A Game of ChanceBy: Emma Shortt
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Liz Pelletier, Publisher
For my wonderfully patient editor.
Meg Marlowe narrowed her eyes as she peered around the corner of the building she was hiding behind. She wasn’t sure what was in the building—a law firm, a real estate office—it didn’t really matter. She’d chosen it because it was directly opposite her target, X-Tech Towers.
She’d been watching the back door of X-Tech for more than fifteen minutes now—fifteen loooong minutes, and as well as sizzling with a month’s worth of pent-up anger, Meg was getting antsy.
“This is taking forever,” she mumbled. “For-ev-er.”
Her longtime friend and co-conspirator, Kate Kelly, let out a sigh as she too shifted to try to get a better look at X-Tech. Only, the space was pretty cramped—what with them trying to be sneaky and all—and she lost her balance. She tried to steady herself on Meg’s shoulder, aimed too high, and ended up pulling on her wig instead.
Meg let out a little yelp. “Katie!” she hissed, tugging the wig back into place. “Be careful with the disguise.”
Kate stepped back, her face bright red. That was not an unusual occurrence. Kate always turned red when she was flustered. “Sorry,” she whispered as she scooted along the wall. “Didn’t mean to do that.”
“It’s fine,” said Meg, patting the wig down as she followed her friend. “They can’t see us around here.”
“They might not be able to see us,” Kate replied. “But we can’t see them, either. We’ve been waiting here for ages, and Jimmy is nowhere in sight.” She frowned. “Do you think maybe you got the wrong time?”
Meg shook her head even though, in truth, she’d been thinking the exact same thing. She’d wracked her brain since they’d arrived, trying to remember exactly what time Jimmy had said. Only their “date” had been almost a week ago, in a dimly lit bar, and she’d drunk far too many pineapple-and-peach cocktails. She thought she remembered him saying seven thirty on the dot, but she might—maybe—have made that up after the fact.
“You’re sure he said half past seven?” Kate prompted.
“Yeessss,” Meg said, drawing the word out. “I’m totally sure.”
Kate reached up and gave Meg’s wig a tug. “He’s late then. Guess we have no choice but to wait a little longer.” She tugged again.
“Will you stop doing that,” Meg said, swatting Kate’s hand out of the way. “The wig is fine.”
Kate raised an eyebrow. “It’s slipping.”
Meg sighed because Kate was right. In truth, she was beginning to suspect that the wig was a bad purchase decision. Every time she moved a bit too fast or swiveled a little too quickly, she could feel the damn thing sliding down one side of her face. Still, it was necessary. She could hardly sneak her way into X-Tech looking the way she usually did. The jig would be up in a minute.
“I should have bought the real hair option,” she said after a moment. “This was so much cheaper though, and you know I love a bargain.”
“I know,” Kate said. “But let’s hope your ‘bargain’ stays on your head once you actually get inside.” She paused. “I can’t believe we’re really doing this. I mean, I know we talked about it, but now that we’re actually here doing it…”
“We’re not doing anything,” Meg said. “You’re only here as the getaway driver.”
Kate grinned. “Yes, but that’s still a ‘we.’ How are you going to get away otherwise?”
“Which would totally ruin the whole vibe.”
Meg gave Kate’s arm a squeeze. Despite her words, she was grateful that Kate had offered to come along on this mission. X-Tech Towers was at least a half-hour walk away from the nearest bus stop, and Meg was not a fan of walking anywhere other than to her computer.