Conspiracy by Paramore
Please speak softly
or they will hear us
and they'll find out
why we don't trust them
The corridor echoes as I gently tread down it, my head low but my heart even lower. Suddenly I tense, thinking I can hear footsteps behind me. I turn quickly, glancing up and down the deserted corridor and breathe. There's no one there. I continue, walking softer still trying to escape from my crowded doubts that fly around in my head.
I'm almost finished my coverop's report, but I know this one is different. My hand shakes as I hold the pen above the page, unsure on how to go on.
"Cammie?" My name rings out in the silence, snapping me alert.
"Yeah? In here," I hurriedly snap close my report sliding it into my draw while pulling the pen out of my shaking hands. Suddenly the door bursts open and in front of me stands my three favourite sisters, my favourite friends.
"What's taking you so long Cammie?" Bex complains, tapping her foot impatiently on the ground.
"Hurry up or all the crème brulee will be gone," Liz says, knowing my favourite desert. I smile at my friends, who stared down at me, concerned but so lovingly. And that's why my heart squeezed tight as I touched the draw before walking up to them. They couldn't see the difference though. Because I was a spy. And a spy can't show what they're feeling.
"Coming," I said, grinning at them half-heartedly.
"So, how's Zachy these days Cammie?" Macey teased as we made our way down to the Grand Hall. I blushed but felt my heart plunge.
"Ooh! She's blushing," Bex ducked before I hit her, lucky for her. I glared mockingly at her. They laughed. But before I could stop myself, I was laughing too. And that's when I realised. That I had too. Because we were a family. We were sisters. And I couldn't endanger that.
"Guys," I said, stopping suddenly, "I love you guys so much, you know that right?" They turned and looked at me confused.
"Of course we know that silly," Liz said, rolling her eyes uncertainly.
"I mean, you've always been there for me and you're the best sisters anyone could ever wish for," I said, blabbering on. I looked at them, as they stood staring at me. I lunged at them, wrapping them in a huge hug. And we just stayed that way for a bit.
My hand was steady as I wrote the last sentence. I glance over at the three sleeping girls beside me as I gently touch all their hands before walking out the door. Not looking back.
Speak up dear
'cause I cannot hear you
I need to know
why we don't trust them
The high walls of Gallagher get farther and farther away as I sprint away, briefly glancing back before averting my eyes and focusing my mind. I let myself run wild, letting my legs guide me somewhere. I find myself at the gazebo. I gaze down at the gazebo, bringing back so many memories.
My first drop off point with a civilian boy who I had spent hours wondering over.
My conversation with a certain green eyed Blackthorne boy who I had rudely walked away from. The boy who now I found so hard to walk away from.
The wind blows across the deserted gazebo, the lights all twinkling and shiny. I sit down, shivering, hugging Zach's jacket closer. I finger the rock that had started a string of messages between me and Josh and smile. I don't regret those days when I worried about how my hair looked in front of Josh or going through his garbage, finding clues. But then, I don't want them so badly anymore either. Because, well, I had moved on. And found Zach.
Suddenly a light flickers in one of the shops and I jump into one of the shadows nearby. I edge closer and realize that the shop was… Abram and Son's Pharmacy. I peek in the windows and see Josh, standing alone, staring at a poster about chasing your dreams. I smiled. Still Josh.
"Josh?" A sweet, familiar voice jolts both us. Deedee appears from the back room clutching a pink bag. She looked different now, she was wearing jeans and a purple jacket. Not pink. Purple. And just when I thought my life couldn't get stranger.
"Over here," Josh calls as Deedee makes her way over. They both stand and stare at the poster, side by side.
"You should chase your dreams you know Josh," Deedee says suddenly, "Cammie knew it too," my mouth falls open at my name. Josh tensed a little before smiling lightly.
"Yeah," he says simply. They smile at each other and Josh reaches for her hand. They're so sweet together, so perfect. And I smile along with them.
"What do you think they're doing right now Deedee? In that big mansion of theirs?" Josh wonders out loud, and I cringe at the thought that people are wondering about us Gallagher Girls.
"I dunno," Deedee says, looking out the window, staring in the direction towards the Gallagher mansion.
