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Chapter 12

GO?

"We've got to, Hunter."

I stared at Jen in bewilderment.

"Look, they already know your name; they could probably find out a lot more if they tried."

"Gee, that makes me feel better."

"But these tickets show they haven't yet. Because what they really want to know is how far you're willing to go to find them."

"What are you talking about?"

Jen pulled me deeper into the empty building, pointing to a spot my unadjusted eyes couldn't see.

"They left the envelope there, right where the boxes were. They knew that if you really gave a damn about all this, you'd come back here, looking for Mandy and the shoes. So they left you a message: 'Want to know more? Show up tonight. "

"And save them the trouble of finding me."

She nodded. "Very clever of them. Because it's the best way to find out who they are."

"It's the best way to wind up missing, like Mandy."

Jen crossed her arms, staring at the blank expanse of wall. "True, which would suck. So we have to do this in some way they don't expect."

"How about not at all? They won't expect that, I bet."

"Or maybe" Jen turned and touched my hair, pulling a strand of my longer right-side bangs aside. She touched my cheek, and I felt my own heartbeat there beneath her fingertips.

"That guy only saw you for a few seconds," she said. "Do you think he'd recognize you if he saw you again?"

I tried to ignore what Jen's touch was doing to me. "Yes. Didn't we just learn that human beings are machines for turning coffee into facial recognition?"

"Yeah, but it was pretty dark in here."

"He also saw us upstairs in the sunlight."

"But it was blinding up there, and you didn't have your new haircut."

"My new what?"

"And the party invite says, 'Dress for successblack tie preferred. I bet you look completely different in a tuxedo."

"I bet I look completely different with my face caved in."

"Come on, Hunter. Don't you want a makeover?"

Jen's fingers moved to my jaw, gently turning my head so that she could see my profile. Her gaze lingered, so intent 1 could almost feel it. I turned and looked into her eyes, and something sparked between us in the darkness.

"I think shorter and blond," she said, holding my gaze. "I do a mean dye job, you know."

I nodded slowly, so that her fingertips brushed along my cheek. She dropped her hand and looked up at my bangs again. Like any serious Logo Exile, Jen no doubt cut and colored her own hair. I imagined her fingers massaging my wet scalp and knew the argument was over.

"Well," I said, "if they want to, they'll find me sooner or later anyway."

Jen smiled. "Might as well look sharp when they do."


* * * | So Yesterday | * * *



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