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 finished.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This is based on the original series from the seventies with the real Angels - Jill, Kelly, and of course, Sabrina. Special thanks to Cj for the interesting idea.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
By Del Robertson
Charles Townsend Investigations
"Angels, this one hits close to home for all of us." The rich tones of Charles Townsend's voice echoed from the speaker box located on the edge of Bosley's desk.
"What do we have this time, Charlie?" Sabrina asked, grabbing her mug of coffee, passing another to Kelly as she settled down on the plush couch beside the brunette.
"Yeah, Charlie; It must be pretty important to call us off of that diamond smuggling caper making the tennis circuit. It took me months to establish my cover as a new talent." Jill flipped her blonde hair back over one shoulder as she smiled at the speaker box.
"I'm afraid the tennis world will have to get along without you for the time being, Angel. But rest assured, the team we replaced you three with have been thoroughly briefed on your progress to date." A slight pause. "I think once you see the slides, you'll understand why I felt the three of you needed to be in on this one. Bosley?"
"Right." Bosley picked up his clicker, punched the button with a quick flick of his thumb.
As one, the Angels directed their attention to the screen. A slide instantly appeared, an outside view of The First National Bank of Los Angeles. "This is the latest bank to be hit in a string of daring robberies committed over the course of the past few months." Charlie described the scene as Bosley advanced to the next slide. "This is the interior of the lobby, Angels. The Bank Manager, Richard Crawley, was kind enough to send us footage taken from the bank's security cameras." A slide of a standard bank lobby flashed on the screen. Several customers were in line, four tellers were at the windows, each focused on the customer in front of them. A lone security guard was posted inside the door, hands in his pockets as he stood beside a potted palm. The next slide was of a distinguished gentleman, grey hair streaking his temples. A brown mustache gave him a dignified air. Sabrina rolled her eyes at the expected murmur of approval from Jill.
"The actual tape of the robbery is being examined by the police. These are just a few blowups that we were able to secure before the police confiscated the rest as evidence," Bosley chimed in. "I'm sure you'll agree the footage we obtained is staggering, however."
The Angels leaned forward in their seats, eager to see what was so compelling about what appeared to be a random bank heist to justify pulling them off a case they'd been undercover on for months. The next slide showed three figures dressed in black shirts and trousers entering the front door. With a quick flick of Bosley's thumb, the next slide revealed one of the figures at the bank tellers' window, the other two covering the crowd. All three angels noted that the security guard was suddenly absent from this frame. Wordlessly, they watched as the next slide focused on the three robbers preparing to exit the bank.
Eyes never leaving the screen, Sabrina leaned forward, placing her coffee mug on the glass-top table directly in front of her. A low whistle escaped between clenched teeth as she stared at the images frozen on the screen. A blonde with feathered hair, a brunette with long hair and another, taller brunette with short hair looked straight into the camera.
"They look just like us!" protested Kelly, mouth dropping open in shock.
"Dead ringers," Sabrina chimed in.
"Exactly," Bosley agreed. "If I didn't know you were on assignment, I would have sworn it was the three of you."
"That's ridiculous! We would never do such a thing!"
"We know that, Jill. Unfortunately, not everyone knows you as well as I do. So far, I've been able to keep the press from finding out too many details about the robberies. Specifically, the tapes from the bank revealing the robbers' identities."
"You know, Charlie," Sabrina rubbed her chin thoughtfully, "All three of them staring at the camera like that - it's like they wanted to make sure they were caught on film."
"Of course they did!" Jill exclaimed, leaping off her stool. "That's because they're us! And we're them! And, no one's going to be after them because they're not them, they're us!"
Slack jawed, Sabrina and Kelly looked at each other, then at their partner. "She's right." Bosley drummed his fingers on his desk. "It's obvious that they're making a deliberate attempt to be identified. You know, this could be part of a plan to discredit The Agency and run Charlie out of business."
"And us straight to the slammer!" Kelly couldn't help but stare at the frozen image on the screen again. The likeness was uncanny - in an extremely creepy sort of way. An eerie shiver slowly crawled down her spine.
"We can't assume anything at this point, Angels," cautioned the speaker box.
"What's our first move, Charlie?"
"Kelly, you and Jill have a meeting with Richard Crawley at the bank. He'll walk you through the robbery and give you background on his staff."
"You suspect an inside job, Charlie?"
"It's possible, Sabrina. But, with three banks being hit in the past few weeks, it would be almost impossible to have an inside source at each location. That's why you're going to follow-up at the police station. See if you can convince someone to let us borrow that tape."
"We're on it." Sabrina leapt off the couch, took a last swig of her coffee before heading for the door. Kelly and Jill quickly followed suit, debating on taking the Cobra II or the Mustang for this assignment. As Sabrina briskly walked down the hallway a good twenty paces in front of them, she could distinctly hear Kelly stating that she wanted to drive - and Jill reminding her that after the "Beemish" incident, she wasn't getting into the passenger's seat of Kelly's car ever again.
The First National Bank of Los Angeles
Kelly tapped her foot impatiently. They'd been waiting outside Richard Crawley's office for a full half hour. And, as far as she was concerned, that was a half hour too long. She'd never been one for waiting. But, for a client to keep them waiting - and then to receive the type of treatment they were from the staff -
"What are you looking at, Turkey?" Kelly demanded of a young man dressed in a conservative suit and tie after she caught him walking by the waiting area for what had to be the fifth time.
"N-nothing!" He stammered, before scampering the other direction.
"Kelly, calm down." Jill reflexively reached out and patted her friend's knee, barely even glancing up from the fashion magazine she was leafing through.
"This is ridiculous, Jill! We've just been sitting here while everyone who works here comes by and gawks at us!"
"Well, think about how they feel, Kelly. You saw the slides; We look just like the crooks that held them at gunpoint. I'd be a little nervous, too."
Morosely, Kelly risked another glance around the lobby. Several tellers who had been intently staring suddenly dropped their heads, feigning interest in deposit tickets or some other such nonsense when they noticed Kelly looking. Her gaze swept the lobby, receiving pretty much the same reaction whenever she tried to make eye contact with any of the bank employees. "Yeah, well I - "
"Ms. Garrett, Ms. Munroe." Both angels glanced up at the sound of the office door finally opening. They both instantly recognized Richard Crawley from his slide. "Sorry to keep you waiting."
"Think nothing of it." Jill did her patented hair toss, her bright smile. "I'm sure you're a very busy man."
Think nothing of it! Kelly fought down the urge to slap Jill. They'd been left out there like an exhibit at the zoo for everyone to stare and gawk at. But, with one smile from a handsome man, Jill had forgotten all about their torment. Think nothing of it indeed!
The bank manager escorted the angels into his office. He offered them each a beverage, then directed them to plush leather chairs in front of his desk. He casually walked around his desk, sat down, folding his arms over his ink blotter. "Again, my apologies for the wait, ladies. I was just on a conference call with the owners of the bank. Needless to say, they're rather upset about the missing money."
"And, I'd imagine, the security guard that was killed in the robbery," Kelly added. She was relaxed, sitting back in her chair, both hands resting comfortably in her lap. Only the tone of her voice gave the slightest hint of irritation.
"Of course," Richard Crawley hastily added. "The bank has sent flowers to the chapel. And, his widow will receive a month's 'severance' pay, so to speak, to compensate her for her loss and ease her financial suffering during this unfortunate time."
"A whole month? That's awfully generous of you, Mr. Crawley." Again, the strained tone echoed from Kelly. Jill tried to catch her eye, to rein her in a bit. It wouldn't do to anger the one person they needed to cooperate with them. Luckily, it seemed as if Kelly wasn't going to say anything more on the subject.
