She spent the entire day feeling like she’d drunk too much coffee and swinging between being excited and sure that none of the boys were going to turn up. By the time she walked across the square, legs wobbly, she’d convinced herself that she was going to be stood up.
However, one of the boys – the tall, gorgeous one that the other had called Enzo – was there. He stood under a lamp post, fidgeting with the fabric of his shirt and he looked around nervously. It was hard to say if he was just looking for her, or worried about being seen. At least he was here.
She did a mental fist-pump and kept her cool walking up to him, but she couldn’t help a wide smile when their eyes met.
“I didn’t think you’d be here,” she said. “Your friend didn’t make it?”
“He didn’t think it was a good idea, and I can’t say I’m sure myself.” He reached out a hand to her. “I haven’t introduced myself properly. Vincente Cavalcante, though you can call me Enzo.”
“Regina Mancini. Gina.”
She waited to see if there was a light of recognition in his eyes at her last name. That was often the case, even this far from Monte Vista, but she saw nothing.
“Ever picked a lock before?” she asked then.
He ran a hand through his hair. “No, and I still don’t believe that you can do it.”
“Well, I can, so just keep your eyes peeled, and maybe you’ll learn something. Let’s do the library.”
She nodded her head at the turquoise building to her left. He laughed.
“How thrilling, going to the library in the middle of the night.”
“It’s the easiest to break into in town,” she told him. “This is perfect for baby’s first break-in.”
He rolled his eyes and followed her, but there was a smile on his face when they rounded the corner to the back of the building. She waved him over to the door, crouched down, and began to root through her pockets for a few hairpins. When she had them, she held them out so he could see.
“We use these.”
She started bending one of them into an L-shape and the other she opened wide; the latter would be used to hold the tension on the tumbler, and the other to push on the pins. His eyes were trained on her hands.
“Hairpins? Isn’t that a little cliché?”
“Nope. They’re pretty decent when you’ve left the proper tools at home,” she said and nodded at the standard pin tumbler lock on the door. “A lock like that, it’d be kind of silly to get something better. There isn’t even an alarm on this.”
Enzo looked at her, his face somewhere between disgust and… almost admiration.
“Who exactly are you?” he asked.
“Told you, Regina Mancini. You seriously haven’t heard my last name before?”
He shook his head. “I’m just as surprised you haven’t heard of me.”
“Should I have?”
“If you’re from around here, yes.”
“Well, I’m not. I’m from Monte Vista.”
Enzo suddenly went quiet and then took in a sharp breath.
“Mancini. As in Carlo Mancini, of Good Guys Inc.?” When she nodded, his whole demeanour changed. “Huh, I guess it would make sense that you know what you’re doing. It’s… kind of cool.”
“It’s very cool,” she said. “Don’t worry, though, I’ll teach you so you won’t suck so much next time you try and commit a crime. Do you know how locks work?”
He shook his head.
She invited him to crouch down next to her and once she had the familiar tools in place, muscle memory took over. While she worked, she told him what she did – about pins and binding pins and the tension on the tumbler that she held with the open hairpin.
“We need to find the binding pin and you can feel which one it is, because it’s harder to push up. I push on it, and when you hear the click…” As she said it, there was a small click from the lock. “You’ve got the first pin up and then you can do the others.”
Gina asked Enzo if he wanted to try it out, but he preferred to watch for now.
Is he getting cold feet? she wondered.
For a moment she worried that the whole thing was getting too real for him, or that he thought it wasn’t cool anymore. However he never stopped watching her hands, and he seemed decidedly not-freaked out.
Once the last pin clicked into place, she looked up triumphantly and he beamed at her.
“Okay, fine, that is cool.”
Gina held the door open and she saw him take a deep breath before stepping over the threshold. They entered to the breakroom, and Gina found a lantern in the maintenance closet before they headed into the library proper. A little light wouldn’t hurt, but she also didn’t want to turn on the ceiling lamps and alert the townsfolk to their presence.
