The Client

Chapter 27

Charlie threw her arms around Johnny. Johnny returned her hug, but his eyes scanned the room. His mind raced, trying to process what they had just learned. She pulled back. "I should have known it was you- you have her eyes," Charlie remarked. They were so warm and kind. She didn't get a response from Johnny. "I know this is a lot to take in," she went on.

Johnny swallowed. He was being uncharacteristically quiet.

"Are you ok?" Charlie asked.

"Fine," Johnny stated. His voice didn't show any conviction in the word.

Charlie dug into her purse and brought out her wallet. She opened the wallet and looked through the pictures she held there. "I want you to have this," Charlie selected a photograph. She gave it to Johnny. He almost couldn't look at it, but his heart forced him to. It was a photograph of their mother. She stood holding four year-old Charlie by the hand. The Italian beauty was smiling. Her very pregnant belly proudly displayed in a stripped sheath dress.

"What was her name?" Johnny cleared his throat.

"Elena Martinelli," Charlie smiled.

Charlie looked a lot like their mother, he thought. Johnny was reminded the drive that she had first told him about her half-brother and what had happened to their mother. His eyes saddened a hint more.

Charlie stood. She brushed herself off, "I'll give you some space to think." Johnny nodded his thanks. "Is it ok if I tell Abby?" Charlie asked.

"Sure," Johnny agreed. She would need someone to talk to even if he wasn't up to it.

Charlie headed towards the door. She stopped short. "I don't want to force myself into your life, but I am willing to take whatever you'll give me," Charlie turned to him. Johnny tipped his head. She opened the door and exited.

He was able to control himself until his sister was out of his sight. Once Charlie had closed the door his tears began to flow. Johnny buried his face in his hands. He crumpled into himself as he cried. Elena hadn't given him up. She hadn't signed him away. His mother was dead.

Abby's phone tinged from inside her nightstand. Abby tore her hands away from Mike's chest and her lips from their make out session. She leaned over him and opened the drawer to retrieve her phone. Mike watched amused as Abby read the message silently, "Can you come to my room when you wake up?"

"I hate to run off on you, but Charlie needs me," Abby informed him.

"I see," Mike replied enjoying the view as she got up to find her sleep clothes they had scattered after they came back into the room. She got dressed and came back to the bed.

"Give me two minutes," Abby leaned down and kissed him.

"Two minutes? Yeah, right," Mike went in for another kiss.

"I'll be back for a shower," she promised.

"I might be in my room by then," he teased then kissed her again.

"If you don't stop kissing me I am never going to get there," Abby said, not that she was really complaining. She loved kissing him. "I will be back- wait for me," Abby kissed him one last time before leaving.

It was mere seconds before she was at the next room. Abby knocked on Charlie's door. "Come in," the doctor beckoned.

Abby opened the door and stepped in. "You needed me, I'm here," she presented herself.

"Thanks, Abs," Charlie wiped her eyes.

"What's going on, Charlie?" Abby sat beside her on the end of the bed, "What's wrong?"

"I found my half-brother," Charlie announced.

"What? That's wonderful news," Abby beamed. Her smile was met with by Charlie's still downcast expression. "Or not. I know you've wanted to find him for years," Abby took Charlie's hand and squeezed, "Who is he?"

"Johnny, he's my brother," Charlie said.

"Shouldn't you be happy? You and Johnny already get along pretty well," Abby replied.

"Well, we did- I'm not sure that Johnny is ok with this," Charlie looked at the floor.

"Why wouldn't he be?" Abby questioned.

"He didn't want to find his birth family," Charlie answered.

"That was before he knew who you were," Abby insisted, "You are pretty awesome- I wish you were my sister."

"You are my sister," Charlie patted their joined hands. "What if he won't want anything more to do with me? What do I do then?" Charlie questioned.

"Just give him time," Abby urged, "He needs to process everything."

After a few minutes alone Mike decided to grab some clean clothes from the room he was staying in while Abby was seeing to Charlie. He ran into Johnny who was on his way to the hall bathroom. "Morning, Johnny," Mike greeted.

"Abby having more nightmares?" Johnny asked.

"What's up, Johnny?" Mike looked him over, "Stressful night at the hospital?"

"No, it was fine. Why are you asking?" Johnny's brow furrowed. His eyes were bloodshot.

"You look like you could use some more sleep," Mike shrugged.

Johnny grunted then shifted his weight onto one side. He wasn't quite ready to tell Mike about the DNA findings or about how he had been researching Elena since he couldn't sleep. Johnny spent the last hour reading articles on the car accident that had taken his mother's life.

"I can tell you what was said in the briefing if you want to go back to bed," Mike offered.

"You don't look like you've slept much yourself," Johnny commented. Mike just grinned.

Normally that smirk would have earned a quip from Johnny, but he was not in the mood. "Still planning the outing to the jewelry store?" Johnny changed the subject.

Mike frowned, but went with it, "Yeah, after the briefing." Mike had decided he'd get Abby something better than the Kevlar vest when they went on that trip.

Just then the two men heard Charlie's door open. Abby stepped out, then Charlie. Face to face with him Charlie froze, so did Johnny. At least he was looking her in the eye. She tried to read her new found brother.

Mike looked at Abby. He was clearly out of the loop. She motioned her head towards her room indicating they should leave and let the siblings talk. Mike followed her lead.

"I know this wasn't something you went looking for," Charlie told Johnny.

"No, but I guess it could be worse," he said.

Mike & Abby entered the office for the briefing hand in hand. She had been attending these briefing since Bates' death.

