“It certainly would,” Gemma agreed. “Back to the favor I wanted to ask you.”
Marcy narrowed her eyes at Gemma. “You can ask, but I reserve the right to say no.”
“Obviously. It’s not a huge one, though,” Gemma said. “I just need a ride up to the sirens’ house.”
“Up on the cliff?”
“Yeah, my car isn’t working, and I just wanted to go up there real quick before the sirens get back,” Gemma explained. “It’s a short car ride, but the bike ride up the hill would take too long.”
“Where are the sirens?” Marcy asked.
“I don’t know for sure,” Gemma said. “Thea said they were going out of town to eat, and she didn’t think they’d be back in time for play rehearsal tonight. I wanted to have as much time up there as I could, and I wanted to be able to get out of there really fast.”
“Understood. When would you wanna go?”
“The sooner the better.”
“So I’d have to leave work?” Marcy asked.
“I could wait until—”
“Hey, if I have to go, then I have to go,” Marcy cut her off and got up. She grabbed her car keys out of a drawer. As she walked around the desk, she called back over her shoulder to the office, “Edie, I’m heading out! I have to help a friend! It’s life-or-death!”
“When will you be back?” Edie asked and came out of her office in time to see Marcy and Gemma departing out the front door. “Marcy?”
In the short time that Gemma had spent inside the library, it had already dropped ten degrees outside. It still wasn’t really raining, but the wind had picked up, and Gemma was even more grateful that Marcy was driving her. Riding uphill on her bike, against the wind, would’ve taken forever.
Even in Marcy’s Gremlin it was still almost a fifteen-minute drive through town and up the winding road through the pines. Gemma directed Marcy to park a little ways down from the house, closer to the overlook where Gemma had taken Alex before.
“Thanks, Marcy,” Gemma said and unbuckled her seatbelt. “I don’t know how long I’ll be gone, and if you get tired of waiting, you can bail.”
“I’m not gonna bail.” Marcy scoffed. “I should go with you up to the house.”
“I don’t know.” Gemma shook her head. “I don’t know when the sirens are coming back, and if they find us both there, they will probably be awfully pissed.”
“Then maybe I could be a lookout or something,” Marcy suggested. “You don’t know when they’re coming back, so I could warn you.” Gemma bit her lip, debating, so Marcy pushed on.
“Come on, Gemma. Harper will kill me if I let something happen to you. You can at least let me watch the door. That’s what Fred and Thelma always leave Shaggy and Scooby to do, and if it’s good enough for Shaggy, it’s good enough for me. That’s my life’s motto.”
Gemma smirked at that. “Okay. But if you see a siren, stay out of the way, especially if it’s Penn or Lexi.”
“Agreed,” Marcy said. “My mama didn’t raise any fools and she didn’t raise any heroes.”
Marcy and Gemma got out of the car and snuck through the densely wooded area that separated the overlook from the sirens’ house. The wind was blowing through the trees, stirring up pine needles and making a howling sound through the branches.
The house was centered in the middle of a small clearing right at the edge of the cliff. The driveway was empty, so presumably the sirens had already left for the day. Just to be on the safe side, when Gemma went up to the door, she knocked and rang the doorbell. When nobody answered, she decided the coast was clear.
The door was unlocked, but Gemma hadn’t expected any different. Penn didn’t think anybody would dare to steal from her, and even if they did, she didn’t care that much since none of the stuff was really hers anyway. She could replace it all with little or no effort.
Gemma left Marcy waiting outside with instructions that if any of the sirens showed up, she was supposed to ring the doorbell and then take off into the trees. Gemma would hear the doorbell, then sneak out the back door. That was the plan, anyway.
After doing a quick once-over on the main floor, Gemma went upstairs to the loft, which was where she’d thought they’d hide it anyway. Assuming they even had it hidden here.
The second level was one massive room, having been designed as the master suite, but Penn, Lexi, and Thea all appeared to share the space. Two king beds fit easily in the room, with a twin bed shoved off to the side. Based on the small pile of hot pink panties sitting on the smaller bed, Gemma guessed that one was Lexi’s.
Skylights in the ceiling let Gemma see the dark clouds swirling above. They were nearly black now, and she flicked on the closet light. She didn’t want to turn on the main bedroom light in case the sirens came home. They’d be able to see that from the driveway.
The walk-in closet was large and overflowing with clothes. On hangers, in drawers, in piles on the floor. It had been customized with plenty of drawers and storage, which meant that Gemma had a lot to sort through.
The sirens had an endless supply of shoes. Stilettos, wedges, boots, flats in every style and color. She started taking out shoes and rifling through drawers, hoping to find a false bottom or some kind of hidden compartment.
Thunder rolled overhead, and the closet went black. Gemma froze, afraid that someone had turned off the lights, but then she realized that the wind had just knocked the power out.