DISCLAIMER: Did I mention that I don't own Charlie's Angels or any of the characters associated with said show. They belong to lots of other people, including Aaron Spelling - and Charlie. I'm also not making any profit from this in anyway, shape or form. Disclaimer done.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Two challenges in one. It's in response to MFC#9 issued by KC. And, it's also in response to SFC # 65 issued by CJ. The case that is mentioned at the beginning is from Charlie's kidnapping in the episode entitled "Angels in Paradise" from Season Two.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
By Del Robertson
"Excellent work, as always, Angels," came Charlie's rich tones through the speaker box beside the phone. Bosley had 'borrowed' the speaker box from the manager's office of the hotel they were staying in. He figured it was the least they could do, since the angels were responsible for breaking up not just one, but two, of the largest crime syndicates on the island.
"Thanks, Charlie," Kelly smiled fondly at the box, "We're just glad you're back safe and sound."
"So am I, Angel," Charlie laughed. "Believe me, so am I."
"Will you be joining us at the luau tonight, Charlie?" asked Kris. She was standing in front of the mirror, wearing a grass skirt, practicing the hula. Her hips shimmied, then stopped. She frowned, deciding she'd have to get one-on-one lessons from Kelly the way Sabrina had been when she walked in on them earlier.
"No, Angel, I'm afraid not. There are a few rather pressing issues I need to take care of at the office."
"At the office?" Sabrina echoed. "Charlie, don't tell me you swam all the way back to the mainland?"
Another laugh from Charlie. "Hardly, Angel. A few friends picked me up along the way. Enjoy the rest of your week in Hawaii, Angels." Bosley's expression fell, expecting Charlie to recall him back to the office, as well. Sabrina leaned over, patting his arm sympathetically. "You, too, Bosley." Bosley's frown instantly righted itself, turning into a beaming smile. "Again, thank you for an excellent job."
"Well, he certainly sounds pleased with us," Kris said as the speaker box went dead. She wasn't sure what she was expecting for her first assignment, but it certainly hadn't been a trip to Hawaii.
"Of course he's pleased," Bosley looked sharply at the young blonde. "We saved him from two kidnappings in as many days."
"I'd be mighty pleased with our performance, too," agreed Kelly, from her curled up position in a nearby chair. She had just finished polishing her toes for tonight and was leafing through a sight-seeing magazine while waiting for the enamel to dry. "Mr. Blue and his bruisers had every intention of tying an anchor chain to Charlie's ankles and throwing him overboard."
"Anybody else flash on that chicken-of-the-sea commercial?" asked Sabrina, sporting a wicked grin. "You know, the one that says 'sorry, Charlie' at the end?"
"Bree!" Kelly threw her magazine at Sabrina. "That's evil!"
The magazine hit Sabrina squarely in the chest. She fell back on the bed, laughing at her own bad joke. Tears threatening at the corners of her eyes, she propped herself up, looking at Kelly. At the serious look on Kelly's face, she burst into laughter again.
"Give me my magazine back," Kelly ordered.
"No," stated matter-of-factly.
Kelly's eyes narrowed. "Sabrina Duncan! You give me my magazine back now!"
"No." A wicked grin. "You want it, you come and get it."
"Bree, don't you make me come over there!" Kelly warned.
Kris turned from the mirror, started across the room, with every intention of taking the magazine from Sabrina. Bosley deftly reached out, grabbing Kris by the elbow, effectively halting her. As she started to shake loose his grip, she glanced down, seeing him shaking his head. "Just watch," he advised, solemnly. He'd seen this sort of behavior from the two women before and knew from experience how dangerous it could be to intervene.
Sabrina rolled the magazine lengthways, started off the bed, as if she had actually come to her senses and was just going to hand it over to Kelly without a fight. Just as Kelly extended her hand, reaching for the offered magazine, though, she snatched it back out of her reach. Taunting Kelly, she tucked the rolled magazine into the waistband of her denim shorts. She turned her back on Kelly, saucily sauntering away.
With a strangled cry, Kelly leapt out of her chair and onto Sabrina, the force of her attack sending them both tumbling onto the bed. The bedsprings creaked beneath their combined weight as they fought for possession. Kelly had the advantage, having landed solidly on Sabrina, effectively pinning the brunette between herself and the mattress.
From the other side of the room, Kris' eyes went wide with shock. Beside her, Bosley watched with rapt fascination. Oh, yeah. Watching was so much better than interfering.
Sabrina refused to yield, and Kelly resorted to tickling her along her ribs. "Give up?" Kelly asked, breathing in Sabrina's ear.
"NO!" screamed Sabrina around her laughter as the tickling only increased.
"Have it your way, then," warned Kelly. She redoubled her tickling attack, knowing from experience that was the best way to incapacitate Sabrina.
Sabrina reflexively tried to roll into a ball, but was unable to do so with Kelly's weight pinning her down. She felt Kelly shift, positioning herself, sitting down on her buttocks. With the added pressure to her hips, Sabrina was unable to gain enough leverage to throw Kelly off.
Maintaining her attack with one hand, Kelly snaked her other hand around, beneath Bree's body. She reached beneath Bree's shirt, lifting it, exposing her tanned midriff. She shoved her hand inside the waistband of Sabrina's shorts, fingers triumphantly closing about the rolled-up magazine.
"Let's get out of here," advised Bosley, nudging Kris towards the door. "Things are only going to get uglier."
"Are they always like this?" asked Kris, the picture of wide-eyed innocence.
