“It's not like there's anything in the handbook that says you have to tell them.”
Well that was the wrong thing to say. It didn't take a genius to figure that out with the look Donnie shot her. Apparently he wasn't in a joking mood.
“You hacked the school’s computer system, kid. You really thought no one was going to find out?”
Agnes rolled her eyes as the lift doors gave a loud screech as they opened. “They wouldn't have if those people would learn how to stick to a schedule. Mr Marston wasn't suppose to be anywhere near the computer lab for at least twenty minutes. I would have been done and out of there if he'd just taken his full thirty for lunch like he always does.”
“Didn't have a lookout?” Samar asked, quirking an eyebrow from her desk.
Donnie loosed what could only be described as a frustrated sigh. “Why are you encouraging this? She broke into the computer labs and was in the process of hacking their systems.” His gaze swiveled back on her and Agnes paused, adjusting her book bag on her shoulder as he frowned. “What were you looking for anyway?”
“Next semester's reading list?”
“Uh huh. Sure. We’re on a case, so you get to sit down there and do your homework until one of us can take you home. Aram, try not to teach her how to hack the FBI database, would you?”
Aram paused midstep as he entered the main room, file in hand, and looked utterly confused at what he was being blamed for. He glanced over to where Agnes offered what she hoped was an excuse for a sheepish smile and a wave. “What…?” he managed as Donnie brushed past him towards the stairs and up to his office.
“Promotion’s definitely going to his head,” Agnes huffed as she took a heavy seat in one of the empty chairs. She watched Aram ease the rest of the way into the room, looking to Samar for some form of clarity for the mess he'd just now stumbled into.
“Apparently Agnes took your lessons to the next level and hacked her school’s computer system.”
“To be fair, their security sucks. They should be thanking me for finding the flaws instead of calling my godparents to come pick me up.” She glanced up at Donnie’s office to see him pacing behind the half closed blinds, a phone to his ear and his steps quick. He really wasn't happy. Not that that was entirely fair. He just didn't know the full story. If he did, he wouldn't have been nearly as mad. It's not like she was doing anything too wrong. No one would have gotten hurt by it.
“You don't think he's talking to Mom now , do you?” she asked as Aram took a seat at his desk next to the empty one she had claimed.
“Better him than the principal,” Samar murmured.
Agnes groaned. Her parents rarely managed to line their work schedules up enough to take a real vacation, and they'd been looking forward to the break. She'd promised to be on her best behavior while they were gone. She was pretty sure that her mom wouldn't consider hacking her school’s - her prestigious private school that she'd received an academic scholarship into - system as best behavior.
“So,” the older woman said, suddenly leaning up next to the desk next to the young teen. “You and I both know that you didn't hack the system for a reading list, but I think it's a fair guess to say you didn't do it just because you could either. You're a good kid and you're a smart kid. Why'd you do it?”
Agnes scrunched her nose a little. “What, are you the good cop?”
Samar smirked. “Every once and awhile.”
“I bet you're more the bad cop for interrogations. I mean, they wouldn't see it coming right?” Dark eyes didn't break contact with Agnes’ own blue ones and she sighed, running a hand through her hair in a nervous sort of motion. Time to switch gears. “You know, I don't see what the big deal is. I mean, Dad committed grand theft auto at my age.”
Aram made a small sound, still looking as if he were desperately trying to focus on his work. “Why do they tell you these things?”
“Your dad’s juvvie record isn't exactly the gold standard to compare yourself to, kiddo,” Donnie said as he descended the stairs. He glanced at Samar who Agnes saw tilt her head slightly in silent communication. They'd been partners too long before Coop - the affectionate nickname that had simply stuck without budging somehow for Harold Cooper - had finally retired. She may have known them her whole life, but even Agnes - who was usually very quick to pick up on small, subtle tells that people thought they were hiding - had trouble breaking their code. What was worse was Donnie and her mom had a different one and just as unbreakable. It drove her nuts.
Aram looked up from his work and to Donnie. “Files are decoding for the case. Do I need to reach out to the school for what she was looking into?”
“She didn't get far enough. They weren't sure what she was after,” Samar answered, and Agnes didn't like the tone. Something was off and she couldn't help but wonder if this was how the bad guys they caught felt when sitting in the interrogation room. Like it was only a matter of time.
“Oh, that's only because they don't know what to look for. Give me a couple minutes and I'll find it,” Aram answered easily.
“But then the school will want to know what you find,” Samar countered and Aram shrugged.
“I guess that's fair. They'd be providing the information, so-”
“Okay,” Agnes grumbled, pulling three gazes towards her all at once and she shifted in her chair. “Okay, you just have to promise that she stays out of it. She didn't ask me to do it and I don't want her getting in trouble.”
“Who do you not want getting in trouble?” Donnie asked, his voice softer now.
She looked down at her plaid skirt and fidgeting hands. “Kim. She's my friend at school. We had this huge test a couple of days ago and she was really worried about it. I kept telling her she did fine, but she wouldn't believe me, so I was just going to get her score from the system. No one was supposed to know.”
Silence followed the rushed confession and after several long moments Agnes looked up, finding all three godparents staring at her. “Look, I'm sorry . I was even going to change her grade or anything, just-”
Aram was the first one that broke, his smile confusing Agnes more than the blank stares. “Seriously? That's it?”
She blinked hard. “Yeah.”
Donnie snorted and shook his head, a hint of a smile there. “Let me know when those files are done, Aram. Agnes, try not to eavesdrop on national security secrets and just focus on algebra, okay?”
“‘Kay,” she mumbled, swiveling the chair around and pulling one of her books from her bag. She glanced up to where Samar was still chuckling to herself. “On a scale of one to oh crap , how much trouble am I in?”
“Well, like you said, it wasn't grand theft auto. You know where you went wrong, don't you?”
“Pretty sure it started with picking the lock to the computer lab door?”
Samar smirked. “You got caught. Next time, don't,” she said with a wink and pushed off the desk she was leaning against to go back to her own work.
Agnes ducked her head a little, a smile played out across her lips. She'd just have to be more careful next time.