As for me, well, I am what you would call a 'retrieving agent'... I guess there are not many career choices when you are a kleptomaniac, but at least I enjoy doing what I am hired for. Most of the time at least!
My name is Kilhian Branch, even though back then I wasn't married. I remember how it all started, the events are still so clear in my mind...
"You do realize the place has a security team? I can easily make it unnoticed by the guards, but you have to take the alarm down. Can you take care of the cameras too?"
I was far enough from the entrance not to appear suspiscous right away, but I did not feel like being spotted so easily just because I was standing there staring at the heavily guarded house. That was not part of the plan, even if it wasn't impossible for me to take care of.
"Just a second, I am working on it!"
Even though she was at home and I couldn't see her, I could hear how excited she sounded while accessing the security server. She has a thing for hacking, and I don't know why but she seems to enjoy it. It's in her blood, kinda like stealing is in mine.
"This won't be much of a challenge..."
"Next time I will make sure to request the job to be a 'challenge' for you. Maybe a break in into one of the most secured bank of the city? Or maybe you would rather the casino..."
The client had forgotten to mention the target was a bit paranoid. I could see at least two guards near the main entrance of the building, and I could hear another two patrolling on the terrace above me.
"Come on Litia..." Just a whisper, barely loud enough for her to hear me.
"It's done. If there is someone monitoring the camera feeds they won't see anything. You should also be able to get through the lock without raising any alarm either."
The green haired girl wasn't watching her screen anymore, her part was done, which didn't make it any easier for her. "I will keep listening, in case you need my help along the way."
The garden's part wasn't as heavily guarded or even considered to be a problem, probably because it was behind the wall. The lights had been turned off for the night in this area, making it safe for me to keep an eye on the men while they could barely see me. Protected from their view by a second wall I quietly jumped down, careful not to step on the flowers or leave any trace behind me.
"I'm inside the walls, still in the gardens though. If there is no one to guard the back entrance I should be past the backdoor in a minute." I had spent hours studying the layout of the property, I knew where I was able to enter and exit the building. I just had to stay unnoticed and everything would go according to plan. Though did you notice? Things rarely go according to the way you carefully planned them.
Litia felt more tensed actually when she had nothing left to do but wait. I could hear her pacing around in her room. Those microphones really work perfectly... I focused on my destination, she wasn't in any kind of danger in the house, but I would soon be if I kept letting my thoughts drift away.
I crouched near the corner for a minute, listening to the quiet sounds of the night. This house was on the outside of the already small town, very peaceful place. With a sigh I stood up and carefully looked around the corner. You can never be cautious enough in this job.
The area around the swimming pool seemed to be deserted, even if the guards could still see me from the terrace, there wasn't enough lights. If I was silent enough, they wouldn't even know I was there. Without a noise I made my way to the door, picking the lock so I could get in.
"I made it to the living room." I stood at the door a moment, letting my eyes get used to the darkness of the room. This was the biggest room in this building, and the bedrooms being in another part I could be almost certain I wouldn't encounter one of the owners at this time of the night. Though with my luck they might stay up late...
I could hear her walk back to the desk to study the layout before she spoke. "You should be next to the stairs, but be careful I think I saw there should be a guard patrolling the ground floor."
"I will be gone before they even pass by~" You have to believe in your luck and provoke it sometimes. Some people call it playing with the fire I believe. I just call it life.
My eyes were getting accustomed to the dark, making it easier for me to move around.
"I have found the library. The security cards we are looking for are supposed to be hidden here." Or so the client said. If it wasn't, I was getting out of here anyway, I wasn't going to start turning the place around with guards all over the place...
"Let's see... I think I see it." I had to be fast and out before one of the patrol would decide to be too curious. It's a good way to get promoted out of this boring job, but it can be quite dangerous. For both sides! I do not carry a gun... Not that I can't fire one, I am actually quite a good shot, I just dislike them. Things can become messy really fast if you face a cowboy~
"It should be in this one. What book did she say it was hidden in?"
Litia checked the details on the papers in front of her "It should be in 'The Republic' from Platon."
"It's there, in middle of more philosophy books." I went through the pages and here it was, in between two chapters. "Sorry Platon, I am borrowing those. You have been dead for so long I doubt you will need them anyway~"
"All of this for security cards... I guess the customer knows what they are used for. They look like they were specially made." I bit my lips, wondering once more if it was such a good idea to give this to the client. But the pay was good, and we needed the money. Girl has to make a living... but it doesn't mean I don't have ethics. "I will be out in a minute."
I sneaked outside through the balcony this time, standing still on a beam just long enough to make sure the guards on the terrace hadn't seen me before jumping down. Time to get back to my bike and get away from this place!
The garden was still as dark and empty, and jumping above the wall again was the safer way to get out of the 'danger zone'. "Bye guys~" None of the guards had sensed my presence, and it would probably be a while before someone checked on those cards. That would depend on my mysterious client's activities of course...
"I will be home soon. Call the client and tell her to meet us at Las Bebidas Cantina in an hour for the delivery as requested. It should give us enough time to get changed and maybe buy a drink before she arrives." She would probably send her secretary instead, I had never met directly with her and her voice was disguised. Not much on the trusting side...
As I started the bike Litia stopped the communication, getting on the phone to set up the meeting.
The ride home did not take too long, but I was glad to see the lights of the city. "Home sweet home" I whispered, a slight grin on my lips. I guess I'm not much of a countrygirl. Don't get me wrong, I do not mind going there for vacations, but living here... it might be a bit harder for me to make a living there.
Litia was already changed. Some decent clothes, a bit of make up and I and we drove to the bar on our bikes. It was already almost 2 in the morning, the place would be opened for another two hours before we would have to leave. Hopefully enough time for us to make the delivery.