"Do you think she's ok?" Josh asks suddenly, gripping her hand, "I haven't seen her for a while and the last time I did she seemed a little…" he trailed off, not sure where to go.
"Of course she's alright," Deedee said confidently, "she's Cammie we're talking about, remember?" Josh laughs quietly.
"Sometimes I just wonder… she seems different you know? So unlike all the girls in our school," Josh says and Deedee laughs.
"Of course! She's actually nice unlike those nasty girls who spend all their time cheerleading and apply makeup in the toilets," Deedee rolls her eyes at Josh. I smile. Yeah, while for those girls it's all cheerleading and makeup, for Gallagher Girls it's all punching and spying.
"Hmmm," Josh says, his eyes turning towards the window. Deedee nudges him with her shoulder.
"Hey, don't worry about her, she's got Zach remember?" I frown at her words, what does she mean?
"You can tell that he's so into her, every time they're together Zach's always there for her," Deedee smiles at Josh and I can hear her silent thoughts, like you. Josh smiles at Deedee gently.
"You're right," Josh sighs and they head for the door, "she's a big girl, she can take care of herself," Deedee grins at him before taking his hand again. I watch them leave the shop together, walking past the gazebo. I turn and smile at their retreating backs before slinking back into the shadows.
Explain to me
this conspiracy against me, yeah
And tell me how
I lost my power, oh yeah
The door creaks gently as I step cautiously into the cabin. I breathe a sigh of relief as I walk in. It's familiar, it's safe. I drop my bag onto the chair and fall onto the ground. I wince in pain as a sudden flashing pain tore up my leg. I gingerly pick at my jeans and see the stinging cut along my leg. I swear quietly at those agents who were following me. But I took care of them. Good care.
I limp over to the cupboard and find what I expect. Piles and piles of gear. I smile suddenly at the thought of the owner of the cabin. But that disappears as quickly as it comes when I remember where he is at the moment. I pull out a roll of bandage with a grim look on my face. I gently wrap it around my leg, biting my lip. I look out the window at the lake which is still and peaceful. Something I wish life still was. I pull out a thick woolen jumper of my dad's from my bag and drape it over my shoulders. I sit on one of Mr Solomon's soft armchairs and curl up watching the lake stay still, unmoving.
I wake up gasping from yet another dream filled with masked faces and drugged rags. I wipe sweat off my forehead with a shaky hand.
"Why?" I ask the ceiling, wondering if anyone could hear me.
"Why me?" The ceiling doesn't answer, but then again, I didn't expect it to.
"What is it about me that they find so exciting?" I laugh at my lame humor.
"What, did they suddenly see me go from a boyfriend less girl to an ex-boyfriend-doesn't-even-remember-me?" I try to laugh but then I realize something. It was true.
Why did they come after me now? Why not when I was a toddler, or when I was in elementary, with no knowledge? I chew my lip as things swirl in my head, dancing around and taunting me. Suddenly I lurch up and lunge at my bag. I hold my breath as I pull out a journal. I didn't know why I had brought it, it gave me a kind of view of when things were simple and when my troubles revolved around civilian boys and not international terrorist groups.
I read through it quickly, but nothing jumps out. I shut it in frustration. It was in there, I knew it was.
A sudden rumble distracts me. I look down to discover the source of the noise to be none other than my very own stomach. I walk over to Mr Solomon's fridge, wondering what kind of food he ate. Muesli and protein filled food? Or a hardcore fatty junkie? I opened the fridge and found myself staring at cereal (in the fridge, I know right?), soup in a can and some other things. I frown. The food in front of me reminded me of… dad. It was something I would expect him to eat. I grabbed a can of soup and a pan and heated it on the stove.
It's darker now, the sun's lower and the room's bathed in a soft glow. I sit, once again curled in the armchair, staring at my coverops report. My eyes flutter close and I can't help but wonder before losing myself into dreamland, what happened?
Where can I turn?
