Riley Clifford

Free Riley Clifford by The 39 Clues: Rapid Fire #4: Crushed

Book: Riley Clifford by The 39 Clues: Rapid Fire #4: Crushed Read Free Book Online
Authors: The 39 Clues: Rapid Fire #4: Crushed
Seven Months After the Clue Hunt
    Ian Kabra looked in the mirror, cleared his throat, and bared his soul.
    “Amy,” he began. And paused. “Amy. Amy, I have to — I have to tell you that . . .” He stopped, rubbed his face, and pushed his shoulders back. “Amy Cahill, I find you interesting.”
    No, it wasn’t that she was just
interesting
. She was . . . something.
    There were so many things wrong with her — so many things that he shouldn’t like about her. She was richer than he was these days, and yet she still acted so poor. And far too many of her clothes were made of cotton, rather than silk.
    But he found that he almost didn’t care. He looked back at the mirror. “I know it’s completely ridiculous, but I can’t keep quiet about it any longer. Your closet looks like it was put together by a blind nun, and your brother acts like a cross between a monkey and a go-kart, and you have the social skills of a rock. But I like you, Amy. Quite — quite a bit.” He paused. “So, congratulations.”
    His bedroom door swung open, and Natalie stood in the door frame. Ian jumped back from the mirror, but he couldn’t meet his sister’s eye.
    “Really?” she asked, putting her hands on her hips. “Really, Ian?”
    “What?” he asked, lifting his shoulders as if there were nothing in the world strange about giving a speech to one’s mirror before traveling internationally to declare one’s affection to a former nemesis. He scratched the back of his head. All right, it was strange. And made worse by being caught by his little sister. But he was sixteen years old, and a Kabra — shouldn’t he be better at this? Shouldn’t he know the exact words to say that would make Amy Cahill realize what he meant? That he liked her, regardless of certain extraneous factors.
    “You really think she’s going to fall for that?” asked Natalie. “You might as well not go.”
    Ian sighed. There was nothing normal about being a Kabra — from the mansion to the private jets to the private dinners with the Queen — but there seemed to be something universal about the way little sisters could be such pests.
    “I’m going, Natalie,” said Ian. “We’ve talked about this before.”
    “Fine. Go and make a fool of yourself,” Natalie said, shrugging.
    “Why don’t you go shop for a private island or something?” he snapped.
    Natalie’s eyes widened, and her mouth dropped open. “You
know
I can’t. Why would you say something so
mean
?” she gasped. She turned and fled down the hall, leaving Ian to look between the hall and the mirror.
    He was going to America. He was going to tell Amy Cahill how he felt. He hadn’t before because he thought there was no way those feelings would last. But they had. It was pathetic, he knew that. And it was entirely un-Kabra-like. Natalie’s reaction was proof enough of that. Still, there was no point in keeping the news from Amy. She’d be thrilled, and she needed some good news in her life.
    Ian left his room and wandered down the Kabra mansion’s lofty and well-decorated halls. Brilliant chandeliers hung from the ceiling, the light reflecting off of the highly polished wood floors. Masterpieces by famous relatives — Van Gogh, Picasso, Degas, and Rembrandt to name only a few — hung on the walls. Ian and Natalie had practically grown up in a museum, but rather than being intimidated by their home, they reveled in it. There was no tiptoeing around these works of art. They not only owned these things; they deserved them.
    Or at least, they had. Ian wasn’t so sure how things worked anymore.
    He found Natalie watching television in the theater. Ian joined her, sinking down into one of the plush velvet chairs. The butler was in his usual tailcoat, making popcorn in the corner.
    “Bickerduff,” said Ian, “we’ll be packing later tonight. I’m going to America in a few days.”
    “Very good, sir,” said Bickerduff, bringing the popcorn to the two Kabras.
    Natalie threw a

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