"No," confided Bosley, glancing back at the two Angels wrestling on the bed. "Sometimes, they get much worse."
The motorboat cut through the waves at breakneck speed, leaving the beaches of Honolulu in their wake. The sun broke through the clouds, its rays reflecting off the red hardshell, the glare effectively blinding Sabrina. Yanking her sunglasses from the v-neck of her striped polo, she quickly slipped them on.
She pushed her hair back from her face with one hand, keeping a firm grip on the wheel with her other. Flashing a carefree smile, she looked back over her shoulder at her companion.
She was wearing a tiny, two-piece black bikini, white pinstriping drawing attention to, emphasizing perfect breasts. Long, elegant fingers delicately applied sunscreen to porcelain fair skin. She flipped luxurious locks over her shoulder, flashed a warm smile at Sabrina.
"We really should have waited for Bosley and Kris."
"Bos wouldn't have wanted to come, anyway. He gets seasick, you know." Sabrina shrugged, her previously carefree smile transforming into a cocksure grin. "Besides, they're both liable to be passed out until sometime tonight."
Kelly laughed. "And, to think, Bosley's the one that warned us about the dangers of the mai tai."
"Yeah. Well, figures he and Kris would be the ones who couldn't handle their liquor."
Kelly shifted position on the bench at the back of the boat, poured sunscreen on her legs. "You know, if I'd left you sitting with them, you'd be passed out alongside them right now."
"True," Sabrina acquiesced, recalling the events of the evening before. "But, if you had, you wouldn't be getting your sight-seeing tour today."
"Oh, no!" Kelly jabbed a finger in Sabrina's direction. "You promised! And, half passed out or not, you said you'd go with me today."
"You bullied me into it," protested Sabrina. "You wouldn't get off me until I promised to show you some of the sights in that fancy magazine of yours."
Kelly stopped rubbing in her sunscreen, looked pointedly at Sabrina. Her back was to her, allowing Kelly to freely rake her eyes over the other woman's lithe body. She was tall, with an athletic build. Her carriage was proud; her shoulders strong. The curve of her spine sensuous as Kelly followed the length of the striped polo shirt to where it was tucked into her shorts. A pair of white denim shorts tightly hugged her hips, framed her derrière. A smooth tan covered her bare arms, long legs.
"You know, you didn't have to go to all this extra effort, Bree. You could have just taken me out on one of those island tours and been done in a couple of hours."
"Yeah, guess I could have," Sabrina shrugged, flashed a wry smile. "But, my dad always said if you're going to do something, do it right. And, if you're gonna take a lady out, go all out."
"Hmmm." Kelly mulled over the 'lady' comment. She moved from the back of the boat to the front, taking the seat beside Sabrina. Her new position offered her an unobstructed view of Sabrina's profile while she navigated. "But, if what you say is true about going all out, why didn't we take Charlie's yacht?"
Sabrina's lip twitched. Kelly could almost see her thinking of an answer. She patiently waited while Sabrina shifted, broke through a white-capped wave. She cut the wheel sharply, riding its crest. "Charlie's yacht comes with a crew." She blew a bubble, popped it, cast a sideways glance at Kelly. "I don't think the captain would've let me drive."
"Who said we had to ask?" Kelly gave her best flirtatious look.
"Oh, you are a bad angel, aren't you?" Sabrina teased. "Truth is, I made lunch and I didn't pack enough to share with Charlie's crew."
"You made lunch?" Kelly asked, skeptically, eyeing the large wicker basket securely nestled on a pile of blankets at the rear of the boat. "What'd you make?" she pushed out of her chair, started aft.
"Correction: I brought lunch." She reached back with one hand, grabbed Kelly's arm, reeled her back in. "Ah-ah-ah; No peeking. You'll just have to wait til lunch."
Kelly returned to her seat, mock pouting as she went. Sabrina saw the protruding bottom lip, the sad puppy dog eyes, and couldn't stifle her laughter. Kelly soon gave up all pretense of being disgruntled and settled back in her chair. It was just too nice of a day to even pretend she was mad at Sabrina.
The air smelled of the ocean. The tradewinds blew warm across her face. The seaspray created by the forward motion of the speedboat was just enough to keep her refreshingly cool. And, she was enjoying a peaceful day out with her best friend. No cases, no undercover work, no Kris and Bosley. She closed her eyes, inhaling deeply, wishing she could freeze this moment in time. Everything was perfect. Except
"I'm really getting hungry, Bree." She opened her eyes, found Sabrina staring at her. "What?" she shrugged, "I had a light breakfast."
"Okay, okay." Sabrina bit her bottom lip. She really wanted to take Kelly to this secluded cove she'd read about in the brochure. But, that cove was still about two hours out. And, she knew from experience not to come between Kelly and a meal. Maybe there'd be time after lunch. "There's an island over there," Sabrina said, pointing towards a land mass in the distance. "Hang on! We'll be there before you know it!"
Now that Kelly mentioned it, she was famished, too. Should have had something more substantial that papaya juice for breakfast. She shifted, pushing the speedboat as fast as she could in the direction of the island.
Lunch turned out to be a delightful fare from the kitchen of The Royal Hawaiian. And, although she knew it was something she could have simply ordered off the menu back at their hotel, it was made special by the fact that Sabrina had gotten up extra early to sneak down to the kitchen and ask the chef to prepare something for a picnic. Laying back on the blanket they had spread out on the beach, Kelly had marveled at how much Sabrina had actually packed into that wicker basket. It seemed like the containers appearing one after the other would never end.
