A buzzing invaded Rozena’s dream. She woke, befuddled, and managed to turn off her alarm clock. It was seven in the morning. She’d had exactly two hours sleep. It had taken longer than she’d thought to re-code the app.
Luckily, she’d thought to borrow Colin’s smartphone, as well as the SCRAM laptop, so could test the new version of her app to be sure it worked.
After a quick breakfast, Rozena sneaked out of the flat and caught the bus to a corner cafe near her school. The plan was that Trevor would steal Devon’s phone at school that day, bring it to Rozena so that she could install the app on it, and then he’d sneak the phone back into Devon’s pocket before the guy even realised that it was gone.
Time went by. Eventually Rozena realised that something must have gone wrong. Trevor should have brought her the phone by now. After about two hours, Colin showed up to get his own phone back.
He didn’t know what was going on, and for a while he stayed with Rozena, but she was so distracted with worry that she didn’t feel like chatting.
At last Rozena couldn’t wait any more. She had to get home, otherwise her mother would realise that she was gone. If Trevor got the phone, they’d just have to bring it to her in her flat.
Not for the first time, she missed her confiscated phone – her lifeline to the world! Then the SCRAM kids could have messaged her, or called to tell her what was going on.
Hour after hour went by. Rozena’s mother came back from work, and they had supper together. Night came, and still there was no news.
Finally, Rozena gave up and began to think of getting ready for bed. “They’ve forgotten about me,” she thought. “They’ve moved on to some other project.”
Then she heard a faint beep outside and the low rumbling of an engine. That was Colin’s car! She snatched up the bag with the laptop and sneaked out the front door and down the stairs.
Outside, Zazi was waiting for her. Colin was in the driver’s seat of the car. Rozena looked to see where Trevor was, but it was only the two of them.
“You got the laptop? You got the app?” asked Zazi. “Good! Today’s plan was a bust. Devon never came to school. But we know how to get hold of his phone. Come on, get in the car. You’re going to a party!”
The car pulled away before Rozena had the door closed.
“A party?” she said. “What do you mean? Couldn’t Trevor get the phone today?”
“No, Devon never came to school at all,” said Zazi. “So, Trevor couldn’t grab his phone. But apparently the reason Devon didn’t come to school is because he was helping his parents get ready for this really fancy party they’re having tonight.”
“Oh.” Rozena held on to the arm rest of the passenger seat. Colin was driving so fast that the car rocked from side to side. “How does that help us?”
“We’re all going to that party,” said Zazi. “Trevor can pick Devon’s pocket there, and you’ll have the laptop right with you, so you can put the app on his phone and do it all in one.”
“You have invitations? To Devon’s party?” Rozena had heard of the kind of parties Devon’s family had. Only the most popular kids were invited.
“No,” said Zazi, “of course not! We’re just going to show up there and pretend we’ve been invited.”
“Oh.” Rozena looked down at herself. She was wearing her oldest pair of tracksuit pants and a stretched-out T-shirt.
“Don’t worry,” said Zazi. “You don’t have to go in those clothes. We’ve got everything we need down in the SCRAM lair. Disguises are my speciality, remember?”
They sneaked down the stairs and the long, underground corridor to the secret SCRAM room.
Trevor opened the door for them. Rozena stared at him in surprise. Instead of his usual sloppy, untidy clothing, he was dressed in a dark suit, with his hair trimmed and stylish. He smiled, and Rozena noticed for the first time how very tall he was when he stood up straight.
“Come!” said Zazi, tugging at her. “Let’s get dressed!”
Rozena soon saw that Zazi had not been exaggerating when she said that she had everything they’d need. The small room that Zazi led her to was stuffed with clothes, shoes, wigs, and all kinds of accessories like handbags, scarves, necklaces, plus an entire drawer full of makeup.
Soon there were clothes strewn all over the floor as Zazi got busy choosing Rozena’s outfit.
“Nothing too bright or showy,” Zazi mused, as she held up a dress. “Don’t want to draw too much attention. But not too shabby either. We need to get into that party, and that’s one classy party!”
“We need to get going!” called Colin from the main room.
“Ignore them,” said Zazi. “They can’t go without us, and we mustn’t get there too early. Got to wait till the party’s buzzing, then they’re not so picky who they let in the door.”
At last Zazi was satisfied with how Rozena looked. “Pity we don’t have time to do anything fancy with your hair,” she mused, and Rozena felt a pang of guilt.
It was exactly the kind of thing her friend Emma would have said. How Emma would have enjoyed this! She’d been so busy thinking about her own problems, that she’d forgotten all about her best friend.
When Zazi was dressed and made-up as well, the two girls stepped back into the main room of the SCRAM hideout.
Rozena felt very self-conscious in the shimmering, tight, black dress and high-heeled shoes that Zazi had chosen for her.
“You look fantastic!” said Colin with a smile.
Trevor did not say anything, but Rozena could not help noticing the way he kept looking her up and down, a thoughtful expression in his dark eyes.
“Don’t forget the laptop,” said Zazi, as Rozena went out of the door.
“Oh!” Rozena slung the slim laptop, now in a glamorous bag Zazi had selected, over her shoulder. After all, without the laptop, she’d not be able to put that app on Devon’s phone, and that was the whole point of their evening’s plan.
Soon they were back in the car and Colin was driving through streets unfamiliar to Rozena. They were in the suburbs, among large houses, each with its own, separate garden – what you could see of it – over the tall walls, spikes, and electric fences.
At last they turned up a steep driveway with an open gate. Colin had to drive carefully as there were many cars parked here, all glossy and expensive.
“You ready?” asked Zazi as they got out of the car. Rozena nodded, too nervous to speak. She could see the house now. It looked enormous. Voices rose above the loud music, and light spilled out from the many windows.
“You see?” said Zazi to Colin as they approached the house. “I was right. There are so many people here, they won’t bother to check if we have an invitation.”
It was as Zazi said. To Rozena, it seemed as if there were hundreds of people talking, laughing, crowding past the large security guard who stood by the front door.
Still, Rozena held her breath as they pushed through the throng at the door, too nervous to look at the guard. Then they were inside.
Zazi shouted something in Rozena’s ear, but the music was so loud that she could not make out what Zazi was saying. Trevor caught her eye. He gave her a significant nod and then disappeared among the people. Rozena knew that he was setting off to find Devon, to steal his phone.
They’d discussed the plan in the car, on the way here. She was supposed to find where the nearest bathroom or toilet was. Then, once Trevor gave her Devon’s phone, she would have a place to set up the laptop without anyone seeing her, and transfer the app onto the phone.
She turned to see where Zazi and Colin were but found that they had disappeared. There were just too many people here; it was impossible for their group to stay together.
Tell us what you think: Is Trevor changing his attitude to Rozena? If so, in what way?