After uncovering a disturbing happenstance, the group makes a plan.
Ivy was disappointed when Candela instructed another Officer to escort them back to the apartment.
She’d wanted to ask Jack more.
Not about the case…while it still spun in her mind, but about his sister. She and Clive didn’t always get along, and disagreed about more things than Ivy could count, but she could never imagine the rage Candela had directed toward Clive.
Clive told her he didn’t think Ivy had enough rage in her to be that angry at anyone.
She rubbed at the knot in her chest, staring at the dark ceiling. Anger burned in her. She could feel it rise with her every breath, but she kept it down. There was already enough anger in the world. Anger was loud and caused attention. If there was anything she’d learned from the OHS, the angry kids never ended well.
It was better to put on a joyful face, and stay out of the way.
Ivy sighed, turning over to Courtney, who stared at her with her empty holes for eyes through the glass of the jar. “What?” Ivy said, sitting up, brushing back thick curls. “You need something, lil’ thing?”
Courtney continued pinging.
Ivy watched the glowing creature, resting her chin on her knuckle. “You know anything about Wraith Weed?” Ivy yawned. “You sure seemed to have a reaction to it in Mr. Pearce’s office.”
“Apparently, you can get paid by professors to get information from people. I mean, it didn’t really end well for that guy, but hey, if this Alvarez thing doesn’t work out, I can probably dodge a few Defenders.”
Courtney didn’t seem interested. Ping.
She didn’t like the idea of dodging Jack though. She quite liked the Defender. He seemed to have a persistent smile, and even his methods had a gentle touch to them. When she’d pointed it out on their way back to the room, Clive had scoffed at it.
“Just why would a professor go to Alvarez about Wraith Weed, Courtney?” Ivy said, flopping back onto her back. “Maybe we should ask Jack when we see him next. We did promise Sylvia we’d visit.”
“And why did the professor assume he could get the information more easily now that Alavarez is gone? Like, who is going to tell him?”
Ping. Ping. Ping.
“And why did the guy hide in the bush? You’d think that wouldn’t be very smart. Had someone attacked him?”
Glass shattered. Ivy jumped up, muffling a scream in her hands, toppling off the mattress. She hit the floor with a thud, and a sharp pain jolted up the palm of her hand. The jar lay smashed to pieces on the floor.
Ivy sat up, her palm quickly dampening. She glanced down to the blood, her stomach churning. She wiped it off on her sweatpants, trying to ignore the sting.
Coutney only hovered over the mess for a moment before darting right through the door.
“Wait!” Ivy scrambled to her feet, throwing the door open.
Courtney didn’t wait for Ivy to follow.
Ivy clutched her cut hand to her chest, and raced right after the creature. The halls were dark and lit by the cool moonlight, casting shadows through the windowed ceiling and the spiral steps. Ivy didn’t think it was fair she had to run down the steps when all Courtney had to do was fly down in a mocking fashion.
Further and further.
They were reaching the ground floor.
Ivy’s heart leapt. No. Would Courtney go for the lobby? Once she was out in the open, there was no getting her back. What would happen if anyone saw the glowing creature?
What about the Officers standing guard outside!
“Courtney!” Ivy said in a harsh whisper.
She jumped over the final step, nearly tripping over her feet, slamming into one of the tall potted plants with a bang. Ivy froze as it echoed up through the apartment.
She braced herself.
At any moment, Stedman could march out, stop the OHS kid standing in the forbidden-to-lurk-in first level, and that was the end of it.
Courtney hovered over the fountain, staring at Ivy. Ivy gave Courtney a disapproving shake of her head, creeping forward. Maybe if she moved slowly…
Courtney shot off and Ivy’s heart dropped as she watched the creature go right through the door labeled ‘BASEMENT’ and a hologram hovering over the handle to keep out. The door glittered in the moonlight
Stedman was going to kill her if she found out.
But she wouldn’t, Ivy decided. She’d crept around the OHS well enough to visit Clive in the boy’s quarters. She’d never been caught before. She always managed to pull it off. She took a deep breath and ran for the room, slipping her hand behind the holographic warning. She held her breath and pressed her hand against the handle, the sensor clicking and the door creaking open.
Ivy slipped into the door, not daring to close it. She let out a relieved breath before almost choking on the musty smell. She frowned, seeing a long row of concrete steps leading down into the dark.
