“I’m only here for … you know.” She knew, right? How could she not? I jerked my gaze to the floor. It was so much easier this way. “And, uh, as soon as they catch ’em, the Arcane people, I’ll go. I’m not here to upset anyone or disturb nothing.” And I couldn’t talk, either. Proper grammar be damned. “I was trying to find Kash’s villa again and I got lost.”
She continued to stare at me. Not a wrinkle marred her face, until thirty seconds later she pointed behind her. “Walk until the T, turn right, and keep going. There’s a back door by the pool. You can skirt around the fence and hook onto the sidewalk that goes past the golf course. Keep straight and Kash’s villa will be in front of you.”
Of course. That was easy enough. Chances of getting lost were 100 percent, but I was going with it.
“What’s your name, dear?”
She didn’t know my name? I considered lying, because integrity, but I heard myself answering the truth.
“Bailey.” And because no one could compare to my mother, I added, “Chrissy Hayes is my mother.”
I slipped away after that, but I wasn’t sure if I imagined that soft gasp from her or not.
I didn’t stick around to check.
I was frothing at the mouth. Literal drool was sliding out.
Getting back to Kash’s place, finding it empty, and finding a desktop left on the kitchen table was a eureka moment for me. My hands were almost shaking from the anticipation of my own little office put in place in my bedroom, and knowing I could disappear in mere moments.
I had to set everything up first.
Finding a small table in the basement, I hauled that sucker up two flights of stairs. The chair was next, which was a bit of a struggle. I was tired from the desk. The chair, easier, but it had wheels. That meant back twisting, and the last time I had worked out was never. Once I had both those in place, the table and chair pushed up against one of the corners, the computer was third. That was just placing and plugging. I’d deal with a Wi-Fi connection, but that was the last and final moments before hackerdom.
Necessities. I needed them.
Headphones, preferably a headset with a thirty-six-inch cord. They were the cheapest on the market, but they were the best sellers for a reason. The fancy ones stopped working after six months or so. Then snacks and drinks. A normal all-dayer/nighter, I’d want coffee or energy drinks. Energy drinks were preferred, but after raiding Kash’s kitchen, I saw he wasn’t a fan of the stuff. That was something I needed to note to ask for later. Until then, coffee. Lots and lots of coffee.
Snagging a bag of chips, some candy, I was ready to go.
Everything was spread out around me. The snacks had to be on the table. The drinks on the left side, mid-keyboard location. The snacks were just beyond the screen, left side as well. I needed the mouse on the right.
And last, clothes.
I was going the comfy route. Soft athletic pants, a tank top, sports bra, and my hair pulled back in a messy bun. It was the best uniform.
After that, the internet connection.
Pulling up the networks, I could guess which was the main security one, the one Kash might use as his own, and a few other aliases. Who knew the landscaping department for my father had its own internet connection. The kitchen staff, too.
Skimming down the line, I clicked on Hotboi2012. Gut was telling me that little Cyclone had his own network, and as I right-clicked on that bitch, I was right about another thing. He hadn’t secured it. I was able to connect the backpath.
I shook my head, tsking, “Little boy, little boy. You’ve got some things to learn still.” I took his IP address, because he let that sit out there all unattended. Anything I did, they’d think it was him. That didn’t feel right. Crap. I was moving the mouse before I thought about it, and I clicked into the network I was pretty sure Marie used. I’d use her IP address, even though I had plans to hack her. I’d just deal with it.
Once I was connected, I sat back.
A satisfied smile on my face.
I got to work.
Mrs. Quinn Francis was first up, just because she was the last person I saw. She wasn’t a soft target, and it wasn’t long before I got into her social media accounts, saved half her emails to my online drive, and went through her private messages. A nagging voice was whispering that this was wrong, but I shushed them. They weren’t that damn loud, and it’d been way too long since I’d been around a computer.
The next target was still soft—or the next three targets. All of my siblings.
I only skimmed their stuff. By then the voice was speaking up a bit louder and I had a little twist in my stomach, thinking of going through little Cyclone’s emails. But damn, that kid had a lot of them. I wasn’t surprised, if he was building a robot rabbit. I found his computer and saved that file to my phone. The rest went to my online drive.
I was going to help him. That’s what I was telling myself.
Seraphina was up, and I didn’t see anything interesting there. Conversations with her friends. Complete files dedicated to male models. One of her friends had a mean girls book, and clicking through, I saw that the little shits were vicious to their classmates. Christ. They rated each person based on clothes, hair, manners, associations, personality, and intelligence. There was an overall cool level assigned at the end, and—surprise, surprise—only the girls who were moderators for the file got the highest cool score.
I went down Seraphina’s own rating and paused at her overall score.
She got a ten for clothes, for hair, for manners, for associations. She got a four for personality and a six for intelligence. Her cool level was five.
I reared back at that. She could see this. This was on her network. Those girls did that to her, knowing she would see it.
I hadn’t met my sister, but by God, blood stood for something with me. All those little bitches just got on my medium-core target list.
I didn’t snoop in Matthew’s social media accounts and emails. Those were all I could find on him, but I was assuming he had a remote computer at his own place.
There was one more family member, but I paused. He was the big bang. He was the ultimate hit, and because of that he was saved for last. Now it was time for my hard target: Marie.
Hacking into the Chesapeake administration network, it didn’t take long for me to find Marie’s files. From there, I tunneled my way to her personal computer. If she was there, she could see someone had access.