a van, checking out the surrounding streets, scouring for a weakness in the embassy’s defenses. But Macey was beside me, binoculars pressed against her eyes as we stared down at the embassy’s front gates, watching. Counting.

“Anything going on?” Bex went on.

“Same old, same—wait,” I said when the embassy’s front doors opened and two bodyguards walked out, a smaller, thinner figure with a backpack pressed between them.

“Is that…?” I asked.

“It’s him,” Macey said. I felt her start to bolt, but then she stopped herself. Macey had come way too far to be stupid.

I watched Preston and his guards walk toward a waiting car and climb inside. The gates opened, and, with a roar, two motorcycles pulled up to flank the limo as the three vehicles moved through the gates.

I knew part of Macey still wanted to run. But me…I was stunned, trapped in the memory of the men last fall who had chased me through the streets of Rome, and I knew that the men on the motorcycles weren’t a part of the embassy’s protective detail. They were Circle. And they were watching Preston’s every move.

Just then one of the unmarked vans that had been rotating in and out of position on the street pulled into traffic, following Preston and his watchers into the distance.

“Cam?” I heard Bex’s voice in my ear. “Cam, what’s happening?”

“Bex, Liz,” I said. “You’d better get back here. I think we need to hurry.”

The school must have been a church once upon a time. At least part of it. The main hall had stained glass windows and a high, arching ceiling covered in mosaics. It was beautiful. Fortunately, its security was also totally lax.

The lock on the alley door was easy to pick. The back stairwell had no cameras. And, perhaps most importantly, the school’s intercom system was incredibly hackable.

“Preston Winters, you are needed in room 84,” the female voice on the intercom said.

That room 84 was the boys’ bathroom, no one seemed to notice.

“Hey, stranger,” Macey said, and Preston slammed the bathroom door behind him.

“Macey? What are you…I…I mean, you’re in Rome. And you’re in the boys’ bathroom.” He sounded like he wasn’t certain which was more peculiar.

“I need to talk to you,” she said, and I stayed quiet.

“It’s so good to see you!” He stepped toward her. I think he was going to hug her—maybe kiss her. I kind of wanted to hide. But more than that, I wanted to get out of there.

Preston, on the other hand, seemed immune to the weirdness.

“Are you in town long?” he asked. “Where are you guys staying? Have you been to the embassy yet? Maybe we can—”

“We can’t go to the embassy, Preston.” Macey’s voice was even. “You can never go back to the embassy again.”

Then, for the first time, he looked at me. It was a look that said he thought it might be a joke, that she was teasing. Or just being a crazy politician’s daughter. But Macey was through rebelling, and deep down Preston knew it. “Cammie?” he asked.

“It’s complicated, Preston.”

“Complicated…how?” he asked. His expression grew grave. “Circle complicated?”

“Yeah. We’ll tell you all about it in a little—”

“Are you okay?” Terror filled his eyes. Last summer, he’d been the one I’d gone to when I was on the run. He’d taken me in and given me shelter. He knew what the Circle of Cavan was, but as far as we knew, he had no idea that his father was actually one of the Circle’s leaders—that someday that job was supposed to pass to him.

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