Midsummer Night's Mischief

Free Midsummer Night's Mischief by Jennifer D. Hesse

Book: Midsummer Night's Mischief by Jennifer D. Hesse Read Free Book Online
Authors: Jennifer D. Hesse
this peaceful, leafy neighborhood. We tried to stay back a good half block while keeping the officers in our sight. Every time they turned to approach another front door, we turned quickly to face the other way or ducked behind a tree or a parked car. I didn’t know who was more conspicuous, a couple of uniformed police officers going door-to-door or the two goofballs behind them.
    Secretly, I was having a blast.
    â€œToo bad we don’t have a dog to walk,” Wes murmured from the corner of his mouth. “It would be the perfect cover.”
    â€œDo you have a dog?” I asked. Hey, I wasn’t going to miss an opportune “getting to know you” moment, crime-fighting mission or not. I was a practiced multitasker.
    â€œNah. Too much responsibility. And I’m not home enough. Maybe someday, though.”
    Intriguing. I was about to ask a follow-up question when Wes suddenly pulled me off the sidewalk and alongside an SUV that was parked in a short driveway. We crouched down and peeked through the vehicle’s side windows. Shakley and Buchanan were walking to the front of a nice two-story frame house painted pale blue, with manicured bushes in the front yard.
    But it wasn’t the house or the cops Wes was eyeing. I followed his gaze and saw a girl of fifteen or sixteen standing like a statue behind a juniper bush on the side of the house. She regarded the cops with wide eyes.
    I looked at Wes questioningly. He shrugged and whispered, “She was walking around from the backyard and practically dove behind that shrub when she saw them. I’m pretty sure she didn’t notice us.”
    The cops stood on the front porch, speaking to a ponytailed woman wearing cargo shorts and a white polo shirt. We could hear indistinct voices, punctuated by the occasional “Oh!” and “No, I don’t think so.”
    Before I realized what was happening, the officers stepped aside and the woman, ponytail swinging, trotted down the steps and made for our direction. I tensed up and grabbed Wes’s arm, ready to bolt. Though to be seen running away would probably have proved more embarrassing than getting caught.
    Wes placed his hand on my knee and gave me a warning look, but his eyes sparkled. I had to stifle a sudden urge to giggle out loud.
    â€œBrandi!” the woman called out loudly as she rounded the corner of the house.
    The girl behind the bush started backing up. She looked like she was ready to bolt, too.
    The woman spotted her and stopped short. “Brandi! What are you doing back there?”
    â€œMom!” the girl hissed. “I don’t want to be seen like this!”
    I couldn’t blame her. She had on a string bikini, which wasn’t so bad in itself. But for a cover-up, she wore a tentlike gray painter’s shirt. Her legs were bare, except for the shiny oil she’d slathered on. And on her feet was a pair of clunky orange Crocs. A crooked topknot fell limply over her forehead.
    As the officers came up behind her mother, she quickly pulled the band off her head and shook her hair loose. Then she pulled her shirt closed.
    â€œBrandi,” said the woman sternly. “There was a robbery over on Willow Street, just across the alley from our garage. These officers are asking around to see if anyone saw anything. Probably last night.”
    The girl held back, doing her best to stand behind her mother as the police officers questioned her. I watched as she shook her head and muttered one-word responses. Even from where we hid behind the SUV, I could see Brandi darting her eyes, looking anyplace except at the officers. She looked so guilty, I almost began to wonder if she had stolen the Shakespeare book.
    The cops must have thought the same thing.
    â€œWhere were you yesterday between four and eight thirty?” asked Buchanan.
    Brandi glanced at her mother, who answered for her. “Brandi was grounded yesterday, so she was in her room reading

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