'Cause I need something more
Surrounded by uncertainty,
I'm so unsure
My feet pound furiously on the wet concrete as I sprint away from the agents. But they're good. Like all the Circle agents, but then, I'm a Gallagher Girl. I am good. I feel the envelope against my heaving chest, not moving. I spare a glance over my shoulder. They're a little while back, limping slightly from their injuries. I grimace when I suddenly feel a jolt of pain again. They had almost got me this time. This time it was too close. Suddenly I see it, up high, written in Italian, metropolitana. The subway. I race into the station, quickly pulling a pair of sunglasses out of my bag. I speed walk into the ladies bathroom and hurriedly pull out a black wig and hazel contacts; becoming a new person in less than a minute. I gently, but quickly, wrap yet another cloth around the cut, wincing at the pain. New jeans, a flowery t-shirt and an Italian looking jacket wearing girl now stares at me from the mirror. I grab all the gear from the bag and rummage in the bag for another bag, this time a handbag. I threw everything in before dumping my old bag into the bin and straightened my wig, pulling out a mascara wand. A second later the door burst open. I looked up from the mirror, staring at the Circle agent who minutes ago had been chasing me down the roads of Italy.
"mi scusi, signora, ma avete mai visto una ragazza da queste parti?" The goon asks loudly as he scans the room if I had seen a girl. I breathe a sigh of relief, he didn't know who I was. (Excuse me, but have you seen a girl around here?)
"No, scusami," I reply politely (no, sorry). He nods at me before I put my mascara wand away and walk to the door.
"Permesso," I say quietly as I brush past him, touching a tracking device to his jacket. He doesn't even look up.
The station is crowded, people everywhere. Perfect, just the way I like it. I pop a piece of gum into my mouth and disappear into the crowd. I'm walking behind a guy who had a ticket for a train in 10 minutes which was going to Rome. I stumbled into him and mumbled a sorry before taking it and putting it in my bag. He turned and glared at me, and I mumbled another sorry. He then grudgingly smiles and turns away. And when he realizes he lost his ticket and turned around again, I was gone.
I wandered through the train, looking for an empty apartment. I found one, finally near an exit. Good, I thought to myself, an easy exit. I came into to the compartment and slid the door shut. I sighed. I looked out the window to see rolling hills and small houses, complete with cows and sheep. I rummaged through my handbag, slipping napotine patches into my sleeve. Suddenly the compartment door slid open. I looked up, my hand wrapped tightly around a knife in my bag. A teenage boy stood in the doorway, looking awkwardly at his feet.
"Um, do you mind if I sit there? Everywhere else is full," he asked, shifting from one foot to the other. I loosened my grip on the knife.
"Sure," I shrugged and pulled out a magazine from my bag, and spread it across my lap. I figured he wasn't much of a threat, probably some teenager going to meet up with a friend in Rome or something. He wasn't bad looking, but I had a vague sense of familiarity about him.
"So…" The boy started, I groaned inwards, "why are you heading to Rome?" I looked up from my magazine.
"Just, you know, sightseeing," I shrugged and chewed my gum, "you?" I figured I needed to act like a normal person and that now involved conversation due to his random conversation started.
"Oh, came down to meet a friend, so just going home now," he said eagerly, happy to had made conversation. I smiled (fakely) at him. He beamed back. Then I realised something.
"Hey, why do you speak English?" I asked him curiously, while my inner spy was becoming suspicious.
"I moved from America last year," he shrugged.
"Oh," was my reply.
"What about you?" He pressed on, "where are you from?" I gritted my teeth behind my fake smile.
"Oh Ohio," I said casually. He nodded and we drifted into a silence.
"Oh, silly me!" He suddenly exclaimed, I grimaced.
"My name's Preston Winters."
Tell me why I feel so alone
'Cause I need to know
to whom do I owe
I stopped chewing my gum, I almost dropped my magazine. This is Preston Winters? He looked… hotter now. Not so much the nerdy possible first son I had first meet on the roof of a building in D.C years ago. I leaned over and shook his hand.
"Janelle Andrews," I said, making up a name on the spot.
"Nice to meet you, by the way," he added, dropping my hand. I nodded at him politely.
I figured I probably needed to find out some stuff about Rome and a sightseeing girl asking a boy who lives there probably wasn't too suspicious. I smiled at him and leaned over.
