(Sorry this took a bit to come out, but I promise I have many new personal blogs lined up for you this coming week and the next! Hopefully you’ll enjoy episode 2 of #squadgoals!)
Bright and early the next day, Flyboy had already summoned a sleek, yet capacious 2014 Honda Odyssey, in black. The rest of the squad, upon seeing it that morning for the first time, released an audible, gathered tone of disappointment.
“It’s a mini-van… A fancy mini-van.” Primal stated.
“We always get nicer, hotter cars than this.” Dali turned to Flyboy, monotone. “What the hell is this?”
Flyboy exhaled sharply. “This is a great car. It’s big enough for all of us and the new girl, the supplies we’ll need, and even Primal’s dogs. But it still looks better than a mini-van, it’s sturdier and safer, and has excellent fuel efficiency.” He ran his fingers down the chrome lining of the driver’s door. “And it’s got heated seats, so you’re welcome.”
Spade shrugged. “It’s not that important. A car’s a car, and it honestly looks fine. It’s brand new so I’m not complaining.”
“I’m not complaining either. I’m just pointing out that it’s a fancy mini-van. It’s van-cy.”
Primal called her wolf-dogs to the car, letting them in through the back before piling her luggage around them. She had a duffle bag for only a few weapons since the rest of her ammunition and guns would be specially flown over to their temporary base in Africa. She had another bag for her own personal supplies, as well as a third for everything her wolf-dogs would need.
After the others packed their own bags into the back of the Honda, they were on their way to New Orleans, specifically Xavier University. Their only orders were to find their new girl in the cafeteria by noon… They assumed Freudenberger had figured out the girl’s class schedule, and knew when she would have all of her lunchbreaks.
“So what’s the plan?” Primal asked. “I mean, Freudenberger didn’t really give us much info on how to go about bringing this girl in. I don’t think we just walk right up and ask her to come along to Africa. Or perhaps did Freudenberger already send her something in advance?”
“Not a clue.” Dali answered, unhelpfully. “She didn’t say and I didn’t think to ask.”
“From what it sounded like she hasn’t contacted this girl at all and it’s all on us to determine how we get her to join us.” Spade said. “I have no idea how difficult this is going to be, and I dislike how fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants this all is.”
“We could make this much easier and kidnap her.” Flyboy obviously joked.
Everyone in the van fell silent, even the wolf-dogs ceased panting.
Flyboy grew a little nervous. “I… I was just kidding… I thought I was pretty clear this time… Was my tone wrong again?”
“We should do that.” Spade looked at Primal. “Let’s do that.”
“I’m one-hundred percent on board with that.” Primal responded, smiling ecstatically.
Dali shook her head. “Guys. No. No, no, no, no.”
“Freudenberger said we could do whatever we wanted.” Primal tried to convince her. “And this way it would be like starting off with a test. If she handles it well then she passes!”
Dali kept shaking her head. “How does anyone handle a kidnapping well? Especially a single girl on a college campus? Look, no, we’re not kidnapping her.”
Spade joined in on the argument, “I have to agree with Primal. However she reacts will help us determine if she’s all what Freudenberger says she is. Also none of us were even looking forward to doing this anyway, so if it goes wrong then, oh well, we don’t have to have a new member to deal with after all.”
“Especially someone meant to be our ‘handler.’” Primal mocked.
Dali rolled her eyes. “I was actually a little excited about the new girl. Yeah, maybe it won’t work out, but if it does then this is really amazing. We don’t get friends, we hardly ever get to go out and do anything other than missions, so this is new and interesting in my opinion.”
“Or it’s just a shit-ton more to deal with than we need.” Primal was vehement. “I say we kidnap her, take her someplace private, and then explain everything.”
“Yeah, I think this would be the best route.” Spade said evenly. “And it will be a lot of fun on our part!”
Dali put her face in her hands. “Guys! This is your moral compass speaking, DON’T. DO. IT.”
“So far it’s two to one.” Spade said. “Flyboy, what’s your verdict?”
Flyboy was quiet for a moment, watching the road in front of him as he drove. “Well… I mean, I can see how it would be probably the worst idea ever… But we do have the van for it.”
Dali let out a loud, frustrated groan.
“Haha! Kidnapping it is!” Primal exclaimed.