Her voice echoed back.
That little creature was going to get a scolding once Ivy found her.
Ivy strode down the stairs, feeling the wet of concrete underneath her bare feet. She ran, happy at least to know there was still light from the door behind--
Ivy slammed into a wall.
She stumbled back with a groan, rubbing her face, her cheek growing damp.
Right. Her hand was still bleeding.
She tried to wipe it off on her pants, and ran her hand along the wall. The hall turned, another set of steps.
And further away from the light.
Think about Courtney. The poor, naughty thing is probably so lonely down there.
Another deep breath, and Ivy ran down the steps. A low glow seeped from the bottom of the steps. Ivy narrowed her eyes at the end of the hall, now dimly lit, turning into another room. She slowed her pace.
Was someone down here?
She couldn’t hear anyone.
Ivy pressed her back against the wall and crept down the stairs. The light was cold, the only sound being the drip of a leaky pipe.
“Hello?” Ivy called out.
The light suddenly dimmed, a crash following.
Ivy jumped into the doorway, balling her fists and bracing herself in a sloppy fighting pose she’d seen in a media film.
No one was there.
But there sure was a whole lot else.
Ivy gasped, seeing the room crammed with tables, toppled over shelves, and vials crashed and broken on the floor. Monitors were set up along the wall, long abandoned and thick with dust. But the smell was awful. Something of chemicals mixed with decay.
Vines spouted out of jars, growing out onto the floor…of Wraith Weed. That plant again.
It wasn’t a coincidence anymore
Courtney hovered over a table, watching Ivy with mocking eyes. Ivy stormed to the little creature. “What are you thinking?” she said, putting her hands on her hips as she towered at the creature.
Courtney slowly turned away from Ivy.
Ivy hoped it was from shame.
She scanned the room for something to contain Courtney in. There was plenty of glass in the room, which seemed to keep Courtney contained pretty well. Was there anything big enough?
Her eyes stopped, seeing a vial, shattered on the table…a liquid, still wet, dribbling off the edge. Ivy frowned, taking a step closer. A black handmark was planted beside it.
The liquid was familiar.
The coloring oddly familiar…
…to the blood on her hand. Her eyes drifted further till she met a shadowy figure lying still on the floor.
She jumped back, her heart hammering against her chest.
A chill ran down her spine, a breeze drifting through.
She took a deep breath.
It was nothing. Just a little creepy red in a broken vial and---
Her eyes flew open. A breeze in a basement.
A scream suddenly tore through the ground, tearing through her. Ivy dropped to the ground, clamping her hands over her ears, as the inhuman sounds raged.
It came to a sudden stop, her heart pounding in its place.
She very slowly removed her hands from her ears, holding her breath. Lifting a foot to the ground, she turned behind her.
Courtney was gone.
A blinding light shot from above. Ivy cried out, dashing under the table. The light was flooding a transparent light white shapeless mass like Courtney with two gaping holes too low to identify as eyes, but almost flicked with human movement as it set itself to the floor….almost watching her.
Ivy’s heart hammered in her chest, frozen, as she watched it, its glow-breathing. Perhaps it was like Courtney. Harmless. Just bigger.
She’d just need a really big jar.
Trembling, she raised her hand out. “H-hello--”
The creature’s shrill ringing went off without warning, flooding for her. Ivy couldn’t see. Everything was white. Her eyes stung. Her hand felt like it was on fire. She cried out, grasping for anything with her working hand.
Words refused to come.
The pain grew stronger, the fire dimmer. Numb, numb--
She felt something good under her fingers. It was weak, flimsy. A stupid plant.
She didn’t have much of a choice. She couldn’t think. She couldn’t feel. It took every will in her body, and ache in her chest, to thrust out a weak throw.
And then everything flew back to color.
Ivy collapsed to the ground, the creature writhing in screams as it dove away from the branch of Wraith Weed Ivy had thrown. Her heart skipped a beat. Just like in Pearce’s little shop. Courtney had been terrified over it.
Ivy clutched her throbbing hand to her chest, and grabbed back the limp piece, thrusting it out. A shuddered laugh of relief bubbled as the creature backed, its glow dimming and clouding with a rage.
Her hand spiked in pain.
She cried out, pushing herself further.
The creature screeched again, echoing through the entire basement before flooding up the steps.
Ivy didn’t let go of the branch.
