Chapter 12 - Lies
The transmission from Jerry ended, and Britney closed her X-Powder. She then left the spies’ kitchen and met Sam and Clover who were sitting silently in the villa’s living room now dressed in civilian clothing.
Britney glanced at Sam and was again thankful she was still in one piece. The wounds to Sam’s shoulder and leg, while seeming severe, were actually minor enough to have been completely attended to by WOOHP emergency medical staff sent via helicopter directly after the altercation in the jewelry factory. After less than half an hour in surgery, she was allowed her to return home instead of spending yet another night in the hospital. Due again to WOOHP’s revolutionary plastic surgery techniques, she was left with no scars. Britney, however, still felt a bit guilty about being off guard enough to have let the Black Widow knock her unconscious from behind, leaving her and Sam in a compromising position.
Despite escaping with their health, both Sam and Clover looked quite uneasy to Britney. Their failure to stop the Black Widow from abducting more victims and her surmounting violence seemingly weighed heavily on them. Most of their past spy missions were solved in a matter of a day. None had ever dragged on for weeks as this one had with little success in solving the case, nor had a villain ever introduced them to such ruthless violence before.
“Jerry said the more thorough DNA tests on the contact lens will take another twenty minutes to complete,” Britney explained to them.
Clover spoke up. “No offense, but I don’t think we should wait that long. Who knows when Mandy will strike next.”
“Don’t you mean the Black Widow?” Sam snapped at her.
“She’s the only suspect left, Sam. Give it up already. It has to be that bitch.”
“Being a suspect isn’t the same thing as being guilty, Clover,” she said disdainfully. “Don’t you still believe in innocent until proven guilty?”
“Look, Sam, I know Mandy is your new wannabe pal or something, but Arnold and Tara were already captured by the Widow, and we all know it’s not Alex. Those were the only suspects. You know better than anyone that WOOHP’s super computers can’t be wrong.”
“Well, you’re right about WOOHP’s computers being really accurate,” Sam said, “but something’s not right about this. Mandy has no motive. Arnold does her homework like she does for you, Clover. Why would she abduct him? And she barely even knows Tara. The only time she became popular from copying you, Mandy crushed it in a matter of seconds. She’s no threat to her. So why kidnap her? It makes no sense.”
Clover retorted, “You know how crazy bad-guys are, Sam. She doesn’t need a good reason to kidnap people. They never have good reasons for the crazy things they do. Did Tim Scam have a good motive for trying to evaporate all the water in the ocean?”
“Fine, but let’s say the contact does belong to the Black Widow. I’ve known Mandy since she was six. I met her the same day I met you and Alex. She’s never worn contacts before.”
“How can you be so sure?” Clover asked.
“I just would’ve noticed something like that.”
“You must’ve spent an awful lot of time looking at her eyes then,” Clover said sarcastically. Sam blushed brightly. What she said was true. She had gazed into those deep purple eyes absent mindedly in class, the hall, and elsewhere for years. She had only consciously admitted it to herself recently, but the beauty in those purple orbs was nearly intoxicating. Moreover, she saw something hidden deep within them. Something Mandy hid from everyone else and something Sam wished she could discover for herself. She didn’t know what it was, but Sam was certain it was something good and not the evil everyone now suspected her of.
“Actually,” Britney said, “she did take me to a store that sold contact-lenses before. But they were for me, not her. She thought the glasses I was wearing as part of my cover weren’t fashionable.”
“See!” Clover said. “It proves she’s been there before!”
“That’s not solid evidence, Clover!”
“It’s good enough for me!”
“You’re letting your grudge with Mandy cloud your reasoning.”
“It used to be your grudge too, Sam. What the hek is wrong with you?”
“Nothing. At school it’s one thing, but we’re on a serious mission that could be life and death. Stop being so immature!” she scolded.
“Well, I see you two are fighting again,” Alex said as she walked down the stairs and into the living room.
“Where were you, Alex?” Britney asked.
“Just finishing some homework.”
“As much as it pains me to say this,” Sam said, “it’s not the time to do homework, Alex.”
“Well, I have to do it some time. It’s not my fault all this crazy stuff happened.”
“You sure you don’t remember more from when you were in the vault, Alex?” Clover asked. “We need to prove to Sam here that it was Mandy,” she said, rolling her eyes.
“Like I said, I just remember seeing a flash from behind me and then something hit me in the back of the head. It felt like a kick, a really good one. I don’t remember anything else until you woke me up.”
