Identity Unknown

"Being back here made me see how much it can get to you; the training, all of the lessons, even just the environment we are in. We aren't the same as everyone else. And everyone else can never know.'

After six months of searching for her father, Charlotte Goode returns to the Gallagher Academy. Exams and eager friends await, but something is wrong. When a phone call changes everything, Zach can offer the answer - but someone will stop at nothing to keep him silent. And when a double agent is revealed, Charlotte must choose who to trust - but time is running out, and the Academy's greatest secrets are at risk.

The stakes are higher, but is she ready?

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21. Next Step

"Business as usual." Headmistress Morgan's brisk tone was unnerving, and she was holding the door open for me in the universal signal for 'get out', but my feet stayed rooted to the ground.

"That's it?!" I asked despairingly.

She shook her head. "Of course, we will do all we can, but this is where your involvement stops. Bex will be fine, Charlie." Her voice was smooth, but I knew she could be lying.

"She's your student, and I could help..." I pushed, but Miss Morgan wasn't having any of it.

"If I'm not mistaken, you have a class to attend, Ms Goode?" she said in a steely tone. I obeyed her orders, heading to the P&E barn (much to my agitation, as my limbs were aching). But of course it wasn't over - my friends would help. As soon as I approached her, Macey's face broke into a knowing glance.

"You know something," she insisted.

"All in good time," I said coolly, moving to stand with the rest of the group, keeping them waiting until lunch.

                                *******************************************************************************************                    

 

"What are we going to do?!" Liz cried for the hundredth time. It was a gorgeous day, sun spilling across the sky, but was Liz happy? No. She leant down, snatching the Ray Bans from Macey's eyes.

"She could be anywhere," she hissed. Macey winced at the sharp shard of sun in her face, rubbing her eyes and laying back down to sunbathe. She seemed totally at ease, but I knew she must be as shaken up as the rest of us.

"Cam, you know her better than any of us." Liz gripped her shoulders, but Cammie could only shrug.

"You're right, Lizzie. She could be anywhere..."

I was hunched up awkwardly on the grass, hugging my knees to my chest, flicking at some stray hairs that had gathered around my knees and gazing enviously at Macey's smooth, shaven calves (note to self: start using the McHenry Miracle Wax.)

"The annual conference," I said slowly.

"Huh?" said Liz.

"Of course!" I cried. All of my friends turned to look at me.

"Each year, the CIA do a search. They scour the globe, looking for people to recruit. And then they hold a conference."

"You mean they want Bex at the CIA?" Cam whispered, and I couldn't tell if she was shocked or excited.

"It doesn't work like that."

I had almost forgotten that Rick was there.

Almost.

For one, I could smell the musky aftershave that he wore (probably borrowed from his father, as Rick is yet to sprout a moustache) but nonetheless, it smelt really good. And although he was a spy with the ability to blend in anywhere, I could always sense his presence.

"How does it work then?" Macey questioned, cocking an eyebrow at our newest male student (which, by the way, was still difficult to comprehend. I mean, it's hardly an academy for exceptional young women when the number of male pupils is increasing at this rate.)

"They wouldn't just pounce mid-mission, that's not how they work. It's the CIA, but they don't just want to recruit her. There must be something else."

"How can you be so sure?" Liz asked. 

"I just know," he said simply, slumping down beside me and picking at a scattering of daisies in the grass. But this, of course, wasn't good enough for Liz. She liked evidence, and graphs, and lots of different sources. Rick's 'a priori' approach wasn't her style.

"The main question is, how can we get her back?" asked Macey.

Rick Solomon was smiling as he said, "I think I have a plan for that..."

 

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