Angel fire, p.64
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       Angel Fire, p.64

         Part #2 of Angel series by L. A. Weatherly
Page 64


  Like a veal farm, thought Raziel in satisfaction. And remembering the Council’s admonition to him about the importance of moderation, he laughed out loud.

  ALL KARA WAS ABLE TO glean from eavesdropping at the cathedral was that, yes, the Twelve were here for three weeks, but everything about their stay was top-secret; hardly anyone in the Church offices knew more than that. So, after some research on the internet, Alex had made an appointment at an insurance company based on the Torre Mayor’s fifty-fourth floor – one floor from its top.

  He’d taken the Metro, then walked. The Torre Mayor was the tallest building in Mexico, and looked it, soaring up over its surroundings. Approaching from the Paseo de la Reforma, Alex saw that the half-cylinder of green glass was only the front of the building – its back was a tan, rectangular slab. The entrance – a graceful arch, several storeys high – mirrored the half-moon shape at the building’s top; slim grey columns marched across it.

  Going in, Alex had found himself in a lobby with a slanting glass ceiling overhead. Like Kara had said, there were scanners in place; employees passing through briefly touched their passes to them. “Richard Singer,” said Alex to a receptionist at a glass-topped desk. “I’ve got an appointment with Prima Life. ”

  No flicker of suspicion; the woman made a phone call to verify, then pushed a clipboard at him to sign in. Alex took the temporary pass she gave him and went through the scanners. As he did, he noted the several cameras that were tucked away in various corners, watching his every move.

  Going online, the team had found out quite a few things about the Torre Mayor: apart from being extremely secure, it was the most earthquake-resistant building in the world – it could withstand up to a level nine on the Richter scale. There’d been no floor plans to be found though, not anywhere online. But while it wasn’t mentioned on the Torre Mayor’s website, they’d found a reference on someone’s blog that said its top floor – right under that slanted half-moon – had high-security VIP suites and meeting rooms.

  In the elevator there’d been another camera, and an attendant who asked him what floor he wanted. “Fifty-five,” said Alex, just to see what would happen.

  The man’s eyebrows had knitted together as he checked Alex’s pass. “Sorry, Señor – you need a special card for that. ”

  Alex feigned confusion, taking out the piece of paper from his pocket where he’d scribbled down the details of the meeting. “Sorry, I meant fifty-four,” he said, putting it away again. As the elevator hummed upwards, he took in the keyhole beside the button for the highest floor. Okay, so what would happen if the team overpowered the attendant and got the key? But, remembering what they’d found out so far, he knew: computers ran everything here; the security staff would just stop the elevator.

  The elevator reached his floor and he got off. To avoid raising suspicions any further, he actually kept the appointment – talking to an agent for half an hour about his insurance needs (he had many, apparently), while mentally scanning the floors above.

  Angels, all right – more than he could count. And some of their energy was stronger than anything he’d ever encountered, hitting him like a physical slap.

  On his way out, Alex had asked where the restroom was and then went wandering, keeping an innocent, slightly distracted look on his face. In a distant corner he’d found the door for the stairwell and started to push it open. A woman coming out of another office stopped him, flashing an apologetic smile. “No, no, Señor – don’t go out this way. You can’t get back into any of the floors without a code. ”

  Alex had the heavy fire door half-open by then; glancing at the outside of it, he saw it had a digital keypad for a lock. “Sorry, wrong door,” he said, smiling like a clueless gringo and letting it swing shut again. “Could you tell me where the restroom is, Señora?”

  Now, standing in the target range with the team clustered around the table, Alex explained what had happened as he spread out the two blueprints he’d managed to get hold of. One showed the Torre Mayor’s top floor – which unfortunately was depicted as an almost empty area; the VIP suites and meeting rooms seemed to have been added at a later date.

  “The Council’s definitely still up there,” said Alex, tapping the plans for the top floor.

  “I thought so,” said Willow softly, her red-gold spikes framing her face as she took in the blueprints. She and Seb stood next to each other. Alex tried to squelch his slight irritation; though Seb had only been here two days, he already stuck to Willow like glue.

  The others shifted as Willow spoke, glancing warily at the pair of them. Alex knew that half the team thought the two half-angels must have known each other before, somehow. It bothered him, but he didn’t know how to combat it. He couldn’t order them to trust Willow and Seb.

  “That top floor just feels. . . dangerous,” Willow added. She looked up at Seb, who nodded.

  “It feels like a place where something will happen,” he said in his quiet voice. Frowning slightly, he touched the symbol for the service elevator – then slid his finger across to the same icon on the other blueprint, which detailed the ground floor. “Here too, I think. ” He circled the service elevator with his fingertip.

  Despite his dislike of Seb, Alex was glad to get the confirmation. The building’s service elevator was accessed from the loading bays where deliveries were made. He’d already earmarked that route as the team’s most likely way in: if there was a weak spot in the building’s security, he was pretty sure it would be there.

  Liz brushed a strand of dark hair from her pale face. “How’d you get the blueprints, anyway? Aren’t they classified now, with the Council staying there?”

  Alex was studying the delivery entrance that led to the bays; he felt itchy with impatience to go check it out in person. “Town hall – I told them I was a design student, interested in how the building uses that half-moon shape. And yeah, they’re supposed to be, but the clerk thought it must have been a mistake. ” It had been a stroke of luck, though Alex knew he wouldn’t like to be the clerk once the error was found out.

  “Well, I found out something today too,” said Kara. He glanced up; he could see her excitement. “I followed a couple of the Church secretaries at lunchtime, and got a table next to them at the cafe. The reception’s still going ahead on the last afternoon of the Council’s stay here, on the nineteenth. They were both hoping they’d get to go. ”

  Alex felt his shoulders slump. Relief – that had been the one piece of information they couldn’t do without. “Okay, excellent,” he said. “So that’s still the best time for us to break in and make our move, since we know they’ll be in their angel forms during the private audiences. ”

  “And you definitely don’t think we can just get invited to the reception again?” ventured Trish.

  Alex had been racking his brains for days trying to think of a way. “I don’t see how, without someone on the inside helping us. No one’s even supposed to know the Council’s here. ” He massaged his eyes; he’d hardly slept these last couple of nights.

  The team fell silent, digesting this. Glancing at Willow, Alex saw the sympathetic support in her gaze; it felt as if she’d reached over and squeezed his hand. She understood, if no one else did, how worried he was about all of this. Fleetingly, he wondered how the hell his father had managed it – being in charge on his own, with no one to confide in.


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