The Client

Chapter 42

Mike's hand shot up. He grabbed Bello's wrist and ripped it off of Abby's head. Mike stood. Abby was unprepared for his sudden movement and he slipped through her hands. Mike twisted their tormentor's arm behind his back. Mike launched Bello into the wall. Mike heard riffles raised and cocked. All the guards aimed at their prisoners.

Abby got up slowly. She came up behind her boyfriend. "Easy, Mike," she cooed. His hands groped behind his back until they found her. Abby allowed Mike to tuck her into his side. She slipped an arm around his waist while his arm draped over her shoulder. Abby nuzzled the underside of his jaw.

"Are you ok?" Mike angled his head down as if to look at her face though the bandages kept him from opening his eyes.

"If you're ok," Abby replied, "Charlie and Lucia are in here too." She whispered the second part of her response. Abby looked over at the other two women. Lucia had her arms across her chest. She was fit to be tied. Charlie sighed. Her thoughts drifted back to a certain curly haired child. She was grateful little Hannah was safe in her hospital room and knew nothing of this. Charlie's dark eyes darted around the room. There had to be a way out of this place.

Bello peeled himself back from the wall. He held his hand up to his men to signal them to stand down, "You still have impeccable reflexes, Michael." Mike instantly recognized Bello's voice. The heavy way the other man said his full name was a dead giveaway.

"Keep your hands to yourself," Mike commanded in the direction he heard Bello from.

"You are in no place to give orders to anyone," Bello sneered.

Mike held his head high. "Keep your hands to yourself," he repeated firmly.

"I'll do as I please," Bello declared.

"Not to my girl," Mike shot back.

"You know what I am capable of," Bello threatened.

"I do, but you? You haven't even scratched the surface of what I am capable of," Mike growled.

"Says the blind man," Bello spat. He stared down the couple. Mike had Abby up under his arm. It was a very claiming stance. "This is a new side of you," Bello remarked, "I've never seen you possessive before."

"I have someone worth protecting," Mike replied. Bello gave off a disconcerting if not sinister grin. Lucia and Charlie looked at each other. This was going to get ugly.

"How much has Michael told you about me?" Bello inquired.

"Enough," Abby stated, her voice coming out steadier than it felt. The way Bello looked at her was unnerving.

"There's only so much to tell," Mike tried to pull Bello's attention back onto him.

"We got to know each other very well," Bello replied, "Or at least I thought we did." He frowned. "We spent a lot of time together," Bello added.

"Drinking bad beer and watching corny westerns," Mike scrunched up his face.

Bello snorted. Two could play at this game. "What happened to your blonde, oh- what was her name? Piper was it not?" Bello needled.

"She's been around, so has her husband," Mike shrugged. He was going to close down that line of questioning before it became uncomfortable for Abby.

"Right," Bello nodded.

"It wasn't personal- I did as I was ordered," Mike said.

"I trusted you, Michael," Bello chided.

"Your mistake," Mike inhaled sharply. Bello glared at the man he formerly saw as a friend.

"Betrayal like that comes back on you," Bello advised. Oh, his voice was so smug. Mike thought about jumping him, but if he lashed out again the guards might open fire. The last thing he wanted was for Abby or one of the girls to get hurt.

"I haven't thought about you since your sentencing," Mike said, "It's been four years."

"I still have scars on my back from your knife," Bello sneered, "It is not the past for me."

"It was a job!" Mike threw back, "One I didn't even want."

"You chose to join the FBI," Bello countered.

"I'm not an agent anymore," Mike chuckled.

"No, you are here- messing up my plans again albeit more openly this time," Bello rejoined.

"Happy to be of service," the former FBI agent turned bodyguard tipped his head.

Bello sneered, "To add insult to injury you start wooing my enemy."

"I'm not your enemy," Abby blurted out, "We just met."

"Abby's and my relationship is none of your concern," Mike declared.

"You're laughing in my face," Bello accused.

"I'm living my life," Mike argued.

Bello's face hardened. He clenched his fist and hauled his arm back.

"Mike look out!" Abby cried. Mike ducked as Bello's fist hurled toward him. It failed to connect, but the momentum kept Bello moving. He narrowly missed hitting Abby before he righted himself and reset his feet. Bello relaunched himself at Mike, taking the former FBI agent by the throat. Mike felt Bello's hands clench down on his windpipe and immediately released Abby. Unwilling that his girlfriend be harmed in the ensuing onslaught, Mike allowed Bello to take him back until they collided with the hard steal of the wall.

