Chapter 24

Chapter 24: Sadina

“Whoa,” says Mr. Jaworski. “You want to do what?”

“Program this cat to talk like a human,” repeats Rio, pushing Bella across the desk.

“And we’re kind of in a hurry,” adds Monica. “We need to get started, like, now.”

It’s Wednesday morning, ten minutes before school even starts, and we’ve pulled Mr. Jaworski out of the teacher’s lounge and into the computer-aided design classroom. He tilts his chair back—way back—and balances both sneakered feet on the edge of his desk. He’s smiling at us through his beard but not—I think—laughing at us.

“Whoa,” says Mr. J. again. “Tall order.”

I’ve made everyone promise not to spill out the details of what’s going on. We’ve told him this is urgent but not exactly why. But it must be obvious, the tension we all feel. Monica’s hair is still up in a ponytail that clearly has not experienced a comb in twelve hours. Paulie and Rio most definitely have not changed their clothes since our meeting ended yesterday. Catalina hasn’t even mentioned that everyone else is a mess.