After checking and settling into the hotel Freudenberger had set up for them, the squad managed to motivate themselves to find their new girl. However, it was easy for them to be distracted in New Orleans; all of their joys and desires were presented-and paraded-down every street. Somehow, they managed to get to Xavier University… After hitting a few bars, art galleries, and crystal and hookah shops first.
Finally making it to the cafeteria of Xavier University by 12:15, and possibly a little tipsy, the four casually took out their student ID’s, which Freudenberger had previously made, and allowed the student worker to scan them in for lunch. Primal immediately scanned the crowded cafeteria containing its peak mass of the student body at lunch rush. The noise aggravated her, but not as much as not finding Delia did.
“I don’t see her here.” Primal said, still intently scanning the tables and booths. “But something does smell kind of funky.”
“Do you think we already missed her? Maybe that’s why Freudenberger said we needed to get here at noon, and it’s already past that…” Dali appeared a little distressed.
Flyboy put his hand on her shoulder, “I’m sure she’s not already out of here in fifteen minutes. But she might not have come in at all today.”
“Well great.” Spade sighed. “So what, we have to contact Freudenberger for her full schedule?”
Primal rubbed her temples. “Look, no, let’s just walk through the cafeteria first. Maybe there’s a private room or something.”
As the four wandered haphazardly past tables of students gorging themselves on the stereotypical cafeteria food while chatting away, they decided to get in line for one of the buffets. They knew then, at least, they would not appear as odd as they would rooted in one place, staring at groups of students. This way, it seemed perfectly normal to do that since the lines were basically at a stand-still.
There were three ladies serving the off-smelling lunch variety. Dali only glanced over at them when she noticed that two of the ladies were black, but the third one had a different complexion. The girl’s tone reminded Dali of clay, or even cedar. Without a word to her companions, Dali stepped forward, cutting in front of the other students to get a look at the girl more clearly. As the girl, clad in the school’s cafeteria uniform, looked up from the mashed potatoes, Dali let out a gasp, followed by a lit smile.
The girl looked quizzically at Dali. “You can’t cut in line. I’m serving this student first.” The student made some annoyed noise of agreement.
Dali took a step back, then skidded without a response back over to her group, hardly even mumbling an apology. “It’s her! It’s Delia!”
Spade tugged her by her shirt collar out of the line with Flyboy trailing behind him. Primal stayed in the line, eyeing the girl at the end of the buffet.
“You have got to stop doing that!” Spade whispered to her, irritable and uncomfortable by her actions.
Dali shrugged, “I just wanted to make sure before I said anything. But it’s her, she looks just like the girl in the pictures.”
“Ah, so this is her shift, not lunch.” Flyboy looked back, seeing Primal appear with a tray of mashed potatoes and green beans.
“Yeah that’s definitely her.” Primal put the plate down at the nearest table, which was already occupied by a few students. They looked confused, and tried to protest, but she cut them off with a noise that she would use on her dogs to stop an undesirable action. She then walked away with the rest of her group. “She’s Delia all right.”
“See!” Dali said.
“When do we kidnap her?” Flyboy asked.
“Yes, please say that a little louder.” Spade looked around, obviously still displeased with her Dali’s tendency to wander off when she noticed anything out of place. They all took a seat at an empty table together, nonchalantly peering over every so often at the buffet to keep tabs on Delia.
“I don’t think we should just yet. We should follow her around campus, get to know her a bit more, then when the opportunity presents itself we’ll commit a felony.” Spade smirked.
“Sounds good. Maybe we can find out what kind of a student she is. Like what her field of study is.” Primal said. “Hopefully get to know what the hell it is that makes her apparently so perfect for our group.”
“And it will give us some time to figure out how exactly we’re going to do this… Without getting the world’s attention like Freudenberger says we do.”
Flyboy and Dali snickered. “Well, she’s not wrong.” Dali said. “We’re not exactly subtle, baby bunnies in a sunflower field.”
After following Delia to the library, where she promptly signed in at a computer behind the help desk, the four split off to different locations of the library. Primal and Flyboy seated themselves at different computers, using their student ID’s to get into the system and pretended to be busy. Dali hovered around students’ artwork displayed on the walls, while Spade pretended to sift through the DVD’s.
