Notice Me Not

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Review Chain

A thief with an unusual ability runs into a complication during his latest heist.

Submitted: October 24, 2017

A A A | A A A

Submitted: October 24, 2017



Rylan Dressel was no Houdini, but he knew his way around a thievery. It was after all, how he made a living, not that his condition gave him much of choice. The object of this heist was located in the office of Barclay Michaelson, CEO of Rufus Inc. and known collector of priceless pill boxes. Many people had weird hobbies, but pill box collector was right up there for Rylan.

He walked through the bustling lobby. His employer had warned him that the building was busy from sunrise to sundown with security cameras hidden everywhere. Rylan smirked. Security cameras were the least of his worries.

Rylan ducked into an empty elevator and pressed the floor for Michaelson’s office. He leaned against the door and watching the doors slide shut. When there was an inch of space left, a thin, brown-leather gloved hand shot through the gap. A young woman ducked into the elevator and reached for the glowing buttons before stopping. She must have been confused by a button already glowing when the elevator was empty. But, the woman just shrugged and straightened her jacket. Looks like they were headed for the same floor.

She had the appearance of a strict business woman with her modest black suit jacket and pencil skirt and pinned back dark hair. Yet, she was noticeably antsy like she was waiting for her turn to jump off a cliff. And nobody wore gloves these days.

He snuck around to her front and watched her face. Her mouth was set firm, but her dark eyes betrayed her nerves. Maybe, she had an important meeting. Or was the wife of one of Michaelson’s lackeys. Either way, she wasn’t important to his job.

The elevator dinged open, and the woman hurried out. Rylan darted after her before the doors could close. There was no harm in shadowing her for a bit longer seeing as they were going in the same direction.

The woman hung a left and walked down the hall that lead to Michaelson’s office. She grew steadily more fidgety, playing with her fingers and tugging at her suit jacket. Then, she stopped in front of a door with a shiny plaque reading Barclay Michaelson, CEO.

Rylan cursed silently. He was wrong about her not being important. Michaelson wasn’t in his office, he had a lunch meeting, and he was an old widower. So, why was the woman trying to get into his office?

She paused and knocked on the door. “Mr. Michaelson? It’s Sofia Maffioli. I have the stats you wanted?” There was no answer.

He watched her look down the hall before slipping a pin from her hair and sticking it in the lock. She picked the lock with the ease of a professional, then slipped the pin back in her hair and pushed the door open.

Rylan followed Sofia into the office before she could shut the door. Unless employees were taught the art of lock picking, he’d stumbled upon a separate heist. Hopefully this wouldn’t screw up his job.

Sofia made quick work of removing a painting of a pond from the wall to reveal a steel safe embedded in the wall. Rylan watched fascinated as Sofia carefully spun the dial of the safe. She wasn’t going to…

There was a faint click and the safe door swung open. Now, he wasn’t just dealing with a separate heist but a safe cracker. Who the hell was she working for?

Rylan peered into the safe wondering what Sofia was after. There were a couple stacks of files along with a generous heap of bills. Sofia reached into the safe and extracted one slender file. Flipping it open, she nodded and turned.  

Rylan fell back with yelp. Crap, he hadn’t expected Sofia to turn around so quickly. He shouldn’t have been standing so close. Stupid, stupid. Sofia stumbled back against the wall and scanned the room.

“Who’s there?” she hissed. “If this is some kind of prank—“

“Sorry,” Rylan said from where he was sprawled on the floor. “Not a prank although you should really pay better attention to your surroundings.”

Sofia’s gaze snapped to the spot of the floor where Rylan sat. “Who’s there?”

“The name’s Rylan, Rylan Dressel. Pleasure to meet you, Ms. Maffioli,” Rylan attempted to be polite. God knew his mother would have a fit if she knew he wasn’t polite to a woman.

“Why can’t I see you, Rylan Dressel?” Sofia sounded cross. What a refreshing difference from most people’s screams of terror whenever they heard Rylan’s disembodied voice.

“Well, that’s quite simple really. You see, I’m invisible. See,” Rylan jumped up and touched Sofia’s arm.

She jerked back. “You’re the one they warned me about.”

Sofia swung her arm, and Rylan jumped back. “Who warned you about me? Look, if this is about interrupting your heist, my apologies, but I didn’t think of the probability of two heists today.” Rylan danced backwards as Sofia advanced, no trace of nerves now.

