Taking Trust Into Account

Chapter 15

Mozzie didn’t like orders. It wasn’t a secret that he didn’t like being told what to do, but people told him anyway.

So maybe that was the reason Mozzie didn’t go home, or stay in the car like Diana told him to. Maybe it was spite; it wouldn’t be the first time spite drove him to make stupid decisions.

Whenever a man does a thoroughly stupid thing, it is always from the noblest of motives.

Mozzie almost grinned to himself as Oscar Wilde’s words echoed in his head. How true they were.

Because Neal and Peter were trapped inside that bank with two psychotic killers, and the Feds were never punctual. He knew Diana and her merry band of misfits wouldn’t show up in time.

He needed to do something.

Neal has moved heaven and earth for Mozzie, saving his life more than once. It was time for him to return the favor.

Mozzie peered around the corner. He had gotten out of the car and walked toward the bank. He was on the sidewalk, sitting on a bench at a bus stop, silently watching the bank.

No lights were on, at least none in the lobby. It looked closed. He saw two doors in his line of vision: the main double doors and a door in the alleyway.

Mozzie sighed, trying to think of the smartest way to do this stupid, stupid thing: to get himself inside the bank, take down the killers and find Neal and Peter—and the flash drive if the opportunity presented itself. But the same question kept resurfacing itself in his mind.

Me and what army?

He had to admit it; he wasn’t a fighter. He usually kept to the background, controlling variables from a safe distance. This…

This was going to be different.

Taking a breath, Mozzie stood. He was walking casually toward the alley, when he saw the door open. Mozzie threw himself around the corner of a store beside the bank, on the other side of the alley. He peered around.

Thanks to his perfect recall, Mozzie recognized him instantly. It was Allen. Allen the bank manager was leaving the building in a rush. He shut the door behind him and started walking down the alley, the opposite way of Mozzie.

This is stupid, thought Mozzie as he left his hiding spot, starting to follow Allen through down the alleyway. This is so very stupid.

But if he stopped Allen, Neal and Peter’s safety was almost guaranteed. Mozzie felt a sense of relief at seeing the man; if he wasn’t with Neal and Peter, he wasn’t hurting them.

But Maverick wasn’t with him.

At the same time the relief hit, fear came too. The thought that Maverick had Neal all to himself gave Mozzie chills.

Mozzie avoided a puddle in front of him, careful to keep his footsteps silent. Allen continued walking ahead of Mozzie, oblivious to his tail. He clung to the shadows, staying near the wall of the building parallel to Midtown.

Halfway down the alley, Allen paused. He stopped walking, and suddenly turned. Mozzie kept to the shadows, keeping himself hidden in the night air. Allen squinted, sensing his presence.

Seeming to change his mind, Allen continued, walking faster down the alley. Mozzie followed closely. As they neared the end of the alley, Allen looked up, and Mozzie saw a van. His getaway vehicle.

He couldn’t let Allen leave.

Summoning all the courage he had, Mozzie yelled, “FBI!”

Allen froze, and turned. He saw Mozzie come up from behind him. Allen gave him one look and laughed. “FBI?”

“Yeah, FBI!” said Mozzie, raising his wallet to Allen. It was too dark for Allen to see anything more than just the shape of the wallet, and Mozzie hoped that was enough.

Allen laughed again. “You don’t look like FBI.”

“Thanks,” said Mozzie, putting away his wallet. “That’s always nice to hear.”

Allen looked around. “If you’re FBI, where’s the rest of you?”

“On the way.” said Mozzie.

“Oh, really?” asked Allen. He raised a gun. “You really should have waited for them, then.” He cocked the gun.

“Pulling that trigger would be a big mistake,” said Mozzie. He eyed the gun, nervous, but kept his composure. Fear would get him nowhere.

“It would? I don’t think so.”

“I know about the drive.” said Mozzie, the words out of his mouth before he could think of anything else. Right now, he just needed to stall the man until the Feds showed up. “I know what it does.”

“Do you?” asked Allen, his voice dark. “Then I’d prefer you weren’t breathing.”

Allen raised the gun again, and Mozzie’s heart thudded. There was nowhere to run. He took a step backward, wondering what to do.

And then the bank exploded.

Both Mozzie and Allen were thrown off their feet from the heat wave. Mozzie hit the wall hard, and he fell to the ground. Heat burned his face. A loud ringing erupted in his eardrums. His head pounded. Pushing himself up, he looked at the bank.

The ceiling had half-collapsed. Dust rose into the air, forming a thick cloud. Mozzie coughed, watching thick smoke rise into the air. Flames licked out of the windows.

And Neal and Peter were inside.

Mozzie didn’t have time to get up before Allen yanked him to his feet. He hit Mozzie across the face, and Mozzie staggered backward into the wall. Mozzie quickly noticed that Allen’s gun was missing; he must have dropped it during the explosion. Allen pinned him to the wall, his hand closing around Mozzie’s throat. The air rushed out of Mozzie’s lungs and he gasped, his chest burning. As his vision flickered, he thought that maybe just this once, following orders might not have been so bad after all.

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