The four had to shift around the library, occasionally eyeing each other when they realized Delia was not leaving her apparent second job to go to class anytime soon. Five hours had passed, and they all had explored every floor, study room, and section of the library. Frankly, they were fed up with seeing books, computers, and students feeling each other up in the secluded areas of the upper floors.
Dali played around on the computer, pretending to print out important research she found on the internet to keep up some kind of student-like façade. Although she didn’t believe anyone was focusing on her all that much. She heard a familiar set of clacking from the helpdesk, and looked up to see Delia behind the computer. With a definitive final clack, Delia swiftly made her way out from the helpdesk and hurried up the stairs. Dali matched the girl’s pace and searched for her companions.
When she found Flyboy, he told her the others were already somewhere upstairs.
“She signed out.” Dali whispered. “I could tell because I remembered the sound when she typed in her employee code and password at the start of her shift. She took off up the stairs.”
Flyboy brushed past Dali and went for the elevator with Dali close behind him. “Let’s try the second floor first, poke your head out and tell me if you see or hear her anywhere or if you spot Primal and Spade.”
Dali did as she was directed as soon as the elevator doors opened. Flyboy kept one hand pressed on the doors to ensure they didn’t close on Dali.
“A door to one of the study rooms just closed. I remember that sound when I went in one earlier. Third from the left because it catches on the doorway before it clicks shut.” Dali explained, stepping out of the elevator.
“But is it Delia?” Flyboy looked around for Primal and Spade, hoping they would already be on the floor.
“I think so because she is wearing sandals and they make that ‘clap’ sound when she walks.” Dali looked at him. “You know, when they hit the bottom of the heel with each step?”
Flyboy nodded. “I get it. Oh good.” Flyboy saw Spade rounding the corner.
“You guys are not very quiet.” Spade said. “By the way, Delia just went into one of the study rooms with an older guy. I’m thinking either her boss, a teacher, or she’s really into older guys… In that case we may be in for a little show.” He smirked.
Dali sighed, not even bothering to respond to that. “Where’s Primal?”
“Next floor up.”
Just then, the elevator bell dinged, the doors opening to reveal Primal. “Ah, hey. You’re all here. I was going to ask if anyone wanted to break for dinner with me because I’m hella hungry, but I’m assuming we’re all convening here because Delia’s on the move?” She stepped towards them.
“Yeah she’s in one of the studyrooms with someone who must be her supervisor or one of her teachers.” Dali explained.
“Or older lover.” Spade added.
Primal shrugged. “I’m down for a little sex show if y’all are.”
With one last sigh, Dali and Flyboy lead the other two to the studyroom neighboring Delia’s. Although suffering from irreparable hearing damage in one ear, Primal pressed her exceptionally good ear against the two rooms’ shared wall. She made out little bits of the conversation, deducing that Delia’s friend was indeed a teacher.
“It’s six in the evening,” Dali said, “I guess maybe the teacher is offering her some tutoring?”
“Wouldn’t he do that in his office like a regular teacher?” Flyboy asked.
“Well yeah, I would think so. Maybe a special circumstance?”
Primal hushed them as she listened for more. Apparently, it sounded more like a lecture, an actual class, rather than tutoring or a discussion regarding Delia’s grades. After Primal relayed the information, all she heard thereafter was the teacher’s lecturing. After approximately forty-five minutes, she swore she heard the teacher discuss something about a term paper.
“Why is this guy teaching a one-student class in the library at night?” Dali wondered.
“She goes to work all day, and meets with teachers for lectures at night.” Primal stated. “Sounds like someone has finagled their way into an education without losing money, but gaining it instead.”
“She wouldn’t get a degree that way though.” Spade pointed out.
“Maybe she’s got something worked out? Or maybe she just wants to better herself?” Primal heard the door to the neighboring room open, then an exchange of goodbyes, but only the teacher left. “It doesn’t seem totally Kosher though.”
Dali peered out the window in their door. “Why hasn’t she left yet?”
“Maybe she’s doing homework?” Flyboy guessed.
Eventually they spotted Delia heading toward the elevator. They followed a good distance behind by meandering down the stairs. When they reached the first floor, Delia had already left the library. They saw her making her way quickly across the darkening campus.
“Now’s a good a time as any to take her and run.” Primal stated. “Not many students are out, either at the cafeteria or back in their dorms for the night… Or out somewhere else for a party.”