There was a soft rap at the door. Without waiting for a response from Mr. Crawley, the door was pushed open. An older woman with hair done up in a severe bun and a pair of spectacles hanging by a cord about her neck walked briskly into the room. Jill instantly noted the severe, strictly-business cut of her plain blouse and skirt. A glance at the floor confirmed the no-nonsense style orthopedic shoe that Jill suspected.
"I'm sorry to interrupt, Mr. Crawley." The woman didn't sound at all apologetic as she came to stand beside the bank manager's desk. She had been carrying a clipboard clutched close to her chest, which she now thrust at Richard Crawley.
"It's quite alright, Gretchen." He glanced at the patiently waiting women. "Gretchen, this is Ms. Munroe, Ms. Garrett."
"Ladies. Mr. Crawley, I need your signature on this form authorizing the receipt of the money from Channelview." She tapped her finger impatiently on the signature line. As he reviewed the form, she finally glanced up from the clipboard. "Oh, my!" she gasped, taking a step backward, stumbling as she did so. She reached out blindly, hand grasping the blinds covering the large picture window behind her. Recovering quickly, she rushed to the desk, snatched up the phone. "This is Gretchen Gorden calling from Richard Crawley's office. I need se - "
A hand shot out, two fingers quickly tapping down on the receiver, disconnecting the line. Ms. Gorden's eyes focused on the hand on the phone, swiftly traveled up the length of the arm, her horrified gaze meeting Richard Crawley's amused one. He softly chuckled at her shocked expression.
"They're not who you think, Gretchen," he spoke softly, taking the dangling handset from Gretchen, returning it to its cradle. "They're private detectives hired to investigate the crime."
"The resemblance is uncanny." Gretchen perched her spectacles on the end of her nose, peered closely at the two women calmly seated before her. "Although, now that I look at them, I can see a difference."
"So, you were there when the bank was robbed?" asked Kelly, eager to establish Gretchen as a witness.
"I had just brought out a tray for one of our tellers, Sarah Jones. There's a door located behind each teller's booth, that can only be opened from the inside," she explained. "The tellers themselves can't open it unless they push a buzzer at their station. And, of course, as soon as they buzz, the cameras are checked for their station to verify admittance."
"And, since you were bringing out a tray to Sarah - " Jill prompted.
" - The door was open and the thieves had access to our cash reserves. Under normal conditions, if the bank was robbed, the crooks would only get the cash each teller has on-hand."
"I'm guessing that cash is kept to a minimum at each till?" Kelly asked.
"Definitely. We're very security conscious, detective. The thieves were just lucky they came in when they did."
Or, had good timing, sprang to Kelly's mind. She glanced sideways at Jill. Judging from her expression, her partner was having the same thought. "You said you could tell the difference between us and the robbers," pressed Kelly. "How so?"
"The other girl, the one that looked like you," she indicated Kelly, "She had some scarring here - and here." Gretchen pointed to an area beneath her jaw and another area close to her ear. "Normally, I wouldn't have noticed, but I was caught up front with the teller and I was so nervous, I just couldn't take my eyes off her face."
"And, did she notice you staring at her?"
"Yes, I'm sure she did," Gretchen shrugged. "But, it didn't seem to matter to her."
"Gretchen will be happy to show you ladies around, give you a better feel for what happened after we're done here," offered Mr. Crawley.
"We'd also like to speak with Sarah Jones, if it's possible," Kelly requested.
"Of course," agreed Gretchen. "Would you like to question all the tellers that were on-duty?"
"That would be very helpful." Kelly flashed her best I-only-want-to-help-smile at the severely dressed woman.
"I'll make the arrangements as soon as I'm done with Brinks."
"You know, you could have handled this, Gretchen," Mr. Crawley mumbled absently, while signing his name to the bottom of the form. "You are the assistant bank manager, after all."
"I tried, Mr. Crawley, but the drivers insisted the signature had to come from you. I told them it would be an extra wait, but they don't seem to mind." She gave her shoulders a slight shrug. "I guess when you're delivering that much money, you can't be too careful." She accepted the clipboard from Mr. Crawley. Nodding her head once at Kelly and Jill, she walked briskly towards the door.
"Now, where were we?" Mr. Crawley smiled at the two angels, folding his arms over his ink blotter once again.
"Excuse me," Jill cut in, "But, did I understand right that you're having money delivered?"
"Yes, you did. Our sister bank, Channelview, is sending us enough funds to keep our branch open while we're waiting for reimbursement from the government. Every account is insured against theft, you know." He just couldn't resist the pitch, Jill noted. She expected by the time they were done, he'd have them both signed up for accounts. "Of course, it's just a loan," he added. "We'll have to pay them back as soon as our reimbursement arrives. Plus, interest." He laughed at his own little joke.
"Perhaps we should speak with the tellers now?" Kelly prompted, already halfway out of her chair. With a quick look at Jill, she signaled that she needed to get out of the office before Richard Crawley made another attempt at being humorous.
Charles Townsend Investigations
Kelly was seated on a stool at the bar, nursing a cup of tea. Bosley was at his usual place, behind his desk, shuffling through files and reports. And, Jill was curled up on the couch, bare feet tucked beneath her as she practiced her meditation.
"I don't see how you can possibly enjoy that," Bosley complained.
Jill ignored him, continuing with her humming, eyes closed, palms turned up, fingertips touching in an awkward fashion.
"We've gone over this before, Bosley," Kelly piped in from the bar. "You're not supposed to talk to her while she's meditating. It causes stressful vibrations in the air and throws off her aura."
"Well, excuse me, but I thought we were running a business here, not cleansing Jill's aura."
"Bree's on her way back from the police station, Bosley," Kelly pointed out. "I thought you wanted to wait until she arrived before we started the briefing."
"Yeah, well - " He flicked another glance at Jill. " - I still don't see how that can be doing any good."
"Hey, guys!" The door flew open with a bang, Sabrina jogged in. "Sorry I'm late." She moved towards the bar, sidled up beside Kelly. "Is that coffee?" she asked.
Kelly shook her head. "Tea."
"Whatever. As long as it's caffeine, I'm good." She reached over, snagging Kelly's cup, taking a sip. "Ah!" she murmured appreciatively, as Kelly moved to get another cup.
"Charlie," Bosley tapped the button on his telephone, returned the handset to its cradle. "They're all here." He looked pointedly at Sabrina. "Finally."
"Good." The speaker box came to life. "Let's put our cards on the table, then."
"I'll start," Kelly volunteered. "Jill and I spent the day at First National. We interviewed Richard Crawley, his assistant bank manager and six different tellers that were on duty at the time of the robbery."
"Excellent, Angel. Any leads?"
"Something interesting, Charlie." Kelly flipped her hair back over her shoulder, leveled her gaze at the speaker box. "The assistant manager, Gretchen Gorden was present during the robbery. And, according to her, my doppelganger had noticeable scarring beneath her jaw and below her ear."
"The sort you might see after plastic surgery?" Sabrina looked at Kelly over the brim of her cup, arching her eyebrow.
"Exactly. What if our look-alikes look the way they do because of plastic surgery?"
"Is there any way we can check on that?" Sabrina asked. "Three plastic surgeries scheduled all around the same time by the same person couldn't be that common, could it?"
"Bosley?" prompted Charlie.
"Well, I'll see what I can do. But, doctor/patient confidentiality might hinder the process."
"Just do your best, Bosley," Charlie encouraged. "Anything on your end, Sabrina?"
Sabrina sat up straighter on her stool, shook her head no. "Not much, Charlie. The lab boys were still giving the tape the once over. But, I've got a source that's going to call me the minute it goes into the evidence room."