"Meh~ Let's sit at the counter, it's close to the entrance and I need to see her coming in." My partner following me without a word, I let my eyes wander around the room. Even though it was late and a week day, there was still a decent amount of customers.
The barmaid came to our side to take our order, her male counterpart keeping an eye on the room. I had never seen this woman here before, her body was litterally covered with tattoos. "A 'Rockin' Roller' for me." She smiled to me before turning to Litia who added "Just a Simi Cola for me, thanks." The woman walked away to prepare the drinks.
The green haired girl leaned closer towards me and I could see she was excited by something. "Have you seen that three of the members of the Underworld band are here?"
It was one of the most famous bands playing in town at the moment. They were all born and raised here, which also added to their popularity. "Maybe you should go ask for an autograph~" I teased her.
I had no idea who was on the stage though. She might be one of the regular singers performing in this bar, but it was our first time here. Mine at least. She had a nice voice, even if the loud music from the speakers was covering most of it. Few people on the dance floor, it's getting late after all, most people are in bed. They don't know what they are missing...
"Have you been to an Underworld concert at the stadium before?" I could see her eyes glisten, or maybe it was the lights reflecting, this bar had multicolor bulbs all over the place. I like dark places when I go out, comes with the job, I would rather not be seen too much if I could avoid it.
Litia smiled and nodded "I have been there once, a long time ago though. I hear they have new songs ready for the next concert..."
The singer paused for a second, waiting for the next music to start. The boys cheering up next to her brought a smile on her face and she waved at them while performing again. They probably had more than a beer, but at least they seemed to genuinely enjoy the show.
The entrance door opening caught my attention and I slowly stood up, recognizing the damn secretary. "You should go dance while I handle this, I will try and make this quick and then we can go home. At least you can get some fun~"
She glanced to see who had come for the cards and smiled, playing with her Simi Cola bottle. "Fine, I will wait for you on the dance floor. I really cannot stand her..."
She grinned, walking away "Don't let her get on your nerves~"
"Gee, I will try missy!" I shook my head laughing, heading to the entrance where the client's secretary was waiting, staring directly at us. I always dislike to deal with her, but hopefully this will be the last time we have to. I am not even sure I would like to work for them anymore, I like to know what I am doing or who I am doing it for.
The tone of her voice was like her personality, cold. Even when she smiled, there was something about her that... I don't know, I can't tell you exactly how I felt about her. "Are you sure this was the best place to recover your cards?"
She shrugged "Would you rather had this meeting in a deserted park in the middle of the night?".
Sure, waiting in a park does look suspiscious, but I was feeling uncomfortable, as if someone was observing us.
Usually I am not too curious about why I am hired to grab something, but this made me feel uncomfortable somehow. Playing with the security cards I tried my luck, casually looking away from her "What are those for?"
"Nothing that concerns you."
I could have guessed... I made up my mind and gave her the cards, hoping I would not regret this later. She took off, and I knew I would be paid tomorrow as usual.
Walking towards the dance floor, my eyes stopped for a second on a tall blond male. I wasn't sure but it felt like he had been studying me. It was used to male watching me, this just felt... different I guess. I kept going, looking for Litia.
She was there, trying to dance almost stuck in between a couple of lovers who didn't seem to notice anyone around them and one of the excited guys who was trying to get her attention... Time to go get her out of there and go home to rest, we deserved it. Plus I had too much on my mind to enjoy partying tonight.
Without a single glance to the male trying to dance with her, the green haired woman turned to me smiling. I talked close to her ear so she could hear me, theis part of the bar being really noisy. "It's done, we should go back home."
We stood there for a minute, our attention on the singer. The evening had been long, and if it wasn't for the loud music, her voice was pushing me to dance. Knowing that the bars around here were hiring performers often for the same day once a week, there was a high probability we could listen to her again another time.
Walking out I still had that feeling that someone was watching over me... Strange and unusual feeling actually, I would have to be careful in the next couple of days, but it was probably nothing... I need to sleep!
We rode our bikes home, Litia behind me. I could have waited for her but I needed the speed, it's a kind of urge I have sometimes... I needed to clear my mind so that I could think clearly again.
We were sharing a small house in a 'quiet' district of Los Aniegos. It's all we could afford at that time, but it's all we needed back then. The neighbors weren't too curious, even if they were too friendly for me sometimes, but I guess you can't really throw them out when they visit, it's not considered a 'polite' thing to do.
As I sat down on the living room couch, the cat came to play with my shoe, begging for some attention while trying to remind me I hadn't been home too much lately. Lost in my thoughts I didn't react until Litia came behind me. "You do not look as happy as usual when a job is finished" she commented, quietly leaning into the couch.
I stared blankly at the wall for a minute but I couldn't put my finger on it. "It's just a feeling I have. I am not sure if we should have taken this job."
"They would have hired someone else, it wasn't that difficult for an organised team. Some are even more... expeditive. Do you think we will get in trouble for it?" She didn't sound worried, which made me realized I wasn't either, just bothered.
"If trouble comes, we will deal with it..."
At the same time, somewhere else in town a tired woman was joining her own partner at a coffee terrace. She sat next to him on an empty chair. "Your contact in the Bloom's staff was right, the secretary did come to collect the cards." After spending several hours in Las Bebidas Cantina to wait for an exchange that might or not happen, she just wanted to go home.
The male casually looked around, the place was almost deserted now and the few people still around didn't seem to pay any attention to them. "Who made the delivery?"
She slowly shook her head "No one we know of, maybe a new player in town. We will have to keep an eye on her, I got some pictures with my phone but it's probabbly not the best quality."
"Just what we needed..." He sighed, feeling sore himself after staying so long inactive. "Let's call it a night and see what will happen now. I will see you at the office."
Direct link to Chapter two