“The Black Widow does have an awfully mean flying kick. She did the same thing to me,” Britney said, rubbing the back of her head, which was still very sore. “Still that’s awfully convenient that you were locked up in there all by yourself during our confrontations with the Widow.”
“Hey! What are you saying?” Alex asked, looking quite angry at the suggestion.
“Nothing. It’s just an observation.”
“I know Alex didn’t do it,” Sam said, “but I doubt Mandy did it either. There must be something we haven’t thought of yet. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I can’t help but feel we’re still missing an important piece to the puzzle.”
“But, Mand…” Clover stopped mid-sentence when all four girls heard the noise of a car from outside. They went to the window and saw it was Mandy in her purple Spider pulling up her drive-way and into her three-car garage. “Well, speak of the devil,” Clover said venomously.
“I’ll go talk to her,” Sam said.
“No, I’ll go,” Britney said. Sam frowned. “I’ve been investigating her pretty thoroughly recently and developed… a close relationship. She trusts me. If she is the Widow, maybe I can get her to confess and turn herself in. We should end this as peacefully as we can.”
Sam put a hand on Britney’s shoulder and stared into her eyes. “You promise you won’t do anything rash?”
Britney seemed somewhat taken aback. “Yeah, um, I won’t.”
“You promise?” she asked once more.
“I promise.” Sam still seemed worried, but took her hand off of Britney’s shoulder anyways.
Britney left for Mandy’s mansion immediately. After reaching her front-door and ringing the door-bell, an elated Mandy greeted her, “Britneykins, dear, I’m so happy to see you!” she chirped. She then noticed the rather sober expression on Britney’s face. “What’s wrong?”
“Mandy, I think we need to talk. Can we go up to your room maybe?”
“Sure thing.” Mandy opened the door for her. Britney walked inside somewhat reluctantly. Although having plenty of experience and training dealing with covert operations, this was the first time she had gone so deep undercover before to forge this close of a relationship with someone. She felt tense, but she knew that the time had come to find out the truth about Mandy once and for all.
The two girls walked up the sweeping marble stair-case and across the banister to where Mandy opened the door for Britney again to let her inside her huge, luxurious bedroom.
Britney sat down on the end of Mandy’s lacy bed. Mandy came over and gave Britney a loving hug as was her nature lately whenever they met. She, however, noticed the hug didn’t seem to have an effect on her currently solemn demeanor. “Hey, baby, what’s wrong? What did you want to talk about?” she asked as she continued to lovingly nuzzle against her body.
“Well, we’ve been together for a little while now, Mandy. I think one of the most important things about being a couple is that you shouldn’t keep secrets from each other. It just seems to me that lately you’ve been wanting to tell me something important, but you always stop short of telling me what it is.”
Mandy looked like she was going to speak for a second, but then she closed her lips and just sat there for a while. To Britney it looked like she was still fighting between the urge to tell her the truth and the need to keep that truth a secret. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” she finally said in an almost monotone voice.
“Well, it sure sounded like you wanted to tell me something on the phone earlier.”
“I don’t remember,” she said again, sounding quite lifeless.
“There’s something else too. Tonight when you said you were studying, I don’t know if you were telling me the truth. I mean, I saw you pull your car in from next door.”
“I was just running some errands. That’s all. Just a little late-night shopping. Although, I didn’t end up getting what I wanted,” she said, sounding disappointed.
“What were you shopping for?”
“Something for you, babykins,” she said as she placed her palm on Britney’s cheek and ran it across her soft skin, causing it to blush. Seeing the blush, Mandy moved in and landed a wet kiss against it. This didn’t seem to melt Britney’s somber mood though.
“I knew where you were.”
Mandy raised an eye-brow, “And how would you know that?”
“Someone I know saw you in south L.A. sneaking around a jewelry factory after hours.”
Mandy looked shocked. “Who saw me there?”
“I don’t want to say. The person though was leaving the Karate dojo down the street,” she lied.
“That dumb bitch, Alex, huh?” Mandy asked, sounding infuriated. Still cuddling her, Britney could feel Mandy’s body tremble with anger.
“What were you doing there? She said the building was closed.”
“Just window shopping.”
Britney raised her voice a bit, “Mandy, they don’t sell jewelry there. It’s a factory, not a store! Going to a place like that after it’s closed is trespassing!”
