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Thu Sep 15, 2011 9:02 pm
nutmegan595 says...



Chapter One
The cable was pulling way too fast. The line got tangled as she started to spin and she was stuck. Lights came on closer and closer to the room she was in. She could hear faint voices down the hall. The skylight was still too far up to just pull herself up. She looked around frantically as she could hear footsteps coming closer. A balcony about five feet away was the only possibility. She started to swing and reached for the rail. The wire around her waist pulled her backward and she propelled herself forward through the air. The tapestry hanging from the rails nearly slipped from her hands, but she got a hold. She pulled a can of hairspray from her bag and sprayed it over the balcony. She sighed in relief when she didn’t see any flickering red beams.

The jet roared as it landed at the airport. Gabrielle Monroe pulled her bag out of the overhead compartment once the seatbelt light turned off. The stewardess smiled at all of the passengers leaving the plane and Gabbie put on a fake smile she usually reserved for banks. It had been so long since she did a bank; not since before leaving home.
The taxi dropped Gabrielle off in front of an enormous townhouse. Her parents only had two weaknesses: their kids and their permanent address. They insisted that the only reason to stay mobile would be if you weren’t good enough at everything else.
Going up to the front door, Gabrielle hoped they wouldn’t be home.
Her mom answered the door. For a minute she just stared at her daughter and Gabbie wondered if she recognized her. Gabbie got her answer when her mom pulled her in for a big hug. Gabrielle bit her lip to keep from crying.
“Come in,” she said when she pulled away. “Your father and brother are in Paris, but they’ll be back in a few days,” she said as if Gabrielle just got back from a long con. As if she had only been gone a day instead of a year. “What happened?” she asked, touching Gabbie’s hair which had been cropped to her chin and dyed blonde. Gabbie hadn’t cut her hair since she was eleven, but a lot of things had changed in the past year.
“I was spotted,” Gabrielle said simply. Her mother waited for her to go on, but Gabrielle just let it drop.
“Have you seen…?” Elizabeth Monroe couldn’t finish her question.
“No. Have you?” There was an uneasy silence in the air. After all, Gabrielle had been the one to walk away.

When James Monroe got home, a brief look of surprise passed over his face before he gestured for Gabbie to follow him to the study. When Gabrielle was younger, she would usually sit across from her dad at the desk when she got in trouble. She couldn’t help but get that same feeling now.
Even though Gabbie’s hair was now closer to her mother’s color, everything else about her features resembled her dad. They both had prominent noses and sharp chins, plus smoky eyes that could vary through emotions from unfocused to piercing. Though the situation was uncomfortable for Gabbie, her father’s eyes were relaxed.
“Why are you home?” His voice was filled with concern and Gabrielle felt her own emotions bubbling up.
“I had some trouble,” she put simply.
“No kidding, but what happened?”
Gabbie shrugged. “Lapse in concentration,” she replied as if it was no big deal. Gabbie knew, of course, that it was a big deal. That a lapse in concentration could result in prison. That a lapse in concentration could get someone killed.
“Gabbie!” Zach called as he opened the door of the room. Gabrielle genuinely smiled at her brother and got out of her chair. He was now taller than her, and his blonde hair flopped down over his face. Zach crossed the room to hug his sister. “So Gabs,” he asked, “What’ve you been doing since you left?” Gabbie told Zach about a couple of her jobs in Asia. He listened as if he had never heard of anything so fascinating.
“So you stayed in Asia?” he asked finally. Gabrielle nodded. After the job in Singapore, she hadn’t expected to stay in Asia either.
“How was Europe?” she asked.
“Awesome. Gabs I got to do my own con. Granted it was a short con, but I did it all by myself.” Gabbie smiled at her brother’s excitement. Short cons were nothing—Gabbie had been doing them since she was six—but Zach never got to his own when she was with them. Why run a separate short con when they could do a major long con?
Gabrielle left the study while talking to Zach. She opened the door to her room and really looked at it for the first time since coming back. Gabrielle had been sleeping on the couch to avoid the room. Everything was in the exact same place she left it. Her dresser was about half-full, the bookcase only had a few books in it, and the table at the foot of the bed had a small music box on it—the only decoration in the room. Gabbie could hear the tune playing in her head.
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