Familiar Lovers

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Chapter Five

Friday morning was anything but ordinary for Melanie. She awoke just minutes before her alarm was set to go off and felt refreshed and ready to face the world, despite the fact that she had slept barely four hours the whole night. Jordan slept silently beside her and that in itself, made waking up worthwhile.

She quietly slipped out of bed and hurried through her shower. She slipped into a knee length blue and white striped skirt, and a white blouse, then pulled her long hair into a braid. Applying just a hint of makeup to her beautiful face, she went into the kitchen and began cooking breakfast. It seemed strange to be cooking for a man again after all this time, and a part of her wondered if Jordan would enjoy her cooking more than Donald did.

The sound of the bathroom door closing made the realization of Jordan’s presence vivid, as chills of excitement and apprehension shot along her lower limbs. She poured a cup of hot coffee and carried it carefully down the hall. She paused momentarily at the linen closet. She took an unwrapped toothbrush off the shelf, then stepped back to the bathroom, rapping lightly on the door before pushing it open just an inch. The mirror was fogged over with the steam from the shower and the smell of herbal shampoo filled the small confines of the room.

“Mind if I come in?” she asked through the small opening.

“Only if you make it worth my time,” he chuckled.

“Exactly how would you have me do that, Mr. James?”

Melanie edged in through the door and sat the toothbrush and coffee cup on the counter. Jordan’s head peeked out through a small opening in the shower curtain and he smiled a swollen, crooked grin to her.

“I could think of at least a dozen ways if you have the time.”

“I wish I did, but it’s getting late,” she teased. “You slept in and I only have an hour before I have to be at school. I have some coffee here for you, and a toothbrush. When you’ve finished, I’ll have breakfast ready. If you hurry, I’ll have coffee with you before I have to leave.”

She left the bathroom, closing the door on the man’s irritated grunt. She turned the corner to the kitchen just in time to save her omelet from total destruction. Flipping it out of the pan, she turned the burner off and reached for the toast. Once the crunchy, warm bread was covered in butter, she began to arrange the food on the plate. She turned to see Jordan step around the corner, his damp hair dripping over his bare shoulders as he set his coffee cup on the counter, then wrapped his strong arms around her waist.

“Something smells good out here,” he purred, kissing the soft skin beneath her ear.

“It’s called food,” she told him.

Closing her eyes, she leaned back against his damp shoulder and fell into a world of passion and desire. The warmth of his arms felt like a blanket of security, surrounding her entire soul. His hands moved up her blouse to her breasts, where he began to play with her hard nipples beneath the layers of fabric.

“I wasn’t referring to the food,” Jordan growled next to her ear.

He turned her to face him as he covered her mouth eagerly with his own. Minutes seemed like an eternity, as his lips played a wicked game of desire and need against her resistance. His hands caressed her with a gentle touch, moving her skirt upwards as she began panting.

“Your breakfast is going to get cold,” she insisted, drawing a deep breath and pushing away from his inviting body with reluctance.

“I thought breakfast was supposed to be cold?”

His voice was a husky, deep whisper as he stared at her, eager to reacquaint their bodies.

“Not this morning. I’ve made a special meal just for you and its hot. Now, sit down and eat.”

Jordan chuckled as he did as he was told and took up occupancy at the wooden table. His swollen lip made eating difficult, but he managed well enough after a minute or two.

Melanie watched the man with interest, wondering what it was about him that seemed so familiar. His right eye was black and swollen, with a dark bruise etching his cheekbone underneath. His bottom lip was fat and blue with a thin split in the corner of it. He looked pitiful and sore and she smiled at his misery in spite of herself.

She cleared her throat as she stood up from the table, taking her coffee cup with her. Jordan’s one good eye followed her actions, watching her pour another cup of the hot steaming liquid.

“Aren’t you going to eat?” he asked her, stuffing more of the ham and cheese omelet between his sore lips.

“I’m not a breakfast person,” she answered, setting the frying pan in the sink, then wiping her hands on a kitchen towel on her way back to the table. “Besides, there was only enough arsenic for one.”