Kelly smiled into her cup as Charlie's reply came back over the speaker box. "I take it your friend has a pass to check things out of the evidence room at will?"
"Just like the public library, Charlie." Sabrina grinned. "Oh, by the way, it's going to cost you dinner for two at that French restaurant downtown on Grant."
"Le Maudalin?" Bosley's voice squeaked as it rose a pitch. "That's the most expensive restaurant in town!"
"No expense spared, Angel," Charlie acquiesced.
Kelly and Sabrina snickered at the face Bosley made at the speaker box. Part of his duties included managing the expense budget. A particular duty that seemed to cause him endless amounts of stress and hair-tugging when the numbers went over budget. And, Charlie constantly uttering that phrase - the no expense spared phrase, did nothing to alleviate his grey hairs and sleepless nights.
"What about you, Jill? Anything you'd like to add?" Charlie waited a half beat for a response. "Jill?"
"We're not supposed to talk to her while she's meditating, Charlie." Bosley smirked, rolled his eyes. "It causes her aura to break."
Jill smiled, slowly opened her eyes. Maintaining her posture, she turned to look at Bosley and the speaker box. "Actually, Bosley, stressful vibrations in the air can throw off the emanations of my aura, clouding my thought processes." She flashed another brilliant smile. "But, thanks for trying to understand my art of meditation."
Bosley leaned one elbow on his desk, stared in exasperation at the blonde angel. Of all the angels, she was the one that pushed his buttons the most. The flirting, the bright smiles, the sickly sweet routine. He called it sickly sweet because it never rang true with him. Kelly's sweetness always struck him as sincere. Sabrina was a good friend, but brutally honest; she never tried to placate or pacify him. He always got the distinct vibe from Jill that she said the things she thought he wanted to hear; about his weight, his wardrobe, his hipness, then laughed about him behind his back. Of course, he could never prove that; and was even less likely to confront her even if he could, but he still felt a little uneasy around the blonde bombshell.
"And, what did your clouded aura tell you?" Bosley asked, snootily.
"My aura didn't tell me anything, Bosley." She giggled, flipped her hair back over her shoulder with a shake of her head. "But, while I was clearing my mind, I thought back to something that Richard Crawley told us while we were at the bank. He said that they were receiving a loan from Channelview in order to stay open while they were waiting for replacement funds from the government."
"That's right!" Kelly snapped her fingers. "When that money arrives, they have to reimburse Channelview."
"Meaning - " Sabrina caught onto the train of thought. " - That when an armor car delivers that money, it'll have to be sorted and processed before it can go into the vault." She sipped from her cup. "Might be a good time for a robbery, don'tcha think?"
"Replacement funds? Wait a minute - " Bosley frantically ruffled through his stack of paperwork on the desk, shuffling through papers at a hurried speed. "Here it is!" he exclaimed triumphantly, flipping to the last page of three separate folders. "First National loaned funds to Granger when they were robbed." He tapped the second folder with his index finger. "Two weeks ago, Granger provided funding to Raleigh after their robbery." Smiling triumphantly, he tapped the third folder. "And, coincidentally, Raleigh supplied The Savings and Loan with cash after the heist a few weeks prior."
"Looks like we have a pattern, Angels," Charlie concluded. "Good work, Jill."
Jill smiled brilliantly at the speaker box while Bosley scowled. Sabrina smirked behind her cup, trying not to laugh out loud at Bosley's obvious irritation at his own lack of praise from Charlie.
"So, it's a good bet Channelview will be hit soon," concluded Kelly. "But when? We can't exactly go undercover at the bank until the robbery; we look like the suspects!"
"That's right, Angel. Bosley and I will do some digging, see if we can narrow the time frame down. In the meantime, you and Jill head to Channelview. I'll call ahead and brief the bank manager so he'll be expecting you. Sabrina? Head back to the police station and see if you can hurry along the process. We need an opportunity to study every detail of that last robbery." A slight pause. "And, Angels - be careful."
Los Angeles Police Department - Evidence Room
A young uniformed police officer paced down the length of a row of shelving, her dress shoes tapping out a rhythm on the tiled floor. Rows of boxes labeled with permanent marker lined the length of the shelving on both sides. She paused at the last row, focusing on a box clearly labeled Evidence - 045987. Double-checking the number against her clipboard, she reached up, pulling the box down from the fourth shelf.
Opening the lid, she reached in, extracting a video tape. Slipping the tape out of its case, she hid it beneath the papers on her clipboard. Glancing around, she quickly tossed the empty case back in, then re-shelved the box in its correct spot. Walking briskly to the door, she paused, opening it just a crack, peeking out. She ducked back inside, gently laying the clipboard on top of a nearby filing cabinet. She slipped out the door, stopping just outside, softly closing the door until the lock clicked into place.
As casually as possible, she strolled to the end of the hall, blowing bubbles and popping them as she went. As a sergeant rounded the corner with another officer, she lowered her head, kept her eyes down and skittered around the corner. She hurried through the corridors, careful not to make eye contact with anyone. Forcing herself to slow her pace, she walked as inconspicuously as possible past the desk sergeant and out the front door, down the steps.
She slid into her orange pinto, cranking up before even fastening her seatbelt. She maneuvered her car out of the parking lot, onto the street, merging with oncoming traffic. As she paused at an intersection, she loosened her tie, unbuttoned the top three buttons of her uniform shirt. Extracting the tape, she grinned, tossing it onto the passenger's seat beside her. Reaching down, she grabbed the mike from her dashboard.
"Bos, it's me, Sabrina." She glanced at the seat beside her. "Yeah, I've got the tape."
Channelview Bank Tellers' Room
"So, as you can see, ladies," a young gentleman in a tie and sports coat pointed out the armed guards carrying the money in, "although we appreciate your concern, your worries are unfounded. The money has already arrived to replace what we loaned to First National."
"That was awfully fast, wasn't it?" Kelly questioned, eyeing the guards. They had arrived about twenty minutes ago, while she and Jill were performing their walk through with Greg, the bank's assistant manager. They had met Mr. Michaels, the bank manager, earlier in the day. After expressing his concern and agreeing to help Townsend Investigations in any way possible, he promptly pawned them off on his assistant.
"Yes, well, believe it or not, the government can be expeditious when it wants to be. And, believe me, when taxpayers in this neighborhood begin getting ancy about not being able to make withdrawals on schedule, the governor doesn't mind stepping in and hurrying the process along, if you know what I mean."
"I see," Jill murmured. "I guess it pays to bank in the right neighborhood."
"Well, just between you and me," Greg winked, whispered conspiratorially, "I wouldn't want to bank on the South side. I heard the Granger had to wait over two weeks for their funding to be replaced."
"And it took you just two days?" Kelly arched an eyebrow. "Is that normal?"
"Nothing's normal when it comes to politics and the rich, honey."
Kelly let the comment slide as she continued to watch the guards use two-wheelers to bring in the money from their truck. True, she had enough money now to be comfortable. Thanks to working hard and then lucking into her position with Charlie and making smart investments with her income. But, she never forgot where she came from. And, no matter who she was now, she always remembered being that poor little girl with no parents who grew up in an orphanage, hungry and penniless and bouncing from shelter to shelter within the system.
As the guards brought cases containing the money from the receiving area into the tellers' room, each case was placed on a digital scale. First, each bundle was carefully weighed, its weight recorded on a clipboard. Then, the serial numbers were checked against another clipboard. As the serial number and weight matched the original manifest, it was checked off. As an added precaution, random bundles were cut open and verified by two individuals.
