Nikki and Nora aren't mine they have a cameo in two parts and are briefly mentioned here and there. The rest of the whack jobs in the piece are all my own doing. You can't have them, but I don't mind sharing. I passed kindergarten.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Okay a few things There was a throw away comment a bit ago from a reader about doing a spin-off featuring Ann, Jill, John and the rest of the her people in Virginia. I took that throw away comment and ran with it. My sister, in her all her insanity, challenged me to participate in Nanowrimo this year. I thought about it I write fanfic. I know I have it in me to complete 50K words, my longest story to date is around 89K, but the challenge was was I able to complete in a month. Most of the readership knows that I've got a A Thousand Oceans going and I'm working on a Buffy story, Let the Dominoes Fall what you probably don't is that I'm a glorified number cruncher and work upwards of 60 hours, then there's family stuff and I wanted to finish off my Masters (classes started the end of October). November was effing crazy. On the upside The challenge is finished. I polished it off on Friday morning. So, while I'm trying to catch up with my other two stories, I offer you this as an interim installment on the A.U. that I've built with Nikki & Nora. It's a spinoff. I hope it worked. Also, yes, I know this is a ghastly long author's note, but this story hasn't been reviewed by my beta. I wasn't going to torture him with it seeing as how he'd have needed to accomplish the piece by the end of the month. And he's quite capable, it just seemed mean. So all mistakes are really and truly my own. I hope everyone reads and enjoys.
FEEDBACK: To whedonistic.tendencies[at]gmail.com
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Putting the Damage On
Ch. 7 Merciless Moon
Our labs are located in the basement of our offices. They house a fully functioning forensics lab capable of running some of the most basic to the most advanced tests currently being utilized by any law enforcement agency and even some tests that are being trialed at the collegiate level. The master of this domain is Bamby. She assists Kevin's team when the need arises and her staff is limited to one, herself, but Lucy and Travis offer support.
Currently our doctor is upstairs going over a few things with John to assist in the search of the U.P.S. truck that's now a larger lead than the phone number. John's not thrilled, but we can't not look into it. While Bamby is occupied, I want to see if I can corner her sister for a chat.
I find Spencer in the middle of the largest lab. She's wearing goggles, a mask, gloves and a white lab coat. Several burners are going and they all have a beaker bubbling on top. I come up short of interrupting her and stamp the laugh that comes up. Her hair is in a messy bun on her head and she looks like the female version of the mad scientist.
It still kind of surprises me that I've watched these girls grow up. When I first met them I thought they could probably take over the world with the amount of determination that each showed individually. When they combine forces, they are nearly unstoppable. Like when they did the research and put in the time to find a school that could actually help them.
John and Becca had them enrolled at this private academy that claimed to be a bastion for gifted children. What they found out was that it wasn't so much for gifted kids as it was for really snotty, rich kids that paid teachers to tell them how smart they were. They didn't like children who questioned and they certainly didn't like children that questioned them. Spencer and Bamby did.
One day when John and I were in D.C. for a Cabinet meeting, he got a call from the school. We left the meeting and got to the school to find a livid head master and two non-contrite girls wearing identical smiles displaying their pleasure at the whole situation. They were seven years old. In their need to rebel, they had lead a small contingency of students in a walk out protesting their inability to express their childhood individuality with dress.
The girls hated the uniforms and Spencer in particular was not a fan of the knee socks nor the skirts. She likes pants, she always wore pants and she found it offensive that as a modern girl in the Twenty-First Century that she should "kowtow to the patriarchal society I was born in." Those are her words not mine. She also, in her very squeaky seven year old voice stated that it was unfair because skirts were "super-duper cold" to wear during the winter months.
Spencer got her sister to follow, which is nothing new. Bamby's been slightly enamored with her sister since they were born or so Becca says. It's easy to see though. They have a good relationship and regardless of looks, each has a distinct personality, a strong one. Bamby just can't say no to her sister, which has and will probably continue to get them into trouble.
"If you stare at me any harder, Annie, I'm going to stop ignoring the creepy-stalker vibe and call my dad," Spencer jokes, interrupting my reminiscing.
I grin at her. "Now, now, Spence, it wasn't like that." I meet her the in the middle of the lab by one of the workbenches. She sets down her flask and pulls up two stools for us to sit at.
"Is there something that I can help you with or did you just come to see all the action?" She finally pulls her goggles up and takes her mask off. I see a smile, but it's not Spencer's smile. Her smile is very much like her father's which means that depending on the mood it's a smile that says, "I'm pleased and happy" or "You've got about two minutes before I tear you apart." The differentiation on the smiles is told in one feature, the placement of the arms for each respective Malone. Run if they smile at you with their arms crossed.