"Excuse me, but I couldn't help but notice, you're Sam Winters' son aren't you?" I asked excitedly, watching his reaction. His cheeks reddened a little but he nodded.
"So you live in Rome now?"
"Yeah well after we lost the election we decided to move to the embassy in Rome," he shrugged.
"Oh, cool," I nodded at him. He looked less interested in the conversation now I had started on him.
"So what are places you would suggest for sightseeing?" I batted my eyelashes a bit, just to make him a little uncomfortable.
"Ah, well, the Colosseum is always a great place to go to," he said, shifting in his seat a bit. I nodded excitedly.
"I read somewhere that there's this really cool bank there," I asked, watching him eagerly. He looked confused.
"Oh, my dad works in banks so I kinda grew up in bank-loving household you could say," I added quickly, cursing myself for being so careless to have said something that a normal girl wouldn't of said. Preston just nodded.
"Yeah there's a bank near the embassy, really big and really well known," he stops then adds, "my dad banks there," my heart almost stops. That had to be the bank. It had to.
"Thanks," I said with a smile.
"No problem," he replies, smiling lightly. I glance down at my watch and realise we're almost there. I get up.
"I'm going to the bathroom, we're almost there I think," I tell Preston as I head towards the door, "it's been a pleasure talking to you," I turn and smile at him.
"Likewise," he says, a bit surprised at my sudden departure. I just smile and slip out the door.
I'm panting and exhausted, 3 days in Rome has left and I've been plagued by agents. And so I do the unthinkable. I become Cammie Morgan.
I knock on the door. I hear someone on the other side, probably looking at a camera that shows me. The door swings open. Preston stands in front of me gaping.
you would make it
because you said
that we'd make it through
I finger my short black hair with distaste. I hate it, but I know that I need it. I scoff at the days when I thought my brown hair was boring. I wish I could keep it but I know I can't. Because they know me now. I bite my lip as I shakily stuff the packages into the brown envelope. I count them, making sure they're all there. Bex. Macey. Liz. Mum. Aunt Abby.
I close the envelope and seal it, closing in those packages. I had thought long and hard about getting something for Zach, but I couldn't find anything that could tell him how I thought. For the girls, those bracelets had screamed their names to me and the pendants had drawn me to them, whispering in my ear to tell me to give it to mom and Aunt Abby. But nothing screamed his name to me. Nothing was good enough there. I knew the best present I could give him was to go home. And I will. When this is over.
The envelope trembles in my hand as I hand it over the counter to the man. He stares down at it. My scribbled handwriting stares back at him. He nods and I hand him the money. I leave the post office and head back to the hotel I was staying at. I realised that if something happened and I… couldn't get back, I knew someone needed to get that package. I couldn't figure it out and I knew that the necklace was most vulnerable in my possession. So, I let it go.
The wind's blowing harshly across the empty alleyway. I turn up my collar and hurry down it, eager to get back to my hotel room. But then I feel it. Eyes.
But then again, it could have been the shot that rang out in the night that alerted me.
I dived to my side, the bullet millimetres from where I stood seconds ago. I turn around to see Circle agents, so many that I can't count (and when you factor that I am a girl genius, you realise that it's a lot). I knew this was it, but I knew that Gallagher Girls don't leave without a fight.
So I kicked.
And I watched as goon after goon hit the concrete.
But I also had to watch goon after goon take up their fallen comrade's place.
So I wasn't surprised when finally a lady stepped up. A lady which haunted my dreams. A lady with green eyes who, was incidentally, was my (kind of) boyfriend's mum.
But still I fought. I fought for Bex. For Macey. For Liz. For Mr Solomon. For my mom. For Aunt Abby.
And for Zach.
And so that's why I wasn't surprised when I found myself losing conscious on the cold alleyway concrete. Because it had to happen eventually, no matter what everyone said.
And so when the last thing I remembered was a cruel smirk, so similar yet so different to those of a certain Blackthorne boy staring down at me, I wasn't surprised. But she forgot one thing.
I was a Gallagher Girl.
And I was not giving up without a fight.
Review, pwetty, pwetty pwease? (: