The next day I couldn't focus on anything. There was just so much weird stuff going on - PreCalculus just didn't seem important. After school Jason gave me a lift over to Zhong's house to figure out how -and possibly if and why - we were going to steal Harvey. Zhong's mother opened the door, welcomed us in, and said something that was clearly meant to be in English but I couldn't for the life of me understand. I asked her to repeat it, but I was just as lost, so I decided to just let it slip. Zhong was apparently not home yet, and none of us spoke any Mandarin, so further attempts at communication seemed rather pointless. It was rather akward.
We were all rather glad when Zhong and her father showed up. Mr. Hua had about as much English as his wife. He muttered a few friendly, yet incomprehensible words to us then headed up stairs. It suddenly occured to me something Zhong had mentioned last night.
"You're dad gives presentations about his work, doesn't he?" I asked her.
"Yeah, he was giving one last night," she answered.
"Doesn't he need better English for that?" I asked.
"You'd think so," she answered, "Here's the thing. He can write in English just fine - it's speaking and understanding he has trouble with. So he memorizes the presentation, then when it comes time for questions, I translate. That's what I was helping with,"
"Ah," I said. It seemed to make enough sense.
"Well," said Jason, "Let's get started, shall we?"
There was a murmer of agreement.
"Ok," he continued, "Here's the plan so far: Faye is going to create some sort of diversion and lure the parents away from the house. Zhong, you can help with that if you like, it would keep you from being implicated if things went wrong. Sound good?"
"Umm.. sure," she answered, seeming a bit perplexed.
"Skyler, you and I need to spread out around my house and find two keys - one to the shed where Harvey is being held, and the key to Harvey himself. Since nothing else is kept in that shed, we should be able to remove Harvey to a new location and have use of him for sometime before the parents suspect anything. I take him, you lock the shed, then hand me the key and I'll go to a locksmith's and have copy's made. That way, I'll be able to get in and out whenever I need to. Any questions?"
"Umm," I raised my hand, "Just one. Why are we doing all this again?"
"Marissa," Jason answered, "She swoons over guys with motorcycles. Trust me on this, okay? Her friend Haley's single. I could set you two up if this goes well," He winked.
"No thanks," I answered. Haley was clearly out of m league and I didn't really care. I had more pressing matters to think about.
"When are we doing this?" asked Faye, who had been unusually silent up until this point.
"That depends on two things," answered her brother, "When we're all free, and when Marissa is free. I trust your diversion is flexible?"
"Oh definately," said Faye, "You know how good I am at sweet-talking people. I can keep mom and dad driving around for hours. You just leave that to me,"
"Ok then," he said "Anyone have plans Friday afternoon?"
"Are you kidding me?" I asked. I hadn't had a date since sophmore year - hadn't really wanted one, to be honest.
"It's settled then," he stated, with finality, "Friday after school, the heist begins,"
Since we still had some time before had to go home, we hung around for a while. We played doubles Ping-Pong in the garage, but Jason and I kept losing- Zhong is freakishly good at that game. A while later I had to go to the bathroom - the downstairs one was in use, so I headed upstairs. As I walked past an office, I heard an unfamiliar voice.
It wasn't saying anything unusual. Just a lot of yes's and no's - the boring half of a phone conversation. The voice was strong, male, and unnaccented. It sounded vaguely familiar, but I couldn't pinpoint from where. I asked Zhong about it when I got downstairs.
"Hey," I asked, "Is there anybody else staying with you?"
"No," she answered, in her frequently perplexed manner, "Why?"
"I just heard a voice, that's all," I said
"Must have been the ghost," Faye joked, "This house is built on an old Dakota burial ground,"
"Maybe it was just the radio?" Zhong suggested.
"Probably," I answered. I might have been the radio. It was possible, I supposed. I decided just to let it slide. In an hour or so, it was time to go home. I severely hoped I wouldn't find things too much stranger than when I left.