"Well, you just popped into visit so quickly; I just wanted to see how you were doing. Not much change to talk with this case," I say.
"Hmm, well, I left my apartment and my job unattended and unannounced. My mother and father will not stop the inquisition when I am at home and I have no idea what I am supposed to about it," she states blandly.
"Transparent?" I ask, pointing to my chest and hope self-deprecating humor will win her over.
She nods. "Not to appear rude, but why don't you ask what you came to ask and let me carry on about my day. I promised my sister I would have some answers for her before the second coming."
My mouth pinches and I nod. I'm really not sure how to approach this. The idea that this isn't even any of my business has not escaped my attention, but sometimes my heart will trump my head. I'm concerned. Spencer doing this isn't like her. She's a far more by-the-books person when it comes to her career. She wouldn't just walk away unless something happened. I also know being dishonest in any fashion will offend her as will trying to be ingenuine.
I'm left with one option. I go for it, "Honestly, I'm worried. I've known you for most of your life, Spencer. This isn't like you. I also saw your arm. I'm asking that you tell me what happened and why you're here."
Her head bobs a few times before she sighs and stands. Unbuttoning the lab coat, she's dressed in slacks and a tank top. Her shoes are a pair of Converse that looks like they've seen better days, but at least they look comfy. The lab coat is draped on the seat of the stool before she turns to me and extends her arms.
On her right arm are a set of bruises. Gently, I reach out and take her wrist in my hand, rotating her forearm to survey the damage. The bruises wrap around her arm, right between her wrist and elbow. The markings are large and I'd bet good money that they're from a hand. On her left arm, the back of her bicep and clear down to her wrist is scrapped and scabbed.
The muscles in my jaw quiver as I grind my teeth. I lower her arm and let go. Looking up, I see the worry. "What happened?" I whisper.
"A man and I didn't see eye to eye on a few things," her voice is steady as she answers.
The churning in my stomach increases and some of the acid decides to try and make its way up. I swallow it down and nod slowly. "Where Did he " I can't really get the words out.
She must understand, so she reassures, "No. He didn't get that far."
I nod. "Charges?"
She shakes her head. "I just need to "
Rubbing my chin, I try to get my brain to process the information. She was assaulted. She didn't press charges. Someone tried to rape Spencer. "Does anyone know?" I find it hard to believe that Bamby knows and didn't fly up to Boston to find the fucker and kick his ass with her father in tow.
"No and I would appreciate it if you didn't say anything. She thinks that I got into a fight. I would prefer to keep it that way." She sighs, slips her coat on and sits back down.
The edges of my vision are little fuzzy. I blink to try and clear them. It doesn't help. A slight buzzing in my ears persists as I hear me say, "Name?"
"This isn't a request, Spencer. I want a name," my voice sounds a little detached.
"It's one that I won't comply with. This isn't open to debate, Ann. I appreciate the sentiment, but it's not something I'm willing to pursue. For my honesty, I'm just asking for your confidence. The man that did this has been punished enough," Spencer informs me.
I don't know if I can give her that. John will kill me, Spencer and the guy that did this to her if he finds out. I shudder at what would happen if her mother finds out. Becca's the type of woman you don't cross. I've made it a point to piss her off as little as possible. With John, you know when and what he's going to do. Becca not so much. She's far more ruthless and more creative.
"I don't know if I can, Spencer." She tries to move away from me, but I stop her by a hand on her knee. "Listen to me please?"
A slight dip of chin is the only indication that I get that she's going to listen.
I lick my lips and try to reason, "You were attacked. Now, regardless of your assailant sealing the deal or not, you were victimized. Chances are that he won't stop with you. I don't know what happened, even though I would like to. I also have to think of the other women that he could hurt." I give her knee a gentle squeeze before I continue, "I don't want to lay this guilt on you. It's not yours, but you also owe it to yourself to do something about this."
Her head drops as she says, "That's just it. I can't say anything. I tell anyone in my family, what's going to happen to him?"
"I don't disagree that he deserves punished to the fullest extent the law will allow, but if my sister, father or God forbid my mother finds out, his death is on my shoulders. I know who and what my family is capable. I love them dearly, but they've no right to be judge, jury and executioner." Her eyes finally meet mine again and a sad smile is given to me. "I've handled it; I just need you to trust me on this."
"What did you do?" I need to know.
"The man worked at M.I.T. I informed the dean. The dean took care of it. He knew I might take off. He's probably not shocked, but Marcus will handle my leave. The man responsible for the attack has been let go. When Marcus is done doing what he says he will the other man will be lucky to get a job managing a McDonalds in the South End."