Kelly leaned back against the base of the palm tree they had spread their blanket beneath. They were perched on the white sand bordering the edge of the island's jungle. They were still on the beach, able to enjoy the surf and sand, but shielded from the midday sun by the close proximity of the jungle.
Kelly's gaze shifted, staring down the length of the beach. Unmarred white sand stretched as far as the eye could see. Seashells dotted the sand, washed in and deposited by the last high tide. Coral reef, indigenous to the region, jutted from the ocean floor, creating a shimmering wall of pinks and greys extending a quarter mile from shore. Sabrina had navigated the speedboat into the area, skillfully dodging the coral reef on their way in. Their boat was now anchored just off shore, bobbing serenly in the water, bumping harmlessly against the coral jetty.
"Refill?" Sabrina asked, breaking into her reverie. She held the bottle aloft, the neck clinking against the rim of Kelly's fluted glass.
"Just a tad." Kelly smiled warmly, watching as Sabrina poured out the last of the bottle's contents.
Nonchalantly tossing the bottle back into the basket, she picked up her own glass, tapped it against Kelly's. "To Charlie's rescue."
"And, to extending our vacation in paradise," toasted Kelly, gingerly sipping from her nearly full glass.
Beside her, Sabrina drained the last of the champagne from her glass, nestled it securely in a bar towel in the wicker basket. She kicked off her sneakers, flexing her toes as she lay back on the blanket. Hands tucked beneath her head, she closed her eyes, basking in the warm afternoon sun.
"Too bad you didn't get that lock picked fast enough to see Charlie's face."
"Yeah," Sabrina agreed. "If Blue and his goons hadn't pulled me off the door " She shrugged. " I still can't believe Charlie jumped overboard and swam for it."
Kelly nodded thoughtfully, thinking about the lengths Charlie would go to in order to keep his identity a secret. And, despite their being good detectives, the Angels were unable to get so much as a general description of their elusive boss. They'd met several clients who had personally seen Charlie at some point, but none would divulge his identity. Rumor was Bosley knew, but despite numerous attempts to loosen his tongue with alcohol, he'd stoically revealed nothing. Aggravatingly enough, they weren't even able to persuade his kidnappers, Meilanie and Mr. Blue to reveal any details, either.
As a matter of fact, before the whole double-kidnapping business came about, Sabrina had almost convinced her that Charlie didn't exist. That, perhaps, Bosley was the real boss and he'd only fabricated Charlie as an enigmatic apparition through a speaker box. She had to admit, Sabrina's theory made sense. It was no secret Bosley was shy and awkward around beautiful women, even them sometimes. And, the owner of the private investigations office might be at risk if criminals knew his true identity. And, oddly enough, a thorough, although albeit discreet, investigation by the Angels had revealed nothing. No birth certicate, no driver's license, no social security card, no physical address. Therefore, Sabrina surmised, Charles Townsend was a fictional character; a figment of Bosley's imagination. And, to top it off, Bosley was the real brains of the organization.
"That's something you might be able to pull off," Kelly had said to Sabrina when she'd first presented her theory, "But, I doubt if our Bosley's really that clever."
"That's why it would be a perfect cover," confided Sabrina, "Who would ever believe it of John Bosley?"
"Or, it really could be you," thought Kelly, staring at Sabrina's profile. It hadn't escaped her notice how Bree naturally took the lead on most of their cases, and how Bosley deferred to Sabrina's ideas. She studied Sabrina for long moments. The curve of her chin, the strong jaw. Normally alert, brown eyes now closed, relaxed as she caught a little afternoon nap. "Wouldn't it be something if you were Charlie?"
Kelly's eyes began to drift closed, the combination of a heavy lunch and champagne, coupled with the warm tropical breeze was lulling her to sleep. She stifled a yawn with the back of her hand. Her lids heavy, she started to drift off. Her mind wandered, thinking about Sabrina and the possibility that she might, indeed, be the elusive Charlie. Somewhere in the back of her mind, she dimly heard a motor turning over.
"Hey! Hey, come back here!"
Kelly's eyes flew open at the sound of Sabrina's panicked voice. Groggily, she sat up, shaking the cobwebs from her head. Glancing up, looking across the beach, she attempted to discern exactly what had awakened her from her champagne-induced slumber.
Sabrina was running across the beach, her long stride eating up stretches of white sand. Powerful legs carried her into the surf, the water splashing, quickly swirling around her calves. And, beyond her, was their speedboat, engine gunning to life, controls opened up full throttle as it sped away from the tiny island.
Suddenly alert, Kelly sprang to her feet, made a mad dash across the sand, shouting and screaming at the man who was stealing their speedboat. If he heard their shouts of protest, he didn't show it. He never even looked back at the beach as he made his escape.
Kelly slowed to a stop beside Sabrina in the surf. The cold ocean water swirled up higher, around her thighs as they both stared in awe at the silhouette of the thief absconding with their only ride.
"Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!" Sabrina shouted in frustration, hitting herself repeatedly in the head with her open palm.
"Hey!" Kelly grabbed Sabrina's wrist, jerked it away from her face. "Hey! Look at me!" Sabrina glared at her through veiled eyes. "Just because some creep stole our boat doesn't make you stupid!"
"I left the keys in the ignition."
"We're on a deserted island in paradise," Kelly shrugged, "You'd have been paranoid to take the keys."