She saw Mandy’s eyes were beginning to water a bit. Britney had never been cross with her before. Realizing her mistake, Britney took Mandy’s hand and squeezed it between both of her palms gently. “I’m sorry, Mandy. I’m just really worried about you. That’s all,” she said in a concerned and calmer voice. “I promise I won’t be angry with you. I just want to know the truth.” Britney looked deep into Mandy’s eyes, and Mandy stared back into hers. “Please.”
“Ok... I used a key I had to get into the place. I wanted to get you something really nice, something with diamonds on it, maybe a necklace or a ring or something. While I was looking though, I heard some loud noises and someone screaming. I don’t know what was going on, but it scared the hell out of me. I got out of there through the back door as fast as I could.”
“Thanks for the thought Mandy,” she said, squeezing her hand some more, “but why do you have to steal something for me? Don’t you have enough money for something like that? I mean, you’re pretty rich, no offense.”
"I am,” she paused for a second before deciding to continue, “It’s because my father owns the company. The only way I know how to get back at that bastard is to steal from him. He hasn’t said three words to me since I was four. It's like I don’t even exist to him anymore.” Mandy looked hurt just admitting that.
"Ok, that's terrible how your father treats you, but I don't think you should do anything illegal because of it."
"Don't worry, I won't get caught."
"How do you know, Mandy? I'm worried."
"I just do, ok." Mandy started running her fingers through Britney's beautiful blue strands. "Can we forget about this stuff and do something else now?"
Britney relented. "But how would you be able to get in there and steal it? Wouldn't a place like that have security and keep expensive jewelry like that locked up?" Mandy looked away sharply and didn't answer. "Mandy how would you be able to do that? It doesn't make sense."
"Don't worry about it," Mandy said, pushing away from her.
"But I am worried. How could I not be? You could go to jail."
"I said don't worry about it, damn it!" she yelled, still averting eye contact with her.
"I promise I won't tell anyone. I just want to know, because I care about you."
"Shut up! If you knew, you wouldn't care about me anymore."
"That's not true. How can you say that?"
"It is true," Mandy said coldly.
"Why is it? Tell me, please," Britney begged. “I need to know. Please!”
Mandy turned to her with a look of simmering hatred burning though her eyes. "Because the security guards fuck me. I let them fuck me like a dog on the floor. The manager and the accountant too. That's how I get free jewelry. You happy now?"
Britney looked utterly shocked and couldn't think of a word to utter as a response. "That's the kind of girl I am. I get what I want when I want it by any means necessary. You think my popularity at Bev High came cheap? I had to claw my way to the top! When I started I was nothing. No one even wanted to talk to me. I had to lie. I had to stab people in the back I liked. I had to tell my friends I hated them. And that's not all, I had to fuck disgusting jocks and stuck-up pricks I couldn’t stand, so many of them I lost count, just to keep an upper hand on that blonde slut friend of yours, Clover. I didn't love any of them. I didn't even like most of them. But that's what I did, because that's what it took to force people to like me."
Mandy stopped and then just bawled into her hands. With her icy emotional guard finally down, the tears seemed to flood out like raging rivers down her cheeks. Finally, she stopped for a moment and looked up at Britney who stared back at her, looking utterly mortified just as Mandy had predicted she would be. "I know you hate me now. I'm a mean, evil, disgusting whore. I don't want you to see me anymore, Britney. You're a good girl. Way too good to be around someone like me. Just leave me, already," she cried, turning away from her again.
Finally some semblance of thought returned to Britney's head and she put her hand over Mandy's shoulder. "I don't hate you, Mandy."
"Yes, you do! Don't lie to me!" she shouted as the tears still refused to stop pouring out.
Britney gently wrapped her arms around the petite girl's frame as she also began to cry. "I mean it. I don’t care about what you did or who you had sex with. The only thing that matters to me is that we’re together now."
"You really mean that?" Mandy eeped out reluctantly as she turned and looked at her, literally shaking. It seemed as if she feared she would momentarily say something completely contradictory.
Mandy buried her head into Britney's shoulder and cried, and Britney held her. “I just want to ask one thing,” Britney said, “what did you want to tell me?”
"I love you. That's what I wanted to tell you. Is that bad?"
Britney felt a terrible feeling wash over her body. "No… no, that’s a good thing. I love you too, Mandy."
Mandy continued to weep in Britney's loving arms. Her weeping however seemed to Britney to have become less painful than the crying she had done moments earlier. "You're too good to be true." Upon hearing that, Britney frowned very uncomfortably.
