Alex and I were both distracted for most of the day Monday.
We simply wanted to skip ahead to our meeting with Beemer, but of course, it didn't work like that.
First, we'd had to analyze the evidence on Agent Lacey's case. And quite honestly, it was a pretty boring case.
I'd questioned her as to why she'd pulled a White Collar crimes case, but she didn't have an answer for me.
"I take what the boss gives me," she'd replied with a shrug.
So not only were we distracted but we were bored to tears, too.
And then at lunch, when all I wanted to do was get Alex alone so that we could discuss theories about the latest development in our real case, instead Banta had called me.
"She wants to meet with you," he'd told me.
"Who?" I'd asked as I rolled my eyes at Alex and mouthed Banta's name.
Because yeah, that was her name.
Alex had had a field day with that one.
"Her name is Hooker? What's her first name? Ima?"
"It's Dreama, actually," I'd told her with a grin.
What kind of parents would do that to their daughter?
So anyway, Banta had said that Hooker wanted to meet me for lunch, and that I should take Alex to the diner down the block and he'd take care of everything else.
"What did he mean by that?" she'd asked me. "He'll take care of it how?"
Turned out, what he did was call Alex.
"Casteel needs you," he'd said.
Which apparently in the Bureau was code for getting someone alone.
Alex and I had just sat down together at a booth in the diner so we hadn't even had a chance to start any kind of discussion.
"I guess that's my cue," she'd said on a sigh. "And I suppose the hooker is lurking somewhere nearby to take my place."
"No one will ever take your place."
She put both of her hands on my face and kissed me firmly before getting up from the booth.
"I'll see you back at work," she'd said. "Be careful."
"You, too," I'd asserted.
She'd been gone for all of five minutes when Agent Hooker came into the diner.
"Agent Goren! I thought I might find you here. Do you mind if I sit down?"
And I'll be honest. She was a nice enough looking woman.
But I had a hard time even feigning interest.
I was strictly a one-woman man these days.
But I managed to get through the lunch and I even told her that I'd love to stop by her office some time and see her work.
Because I was fascinated with computer technology.
She actually bought it, which had me concerned about her level of intelligence, but whatever.
If she wanted to dazzle me with her ability to hack the Bureau files then I was going to let her do it.
Because I wanted to know everything there was to know about Beemer.
And even Rivas, because even though we'd moved him off of our short list, we still needed to check him out.
Just because he was married, didn't mean he wasn't above swindling some poor unsuspecting HR secretary into giving up information.
Just like I was doing to Agent Hooker, I reminded myself.
Although I wasn't exactly married, but…I may as well be.
Because like I said, Alex was it for me.
I'd met Alex back at work and found her to be in a foul mood.
"What happened?" I'd asked her.
"Banta pounced on me as soon as I left the diner," she'd told me.
"Pounced? What do you mean by that?"
"I mean he talked my damn ear off for the whole hour. About himself. We don't need your cheap little friend to look up anything on him because I can tell you every damn thing about him," she'd said as she paced around the conference room. "He lives in an apartment with a great view of the river. He grew up in Kentucky, but he always knew that he was meant for bigger and better things. He went to some podunk school in the back woods and managed to get himself a scholarship to UT-Chat, but he didn't stop there, and do you know why?"
"Because he was meant for bigger and better things?" I'd asked cautiously.
"Right. Because he's God's gift to women. So he broke the heart of every woman in Tennessee by moving to New York to go to graduate school. At which point the FBI actively recruited him because they knew that he had what it takes to be a top agent, maybe even the director some day. And oh yeah, he has a black belt in karate and he won the regional spelling bee back in bumfuck Kentucky when he was in the third grade."
She'd finished her tirade and stood staring at me, her eyes flashing in irritation and I felt a resurgence of love for her.
It was crazy, really, that her explosion of temper made me love her more, but it did.
She was real and she was passionate.
And she was mine.
"So, how was your date?" she'd asked me hotly. "Did you get lucky?"
"Uh…no, but I did get invited to come and see her in action." She narrowed her eyes at me and I'd quickly added, "On the computer. She wants me to come to her office some time."
"Which is why we're doing all of this," she'd said as she expelled a deep breath. "I know, and I'm sorry. I don't mean to take it out on you. It was just…that guy was really…"
"Sounds like it," I'd agreed, referencing her non-verbal sound of disgust. "But it sounds like you got some interesting information."