She headed up the stairs with Enzo trailing behind her. As always, she loved being here after dark. It wasn’t that she cared much for books or reading, but she had always liked being places where she shouldn’t be, and the library was as good as any place. She hadn’t lied when she told him that it was the easiest spot in town. Her dad had taken her here to practice lockpicking when she was little and begged him to do it.
On the upper floor, she nodded to the sofas and she threw herself into one, while he took a few moments to look around hesitantly.
“How often do you do this?” he asked.
“Just now and again, when I’m bored.”
He nodded and sat down next to her, looking around the empty room. When he leaned back, she could tell that he was trying to look relaxed, but a slight tremor in his hand gave him away. She pretended not to notice.
“Why did you want to steal a car?” she asked once he had settled down.
He rubbed the back of his neck and shrugged. “I don’t know. Guess we were just bored.”
“Makes sense. You guys are like bored rich boys, right?”
She motioned to his watch; she knew it was expensive because her dad had one of the same brand, and he never wore cheap watches. Of course, his usually weren’t bought at a fancy store, but stolen somewhere else and smuggled into the country. She didn’t think Enzo’s was.
He touched the watch. “My family is wealthy, so I suppose we’re bored rich boys, yeah. You seriously don’t know who my family is? The Cavalcantes? We go way back – we’re descended from old nobility and make a big deal about it even though it doesn’t matter anymore.”
“Nah, I haven’t heard of you. Oh, but your name does sound kind of fancy.” She said it out loud, trying out the syllables: “Vincente Cavalcante.”
He snorted. “Want to hear something dumb?” When she nodded eagerly, he smiled and said: “My name’s actually Vincente Edoardo Luigi Cavalcante VII.”
Regina put a hand over her mouth and bit back a laugh, but he told her to just let it out, so she did. By the time her laughter died down, she wiped away tears that had formed at the corners of her eyes.
She said: “Sorry. That’s a… cool name.”
“Nah, it’s not.”
“Not even a little.”
Another fit of laughter came over her, and this time he joined her. It took minutes before she was coherent enough to say:
“You wanna pick some more locks? I’m free tomorrow night, as well.”
His face was still flushed after laughing when he said: “Yeah, okay. Just promise not to murder me because I know too much.”
Gina sighed. “You think I go around murdering people?”
“I mean, you’re kind of in a gang, right? Isn’t that what you people do?”
She shook her head. “My dad wouldn’t kill anyone, unless they hurt my family or his men. He’s a criminal, but he’s a really good guy.” She bumped his shoulder with a fist when he looked at her with an eyebrow raised. “He’s a good guy! Anyway, you’re the one trying to steal my aunt’s car, rich boy. And you’re kind of rude.”
Enzo looked taken aback at that.
“Rude? You think so?”
She nodded. “A little bit, anyway. You’re not as bad as I thought, but still a bit.”
He bit his lip. “Nobody’s ever called me that before. I guess it is rude to imply that you’re a murderer. Sorry about that.”
“Eh, it’s not like you’re the first…”
A sound from outside the building made Gina hold up a hand to quieten him before he could talk more.
“We should probably go now,” she whispered. “I don’t think anyone’s coming in, but just to be sure.”
They left without being seen and before parting, they agreed that they would do it the next night as well.
Author’s note: Hi guys. Welcome back to Monte Vista… well, Collesena. And the chapter that had me researching lockpicking 😛 It’s a really interesting topic and anyway I felt less scared about researching this than car theft! That’s what you get for writing about criminals.
Not much blabbering from me today, just a friendly reminder that if you missed it, I’ve added a family tree and a chart showing the characters’ ages in this and the previous generation. Obviously they contain spoilers, though if you’ve read up to this point, you should be cool. And well, that’s about it from me 🙂
Hope everyone’s having a great weekend, and I’ll see you for the next post!