Jerry sat in his empty, metallic office, looking down at the monitor on his desk. Once more, he reviewed the results from the more thorough DNA tests on the contact lens found in the jewelry factory. He again couldn’t find anything that would suggest a mistake had been made. “It’s still hard to believe,” he said, mystified that the results corroborated the spies’ earlier X-Powder scan to match the DNA of the same person.
Suddenly, the screen on his monitor flicked off and the lights in his office went dark. He pressed the button on his desk to turn the lights back on, but there was no response. “Impossible. I just had the four backup generators inspected the other day.” Jerry retrieved his Com-Wallet from a pocket inside his suit coat. When he opened it, the screen switched on, but he saw that it was having difficulty connecting to GLADIS or the WOOHP database.
He then heard the sound of someone forcefully ripping open the sliding door to the office. He moved the lit screen of his Com-Wallet to shine the light towards the person as she walked inside. Although barely illuminated by the wallet’s light, he recognized her face immediately. It was the same person who had been identified in the DNA scan.
“I never thought it would come to this,” Jerry said. “I’m quite disappointed in you. Hiring you was obviously a mistake.”
“A lot of people underestimate me. That’s your fault, old man.”
“Understood, but I suggest you don’t make the same mistake with me.” Jerry set the open wallet down on his desk and unloosened his tie. He then shot up into the air like a rocket, turned three-hundred and sixty degrees, and then sailed over his desk in a flying kick aimed for the shadowy figure. Due to the girl’s incredibly quick reflexes, she was able to dodge out of the way of Jerry’s foot just as it grazed past her head.
The girl then shot her own leg up in the air at Jerry like a lightning strike. Jerry’s reflexes were nearly as sharp as the girl’s, and he similarly moved to the left, just missing the kick. Undeterred, the girl charged at him and threw a vicious left hook aimed for his skull, which he blocked with his forearm. She followed it up with a sharp right upper-cut that he again blocked this time with his left arm.
Jerry smirked. This infuriated the girl. She took a step backward, and then spun around forward sending her foot whizzing towards him in a perfectly executed round-house kick. Jerry had recognized the movements leading up to the maneuver, and was able to again step out of the way of it quite easily. While her leg was still in the air, Jerry grabbed a hold of it and swung her around to where he jabbed hard into her mid-section with the bottom of his palm, causing her to stagger backwards. Jerry wasted no time in jabbing forward again, this time for the girl’s chin. She immediately ducked out of the way and performed a low, sweeping kick aimed for his legs. Jerry jumped up and out the way of her leg, flipping and landing perfectly on his feet on the other side of his office.
Jerry laughed. “Surely, you’re not expecting to beat me with basic Kung-WOOHP. I invented the martial art.”
“I could if I wanted to, but I don’t have the time. So I’ll use something else you made.”
“Then prove to me that the student has surpassed the master,” he dared her.
She extracted a small object from on her person and pointed it at Jerry. She then twisted the end of the lipstick and it shot out a red laser. Jerry dashed in the opposite direction of the beam. The more than middle-aged man was so fast he was able to out run the laser easily, lapping his office twice. When the girl changed the laser’s trajectory, he was able to duck, jump, flip, and roll out of the way expertly, not even breaking a sweat.
Finally, it seemed as if she had given up on using the Laser Lipstick to defeat him. He laughed again. “And thinking one of the most basic WOOHP gadgets would defeat the head of WOOHP. How amateur. I thought I trained you better than that.” Jerry then tried to step forward, but found he couldn’t move his left leg. “The bloody hell?” Looking down, he saw that his foot had been stuck to the ground in some kind of aquamarine goo. The last thing he saw was the heel of the girl’s WOOHP standard-issue boot right as it impacted his skull, knocking him unconscious.
Britney trudged back into the spies’ villa some time later. She had an incredibly nauseous feeling gnawing at her stomach. It was so bad, she was certain she was about to throw up. Entering the empty living room, she stopped by a mirror on the wall. Her reflection was the same as always: a beautiful seventeen year-old girl with smooth, white, pale cheeks, luscious purple eyes, and long hair dyed an exotic but alluring blue color. Who Britney saw though was someone she could barely stand to look at, someone who had done something evil. “How could I have done this?” she asked herself in the mirror. “I can’t believe what I’ve done… I’m a monster. I’m a monster!” she cried.
To Be Continued