"I don't think he's really a black belt," she'd said with a shake of her head.
"I mean about the apartment. Do you think he really has a place with a great view of the river?"
"I don't know," she'd replied, but then she nodded her head when she realized where I was going. "And how in the hell can he afford that on a government salary when he obviously doesn't come from money?"
"I didn't even catch that," she'd said, switching the focus of her annoyance to herself instead of Banta. "I got so irritated with him, and then I kept thinking about what you were doing, and…I'm sorry."
"You were worried about me?" I'd asked her, and since we were alone, I'd reached out and traced my fingers down the length of her arm. "You should know better."
"I know," she'd said. "I do. But still…"
The rest of the afternoon, we worked on Lacey's case. Then at four-thirty, we went to her office to give her an update and then we were excused for the day.
"You two have a nice night, and I'll see you in the morning," Lacey had said as we'd left her office.
Huh. If she only knew.
I mean, it started out nice enough.
Really nice, in fact.
Alex reasserted her claim on me as soon as we walked into the apartment. I knew that it had been building, so I wasn't surprised when she went immediately over to the bookshelf.
"I think I'm going to read a little bit before dinner," she said as she picked up books at random, glanced at them and then put them back on the shelf.
And yeah, even though we hadn't tried this little trick yet, I still knew what she was about to do.
I was hard just watching her.
Because after another minute, she picked up the book that had the camera in the spine.
"Are you sure you want to read?" I asked her as she flipped through the pages.
"Why, did you have a better idea?" she retorted.
"As a matter of fact…" I began, and then I walked over to her and took the book from her hands, setting it back on the shelf, only now it was horizontal. With the camera facing the back of the shelf. "I think that I have a much better idea."
And even though I was the forceful one in our little show for the camera, once we turned that book around, she took over.
"You always have the best ideas," she said as she turned on the radio so as to help drown out our voices.
Then she walked me backwards, quickly undoing my tie as the backs of my knees hit the sofa.
She pushed on my chest, sitting me down, and then immediately straddled my lap and started kissing me.
"Do you know how long I've wanted to do this?" I whispered into her ear before I grabbed onto the lobe with my teeth.
"We just did this yesterday," she reminded me softly. "In the bath tub."
"No, I mean on this couch," I explained.
My words caused her to pause for a moment, where she'd been unbuttoning my shirt. She looked at me curiously.
"You have a thing for couches?"
"I have a thing for you. And this is where I was the first time I…well…you know."
I wasn't sure why I couldn't say the word masturbate when I presently had both of my hands down the back of her pants and she was sitting pressed up against my erection, but for some reason, I couldn't.
I didn't need to, though.
She caught my drift.
"How old is this couch?" she teased as she resumed her efforts to remove my shirt.
"I don't mean ever," I said on a laugh. "I mean while thinking about you."
That stopped her again.
"You thought about me…like that?" she asked in surprise.
"All of the time," I confessed. I hoped that she wasn't mad to learn that I'd done that, but she didn't seem to be. In fact, she seemed to like that idea quite a bit.
"Right here on this couch?" she asked with a smile.
"Uh huh," I replied, and I got her to move enough so that I could slide her pants down off of her legs and then she divested me of mine before she reclaimed her spot on my lap.
"I had no idea," she admitted. "So tell me. What would I do?"
She pulled my shirt from my arms and slowly ran her fingers across my chest, working in a steady downward motion.
"Pretty much exactly what you're doing," I told her.
"Well, you know…you are kind of bossy, so…" I teased.
"You imagined me giving you orders?"
"More like directives. Explicit instructions," I elaborated.
And then I let out a low moan as she settled down onto me.
"You want me to talk dirty to you," she concluded as she began a slow, tortuous pace. I ran my hands up her back and into her hair, pulling her down for a kiss before I responded.
"Well, it was just a fantasy," I told her. "It's not like…"
"Bobby," she interrupted.
And then she leaned down and started whispering in my ear.
And let me tell you, I have a pretty damn good imagination.
But my mental estimation of the things she might say and exactly the effect it would have on me...well, let's just say that my imagination wasn't even close. She was really good at talking dirty.
So yeah, our evening started off with a bang.
But then we had to get back to business.
I'd called Maas earlier in the day, and Logan as well.
