“She wasn’t stealing it,” Rio breaks in. “Listen, she’s telling the truth. Her sister’s missing and we’re trying to find her.” I can’t believe his voice is so calm, so reasonable and polite, when I can tell that he’s two breaths from bursting. Rio shakes his dyed-black bangs out of his eyes and even manages a half-smile, the one he uses on his mother when he forgets to take out the garbage, stays out too late, wants a ride to the mall.
What melts Rio’s mom doesn’t impress Store Manager guy. People are starting to clump and stare, and it’s clear he wants us out of the way. He gestures again to the back of the store.
If we go with him, it’ll take forever to talk our way out of this. And every second that goes by is one more second of Maddie alone and scared. Rio looks at me sideways. It’s the lay-it-on-the-line, jumping-off-a-cliff look he gets when he thinks he’s out of options. I’m pretty sure I know what he’s about to do. And I’m right. In one smooth motion he takes the CD from my hand, slaps it hard on a shelf, and pulls me from Store Manager’s grip.
And we run.