Spies Like Me
Emma led Ruby up the metal ladder inside the gigantic empty wine barrel. Both girls passed through the winery’s gift shop and went outside to the parking lot. Emma unlocked the doors of her car and the two girls climbed inside it.
“Mercedes AMG,” Rudy said. “How fast does it go?”
Emma pushed the start button. “I don’t know. I just got it a few months ago.”
“I don’t like to drive like that.”
Ruby nodded. “Safety conscious.”
Emma rolled out of the parking lot and took California Highway 29 south out of Napa Valley towards Vallejo. As the car settled on a speed, Emma flipped on the cruise control. She gripped the leather-stitched steering wheel and exchanged a few glances at Ruby, who grinned. Normally Emma welcomed uncomfortable quiet over uncomfortable conversation, but Mrs. B was quite insistent that Emma should get to know this girl, so…
“Can you tell me your real name?”
Ruby shook her head. “Top secret.”
“Oh. Sorry. I’m new to all this spy stuff, so—”
Ruby covered her mouth as she laughed. “Only kidding. Messing with you. My real name is Miyuki.”
“Mi-yu-ki. Yes, it’s Japanese for awesome girl from Okinawa.” She laughed again. “What is your name, Black Opal?”
“What does Emma mean in English?”
“I have no idea.” Emma thought about it. “It’s English for normal girl who loves books and puppies, I guess. I’m boring.”
“You forgot to add pulls hair like a mother-trucker.” Miyuki laughed again. Her laugh was so rich and genuine. Something a person could get addicted to.
Miyuki talked all the way from Vallejo, through Berkeley, and over the bridge to San Francisco. She told Emma about the Gems and how they moved here from London, where they were stationed previously. About how much she looked forward to seeing America. About how Emma’s habit of not looking before changing lanes was a tad dangerous.
“I know. I keep forgetting there might be a car over there.” Emma checked her side mirror as they reached the end of the Golden Gate Bridge.
Miyuki’s eyes lit up like a little girl. “So beautiful. San Francisco is so beautiful.”
Emma focused on the traffic, which could get tricky heading into the city. Miyuki continued to point out every fascinating thing she saw out the window. There was no desperate need to be loved in Miyuki’s voice. No compromising herself in some attempt to get Emma to like her more. Miyuki said whatever she was thinking at the top of her head, and Emma found it refreshing.
Emma led Miyuki into the San Francisco Centre Mall and the girl’s eyes were dazzled by the five indoor floors of shopping.
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