The Client

Chapter 40

Mike removed the bandages over his eyes and set them on the bathroom counter. He turned around with his eyes still closed, "Abby?" Mike wanted her to be the first thing he saw when he was able to see.

"I'm right here," she stood in front of him. With bated breath, Abby waited to see his baby blues. Pain and bright light greeted Mike as he open his eyes. He couldn't even make out shapes. Everything was too blurry and disorienting. In fact Mike had to squeeze his eyes shut quickly to keep from getting sick.

"Anything?" Abby asked.

"All a blur," he sighed.

"It's only been two days, give it time," Abby rubbed his shoulders. Her hands drifted down to clasp his.

"For parts of the body that are so small I would never have guessed they could hurt this much," Mike grimaced.

"I'm sorry," she swallowed. Abby would take the pain for him if she could.

"It's not your fault," he insisted, entwining their fingers.

"At least the pain means you're alive," she bobbed her head, "I'm grateful for that part."

"Will you wear your vest today?" Mike inquired. They were in their sleepwear.

"I will," she answered. He was on a security kick this morning.

"Why don't we go over our plan from last night," Mike suggested.

"We get to the stable, take Aslan and ride into the woods," Abby repeated.

"I still say we should take Silver- he's faster," she muttered not expecting Mike to hear.

"Aslan is the strongest- he'd be able to carry us both," Mike reminded her.

"Let's just hope it doesn't come to that," Abby kissed his nose.

"Let's hope so," he agreed, "Supposedly Horatio wants to do the meet today."

"Good, Abby nodded.

Mike rubbed his hand over his stubbled chin, "I feel like a werewolf."

"I can help you with that if you want," she offered.

"You'd shave me?" Mike smiled.

"I've never shaved a guy's face before, but I'll try," Abby said.

"I'm sure you'll do great," he replied.

"Johnny sent over your razor and shaving cream- they should be here somewhere," she found the supplies along the side of the second sink. Abby collected them. "Why don't you hop up on the counter and I'll get started?" she advised.

"Wouldn't that make me a little tall for you?" Mike asked, "Maybe I could lean on it." He knew she was worried about him over exerting himself. Still, he had slept fifteen of the last twenty four hours.

"All right," Abby went with the compromise.

Mike leaned against the counter. He tried to ignore the jolt of pain that resulted from where the edge of the counter hit into the bruises on his back.

"Ready?" Abby rubbed the goop between her hands to start it.

"Whenever you are," Mike replied. Her fingertips spread the cream on the strip under his nose and over his lips. Mike lifted his chin so she could spread the shaving cream under his jaw and along on the hairs on his neck. She cleaned her hands then picked up his razor. Carefully Abby began with his upper lip.

"Do you like facial hair on a guy?" he inquired as she rinsed the razor in hot water.

"A day or two stubble is ok," she said.

"I sense a but," Mike remarked.

"Well," Abby began. His hands drifted to her butt. He gave it a squeeze. She jumped with a squeal. "Brat," she muttered playfully. Mike smirked. Abby regained her composure. She was going to get him for that. "I like my man clean shaven," she finished in a seductive, breathy tone.

"Then let's get going," he was just about cheering.

Abby went back to shaving him. Mike helped to hold some areas of skin taunt when needed. She took her time and really studied his face as she worked. Her eyes held tender awe.

She got a wash cloth wet in the hot sink water. Abby wiped his skin clean of the residue of the shaving cream with the soft cloth, "All clean."

She gave him his bottle of aftershave. Mike opened the bottle and applied his usual amount. He turned to the sink and washed his hands. "Thanks," Mike wiped on a hand towel she offered against his shoulder.

"No problem," Abby said.

"The wolf is all gone," he grinned.

"But the hot man is still here," she admired his biceps that his black sleep tank showed off.

"Well, I'm here," Mike set the bottle aside on the counter. He looped his arms around Abby's waist, joining his hands together at the small of her back. She giggled as he pulled her flush to him.

Mike puckered up for a kiss which Abby granted. "Should I get you some new bandages for your eyes?" she asked. Abby just realized Mike hadn't put the others back on.

"In a minute," he sighed.

"What's wrong?" she frowned.

"What if it were permanent?" he questioned.

"You mean if you had been blinded?" Abby answered.

"I have no idea how I would handle that," Mike admitted.

"You wouldn't be alone," she assured her boyfriend.

"I wouldn't want you to be stuck with me," he brought his hands up and rubbed her shoulders.

"You are not an obligation now and wouldn't be even if you had been blinded," Abby bit her bottom lip to keep from blurting out that she loved him. Now wasn't the time for those words, "You are more than your eyes, amazing as they are."