"Guess it wasn't so deserted, was it?" Sabrina responded tersely, still fixated on the stolen speedboat. It was out of sight, no longer visible on the horizon. Still, Sabrina stared out at the ocean, as if she could see it bobbing on the waves in the distance.
"Come on," Kelly urged, grabbing Sabrina's hand, tugging on her.
She didn't budge at first, but finally relented, allowing Kelly to lead her back to the beach. She hadn't noticed at first, but now that the adrenaline rush was beginning to subside, she realized how chilly the water had become. It was late afternoon, the sun was beginning its long, arduous descent, palm tree shadows growing long on the stark, white sand.
She walked in silence beside Kelly, casting wary glances between the descending sun and the ever-increasingly foreboding island jungle. Their picnic area, nestled along the perimeter of the beachfront and the jungle was rapidly deteriorating from romantic to sinister. A shrill sound echoed from somewhere deep in the dense foliage. Subtly, she increased her pace, causing Kelly to match her quickening stride to the blanket and supplies.
They sat huddled together beneath a blanket, noses buried in the soft fabric. A sharp breeze had blown in, adding a sudden chill to the night air. Sabrina knew they would have been warmer up the beach, under cover of the jungle brush. But, she had convinced Kelly they should move camp farther down onto the beach. They hadn't had time to explore any part of the jungle before nightfall, and she was more than a little leery of what sort of creatures might be hiding in the thick underbrush.
So, at her insistence, they had uprooted the few belongings they had and trudged down onto the sand, lugging their supplies behind them. Deciding they would conduct a thorough inventory of their supplies in the morning, both Angels spread out a blanket on the sand and crawled beneath the other blanket, huddling together for warmth.
"You know," Kelly brushed Sabrina's hand reassuringly, "Kris and Bosley have a search party out looking for us right now."
"Yeah, well, hate to bust your bubble, kiddo," Sabrina sighed, "But, it's well after nine o'clock. They would have had to call off the search party at dark." A slight pause. "Assuming they've even realized we're missing."
"Oh, come on, they have to know we are." Kelly flipped her hair back over her shoulder, looked at Sabrina incredulously.
"Do they?" Both eyebrows shot up, threatening to meet her hairline. "I didn't tell them where we were going. Did you?"
"No," admitted Kelly, morosely. She picked at a fuzzball on the blanket.
"And, even if we did," Sabrina added, "They were both so out of it, I doubt either one of them would have remembered by the time they woke up."
"Well, surely they'll realize it when we don't come back to the room tonight." Kelly refused to let Sabrina's pessimism keep her spirits down. "They'll launch a search party first thing in the morning."
"They'll spend half the day backtracking our activities. There must be fifty marinas we could have rented that boat from. And, that's assuming they figure out early on that we rented a boat for the day." Sabrina exhaled loudly, continued her calculations. "Okay, they figure out, let's say by two o'clock we rented the boat from Pappy's Boat House. It'll be three by the time they get things organized and get in the water. We didn't plan on spending more than a day at sea, so there was no requirement to submit a nautical plan to the maritime board."
"Meaning," now Kelly sounded suddenly as down as Sabrina did, "that they have a whole ocean to search."
"Right." Sabrina lay back on the blanket beneath her, propped her head on her arm. "I suggest we both turn in, try to get some sleep. Like it or not, we're going to have to check out that jungle first thing tomorrow."
Sabrina closed her eyes, trying to force her body, her mind, to relax enough to drift off to sleep. Despite how she sounded - which she hoped for Kelly's peace of mind was calm and in control - she felt anything but. She was keyed up, itching for some action, and knew she wouldn't be able to lay still much longer.
She felt Kelly shift, lay down beside her. She curled into Sabrina, snuggling close as she settled down. Her head rested in the crook of Sabrina's arm, her own arm draped possessively about Sabrina's midriff. As Kelly's breathing slowly changed, becoming shallower, Sabrina finally closed her eyes, finding the incentive she needed to lay still for the rest of the night.
Sabrina instinctively rolled over, trying to keep the glaring sunlight out of her eyes. She screwed them tightly shut, burrowing her face into her pillow, attempting to pursue the last vestiges of a fading dream. She squirmed, inching in closer to the full body pillow she kept on her bed. A hand shot out, reaching to fluff her pillow.
Eyes flew open as she realized that she was attempting to 'fluff' hair. Disorientated, she propped herself up on one elbow, trying to make sense of her surroundings. Someone else was laying on a blanket beside her, back towards her. Slowly, Sabrina's mind began to process the data. She had been stroking her fingers through the long tresses of a brunette. A brunette she had sidled up to, half covering her body with her own in her slumber.
Kelly - the name reverberated through Sabrina's head. They had been stranded yesterday - and opted to camp out on the beach for the night rather than explore the jungle in the dark. Kelly. Laying beside her, side by side, snuggling close in the night.
She propped herself up on one elbow, leaning over Kelly's prone figure, intently studying her sleeping profile. Her eyelids flickered rapidly, and Sabrina was almost positive she heard faint snoring coming from the sleeping Angel. Her face was completely at ease, her normally set jaw slack in the throes of slumber. The worry lines that were frequently etched around the corner of her mouth, her eyes were no longer visible. She looked for all the world like she was as relaxed as if she'd gone to sleep in her own bed.
Sabrina's gaze traveled lower, past her face, down the length of her body. Long and lean, but with womanly curves in all the right places. Kelly was what Sabrina often referred to as a hybrid, possessing the best qualities of her colleagues combined.