She’d never let go of the branch. Never again. Her sweat was cold, and her heart hadn’t stopped beating, her lungs scrambling to figure out how to breathe again.
She slowly moved her pained hand from her chest, uncurling her clenched fist. The cut from the glass was rimmed in black, creeping out along the veins in her hand.
This wasn’t happening.
Ivy slowly rose to her feet, her body shaking as she held the branch of Wraith Weed out in front of her. She couldn’t look at the scorched black hand print on the table. She couldn’t look at the rest of the room.
She didn’t want to know what she’d find.
Ivy nearly cried out, spinning around to see Courtney floating in a small overturned jar on the floor. Ivy hesitated. Did she dare touch Courtney after she saw what that thing could do?
How had it grown so large and painful when Courtney seemed so tiny?
What were they? Where were they coming from? And why had it been in Alvarez’s basement?
Courtney stared at Ivy with her blank little eyes.
Ivy knelt down, setting the branch on the ground. She used her good hand to turn the jar upright. She’d reuse the jar lid in her room. Her priority was getting upstairs.
She raced up the steps, rushing out the door, which was cold to the touch.
She stopped, turning to the door. No wonder it glistened in the moonlight.
It was glass.
Glass is what contained Courtney.
The door was meant to keep the creature inside. Ivy’s stomach sank.
And she’d let it out.
Clive was jolted awake from his sleep. The light was turned on and he hardly had a moment to recover before he was slammed into, Ivy throwing her arms around him and not letting go.
He held onto her, his eyes adjusting to the light and panic of her breath.
“Whoa! Ivy! Are you okay?”
She clung to him for a long moment. He didn’t push her further, just gently cradling his sister in his arms as she caught her breath on his shoulder. He hadn’t seen her like this in years. So panicked and flustered.
“There are creatures,” Ivy finally shuddered.
Clive frowned. “Ivy, what are you talking about?”
She sat back up, grabbing Clive’s shoulders. “Down on the first floor!”
Clive’s mouth gaped. What had she done? “Where Stedman told you not to go?”
Ivy’s eyes welled with tears, as she nodded quickly. “Courtney got out and I went downstairs to find her. And there was Wraith Weed everywhere and then this giant creature came out of nowhere and I fought it off with--”
“Whoa, Ivy. Look at me.”
Ivy stopped, staring obediently into Clive’s eyes.
She nodded, shuddering as she took in a big breath, her shoulders relaxing.
He knew his sister to be irrational, and ‘monster in a basement’ sounded pretty out there, but Ivy was never a liar. And that weird glowy blob was very much real.
“Where is it now?” he asked, seeing panic flood her eyes, glancing away.
“I-I let it out.”
She what? Clive didn’t say a word. He didn’t want to upset her more.
“The Wraith Weed and these creatures are connected, Clive,” she said quickly, sitting back on her legs, setting her hands in her lap. One had a gardening glove over it. He didn’t question it. “Wraith Weed is connected to Alvarez, so what if the creatures are too?”
“Wait, hold up, I’m lost.” He frowned at her. “How exactly are the creatures and this…weed related?”
“The Wraith Weed seems to repel them.”
Clive’s eyes widened, cursing under his breath.
“Don’t talk like that.”
“Sorry, it’s just that--” He shook his head. He never thought his sister’s insistent rambling about modified plant history would come to this. “Weren’t these plants created to ward off the rumored supernatural during the war?”
“You don’t think the blob creatures were in the Earth--”
“No, no,” Clive laughed softly. He pursed his lips. “But what if they’re related?”
It was a stretch and he knew it. But it was the only explanation and lead they could possibly have. Alvarez was hiding something and it was related to Wraith Weed. They knew that for sure now.
But who would be interested in that sort of thing?
And enough to kidnap…or even kill someone over it?
Ivy didn’t blink as she stared at him for a long time. She finally shook her head and slipped off his mattress, going for the door. “I have questions for Jack.”
Clive scowled hearing the Defender’s name. “Him? Again?”
“What?” Ivy stopped at the door, looking over her shoulder with the first smile Clive saw all morning. “I get my answers, and you have a shift to make.”
Ivy was thankful Clive didn’t comment on the glove.
She had no idea how she could even begin to explain to him what had happened. She didn’t even know what had gone down. And he’d probably fret about it and claim she couldn’t do anything else to do with the investigation.
She wasn’t risking that.
