The Double, Double Cross Job
As soon as Parker found the evidence of the murders, she suddenly stopped going through the money and papers, turned to Dan, who was leaning over her shoulder trying to see into the safe, and said, "Do you mind not crowding me, Dan? I don't like it when people get too close to me. As a matter of fact, would you mind going to get me some water? I had to crawl through the air ducts in order to get in here without being seen by the security cameras your pals put in place. I'm a bit thirsty."
Dan replied, "Uh, yeah, sure thing. Let me know what you find."
Parker began taking pictures of the evidence of the murders that she had found, but on a small camera that she carried around with her so that they wouldn't be included in the pictures she was going to be taking of everything else that was in the safe. She quickly hid the camera and began to take the other pictures with the phone Hardison had given her as Dan walked back in.
"Did you find anything interesting?" Dan asked.
"Nope, only what I expected to find," she responded. "Just a lot of money, the ownership papers of a number of clubs around the city and other cities as well, and some kind of ugly statue. Don't know why it's in here, unless your friends just dumped everything from the other club owner's safes into one bag and never chucked it. Or it could be valuable. Maybe Hardison can figure it out."
Dan looked at Parker after she relocked the safe and stood up and he said, "I kind of get the sense that you and Alec have a thing for each other. Is it true?"
Parker glared at him and answered, "I don't know what you're talking about. Even if there was something between us, which there isn't, it wouldn't be any of your business. We're just friends. What happened to the people who adopted you years ago? Hardison said that you were adopted, which is why you lost contact with each other."
"My adoptive parents were killed a few years later in a car accident," Dan replied. "Instead of going back to being stuck in foster care, I ran away and that is when I joined a gang. I wish that I tried to find Alec and who he called Nana. She really was a great woman. My life would have been different if I had. I would have a brother."
"He still thinks of you as one," she responded. "Are you going to ask him to go away with you when we're done putting your friends in prison?"
Dan answered, "I was thinking about it, but I am not sure he'll want to come. He seems to have a place to call home with you guys. I'd hate to ruin that for him. He doesn't deserve to have his life turned upside down by me. You'd better get out of here before they get back. It could be at any time."
Parker nodded as she quickly lay out on her stomach and then exit through the vents that led to the outside. Dan sighed as he watched her disappear and then walked out of the room to wait for his friends to return.
Hardison remained seated at his computer watching the thugs tear apart the club he worked so hard to put together, while he ate Chinese food. At first, it didn't bother him that Nate came up with a plan that would end with his hard work destroyed, but the longer he watched them do it, the angrier he felt that he had to rebuild the place and in a much shorter time than before.
Eliot came up behind Hardison and put a hand on his shoulder, causing Hardison to jump as he said, "Man, don't do that! You nearly gave me a heart attack!"
Eliot laughed as he took a seat next to him and replied, "Actually, it's all that soda and greasy food that's going to give you a heart attack. I didn't mean to scare you, Man. I'm sorry."
"Do you want something?" Hardison asked as he turned to look at the hitter.
"No, what makes you ask that?" he asked Hardison in return.
Hardison responded, "Because you're being nice to me. You're never nice to me unless you want something."
Eliot scoffed and answered, "Man, that is so not true. I just wanted to ask you a question."
"Sorry," Hardison replied. "I am just getting frustrated the longer I watch these guys tear apart my club. What do you want to know?"
"I just want to know if you are going to stay with us when this job is done, or if you're going to leave with Dan?" Eliot asked.
Hardison turned back to the computer screen as he responded, "I don't know. I never thought I'd see him again, but now that he's here, I'd like to get to know him again. I just ain't sure that I'm ready to leave the team and I know that Nate wouldn't go for a new team member. Besides, he don't got no skills like us. I'm thinking about it, Man."
Eliot was about to say something, until Parker walked in and came over to them as she asked, "Did the thugs leave yet?"
"Yeah, it looks like they left a few minutes ago," Hardison answered. "They totally trashed my club. I don't know how Nate thinks I'm going to be able to get it put back together in a day."
"You'll come up with something," Nate said as he and Sophie walked into the room. "You always do."
Parker handed Hardison her phone and then pulled Eliot, Nate, and Sophie aside in order to talk to them out of Hardison's earshot, while he worked on downloading the pictures she had taken of the safe's contents onto his computer and go through what she had found.
"I need to talk to you guys without Hardison," Parker said. "I found something that isn't good and I am not sure if Dan is a part of it or not. Hardison will get upset if we accuse him of anything."
"Parker, what did you find?" Sophie asked.
"I found pictures of two dead men inside the safe," she replied as she pulled her own camera from her pocket. "If you remember, during Hardison's search into the previous owners of the clubs that Ray Lang and his friends now own, he found that two of them had disappeared. We assumed that they were dead, but these pictures prove that they killed them, probably used them as blackmail to scare other owners into turning the clubs over to them. Dan may not have been there when they killed them, but I would think he would know about it."
Sophie asked, "Why would he hide that from us if he did?
Eliot added, "If he does know, he deserves to be in prison just like the others for being an accessory to murder. I am telling you, Dan is bad news. I don't trust him."
"Do all of you feel the same way?" Hardison asked as he walked over to the group. "You do, don't you?"
"Hardison, it isn't that," Nate said. "Parker found…"
Hardison interrupted, "I don't care what she found. Dan is my brother and a good man, who came to us for help. Now I see the real reason why you came over to talk to me about whether or not I am planning on staying with you guys. I guess I just found my answer. When this job is done, I'm gone."
Eliot started to go after Hardison, until Sophie pulled him back and said, "He just needs some time to cool down. Only then will he be able to understand that we are only trying to do what is best for him."
"Sophie's right," Nate responded. "We need to do this job and we'll do everything we can to get to the bottom of this. If Dan is bad, we'll do what has to be done, despite how Hardison feels. Hopefully he'll come around to forgive us for talking bad about him, if he's not guilty. If he is, hopefully he'll learn to see things our way."