Also Known As

Also Known As by Robin Benway Page A

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Authors: Robin Benway
house. I started shoving clothes aside, moving shoes and feeling the walls, checking the edges of the carpet to see if it would pull up and reveal a floor safe. Nothing. My heart was starting to pound in time with the music and I wished I wasn’t wearing a turtleneck. How was I supposed to get anything done when I was being strangled by my own clothes?
    “Shit, shit, shit ,” I whispered to myself as I felt the wall behind a tie rack. Jesse already knew I was at the party. What if he was wondering where I was? Time was always of the essence, but especially when people were looking for you. Especially then.
    A few minutes later, I realized that the closet was a waste of time. There was nothing in there, no safe, nothing but socks and ties and men’s shoes, all of which looked really uncomfortable. I moved back into the bedroom, looking behind artwork that was probably worth several million dollars, dropping to my knees to glance around a dresser that was too heavy to move.
    Five minutes later, I left the room frustrated and empty-handed. I hate when I can’t find the damn safe. I hate it. It’s my job, the one thing I know how to do, and when it’s not there, it’s like I’m not there.
    The party was still raging, though, and it seemed to have only gotten more crowded. Roux was nowhere in sight and I only saw the top of Jesse’s curly head as it disappeared around a corner. Everyone else was a stranger, and I had a rare moment of self-pity when I thought that I should have just stayed home and read a book instead. Angelo could rappel himself into the house later.
    I was just trying to figure out which window I could open that would make it easier for Angelo when I heard the fight. I didn’t know it was a fight at the time, though. I just thought it was one girl screaming a lot. And then I heard the name “Roux” and immediately followed the noise into the library.
    The library .
    Oh my God, I’m an idiot , I thought. And apparently my parents were useless at reading blueprints. Libraries had shelves, empty books, plenty of room for hidden safes galore!I canceled my mental image of Angelo ziplining in through the window.
    The fight, however, was still going. Roux was backed against one row of books, half-ready to tip over, looking angry and sad at the same time. “You know what you did!” another girl screamed at her. I recognized her as Julia, the jilted girlfriend whose ex-boyfriend had slept with Roux.
    Hoo boy.
    “He didn’t even like you anymore!” Roux said, her words slurring together. “He liked me! He was gonna break up with you!”
    “Lying bitch!” Julia yelled back, and oh my God, I was at a high school party and there was alcohol and an actual girl fight. When did my life turn into a movie?
    Everyone watching took a collective breath when Julia busted out the word “bitch.” Apparently that’s a fighting word in Manhattan private schools. Roux’s red sequined horns were askew on top of her head, but she seemed to be breathing fire, just like a bull, just like she had said when I first met up with her that night.
    “Ask him!” Roux shouted, and pointed toward one of the dopiest-looking guys I had ever seen in my life. His eyes were red-rimmed and he had a smile that seemed to suggest he had been stoned for the past six years. He was still wearing his school uniform, and I would bet a hundred bucks that he was one of those teenagers who went trick-or-treating as “a teenager.”
    They were fighting over this clown? Now I had seen everything.
    “Jake?” Julia said, crossing her arms and looking over at Stoner Boy. “Is it true? Who did you like better, babe?”
    Babe? They were still together? Jake cheated on Julia and she took him back? If this were a TV show, I would have been recording every single episode on my DVR. And judging from the crowd in the room, I wasn’t the only one who felt that way.
    (And Jake and Julia? Really? It was so matchy-matchy that I wanted to

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