"Morning, Princess," Brennan greeted from behind his desk. He nodded his head in Mike's direction, "Mike." Mike nodded to Brennan and the other two men already in the room.

"Morning, Daddy," Abby replied. She and Mike sat on the small sofa Brennan had in his office.

"Where is Johnny?" Dale asked.

"With Charlie getting ready for the shopping trip," Abby answered.

"The two of you will be able to tell Johnny what's going on," Paul said, "This will hopefully only take a couple minutes."

"Anything new from Bello?" Dale asked.

"He hasn't contacted me since yesterday," Mike answered.

"I got a text at three this morning," Brennan offered.

"Really?" Abby frowned. Her father wasn't sleeping enough as it was.

"Same junk he's been sending," Brennan yawned.

"The FBI is sending an agent to assist in apprehending Bello," Paul informed them.

"When is the agent arriving?" Mike asked.

"In two days," Paul answered, "Apparently he or she had to be tracked down- I have it from pretty accurate source that this agent is very familiar with Bello's case."

Mike inwardly cringed. A few possibilities popped into his head. He prayed silently that he was wrong. Best case scenario he and the agent wouldn't be interacting much anyway. Mike looked over to Abby. Wherever she went he went.

The guys appreciated that it was a standalone store and not connected to any other building. There were only so many exits to concern themselves with. Mike went in first to do a sweep. Before he started he wanted to put his plan into action.

Mike approached a well dressed woman on the other side of the back case. The salesperson looked up at him from where she was working, "May I help you?"

"I'm Mike Warren- I called earlier."

"Oh, yes- you asked about the London blue topaz ring?" she said.

"Is it still available?" Mike asked. He had done that research and found out Abby's birthstone.

"Indeed it is- would you like me to bring it out so you can see it?" the salesperson answered.

"Yes, please," Mike requested.

The young lady brought it out onto the counter and set the ring on a piece of black velvet. It was a three tiered ring. Each tier had four oval blue topaz stones with six smaller diamonds studded around them. The color saturation went from a light crystal blue row on top to medium, richer azure blue in the middle and then finally the stones in the third and bottom tier were a darker almost navy blue stone –those were London blue topaz. "The band is platinum," the salesperson added.

"It's perfect," Mike smiled, "Size seven, right?" He had gotten Abby's ring size from Charlie before they left the estate.

"That is correct," the salesperson nodded.

"I'll take it," Mike said.

"Lovely choice, Sir," the salesperson nodded, "We also offer engraving if you would like."

"That would be great," Mike got out his credit card from his wallet and passed it over.

The salesperson handed him a piece of paper, "Write what you want engraved on the band here and we will have it done for you within a half hour."

"July 4th," Mike wrote down as the salesperson ran the card. He handed the paper back as the salesperson brought a receipt for him to sign, "Thank you."

Luckily the store was large enough that it would cover the time it took Mike to make the purchase, but small enough that he could get it checked out in a reasonable amount of time. Mike did the sweep then slipped back outside to the car and brought the rest of the group in.

"Where do we start?" Dale asked.

"Rubies first," Abby said. It was the birthstone for July. The group headed toward the case that held the jewelry with the aforementioned red stone. The case held many lovely pieces, but nothing that jumped out at Abby. "See anything?" she asked Charlie.

Charlie shook her head, "Nothing that says Lucia."

They looked over a few more cases. The next one held the pink gems. Abby scanned through the pieces when something caught her eyes. A bracelet of butterflies made up of two different stones. One was a deep pink and the other a creamy pink. She found it elegant, yet whimsical at the same time. Abby's eyes lit up, "This is it." She waved over another salesperson. He pulled it for her.

"What do you think I should get Lucia?" Johnny asked.

"She's not expecting anything from you," Abby began.

"But if you really want to get her something, flowers are always good," Charlie suggested, "She loves Tiger Lilies."

"Thanks," Johnny tipped his head.

Mike checked his watch while the salesperson rang up Abby's purchase. It had only been twenty minutes. He needed to stall. "I was thinking about getting my mother a birthday present while we're here," Mike replied- which was true he did need a present for his mother's birthday, might as well get it here.

"When is her birthday?" Abby inquired. The salesperson came back with a bag that held the bracelet in a gift box. He gave it to Abby.

"August," Mike answered.

"Then you might want to look at a Peridot unless she prefers another stone," Abby suggested.

"That would be one of the green ones?" Mike asked.

"Yeah, it's green," Abby nodded with a laugh- her boyfriend was obviously playing with her a bit. She led the group over to the correct case. There were necklaces, bracelets, and rings, but none of them seem right. "That one's nice," she pointed to a pendent.

"The color is good," Mike noted.

"You don't like it," she questioned.

"Not for my mom," he replied.

"Oh, come on, Mikey," Johnny crossed his arms over his chest.

"You're taking longer than the girls," Dale joined in.

"Shut up," Mike laughed at his friends ribbing him. Abby and Charlie chuckled too. "Beautiful earrings," Mike pointed to a set of drop earring with three Peridot stones in increasing sizes, "What do you think?" His ocean eye caught Abby's chocolate orbs.

"Those are gorgeous," Abby approved. You can tell a lot about a man by how he treats his mother.

The same salesperson that helped Mike earlier came and got out the earrings. He handed her his card. "I will get these packaged for you," she smiled. The salesperson came back in a few minutes with a bag. She handed it to Mike. He felt both of his gifts in the bag. "I hope you find everything satisfactory," she said.

"Thank you. Have a good day," Mike tipped his head.

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