"I don't deserve you," Mike declared.

"You deserve to be happy, Mike," she insisted.

"I am, because of you," he tilted his head, "It's been less than two months since we met, but I have already memorized your face."

"I didn't know that," Abby remarked.

"I was always kind of afraid you'd catch me staring," he licked his lips. Hesitantly Mike lifted his hands to her face. He drew a finger across her lips, "I want to memorize your face again." Abby smiled. She closed her eyes and allowed Mike's fingers to softly trace over her features.

Grant brought his Kelvar vest over his head waiting in the locker room. He secured the Velcro straps as Piper sauntered in. "Is it time for the briefing yet?" she asked, "Horatio has gone to post bond."

"Just a few minutes," Grant smiled.

"Don't you think that's a little premature?" she asked referring to the protective measure with FBI written across the front in big white letters.

"I'm going to be ready to pounce on Bello," Grant slipped on a button up shirt over it, "He's not getting away this time."

"Don't get cocky before it's over," Piper replied.

"Not cocky- prepared," he buttoned the shirt.

"Horatio isn't even out yet," she pointed out.

"But he's heading that direction and wants to meet with Bello today," Grant replied.

"You sound pretty excited," Piper remarked.

"We did a lot of damage to Mike- the least we can do is clear this roadblock for him," he pronounced. She shrugged. Bello wasn't much of a roadblock for Mike if you asked her, but he was a danger to Mike and for that Bello needed to be taken off the streets.

Piper was about to speak when Lauren came in looking for Grant. "Agent Frisco, there you are," Lauren remarked.

"We were just heading to the briefing," Piper offered.

"I hear from Grant that congratulations are in order," Lauren greeted the other woman.

Piper tilted her head and looked at Lauren a bit perplexed, "Oh?"

"About your pregnancy, how far along are you?" Lauren inquired.

"I'm not quite sure," Piper answered, putting on a professional face. She could barely contain the impulse to strangle her almost ex.

"Have you gone to your doctor yet?" Lauren asked.

"I just found out a few days ago, I will go to my doctor when I get back to California," Piper replied.

"Good, in the mean time you'll be running the command post with me," Lauren indicated, "Let's get going, we have a briefing to get to."

Piper waited for Lauren to leave before turning a death glare on Grant. "I can't believe you told them I'm pregnant," she fumed, "What were you thinking?!"

"I was worried about your safety and the safety of the baby," he threw over his shoulder as he went to leave.

Piper hurried around him. She planted herself on one side of the door frame and stretched her arm around out to the other side, blocking the door, "My body, my baby, my business."

"You shouldn't be putting yourself or the baby at risk," Grant stated.

"That still doesn't give you the right to violate my privacy- I am the one that is supposed to tell my employer," Piper countered.

He pinched the bridge of his nose, "Lauren isn't your boss, but she can make sure you are stationed out of harm's way during the raid." Piper bit the inside of her cheek and snorted angrily. "No one has told Mike if that's what you're worried about," Grant shook his head.

"We're going to be late," she muttered then dropped her arm. Piper raced out of the room and down the hallway. He followed at a slower pace. Grant wasn't about to apologize. Truth was he wasn't sorry. She'd cool off eventually.

Abby wiggled her toes in the warm water of the pool. Mike anchored himself with his hands behind him as he reclined back and up into the sun. He too was soaking his feet in the pool. Things were too quiet at the moment. "Dollar for your thoughts," she said. Something was weighing on him.

"They aren't worth that much," he replied.

"You want to be out on the raid don't you?" Abby deduced. Paul kept them up to sped on what was happening with Horatio.

"I know I'm in no shape to go, but I'd like to hand Bello his ass for what he's done to you," Mike confessed. His phone beeped. "Someone is here," he said.

Abby leaned over and grabbed his phone. She checked the message. Mike had given her the passcode. "Lucia has arrived," Abby answered.

"Should we go meet her?" he asked.

"Johnny will bring her back," she replied, "They might need a moment to themselves."

"You're probably right," Mike concurred.

"I think she really likes him," Abby nodded.

"The feeling is definitely mutual," he said, "I bet after this is all over Johnny is going to ask her out."

"Lucia might beat him to it," she laughed.

"I got a five that says my guy asks first," he grinned.

"You're on," Abby agreed to the bet.

Johnny and Lucia walked around the corner of the mansion hand in hand. "Hey, Chica!" Abby stood. Mike felt the ripples of the water after her departure. Lucia let go of Johnny and hugged her friend, "Are you ok?"

"Oh, I'm hanging in there," Abby replied.

"Hi, Mike," Lucia said. Mike waved towards her voice. "I hope you are feeling better," she added. The man in question still looked a bit beat up.