A buzzer sounded. Kelly automatically glanced at a row of monitors located on a wall to her immediate left. An operator was seated in front of the row of monitors, a headset over his ears. He idly tapped his pen on his clipboard as he spoke into his microphone. "Yes, Jackie?"
He was silent for a moment, nodding thoughtfully. Kelly glanced up. On monitor number three, a pretty young woman with a tight sweater and full, bouncy hair spoke animatedly into the phone located on the wall inside her teller's booth.
"Jackie needs the facilities," the operator idly reported, glancing over his shoulder at Greg.
"Her shift is over in half an hour. Can't she wait until then?" Greg questioned, not quite managing to keep the irritation out of his voice.
The operator turned, ostensibly relaying the message. A second later, he shook his head. "She says it can't wait, sir."
"Fine. Tell her to lock her till and we'll buzz her back. After she finishes, we'll pull her drawer and have her count down." He watched as the operator turned back, again relaying the message. As he finished, Greg added, "And, as soon as Martha comes in, tell her we're going to set her a drawer on till number three."
"Wow. Even the potty breaks are monitored," Jill whispered to Kelly. "It makes Fort Knox look like a daycare center."
"I'm sorry, Greg." Kelly turned to address the assistant manager. "For a bank that caters to decidedly better clientele, you seem to have the exact same security measures in place that the rest of the banks do."
"Well, we don't have any extra bells and whistles, if that's what you mean," Greg laughed. "All the banks operate under the same security guidelines and procedures set forth by the state. Politics may cater to the needs of the wealthy, but when it comes to the business of security, we all protect our money the same way. Green's still green, if you know what I mean."
One of the armored guards approached Greg, carrying a clipboard and pen. He nodded at Kelly and Jill, eyes lingering a little longer than appropriate on the blonde with the big smile. To his delight, she smiled, batting her lashes as she eyed him coyly. He tipped his hat, grinning.
"Did you need something, Smith?" Greg pressed, reading the guard's nametag. Kelly noted he put a rather condescending spin on the guard's last name.
"Oh, sorry," He turned back to Greg. "Your guys have already counted, weighed and verified the shipment. I just need your signature on the manifest and we'll be out of your way."
"Very well." Greg snatched the clipboard from the handsome, well-muscled guard, reviewing it. As he surreptitiously signed his name, he eyed the guard over the clipboard. He wouldn't mind taking the delivery guard back to his office to inspect his package in private. Smith, however, seemed to only have eyes for the curvy blonde with the feathered hair. She scribbled her number on a slip of paper, slyly passed it to the guard. Greg's jaw clenched as Smith took the scrap of folded paper, slipped it into his pants pocket. Well, we'll just remember that next week when Smith wants to slip me a deposit in the back! "Looks like everything's in order!" He snapped, thrusting the clipboard into Smith's abs.
Smith caught the clipboard, never taking his eyes off Jill. "Thanks," he muttered absently, still entranced by her blue eyes and deep cleavage. His partner stood impatiently at the service door, tapping his foot. He whistled sharply to get Smith's attention. "See you later." He turned, hurrying towards the door, spurred on to hurry through his route by thoughts of a certain blue-eyed blonde agreeing to meet him at the beach later.
Sabrina's Orange Pinto
"Yeah?" she answered the call as she slowed to a halt behind a blue Volkswagen. Behind her a car horn blared. "Do you see anywhere to go, buddy?" she yelled over her shoulder at the nondescript dark sedan tailgating her.
"Sabrina? Are you there?" came Bosley's voice over the radio.
"Yeah, I'm here." She smacked her gum. "What's up, Bos?"
"Listen, I did some checking. All of the holdups occurred at the banks just after receiving their replacement funds from the government."
"So, whoever held up the first bank somehow knew which bank provided loans to that bank. Then, they watched the second bank to see when the armored truck delivered the replacement funds and then hit them. And, so on and so forth." She cursed as a car from another lane swerved in front of her, managing to edge between her and the Volkswagen. She tapped her brakes, causing the dark sedan behind her to lay on his horn again. "Bos? How soon after the armored truck's arrival did they hit? A day? Two?"
An audible ruffling of papers. "According to the dates and times of the manifest when the money shipments were signed for," another shuffling of papers, "and the time of the robbery on the police reports - " a slight pause. " - we're talking a span of half an hour to forty-five minutes."
Sabrina let out a low whistle. "They're pretty sharp. When is the armored truck scheduled to arrive at Channelview?" she asked, edging around a car and into the far right lane.
"Kelly checked in earlier, Bree. The armored truck was already there."
"How long ago?" she asked, lips pressed tightly together.
"Ten minutes. The driver was just waiting for the manager's signature on the manifest."
"I'm about twenty minutes out." She jerked the wheel hard, taking the upcoming exit. Behind her, she heard several tires squealing, horns blaring. "But, tell Kelly I'll make it in fifteen!"
She clicked off the radio, threw the handset onto the passenger's seat. Gripping the wheel with both hands, she punched the gas, darting around a tan Woody with surfboards strapped to the roof. Knuckles clenched white on the steering wheel as she floored the accelerator, zipping through a red right, dodging cross-traffic.
Channelview Bank - Tellers' Room
"Thank you so much for showing us around, Greg," Jill gushed as she came to stand beside the assistant bank manager. "We'll be sure to tell your boss what a great help you were."
Kelly nearly choked in a vain attempt to hold back her laughter. Poor Jill! Did that woman have any clue that there might be one man on the planet that simply was not into her? And, unless she missed her guess, judging by Greg's look of disdain, he simply was not attracted to Jill. Now, to her makeup and highlights, maybe. But, definitely not to her.
"Thank you, Ms. Munroe." Greg turned, grabbed a metal security box from one of his assistants. He initialed a slip of paper, passed it to a young woman waiting patiently in the background. "I'll escort you out as soon as Martha's till is set."
The young woman approached, accepted the security box from Greg. As Martha signed for her till, Jill sidled up to the operator watching the monitors. As soon as she approached, he turned away from the screens, focusing all his attention on the blonde. Rolling her eyes, Kelly looked away.
"Stan, open Teller Booth number three," Greg instructed.
"Greg?" Kelly heard the click of the inner door as Greg held the faux paneled wood open for Martha. Her eyes were riveted to the monitors. There were three women - three women who were dead ringers for the angels - on the screen. The one resembling Sabrina held a gun trained on the customers in line. The security guard was laying on the floor ten feet away. The doppelgangers of Jill and Kelly advanced on the tellers' booths. "Greg, don't open that door!" Kelly shouted, swiftly turning.
The action in the tellers' room mirrored the proceedings in the bank lobby. Kelly watched, horrified, as she saw the door to teller's booth number three open. As she drew her gun, taking cover behind a swivel chair, she heard a shot ring out. She watched as Greg tumbled backwards into the room, the force of the shot knocking him onto his back. On the screen behind her, the image of Greg lay on the floor, writhing in pain. Jill rushed to his side, attempting to pull him through enough to close the security door. Somewhere in the background, the shrill ringing of a phone could be heard.
On the screen, a faux Kelly reached out, grabbing the edge of the door frame. Jill fell backwards, quickly scrambling towards the side door they had come in earlier, the one that led to the back offices. The real Kelly grabbed Stan, ushering him towards the same door. He protested, arguing that they were leaving the money. Ignoring his feeble protests, Kelly roughly shoved him through the door. She waited, bracing herself.
"Sabrina!" shouted the faux Jill onscreen. "We're in! Grab the van!"
In the tellers' room, Kelly braced herself, back against the door she had pushed Stan through. She took a deep breath, steadied herself as the faux Kelly onscreen stepped over a prone Greg laying in the doorway of the teller's booth.