"Hey, peeps!" Bamby shouts as she strides in to the lab.
Spencer and I both sigh and give a small chuckle.
"I think you should reconsider, but okay," I say and stand.
"Reconsider what? And Ann," Bamby says coming up to us, "Dad wants you upstairs. They have some information and you two are headed out."
"Thanks Bamby. I'll see you two later," I give them both a wave. I trot back upstairs a little dazed and not sure if I'm doing the right thing or not.
I sigh as I get to my desk. I suppose time will tell.
"Do you want to comment on this?" I ask John as he hooks a left on to Plank.
When we received the video from the cameras in Stafford, it took the four of us a little over three hours to identify a dozen trucks that were in and around the area the day Barbara Seevers should have been taken and the day that she was found. Of the twelve, there were two that came up with fake plates.
With a little bit of help from Counterintelligence, we were able to get a bit more information on the other two plates. The first truck didn't have anything else on it. The second was picked up a day and a half ago outside of Richmond. The driver was hauling a little bit of weed and a lot of stolen property. That U.P.S. truck went to impound.
Now, we have a warrant that gives us access to the U.P.S. database to look for the information that we need. What we don't have and what we need are the serial numbers on each truck. The camera angles weren't the greatest and while we have great software that will recognize a license plate number with relative ease, serial numbers on a truck take some time. Travis is working that angle. What we're hoping is that someone from U.P.S. will point us in the right direction.
The U.P.S. Customer Care Center is located in Fredericksburg, about ten minutes from my home. This didn't go unnoticed by me or by John. In answer to my question, he grunts.
"That's attractive, John," I chide. Seriously, all he can do is grunt at me after everything that's happened today.
When I got back up to my desk, he was ready to leave and I still haven't had a whole lot of time to process what Spencer said. Okay so I've processed, I'm just not sure what to do with it. If it were my daughter and John knew but I didn't, as his partner I would expect him to tell me. Regardless of the confidence that was promised.
So I fidget as we get closer to the U.P.S. offices. I don't fidget. It makes me feel like I'm fifteen again. I hated fifteen. In fact, if you promised me all the money in the world to go back in time and live my teenage years over again, I'd call you fucking crazy and go home to Jill so she could laugh.
Neither of us was impressed with being teenagers and it's been agreed that we really do prefer the time starting in our mid-twenties up until now. Not all of it's been easy, but we've been together, so it's better than doing it separately.
On top of my annoyance at fidgeting, John picks up on it. Ya know, he's the observant type. "What are you so jumpy about?" he asks, his head swiveling to me, giving me a once over before going back to the road. We're in an unmarked today and he usually likes to drive those. He says it gives him a break from his Jeep.
There's my opening. The question now is do I take it or blow it off. Spencer's injuries and the look in her eyes splash across my internal movie screen. She's going to find a way to hurt me.
"Uhm, did you get a chance to talk to Spencer?" I ask licking my lips.
"She just said that she got into a fight," he shrugs it off.
I bob my head, feeling briefly like one of those bobble headed, dashboard dogs.
"She say something to you?" He turns the corner and the U.P.S. building looms off to my right.
"Yeah, she did. That's where I was when before we left. I saw her arm." I wipe my hands on my slacks. I can do this. I just need to find the ovaries to. I've done worse, jumped out of planes, been taken hostage by international terrorists, there was that one assignment with a group of Navy S.E.A.L.S. that had me somewhere in the Amazon trying to locate a small faction of a religious group that was raping and beheading villagers and tourists. Then there was that whole telling Jill how I felt, which at the time ended miserably. That was the bravest thing I've done.
It worked out
"Okay ?" John turns into the parking lot and pulls up to the front of the building, parking the car.
Turning in my seat, I face him, knowing that I'm going to need to face him for this. "We need to talk and I need some things from you before I say anything else."
His right brow lifts and he nods. "Shoot."
"One, don't go bat shit crazy. I need you focused on the case and listening to everything I have to say to you. Two, I want your word that you, Becca, Bamby and anyone else that you know or can command will not do anything like commit premeditated murder." Okay so it's not the best intro to a "talk" that I've ever had. In fact, on the whole, it's probably the worst, but I need him to just not be John for a moment. His natural inclinations are to shoot first and ask questions later.
"Okay," he offers easily.
No, see he's not supposed to say that. He's supposed to be a bit skeptical and give me some bullshit response so we can haggle.
"Ann, seriously, if Spencer's okay, that's the important part. Whoever hurt her, I'm sure got their just deserts. We know Spencer doesn't take shit lying down," he reassures.
I bob my head again.