"I am, thanks- Abby's been taking really good care of me," Mike answered.

"Why don't you come sit with us?" Abby offered. She went back to her spot. Lucia & Johnny joined the couple sitting around the pool.

"How are things going in the real world?" Mike inquired.

"Busy as usual I guess," Lucia answered, "I'm sorry I wasn't here."

"It's better that you weren't," Johnny replied.

"It was awful," Abby caressed Mike's shoulder.

"Bello was toying with us," Mike said, "Yet escalating everything…"

"Any news on how they got the bomb through security?" Lucia inquired.

"They hacked in apparently," Abby answered.

"Briggs has Nick monitoring the system now," Johnny said.

"Who's Nick?" Lucia asked.

"One of our top techs," Mike replied.

"We usually can handle most computer issues, but for this system wide type stuff Nick usually gets called in - he'll alert us if anyone tries to mess with the system again," Johnny explained.

"Good," Lucia pronounced, ending that discussion.

"Anything new with you? Abby inquired, "I have been out of the loop for a few days."

"Understandably," Lucia replied, "I've just been writing." She turned to Johnny. "By the way, my father told my brother about the flowers. Eddie called while I was on the way over and demanded to meet you," Lucia warned.

"Sounds like I am in trouble," Johnny quipped.

"I told him hell no, not before we even go on a date," Lucia explained.

Johnny nodded, "We are going to have to do that sometime soon."

The glass sliding door opened with a whoosh. Their surgeon friend exited the mansion. "Hiya, Charlie," Lucia greeted.

"Lucia, I thought I heard you out here," Charlie smirked. She slid the door closed behind her.

"In the flesh," Lucia did a flourish with her hand.

"Did you get to talk to Hannah?" Abby asked.

"For a little bit, but she got distracted by something," Charlie replied.

"So you decided to come hang out with us since Hannah got bored?" Lucia quipped in mock offence.

"Basically," Charlie deadpanned, "What are we doing exactly?"

"Haven't decided yet," Mike replied.

"Is anyone hungry or thirsty?" Abby inquired.

"Brunch might be a good idea," Lucia replied, "Charlie can tell us about how things on her house are progressing."

"We could eat in the pool house," Abby offered.

Johnny's phone rang. He took it out of his pocket. "I have to take this," he said. Lucia nodded. "Hi, Nick," Johnny answered. Mike's brow furrowed. He listened intently. "Can't you get a hold of Briggs?" Johnny questioned, "Guess he's in the briefing… No, I can check that out… Just let me get to my laptop and I will call you back." He hung up.

"What's up?" Mike asked.

"Nothing I can't handle," Johnny replied. He kissed Lucia's cheek. "Duty calls," Johnny said.

"Ok," Lucia nodded.

"I'll join you guys in the pool house when I'm done," Johnny promised. He pushed up off his knees and left.

"I think that's enough time in the sun," Abby said.

Mike brought his feet up out of the water. Abby took his hand and helped pull him up. They all traversed the short distance to the pool house.

"Anything in the fridge?" Lucia went to the appliance.

"They stocked it while it was being cleaned," Abby got Mike settled on the couch.

Lucia looked through the contents, "Score." She selected out a few drinks.

"I'll call the kitchen," Charlie took out her phone and called. Lucia went to the cupboard. She opened it and got out five glasses. Charlie hung up after no one answered.

"No answer?" Abby frowned. That was not like the cook.

An alarm sounded. Mike jumped up. He took hold of Abby with one hand and instinctively reaching for his gun to find it missing. Even if Mike had his gun he couldn't use it. "We need to get to the stables," he directed. The group ran to the back door. They stopped short seeing armed men outside blocking that particular exit.

Charlie went to the kitchen window. There were men at every entrance. "We're trapped," Charlie gasped.

A strange scent began to circulate through the air ventilation system and fill the house.

"What the hell?" Lucia sniffed. She began to cough.

"Gas," Mike coughed, "Cover your mouth and nose." He did so with his shirt. The girls followed suit. He could hear the doors broken down and an over whelming force of men rushing in. Guns were trained on them. Lucia began to pass out from the gas. Charlie caught Lucia. One man picked Lucia up. Another grabbed onto Charlie from behind. She tired elbowing then kicking him, but the gas had sapped her normal strength.

Mike held on tight to Abby. She looked around and would have taken off with him, but there was no place to run. It was all happening so fast.

Her hand was torn from his and they were pulled apart. "Mike!" she screamed.

"Abby!" Mike fought free just to be grabbed by two other thugs. He called her name again just before the gas caused him to lose consciousness.

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