In From the Cold

Chapter 22

Bobby POV


It took us two weeks to figure out the killer's pattern.

But once we had it, it only took another day to catch him.

It went smoothly, just like Lacey had said that it would.

Because our guy had a routine.

He would check into a motel, and then go back to the office and complain about it so that they would switch his room.

We figured that he was stashing a webcam in the original room somewhere, and then he would go to the new room and watch the events on his computer screen.

The motels he was selecting were frequented by prostitutes, so it wouldn't take him very long to come across what he was looking for.

And of course, his background was a whole sob story.

Whose wasn't?

His mom had left when he was little and he'd been raised by a father who appreciated the company of hookers and addicts.

Apparently, he'd been subjected to witnessing his father's sexual activity on more than one occasion and now he was living out the fantasy of how he would've liked for things to have happened.

He wished that he could've interrupted his father, killed him, and then forced himself on the woman, thus showing her that he was far superior to his old man.

But instead of that happening, his dad had been hit by a truck while stumbling drunkenly from their apartment to the bar across the street.

Which left the boy, who was by that point a teenager, filled with the need for vengeance and no where to get it.

Until now.

Now he was creating the scenario and reliving it over and over again.

So we'd kept watch on the local motels.

And as soon as we got word that our guy had checked in and then switched rooms, Alex and I got ready.

I made sure that I wore a shirt plenty long enough to cover my…assets so that when I dropped my pants I wouldn't be giving away the store.

And it might seem trivial considering we were preparing to take down a serial killer, but I just didn't want to even have to consider the possibility that Lacey and McHale might be ogling my ass.

Or that it would be on footage that would later be played in court when this guy went to trial.

Because my ass was hopefully going to be what blocked out the camera's view of what Alex was going to be doing.

Or at least, what she would be pretending to be doing.

So I wore a button-down shirt that came down to the edge of my boxer shorts.

Alex was in an outfit meant to make her look like a hooker.

Of course, she was the best looking hooker I'd ever seen in my life, and believe me, I've seen quite a few.

Not like that.

But on the job.

"What will it take for me to get you to wear that outfit again later?" I teased her as we got ready to go.

"You like this?"

"What's not to like?" I replied with a grin.

She stepped up close to me and ran her hand down the front of my shirt.

"Let's get through this and then I'll recreate this whole thing for you," she said in a husky voice. I caught her hand as it settled on my belt buckle.

"The whole thing?" I questioned with blatant interest.

"Well, except for the part about having a guy come in to kill us," she added with a smile.

But her teasing did not lessen my arousal and I really needed to get control of myself.

"Do me a favor," I said, and my voice was strained.

"Sure."

"Don't say anything remotely like that again until we finish this bust, okay?"

She smirked at me and then stepped away to get her coat. I checked the gun that was in my pocket and then we turned on our com devices.

"We're heading out now," Alex told Lacey. She and McHale were set up in the room next to the one that our killer was targeting.

"Be careful."

And we were.

Like I said, it went perfectly.

We went into the room and around to the far side of the bed.

Alex gave me her price.

Twenty dollars, she'd said.

I didn't even want to question why I had to fight back the urge to insist on paying her more.

But I paid the money and then she didn't waste any time.

She got down on her knees in front of me and I reminded myself that this was a sting.

Repeatedly and vehemently reminded myself of that while she went about unbuckling my belt and unzipping my pants and then slowly lowering them to the floor.

Once she cleared the bed height, she worked her hand into the pocket and pulled out my gun which she then wedged between her thighs.

It would've been nice if the guy attacked at this point.

But he didn't.

No, instead we had to go through with the ruse.

I kept my back to the rest of the room, hoping like hell that it would block any specific activity, or lack there of, from view, but still…

"You don't have to impress anyone with your stamina," Alex had told me before we'd come into the room.

"You want me to fake being a two-minute man?" I'd joked.

"The faster you finish, the faster we can get out of here," she'd reminded me.

"I know," I'd assured her.

So I had the shortest fuse in history and we wrapped things up in a matter of minutes.

I'd barely finished shouting out my approval when we heard Lacey yell into our ears, "He's on the move!"

The guy burst into the room, I dropped to the floor, and Alex sprang to her feet with my gun aimed at his head.

He pulled up short, confused by the situation, but then he pointed his weapon at her.

"Federal agent! Drop your weapon," she ordered.

But he didn't.

Instead, he fired off a shot and so did she.

His went wide right.

Hers caught him in the shoulder.

He went down to the ground as Lacey and McHale stormed in to take custody of the now-wounded killer.

"Nice work, Agents," Lacey said as she handed off the guy to the locals. "McHale and I will take care of the details. You two get some rest and we'll head for home first thing in the morning."

We didn't exactly get a lot of rest, but we did enjoy one last night of being in a hotel without surveillance.