She was athletic and in great shape, like Sabrina. But, she also possessed the womanly traits that both Jill Monroe and her successor, Kris Monroe, had in abundance. She was smart. But, knew how to use her feminine wiles. Whereas Kris and Sabrina were at extreme ends of the spectrum of each other, Kelly fell right into the middle, creating what Sabrina considered to be the perfect woman. Smart and sexy. Witty and charming. Athletic and curvaceous
Sabrina's hand instinctively reached out, fingers hesitantly twirling about a lock of hair, pushing it back from Kelly's face. She lay there for long moments, twirling the strand as she studied Kelly's lips. Full and luscious, just made for kissing. Sabrina leaned over Kelly's shoulder -
Mentally shaking herself, she flung the blanket off, jumping up from their makeshift bed. She ran for the shoreline, stripping off her white shorts and striped polo as she went. Without even a pause, she dashed into the ocean, running into the water until she was submerged to her waist. Taking a deep breath, she ducked under water, then came up, sputtering and gasping as the cold wet finally hit her system.
When Kelly awoke some time later, it was to the scent of fresh mangos. Sabrina was seated nearby, using a knife to peel the fruit. As she peeled back the skin, its juices liberally ran down the knife, onto her thumb. She watched in rapt fascination as Sabrina brought her hand to her mouth, licked the sticky nectar from her flesh.
Sabrina sensed someone watching her, lifted her gaze. Her deep chocolate eyes met, held Kelly's gaze. "What?" she asked, both eyebrows raising.
"That looks delicious," Kelly responded, her gaze leaving Sabrina's.
Sabrina's own gaze traveled lower, following Kelly's line of sight. In almost torturous slow motion, she skillfully cut into the fruit's fleshy interior with her knife. Never taking her eyes from Kelly's, she studied her reaction as the blade bit in, slicing through the moist nectar. Reverently, she held the knife aloft, the blade extended towards Kelly, a slice of mango delicately balanced on the tip.
Mesmerized, she watched as Kelly leaned forward, taking the edge of the slice between her teeth. Even though she was trembling inside, Sabrina's hand somehow managed to hold the blade rock steady as Kelly's teeth closed about the succulent fruit, lifting it. As she pulled back, delightedly chewing, a trickle of sticky moisture made its way from the corner of her mouth, towards her chin. A pink tongue flicked out, quickly capturing the moisture, drawing it into her mouth.
"Just as I thought, delicious." She flashed a sultry smile at Sabrina. "May I have another bite?"
Wordlessly, Sabrina passed the knife and fruit to Kelly, thrusting it into her hands. She hastily jumped to her feet, stalked away, leaving a surprised Kelly sitting on the beach alone. "We need to get a move on if we're going to check out that jungle," she heard Sabrina call over her shoulder as she plunged into the underbrush. With a bemused expression, Kelly was left sitting alone, idly eating her breakfast as she contemplated her friend's odd behavior.
Late afternoon found both Angels deeply entrenched in the jungle interior. They were, by Sabrina's best guess, approximately dead center in the middle of the island. They could still hear the surf breaking against the coral reefs surrounding the inlet, but were unable to visibly see the ocean due to the thick underbrush. Judging from the amount of jungle growth, Sabrina surmised that the island was most likely uninhabited.
But, if that were the case, where did their mysterious boat-jacker come from? They hadn't heard or seen any other boats. Therefore, it was highly probable that he was already on the island when they arrived and used the opportunity to escape while they were napping.
"If he's been here for any length of time," concluded Sabrina, "he must have a camp. Maybe some supplies. Something that might help us get off the island," she thought out loud as she led the way through the thick underbrush.
"If he had a way off the island, he wouldn't have needed to steal our boat," reasoned Kelly, following sharply on Sabrina's heels as they threaded their way through the jungle.
Sabrina flinched, missing a half-step as Kelly's words resonated. Of course she knew that even if they did find a camp, there wouldn't be a means of escape readily available. She was merely spouting off; mumbling reassurances off the top of her head. Anything to keep up her companion's spirits. If it'd been Kris she'd been marooned with, that facade might have worked. She should have known that a pretense of false hope wouldn't go over with Kelly.
Then again, mused Sabrina, I wouldn't want to be marooned with Kris. Left alone with her and that much perkiness, Kris might not last through the first night.
That line of thought brought a sardonic smile to Sabrina's lips as she redoubled her efforts of pushing through the thick jungle growth. She glanced at the sky through the line of treetops. The sun was high. She hazarded a glance at her watch fastened tight about her wrist. The face was misted over with moisture, the minute hand clicked forward, then back, forward then back, hung in the spot midway between the six and seven.
Stupid! Running into the surf without taking my watch off! Then, she thought back to the circumstances that prompted her impromptu wading and berated herself for leaving the keys in the boat in the first place. She took a half dozen more steps, glanced at the sky again.
Late afternoon, Sabrina guessed. Three, maybe closer to four.
Sweat soaked her hair, running in rivulets through her short tresses, onto her forehead, stinging her eyes. More perspiration coated her cheeks, leaving a trail through the dust and grime coating her face. Her striped polo was soaked, a v-shaped stain drenching her shirt. Sweat glistened on her arms, running down her elbows, over her forearms.