This investigation was her shot at University. Her life long goal.
She wasn’t stopping just because a cut on her hand got magic-blob-infected.
Clive had been given a fancy card by Candela that gave him authorization past the Defenders, which Ivy waved to with a beaming smile as they glared back at her.
Clive tugged at the scarf around his neck. Ivy swatted his arm. “It looks great!”
“You wear the same two sweaters everyday,” she said, thinking of his stretched green and brown sweaters he religiously wore with no originality. “Can’t have Candela thinking you’re broke.”
Clive rolled his eyes. “Ivy, we are broke.”
She didn’t see why they absolutely needed to revel in that fact. She was sick of money being like some sort of defining factor recently. Not when blob monsters existed.
They approached the steps of the manor, and Clive took a deep breath as he pressed his hand against the sensor.
Ivy saw her brother bite the inside of his cheek as the sensor loaded.
Employee Identified. Clive Bhasin.
How epic was that to hear? Employee. The aspect of being employed was sweet in Ivy’s mind, even though Clive looked more terrified out of his mind, his forehead shimmering with sweat, as the door slowly opened.
A servant, dressed in a similar old fashioned suit like Kyllian, stood waiting with a Defender. His eyes lit up with excitement, like he’d been just waiting for a kind of escape.
Clive raised his hand. “That would be me.”
“Perfect,” the servant breathed. “Mistress Alvarez will be awaiting your presence. And Ms. Bhasin, Sylvia’s tutor is being informed of your presence and will come to fetch you in a moment.”
Ivy gave a small curtsy. “Thank you.”
Clive didn’t even bother to roll his eyes. He glanced to Ivy nervously. She squeezed his hand, nudging him forward.
“See you at lunch?” he breathed.
She nodded, and he exhaled and followed after the servant. That had been the time they would all settle down to discuss together their next course of action, but Ivy wasn’t sure she could wait. She sat at the last step of the staircase, tempted to peek into his bag at Courtney just in case the horrifying other creature wouldn’t be staring back at her.
She took a deep breath and tapped her foot against the marble floor.
Ivy jumped, leaping to her feet, turning to see the red headed butler standing on the top of the steps.
“Kyllian?” she asked.
He nodded, his face blank. “Sylvia and her uncle request your presence.”
She forced a smile. “Let us go then, sir Kyllian?”
“It’s just Kyllian,” he said, with a turn on his heel, descending the steps in a quick but even manner. Ivy raced to catch up with him.
“Why are you so cold?” she asked, deciding it was better to be direct than bother with small talk.
“Why do you carry a suspiciously large bag around with you?” Kyllian countered.
Ivy frowned. “Fair. But there’s no reason to be suspicious.”
Kyllian shrugged. “I don’t know, lady Ivy. That sounds suspiciously like what a suspicious person would say.”
“Sir Kyllian, you must always assume innocence before proven guilty,” Ivy said, straightening her bag.
A smirk rose on Kyllian’s lips. “Do you have something to prove?”
“To prove being guilty for?”
Odd question. “Do you?”
“Avoiding the question, Bhasin.”
“Well, so are you,” she said, eyeing him suspiciously.
Kyllian chuckled, turning the corner off of the step, quickening his pace in front of her. Ivy’s jaw dropped as she walked along the brown tile hall, looking through an enormous glass wall to a scenic pool towering over the empty wastelands, vines dangling down like a thin wall.
“Friend!” Sylvia’s voice echoed from the end of the hall.
“Why don’t I ever get such an enthusiastic greeting?” Kyllian grumbled.
Ivy pranced out in front of him. “Perhaps you need lessons.”
He raised a brow. “From you?”
She shook her head dismissively and ran toward the little girl who, before today, Ivy hadn’t spoken as much as a word to. Sylvia was practically jumping, grabbing Ivy’s hand with a small squeal.
“I like your earrings,” the child said, her eyes widening.
Ivy blinked, her gloved hand raising to touch her ears. “Thank you,” she said, surprised someone had noticed the small gold studs which had been part of the one and only package she and Clive had ever received from their estranged aunt. “It’s from my aunt. I don’t see her much.”
Sylvia nodded with a sense of understanding. “I don’t see *INSERT NAME* much either because Auntie said she got with the wrong guys,” Sylvia whispered loudly, as if it was a dastardly secret. “She had pink hair. I thought she was cool.”
