Second-Hand Goods~ chapter 10

     The phrase “too good to be true” had never made any sense to Liam, because people usually used it to talk about things that were never going to happen. It made even less sense when people used the phrase to talk about things that really were happening. It made perfect sense to Liam that nobody ever used the phrase, “too bad to be true” because he doubted anyone could imagine such a thing. The night he had met Jenny Rever on his way to Charles Beaufort’s house was the first time Liam understood that something too good to be true does exist.

    Jenny had offered to continue showing him around the neighborhood, an invitation Liam had gratefully accepted. The tour she had given him of the neighborhood during the day had been comprehensive and useful. Annoyingly, now that she knew who he was, she was showing him things that had nothing to do with him. Their latest stop was her favorite spot for smelling flowers. Liam couldn’t smell anything, but she had seemed absorbed enough by it, so he had sniffed a few times to humor her. Even though she constantly said otherwise, Jenny was capable of stealth but not quiet. That was mostly because she never shut up. Liam hadn’t noticed it before, because he was taking in all the information that she had for him. Now that it was a quiet night, her voice practically echoed across the street, and no matter how many times he asked her to be quiet, she refused.

     That all changed when they reached her street. She went deadly quiet as they worked their way forward. As soon as she could, she crossed the street to the Beaufort house and scaled the wall with Liam close behind. As Liam had suspected, the wall led into an empty yard that looked quite nice, but clearly had no security. Liam could practically walk in tonight and take what he was looking for.

    “Cousin Charles has always been a little careless. He thinks because he’s a serial killer, people won’t try and break into his house and I’m all, “But what if they really want your stuff, Charlie.” He’s so dumb.”

    “He does have a good point. If you’re trying to break into this house, you’re doing it because you’re truly unfortunate or you know who lives here. And I do really want his stuff.”

     “But that’s what I’m saying, he’s so careless. Either way, your timetable works great because he’s going out of town for a week around the time you want to rob him.”

     Liam’s ears twitched slightly, “He’s going out of town? This keeps getting better and better. Now I just have to make sure I can get in and out quick and I’ll be golden.”

    Jenny reached out and caressed his left ear, “You’re like an adorable little rat with kleptomania.”

    Brushing her hand away gently, Liam steadied himself on the wall, “Knock it off.”

    The next four days went by in a blur. Every night, Liam and Jenny would capered all over the neighborhood and Liam learned everything he needed to know. He knew when the trash was taken out, he knew when the cameras were actually being watched and he knew which houses were most active in the late-night hours. He grew to enjoy their time together under the street lamp’s glow far more than the one they had before. Now they knew each other’s names and even what they did for a living. This was the first time Liam could remember that a woman had treated him like a human being despite his appearance and occupation.

    Wherever Liam went, he could count on Jenny to follow him like a lethal lost kitten. The next four nights flew by and when they had come to an end, Liam knew the streets at night far better than he did in the day. It was time for a dry run. Liam knew that most thieves thought dry runs made no sense. Why break into a place and leave without taking anything? Liam had a myriad of reasons, but had never had anybody to explain it to. That is, he never had anyone until the last night of their reconnaissance work rolled around.

     “Liam,” Jenny tugged on his sleeve and almost pulled him off the wall outside the Beaufort house, “why exactly are you doing a dry run? That doesn’t make any sense.”

     Liam’s ears twitched once, “You never know when you’re going to run into a house that has security so tight you need to bugger out quick. I might jump down to the grass and have an alarm go off immediately. Maybe we didn’t notice some cameras closer to the house and the cops get called. I want to know what I did wrong the first time, then I wait for two days. Two days later, the tension has worn everyone down and they all give up and go back to their normal routines.”

     Jenny paused for a long time before she spoke again, “Wait, so does that mean I won’t see you for two whole days?”

     Liam was surprised by the sound of genuine concern in her voice, “Well, yeah. I can’t show my face around here after I do the dry run. I need to give them time to calm down and once I come back, I get what I wanted and then I leave. I thought you knew that’s how this was going to work.”

    Jenny curled her knees into her chest and hung her head, “I wasn’t really thinking about it.”

    The rest of the night passed in silence and before either one of them knew it, the night and the next day had already passed. The night of the dry run arrived and Liam tailed Jenny, as he had every other night that week, to the Beaufort house. True to her word, the entire house was dark for the first time since Liam had started coming to the neighborhood at night. Jenny stayed where she was on the wall while Liam slipped off and hit the grass softly.  For a long few minutes he waited, and then he started the trek to the house. The grass was wet, even though it hadn’t rained in days, which meant an automated sprinkler had been turned on some time during the day.

     Reaching the front door, Liam tapped it gently. Testing the handle, he found it locked. It wasn’t a good lock, though, and took Liam no more than a few moments to pick. Stepping inside, he was pleasantly surprised to find there was an alarm system, but Charles had left it off when he left town. What he saw inside took his breath away. Charles Beaufort really needed to turn his alarm on.

     If Liam were a dying sort of man he would have sworn he had died and gone to thieves heaven, which likely didn’t really exist. The front foyer was stuffed full of things he could sell and live off for the rest of his life. Forget working for Simon, he could pay that debt ten times over just by handing over half his booty from this haul. What caught his eye immediately was a golden apple that sat on a pedestal in front of the grandest stair case Liam had ever seen. One look around told Liam everything he felt he needed to know. The owner of the house was out and he was overconfident enough to leave his house entirely unguarded. Liam left the way he came, locking the door on his way out. A dry run only served a purpose if there were any obstacles, and Charles apparently thought nobody would dare steal from him. That didn’t mean Liam was willing to give up his schedule. An overconfident thief dies a thousand deaths, a truism in his case. Two days more and he could live a free life again.



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