Mike clawed at Bello's hands in a futile attempted to restore his oxygen flow. "Let him go!" Abby ran towards the fighting men. A guard came forward and stopped her before she could intervene. "Stop!" Mike hooked his ankle behind Bello's knee and with his fleeting strength pulled it forward knocking his opponent off balance causing Bello to lose his grip. Bello fell to the floor. Mike gasped for air. Bello jumped up. He punched Mike in the gut. Mike involuntarily doubled over. Bello landed one hook and then another, pounding into Mike's rib cage.

Abby by this time had already begun to struggle against the guard, kicking and hitting him- anything to get past. Her face was wet from crying. She could not easily mask her emotions. "Mike!" her voice was urgent, but broken. Her anguish hurt more than the pummeling he was receiving.

A bare bones mobile command center was being assembled in the park lot across from the warehouse. Grant had his hands full coordinating everything. Lauren did her best helping him navigate the local waters.

Now Paul, Grant, and Lauren were getting down to business. They stood around a table looking over the blue prints for the building.

Johnny readjusted his earpiece. He had a laptop going and was busy typing away. Brennan paced behind him. Piper bit her lip and looked back at the worried father from her post.

"I thought I told you to stay at the capitol building," Lauren turned to the governor.

"My daughter is in there, she is going to need me- I am not going anywhere without her," Brennan asserted.

"Nothing is getting in or out without us knowing," Lauren assured him.

"Let's just focus on us getting in," Grant advised.

"Johnny?" Paul called.

"What's the plan, Boss?" Johnny inquired.

"We've identified a few weak points in the building itself," Paul replied, "Got any intel for me on man power?"

"I hit a firewall that slowed me down on the security cameras," Johnny frowned, "I should have something for you momentarily."

"How long have they been in there?" Brennan questioned.

"Forty minutes," Lauren answered.

"That's a long time," Brennan frowned.

"Mike will hold them off until we get inside," Paul asserted.

"God help me, I've begun to grow fond of the boy, but right now Mike is blind- what in the world can he do to protect Abby or even himself?" Brennan queried.

Paul smirked, "I bet that is exactly what Bello is thinking- one thing I've learned is to never underestimate my men."

"Nick and I were able to hack into their security cameras," Johnny announced.

"Is Abby on any of them?" Brennan asked.

"Yes," Johnny answered, "She is alive." Brennan caught his breath.

"Everyone is in one room," Johnny noted, "I count seven guards with them."

"And Bello?" Grant questioned.

"He's in there too," Johnny said.

"Are there anymore guards in the rest of the facility?" Paul asked.

"I'm checking- I'll patch everyone in," Johnny replied. Piper sat up straight and turned to her monitors as they flashed on. "Done," Johnny pronounced. Brennan rushed up not knowing what to expect. The trio from the table gathered around.

Brennan's eyes zoomed in on his daughter. "That one," he directed. A tech pulled it up bigger on the screen. There were tears streaming down Abby's face as her boyfriend was being beaten just yards in front of her. Fear began to give way to anger in the father.

"Can we get audio?" Lauren inquired.

"Working on figuring out if they have it," Johnny said.

Piper whimpered with each punch Bello landed. Mike was doing his best to block the blows, but even without the audio you could almost hear each hit.

Bello finally relented and allowed Mike to fall to the floor. Mike caught himself with his hands. He pushed up on his knees. His labored breaths were painful.

Bello squatted down to the injured man. "This is just the beginning- I plan on taking my time with you. I have had years to think about this," Bello smirked. He motioned for the guard to let Abby go.

The guard complied. Abby brushed past Bello like he wasn't even there and went straight to Mike.

"We'll let the doctor see to him for now," Bello announced, with that Bello turned and left, taking the guards with him.

Charlie rushed over to him. Mike tensed. "It's me, Mike," Charlie said. He relaxed slightly. She knelt down to check him over.

"I'm fine," Mike insisted. He began to cough violently. Mike wiped the wet substance off of the corner of his mouth with the back of his hand. He knew from the feel of the liquid what it was.

"You're coughing up blood," Abby countered.

"No, my lip got cut," Mike replied. He began to push himself up. Charlie and Abby helped him to his feet.

"You really should sit," Charlie cautioned.

"I can walk it off," he covered. It was a couple ribs.

"Let him focus on me. It keeps his attention off of you, Charlie, and Lucia," Mike urged.

Abby brushed his bangs back from his forehead, "You matter too."

"I can take it," Mike squeezed her hand.

"Is he just going to leave like that?" Lucia raised an incredulous eyebrow.

"He'll be back," Mike replied.

"The guy is loco and I know loco," Lucia pronounced.

"Johnny is out there- he'll get us help," Mike changed the subject, "We have protocols, he'll follow them."

"You're sure Johnny is ok?" Charlie asked.

"If he wasn't, Bello would have wasted no time rubbing it in my face that he got my friend hurt or killed," he replied, "We just have to sit tight." Mike licked his lips, hoping his body could hold out until then.

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