The Client

Chapter 13

Mike Warren was a goner. Cause of death: Abby in a black bikini. The color was in such contrast to her silky, smooth skin. Skin so pure it almost hurt to look at it. With Abby's lean body it was a lethal combination. He was getting warmer and it had nothing to do with the sun. The way that woman was moving she knew exactly what she was doing. Abby looked down at the two towels set in a lounge chair. She dropped a robe on top of them. "I guess that's everything," Abby took off her sunglasses, "Ready to jump in?"

"I am not sure that is a good idea," Mike protested, "You go ahead…" Swimming would make it difficult to get to his gun efficiently. He had carried it while they rode.

"We are on the estate," she reminded him as if she could read his thoughts. He wasn't the only one responsible for her security while they were there.

"I know," he replied. Still without the gun they would be in a pretty vulnerable position if the outer security got breached.

"You're not going to make me swim all by myself are you?" Abby stuck out her bottom lip. She batted her eyelashes. Abby swayed towards him and into his personal space. She wanted to tug on his shirt, but kept her hands to herself, "You're allowed to have some fun too."

Abby left him with that thought and headed towards the pool. She stepped down the stairs into the water. The pool was heated even in the summer so it was a consistent temperature. "The water is perfect," Abby laid her head back into the water and moaned. Mike groaned. Abby was going to kill him if she kept this up. She swam in deeper and did a few laps. When Abby realized Mike hadn't followed her she stopped. Abby treaded the water in the deep end. She angled back over her shoulder and looked back at Mike with seductive mischief dancing in her brown eyes, "What does a woman have to do to get you in here?"

Mike shook his head. He grabbed his shirt from behind and pulled it over his head. The sight of him left Abby chewing her bottom lip. He had the body of a Greek god- just like those sculptures she had seen of Apollo when she visited the museums. Tone arms and shoulders were just for starters. His washboard abs were too die for. She saw a scar on his side reminding her of him saying he had been shot before.

"As you wish," he dove in beside her. She laughed as the backsplash from his entrance hit her. Mike popped up. He shook his hair. "Hi," Mike smiled.

"Hi," Abby returned the expression. The two circled around each other for several moments. "It's not so bad- is it?" she smirked.

"Heh," he crinkled up his nose playfully, "It's all right."

"Brat!" Abby launched herself towards Mike intending to dunk him. He countered by pushing back out of her target zone. When she righted herself Mike splashed her. Abby blew out a breath then gave it right back. Their laughter echoed throughout the courtyard that surrounded the pool.

They were still splashing each other when Paul walked onto the scene. Mike stopped immediately. Paul tipped his head to Abby. "Mr. Briggs," she greeted.

"Paul," he reminded her, "I hate to break the party up."

"Has something happened?" Mike inquired.

"Briefing in ten," Paul informed him, "Brennan's office." Mike nodded. "Nice to see you Miss Sinclair," Paul went toward the mansion.

"Abby!" she called after him. Mike helped her get out of the pool. She wasn't staying in if she had no one to swim with.

He got her a towel then grabbed his own. They dried themselves off as best they could. Mike held open her swimming robe and Abby slipped it on. "Thank you," she tied the tie securing the robe around her.

"Will you be ok for a while?" he asked.

"Yeah, guess I'll go get a shower and watch some TV," Abby shrugged.

Mike's hair was still wet when he walked into Brennan's home office. Paul had a computer on and they were joined by Brennan & Lauren via video conference. "Hey, Guys," Mike greeted, "Governor Sinclair."

"What's up?" Mike inquired.

Paul handed Mike a tablet, "We need a profile." Mike tapped the screen. First thing that came up was the picture they first sent and the message that went with it. He swiped his finger across the screen and it switched to the next file: the transcripts of harassing calls Brennan had received. Mike paid special attention to the way the caller spoke. "The caller in both instances reads as the same person," he noted. The speech pattern was nearly identical. He flipped over to the next file which was pictures of the card and the printout it held. Mike scowled realizing the significance of the last piece of evidence.

"When did these last two arrive?" Mike inquired.

"This morning," Brennan answered.

Mike hung his head, "Abby told me it's Daniel's birthday. I'm sorry."

"What does all this tell you?" Brennan pressed forward. He had a meeting in twenty minutes and couldn't afford another breakdown.

"Whoever is doing this has got an ego on them," Mike tapped his chin, "They are also very controlling- I would be surprised if it wasn't deliberate that the card arrived today."

"Sounds like some sadistic tendencies," Paul remarked.

Mike nodded, "Have they called again?"

"No. How am I supposed to get them what they want if they don't tell me what it is?" Brennan raked a hand through his dark brown hair.

"It's not about you doing anything for them or giving them anything," Mike replied.

"Then what is it about?" Brennan inquired.

"Torturing you for some reason," Mike frowned, "The calls, the messages, the attempts on Abby, this card it's all taunting in nature and meant to make you suffer."

"He's got a point," Lauren replied.

"Think about it. Why warn you they are after Abby? Why not just take her if they wanted leverage? They showed they could have gotten to her," Mike said.

"Maybe they want me desperate first," Brennan muttered. That card and his son's obituary had him on the ledge. It wouldn't take much to push him over.

Mike said, "Whoever they are, they seem heavily connected to receive this kind of back up and they are comfortable using intimidation tactics."

"So you're saying?" Lauren coaxed.

