Well, dinner with Alex and his sister wasn’t very pleasant to say the least.
First, Alex kind of freaked out at me because he had been so worried, he hugged me tight and wouldn’t let go, I was afraid we would be stuck like that forever! Lizzy hugged me too and Clara being kinda jealous hugged me at the same time, once my Dad got home from work he hugged me for several minutes and kept kissing the top of my head thanking God I was alright. Well, to be perfectly honest I think I’m hugged out for the next three years at least.
But the biggest problem of the night is that Alex so totally suspects something is up. He asked me what was wrong but I just blamed it on having a long crazy day. I could tell by his face, he didn’t buy that for a second.
I was glad when they left and I was able to go to bed! After our family devotions I literally dove into my bed like a dolphin would into the ocean.
That night, I dreamt of fireworks, red fireworks. Every time one exploded, someone I knew would fall down dead, and I was the one lighting them off. I was just about to light the last firework off, there were 3 people left. I couldn’t do it, I just couldn’t light it, so I screamed. I woke up screaming. It’s not the best way to wake up, let me tell you.
Soaked with sweat and screaming like a banshee isn’t the most attractive way to greet your Mom in the morning.
“Julia! Are you alright?!” I stop screaming and look at my Mother’s open-mouthed visage.
Gulp “Yeah yeah yeahhhh… Mom…heh…I’m fineeee” I emphasize the ‘fine’ because I’m sure I don’t appear to be fine at all. “What’s for breakfast Mama?” I ask grinning, sliding out of bed and stretching.
My Mom looks me over carefully and shakes her head. “Waffles, dear, you should get dressed and ready, you said Sarah was coming to pick you up early”
Darn it. I totally forgot! “Oh…yeah, I’ll get ready, be down in a bit”
I shower and slip into some comfortable clothes, leaving my hair to air dry; I tie my Converse and trudge downstairs, the smell of waffles, syrup and bacon fill my nose and I can’t help but smile at Clara, who has my mustache glass filled with my by-far favorite juice. Orange juice! “Awww thanks Clara!” I say hugging my little sis.
She smiles and I cringe inside remembering my dream from last night. She was one of the last ones standing…Her face full of fear and sadness, I wish I could erase the image fro….
Ding Dongggggg the doorbell interrupts my thoughts, and I’m thankful.
“Julia, eat your waffles, I’ll get the door” My Mom says sliding a plate in front of me, I drizzle a little syrup over the waffles, and cover the top with whipped cream. Yummm
My Mom hurries in right after I’ve shoved the first ginormous bite into my mouth, I can feel whipped cream on my nose.
“Julia! It’s a boy!” My Mom exclaims clapping her hands excitedly.
“Oh, dats sawahs brover” I say through my waffle.
“No, dear, he says he’s Sarah’s brother” She laughs, “It’s not Silas Dover, he hasn’t been around since you punched him in the nose for trying to kiss you”
I roll my eyes.
“Hurry Julia! The boy is waiting in the living room!”
I gulp down the rest of my food and imbibe my orange juice as fast as I can.
“Bye Mom, I love you” I say, kissing her cheek. “Bye Clara, be good for Mama”
“Be careful Julia, love you too” Mother says as she hurries me out of the kitchen and I find Manuel looking at a family picture.
“Oh, there you are!” He says setting the frame down and standing. “Beautiful family” he adds.
“Thanks” Wow dude…Have you not seen you and your sister?! You guys are the definition of beautiful.
He nods and holds his arm out for me. What!? This guy has to be from the past. “You seem to have a little something on your nose” he adds, pulling out a handkerchief. I look over his shoulder into the mirror on the wall. Whipped Cream! Ugh, I forgot. I wipe it off, feeling super embarrassed.
“Sarah is in the limo waiting, she didn’t want to leave the AC” he says as I take his arm and he leads me to the limo, opening the door and helping me in. Man, what a gentleman!
“I know Daddy! I promise we’ll work it out! Please don’t be mad, please Daddy, we’ll find it…..”
Sarah is on her phone, must be her Dad.
“We understand. Don’t worry about a thing, we’ll make it up to you…ok, we’ll check there…oh..ok bye…..” her face falls “Love you too Dad” she adds as she hangs up, I can tell her Dad wasn’t to happy.
“What did he say?” Manuel asks from where he sits beside me.
“He says if we don’t have the book by the end of the week he’ll…he’ll disinherit us.” Sarah sighs. “He also says that he thinks it’s at one of the local libraries due to huge donation of books Doubleday gave recently, he just doesn’t know which library would have it.”
Wow….my Dad would never, ever do that. It’s not like he has some huge inheritance, but he would never not consider me his daughter.
“We must try harder” Manuel replies firmly.
“Manny, we’ve been trying hard the whole time!” Sarah complains. “I’m tired of trying and getting nowhere”
“Well now we have her” He looks at me “She’ll be a big help”
I don’t know if I should be pleased or not. Of course I love to help people…but not this kind of people.
Sarah sighs. “Julia, are you ready for your first mission?”