She could feel Kelly behind her, so close her presence was stifling. She could feel the heat from Kelly's body on her own, feel her hot breath on the back of her neck. She heard a rustling sound as Kelly adjusted her grip on the picnic basket once again. Sabrina had wanted to leave it behind, but Kelly insisted they bring it as it contained the last of their food supplies. Reluctantly, Sabrina had given in, and they'd spent the better part of the afternoon trading off the task of carrying the added weight. She heard the basket rustle again as Kelly switched hands for the second time in under a minute.
"Let me," she offered, twisting her body, reaching back for the basket even as she continued her forward march.
"I've got it," Kelly's voice was strong; although, her face showed her true level of fatigue.
"It's my turn," Sabrina responded adamantly, reaching again for the basket. "Let me take it for a - "
Her words abruptly died in her throat as she lost her footing, stumbling as she broke free from the jungle growth. She tumbled head over heels, rolling down a steep embankment, coming to land face first in a muddy creek at the bottom of the slope.
"Bree!" shouted Kelly, hanging onto a vine, working her way as quickly as she could down the treacherous slope. "Bree! Are you okay?"
Sabrina lifted her head a half inch out of the water, groggily looked around. She held up one hand, did a sort of half-wave. "I'm fine," she managed to croak out, her voice cracking. "The rocks broke my fall."
Kelly reached the bottom of the embankment, rushed as quickly as she could in her sandals over the tiny pebbles lining the bank of the creek. Cold water swirled around her ankles as she treaded her way to Sabrina. Kneeling by her friend, she tenderly tried to help her roll over.
"Are you sure you're okay? Is anything broken?" she asked, running concerned hands over Sabrina's torso, ostensibly checking for broken bones. "Are you wounded?"
"Just my pride." Said with a rueful grin. "Guess I'm really batting a thousand on this trip, huh?"
"I wouldn't say that. It's been one adventure after another." Kelly flashed one of her brightest smiles. "Couldn't find anything close to rivaling this in that boring old tourist magazine I had back at the hotel."
Sabrina was sitting in the middle of a creek bed, water soaking through her shorts, rocks poking her in the most decidedly uncomfortable of places. Mud caked the front of her shirt, her shorts, her knees and lower legs. She was hot and tired and sunburned. But, none of that mattered in the slightest because Kelly Garrett was looking at her like she was the most beautiful woman on the planet. As she stared into Kelly's eyes, she actually felt a smile beginning to form on her own lips.
"Not only that, but I think you found it." Kelly's soft southern voice broke through her reverie.
"Huh?" was her brilliant response.
"The thief's campsite," Kelly clarified, pointing over Sabrina's shoulder.
She twisted, turning around. Not more than a dozen paces distant on the opposite bank was a crude campsite. Palm leaves were spread out on the jungle floor, creating a semblance of a bed. Stones formed a ring nearby, kindling deliberately placed in the center of the circle. Two branches were stuck in the ground, a "y" formed at the end of each stick. A twig was stretched, balanced between the two sticks, creating a makeshift spit.
"Looks like home sweet home," Sabrina said, glancing at Kelly.
"Let's get you out of the water and beside a fire before you catch pneumonia." Kelly bent low, grabbing Sabrina about the waist, helping to support her as she climbed to her feet.
Sabrina knelt in front of the ring of stones, a blanket wrapped about her shoulders. She was desperately rubbing two sticks together, attempting to light the fire. When they had initially arrived at the campsite, she had stoked the ashes, hoping to find an ember or two still burning enough to spark a flame. However, the fire had been left to die for the entire night and most of the day. Deep down, even as she used a stick to search through the ashes, she knew she wouldn't find so much as a single ember. She fought down a shiver as another early evening breeze swept through the campsite.
"I found some more mangos," Kelly called out, stepping from the underbrush. "And, good news, the beach's not more than the length of two football fields away. We'll be able to move down there first thing in the morning to look for our rescue party."
"That's great, Kel."
She cursed as she scraped her knuckles on a stone. Funny. She was supposed to be the one in charge, the calm one, the one who always knew what to do. But, it was Kelly that was the real rock in this situation. She was the one that seemed to know just what needed to be done and when. She was the one surviving, no thriving, in their forced isolation.
She should have expected as much. Kelly was a survivor. She'd proven that time and time again. Starting from the very first day she'd been deposited at that awful orphanage after the death of both her parents. She'd survived the cruel care of Beemish and others like her, growing into a beautiful young woman. And, when she left the orphanage for good, she'd gone straight into the police academy. A typically male-dominated field, she not only survived, she graduated top of her class. And, she'd gone on to become one of Charlie's top agents.
Not that everything had been a bed of roses. Not by a long shot. Kelly still carried the scars from childhood. Emotional ties to a past that were difficult to severe. She'd stayed in the guest room at Kelly's several times. And, each night, she'd been awoken by restless murmurings in the brunette's sleep, remnants of nightmares that came back to trouble her sleep.
And trust issues - Boy, could she write a book on that one! Sabrina scraped her knuckle again, cursed out loud.
"Hey!" Kelly was instantly kneeling at her side, taking her abused hand in both her own, turning it this way and that, examining the broken flesh. "Are you okay?" she asked, concern evident in her voice.
"Yeah." Sabrina tossed the sticks back onto the kindling, sat back on her heels, glaring murderously at the ring of stones, the nest of branches. "I can't get the fire to catch," she growled through clenched teeth.
"Really?" Kelly asked. "What the hell kind of lesbian are you, anyway?"
Sabrina's mouth dropped open, her jaw threatening to hit the ground. Wide-eyed, she stared at Kelly. Kelly reached out, using her fingertips to catch Sabrina beneath her chin, tenderly pushing her jaw back into place.
