The Client

Chapter 4

At the offices of the Chloe and Daniel Sinclair Foundation Abby brought Mike and Johnny to the security desk. "Good Morning, Ms. Sinclair," an older security guard greeted her.

"Good morning," she replied.

"And who did you bring with you today?" he asked.

"Mike Warren and Johnny Tuturro," Mike spoke up. Johnny and he showed the man their ids.

"Oh, yes we've been expecting you," the security guard said. "If you'll come with me we will get your pictures taken and you'll have your security badges momentarily," he added.

Abby watched on as their pictures were taken. Johnny was up first. He mugged for the camera making Abby laugh. He straightened up for the real picture. Mike stood in front of the camera without frown or smile. The camera clicked. Abby saw the proof of his photo on the monitor and it make her weak in the knees. Mike was very photogenic.

They received the badges and soon were on their way. Johnny entered Abby's office first. He did a sweep as Abby came in with Mike following her. Mike couldn't help but notice the way her black dress slacks clung to Abby, tailored to perfection. She got to her desk and pulled up her laptop, letting it start up. Abby wore a crisp white button down blouse that fit her like a glove, but covered appropriately for the workplace. She carried herself with confidence. He couldn't take his eyes off of her. "Damn," he muttered under his breath. Classy and sexy as hell.

Johnny stared out the large window that was behind her desk. He frowned. Johnny could easily spot a security liability. Mike detected it too and joined him there. "We need to get the glass filmed," Johnny said. It would obscure the view inside to the office, but still allow the light in.

Mike nodded, "Maybe rearrange the furniture a little."

"Really?" Abby looked around the room, "What's wrong with the way it is?"

"You are way too exposed here," Johnny pointed to the desk and chair.

"But there's no ledges and we're only on the fifth floor so no rooftop sight lines," she pointed out.

"It's easiest to shoot out of a room into another building than out in the open," Johnny corrected.

"More privacy and a quicker get away," Mike added.

Abby shuddered, "All right- we'll figure something out." She was learning more about security issues then she ever wanted too. "The computer is up," Abby stepped out of the way and let Johnny sit in her chair. He slipped in a flash drive and let a program run.

After several minutes the computer beeped. "Ok- it's clean," Johnny replied. He installed an extra firewall to make sure it wouldn't get hacked any time soon. "All done," he got up and left the chair for Abby. She sat and got to work.

As Abby typed away a photograph on her right caught Mike's attention. He knew he saw it in Brennan's office during the interview, but hadn't paid it any mind. Father, mother, sister, brother: the all American family. It was sad to think half of the family was gone. Abby detected his interest. "My mom was a nurse- that's how this place started," Abby said. Five years under Abby's direction and it was going strong.

"Very nice," Mike nodded.

Abby's intercom rang. She answered it, "Yes, Violeta?"

"The board and the first pitch are ready to go in Conference Room 1," her assistant said.

"Thank you," Abby replied.

Charlie stretched as she stepped off the elevator doors. The brutal overnight shift left her drained. Her keys were in her hand. She selected the one to her apartment and readied it. Charlie heard her name called by a neighbor of hers. She looked up to find him waiting at her front door with a couple of cops. "What's up, Ian?" Charlie approached. Before he spoke she got a good look at her door. "Man," Charlie muttered. It was splattered in blood.

"Boy, am I glad to see you," Ian replied.

"How did this happen?" she asked.

"I was heading out with a couple of my friends and when we came out we saw two guys at your door," Ian explained. He had already told this to the cops. "They looked like they were breaking into your place- we asked them what they were doing," Ian continued, "They took off."

"Seriously?!" Charlie shook her head.

"Do you have any idea who would do something like this to you?"

"Hell if I know," she put her hands on her hips and thought, "My friend Abby Sinclair is being harassed like this."

"Sinclair as in the Governor?" the officer made a note.

"She's his daughter," Charlie nodded.

It was a forty-five minute pitched including the discussion among the board members. That over the conference room cleared out. This left Abby with Mike and Johnny. She was going over the proposal papers. Mike heard a noise outside which caused him to step forward to beside Abby. His movement caused Abby to turn to him. Her eyes drifted slowly up Mike. She swallowed. The powder blue dress shirt he was wearing really made Mike's ocean eyes pop. She saw he was on edge and looked at the door.

"Just a noise," he said.

Thankfully he spoke, she went back to work. Johnny snorted. Even he could see they had it bad for each other. Abby decided to check her phone for messages before going back to her office. She had a missed call from Charlie an hour before. Quickly she hit redial. "Hey, Charlie, you rang?" Abby said.

"When I got off work," Charlie chuckled.

"I'm sorry were you trying to sleep?" Abby asked, "I can call you later."

"It's fine, listen- when I got home my front door was vandalized," Charlie informed her.

"What?!" Abby exclaimed. Johnny and Mike huddled around her.

"My neighbor said a couple of guys tried to break in," Charlie clarified.

"Are you ok?" Abby got up and gathered her things.