I nod my head hesitantly “Yeah….I’m ready.”
“OK, here’s what you have to do” Manuel says “You must search these libraries for the journal.” He holds up his phone where his Google search for libraries in the area is shown. “You will have our help via ear piece. You mustn’t tell anyone the true reason behind your searching for the book, just state you are interested in the Parker family history. If you find the journal, remove the barcode number, as well as anything else the library may have added to the journal that may cause an alarm to go off if the book is taken. Hide the book in your bag and bring it out to the waiting limo.” He says as though he has practiced it his whole life.
I nod. “OK, I’ll try my best” I love libraries, but I hate stealing. I once stole a bag of bird seed… true story!** It was a total accident. My Dad and I were at the hardware store and he asked me to carry the bag of bird seed, when we got to the cash register I forgot I was holding it and we walked out of the store, I was about to get into the car when I noticed and I kind of freaked out. “Dad…did we pay for this?” So he and I went back in and paid for it. I was glad I wasn’t caught or arrested. Could you imagine? ‘Julia Fritz: Arrested for feeding the birds for FREE’ I am SO glad my name was cleared.
“Julia?” I look up at Manuel
“Yeah?” I ask.
He laughs. “She seriously didn’t hear a word you said”
I blush. “Sorry… I was…. strategizing”
Sarah rolls her eyes and repeats herself. “I said, we don’t have all day so I hope you know your way around libraries, we have 3 to cover and I have a salon appointment at 6” she sniffs.
Oh dear! It would be devastating if you missed your appointment. I think, as I sit here with my frizzy wavy mane, chap-stick smeared lips and a hint of mascara, she sits across from me with her sleek blond locks, hot pink lipstick and perfectly done make-up, plus freshly painted nails. Mine have been chipping for weeks!
“Go on now, we’ll be a few blocks away watching your every move” Manuel says slipping an ear piece into my hand and pinning a camera brooch to my shirt.
“Now turn around”
“What?” I ask him, surprised.
“Turn around!” I turn around and he grabs two strands of my hair from either side, pulling my hair into a front up, he secures it with something.
“What is that for?” I question, feeling self conscious suddenly.
“It’s a camera hair pin, so we can be sure no one follows you, and if they do we can warn you….And it makes your hair look nice” Manuel says.
I blush. “Oh…Thanks….but, who would follow me?” I ask, feeling nervous.
“Get in the stupid library!” Sarah says shoving the door open.
I hurry out and Sarah slams the door behind me, as I slip the ear piece in I hear Manuel telling Sarah to be quiet, and then he starts to talk to me as I walk towards the library entrance.
“Julia, we didn’t tell you because we didn’t want to add to this, but there are other people looking for the book, they are very very dangerous, and there is no telling what things they can do.”
Gulp “Good luck in there, and be careful.” I run into the library and get started, trying not to look over my shoulder every two seconds.
After 2 hours of searching and searching, I can’t find the journal, I even asked three librarians!
Sarah seems aggravated with me, but Manuel says that means we are one step closer to finding it.
At the second library I still can’t find it, 3 hours and 22 minutes later I walk slowly to the limo, I’m glad there is only one more to go.
“Where to now?” I ask, munching on a fry from Burger King.
“The Manchester Central Library” Manuel says. “We’ll be waiting at the far end of the parking lot.” he adds.
YES! That is by far my favorite one in the area.
I hurry to the door, but slow my pace as I enter.
The inside of this place is beautiful, the high ceilings and extensive bookshelves make me feel right at home, the elaborate architecture takes my breath away.
I can’t help but feel like a secret agent as I walk through the library, no one can see my ear piece but I can feel it, and I really wish I had some dark sunglasses and a briefcase to finish the look.
I have been searching for an hour now.
“Julia?” I hear my name, and at first I think it’s Manuel through the ear piece, but I feel someone touch my arm and I turn around, coming face to face with another close friend of mine. Uriah Mills.
“Uriah! Heyyy” I punch his arm lightly and smile. “You scared me, pal”
He apologizes and motions towards the shelf of books I was scanning. “What are you looking for?” I freeze and stare back at him, searching for what to say, then I realize, he just wanted to know what book I was looking for, just like any other time he would ask that.
“Oh…nothing in particular…just…looking” I say. “well…Actually I am looking for a journal”
I hear Manuel in my ear but I’m not too worried. Uriah is smart, nerdy smart. He’ll just think I want to read the book, there doesn’t have to be an ulterior motive.
“Hmm, sounds interesting, who’s journal?”
I pause…Something Parker….
“Ezra Parker!” I say.
“Edmund Parker” Sarah hisses in my ear. Thanks!
“Edmund Parker, yeah Edmund” I correct myself.
“Never heard of him, want some help looking?” Uriah asks, already scanning the titles of the books a shelf above his head.
“Yeah, that would be great, thanks!” I know Sarah and Manuel are probably mad at me for getting his help, but I don’t think it will hurt anything.
After a half hour we haven’t found anything and my phone keeps buzzing in my pocket.