And the next day, we drove back to the city and reported in to the federal building.

By now, Beemer's death was old news.

But the circumstance surrounding it was not.

"You know he was dirty, right?" Rivas asked me in a hushed voice.

We were in the men's room, and not exactly my favorite place to carry on a conversation, but I couldn't pass up the opportunity for insight.

"How do you know?"

"He was watching you and Eames."

"What?"

"Yeah, I know, right? Banta found video surveillance footage of your apartment dating back several months. Miles of it. They think that Beemer had a hard-on for you, like he was jealous that you're with Eames now."

"So he taped us?" I asked, ignoring the incorrectness of the idea that Alex had ever had anything to do with Beemer in a personal sense. "Why would he do that?"

"I don't know, but they say that he was using Bureau resources to keep tabs on you guys. And you know what else?"

"I have no idea."

"He had a safe in his apartment."

And now he had piqued my interest.

"What was in it?"

"Five hundred thousand dollars."

On that tidbit, Rivas left the bathroom and I took a moment to think about the latest.

Alex and I had been gone for two weeks.

In that time, the feds had determined that Beemer was a double agent and they'd fully bought into the story that he and Alex used to be an item and so they'd latched onto the idea that he had been taping us out of jealousy.

But now I had even more questions.

Had he been the one taping us?

Or was someone setting him up to look bad?

And had Beemer anticipated this? Is that why he'd planted the seed that Alex used to date him?

I repeated these questions to Alex when I met up with her in our conference room.

"Maybe he was listening," she suggested. "Maybe he wanted to be sure that we were looking into Ross' murder for the right reasons."

"You mean because we wanted justice as opposed to being more plants by Hassan?"

"Right. I mean, our department did let him go. Maybe Beemer didn't trust that we were the good guys."

"You're assuming that he was one."

"It's awfully convenient otherwise, don't you think? And they just happened to find money in his apartment?"

"Five hundred thousand," I mused. "Does that buy information on an undercover's identity?"

"You think it would be more?"

"I don't know," I admitted in frustration. "But we need to get back on track. We need to find out who was calling Isabelle Mullins. And we need to know more about Banta. Don't you think it's odd that he's the one who conducted the search of Beemer's place?"

"Definitely," she agreed. "And so who are they saying killed him?"

"The official word now is that it was one of Beemer's yet-to-be-found informants."

"An informant who travels with three of his closest buddies? I find that hard to believe. Those guys always work alone."

"Exactly. But I'm guessing that we're not supposed to know the details. I mean, that kind of puts us in a bind. We can't question it because we supposedly weren't there. And I haven't caught wind of anyone mentioning that there was more than one person involved."

"Well, at least we can pull the cameras from our apartment," she reminded me.

"That's true," I agreed. "And if they truly buy the theory that it was an informant who killed Beemer then they must no longer suspect that we were involved."

"Which means that we shouldn't be in any danger."

"Except from the real mole. Because I don't know about you but I'm pretty sure that it wasn't Beemer."

"Yeah. I hate to admit it, but you're right. It wasn't him. Which means that we still have to keep looking."

I didn't trust Banta enough for Alex to meet with him, but I still needed to talk to Agent Hooker, so we decided that she had a doctor's appointment.

"I don't like leaving you alone in this building," she'd said when I made the suggestion.

"With the mole? Or with Hooker?" I teased.

"Bobby, I'm serious. If this is a cover-up, it's huge. There could be a lot more dirty agents than we thought. I mean, there was a whole team involved in that search of Beemer's place."

"But it only takes one to plant evidence. Or to throw out a suggestion and then lead the others in that direction, right?"

"That's true," she agreed.

"And Hooker's not part of this."

"Are you sure? It was Banta's idea to set you two up."

She had a point.

"We won't leave the office," I assured her. "And in the mean time, you can touch base with Maas and bring him up to speed."

"Goren," Stahl said, poking her head into the room. "I need to steal Eames from you for just a minute."

"Um…sure," Alex said, getting up from her chair. "And then I need to run out. I have a doctor's appointment."

"That's fine. This'll only take a minute."

I watched through the glass door as Stahl had a brief chat with Alex.

It looked as though maybe she was apologizing.

For being looked at as a suspect? It was hard to say, but the conversation was short and then Stahl walked away without another word.

Alex stepped back into the room.

"She wanted to make sure that I was okay," she explained. "And she told me that she reprimanded Banta for accusing me of having something to do with Beemer's murder."

"Well, it wasn't just Banta."

"That's what I said, but apparently he was the one who started the ball rolling. She also promised me that the surveillance tapes were locked up in evidence."

"That's good to know. What about the audio tapes?"

"She said all of it. According to her, we're bug free."

"Yeah, well, I'll believe it when I hear it from Jimmy."

"Call him," she agreed. "I'll go do my thing and you…see what you can find out from the hooker."


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