"You guys are into some serious shit, aren't you?" Logan had asked me when I'd requested his assistance. "I mean, of course I'll watch your back, but what exactly do you think is going to happen?"
"We don't know. That's the thing. He could be a good guy offering information on the sly or he could be the bad guy and he's setting us up."
"Am I your only back up?"
"We've got one guy from the department."
And then I'd laid out our plan for him.
The address that Beemer had given us was for a bar in Brooklyn. Alex and I were going to wait inside the bar.
We'd go early enough to make sure that we were there first. Then we could watch from inside and assess the threat level.
Maas would be watching from a location across the street.
Logan would be in the alley, watching the back exit.
It was an extremely dangerous scenario, but we couldn't pass it up.
This could be what we'd been working towards for the past six months.
So at seven-thirty, Alex and I found a seat in the bar where we were far enough in the back not to be seen from outside, and yet we had a good look at the front door.
"Are you in position?" I asked Logan.
"I'm here. It's quiet."
I'd had to tell Maas about Logan. He wasn't crazy about bringing in a civilian, but ultimately he'd agreed to it. Because we needed more help and we still weren't sure who else we could trust.
Moran didn't exactly do field work anymore. I'd considered asking Nichols, but I didn't know his new partner at all and I wasn't sure what kind of a leash she had him on. I didn't need anyone's suspicions raised.
"How does it look up front?" I asked Maas.
"I see Beemer," he said. "He's coming down the street. He's almost to the door."
"Is he clean?"
"I think so…no, wait."
Alex and I each held our breath as we waited to get the status report from Maas. No one opened the door to the bar, but we both watched it intently.
And then we heard gunfire.
"Get out of there!" Maas yelled. "Go out the back!"
Alex hopped up from the booth and headed for the back hallway.
I was right on her heels, but I made one quick glance over my shoulder and saw that the front door was opening up.
"Beemer is down," Maas reported. "The shooter is coming inside."
I couldn't make out the individual who was entering, because he was wearing a dark jacket with a cap pulled down over his eyes, but I saw his head move from side to side, searching the establishment.
I turned back around and followed Alex out of the door and into the alley. Logan was near the end waving us towards him.
"Did he see you?" Logan asked, looking past us back toward the rear exit.
"I don't know. I don't think so," I replied.
But the words had no sooner left my mouth when the back door came flying open.
The three of us turned and ran as four shots echoed through the alleyway.
We turned a corner into another alley, only this one had a chain-link fence at the end of it.
"Shit," Logan grunted as looked around for a crate to help us get over the top.
I quickly bent over and locked my hands for Alex to use as a step. She was up and over the ten foot fence in a matter of seconds.
Logan tossed a vegetable box on the ground.
"Go," he ordered. "You can't let them see you or your cover's blown."
He was right, so I didn't argue.
We were obviously close to something here. And Beemer hadn't been the bad guy.
But he must have known who the responsible party was and he was going to tell us so that we could catch him.
Only now I had a feeling that Beemer wasn't going to be doing much talking.
Logan pulled out his gun, firing off a couple of rounds in the direction from which we'd come while I climbed over the fence.
"Come on!" I called out once I was over.
He tucked his gun away and hopped up onto the crate and then scaled the fence.
"You two sure know how to show a guy a good time," he retorted as he jumped down.
"Get out of there!" Maas shouted again. "Three more are in pursuit!"
"We're going as fast as we can," I answered.
"Get around to 2nd and I'll pick you up! Go, go, go!"
We hustled down that alley, around another corner, and then came out onto 2nd Street just as a black sedan came barreling straight for us.
"I sure hope that's Maas," Alex muttered as the car screeched to a stop next to us.
The passenger door came flying open.
"Get in!" he yelled at us.
Our pursuers rounded the last corner at that moment and once again started firing at us. Alex whipped open the back door and the two of us dove into the backseat of the car while Logan jumped in the front. Maas pulled away before we even had the doors closed.
"What the hell happened?" Alex asked as he sped down the street.
"Beemer's dead," Maas told us. "Someone must have found out that he was going to talk to you two."
"Us specifically? Or someone?" I asked him.
Because it made a difference.
A huge difference.
If Beemer had stumbled onto information that he was going to turn over to someone, then me and Alex were still safe.
If whoever was after us knew that it was us…well, then we could very well be next on the list.