Chapter 30

Maya sipped on coffee number three, admittedly there was hardly any caffeine in the glorified milkshake, but after six shots of espresso anyone would be ready to stop drinking coffee. The small airport kiosk version of the multinational coffee conglomerate was close to the ticket counter and the bathrooms. 

She was also freaking so past ready for any sign of life from her sister and friends. Wow, put down the coffee, go take a piss and stop freaking the fuck out. 

Bathroomed, hydrated with an ice water, and caffeine counteracted with a banana (a trick told to her by the friendly barista); she sent a pointed text over the group message.

Maya- How many tickets am I buying, guys? Am I an only child?

Leo- HAI! Sorry. Was changing into a normal human dog monster. You can get tickets for all of us. I got a shit ton of reading material for the plane. 

Ray- She changed in front of all of us. 😢

Sam- Damn right she did. 

Maya- SAM!

Sam- Not sorry.

Maya put down her phone and let her shoulders relax. She took a long sip of water, letting the coolness wash over her. Leo was coming home. 

As much as the two fought, they were still sisters and nothing could change that. Nothing could change Maya’s anxiety over every one they went out and she felt like she sister was unsafe.  Every time she heard about Leo’s digital exploits, all Maya could think about was her sister being taken away by the men in red. 

And the men in red had came for both of them. For all three of them. And Leo’d known about Alex knowing about something she shouldn't. And they had threaten her. 

Leo hadn't been specific, Maya realized, with what they'd threatened her with. They'd had footage of her doing illegal things with Maya but all Leo’s mentioned had been her own hacking. Had they threatened Maya with prison, too? Is that why Leo was so intent on what had almost been a death wish mission?

Maya was stopped in her reverie by Sam and Leo walking into he airport, pulling their bags and hauling carry on’s. In another door came Alex and Ray, also hauling luggage. 

Maya caught Leo’s eye and nodded. She rose, disposing of the coffee, but keeping the water. She pulled her suitcase and carry on over to a kiosk with no line, the others converging on her. She punched in information, and selected the flight and seats, handing off tickets as they printed. Two hours and they would be flying executive class to Russia, thanks to Leo and her hacked coupons, taking off just enough money to make the upgrades worth it but not noticeable to the airlines. 

They split into different groups, again, Maya going with Alex and Leo, the boys going to a different baggage and security line. No one was speaking as they went through security. Maya was trying not to focus on her own hammering heart rate. She had a good fake passport, thanks to Sam’s skills, a new name and a new hairstyle.

First agent who checked tickets and ID’s. Leo was already through, pretending to be on her phone, smacking her gun obnoxiously. The man had waved her right through. Damn. Maya wished she'd thought of that. Now what? What was she supposed to do? Awkward conversation… that had to work. 

The male agent started to check her ID and passport and Maya leant over and whispered. 

“Do you have ANY idea if the ladies rooms have napkin dispensers in them?” The younger agent turned bright red, looking like he was about to throw up.  

“I…” he stuttered. “I wouldn't know. You'd have to ask one of the ladies working today.”

“Okay.” Maya smiled. “I'm sorry. I'll ask one of them. Thank you, anyway.”

She took her passport and stamped ticket and moved on through. She watched Alex out of the corner of her eye while she removed shoes and put her things in separate bins. 

Alex simply handed him her passport, stood quietly while he stamped it, smiled as he gave it back and she moved through.

Maya felt the blood rush to her cheeks. What. The. Actual? They hadn't had to do any of this? None of the spy craft was necessary? TSA was the ULTIMATE test of spy craft, wasn't it?

Alex started to pull off her converse and spied Maya. She made a funny face and looked down at her shoes as she spoke. 

“What's up with the face?” Leo asked. 

“You didn't use anything to distract.”

“Why? I match my passport. All good.”

Maya just shook her head, biting her lip. 

Zoe FleischerComment