(A work in progress) for #LineByLineTime on Twitter.com for “The Switch”
Both boys glanced at the girls, startled. Observing Nita’s tense posture, Luthor followed the direction she was looking and stepped in front of Harper.
“What do you think?” Nita mused. “Perv alert? Maybe you’re about to earn your pay, big boy. He’s been giving Harper the eye since we’ve been standing here.”
“How do you know he’s been looking at Harper?” Minji demanded. “Maybe he’s been watching all of us.”
Nita shook her head. “Nah, you can tell by where his eyes go, especially when Harper was standing away from the rest of us.”
“Maybe I should go convince him to move along,” Luthor growled.
Harper grabbed his belt. “Ignore him. If he’s who I think he is, he could take you without breaking a sweat. He’s just doing his job.”
The other three stared at him. “Doing his job? What do you mean?” Minji snapped.
“You really think parents who didn’t let me out of the house practically my whole life would suddenly think it was okay to send me off to the middle of nowhere? My dad knows lots of guys who owe him favors for computer stuff.”
He stepped clear of Luthor and waved and whistled at the man, who reared back, eyes wide. Harper yelled, “Tell my dad I’m having a great time! But don’t stare! People think you’re a pervert!”
His voice rang clearly along the trail. Other hikers turned around, some with camera phones ready. The stranger glared and vanished into the brush surrounding the trail. “Yeah, that looks like one of my dad’s friends – if you can call them that. They all kind of scowl like that.” Harper blew out his breath. “Now I’ll probably hear it from my dad when I get home.”
He shook his finger and scowled at an invisible smaller figure as if a parent scolded a child. “‘You know better than to expose someone working undercover.’” Then he took a step forward, turned and faced where he had been standing. He clasped his hands under his raised chin and looked innocently up, eyes wide and batting his eyelashes. “But daddy, I don’t know anything about undercover operations,” he said in a baby voice. “I’m just a wittle boy!”