“Julia, Alex keeps texting you, maybe you should answer so he thinks everything is A-Okay” Sarah says.
So he ‘thinks’ everything is OK….right, because he would definitely have to think it.
I look at Uriah who’s still tirelessly scouring shelves. What a nerd. I can’t help but smile.
“I have to go to the bathroom, I’ll be right back” I say to him and hurry to the bathrooms.
I check my phone, and as I do a third text comes in from Alex.
Alex: Hey, What’s up?
Alex: I called your house, your Mom says you’re out with the Parkers’.
Alex: Ok…So I just texted Uriah, asking if he wanted to hang, and he tells me you’re with him at the library…what gives?
“Manuel, what should I tell Alex?” I ask, though I’m not in the habit of asking advice from murderers, this seems like the time I should. How am I going to explain that I’m out with the Parkers’ and out with Uriah at the same time?!
“Just tell him we dropped you off at the library for a little while and we’ll be picking you up shortly.” He says “That’s all truth”
“OK, that should work” I text Alex back.
“Julia, why did you tell that boy about the journal?” Sarah asks, there is an angry edge to her voice, but I can’t tell if it’s due to the fact that I told him, or that I’m making her late for her beauty appointment.
“He’s smart, but he won’t suspect, we often come here together and help each other find books.” I say, which is true.
“You better hope he doesn’t find out, you know what happened to Mr.Doubleday” She warns.
“Got it” I clench my jaw. “Now I have to get back to work”
When I get back to the shelves we were searching I don’t see Uriah, and since it’s a library, I don’t want to call out his name.
“Julia, where is your friend?” Manuel asks his voice rising nervously.
“I don’t know” I look around the vast library, how am I going to find him in this place?!
“Julia! He’s being chased out in the parking lot!” Sarah shouts and I cringe at her loud voice.
“Keep it down will ya?!” I sibilate. sheesh! I have to get out there and fast!
I run out the door and see Uriah sidestep a big man, just to come face to face with another bigger man.
“HEY!” I yell, I run towards them and body slam into the smaller guy as he lunges for my friend.
“What’s going on?!” I ask Uriah who is doing everything in his power not to get caught.
“I..don’t…know!” he says between lunges, this way and that. I kick a man in the stomach sending him reeling backwards.
“I found the book, and just as I grabbed it, a man snatched it from me and took off, well he didn’t check it out, so I ran after him, and besides! Finders keepers!” Uriah says, trying to catch his breath while I handle the two goons.
“Wait! You found the book?!” I stop short and instantly regret it as a large fist slams into my stomach, knocking the air out of my lungs and me off my feet. I scramble up as fast as I can and kick the mans knee, knocking him down.
“Yeah…it said ‘Journal of Edmund Parker’ It was old…..and bound in leather” He says, he hits one of the men in the face with a book from his book bag. “Take that ye goatish clay-brained foot-licker!” He yells, smacking the guy again.
“What in the world was that, Uriah?!” I ask, jumping out from between the two men running towards me, causing them to smack into one another. Uriah gives me a high five. “It’s Elizabethan, a Shakespeare insult”
“Oh….cool, but um, where is the book?” I ask, noticing that neither of the guys have it.
“Oh….There was a third guy, he ran off and left these spongy half-faced pigeon-eggs to deal with me” He smirks, “But instead, I dealt with them” He flexes his nonexistent muscles.
I need to get that book.
I tell Uriah I’ll see him at church on Sunday and head back to the limo, leaving the two thugs dazed on the ground. I slip inside and find Sarah crying, I can’t tell if it’s real or fake, and Manuel is practically pulling out his hair.
“Gahhhhh” Manuel yells. “We almost had it!”
“I’m sorry guys, I tried…”
“No, it’s not your fault, either way those guys would have gotten away with the book” Manuel says. “Nice moves by the way”
“Oh thanks…..I’m a 1st degree black belt in karate…but, who are ‘those guys’?“I ask.
“Men our cousin hired no doubt” Sarah says sniffing.
“Why would your cousin do this?”
“Our Grandfather and our Aunt had a fight, resulting in her and her husbands departure. Years later, after our Grandfathers’ death, she returned with a 13 year old boy that no one knew existed.”
“When his name did not appear in the will she was furious, and demanded that her son get a part of it. We agreed and gave him everything that was meant for his ‘grandchildren’ but kept what was meant specifically for Sarah and I.”
“The journal.” Sarah adds.
“Yeah, but apparently he wants the journal as well….” Manuel says
Just as they finished their little tale, Manuel’s phone rings. He answers.
“What?!….no…You must return him…He isn’t even working for me!” He yells into the receiver.
He throws his phone in a rage, and Sarah asks hesitantly, “Manny….who was that?”
“Adam…He took Uriah and is holding him until I tell him how to crack the codes in the journal” Manuel huffs, running his hands through his blond mop.
My face pales and my heart stops. What have I done?
Hope you all enjoyed this chapter! Come back next week to see what happens next!
**This is actually a true story, I stole birdseed unintentionally, but don’t worry, I took it right back in a paid for it XD