“Trying to get rid of me, Miss Kent?” he asked her softly, his dark eyes twinkled through a pillow of swollen flesh.

“That’s a risk you’re just going to have to take,” she answered. “What are you going to tell your job about your face?”

“I guess I’m just going to have to tell them the truth. You got mad at me coming in late and clobbered me.”

Melanie threw the small towel at the man, receiving an honest laugh in response.

“If you dare tell anybody that, I’ll tell my father what you did last night. He’ll have you at the alter before the day’s over.”

“Sounds good to me. Shall I call him, or do you want to?”

“Very funny, but you won’t be smiling after my dad gets through with you, not to mention my four older brothers and two brothers-in-law.”

“You mean I’d look worse than I do right now?”

“May I ask you a question?” she began hesitantly wondering if it was a good time to broach her suspicions.

“Anything, Darling,” he told her.

“Are you…have you ever been…”

Melanie paused. How was she supposed to ask him about a cheap blonde and children if she couldn’t get her tongue to work.

“What is it?”

“Do you have anyone…special…in your life?”

“Yes, as a matter of fact, I do,” he told her in a steady, calm voice.

“Oh,” she said, fighting the urge to cry.

“I don’t have a wife if that’s what you’re asking.”

“But you have someone you care about?”

“Yes, very much, and I’ve been fighting myself for going too fast. I wasn’t sure if she would accept me into her life, especially after avoiding her all week. Until last night, I wasn’t sure if she would ever want to see me again.”

Melanie frowned, then felt the blush creep up her cheeks when she realized he was referring to her. She watched the amused, lopsided grin cross his face before sitting down at the table. She couldn’t explain it, but she felt happy, content, and a strange sensation of belonging to one person seemed to embrace her. Then the thoughts of last night came rushing back to her, and she began to fear what might have happened to him.

“Do you have any idea who was in your place, Jordan?”

The seriousness of her tone made the man frown with concern before confronting her gaze fully.

“It really scares you, doesn’t it?”

“Nobody has ever had their apartment broken into before. I guess I’m just a little nervous.”

“You don’t have to worry about it, Darling. I’m sure it was just an isolated incident. The guy was probably watching me move in, and thought I’d be an easy mark.”

“I think there’s more to it then what you’re letting on. You know who it was, don’t you?”

“Melanie, I told you, don’t worry about it. I promise, you’re safe. I’ll never let anything happen to you.”

“What are you involved in, Jordan? If it’s anything illegal, I want to know about it.”

“If there was anything illegal involved, do you really think I’d have asked you to call the police last night?”

Melanie frowned as she thought over what he was telling her.

“Is it a story you’re working on?”

“I can’t tell you that.”

“Is that why you’ve been avoiding me,” Melanie asked.

Jordan looked up at her. He studied her features for several long moments in silence. He knew it wasn’t the right time to tell her his secrets, but he could feel the time coming closer and he wasn’t sure if he would be ready when it arrived.

“It’s because I know I overstepped my limits last week,” he told her gently. “I wanted to make love to you so badly, but you hadn’t known me long enough to give yourself to me. I was afraid if I didn’t put some distance between us, at least for a short time, things would get out of hand.”

“Like last night?” she asked as she stared down at his plate.

“Last night was the greatest experience I’ve ever had,” he assured her, lifting her chin with his finger so she was looking into his one good eye. “It wasn’t my intention to move as fast as we did, but I don’t regret it and I don’t want you to either.”

“I don’t, it’s just…”

“You don’t have to say it. I understand. You were avoiding me as much as I was trying to avoid you.”

“I was just nervous, I guess,” she whispered. “It’s been a really long time since I had a man in my life and I wasn’t sure if I really wanted the same thing you did.”

“And now?” He moved his hand off her chin and laid it across her hand resting on the table. “Do you want the same thing I do, Melanie?”

Melanie smiled shyly, her heart pounding in her chest like war drums.

“I can’t remember wanting anything so badly,” she answered.

“Come here,” he whispered, watching her stand from her chair as he moved his away from the table.

He wrapped her in his arms as he sat her onto his lap. His mouth claimed hers in a gentle movement that made the tears spring to her eyes. This was the touch of a man, nothing like it had been with Donald. Jordan was gentle and passionate. A fairytale lover come to life.

