I get such a fright that I scream, and Simon nearly drops me.

“Pull yourself together, Hope. It’s only Zack for heaven’s sake! Nothings going to get the police here faster than if you start screaming your head off!” scolds Deevya.

I have to say, for the record, that this is possibly the bossiest night of Deevya’s entire life.

Zack, who is the same age as me and has been my downstairs neighbour in the block of flats I live in for as long as I can remember, comes jogging up to us.

“Hey Hope, are you ok?” he asks in concern, then looks at Simon suspiciously.

“It’s a long story. I’ve sprained my ankle, but at least I didn’t get caught in the raid.”

“Is that where you went? To Nigiro? You guys suddenly disappeared from the party. I looked for you for ages. I’ve been worried. Then I figured maybe you’d snuck off to Nigiro. I came to see if I could find you, but there were all those police cars outside. And then suddenly you went running past in the dark.”

“Zack, my mom’s picking me up from the party in a few minutes. She doesn’t know I’m not there, and we’re never going to make it in time! I’m so sorry to pull you into this but do you think you could maybe run ahead and stall her? It would buy us a little time.”

“Ok. I’ll try,” says Zack hesitantly. 

He’s such a straight up and down guy, and he knows my mom well. Deception is so not his thing. 

“If you can just keep her by the front gate we’ll sneak in the back and come out through the front door. Don’t tell her I’ve sprained my ankle or she’ll come running in to look for me.” 

I feel really bad getting Zack caught up in this, but we’re so far down this road we may as well try and get away with it.   

I look at the time on my cellphone. It’s about eight minutes since my mother called me. Even with Zack’s help I don’t know if we’re going to manage to pull this one off. My heart sinks. My mother is going to kill me.