"Could you remove any metallic items and step back through for me, ma'am."
Polite and professional though it sounded, it was a command and not a request.
Despite this being the Celebrities-Only No-Hassle VIP Waiting Room For Celebrities, Fanboy is giving Fake Natalie Portman a hassle. Oh, Kyle, won't you interject! These VIPs need your manicured hands to intervene. Maybe you could clear your throat meaningfully from where you're standing. Or not. Just stand there like a buffoon, taking crap from some nerd. I'm sure that's what Noah is paying you for.
Okay, so, Kyle takes her cell phone and jewelry and blah blah blah she walks through the metal detector again.
The vertical line of indicator lights twitched upward from dark green to barely yellow—maybe in reaction to the tiny hinges in her sunglasses—but this time there was no audible alarm.
Noah was the only one in a position to notice a touch of private relief on Molly's face.
Private relief? Sounds like some sort of polite way of saying she went pooh. But seriously. What does "private relief" even mean? Who is writing this garbage? A less awkward sentence could have easily been constructed. Should have been constructed. I mean, this works better, just off the top of my head:
"Noah noticed a subtle expression of relief flicker across Molly's face." See? That's not so hard! I'm not even a professional writer or nothin'.
She was nearly to the end of the exit track of the detector when she was stopped by the officer's voice.
"Miss ... Portman?"
When Molly turned around she must have seen exactly what Noah was seeing. The TSA man wasn't focused on her at all. He was staring down at her possessions in his plastic tray.
Molly must have seen what Noah was seeing. Well? Did she? Or not? You're the author here. Why is it unclear, Narrative Voice, what the main fucking character may or may not be seeing? Ugh. What garbage. What fartful, unrepentant garbage.
What everyone is (or perhaps not) seeing is Molly's silver cross necklace. "I thought that you were Jewish," comments the nerd. For No-Hassle VIP Waiting Room staff, this guy is really fucking nosey. Kyle, why don't you do something to stop these shenanigans? If I were Noah, I don't know that I'd give Kyle a tip.
It felt like the temperature in the room suddenly dropped by fifty degrees. Noah's mouth went totally dry, his skin tingling as though all the moisture had flash-frozen out of the atmosphere, settling into a thin layer of frost on everything exposed, suspending those six words on the air.
To whom exactly did it feel like the temperature dropped? Noah? Ah, nevermind. I don't care.
Cops know liars like plumbers know leaks. They encounter them every day, all day; they know all the little signs and symptoms, and they're trained to understand that where there's even a little whiff of smoke, one should always assume there's a fire. As they challenge a person they study their reactions, pick apart the little telltale movements, listen to the timbre of the voice, and more than anything else, they watch the eyes. Most suspects have already made a full confession by the time they begin their denial.
Why are we talking about cops? There are no cops here, are there? This is the No-Hassle VIP Waiting Room For Celebrities. I thought the staff consisted of an x-ray tech, a bartender, maybe a couple of fluffers. Certainly the x-ray tech nerd fanboy isn't a cop. Is he? Oh, I know, he's a Stormtrooper! Which is why he demands Molly take off her sunglasses. Just like that scene in Empire Strikes Back.
Molly turned to the officer, pulled back her hood and let it settle onto her shoulders, removed the baseball cap and let it fall to the floor at her feet, and then slow and sure, began to walk toward him.
"The Force is strong with this one," Molly said, as calm and smooth as a Jedi master. Her accent was gone, and her voice was just breathy enough to obscure any other identifying qualities of the real McCoy.
Oh, for fuck's sake. You're joking right? This is a fucking joke, isn't it? No one puts garbage like this into their little espionage novel. Do they? No. No, they don't. Yoda help me, this is a terrible, terrible book. What the fuck is the point of this? Is it supposed to be funny? I think it is supposed to be funny. But it isn't. It's not funny, it's not clever. Fuck, it isn't even timely.
The TSA man's cheeks began to redden slightly. A power shift was under way, and as Noah had learned firsthand, when this girl turned it on you never knew what was about to hit you.
She continued nearer, put a finger to the frames and lowered her sunglasses partway down her nose, tipping her chin so she could look at the officer directly, eye to eye, just over the top of the darkened lenses. As she stopped barely a foot away she subtly passed an open hand between their faces, and spoke again.
"These aren't the droids you're looking for," Molly said. After waiting a moment she gave him a little nod, as though it had come time in their close-up scene for his own line of dialogue.
There was an eternal pause, and then before his eyes Noah saw this big, intimidating young man begin his grinning transformation from the TSA's most vigilant watchdog into Natalie Portman's biggest fan.
This isn't the ghostwriter you're looking for, Beck.
After holding his rapt gaze for a few more seconds Molly pulled out the secret weapon more fearsome than any light-saber—that sweet, wicked smile that made your knees feel like they could bend in all directions. She slipped the pen from his pocket protector, clicked it, took the hand that still held her necklace, and autographed his palm with an artful flourish.
Oh, barf. Then Kyle whisks them away to the safety of the tarmac. Whew! That was close! Or something. It was stupid. Definitely stupid. And a waste of time. Pointless, stupid, hackneyed garbage. But, guess what: It gets even stupider!
"I need to ask you something," Noah said.
"Sure." It seemed she could see that he'd become more somber.
"When we were there in Times Square, when we kissed that time ..."
She took off the sunglasses and hooked them on her pocket, moved a little closer to him, brushed a windblown lock of hair from his eyes. "I remember."
"Is that when you pickpocketed my BlackBerry?"
Molly smiled, and pulled him willingly into her embrace. It was no real surprise, but this kiss was every bit as stirring as that first one had been, and as he realized then for certain, as good as every single one would be thereafter.
She stood back a step, her face as innocent as a newborn lamb, and held up his wallet between them.
"I love you," Noah said.
Molly looked up at him with all the courageous resolve of the doomed Han Solo at the end of The Empire Strikes Back.
"I know," she replied.
Why? Why does he love her? Because he's the hero and she's the heroine? There is no other reason for them to be in love aside from them both being characters in this book. They are complete fucking strangers, brought together not by fate but through manipulation, deceit, treachery. Take away all the lies, the murder, the NWO, the poisonings, the burglary, espionage, treason, et cetera et cetera, the two have had a couple breakfasts together and little else. I tell you what, if some dude I met three days prior told me he loved me after one date, I'd not be flattered but a little fucking unnerved.
Garbage. This book is total garbage.
On the plane, Molly sleeps and Noah reads some Jefferson quotes as he wonders why they're heading to Vegas. Good question. Didn't Danny text her and tell her to stay the fuck away from Nevada? Ah, well, I'm sure there's a perfectly reasonable explanation.