The next day was Saturday, so I slept until noon. It felt good, one of those deep, dreamless sleeps that you wake up from feeling like it never happened at all. I came down stairs and mom was sitting at the table, eating lunch. I guess technically she's my step mom, but she's the only mother I knew as a child, so that's what I'm gonna call her.
"You're finally up," she commented. "Jason called you several times. Seemed excited,"
After I had some breakfast, I called him back.
"Hey," he said, "Where you been? I've called like, five times,"
"I had a long night," I answered, "So I slept in,"
"Oh," he said, "Well, Harvey worked spectacularly,"
"Good to hear," I answered, "Would have been quite a waste if he'd stalled or you couldn't get him to start,"
"No," said my friend irritably, "I mean on Marissa. She totally changed her attitude towards me,"
"Umm.. not to burst your bubble or anything," I replied, "But is a girl who changes her opinion of you because of simple material things really such a great find?"
There was a longish pause.
"I don't think that was it," said Jason after a while. "I think it's more about the ritual than the actual motorcycle. Sort of the twentieth century equivolent of riding up on a white stallion, you know?"
"Or maybe you just look really good in leather," I suggested.
He laughed. "You know I do. So look, I want to tell you guys all about it. Can we hang at your place tonight?"
"Probably," I answered, "I'll ask. Hey, did you ever find out about that armor?"
"Nope," he said, "Haven't even thought about it. I'll tell you tonight though, ok?"
"Ok," I answered.
I asked my mother, who said it was ok. I told Jason and hung up.
So much had happened in the last few days. It felt like I was on the verge of something; like I could feel how my life was about to change. I needed someone to unload all this on. I wished I knew if it was safe to say this kind of thing over the phone. Catherine always knew what to do about stuff like this. Plus I was wondering if she'd figured any of this out. Doubtless whoever was so intent on either killing me or keeping me alive had a similar interest in her. I hoped I hadn't somehow helped them find her with my carelessness.
I needed to know more. For one thing, I needed to know how far away Teresa's superiors were and how long it would take her to contact them; she had promised me answers as soon as she'd cleared them through them. I decided to try and call her.
I dialed the number. There was a beep.
"Hello," said the familiar voice, somewhat peppier than he'd heard it last night. "It's Teresa. I'm not here. If you'd like to leave a message, press two. If you'd like to die painfully, press one. Bye!"
There was another beep. I hung up. I hadn't really expected it to work. I needed to talk to someone about this though. And there was only one person who I thought I could trust; or if I couldn't it wouldn't matter, since she already knew. I decided to take Zhong up on her offer. I called her up next.
"Hello," said her mother's heavily accented voice.
"Can I speak to Zhong?" I asked.
"Ohyes," she answered, as if they were the same word, "Onemomentplease,"
At least I think that's what she said. I've never been very good at interpreting Mrs. Hua.
"Hello?" asked Zhong, now on the other end.
"Hey," I answered, "It's Skyler,"
"Oh, what's up?" she asked.
"We're getting together at my house tonight," I started, "I was wondering if you'd like to come,"
"Oh, I can't," she answered, "Lot's of work to do. Sorry,"
"It's ok. I just..."
I'd known Zhong for more than a year - I'd never had trouble talking to her before. Somehow it felt wierd though- I mean, I only wanted to talk to someone who knew what I was going through, but at that moment the request seemed so much heavier. I decided to let it drop.
"Yes?" she asked, expectantly.
"Never mind," I told her,"I'll see you Monday,"
I hung up the phone, and went to find something to do for the next hour or so.