Sabrina's Orange Pinto
"Bos, I'm here!" Sabrina conveyed over the mike. "How much time do we have?" She carefully maneuvered her pinto into the alley behind the bank, edging her way around dumpsters.
"I don't know, Sabrina. I called the bank, but no one's answering." A slight pause. "I've already called the local police."
"Uh-oh." Sabrina smacked her gum as she slowed to a crawl. She tapped the brake, edging closer to a dumpster. "Bos, there's a van parked behind the bank near the receiving doors."
"What about the armored truck?" Bosley's voice crackled over the mike.
Sabrina peered intently through the windshield. "I don't see it; they must be already gone." She spotted movement in the alley, caught a glimpse of a figure running, pressed closely beside the building's brick wall. "I've got something, Bos. I'm going in."
"The police are on the way, Sabrina. Wait for back-up." Bosley's voice urged from the mike. "Sabrina? Sabrina!"
Sabrina ignored Bosley's shouts coming from the discarded mike laying on the passenger's seat. She slid out of the car, quietly closing the driver's door. She pulled her .38 from the pocket of her jacket, tossing the long-sleeved denim on the seat, covering the mike. Clutching her gun in her hand, she half-crouched, darting across the alley towards the van.
The Same Alley - Ten Minutes Later
Kelly and Jill raced down the alley, guns drawn. They slowed as they came around, edging towards the receiving area. Jill flicked a glance to her left, eyes narrowing as she caught a flash of orange peeking out from behind a green dumpster.
"Kelly, there's Sabrina's car."
Kelly gave a curt nod in acknowledgement. Weapon drawn, she continued to edge her way along the wall. The receiving area was directly ahead, around a blind corner. She remembered seeing the area from inside the teller's room when the heavy metal doors were opened for the armor truck drivers. The dock had metal railing that ran the length of the parking area. And, the blind corners made an excellent place for an ambush.
The Angels slowed, edging around the corner, gun barrels leading the way. Kelly's eyes widened as she saw Sabrina laying on the ground, head cradled on her forearm.
"Sabrina!" Jill shouted.
Both angels knelt beside their partner. As Jill kept an eye peeled for any sign of the bad guys, Kelly felt for a pulse. "It's steady," she announced, glancing back over her shoulder at Jill. She gently shook Sabrina's shoulder. "Bree? Bree?" she urged.
Sabrina moaned, moved slightly. "Are you okay, Bree?" Kelly pressed.
"Wh - what?" Sabrina's eyes blinked open. She stared at the ground, blinking rapidly, attempting to focus.
"Are you okay?" Kelly asked again, concerned by the bloody gash on her friend's forehead.
Sabrina rolled over, staring at Kelly. Her eyes flicked to Jill, then back again. "Kelly?" she croaked out, her voice sounding gravelly.
"Are you okay?" Kelly repeated, reaching out, tenderly wiping at Sabrina's forehead with a white handkerchief. "Do you need to go to the hospital?"
"No! No doctors." Sabrina suddenly sat upright. "I'm fine. Please, just no hospital."
"Okay," Kelly acquiesced. "But, you're not staying by yourself tonight. You might have a concussion."
"Yeah," Jill agreed. "I'm going to call Bosley and then file a report with the police. Why don't you guys take Bree's car and head back to your place, Kel? I'll meet you there later on with some takeout. Chinese okay with everyone?"
"Fine." Kelly agreed. Sabrina nodded mutely, placing a hand to her head in an attempt to stop the spinning. She allowed herself to be helped to her feet by Kelly. Gingerly, she took baby steps, letting a hand about her waist guide her in the direction of an orange pinto.
Kelly's House - Later That Evening
Kelly pressed the rewind button on the VCR, waited for the Beta tape to reverse. She turned down the volume on the television, then crossed the room again. Settling into her oversized plush chair, she kicked both feet up on the ottoman. Yawning, she covered her mouth with her hand. "Well, what do you think?" she asked, attempting to stifle her yawn.
"The same thing I thought the first three times we watched it," Jill replied from her own plush chair. "Those three are dead-ringers for us."
"Well, no doubt about it," Bosley agreed, coming in from the kitchen. He was on his fifth glass of scotch and clearly feeling no pain. "Those girls are real professionals." He tried to sit on the arm of the sofa, missed, tried again; this time landing hard on his backside. "Slick, let me tell you." He laughed at the pun. "The girls, they're slick."
"Bree?" Kelly flicked a glance at the sofa. Sabrina was laying curled up on the sofa, wearing an oversized button down shirt that Kelly had provided her with after her shower. She clutched a pillow to her chest as she lay there, blankly staring at the static on the television screen. "Are you okay, honey?"
Sabrina blinked. "Fine."
"Well, I think that's enough for one night. I suggest we all get a good night's rest and look at it with a fresh set of eyes in the morning," suggested Kelly.
"Here! Here!" Bosley raised his glass, downing the rest of his scotch.
"You can all stay over," Kelly offered. "I'm sure we can find enough blankets and pillows for everyone."
"Uh-uh." Jill stood, flipping her blonde hair in one smooth motion. "I have a date tonight. Meeting him at my beach house in - " she glanced at her watch. " - thirty minutes."
"Which gives you just enough time to drop Bosley off on your way." Kelly planted two hands firmly on Bosley's back, pushed him off the sofa.
"Come on, Bosley." He staggered slightly as Jill grabbed his arm, pulling him along towards the door. She laughed, then winked. "If you're a good boy, I might even tuck you in for the night."
"Good night!" Kelly called out the front door after them. "Be careful!" she adjusted her robe, retying it over her red buttoned-down pajamas as she watched the duo from her doorway. She waited until they were safely in the car and driving off before she closed and locked the door.
She turned around, pressing her back to the door as she watched her friend laying on the couch. The tape had automatically started playing again after it had finished rewinding, and Sabrina was staring at the television. Once again, the bank robbery played out on grainy black and white surveillance film. She remained rooted to the spot for a time, watching Sabrina staring unblinkingly at the drama unfolding before her.
There was a loud popping sound on the tape. The security guard fell to the floor, clutching his stomach. Sabrina visibly jumped, eyes blinking rapidly. Kelly pushed off from the door, crossed over to the sofa. She knelt on the floor in front of Sabrina, one hand reaching out, fingers tucking stray strands of still-wet brunette hair away from chocolate brown eyes.
"You okay?" she asked in a soft voice.
"Fine," Sabrina managed to choke out. "Just watching. And thinking."
"Here, lift up a little." Kelly maneuvered her way around until she was sitting on the sofa. With a slight adjustment, they were both soon entangled together on the sofa. Kelly was half-laying, half-sitting on the sofa, back pressed against the fabric, Sabrina nestled in her arms. Contentedly, Sabrina sighed, settling her face on the swell of Kelly's chest, idly stroking her side with her free hand. Her other hand was trapped somewhere between her body and Kelly's. But, she didn't seem to mind a bit as she settled down. Kelly reached up, pulling an afghan off the back of the sofa, using it to cover both of them.
Kelly settled down, idly watching the drama unfolding on the television screen. She had managed to remove herself from the scene after the first few viewings. Now, she watched it with the same remote detachment she might watch a newscast. She fought back a yawn, struggled to keep bleary eyes open. Gradually, she felt her body give sway to the need for rest. Slowly, as her eyes drifted closed again, she lost the will to fight.
She felt it long before she realized what it was. The soft nuzzling at her neck, fingers beneath her pajama top, tracing lazy patterns on the heated flesh of her stomach. At first she thought it was a dream. Then, as consciousness returned, she became aware of her surroundings - and realized her fantasy had drifted over into reality.