"All right, so " I suck in a breath. Breathing helps. Need to remember to do that more often. "She was, uh, attacked. Some guy from the school, tried to he didn't but she got banged up in the process." I watch his reaction. The only outward sign that he's angry is the grip he has on the steering wheel. His knuckles are white and the wheel gives off this squeak of protest as the plastic cracks under his grip. He stares out of the windshield, looking past the building in front of us.
"She, uh, said she handled it, which I believe, but I couldn't not tell you even though I told her I would. I'm sure somewhere this is going to come back to bite me in the ass later, but if the roles were reversed, I'd want you to tell me. We're partners. More than that, we're friends, family almost, so I just needed you to know what she told me. She's not sure if she's going back to M.I.T. I got the impression that she wasn't super thrilled up there anyhow, but she's okay. Shaken up, but I think she's okay "
"Ann, shut up," he hisses.
My mouth gives an audible clack. Right, I can shut up. Quickly, too. Also, somewhere in the recesses of my mind, I'm fully aware that bringing this up while we're tracking down an obnoxious serial killer is not the wisest course of action. It's probably pretty stupid, but in my defense, I'm just trying to be a good partner. Do what John would do if our roles were reversed.
"Name?" he manages in fairly calm voice.
"Didn't give me one. She just said that she took care of it. Also tried to swear me to secrecy."
He snorts. "That worked well for her."
His head swivels in my direction and meets my eyes. Nodding, he says, "You told me. I'm not sure what I'm going to do about it, right now, but thanks."
"We're good?" I have to know.
"Always," he confirms and pockets the keys.
I take that as my signal to exit stage right and we meet up shoulder to shoulder at the entrance. The warrant is tucked into his coat pocket.
"Let's go piss off the Men in Brown," he jokes, shoulder checking me.
We step into a rather pleasant lobby and wait our turn in line. We don't need to speak, we just observe and as the customer that was before us leaves the counter we step up and flash our badges.
"Hi, Director John Malone and my partner," John introduces us and points to me, "Special Agent Ann Flemming, we need to talk to your DM."
The woman at the counter's eyes grows large and she stammers, "Is can "
"Just your DM," I push.
She swallows and picks up the phone. Turning away from us, she whispers into the line. A few seconds of making mouse sounds later, she turns to us again, hangs up the phone and says, "He'll be right down. If you'd like, please wait right over there." She points to a small waiting area.
I look at John and he shrugs. We walk over and look at some of the pictures on the wall. A lot of them are the standard, "Moving at the speed of Business," "Deliver more," and my personal favorite, "What can Brown do for you?" Now I really don't have a head for business. I could care less about profit margins or marketing, but even I think they could have come up with something just a little less open to interpretation.
I'm staring at the poster, when I feel John tap me on my upper arm. Turning to him, I trail my eyesight to where he's pointing. On the far wall is a set of pictures, all of them with a man standing inside or outside a large delivery truck, a truck much like the one we're looking for. The inside of the cargo hold has been gutted and replaced with some type of non-porous floor. There's a bed against the left wall and the right one holds a table and small, RV type kitchenette.
I quirk an eyebrow to John as I hear behind us a tentative, "Hello?"
We turn together to and see a what we're to assume to be the district manager. "I'm Paul Lockele."
"Malone and Flemming. We need the information on this," John says, handing over the warrant. "But, I really want to know about this," John hooks his thumb back to the photos we were just staring at. "Do people do this often? Do you track the information on who and what is sold and where? And can you get this information on the national level?"
"Nice to meet you," he manages after the bombardment of questions. "And this," he moves around us and points to the photos, "Not that often. This guy, Jefferson Frye, bought this truck a few years back, came back when he had it finished. We have a list of the people from this area that have done this." Paul turns back to us, shrugging. "Honestly it's not a lot. One maybe two people. Jeff is the only one that's come back to show us. Nice guy was moving and thought we'd like to see what he did."
"Can you get a list of people that have purchased your trucks on the national level?" I ask.
He nods nervously and motions for us to follow him. This visit way more fruitful than I could have hoped.
"Being reasonable will leave you full of bullets, pull it, squeeze it, till it's empty, tempt me, push me, pussies, I need a good reason to give this trigger a good squeeze...I'm a soldier " Eminem rages from Apollo's speakers.
Usually, I hate rap. Tonight, it's part of tradition so; I grin and bear it as I follow a small tactical unit to the outskirts of Jefferson City, Missouri. In less than twenty-four hours, Counterintelligence came through for us on the list that was provided by Paul Lockele. Travis' friend was able to clear up the photos well enough to get a decent approximation of what the truck I.D. numbers are.