“I agree. Let’s see if we can’t get her somewhere completely secluded.” Spade said. “Dali, you and Flyboy follow her from behind, hang back and don’t stare at her for God’s sake. Primal, get one of your dogs, we might need some tracking or fear-play. Definitely a distraction though. I’ll try to follow her from the side; I’ll keep a building or separate pathway between us so I don’t seem too creepy or obvious. That way if she tries to duck into a populated place, I can cut her off if I move quickly.”
“All right, let’s go Flyboy before she’s out of sight.” Dali took Flyboy’s hand, both acting as a cute campus couple to seem innocent incase the girl became paranoid or suspicious.
Primal took off for their car to collect one of her wolfdogs.
Spade caught up to Delia’s speed, keeping a good distance between them, but heading in the same direction. She didn’t notice since he was so far away, but she also had her eyes focused on something in her school folder. He assumed she was going over notes or perhaps an assignment, but either way he was glad she was preoccupied. He hoped it would make it all easier.
Ahead, Spade saw Primal walking her wolfdog, Specter. They made brief eye contact, Spade giving one nod, when Primal turned her direction sharply. She decided she would cut across Delia’s path, catching her attention with the dog.
Upon seeing this, Dali and Flyboy sped up a bit. Spade shifted from his parallel direction with Delia to a diagonal. Once she would be stopped by Primal and Specter, Spade, Dali, and Flyboy would all be on her. They would meet her in a huge parking lot, no one around, in the dark. To top it all off, they would be close to their vehicle.
By Primal’s subtle cue, Specter lurched forward to greet Delia. Primal still held her leash taught, but acted as though her “silly dog” was just friendly and a little untrained. But before the others could meet up, Delia took off through the parking lot without a word, speeding through like some kind of deer on a sugar rush.
All four paused only to exchange stunned expressions before taking off after Delia. Primal immediately let Specter off her leash, allowing the wolfdog to chase the girl down faster than anyone else. The four were close behind. Delia leapt up onto the hood of a Dodge, climbing to the top of the cab. Flyboy effortlessly jumped up onto a car, leaping from car to car as he made his way to Delia ahead of the others. He could tell she was panicking. She frantically pulled a little pistol out from her backpack when he had just propelled himself off the nearest Cadillac to land on her little Dodge “island.” In mid-air he attempted to backtrack when she pointed the gun directly at him. He landed painfully and awkwardly against the side of the monstrous truck.
“All right, don’t shoot, I’m just sliding down.” Flyboy let himself slide off side of the truck, his feet only a couple of inches from the ground anyway due to his tall frame.
Delia stared down the others, who had also stopped, as Primal called Specter to stand down. The wolfdog obeyed immediately, claiming a protective stance directly between her “pack leader” and Delia.
“How stupid do you think I am?” Delia’s voice broke the silence. Her tone was even, steady, but her eyes sparked with shock. “I remember every face here on campus. I knew something was odd when I saw you all in line at the cafeteria. Then hanging around the library throughout my entire shift? What kind of morons are you? I knew you were following me just now. I had my compact mirror set up on my folder. I could see you two following behind me.” She gestured to Dali and Flyboy with her gun. “Once I noticed this dude way down the side of the campus, and the chick with the fucking wolf… You guys are terrible at this. You need to find an easier victim because I assure you I don’t go down quietly!” She fired her pistol past Flyboy’s head, striking a mustang behind them. The siren went off instantly, filling the air with its horrid beeping. Delia attempted to escape, but Spade was quick with one of his special, thin steel cards. Delia never even saw where he pulled it from. Its edge sliced across the back of her ankle, making her stumble when she jumped off the truck. She didn’t completely fall over though, recovering, and took off again.
Primal ordered Specter after the girl, but Delia spun on her heel taking her stance once more, aiming the gun directly at the wolfdog. Panicked, Primal called Specter off without a thought. She was directly livid, ready to attack the girl for threatening her “baby.” Primal ducked behind a car, pulling out her .45 caliber handgun. She turned to aim for Delia’s right knee when Dali lunged out to stop her.
“She needs to be alive and well or we won’t be able to take her with us!” Dali shouted.
“I don’t want her with us, I veto!” Primal shouted back.
Delia took a shot at Primal, but missed.