Blinking, she turned her head, peering through half-lidded eyes down her torso. At that same moment, chocolate brown eyes glanced up, locking with her own. Kelly felt herself becoming lost, mesmerized in the depths of rich chocolate. She was frozen, unable to look away, unable to move, unable to even speak.
Lips met hers. It was the tenderest of kisses she'd ever received. Softly, hesitantly, as if testing the waters. Then, becoming slightly bolder, deepening, prolonging the contact. Kelly's heart felt like it was going to triphammer out of her chest. Her hands sought, found purchase on the sides of Sabrina's extra large nightshirt. Knuckles clenching white, she tugged, pulling Sabrina's mouth away from hers.
"Bree?" She questioned, chest rising and falling rapidly with each breath.
"Kell." Sabrina didn't phrase it as a question. She was confident, sure of what she wanted; what she needed. And, what she needed at this moment was the feel of Kelly's lips pressed to hers once again.
She stole another kiss. This one not quite as long, not quite as deep, but by no means was it any less passionate. It enflamed Kelly's senses, rendering her incapable of coherent thought. She was helpless beneath Sabrina's onslaught, unable to defend herself as Sabrina robbed her of kiss after kiss. Her hands remained bunched in tight fists, tangled in the fabric of Sabrina's shirt. But, her neck arched in supplication, surrendering to Bree's blitzkrieg attack.
Sabrina sensed the shift in Kelly's demeanor, felt the resistance dissipate with her unspoken surrender. Her mouth left Kelly's, trailing along her jaw, zeroing in on her neck. She licked the soft flesh, tasting a bit of salt on the sultry brunette's elegant neck as she worked her way along, planting random licks and kisses the length of her jawline.
Her hands roamed freely beneath Kelly's pajama top, gliding over heated flesh. Her fingers splayed across a tight abdomen, tracing lazy patterns, mimicking the actions of her tongue. She felt the vibrations singing through Kelly's body beneath hers. The tightening of her legs about her torso as she gave in to her body's demands for more. It felt as if Kelly's throat was humming beneath her tongue as it caressed the length of the brunette's supple neck. She felt fingers clutching at her hair, directing her, guiding her. The fingers of one hand traced her face, her jaw even while the fingers of her other hand clutched fiercely at Sabrina's short hair. Sabrina's teeth clamped onto Kelly's soft flesh, biting -
A quick tug brought Sabrina's head painfully upright. Blood pounded in her ears, lust flashed in her eyes. As her senses slowly returned to normal, she became aware of the snubnose .38 lodged against her sternum. With a puzzled look, her gaze traveled down their bodies. Seeing the gun gripped firmly in Kelly's hand, she slowly backed off, retreating to a respectable distance. Her retreat was cut short by the sofa arm embedded deeply in her flesh as she scrambled backwards, seeking purchase.
Kelly likewise gathered her arms and legs beneath her, coming to sit with her back pressed firmly against the opposite sofa arm. She held her gun steady in her grasp, leveled at the other woman's mid-section. "Okay, it's obvious you aren't my Sabrina," Kelly spoke between clenched teeth, "So, just who the hell are you?"
"Kelly, are you alright?" Sabrina raised both hands in the air, looked at Kelly with big brown eyes. "You don't quite seem yourself."
"Don't try that with me, you phony. I'm serious." She jerked her gun in emphasis. "Who are you and where's the real Sabrina?"
A deep sigh. "Okay, fine. My real name's Millicent Hyacinth." She noticed the look that flittered across Kelly's face. "I know. Believe me, I couldn't wait to leave it and my hometown of Bedford Falls far behind."
"A little town on the outskirts of Nashville. The day I graduated high school, I packed a change of clothing and my diploma and thumbed a ride to Hollywood. Had these big dreams of becoming a hot actress, ya know?"
"I take it that dream didn't come true for you?" Kelly's voice was soft, enticing her captive to continue her narration.
"No. Don't get me wrong; I wasn't one of these starry eyed kids that blew into town thinking the world owed them. I was prepared to pay my dues. Worked in every little diner and coffee house you can name. Took every acting job I could get my hands on, hoping it would be the one that led to my big break."
"How did you go from being on the road to Hollywood to stealing my friend's face and robbing banks?"
A shrug; a rueful grin. "I answered an ad."
"An ad?" A puzzled expression adorned the angel's face. "As in a newspaper ad?"
Another shrug. "Yeah. It said something like actress wanted - travel to exotic locals - big pay. I was thrilled when I got the call back. When I arrived, I met the producer and the cameraman and a couple of other actresses. The producer said we were on location to film a bank robbery for a movie using an all-female gang. We followed his instructions, went into the bank, reciting all our lines just the way we'd rehearsed them. Everything went smoothly. The tellers, the customers - everyone's acting was superb. We waltzed out of the bank, met the producer at the van. When he said cut, we handed over the props. You know, the guns and the bags of money. He thanked us, paid us, said he'd see us the next day in his office."
"Uh-huh." Kelly thought she knew where this was going, but needed Millicent to confirm it in her own words.
"We didn't know until the next day that the robbery was real. And, we'd committed it. When we met with Gary, he showed us the tape. Told us he could call the cops and collect the reward on us at any time - or we could go to work for him full-time."
"I can guess which you chose."
The faux Sabrina nodded. "Although, now I wish I had just let him call the police. It would be better than what we've been through. At least it would all be over."
Kelly reached out a hand, compassionately patted the other woman's knee. "What else did Gary make you do?"
"He financed a trip down to Mexico. Paid a plastic surgeon there to make us look like this," she pointed towards her own image. "Gary has us doing jobs in the states, using real people's faces as disguises. When the heat gets too hot, we high-tail it back to Mexico. Gary gives us our split; puts us back under the knife and turns us into someone else."
"And the whole process starts all over again." A nod from Millicent confirmed her suspicions. "How did Gary settle on using our images this time around?"
"He had pictures of all of you; said something about evening the score with some guy named Charlie."
Kelly said nothing; merely stored the information away for later in the investigation. She sat there in silence for a moment, processing her options. Of course, she knew she needed to let Jill and Bosley in on this development. But, Jill was on a date. And Bosley was - well, Bosley was probably already passed out cold in his bed. Besides, she wasn't sure if Millicent would reveal anymore details if she thought they were just using her for information. No, better to see what else she could learn. She could always call Jill later on from the bedroom phone.
"I saw your reaction tonight when we watched the tape, Millicent. You were shocked beyond words. You didn't know the security guard was killed during the First National heist, did you?"
"No." Millicent grabbed a throw pillow from off the sofa, hugged it to her chest. "I just go in with them and secure the building. Once they're in the back getting the cash, they send me out to move the van up to the curb. I didn't know anything about anyone getting hurt."
Kelly eased her grip on her gun. This girl was no threat to her. Still, she didn't put the gun back in her pocket just yet, either. "You still didn't answer my question about what happened to the real Sabrina."
"That's what I've been trying to remember." Millicent noticed the arched eyebrow, the look of disbelief. "For real. I was in the alley behind the bank, getting the van. I remember her coming out of nowhere; the other Sabrina. She pulled a gun on me, we struggled. The next thing I remember was you leaning over me, shaking me, asking if I was okay."
"When did you realize I was the real deal?"
"Almost right away." A frown from Kelly. "When I realized the van was gone and you brought me home. At first, I was afraid you knew and you were taking me to jail or something."
Another brief moment of silence as Kelly pondered this latest development. Obviously, Sabrina stumbled onto the robbery, confronted her doppelganger. She disabled her clone before her accomplices exited the bank. She was probably with them right now.
Unexpectedly, Millicent leaned forward, placing her own hand on Kelly's knee. "Okay, I answered your questions. Your turn to answer one of mine. How did you figure out I wasn't the right Sabrina?"