"I'm fine- the police are looking into it," Charlie answered.

"We're on our way," Abby announced. Mike and Johnny followed her out of the room.

They stayed on the phone until the town car pulled into the garage and parked. Johnny and Mike got the low down on what was going on during the ride.

"We're here- we'll be right up," Abby

"You're not going up," Mike said.

"Mike," she protested.

Mike shook his head, "You're waiting here." Already in between her and the door, he shifted further out - she was not leaving the car while they were there. They had no idea if going after Charlie was a ruse to get Abby to the building.

"I'll go," Johnny added, "What floor is she on?"

Abby looked at both men. All she wanted was to get to her friend. Abby covered the receiver, "Sixth, Apartment 612." She turned her attention back to the phone. "Johnny is coming up to get you," Abby said, "Mike won't let me out of the car."

"He's just trying to protect you- I understand," Charlie replied, "See you in a few minutes."

Johnny exited the car and made his way to the elevators. It rode all the way to Charlie's floor with no stops. "Charlie," Johnny said. He went to her.

"Hey, Johnny," Charlie greeted.

Johnny noted that she was holding herself, "Are you ok?"

"I'm fine," she assured him.

One look at Charlie's door and Johnny swore, "Jackasses." An innate protective instinct kicked in. The affront to Charlie really got his ire up. They had only just met, but Johnny felt a pull towards her. The punks had better hope that Brennan's investigators found them instead of Johnny.

"I don't think it's safe for you to stay here for the time being," the policeman said, "Do you have a place you can go?"

"I guess I need to find a hotel," Charlie rubbed the back of her neck to work out a kink.

"Can we get some of her things?" Johnny asked the officer.

"I guess it's all right- we've swept the place. There are no signs these guys got inside," the officer informed them.

"Thanks," Johnny said.

"Let us know if anything is out of place or missing," he added.

"Sure thing," Charlie said.

They scooted in careful not to disturbed the technician processing the door. Charlie surveyed the living area and let out a sigh of relief. It didn't look like anything but her door had been touch. "Which way is your room?" Johnny asked.

"Beyond the kitchen," Charlie answered. She led him through the kitchen into the back room. Once in her bedroom Charlie wasted no time going to her closet. Opening it she pulled out a small suitcase from the top rack. Charlie set it on the bed. She then began to gather clothes from her closet and dresser drawers. He watched out the door. Even with the cops there Johnny still couldn't shake the feeling that the guys that vandalized Charlie's front door would be back. He wanted her out of there before they showed their faces again. Charlie rolled her clothes and stuffed them in her suitcase. She went into the bathroom. Charlie turned on the light. Opening the medicine cabinet she brought out a toiletry pack. Charlie came back into the bedroom dropped the pack into the suitcase. She zipped the suitcase closed.

Johnny checked his watch, "Five minutes- You've done this before."

"When someone in Denver needs a consult on a procedure I devised and it's for a four-year-old that's in critical condition I gotta go," Charlie shrugged. She was about to pick the suit case up by the handle when Johnny beat her to it. "I can carry my own bag," Charlie said. She was used to doing things for herself.

"Let me help," Johnny requested. Normally if a guy acted like this Charlie would probably accuse him of being chauvinistic, she had had too many runs in with those sorts of men, there was a genuine caring in Johnny's eyes that stopped her. "Do you need anything else?" he asked.

"I'm good," Charlie answered.

Down in the town car Abby drummed her fingers on her knee. "They'll be down soon," Mike promised. Johnny hadn't let him down yet.

They heard the trunk opened and close. Abby watched the door until it opened. Johnny helped Charlie inside then followed.

"Charlie," Abby reached out and hugged her friend, "I am so sorry."

"It's not your fault," Charlie assured her. She sat. Johnny and Mike locked eyes. Neither needed words to say what they were thinking. "We don't even know if this was related to the person after you at all," Charlie insisted, "It could be a couple of punks playing a prank."

"I don't believe in coincidences," Mike said.

"Either way you didn't do anything and I am fine," Charlie told Abby. She didn't want her friend stressing out over this completely unfair situation.

"Someone definitely tried to break in to your apartment," Johnny scowled.

"It would be a smart play: grab you to lure out Abby," Mike frowned.

Charlie yawned, "It didn't work. The police are handling it for now." Not that they could do much of anything. All they had to investigate was damage to property. She leaned back into the seat, "All I want is to find someplace to crash."

"You are staying with Dad and me," Abby insisted. Charlie nearly objected, but the look in Abby's eyes told her she wouldn't win this argument. Besides the estate was huge- they had more than enough room. Charlie was too tired to fight anyway.

"Bates," Abby called to the man upfront, "Take us home, please."

"Right away," he took off.

Abby called their house keeper, "Georgia, please get the room next to mine ready- Charlie is going to be staying with us for a while." Getting the response she expected, Abby hung up the phone. "All set," she smiled at Charlie who had by now had fallen asleep next to Johnny.

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