"They definitely are involved in other crimes," Mike insisted, "Specifically organized crime- mafia or gangs. Have you had any run-ins with those types of people?"

"Maybe peripherally," Brennan answered, "Nothing and no one personally."

"I'll get someone out of major crimes to give you the lay of the land," Laruen offered.

"I got a contact- he'll get me the goings on," Paul replied.

"I am sure the TAU has told you all of this," Mike handed back the tablet.

"They are still looking into my political opponents at the moment," Brennan replied.

"Waste of time," Lauren grumbled.

"I'd also check over the pardons that Governor Sinclair has granted or refused," Mike added.

"Already on it," Lauren replied.

"What about the other evidence?" Mike inquired.

"The phones used to call and send the messages are dead ends they are disposed of when the call is done and the calls were made from different locations," Lauren began, "The credit card used to rent the car that ran you and Abby off the road was stolen."

"The gun?" Mike raised an eyebrow.

"There is one bright side there- it was used in a robbery three months ago," Lauren reported.

"On top of the shooting it gives us extra leverage with the would-be shooter," Paul nodded.

"Which I am going to run over and make sure the TAU is putting to good use," Lauren said.

Charlie watched Hannah sleeping in her hospital bed. She checked the monitors. So far so good. Her arm was now in a cast and sling. The little one's leg was also in a cast. There was a brace on her neck still, but all in all things could have been a lot worse. Johnny observed them through the window of Hannah's ICU room. Charlie squeezed Hannah's hand. "You rest and I'll be back," she promised.

Charlie left and collected Johnny outside. "Tired of following me around all day?" Charlie quipped.

"Never," he chirped. She motioned her head down the hall toward the elevators. They walked on side by side. Once they were there Johnny pressed the call button. When the elevator came up it was empty. They stepped inside. "You are a freaking superstar," Johnny praised. He nudged her shoulder with his.

"She's a miracle," Charlie hit the floor number where her office was.

"Good thing for her you were around," Johnny smiled.

Outside her office Charlie was approached by a redheaded woman. Charlie nodded to Johnny and he hung back. The suit and briefcase gave the other woman away as a social worker. "Dr. Demarco?" the other woman inquired.

"That's me. Are you here about the girl who fell down the stairs?" Charlie inquired.

"Yes. My name is Tara O'Neil," the redhead held a set of credentials up so Charlie could see them, "I am with the department of child protective services."

"Why don't we talk in my office?" Charlie offered.

"That would be great," Tara smiled. Charlie opened the door and held it open for Tara as she stepped in. Charlie tipped her head to Johnny who nodded back. He would stay on the door.

"Please, have a seat," Charlie requested.

"Thank you," Tara sat in a chair in front of the desk. Charlie rounded the desk and took her seat.

"Do we know who she is?" Charlie asked, "All I got was her first name is Hannah."

"Hannah," Tara repeated. She brought out a notepad and wrote the name down.

"You didn't know?" Charlie questioned.

"We are still gathering information," Tara confirmed.

"She's so small someone has to be missing her by now," Charlie frowned.

"No missing persons report matching her description has been filed or any kidnappings reported either," Tara replied.

"Does that seem strange to you too?" Charlie asked.

"Or telling, considering she was thrown down those stairs," Tara replied.

"She was thrown?" Charlie felt a fire ball growing in her stomach. That explained the isolation of Hannah's injuries to one side. Charlie gripped the top of her desk, "By whom?"

"From surveillance footage it was a man- possibly her father," Tara replied, "The police are trying to identify him."

"Bastard," Charlie muttered.

"What is Hannah's prognosis?" Tara tried to shift the discussion.

"Hannah has a long road ahead of her- I fixed some internal bleeding, her right arm is broken as is her right leg," the surgeon informed her, "Hannah is still unconscious- she hit her head. Luckily there are no skull fractures or bleeding there, but her brain is swelling slightly."

"How bad are we talking?" Tara asked.

"Minimal compared to what it could have been- I am guessing she managed to tuck her head in for the most part," Charlie answered, "I called in a neurological consult. We'll know more in a few hours."

"Will she wake up?" Tara inquired.

"I can't say for certainty, but the odds are in her favor," Charlie replied.

"Good," Tara nodded.

"When she does she is going to need a lot of help," Charlie added.

Tara made another note, "She'll be special needs?"

"While she heals, yes, and that could take a good year maybe more," Charlie answered. Not to mention the psychological trauma that Hannah would probably need therapy for. "Is there anyone else I should talk too?" Charlie questioned.

"I am your point of contact- that is if you plan on staying on with Hannah's case," Tara replied.

"I most definitely am," Charlie assured the other woman, "The best thing for Hannah would be some stability."

"Glad to hear it."

"I can't believe no one is missing Hannah," Charlie shook her head.

"We will do our best to find any family," Tara replied. She closed her notepad then laced her pen through the spiral. "But as things stand right now Hannah is a ward of the state," Tara stood, "Thank you for your time, Dr. Demarco."

Charlie kept up her resolve not to cry until the social worker had left her office. "She's all alone," she crumbled back into her chair.

The door to the office was left ajar and Johnny could see Charlie struggling. He went in and put his hand on her shoulder. "Are you ok?" Johnny inquired.

Charlie wiped away unshed tears, "Not at the moment."

"Anything I can do?" Johnny offered.

She stood, "I want to sit with Hannah for a while." Charlie's shift was about over, but she needed to be with the little girl. This hit way too close to home.

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