When I felt the scars from cheap, repetitive plastic surgeries. "You took certain liberties tonight that the real Sabrina never would have."
This started Millicent. So much so that she pulled away from Kelly. "Are you sure?" The shock was evident on her face. "Because - uh - we studied each of our characters for a year in preparation for these roles. We had to learn how you walk, how you talk, how you act, what you eat, what you think. And, according to our research; we were pretty sure; you know, we're dead on that Sabrina's gay. And, judging from the way she interacts with you, I just naturally assumed that you and Sabrina are an item." She caught the expression on Kelly's face. "What? You guys aren't together?"
Wordlessly, Kelly got up from the sofa. She walked into the kitchen, withdrew a rolled up coil of clothesline from an utility drawer. She returned to the living room, gesturing with the barrel of her gun for Millicent to get up.
"What are you doing?" She asked as Kelly began tying the cord around her wrists. "Where are we going?"
"I'm tying you to the bedpost in the guest bedroom to make sure you don't get any funny ideas about trying to run off." She hooked a finger in the knot on the now-tied clothesline, gave a firm tug. Obediently, Millicent followed her down the hall and into the first bedroom. "Then, I'm going to bed and getting a good night's rest and attack this whole situation fresh in the morning."
Kelly didn't say another word as she directed Millicent to the bed, securely tied her wrists to the bedpost with another length of clothesline cord. She adjusted the pillows beneath her captive's head, trying to make sure she was as comfortable as possible. Shutting off the light, she trudged down the hall to her own bedroom. She slipped her robe off, placed her gun on the night stand, then climbed into bed. Laying there in the dark, covers pulled up around her, she sighed heavily. Sleep eluded her, mind working overtime, chasing dreams from the recesses of her mind until the early hours of the morning.
Charles Townsend Investigations
Bosley sat in his usual chair behind his desk, nursing a cup of coffee. He gingerly applied an icepack to his head, hoping to drive the throbbing out. Through bleary eyes, he stared at Jill.
She was seated on the sofa, bare feet curled up beneath her. She was wearing a red terry cloth jumpsuit number, her matching red sneakers on the floor in front of the sofa. Her hair was great, her makeup flawless, but even Bosley could see she was a little ragged around the edges. Not enough sleep last night, thought Bosley, she must have really hit it off with her date.
Kelly looked the worse for wear, however. Even though she hadn't indulged in the drinking the night before and she didn't have a hot date waiting for her at home. It was still obvious that she hadn't gotten a wink of sleep the night before. Worried sick over Sabrina, the poor thing! Bosley reasoned as the angel reclined in one of the overstuffed chairs, feet curled beneath her, head resting against the back of the chair at an odd angle. She was on her fourth cup of coffee, a vice usually reserved for the caffeine addicted Sabrina.
"Success, Angels! I think I've got something!" Charlie's voice from the speaker box startled all three of them.
Bosley fought back a groan, instead settled for a grimace. He tentatively returned his icepack to its previous position at his temple. "What do you have, Charlie?" he asked, trying his best not to let on that he was suffering from a hangover.
"Gary Trevor. Bank teller that I sent to prison for doing a little extra-curricular after hours banking. As I recall, he was doing a little counterfeiting and money laundering."
"Wow. I guess that's one way to make money," Jill smiled at her own joke.
"Anyway," continued Charlie. "He got a sentence of twelve to fifteen. He's been out for a couple of years now."
"Sounds like the right timeline for him to get his plan for revenge underway," Kelly observed, sipping at her coffee, "He had to select the right girls, set them up, train them, do some trial runs before he launched his attack on you. A setup like that takes time."
"Definitely. He spent a lot of time and energy on this, Charlie. It wasn't something he threw together at the last minute. Of course, he had twelve years to work out the bugs, didn't he?" Bosley glanced at the speaker box. "Pretty smart operation for a small time counterfeiter."
"Well, as I recall, Bosley, Gary Trevor was a pretty smart operator. It took me months to crack that case and put him away." A pause. "But, however smart Mr. Trevor is, he's made one fatal mistake."
"What's that, Charlie?" asked Jill.
"He's taken one of my Angels."
Kelly felt like she'd just taken a kick to the gut. She'd tossed and turned all night, fretting over Sabrina, wondering if the doppelgangers had realized yet that their Sabrina was the wrong Sabrina. And, if they hadn't, if Bree had somehow managed to elude detection, how far had she had to go to maintain her cover? Millicent erroneously thought that she and Bree were lovers. What if the faux Kelly assumed the same? Millicent said they'd studied their characters intimately for over a year. That every action mirrored the real lives of their subjects. Just how far, Kelly wondered, did Millicent and the other actress go to get into character? That was the one question that kept reverberating through her mind. The one question that she just couldn't ask her captive.
"Charlie, what if they've realized they've got the real Bree?" Kelly's voice was tiny, barely audible.
There was silence for a moment before Charlie's calm voice came back over the speaker box. "Courage, Angel. Thanks to you, Millicent has seen the error of her ways. She's given us her complete cooperation, revealing Gary Trevor's contacts within the banking system. By monitoring them, we've been able to ascertain when federal funding will arrive at the next bank."
"And, we'll be ready for them," added Bosley. "They won't get away with another bank robbery."
"You know, Charlie, just stopping the doppelgangers won't be enough." Kelly's voice was suddenly stronger, firmer. "Gary Trevor is a predator. If we stop one gang, he'll just find another crop of naive girls and lure them in."
The room went suddenly silent at Kelly's declaration. She tried to make eye contact with Jill. The blonde quickly averted her gaze, suddenly becoming mesmerized by some intricate pattern in the carpeting. Bosley briefly met Kelly's gaze, then looked away. She watched as he repeatedly tapped his ballpoint pen on his desk blotter, the clicking of the metal tip reverberating in the silence.
"Kelly - " Even Charlie's voice sounded full of resignation. " - That may not be a possibility." Another deep pause. "As much as we'd like to save the world, we have to go into this situation realistically. At this point, I can't even guarantee Sabrina's safety."
Greater Los Angeles Prime Bank
A nondescript white van slowed to a crawl on the narrow side street beside the bank. As the driver coasted to a stop, the double back doors were suddenly thrown open. Two women emerged, a blonde and a brunette, dressed from head to toe in black. Crouching low, they swiftly ran to the driver's door.
The blonde checked her wristwatch. "It's time. Get ready," she instructed.
The brunette with the short hair in the driver's seat reached over, grabbed her gun from the beverage holder on the console. As she opened the door, slipping from the van, she glanced towards the main street. An armored truck slowed at the light, then went through on yellow.
"There it goes. Let's go in." The faux Jill grabbed her gun from the waistband of her trousers, motioned for the other two to follow.
Sabrina lagged behind, lingering by the still open van door. She leaned across the seat, reaching in. She jumped as a hand reached out, firmly grasping her by the elbow. She quickly turned, stumbling backwards, falling against the seat.
"Hey!" The doppelganger Kelly yelled, reaching for her. "Are you okay?" she asked.
"Um, y-yeah," stammered Sabrina, quickly scrambling to her feet.
The faux Kelly cocked her head to one side, eyeing Sabrina suspiciously. "Yeah? Well, you'd better straighten up and get your head in the game." Doppelganger Jill motioned for them from the corner. Kelly shook her head, started up the side street. She took three steps, then stopped, came back and grabbed Sabrina by the hand. "I swear, you haven't been acting like yourself lately."
Sabrina bit her bottom lip, gave the radio in the van one last look before following Kelly and Jill.
They paused on each side of the door, waiting for Jill's signal. She entered first, yelling for everyone to get down on the floor. They waited a half second, then came in, guns ready.
