The next morning I slept in until ten o’clock. Ranger and I had had a very busy night and I was very tired. I woke up relaxed and refreshed for what seemed like the first time since the Sunday before. Ranger was already up and was working in the office. I finished in the bathroom before walking in to see him reviewing timesheets.
“Did you already have your workout?” I asked with a yawn.
“Yes, and I spent an hour in the range practicing.”
“Have you eaten breakfast?”
“No. I waited for you. Ella said that she would make us pancakes whenever we were ready.”
“You eat syrup? Isn’t that awfully sweet for you?”
Ranger smiled. “Yes, I do eat syrup. However, Ella makes this fabulous coconut sauce that she promised me she would make for the pancakes today. You will love it.” I slid into Ranger’s lap and wrapped my arms around his neck. I gave him a deep kiss. “Or, we could wait for breakfast”, he said.
Ranger was right. Ella’s coconut sauce was much better than maple syrup. It was made with real coconut milk, and although Ella’s pancakes were light and fluffy, they were just an excuse to have the sauce. I just about licked the plate clean when I was finished. Ranger was smiling as he watched me clean my plate. “Didn’t I tell you that it was good?” he asked.
“You did, and you were right. It was well worth waiting for.”
“You minded waiting?” he asked, teasing me. “I seem to remember it being your idea to wait.”
“The waiting period was worth waiting for as well. In fact, our whole day so far has been perfect.”
“Did you want to go after either of your outstanding skips?”
“I want to go after Deville today, and perhaps do some phoning to try to get in touch with Nyetta’s family members.”
“Do you want company on capturing Deville?”
“That would be wonderful. He is like Alyssa. He should not be a runner because he was hurt in the blast. It should be a simple transport to the precinct.”
I cleared the table and walked into the bathroom. Ranger got dressed and made the bed while I had a shower and shaved my legs, and dried my hair and applied makeup. I came out from the bathroom wrapped in a towel. Ranger was already back at work at the computer. I sorted through my clean laundry and pulled out the tank top dress that I wore on one of Ranger’s and my dates and shimmied into it. In deference to the steamy heat outside, I put my hair up in a ponytail and put on sandals. “You are going to have your gun with you. Do you think I need to carry my gun as well? And since you are going to be there, do you think I can leave the pepper spray and the stun gun at home, too?”
“You should be fine to leave them at home this time. Deville sounds like he is going to be pretty tame.”
“That’s the hope.” I put the gun and other paraphernalia on my shelf in Ranger’s closet. Ranger came in behind me and picked up my gun, putting it in his locked gun cabinet. We then left the apartment for the day.
“Do you plan on carrying your gun and other accessories tomorrow?” asked Ranger.
“No, I don’t. I wouldn’t be able to wear them as a utility belt as it would tip the felons off, and although I might take just my pepper spray in my purse, I don’t think with two Rangeman staff there with guns I need to be carrying a gun as well.”
“Why don’t you just carry your gun in your purse?”
“I could, but I think that is adding unnecessary weight.”
“Okay. I will tell the staff that you won’t be carrying and that you will need capture services first of all, and bodyguarding services as a secondary assignment.”
“It’s all going to be smooth sailing. We’re not going to need bodyguarding services.”
“Good. Then the Rangeman staff jobs will be easy.” We got in the car and Ranger lifted my hand up to kiss my knuckles. “Where do you want to go for dinner tomorrow?”
“It will be quite late by the time we are finished. I think the last pick up is between eight and nine o’clock at night. How about if we have one of Ella’s dinners and just go out for dessert and a drink afterwards?”
“Or, we could have Ella fix us a snack for dinner and then go out for a late dinner, just the two of us.”
“That works, too.”
“Let’s do that. Where do you want to go?”
“I’m flexible. Do you have anywhere in mind?”
“How about Mexican food? I will phone later to see if they are open tomorrow evening.”
“That sounds good.”
Ranger parked his car a couple of houses down the street. We got out of the car. “You are taking the lead this time, for the same reason I took the lead last time. When Deville gets his eyes on you in that dress, he’ll follow you anywhere.”
“Thanks. You look good, too.” Ranger smiled one of his half-smiles and his eyes grew dark.