His lips moved off hers, trailing a heated path down her neck. If only she had time, she thought as she glanced at the clock above the stove, but when his hand moved up the inside of her blouse, she no longer cared. She mentally began figuring how long she could delay before she was late to her own class. Surely, half an hour wouldn’t cause any harm.

Sensing her surrender, and knowing time was precious, Jordan lifted her in his embrace, looking into her lust filled eyes. Instead of carrying her to the bed as she assumed he would, Jordan set her on the edge of the table in front of him, smiling wickedly as he pushed his plate aside, then eased her down across the wooden surface.

“You can’t be serious?” she gasped, his long fingers lifting her skirt up to her waist.

“Oh, I’m very serious,” he chuckled, leaning over and kissing her flat tummy as he eased her panties down her hips.

“Jordan, you can’t possibly…I mean…on the table?” she asked in a shocked tone as he joined her on the wooden surface.

“Baby, there isn’t a place in this world I wouldn’t make use of when you’re around,” he growled.

Melanie gasped again as the hard tip of his penis pressed against her, pushing inside with a single thrust. A few rapid thrusts later and she didn’t care where they were, so long as he made her feel the way he had last night.

“I’ve created a monster,” he teased, seeing the surrender in her eyes as she raised her legs around his hips.

“I can’t help it if I like how it feels,” she moaned.

“Do you like it or love it?” he urged, leaning over and pushing her blouse up to expose her lacy bra.

“I love it,” she gasped, wrapping her fingers in his long hair and pulling his head down.

“Do you love this too?” he asked, lifting her breast out of its binding and suckling the hard nipple urgently.

“Yes,” she moaned.

“What else do you love?” he asked, rocking against her harder.

“That,” she said.

“How about the result? Do you like or love orgasms?”

“Oh, God, I love them,” she gasped as he moved to the opposite breast.

“Tell me more,” he begged, feeling the heat build within him as her vaginal muscles tightened around him. “Tell me what else you love.”

“I…love you,” she growled as his fingers began to play with her clitoris. “I’ve loved you since the night you asked for a bar of soap.”

Jordan chuckled as he thrust inside her harder, the urgency of his movements made his need burn inside his veins, as he brought to life the demand of her own. Seconds ticked by as he held her tightly in his arms, his mouth claiming hers when her need overtook her, and she began to cry out her release.

He knew he couldn’t withstand much longer, but the feel of her bathing him with her heat, listening to her call out to him, gave him the strength to hold back a moment more. As she began to come down from the roller coaster she had been riding, she felt the heat of him spill inside her. He called out to her, growling her name as he filled her with his seed.

“I have to go to work,” she said a few minutes later as they lay together on her dining table, her legs around his waist, his lips grazing the delicate skin of her neck.

“Say it again,” he whispered. “Tell me what you love.”

“No,” she growled, shoving him off her and scrambling off the table.

She found her panties sitting next to his breakfast plate and frowned. Wearing a skirt was not going to be an option today. She walked quickly back into her bedroom, glancing at the clock as she passed. Ten minutes to get to school and another five to get things turned on. She might make it if she left right now.

“Why won’t you tell me?” he asked, following her into the bedroom and sitting on the end of the bed as she rummaged quickly through her drawers.

A clean pair of panties and a pair of black jeans, the mascot tee-shirt from school and she would at least look ready for the last day of fourth grade.

“Because you tricked me into saying it and you didn’t say it back,” she argued as she pulled the clean clothes on and glanced in the mirror above her dresser. She didn’t look as messed up as she felt, but she still chose to unwrap her hair from the braid and pull it into a ponytail.

“Say it again and I’ll tell you how I feel,” he urged.

“Why, so you can laugh at me? Not on your life.”

“Tell me,” he said, standing quickly from the bed and pulling her in his embrace.

Melanie stared at him for a few seconds, seeing the emotion shining on his swollen face. There was something in the way he looked at her that made her draw a deep breath.

“I love you,” she whispered, repeating the words he begged for.