As the doors closed behind them, they stood stock still. There wasn't a security guard posted by the door. The lobby was deserted, not a single customer to be seen. A quick glance at the tellers' windows confirmed their suspicions that each station was abandoned. They turned, ready to bolt for the front doors. Mirror images of the doppelgangers of Kelly and Jill appeared directly in front of them, guns leveled. The distant wail of police sirens filled the still air.
The faux Kelly raised both hands in the air, gun hanging loosely from her thumb. The real Kelly moved forward, taking the weapon. "Down on the ground!" she ordered. Her mirror image complied, slowly dropping to the floor. Kelly knelt over her, quickly patting her down, searching for additional weapons.
Jill's doppelganger raised her weapon, leveling it at Kelly. The real Jill aimed her gun at her double, biting her lip, indecisive about what she should do. With a smirk, the doppelganger cocked her gun.
"I wouldn't," advised Sabrina, jamming her own barrel against the faux Jill's head, cocking her trigger for emphasis.
Slowly, the doppelganger raised her hands, letting her weapon hang limply from her grasp. Jill advanced quickly, snatching the gun from her. Two police officers appeared, grabbing her, roughly yanking her arms behind her, snapping the cuffs on.
"Bree!" Kelly shouted, charging at Sabrina, wrapping both arms about her neck, hugging her fiercely. Surprised by the reaction, a stunned Sabrina found her own arms reflexively encircling Kelly's waist, returning the hug. She smiled in return, burying her nose in the brunette's long hair.
A Nondescript Cabin Located In The Woods -
The door to the cabin was flung open, three women dressed head to toe in black clothing came in, carrying brown sacks. As one, they proceeded to the kitchen table, placing the bags on the table. Turning them up, they dumped the contents out. Bundles of money, the bank's wrappers still intact tumbled onto the hardwood surface.
"It's about time. I was beginning to get concerned." A tall man with sandy brown hair and a mustache, wearing a flannel shirt and jeans stepped from the shadows. "I've been monitoring the police bands. There wasn't any mention of the robbery on any of the channels."
"Yeah?" Sabrina smirked. "Maybe we've gotten so good they figure why bother?"
"That's right," added Kelly, picking up a bundle of money, rifling through it with her thumb. "Why, they may as well just leave the door open for us and put out a sign saying Free Money."
"You made sure the cameras got a good look at you?" he asked, voice laden with suspicion.
Jill sauntered over to the table, picking up a bundle of cash off the table. Sidling up to the man, she seductively ran the bundle over his chest. "Why, Gary, if I didn't know better," she said, dropping her voice, batting her eyelashes, "I'd think you wanted us to get caught."
"No, it's not that." He grinned. "Well, not you, anyway." He reached out, cupping Jill's chin, snaking one arm around her waist. His embrace inched dangerously close to the underside of her breast. "But, I need you to be seen on camera. That way, Charles Townsend gets the heat for your work. We've gone over this a hundred times. I don't know why the concept is so difficult to grasp. I want you seen on camera so his investigators get the blame and he's punished for what he did!"
Jill edged out of his grasp. Three sets of guns were instantly trained on him. "See if you can understand this concept, Gary," Sabrina popped her gum, "You're going back to jail."
The sound of police sirens coming up the dirt road caught their attention. Gary Trevor set his jaw in anger as realization set in.
"You wanted to hire actresses," Kelly softly drawled, "I guess we just gave you a performance you won't soon forget."
All three angels smiled, gathering up the bags of money as evidence as Gary Trevor was taken away. As they bagged the money, they looked out the door, seeing him being placed into a waiting squad car. Beside him in the back seat were the doppelgangers of Jill and Kelly. They couldn't hear him through the windows of the squad car as it drove away, but they could see his bright red face, veins in his neck throbbing as he repeatedly beat his head against the glass.
Jill's Beach House
"The police and the federal government - not to mention several banks - wanted to express their gratitude and heartfelt thanks to you for solving a very difficult case, Angels," came Charlie's voice through a speaker box located next to Jill's telephone.
"No problem, Charlie," came Bosley's reply. He was seated in a lounge chair on Jill's deck, a large floppy hat covering his head so he didn't burn while sipping his umbrella drink.
"Yeah, Charlie," agreed Jill. "I always say any case I can get a date out of is a case worth solving." Jill's current beau, whom Kelly recognized as Smith from the armored truck deliveries, waved at Jill from the surf.
Charlie laughed at that remark. "Still, I know it was a very difficult case for all of you. And, I want you to know how much I appreciate your efforts, Angels."
"Enough to join us, Charlie?" asked Jill coyly. "I'm sure I can find an extra pair of swim trunks for you."
"I'd love to join you, Angel. But, unfortunately, one of us has to keep their nose to the grindstone while you enjoy your four-day weekend." A distinctly feminine giggle was faintly audible in the background.
"You keep up the good work, Charlie." Sabrina raised her glass, toasting her mysterious boss.
"Thanks, Angel. Have a good weekend." There was a distinct click as the speaker box was cut off, effectively ending the call.
All three angels sat around, grinning at Charlie's antics. Jill was the first to move, taking off her sarong, revealing her barely-there-bikini. "I think Charlie's got the right idea," she announced. "I'm going to do some work in the surf." Waving at her waiting escort, she took off, jogging across the sand, into the cold water.
"It's good to have you back," Bosley glanced at Sabrina, saluting her with his umbrella drink before taking another sip.
Sabrina flashed a brief smile. "Believe me, after that undercover work, it's good to be back."
"By the way, Bosley," Kelly interrupted. "What's going to happen to Millicent?"
"Charlie's got it all taken care of, Angel." He winked at Kelly. "He's arranged for a plastic surgeon to give her any face she wants. She'll be given a new identity, a fresh start, either here in Los Angeles or anywhere else she wants to give a try."
"A clean slate, huh?" Sabrina asked. "Very generous of Charlie."
"Well, we would never have gotten you back if it hadn't been for her help," Bosley pointed out. "So, what was it like - knowing that there were doubles of you running around, looking like you, acting like you?" he asked.
Sabrina sipped idly at her drink, hesitating, buying time while she thought of her answer. She looked up shyly, not quite meeting Kelly's gaze as she answered, "It was kind of scary, ya know? I mean, there's someone out there that looks like you, thinks like you, knows everything about you. They could be you, ya know? But, at the same time, it was kind of cool, too. Think about it; what would you do if you knew there was another you out there, Bos?"
"I'd have him go to work on Monday while I stayed on the beach," laughed Bosley, taking another long draw on his drink.
"Speaking of doppelgangers - " Kelly met, held Sabrina's gaze. "Let's go for a walk. There's a few things we need to discuss."
Sabrina quirked an eyebrow. Kelly got up from her seat, slipped into her sandals, began walking towards the ocean. "You coming, Bos?" Sabrina offered.
"Nah, you kids go on ahead. I'm just going to sit here and relax and enjoy my little drink." Bosley adjusted his hat, leaned back in his lounger, reached for the three-quarters full pitcher on the low table beside him. Carefully, he refilled his glass, humming to himself as he did so.
Sabrina shrugged, laughed as she rushed down the coastline after Kelly. She caught up to her at the edge of the water. From his chair, Bosley watched as they walked side by side, shoulders and arms occasionally brushing. They stopped walking for a moment, Sabrina turning to face Kelly. She reached out, brushing her hair back from her face, tucking it behind her ear as they talked. Then, they resumed their leisurely stroll, falling back into step beside each other as they held hands. Bosley stirred his drink with his umbrella, smiling to himself as he took another long draw, watching until they disappeared behind a sand dune.
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