The remaining two took cover, Flyboy dashing to Primal to push her aim down. “Seriously! Isn’t this only proving she’s smarter and more able than we thought?”
“She was about to shoot Specter!” Primal’s moon eyes were fierce, impressing Flyboy enough to back up.
“Well she was probably about to rip out Delia’s throat!” Flyboy felt the muscles in Primal’s forearms relax.
“Fine! But look, you idiot, she’s taking off again!”
Spade and Flyboy chased Delia down while Dali, Primal, and Specter ran to the Honda, Primal taking the driver’s seat. They weaved through the parking lot, reaching the other end to cut off Delia. She was stuck, tightly boxed in between several large vehicles and a bleeding ankle preventing her from climbing them as quickly as she would prefer. Only a few people had finally made their way to the parking lot, and she supposed at least one of them was a campus police officer. Flyboy and Spade were right behind her, the black van was ahead. She knew it was time to shoot to kill, no more threats. Just as she turned to aim at Spade, Dali had opened the Honda’s sliding door, reaching out to cover Delia’s nose and mouth with a rag saturated in turpentine. Delia fired off twice out of surprise, grazing Spade’s ribcage and just missing Flyboy. Immediately the fumes drowned Delia’s senses; she felt a numbness spreading throughout her limbs. She choked on the thick scent as she gasped for air, but to no avail. She dropped her pistol. She felt her brain short out. Her vision quickly escalated from blurry to black, and she couldn’t will any part of her body to fight back or stop it. She slumped to the ground.
Flyboy and Spade rushed to toss Delia’s limp body into the van. The campus police officer had called for city police at the sound of the gunshots, and they heard the sirens off in the distance.
Once they were all in, Primal flooring the van, Spade yelled out in pain. “JESUS FUCKING CHRIST!”
“What? Oh my God, what?” Dali passed the fume cloth to Flyboy, who began restraining Delia before she could fully regain consciousness.
“She fucking shot me!” Spade rolled up his shirt to show the bullet-grazed line. “Fuck!”
Dali grabbed a tin filled with gauze and bandages from one of their first aid cases. Every shelter, vehicle, and safehouse they claimed, they always brought several sets of firstaid equipment with them. “No bullet to take out, and it’s not deep enough for stitches. Thank goodness for that since our little seamstress is kind of the getaway driver at the moment. Let’s just stop the blood and cover it up… And clean it out with this. It will-“
“It will sting, I know the drill.” Spade was losing patience.
Dali resumed silently.
Flyboy’s head swirled from the fumes emanating from Dali’s cloth rag. “What kind of shit is that? Did we have chloroform on hand?”
Dali smiled. “No, that’s turpentine. I used to use it in art school. I discovered it’s also great for situations like this one.”
“I don’t even know how you could figure that out prior to joining all this, but all right.” Spade said as Dali finished bandaging his wound. Dali just continued to smile half-heartedly.
Flyboy redirected his attention to a more pressing issue. “We need a new car. We can’t keep this one because I’m pretty sure that officer has told every cop in the area what we’re driving.” He climbed into the passenger seat as Primal randomly drove hurriedly down alleys and streets, hoping no one would or could follow them. Flyboy calmly directed her down a street.
“Where are we going?” Spade asked.
“I’m taking us to one of the auto shops nearby. We’ll dump this one for an older car.” Flyboy pointed left at an intersection, Primal followed suit.
“Is this another chop shop? For a guy coming from your pristine background, I’m always surprised how many chop shop owners you know.” Primal said.
“They’re not a chop shop. Just a quick re-sale place, if you will.” Flyboy looked back to the others as they neared the dingy little auto shop. “Make sure you got everything.”
Dali went to work quickly, making sure nothing would be left behind. “Packing it all up.” She patted Specter and Baba O’Reiley, the two wolfdogs, on their heads. They had been quiet and calm the entire time, even though the situation seemed entirely comprised of chaos.
After Flyboy had a short discussion with two men at the auto shop, with a little Cajun-French translation on Primal’s behalf, the entire squad-plus one-were safely packed into a new vehicle. This time they acquired a green 1995 Ford Expedition. Soon, they were on their way to sneak Delia into their hotel room. Primal figured since it was New Orleans, who would notice a couple of “drunk” people hauling in a passed-out girl?