The list provided by Paul was comprised of twenty-five different sales on the U.P.S. trucks that were purchased by civilians. We were able to take that list and reduce it to five trucks that could potentially be what we were looking for. In the past five years, only five were purchased, gutted and refurbished. A little bit of fancy footwork on John's part and a favor or two, one of which may have been my first born, and the list was knocked down to three.
With the work from C.I., we were able to match it to one truck belonging to Dennis Addison. With some well-placed phone calls, the data on Addison was pulled without any red tape and the guy matched our profile. Age, forty-three, ex-military, working as an E.M.T. up until three years ago when he went off grid. Current address puts him in Missouri.
The tactical unit in front of us will only be used to provide back up. The four us will take the house as a unit and extract Addison. We commandeered a nice jet that Apollo could be stored in and are using my baby for the drive. Not something that's usually done, but our only other option was John's Jeep and the four of us do not fit even kind of comfortably in that thing. We're using the uplinks to our systems for satellite imagery and the sound system in my baby to get us geared up for the assault.
Long standing tradition between the four of us. General music gets played twenty minutes prior to the take down. At the twenty minute hash mark, Travis gets us pumped with a song of his choice. Tonight, at quarter to ten, it's Eminem. Like I said, rap, not so much. In fact, next to country music, it's my least favorite style, barring Gregorian Monks chanting. That's just weird.
I can at least appreciate the lyrics of Eminem's song. I don't think there's a person who doesn't feel the pressure life offers us. And surprises of all, it's actually pretty damn catchy and the lyrics are well written.
"I'm up," Lucy says and hands over her iPod. Billy Idol's, Rebel Yell kicks on and we all sing along. None of us can sing. None of us care. When you depend on the people you're crooning with to protect you with their life, you don't care so much that any of them are tone deaf.
The song comes to end sooner than any of us would like. John's up this time and he grins a little wickedly as he puts in a CD. A glance in the rearview mirror show two jaws equally displaced as mine. John starts singing, "Shot through the heart and you're to blame, Darlin' you give love a bad name " The guitar and drums kick in shortly after our collective jaws hit the floor.
I shout to be heard over the music, "Fuckin' John!"
Everyone busts up and decides to get into the music. Hell, it's actually a catchy tune. Anyone with ears and a small appreciation for a good hook, can't deny that's it's a solid song, despite Bon Jovi's somewhat cheesy delivery.
My fingers drum out the beat and we all sing along. John's doing a decent impression of an air guitar and Lucy has her arm slung over Travis' shoulders banging their heads in time with the music. At least their open to Eighties Rock. As the breakdown hits, John leans over, resting against my shoulder he sings to me, "Shot through the heart and you're to blame, You give love a bad name "
I fill in the backing vocals, "Bad name "
"I play my part and you play your game, You give love a bad name "
"Bad name "
He reaches out and tries to ruffle the hair pulled back in the ponytail. Shying away from him the song plays the last thirty seconds.
Taking a look at the satellite read out, we have another four minutes. Almost enough time to get through my song. I hit the control on the steering wheel and queue up the final selection for the night. It's really not my style of music, but it reminds me of Jill. She adores this band. I indulge her whenever I can so that means more often than not, she gets to play D.J. when we go somewhere. Co-pilot's choice is the rules.
The group's not very commercial and started in the Seventies in South London. They can kind of carry a tune, but their music has a heart. Right now that's what I need. Heart and a reminder of why I'm doing what I'm doing. The drums kick in and I start to sing along, "People say that life ain't fair, And then they say what you give comes round the same, What can you believe?, I say if you want passion in your life, You can't be afraid of pain, You've got to get out and live, Coz freedom's a curse but boredom's even worse, There's a spirit inside that needs to fly "
My team kicks in on the chorus, "Oi, Oi, Oi is the call, Oi, Oi, Oi, do it all, Oi, Oi, Oi before the flame dies "
We grin and laugh and for the next few minutes shove what we're about to do to the back of our minds. I'll worry about it when the music stops and we're out of the car with assault rifles in our hands.
We're an odd bunch. I'm aware. Of course I wouldn't have it any other way. These are my people.
The tact team in front of me signals to pull over as the music dies down. I kill the lights and pull in behind their military issue Hummer. I look at John, who looks back at me.
"We ready?" Travis pipes up from the back.
We all nod and throw ourselves from the car. Terrance Bolding, the leader of the unit, comes around to the back of the Hummer, geared up and ready. "You four ready?"
We all nod as he pulls the back of the gate on the Hummer down. He passes out the ballistic vests first. I pull it on over my tight, black long sleeved t-shirt. My black cargo pants hold several things. Two hip holsters and two Sig Saur P226 9mm. My guns of choice. Another is strapped to my thigh.
