“That might be difficult,” I say.
“Cindi recovered your bag when you were arrested.”
“Apparently, her name and contact information were inside the bag. She reported it stolen a while back.”
I’m stricken. Every time I think I’m catching up with how our resident masterminds operate, I get thrown again.
“I know,” Pye says. “Their ways are, well, unconventional. But we already know this. Hey! Just look at it like this – your stuff might have been compromised if not for Cindi.”
She’s right. I hate that. For over a year, my life has been in their hands. My emotions have been invalidated. And I let it happen. What is wrong with me?
See! I did it again! Wrong with me? What is wrong with them? Sometimes I want to just go to the locker, get the cash, and go find their father. I want to study him. I want to understand why he raised them like he did. I want to know if he is the source of their mad genius.
“Earth to Noname…”
“Sorry,” I say with a strange exhaustion seeping into my bones.
“I have to tell you something else.”
I wait. Whatever it is, it’s unlikely to spin me again. Now that I remember who pulls my strings.
“Stipple relocated the others.”
We stare at each other. My heart began to flutter before my mind began to churn through possibilities.
“After you were arrested, Stipple staged an exodus.” She avoids eye contact. I wait. The pieces will come together either way. “This make-up, make-believe, Pye – they would have seen through it. The only way to keep me in play and keep them safe…”
“Who better to keep your secrets? Who better to draw into all this mess? Who do they think we’ve relied on all this time?” My voice inched louder with each question. Now, I pace the small circle of our corner.
“On them. On Cindi and E. On Stipple. Those are the people carrying us through this.”
“What?” I am incredulous. “Without them, there’d be nothing to carry us through!”
“Don’t pretend you are shocked anymore,” Pye says. “You knew. You’ve always known where things were headed. Maybe the details surprise you, but this has never been a game. Not for you. Not for me. We are where we planned to be.”
“Are we?” I sit again and focus my breathing. “What are we doing? What have we accomplished? Why should we still be out here while they sit in relative comfort?”
“For Sad Boy,” she says. “For Asa.” Her face is hard, her eyes fiery.
“Not one thing we have done changed a thing for either of them. Not one thing we could do will change their stories. Not a single thing.”