Cara’s a thief apparently.
I mean, I guess that’s fairly obvious considering the circumstances, but apparently she’s like a real thief. Like she thieves as a career.
It’s been an unpleasant couple days in the rental.
We couldn’t get access to local security footage what with the whole being wanted fugitives situation, so we had to call the Scelerats to hack in for us.
Bass picked up.
“Someone stole the rabbit?” Bass said. He laughed like oh shit. “Alright gimme a sec.” He clicked away at his computer for a bit, and then for a bit longer.
“Hey Bass?” Neal said into the quiet. “If you’re busy, you can pass us to your mom —”
“Nope, I got it,” Bass said cheerfully and Neal took a long, calming breath.
“Alrighty fellas, I’m afraid we’ve got a problem,” Bass said. “Your thief’s a pro. I’ve got em here. They take a right coming out of the parking lot at 5 am when the police detail changes shifts. And then nothing. They avoided all the obvious cameras. No idea where they went. It’s gonna take some deeper digging. Hang on let me get on Google maps maybe we can catch your thief in a drive-thru camera or something.”
Neal sighed. “It’s Cara Thistle,” he said.
Bass laughed his oh shiiiiit laugh again.
“Okay, so she won’t have been caught in a drive-thru camera,” he said. “But she could have slipped up. I’ll keep looking. In the mean time, if there’s a safety on that car you might want to employ it.”
Neal did NOT like that answer because he hung up the phone and threw it into the back seat where I had to dodge it.
Julian drove us back to the overpass where we waited out the other the other night and we just sorta idled there for a while.
“What’s a safety?” I asked.
“Lots of hunters cast spells on their cars,” Julian replied. “Simple locator spells, or a spell to lock it down. Many of us sorta live out of our cars, so they’re full of sensitive information. That way if something happens they can call the caster and activate the spell.”
Okay, so like magic gps. If they had a car made after Y2K they could have real gps, but whatever.
“Do we have a safety?” I asked.
Julian seemed to be restraining some amusement. “We do,” he said and clapped Neal on the shoulder. “You’re gonna have to call her. You know that, right?”
Neal made a face. “Yep.”
“Are we just… gathering courage?” Julian asked.
Neal wrinkled his nose. “Yep.”
We waited a long time hahahahaha.
Then Neal took a breath like he was going into a boxing match and called a number.
“Heyyyy Celeste,” he said after a minute. “I need your help.” I didn’t hear her response but I imagine it was something like, oh yeah? What else is new?
I love Celeste. There is nothing on this earth I love more than watching Neal Hawthorne squirm.
“Someone stole the rabbit,” he said. Another long pause, and then he made face like he was bracing for impact and said, “Cara Thistle.”
He had to hold the phone away from his face because she was shouting at him. THAT I could hear hahahahaha.
“Look, I know, it’s not ideal — Celeste — I’m sorry — we just — ooh kay.” He put down the phone and addressed us. “We’re on our own.”
Julian was making a valiant effort not to laugh.
“So… who’s Cara Thistle?” I said.
Neal shot me a look. “Ha ha Shiloh.”
So we’d hit a dead end until Bass could come up with a lead, and until then we were sorta stuck in the car. It’s not like we could risk going anywhere with the police still pretty sure we held up a blood bank and tried to eat a human man last week. So we waited.
Luckily Bass is a wizard with computers (lol he’s a witch actually ahaha what up) and he had us a lead within a couple hours.
He facetimed us. “Hey I found her,” he said. “She’s slick as heck, I couldn’t find the car or any evidence of her leaving town. But I did find her. She’s in REDACTED TOWN, REDACTED STATE.”
“Thank god,” Neal sighed. Julian was already pulling onto the freeway.
“Thank me you mean,” Bass said, cheerfully and gave us a finger gun. “I’ll keep an eye on her. Get in touch when you’re closer.” Neal was about to hang up, and Bass said, “Hey wait!”
“What?” Neal asked, impatient.
“Hey Shiloh,” Bass said. “What up?”
“Alright,” Neal said and hung up the phone.
Hahahaha I love Bass Scelerat. He’s the best.
It took us fifteen hours to get here. It might have taken a bit less, except it turns out, and I report this with the absolute MAXIMUM delight: part Neal Hawthorne from his bad ass safety mobile and that man drives like a fucking GRANDMA. VISIBLE anxiety on his face when we’re driving. He like leans over the steering wheel and squints and goes at least five under at all times. Someone honked at us on their way by, I swear to god. I’ve never seen less cool driving on any living human. When it was Julian’s turn to drive Neal was so relieved he had to nap off the stress in the back seat.
We called Bass to find where she was, but it turns out we didn’t really need to. We just went to the nicest, most expensive hotel in town, and that’s where she was.
Nice hotels are so amazing. They’re so beautiful and they smell like money. Why can’t we stay in fucking five stars instead of motels? Hm? It’s not like we don’t have the money.
Anyways, I started towards the desk, thinking we’d have to get a room and track her down, but Neal shook his head. “This way,” he said.
We went out back to the outdoor pool and the boys scanned the slight crowd.
“Is she here?” I said.
Neal gave me a pitying look.
“What do you think,” he said and as he said it this girl Fast Times at Ridgemont High-ed her way out of the swimming pool. She was blond, with those big, pouty Instagram lips, and the tiniest red bikini I’ve ever seen.
A lot of things suddenly became clear.
“Shiloh, stay here,” Neal said. “Julian get the —”
“Yep,” Julian said and went to the back entrance.
Neal went and lounged on her poolside chair, and Cara hesitated just a moment when she saw him there, before continuing to dry herself off. “Hello Neal,” she said. “It’s been a long time.”
“Uh huh,” Neal said. “Where’s my car?”
She smiled. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” she said.
Neal smiled, too. “Cara,” he said.
“Neal,” she said back.
Listen I was watching this from like ten feet away, but I’ll tell you, a LOT was suddenly becoming clear. You could cut the sexual tension with a knife hahahaha.
“Where’s my fucking car, Cara,” Neal said.
“You have a way to track these things, don’t you?” Cara said innocently. “Can’t Celeste track it down?” She slipped into her sandals, lifted a silky robe off the back of her chair and started towards the lobby.
Neal’s cool slipped as he hopped after her.
“What, no Julian covering the exit?” Cara asked. “You boys have a fight?”
I wasn’t sure what else to do, so I just stepped in front of her. She was super tall, as tall as Neal at least in those heels.
Cara stopped and looked at me. It took a second for her to understand, but when she did she laughed. “Who’s this little creature?” she said. “Did you adopt her? Hello,” she said to me, talking to me like I was six. “Who are you?”
“Cara,” Neal said, patience slipping. “Where the fuck is my car?”
Cara ignored him, making her way for the elevator. She went as far as pushing the button before suddenly she wasn’t in front of me anymore, and instead she was rushing away across the hotel lobby, silk robe flaring out behind her.
Neal swore, and we wheeled to chase her. We straight up would have lost her except that all 18 feet of Julian appeared in the doorway, blocking her exit.
“There he is,” Cara said. “Hi Jude.”
“Cara,” he replied.
Behind us the elevator dinged.
“Shall we head up to your room? Or do you want to sit in the rental in a swim suit?” Neal said. Cara’s eyes flared for a moment with annoyance but then she smiled.
“Come on upstairs. I have a whole suite, you’ll love it.” She pointed at me. “You especially will love it. They’ve got you holed up in motel rooms, every night, don’t they?”
They sure do!!!
Anyways, I’m writing this while Cara’s in the shower. I’ll keep you posted.