Home > I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You (Gallagher Girls #1)(7)

I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You (Gallagher Girls #1)(7)
Author: Ally Carter

"Holographic, radio-synthesized photo paper," mom said, when she saw my gaping mouth. "Dr. Fibs whipped up a batch in his lab over the summer. Hungry?" She held her cupped hand toward Bex and me. Amazingly, I'd forgotten all about my empty stomach, but I took a green piece for good luck. Something told me we were going to need it.

"Girls, I need you to do a tour."

"But…we're sophomores!" Bex exclaimed, as if my mother had mysteriously forgotten.

Mom's mouth was full of chocolate, so Buckingham explained, "The juniors are beginning their semester with interrogation tactics, so they are all under the influence of sodium pentothal at the moment, and the seniors are being fitted with their night-vision contacts, and they won't un-dilate for at least two hours. This is most unfortunate timing, but Code Reds are such for a reason. We don't know when they'll happen and, well, one is happening now."

"What do you say?" Mom asked, smiling. "Can you help us out?"

There are three things a person has to be before they show up uninvited on the doorstep of the Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women: persistent, powerful, and completely out of other options. After all, most potential students never make it past the "We are not accepting applications at this time" speech they get whenever they call or write; you have to be turned down by every prep school in the country before you actually drive all the way to Roseville, hoping that an in-person visit will change our minds. But no amount of persistence or desperation can get you through the gates. No, for that, it takes real power.

That's why Bex and I were standing on the front steps, waiting on the black stretch limousine that carried the McHenry family (yes, those McHenrys—the ones on the cover of last December's Newsweek) to drive down the winding lane. They were the kind of people who aren't easily turned away, and we learned a long time ago that the best place to hide is in plain sight, so Bex and I were there to welcome them to Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women. Our mission: make sure they never know just how exceptional we really are.

The man who stepped out of the limo wore a charcoal gray suit jacket and power tie; the woman looked like the cosmetics heiress she was—not a hair or lash out of place— and I wondered if my cherry lip gloss would impress her. Judging from the scowl on her face, it didn't.

"Senator," Bex said, extending her hand toward the man, sounding as American as apple pie and loving the charade. "Welcome to the Gallagher Academy. It's an honor to have you with us today." I thought she was laying it on a little thick until Senator McHenry smiled and said, "Thank you. It's wonderful to be here," as if he didn't realize she couldn't vote.

"I'm Rebecca," Bex said. "This is Cameron." The senator glanced at me then looked quickly back to Bex, who looked like a picture-perfect model of an elite education. "We're happy to show you and …" And that's when Bex and I both realized that their daughter hadn't appeared. "Is your daughter going to be…"

But just then, a black combat boot emerged from the limousine.

"Darling," the senator said, pointing toward the stables, "come look. They have horses."

"Oh, is that what I smell?" Mrs. McHenry said with a shudder. (For the record, our school smells just fine, unless of course your smelling ability has been irreparably damaged by a lifetime of sniffing perfume samples.)

But the senator glared at his wife and said, "Macey loves horses."

"No, Macey hates horses," Mrs. McHenry said, narrowing her eyes and glancing toward Bex and me as if to remind the senator not to contradict her in front of the help. "She fell off one and broke her arm."

I was thinking about disrupting this little display of domestic bliss to tell them both that there weren't any horses in the stables—just freaked-out seventh graders and a former French spy who had invented a way of sending coded messages in cheese, when a voice said, "Yeah, they make great glue."

Now, I don't know this for a fact, but I'm pretty sure Macey McHenry had never touched a horse in her life. Her legs were long and athletic; her clothes, though punk and rebellious, were definitely high-end, and the diamond in her nose was at least a carat and a half. Her hair might have been stark black and bluntly cut, but it was also thick and shiny, and it framed a face that belonged on the cover of a magazine.

I've seen enough TV and movies to know that if a girl like Macey McHenry can't survive high school, then someone like me would probably get eaten alive. And yet, something had driven her to our gates—making us her last resort. Or so her parents thought.

"We're …" I stammered, because I may be a whiz at poison-concocting, but good at public speaking—I'm not! "We're really happy to have you here."

"Then why did you keep us sitting"—Mrs. McHenry cocked her head toward the iron gates—"out there for over an hour?"

"I'm afraid that's standard protocol for people who come without appointments," Bex said in her most honor-student-y voice. "Security is a top concern here at the Gallagher Academy. If your daughter were to go here, you could expect that same level of protection."

But Mrs. McHenry's hands were on her hips when she snapped, "Don't you know who he is? Do you know—"

"We were on our way back to D.C.," the senator stepped in, cutting his wife off. "And we just couldn't resist bringing Macey by for a visit." He sent his wife a this is our last chance, don't blow it look as he added, "And the security is most impressive."

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