"Careful, something might fly in." She flashed a semblance of a lopsided smile. "You wouldn't want to eat a mosquito out here, now would you?"
"I - uh - " Sabrina's jaw worked furiously, "I - you - that is - " A puzzled look, an exasperated sigh. "You know?"
"Of course," stated matter-of-factly. "I'm a detective, remember? Although, even I have to admit that I didn't need to search very hard to see the clues."
"You didn't?" This time, Sabrina's voice cracked.
"The way you dress. The air of self-confidence. The over-protectiveness towards me and Kris. Not to mention I've caught you checking out my ass."
"I have not!" protested Sabrina vehemently.
"Every time I wear that little white two-piece." A coy smile. "Believe me, I'm flattered. Why do you think I wear that particular bikini to every beach party the Munroe sisters throw?"
"I - I have no idea," admitted Sabrina. Her hands were clammy, her heart was jack-hammering in her chest, her mouth was parched. It was all she could to process Kelly's words, let alone try to form coherent answers.
"Because I know you like me in it."
Sabrina's breath caught in her throat as Kelly inched closer, leaning in. She balanced herself on her outstretched hands, elbows locked, supporting her weight as she narrowed the distance between them. Ever-so agonizingly slow, she came closer, until her lips lightly brushed Bree's. Flicking her tongue out, she lightly licked Bree's lower lip, barely grazing the pink flesh before pulling back.
Sabrina's eyes flickered open, focusing on the woman in front of her. Slowly, Kelly's own eyes opened, meeting, holding Sabrina's gaze. With an impish grin, she backed away. Stunned into speechlessness, it was all Sabrina could do to watch as her friend backed away from her, rising to her feet.
At first, she thought it had all been a game. Just a tease on Kelly's part. But, then, she realized that Kelly was moving to the makeshift bed of palm leaves, and her heart leapt into her throat. She watched in rapt fascination as Kelly moved past the bedding, to a nearby boulder.
Kelly reached down, pulling a large satchel from the underbrush. When she had left Sabrina's side, she had every intention of settling on the crude bedding and enticing the other woman to join her. But, as she approached, she'd spotted the blue satchel laying on the ground, partially hidden. Clasping the satchel in both hands, she quickly returned to Bree's side, sitting down beside her.
"What do you think's in it?" she asked.
"Only one way to find out," Sabrina determined, taking the bag, unzipping it.
Deftly, she rummaged through the contents. A spare shirt. A passport. Sabrina quickly flipped the blue book open, staring at the picture. "That looks like one of Blue's goons," she said, showing the picture to Kelly.
"Sure does." Kelly looked closely, studying the photograph. "But, that's not his name."
"A forgery," surmised Sabrina. She continued to rummage through the satchel, coming up with two more fake passports. Her fingers tapped the bottom of the case, felt along the lining. She frowned, holding up the bag to get a better look.
"What is it?" pressed Kelly, noting the odd expression on Sabrina's face.
"The interior is shallow. It looks like a big bag, but there's not a lot in it." She held up the bag, showing it to Kelly. She turned it upside down, forcefully shaking it. "Almost like there's a - " Her words trailed off as the bottom of the bag came undone, spilling several bundles of cash onto the ground. " - false bottom."
Kelly picked up one of the bundles, eyed it closely. "Hundreds." She picked up another bundle, leafed through it. "They're all hundred dollar bills." Her eyes grew wide. There must be twenty bundles of bills scattered about, each containing hundred dollar bills, banding still intact.
Sabrina reached out, picking up one of the bundles, studying it. "Counterfeit," she surmised. "Figures."
"Well, we knew Blue was deep into shady dealings during his Chicago days. Figures he'd be laundering counterfeit money through the islands."
"Typical." Kelly tossed the bundle she'd been fingering onto the campfire circle. "Disappointing, but typical."
"Yeah." Sabrina stared balefully at the stack of money. The dreams all that cash could buy if it was only real - a sly smile crept across her face. "You know, this wad of paper may not be totally worthless." She scurried this way and that, quickly collecting the bundles of counterfeit cash.
Less than half an hour later, they were basking in the warmth of a roaring campfire. The flames burned brightly, giving off an ample amount of heat. Sabrina shucked off her blanket, finally feeling her shivers subsiding. She peeled another hundred off the stack she held loosely in her hand, tossed it onto the fire. A smile played over her lips as the paper caught fire, sending a multi-colored flame hurtling towards the skies as it was quickly consumed.
"Feeling better now?" asked Kelly softly, sitting beside Sabrina, patiently watching her feed the fire.
"Much," Sabrina agreed. "Now that I've managed to redeem myself by starting a fire."
"Good." They sat in silence for a moment, both staring at the growing flames. At last, Kelly turned her head, studying Sabrina out of the corner of her eye. A lazy smile slowly spread across her features. "Then, let's see about getting you out of those wet things and getting you warmed up - "
Sabrina thought she'd surely passed out from heat exhaustion and was laying unconscious on the jungle floor somewhere when Kelly leaned in, kissing her again. She'd fantasized for years of this; never in her wildest dreams had it been like this, though. It had to be a fantasy, brought on by the heat. Or, maybe she'd hit her head when she'd tumbled down the embankment and had a concussion and was hallucinating. This couldn't be real.
But, it certainly felt real. Tender lips against hers, kissing lightly, then adding pressure. A tongue darting out, teasing her bottom lip, asking for entry into Sabrina's mouth. The warm wet of Kelly's mouth as Sabrina's own tongue darted out, exploring.