We walked up the front pathway to the door and rang the doorbell. After a few minutes, we rang the doorbell again. Ranger got down off the front porch and walked around the house, peering in windows. He came back, saying “there is a gentleman sitting in the chair watching TV at the back of the house. Keep ringing the doorbell and I am sure that he will come. I will try his phone to see if I can get him that way.” Ranger pulled out his phone and called the number in Deville’s file. Ranger was able to make a connection. “Mr. Deville, my partner and I are here representing your bonding agent, and we are at your front door right now. We are going to come in and I didn’t want to scare you.” He paused. “No, sir, this is not breaking and entering. You have missed your court date, and as such we now have the legal right to enter any premise in which we suspect you are hiding. Since I saw you through the window, I am certain you are currently at home. Do you want to come and unlock the door and let us in, or do we need to break in?” Ranger listened to an impressive litany of swear words, then handed the phone over to me to listen to while he took his lock picks out of this pocket and picked the lock. Within seconds he had unlocked the door and opened it. He took the phone back. “Sir, we are just coming in now”, he said, and hung up.
We walked through to the living room and saw Deville struggling to get out of the chair he was sitting on. “I want my gun, and I am going to shoot you”, he said.
“Mr. Deville, we are here representing Vincent Plum Bail Bonds. You missed your court date and need to come back into the station to reschedule. Until you do, you are a wanted fugitive. Once you reschedule you can come back here to look after yourself until your court date comes up”, I said.
“I shouldn’t have to go to court. It was a mistake and anyone with half a brain can see that I am paying dearly for that mistake. It is not fair that I should have to go to jail as well.”
“Cases aren’t just thrown out for the sake of throwing out cases. It can be done, but you have to go to court and explain to the judge why your case should be thrown out. You cannot just autocratically decide that your case is not valid. I think you stand a good chance, but I cannot decide that either. That can only be decided in a court of law. What I can tell you is that, by not going into court, you are making yourself look bad and the judge will take that into consideration when he or she is determining what should happen. If I were you, I would get rescheduled as soon as you can, show up when you are supposed to, and clear this off your record.”
“It’s not fair.”
“That may be, sir, but that is not for us to decide. That is for the judge to decide. Where did you get hurt in the blast?”
“I got all three of my legs burned before I was able to pull myself away from the inferno.”
“Yeah, you know, my third one, if you catch my drift. Everything still hurts. I had blisters on top of blisters and have been on painkillers ever since the blast.”
“I am sorry to hear that, sir. Do you need some help up off the couch?” I moved to take the blanket off Vance’s lap. He grabbed the blanket back. “I don’t have anything on. Clothes are too restrictive and uncomfortable.”
“What do you wear to the doctor’s when you go?”
“I wear sweatpants, but they are on the floor in my room and I am having troubles bending down to pick them up.”
“Why don’t you come up to the bedroom with us and point them out to me. I will pick them up for you, and Ranger will wait with you while you get dressed. Then we will take you in to the station.”
“What happens if I don’t want to get dressed?”
I shrugged. “You wouldn’t be the first skip I have brought in wearing nothing at all. I wouldn’t recommend that. And Ranger definitely wouldn’t recommend that since we are driving his car. I will turn my back while you stand up so that you can wrap your blanket around yourself, and I will lead the way to your bedroom. You can show me your sweatpants when we get there.”
I led the way to his bedroom and Vance pointed out his sweatpants on his very messy bedroom floor. I picked them up for him, and put them on his bed. “Do you need anything else?” I asked.
“Nope. Just to brush my teeth and have the chance to finish up in the bathroom before I go.”
“Ranger will stick around while you are getting ready. I will wait downstairs for you.” I walked downstairs to the sounds of Vance quickly using the washroom and brushing his teeth. A few minutes later, he came hobbling down the stairs, a look of pain in his face.
“This is ridiculous. I think I would rather go in naked”, he grumbled to himself.
“That is certainly your prerogative, sir. Either way, we are taking you in now.” He looked at me with a somewhat confused expression on his face. “To be dressed or not to be dressed, that is the question”, I said.
“You would really take me in bare naked?” he asked.
“Absolutely. I’ve done it before. In fact, the first person I ever brought in was naked. He was about one hundred and two years old and needed a severe ironing.”
“That was a visual I didn’t need to have. In that case I will keep my clothes on.”
I slowly led Vance out of the house and down to the car. We didn’t bother cuffing him – he wasn’t going anywhere anyway.
“Please tell me that I don’t need to wear a seatbelt”, he begged.
“I am sorry. It is against the laws to ride in a car without a seatbelt on”, I said. “Just be glad that we aren’t cuffing and shackling you. That is protocol for taking in skips, but I thought with your injuries you might prefer to be able to shift around, and perhaps put your hands under your seatbelt to loosen it off some.” Vance nodded his head in thanks.
Ranger beeped the Cayenne open and I helped Vance into the back seat. I watched while he put his seatbelt on and suggested that he put his hands between the belt and his legs to take the pressure off his midsection. Then, once he was all tucked in, Ranger and I got in the car and drove Vance to the station.