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I awake to the sound of a series of taps. I open one eye to see Desimae fully dressed and sitting at her little table in the kitchen area with a single glass of orange juice and her phone in hand. She looks over at me and nods then goes back to her text.
“What time is it? How long have you been up?”
“Ten am. Since seven thirty.” She doesn’t look up. I get up and quickly get dressed feeling obligated and silly for sleeping so long.
“Alright, I’m ready. Should we meet up with Piers?” She shrugs and stands up. Today she sports a pale green shirt with a nineteen fifties pin up styled Medusa that says “Medusa, master sedusa.” Which I wish I owned.
“Want breakfast?” She still doesn’t look up from her phone.
“Let’s go meet up with Piers and we will eat together.” She looks up at me. I nod and get dressed. We make our way to a little diner not too far from the book store. A fifties styled diner with a blue Cadillac car for its emblem and bright red neon lights that read “Cadillac Sal’s Diner”. Oh San Diego, you so differ from my little town in Maryland. We order in array of food to fill the table, say a prayer to bless it, and then dig in.
“So…” She pauses for a long time. “What’s the deal? How was Milo getting around the way he was? I know you’re doing the same thing.” She leans in expecting something great. Piers spends the next few hours talking to her about the book of gateways and our hypothesis on why Milo was targeted and killed. Which in short, someone became too interested in Milo’s travel and transportation of books, and when Milo wouldn’t give up his secrets…He was murdered. I mentioned Matt, our British canary that has been warning us about how dangerous it is. Desimae looks unsurprised as she sips her chocolate milk and pushes her eggs around in an uninterested way.
“Aren’t you lactose intolerant?” Piers comments. She shrugs.
“Aren’t you even a little bit shocked?” I ask surprised by her unsurprised reaction.
“I suppose not. I saw Milo take that book with him everywhere with his planner, although the book was much harder to catch a glimpse of. He must have figured out the science of the book to make those transporter boxes. I can’t believe that old man kept such a good secret.” She says thoughtfully, her eyes darkening the same way they did the night before. Maybe she feels that pang of bitterness too. The fact that he would hid something so big from the people he loves so much.
“But it’s not like he owes me anything anyways. Not my life to interfere with.” She says bringing her eyes to meet mine, and for the first time I see her smile with that darkened look. A mixture of anxieties and feelings like when a river and the ocean meet, not quite sadness but not joy either.
“So where have you been other than here?” She says calling over for a bill.
“Greece.” I say.
“That’s it? You’ve had this book for several months and you’ve only been to Greece?” Her smile now reminds me of the Cheshire cat from Wonderland. “I think that should change today.” She sends the waitress off with her card.
“Listen, before you get travel crazy this has been really dangerous. We’ve already been attacked and we don’t want you to be involved in this.” Piers says agitated.
“Piers, mah dawg.” She flicks her head in dramatic way. “I was involved the moment you got here in your little jumper machine. There’s no turning back now. Besides whoever is following you is gunna take some time to find you. They can’t track you the traditional way. There are obviously no flight records to San Diego. So you good homie.” She stands up and puts her card in her wallet.
“What kind of a person thinks of a paper trail?” I say jokingly.
“I’m pretty sure I have family in the mafia. Uncle Sal is always acting sketchy. Right Sal?” She hollers over her shoulder.
“What are you saying you crazy kid?” An older gentleman in a pair of khakis, a white shirt, and suspenders sputters to life from the far corner of the diner. I look at Desimae unconvinced to which she mouths “He’s crazy.” And twirls her finger by her temple. I just laugh and shake my head. We walk back to the book store and see that Lannah in all of her flowery woodland fairy glory has opened the shop and adorned the front desk with a new water lily in a bowl. For which an unknown reason bothers me. From the instant we walk in Desimae zeroes in on the lily and plucks a petal from its base and frolics to a nearby sitting chair. We follow her and sit down. This store is different. It’s also two stories but has white inside with geometric bookshelves to give it a sterile but inviting atmosphere. All the furniture is a dark wood and on the sides of some of the bookshelves are little succulents that are perched in little frames. Milo has yet again surprised me with his good tastes in design.
“Let’s go to Singapore!” Desimae smiles devilishly. I nod, Singapore seems like an interesting place.
“I told you, it’s dangerous. We can’t just take trips willy nilly.” Piers huffs as if gray hairs are starting to sprout from his fresh scalp.
“I’m sure it’ll be fine. Maybe, maybe Milo would want us to all take a trip together.” I say trying to ease his mind.
“I’m not so sure.” Piers huffs and runs his hand through his hair. “Let’s take a trip.” I look my clock which reads: 1:32pm. “Currently it’s four thirty-two am in Singapore. We should wait until it’s a decent time to go over there.” I say look back at my crew. They both nod.
“We’ll go after dinner around seven pm. What do you say? Spend a day in Singapore?” We all smile knowing full well we are about to embark on an adventure.
“Desimae! You little wretch! Stop dismantling my lilies!” Lannah shrieks from the desk.
“Gotta go! Be right-!” Desimae leaps from her chair unable to finish her remark. For the next fifteen minutes I watch two grown woman run around a book store (with paying patrons inside) and bicker over a lily. Maybe we should leave sooner than seven.