Next come the mics and ear pieces. I adjust the collar and snap it around my neck. The ear bud is shoved into my right ear. We spend a few minutes adjusting frequencies and testing the equipment.
Terrance starts to hand over the assault rifles that are standard issue, Heckler and Koch MP5 or a variation of such. John stops him. "We brought our own toys." He claps Terrance on the shoulder and trots to the back of Apollo. I hit the release button on the trunk and the three of us go around to meet him.
Pulling the only case in the trunk forward, the latch comes up and we all look down at our weapon of choice for these types of gigs, the Berretta ARX-160. It's an Italian made assault rifle that still is technically in the stages of development. We've been testing them out since late last year and all of us agree the weapon is a win.
The goggles go on and we go dark. John brings the team around off to the side of the house. Terrance's unit hangs back and will only be there in case anything goes south. The plan was simple, two in front and two in back. Do not shoot to kill unless absolutely necessary. Get in and out as quickly as possible.
The adrenaline is running pretty high. I flex my hand around the butt of the rifle. We all nod, giving agreement to the plan John pointed out. In unspoken agreement, Lucy and Travis take the rear entrance. John and I take the front. He hefts a small battering ram in his hand. Travis is carrying the other.
I swallow and a bead of sweat trickles down the nape of my neck. We glance at our watch, lighting up the face to check the time. Nodding to John, I sling my rifle around my shoulder and take the other side of the battering ram. He eases open the screen door, wincing slightly as it squeaks.
He nods once, twice and on three we swing it back and splinter the door frame.
God damn muther fucking, fucking piece of fucketty fuck fuck shit!
Usually, that string of expletives is unwarranted.
My hands grip my waist. The goggles are on top my head. My rifle is rattling against my back. My feet stomp a line through the yard of Dennis Addison's house between one tree and the front porch.
I get it.
Nothing really ever goes according to plan.
What I'd like is for this fucker to be home!
Is that so much to ask?
Of all the bullshit fuckery that could have happened, I get the one thing that really wasn't part of the contingency.
He was supposed to be home. Every piece of intel we had put him at home.
Where is he?
His wife sure as shit doesn't know and his son, his little eight year old son that we scarred the shit out of ?
He just wants his daddy.
He wants his daddy. His daddy that we're trying to hunt down for multiple homicide.
Just how exactly do you have that conversation with an eight year old?
It's not one that I want to have. And it's for damn sure not one I want on my shoulders anyhow.
The weasely little fuck. I swear when I get my hands on Dennis Addison I'm going to ring the bastard's neck.
"Ann!" John barks. I stop my pacing and my ranting to glare over at him. "Get your ass over here Flemming, we need to regroup."
Rolling my eyes while muttering a few choice words, I stomp my way over like a petulant child.
"So, before I start, I want to make sure that no one," with that, John sends me a pointed glare, "is going to hunt something or someone down and kill them."
I fold my arms across my chest, giving John a curt once over to let him know I'm fine. Sure, sure we all know that fine stands for Fucked Up Neurotic and Emotional, but whatever. I'm too pissed right now to give a shit. How in the hell could we let this happen?
We had everything lined up.
I mean everything. The only thing we didn't do was call ahead and let him know we were going to make an arrest.
Now I'm thinking that's exactly what we should have done.
"All right, Shirley Addison stated that her husband hasn't been home for approximately a week and a half. That's plenty of time for this punk to get settled somewhere else. She did give us an address where he houses his, "bitches and toys" so sayeth the wife. I'm thinking this guy's a real charmer. If he was a cheater and he traveled, it may also give us a connection to the other women. Especially, if it is a secret they didn't share with their families."
He hands Lucy and Travis the paperwork Shirley gave him. "You two can head over with Terrence and his team. They'll have a car waiting for you when you get back. We'll stay here and clear the scene. We have a warrant to search every nook and cranny of this fucking place and we did not come here to leave empty handed."
Lucy and Travis nod silently, turn around and disappear in to the back of the Hummer. John and I stand on the front lawn watching the tail lights disappear from view. The night is humid in Missouri, much like the mid June nights Virginia has. My tactical gear cloys at me and I shed the ballistics vest. John takes his off too and I dump them on the back seat of Apollo. The com mic and the goggles are soon resting there too.
My partner and I say nothing as I pull the gear needed to go through the house. We don't need to say a damn thing to each other to know that we're both so pissed; the term "spitting nails" is a literal possibility.
I'm so pissed right now; I'm pretty sure I can punch my way through a fucking redwood and still be mad.