Ivy frowned. “Oh really?”
“The Alvarez’s only daughter is a touchy subject with the mistress,” Kyllian said. “Especially when she got involved with something of her father’s business.”
At first, Ivy didn’t see much wrong with the handling of a few apartment homes when her heart skipped a beat remembering the basement. *INSERT NAME* couldn’t be involved in that, could she?
Something so horrible Ivy couldn’t even place the intention of?
She would have to tell Clive tonight.
Sylvia, without warning, jerked Ivy inside. Ivy’s jaw dropped. The room was enormous. Easily the size of their entire apartment, and more, decorated in a plastered brown with pink ribbon and accents on nearly every furnished piece, and a set of paper flowers, a stick of glue, and an overturned tube of glitter.
“Sylvia, what did I tell you about the glitter?” Kyllian groaned.
Sylvia pouted, looking up to Ivy. “He doesn’t think the flower crowns need glitter to be magic, but he’s wrong.”
Ivy looked to Kyllian and nodded. “Oh yes, he’s very wrong. Glitter is very important.”
The door slammed, Ivy spinning around so fast in the chair that was levels too small for her that she nearly toppled over, taking the coveted glitter tube with her.
“Uncle Jack!” Sylvia squealed, jumping up from her seat, grabbing a paper flower crown from their pile and racing to him. “I made this for you!”
The Defender blinked in surprise, taking the crown from her. “Thank you, Sylvie. That was very thoughtful of you.”
Sylvia beamed. “Try it on!”
Jack set the crown over his curls, glitter sprinkling into his hair. He coughed. “How’s it look?”
“Beautiful,” Sylvia said, nodding approvingly. “Do you want one, Clive?”
Jack stepped out to reveal Ivy’s brother cowering in the corner. “Maybe a later time. We have some things to discuss.”
“Way to crush a child’s dreams,” Kyllian sighed from the tiny chair opposite Ivy. He had already been subject to glitter, all in his red hair and freckled face. He didn’t look the least bit phased.
Clive didn’t hear Kyllian and it was probably for the best. He didn’t need any more grudges.
“Where are we meeting?” Clive said.
“Is right here good enough for you?” Kyllian said, getting up from the tiny pink chair and gesturing to it with a flourish.
Clive raised a brow. “Is this guy part of it?”
“Kyllian Raz is a trusted member of my sister’s staff,” Jack said, taking the tiny chair, which didn’t suit his height. “He’s been on a few family secrets.”
Ivy glanced to Kyllian and his too knowledgeable brown eyes. Like Sienne*? She didn’t dare ask.
Clive took a seat in the other tiny pink chair, and Kyllian waved Sylvia off to go pay in an automated device in the corner of her room, which Ivy would have preferred to watch the projected ponies dance around the girl than this.
Kyllian settled in this one.
“Wraith Weed is a part of it,” Ivy blurted out as soon as she whipped her head back toward them.
Clive, Kyllian, and Jack all stared at her.
“What?” Kyllian said.
“Ivy went into the basement at the apartment,” Clive explained, hesitantly meeting her eyes like asking for permission to continue.
Did they tell them about the creatures? It seemed like a lot to unload…and a lot to accuse Alvarez of.
“Are you guys using twin telepathy or something?” Kyllian broke Ivy’s train of thought.
“What?” Ivy frowned. “We can do that?”
“No,” Clive groaned. “It’s just a silly stereotype. The point is…”
“There are creatures in the basement.”
“What? I panicked!”
“There’s what?” Jack frowned.
“Nothing. She’s joking,” Clive laughed nervously.
Ivy unbuckled the bag, pulling Courtney out and slamming the jar on the table.
Kyllian went paler than he already was, and Jack blinked. “Holy cow. What is that?”
Courtney turned to face Jack, flipping upside down as she bobbed in the air.
“I have no idea,” Ivy said. “But we found her in Clive’s room. And when we went down to the basement, I found another one. Just this time--” Ivy swallowed. “--A lot less friendly.”
“I studied things like this in post-trial classes, but nothing like this,” Jack breathed, tapping on the glass, watching as Courtney followed his finger.
“There are things like this?” Clive frowned.
“I mean, not exactly,” Jack laughed. “But yeah, supernatural things. There are these people called the Oquelite, and so much more we can’t begin to comprehend. But the Oquelite have a physical known form…this thing just is a blob.”