“This is my job to complete, not yours. If I don’t—“ Sofia broke off. “You know what, just stay out of my way, and I’ll pretend I never saw—well, felt you. Okay?”

“Or you could tell me why this job is so important to you. Michaelson’s rich, but he’s not any different from a number of men in this city.” Rylan crossed his arms even though he knew the effect would be lost on Sofia.

“I don’t have to explain anything to you.” Sofia went for the door, but Rylan blocked her. “Let me go.”

“Tell me why this job is so important, and I’ll let you walk out of here with your file.” Rylan leaned against the office door. “Otherwise, we’ll be waiting here until Michaelson’s done with his lunch meeting and discovers a woman in his office that shouldn’t be there.”

Sofia glared at him. Rylan had to admit he was impressed with her ability to guess where he was. Impressed, and a little unnerved. “I need the money, okay? This is the quickest way to get it.”

Rylan smiled. “And the rest of the story? Come on, I’m on the edge of my seat here.”

“We don’t have time for this.” Sofia was definitely annoyed now. Her forehead had wrinkled up, and she was gripping the file with far more strength than was necessary.

“Sure we do,” Rylan grinned. He was having fun annoying her. “Continue, please.”

Sofia huffed. “Fine, if you’re so determined. I need the money for a plane ticket. My—my fiancé isn’t quite who I thought he was.”

“So, you’re skipping town on him. Intriguing.” Rylan tilted his head. An idea was forming in is head although it was a bit out there even for him. “What if I told you I had a proposition for you, Ms. Maffioli?”

“What sort of proposition?” Sofia asked with a skeptical tone in her voice.

“Come with me. I’ll take you anywhere you want to go,” Rylan said.

Sofia raised her eyebrows. “Go with you? I don’t know you. I can’t even see you.”

“You really think Bochner is going to pay you for this job?” Rylan shook his head. “You are a valuable spy, Sofia, but you are putting your name in with the wrong people.”

Sofia bristled. “How did you know I was working for Bochner?”

“Because he’s been sniffing around Michaelson the last couple of weeks as well. Only logical that you’d be working for him.”

“You took a wild guess, didn’t you?” Sofia asked.

“Well,” Rylan trailed off. “I mean there are only so many people who can afford a safe cracker. Even a newbie like you.”

“I’m not a newbie,” Sofia snapped. “Now answer my question. Why do you want me to come with you so badly?”  

“Because you’re the first person to see me even when I’m invisible. And because ordering at restaurants is really hard when the waiters don’t know you’re there.”

Sofia’s lips twitched into a small smile. “What the hell. Why not? Life can’t be any worse with yo.

“Excellent.” Rylan swept the door open. “After you, milady.”

Sofia shook her head and glanced down the hall before walking out. “Put the painting back and lock the door behind you,” she whispered.

Rylan did as she said and ran to catch up as she strode down the hall. She pressed the button for the elevator as he caught up. A few seconds later, it dinged, and the doors opened. Barclay Michaelson and one of his underlings stepped out of the elevator. They didn’t even spare a glance at Sofia. She ducked into the elevator, and Rylan followed her, pressing the ground floor button.

The door closed and Sofia let out a snort. “People are clueless.”

Rylan laughed with her. “Tell me about it. Helps when you’re invisible, nobody’s looking for you then.”

Sofia rolled her eyes. “How come you are invisible anyway, Rylan?”

“Well,” Rylan rubbed the back of his neck. “I don’t actually know to be honest. One morning, I got up, looked in the mirror, and no reflection stared back at me. For a second I thought I was a vampire, not sure which option is stranger”

“Must get lonely.” Sofia voice had grown soft.

Rylan shrugged, mostly to try to get the heaviness off his chest that settled when he let his thoughts linger on that. “Sometimes. Good thing I have a new travel buddy to stave off the loneliness, huh?”

Sofia smiled. “Better start counting your lucky stars, Dressel. I’d say I’m quite a catch.”

Rylan grinned, but the elevator stopped before he could reply. Sofia swept out the lobby, a far cry from her earlier nervous scramble. They walked through the front doors, and Rylan hooked his arm in hers.

“Ready for an adventure, Ms. Maffioli?” he asked.

“Only if you can keep up with me, Mr. Dressel,” Sofia replied. 

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