Each with a kit in hand, we make our way back up to the house. Shirley is sitting with a finger of cheap whiskey in a clear glass mug on her couch. Her son is curled up right next to her. His head rests in her lap. I'm not sure what to say to her. She knows why we're here. She knows that we're looking for her dead beat husband because we think he killed at least four women.
John is on the phone as we step into the house. I over hear him requesting a twenty-four hour locksmith. I should have known that he would want to stay until the doors were back up and we can be sure that the woman and her son are going to be secure.
I look at the doorway with its splintered frame. That's going to take a few days to fix. "John," I motion him over, "Why don't we have them pack a few things. They aren't going to be able to fix this overnight."
"Because I want them here. If this guy comes back, I will have a few extra agents sitting across the street looking pleased as punch to be the new next door neighbors. The doors will be fixed tonight. I need it to look like nothing happened here tonight."
I hold my hands up and shrug. "Whatever we need to do."
"Mrs. Addison," John starts, "We're having someone come by to fix the doors." She nods lamely and John runs a hand through his hair. "We also have a search warrant for this house and the property. Do you want to call anyone?"
She shakes her head. Shirley Addison looks like she's so far out of her element that not even a GPS and a personal escort could get her back to being okay. Her hair's a mess, her mascara started running as soon as we started shouting when we busted in the doors. Her son seems to have calmed down considerably.
Small favors and all that.
"Okay, my partner and I are going to start the search." John waits for something from her, but nothing comes. I look to him and motion him towards the kitchen.
"Where do you want to start?" I ask.
"Basement and work our way up and out," he answers.
Nodding, I pull on a pair of rubber gloves and head for the basement. The area is set up like any other basement. Waterproof paint, cinderblock façade. Washer and dryer. A work bench that's seen better days. Concrete floor.
We perform the standard search, looking for anything out of place. Nothing registers, moreover, except for a few spots that fluoresced under black light that proved to be nothing; we left the basement empty handed.
The search in the house proved to be useless and the outlaying property had nothing either. To say we were less than happy about it when we finished up only a little under an hour later is an understatement.
As we packed our gear, my phone picks up volume and I answer it. "Flemming."
"Ann, Luce, we're at the storage facility now. The first address the wife gave was nothing. A standard, rent by the week hotel that had closed Addison's revolving account out two weeks ago. There's no truck here. There's nothing here."
Shit. I press the phone to my shoulder and relay the information to John who grunts. Casting a quick glance to the locksmith who said that they could repair both doors tonight, I shrug.
"Tell her to get her and Travis back to the airport. We're going the fuck home. He's not here and we can look for him there just as easy as we can look for him here. The stupid piece of fuck. I swear Ann when I find the sonuvabitch "
That's the first time I've heard him really voice his displeasure. It's reassuring. I sigh and pick up my phone, "John says meet us back at the airport. We're going home."
"Okay," Lucy says and disconnects.
John and I slip into the cab of Apollo and head out. We've got everything that we possibly can right now.
"Ideas?" he asks from his seat. His arms are folded across his chest and he looks like a petulant child.
I chew on my lower lip as I race back to the airport. I don't know why I'm doing eighty on roads I don't know, but I feel the need to do something
I guess driving recklessly is going to be it for tonight.
John poses a good question. Now what?
"Well," I think out loud, hoping he'll contribute something, "we know his name, we know what he looks like. We know he has a small fixation with me."
"Press conference with all the bells and whistles?" he offers, following my train of thought to the T.
"Pretty much. I say we plaster his name and face every-fucking-where. That way it'll be impossible for him to hide too long," I say hanging a hard left onto the highway back to the airport.
"Sounds like a plan," he grunts as he steadies himself with a hand on the dashboard.
I go back to watching the road. I've solved the puzzle now I just need to find my missing piece.
I'm not a religious person and more often than not, I find myself disagreeing with the idea of religion in general. I don't like church. I don't like the bible.
If you were to press me to go to church, I would. I would resurrect an altar and pay homage to the goddess whose thighs I'm between. I worship her with an abandon I have only felt when we are together. My heart swells and aches with each hitch of her breath or grunt of frustration as I tease and taunt her. I press into her, feeling her buck against the palm of my left hand splayed across her abdomen. I hear a muffled groan vibrate through the walls of her thighs. Grinning I run my tongue, stiff and flat through her center. For this, I'm rewarded with a tug on my hair and a "Holy fuck, Ann."
Deciding that I've teased her long enough, I increase the tempo, lashing her, tasting her, drinking her in. Tucking my chin in gives me a little better leverage to increase the thrusts of my right hand and the three fingers moving inside of her.