It felt like too much for Jack to just leave there. But it made sense he wasn’t panicking as much as Kyllian, who hadn’t blinked in a minute, was.
“Interesting and all, but what does this fantasy have to do with this glowly blob?” Clive raised a brow.
“There’s this thing called the Reawakening.”
“Let me guess,” Clive said, blowing glitter from his hand. “A magical prophecy created by elves riding glitter ponies.”
Jack laughed. “Where’d you get that idea?”
“It’s a theory created by people who’ve studied these supernatural genetics since the EarthShaker. The theory that once was, is coming back. And coming back strong. Once was being…a supernatural world.”
“That sounds really out there, Sallow,” Kyllian said, rubbing life back into his eyes.
“The point is, this and those rapidly growing woods proves it,” Jack said, his eyes wide in fascination.
“How long has this theory been around?” Ivy asked.
“Since the EarthShaker.”
Ivy’s lips parted. “Like around Wraith Weed’s creation?”
Jack paused, his face hardening with realization as he turned to look at her. “Yeah. Around then.”
“So Wraith Weed wasn’t a failed project,” Ivy said, pressinged her hands against her cheeks. “They were preparing for a supernatural comeback. For this!”
“What was Alvarez’s connection to Wraith Weed?” Clive asked.
“He was part of a botany lecture group for years, but nothing like this.” Kyllian shook his head. “It couldn’t be, at least. What goal could Alvarez possibly have?”
“The creatures are extremely powerful. They seem to have the ability to kill,” she said, shuddering thinking of the blackened cut on her hand and the palm on the table. How bad had a creature destroyed someone to leave them that charred? And was the body still there?
“Alvarez doesn’t have a reason, or the character to kill,” Jack said, quick to his brother-in-law’s defense.
“But what if someone else does?” Clive said, his brows furrowing. “That professor who sent that guy yesterday. He was looking for information on Wraith Weed.”
“But we have no idea who this professor is,” Ivy said, with a frustrated sigh. “Where would we even find someone like him? Specifically interested in botany?”
“We could search the University?”
“They don’t like me,” Ivy said.
“And there are hundreds of professors and we have no way of knowing which ones are connected to Alvarez,” Clive groaned. “There has to be something.”
Clive quickly unraveled his electric Scroll, swiping the hologram screen up, his fingers racing excitedly over the keyboard. “What if there was?”
“What do you mean?” Jack frowned.
“Somewhere we could meet professors with relation to Alvarez?” Kyllian said, his eyes glimmering as he switched the screen to face them.
JOINED IN SCIENCE GALA - CELEBRATING OVER THREE DECADES OF PEACE
“A gala?” Clive wrinkled his nose.
“A gala of people of science,” Kyllian clarified. “Hosted at Alvarez’s Vvictorian complex apartments. Apparently, his disappearance didn’t cancel the event, but he’s the one who sent the invites.”
Ivy’s heart skipped a beat. “You think we could get in and perhaps narrow down the suspects?”
Kyllian gave her a smirk. “Exactly, lady Ivy.”
“But how would we even get in? None of us are invited, or even scientists,” Clive said.
Ivy cleared her throat.
“Ivy, you hardly count.”
“Ivy’s the best shot we have,” Jack said, with a hand on Ivy’s shoulder. “Besides, Kyllian is an employee of Alvarez and already has clearance in the building. And they can’t exactly deny Isaias Sallow.”
“Why not?” Clive snorted.
“I’m his wife’s brother.”
“She doesn’t seem too fond of you. And your name isn’t Jack?”
Jack shrugged. “Legally it is…now,” he said, his eyes darting for a moment. “But Isaias is what my family calls me, and what I’m mostly known by.”
“Why did you--”
Clive shook his head and Ivy dropped the subject.
“So it’s final then,” Kyllian said. “We send me and Ivy in undercover to this gala?”
“A gala?” Sylvia squealed, looking up from her game. “Ivy needs glitter!”
Ivy smothered a laugh. “I like that idea.”
“You and Ivy?” Clive said, suspiciously. “Why not me and Ivy?”
“We’ll need you surveying elsewhere,” Jack said. “Besides, you couldn’t pull off the scientist act.”
Ivy laughed, as Clive deadpanned Jack.
“It’s final then,” Jack said. “The gala is only a few days from now. For now? We plan.”