And, those fingers on the top button of her polo shirt certainly felt real. Unbuttoning the first two buttons, fingers exploring as far as they could reach. Then, as if realizing they could go no farther, opted for a different route, attacking from the south as they stole beneath the hem of her shirt at her waist.
And, it definitely felt real when her shirt was yanked off, thrown over the top of her head, landing somewhere in the distance. Hands, fingers closed about her breasts, kneading her nipples into aching hardness. Then, fingers quickly followed by a tongue as Kelly's mouth clamped down on first one breast, then the other.
Reality was definitely winning the war raging in Sabrina's subconscious when she felt those not-so-imaginary fingers working beneath the waistband of her denim shorts. Fingers deftly flicked open the button, teased down the zipper. A decidedly real breeze flittered through the camp, making its presence known by ruffling through her exposed pubic hairs.
Nature's breeze was quickly replaced by one of Kelly's own as she knelt between Sabrina's legs. She blew lazy puffs of air over Sabrina's mound even as her fingers hooked into the beltloops of her shorts. She felt a slight tugging sensation at the same time she felt something wet slide over her nubbin of flesh.
She's taking off my shorts! Was her only coherent thought as lips sought, then found, then tightened about her sensitive bundle of nerves. Eyes threatened to roll back inside her head as Kelly's mouth worked her magic, stroking, sliding, gliding over hyper-sensitive flesh.
She felt a pressure between her legs, dampness as Kelly's fingers returned to the fray, stroking her open. "Please." she heard herself whimper as slender fingers tantalized, teased without ever deliberately committing. She felt fingers hovering, waiting scant inches from where she needed them most. And, she couldn't believe her ears when she heard her voice begging again for Kelly to touch her.
Sabrina lay on the blanket, flat on her back. Kelly was nestled beside her, laying on her stomach, her cheek resting on the swell of her breast. One of Sabrina's arms encircled Kelly, her fingers idly stroking up and down smooth, flawless flesh. Her fingers drifted lower, her hand cupping Kelly's derrière as her thoughts drifted back to the earlier events of that afternoon.
She bent her head, tenderly placing a chaste kiss on Kelly's forehead. She murmured in her sleep, but didn't waken; instead snuggling deeper into Sabrina's embrace. A soft smile played upon her lips.
With a self-satisfied smile, Sabrina reached out, fingers closing about a bundle of cash. She hefted the bundle, tossing the entire counterfeit contraband into the fire. Flames immediately shot skyward as the bundle was quickly engulfed.
"Sabrina!" A deep male voice shouted from the distance. Sabrina frowned.
"Kelly!" came a distinctly familiar feminine voice.
"Shit!" Sabrina's eyes grew wide. "Kelly!" She reached out, urgently shaking Kelly by the shoulder. "Wake up!" she whispered frantically. "It's Kris and Bosley!"
Kelly's eyes slowly blinked open. She smiled lazily at Sabrina. Then, as the shouts grew louder, and the jungle sounds grew nearer, her eyes took on an air of panic. She scrambled from beneath Sabrina, hurriedly lunging for her clothing.
"I'm just so glad we found you." Kris sat curled up on the couch at Charles Townsend Investigations, feet tucked comfortably beneath her as she looked from Sabrina to Kelly and back again.
"Yeah, us, too." Sabrina agreed after a momentary awkward silence. "How did you find us so quickly?" At a harsh look from Kelly, she amended her sentence. "I mean, all that ocean to search, and you found us after only two days. That's pretty remarkable."
"We really lucked up that the coast guard picked up Mr. Blue's associate at the marina." Bosley chimed in. He was sitting behind his desk, gingerly rubbing aloe on his sunburned arms. "It was fairly - " a Bosley trademark smile " - simple - to persuade him to give us the approximate location of where he'd gotten his boat from."
"Yeah, and then we just searched the area until we found you." Kris piped in with a giant, perky smile as she stared at Kelly and Sabrina.
"Yes," chimed in Charlie's voice from the speaker box. "Ingenious of you to burn Mr. Blue's ill-gotten gains, Angels."
"Believe me, Charlie, I'm not sure I would have done it if it'd been real," Sabrina said around a mouthful of coffee.
That earned a round of laughter from everyone in the room. "Well, I'm glad every thing worked out in the end," Charlie continued. "Take the rest of the weekend off to recover, Angels."
"Thanks, Charlie," the three Angels replied in unison.
"Well, I think I'm going to go home and unpack and crash," Kelly stated, moving out of her chair.
"Yeah, me, too." Sabrina quickly chimed in, edging towards the door.
"You know," Kris tapped her chin thoughtfully. "It's lucky that you both had that blanket to wrap up in while your clothes were drying." A short laugh. "I just can't imagine both of you falling into the creek."
"It was a sight to see, let me tell you." Sabrina risked a sideways glance at Kelly. True to form, the other Angel was cucumber cool.
"You know, come to think of it," Bosley added, "You never did explain exactly how Sabrina's clothes were full of mud and water, front and back. Yet, yours hardly had a drop of water on them. How's that possible if you both fell into the same creek?"
"I thought you'd figured that out," Kelly said, flashing a wicked smile at Bosley and Kris. "I was on top," she answered saucily before turning on her heel, long strides carrying her through the door.
Cheeks flaming red, Sabrina quickly hurried behind her, too embarrassed to even dare risk a fleeting look in Bosley's direction.
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