The muscles in her thighs are the first to lock, the rest of her body, starting from her core outward, draw taut. She raises both of us off the bed, slightly throwing me off balance a second before I regain control and steady my wife. She shudders and shakes under my touch, clamping around my fingers to draw them deeper. I hold on to her, secure, offer her safety as she abandons control.
In this moment, when I hold her, it's as close to a religious experience as I will ever come to. There's this book, Jill made me read about some sword and this guy called the Seeker. It was a good book, don't get me wrong, but my point is that in it there are these people that have this daily devotion. I have changed it to suit my own needs.
In this moment, that devotion becomes repeated, "In your light I thrive. In your mercy I am sheltered. In your wisdom I am humbled. I live only to serve. My life is yours." Jill doesn't know that I do this; she doesn't know I worship her.
As I offer one last hardy lick, cleaning up some of her juices, I give one last final mental utterance of my prayer and crawl up her body. I slide us together, our skin touching every inch on my journey north. She purrs as I ascend. I feel proud, accomplished and satisfied.
Starting with the tip of her chin, I kiss her, then both corners of her mouth, the tip of her nose, her left eye then her right and finally, I press moist lips to her forehead.
"You spoil me," she hums.
"I know," I whisper against her cheek.
Her legs wrap around me drawing our centers together. "Baby," I groan.
"Shh, I'm too tired now, but just you wait missy, tomorrow morning, your ass won't be able to move when I'm done with you."
Chuckling, I rock my hips and her breath catches.
Her eyes snap open, locking on mine when she warns, "Play nice Annie."
"Yes mistress," I say with a hint of sarcasm.
Her smile widens and she pulls me on top of her, my arms wrapping around her back as she shifts our positions. She nuzzles the crook of my neck as my hands trial up and down her back, drawing random patterns with the tips of my fingers.
"I love you," she says in a hot puff of breath.
"Well, that's pretty nifty. I'm fond of you myself Mrs. Flemming," I drawl. The room settles into a stillness. The sounds of our home are muted by the music, A Perfect Circle, playing softly from across the room. I breathe us in. I feel her and hold on. Until we find Addison, our future is very uncertain, but I can't burden her with this. I'd prefer that she live in the moment with me instead of in a future of what could be. I'll protect her. I'll kill and die for the woman in my arms. If Addison wants to try to take this away, the fucker's got another thing coming.
"Baby," she mumbles, "Come back to me."
I blink and look down at the top of her head. "Sorry," I whisper and kiss the top of her hair.
"Thinking about the case?" she perks up and shifts so that we're lying side by side with our hands and legs entwined between us.
"You'll get him; you usually do get the things you want." Jill gives me the cheesiest grin then. A knowing grin.
I reach out with the tip of my index finger, not bothering to let go of the rest of her hand and tap the tip of her nose. "I know," I smirk.
"You always had me though. I didn't want to face it. I didn't want to deal with the ramifications, but I always knew that I belonged to you," she says simply, with an earnestness that steals my voice. "You always helped me deal when we were growing up. You were my savior in so many ways. I didn't know what to do with that."
I lift my head off the pillow and cock it slightly. Shaking my head, I tell her, "You have it backwards. You, Jill, were mine. I tried looking out for everyone, but never myself. You did that. You saved me. Not the other way around. You were the anchor in my fucked up world and you, Jillian Leigh, were my savior. You never needed it. You still don't."
She giggles at this conceding, "Why don't we call it a draw and say that if not for the others influence we would be fucked three ways from Sunday and my life wouldn't even be a shadow of what it is today?"
"Wow," I smirk. "You're feeling quite romantical."
"I'm feeling honest. We don't do this much. Rehash this shit and I'm glad we don't, but tonight " she trails off and looks past me over my shoulder to something she can only see. "I just think that making sure you know every once in a while isn't a bad thing. I love you. I need you. It doesn't hurt to say that."
"Okay," I say leaning down to kiss her again. I'm a centimeter from her lips when a distinct ringtone draws my attention away.
Groaning, I reach over and turn the phone on, "Flemming."
"Ann, it's Nora." My best friend says.
"I got that. What's up chicken butt?" I laugh.
"Okay, two things, one, never say that to me again. And two, what's up is me looking at the corpse of your person of interest in the No Profile killings. Mr. Addison is lying upright and looking up at the big NOLA night sky without the proper grin to match."
"What?" I sit up and feel the blood begin to race through my veins in an unpleasant fashion.
"Dennis Addison is dead. Nikki and I are looking at his corpse right now, Ann," she says gently.
Oh, just fuck me sideways and call me Jackson.
"We'll be there as soon as possible," I mumble.
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