I sat in the back corner of the building, a file open in front of me while a stack sat off to the side, pressing up against the salt and pepper shakers. The room was full of life, tables full of patrons as they sipped away at their milkshakes and savoured the sweet taste of their cherry pie. I smiled as I looked around me. Bobby-Joe’s Diner was my favourite place to go when Wi-fi wasn’t a necessary need as I was working on my cases.
Bobby-Joe’s was just outside of the city, an old truck stop famous for its milkshakes and bacon cheeseburgers. It was your typical old building. The cream walls were covered with 1950’s pin-up girl photos, black and white photos of famous actors and musicians that had stopped in over the years. The floor was black and white checkered tiles, many of them cracked and showing their age. The tables are still the same 1950’s style red and white. The leather on the back of the chairs and booths well worn with use and bleached from the sun that shines brightly through the large windows. Bobby-Joe’s was my home away from home.
“Here’s your shake, love.” Maryanne set the large glass filled with chocolate and vanilla milkshake in front of me.
I smiled up at the woman. “Thanks.” I pulled the glass closer and wrapped my lips around the stainless steel straw. “As perfect as always, Maryanne.”
“Anything else, dear?”
“No, I’ll get some food in a little while, just not ready yet.”
“I’ll come back in a little while then.” She smiled, her red lips turning up to show her white teeth.
I turned back to the files that sat on the table. Sarah’s notes were detailed, very informative on the ins and outs of White Valley Institute. She had detailed notes on Paul Van-Hall, and Michelle Dawson that were incredibly helpful for our ongoing investigation. As I read through her notes, I added my own notes alongside hers, highlighting things that stood out the most.
I was halfway through my shake when I felt a dip in the bench seat beside me. I looked up from the files, a frown on my face as I glanced at the person who dared to invite themselves into my space.
A large burly man sat beside me, while his friend, who was equally as large sat down on the other side of the table. I glared at them both, their presence incredibly unwanted, especially when my eyes landed on the Bethel’s Devil’s patch that sat boldly on the back and sleeves of their leather jackets.
“Can I help you?” I asked, my tone flat.
“Your Felix’s girl, yeah?” The man beside me asked.
I glared. “I’m not anyone’s girl.”
“I’ll take that as a yes.” The man with graying hair that sat across from me said.
“Well, we have a message for him -”
“He is a fairly reachable person, I’m sure. You can tell him the message.”
“Nah, I think he would take it more seriously if it came from you.” The man beside me sneered. “You can tell him that there isn’t an out. There never was an out, and if he thinks he can leave Bethel’s Devil’s the men would be more than happy to take him out, and you for a spin.” He smiled, his yellowing teeth showed behind his thick beard. “If you understand my meaning.” He looked me up and down.
I glared at the man, my stomach churning with disgust as I took in his words.
“Felix’s problems aren’t my problems.” I closed my file and added it to the stack. “Now, you can kindly go fuck yourself. No, you know what, go fuck yourself, you pig.” I glared at both of them before my eyes snapped to the woman who approached our table.
She wasn’t overly tall. Maybe a few inches shorter than myself. She wore dark-gray slacks, with a matching jacket and an emerald blouse underneath. Her black hair was pulled back into a slick, tight bun. Her dark chocolate eyes were rimmed with thick full lashes, ones other girls would die for. Her nose was round, her lips full. The gate in her step, and her appearance screamed cop, and in this moment I was really hoping she was.
“These two men bothering you?” She asked as she walked up to us. Her right hand moved to the side of her hip, flipping the side of her jacket back to show the gun that was holstered at her hip.
“No.” Gray hair was too quick to respond.
I glared at him, “Yes, actually they are.” I smiled up at her.
“I see.” Her eyes looked over the two men. “I suggest you two move along before I find a reason to put you two in cuffs and send you downtown, and I’m sure that stay would end up being much longer than just one night.” She raised an eyebrow.
The two men quickly scrambled from the booth, giving me one last look before they made their way out of the building.
“Thanks.” I smiled up at her.
“No problem.” She stuck out her hand. “Agent Lucelle Diaz, FBI. Agent Diaz is fine.” She sat down across from me. “You’re Ella Lee, correct?”
I looked at her, shock forming on my face. “Um, yeah.”
“I was hoping to speak to you.” She pulled out her phone and flipped the screen to face me.
“Do you recognize this man?”
I stared down at the photo. I felt my stomach drop. Dark eyes stared back at me, so dark that they almost looked black. The man’s face was lean, pale, salt and pepper hair topped his head. It was much thinner than the last time I remember seeing him, much more gray than before.
I looked back up at her. “Clyde Isodene.” His name tasted like acid on my tongue, just like it always had, but today it felt different.
“The FBI has caught wind of the events that took place during White Valley’s run. I was last working a case in New York when another agent had made a few arrests of previous employees. We realized that these people were connected to Dr. Isodene. We were given your name, as the top informant that had given over the majority of evidence that they needed for an arrest.”
I listened to her as she spoke, my mind spinning at the thought that the FBI was looking for the same man that I was.
“We were hoping to hire you as a consultant, someone who could help us piece together what we needed in order to find Clyde Isodene.”
“I have a team.” It felt weird saying those words. Would working with the FBI be a good thing or was this their way of taking out anyone else that could get in the way of their investigation?
“That’s fine. They’re more than welcome to work alongside you.” She grabbed her badge off her hip and pulled out a card from the back pocket.
“Give me a call once you have an answer.” She pushed the card across the table. I took it, giving it a look before gazing back at her.
“Sure.” I felt my mind spinning.
I needed time to think about her offer. For now, this would stay between the two of us.
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