A slow smile pulled at his bruised lips as he leaned into her and kissed her gently.

“It’s about time you realized that, my Darling Miss Kent,” he whispered softly. “I’ve been in love with you longer then you can imagine.”

Melanie didn’t question his answer, she was just happy to know he felt the same way for her. She threw herself against his broad, muscular chest and kissed him passionately.

Jordan chuckled again, accepting and controlling the lips that pressed against his. He knew her time was up, and she had to leave, but he couldn’t help enjoying a few last seconds of her passion. He reached behind her and grabbed her buttocks, lifting her in his large hands as he pressed his renewed desire for her against the front of her jeans.

Melanie gasped, struggling out of his embrace. She looked down and realized he was completely naked. He hadn’t bothered putting a shirt on to have breakfast, but after their little encounter in the kitchen, he hadn’t bothered to put his pants on either.

“You’re a pervert,” she growled, pushing him away and looking at her watch. “And you’ve made me late. I have to go.”

“What time will you be off?” he asked, following her into the living room.

“It’s the last day, so school gets out at noon,” she told him, hunting down her purse and slipping her feet into her sneakers by the door. “I have to remain to make certain the room is cleaned and ready for the school to be locked down for the summer. The teachers all get together when the kids leave and have our own small celebration, but I should be back around three or four.”

“Can I stay here until the police finish their investigation?”

“Of course. Make yourself at home, but don’t eat my Rocky Road ice cream. That’s my end of school celebration.”

“I promise,” he chuckled, instantly concocting a little celebration he’d share with the ice cream.

Melanie opened the front door to find Mrs. Walsh standing on her doorstep, hand raised to knock. The old woman jumped when the door swung open and Melanie practically bowled her over trying to leave.

“Miss Kent,” she yelped. “What exactly has been going on around here? Do you have any idea why there is police tape across Mr. James’s door? Where is the man anyway?”

“Mrs. Walsh, I don’t have time to explain it to you,” she said with an exaggerated sigh. “Mr. James’s apartment was broken into and he was beaten by a burglar. Which reminds me, I want to discuss the security of this building when I return home. In the meantime, I’m already late and can’t stand here and talk. If you have any questions, I suggest you ask Jordan yourself.”

Melanie hurried down the stairs, smiling to herself as she heard Mrs. Walsh’s audible shriek.

“Mr. James, kindly put your clothes on!”

Mrs. Walsh returned to her apartment with threats of calling the owner. Jordan knew he had put everyone in the building on edge, but he couldn’t tell them it was him alone that was in danger. Once he was sure the old woman was safely inside her apartment, he used Melanie’s house phone and dialed a number he knew by heart, then sat on the edge of the sofa to wait its answer.

“It’s me,” he told the man on the other end. “I think I’m getting close. He was waiting for me when I got home last night.”

“Are you alright?” the man asked.

“Yeah, just a little sore and swollen, but I’ll live. I knocked him out, but he got away before the police got here. They sealed off my apartment for the night, though. I’m going to try and get back inside to check things out before they get back to investigate the place. I had to tell them about the investigation, but I didn’t tell them who we’re after.”

“Why not?” the man asked.

“I don’t want anything spooking him until we have the money or find his partners.”

“What about the woman? Has she been any help?”

“Not yet. She’s still too reluctant to talk. I know the divorce was difficult, but I’ll get through to her, don’t worry, it’s just going to take some time.”

“She doesn’t know who you are, does she?”

“No, but I’m sure she’ll figure it out soon enough,” Jordan answered. “She’s a smart woman. I’d better go, I want to check out my apartment before the police get here.”

“Keep in touch, Jordan. I’ll send Michaels by to talk to you. Stay on top of this case, but try not to get yourself killed, okay?”

“I’m trying my best. I’ll call you when I have more answers.”

Jordan hung up the receiver and stared at the closed door in front of him. If only there was some way he could guarantee Melanie wasn’t involved in all of this. Once she learned the truth, she was sure to hate and despise him, regardless of her confession that morning.

Slipping through the door and into his apartment without being seen by the nosey landlady, was a feat worthy of a miracle. Jordan looked around the jumbled array of overturned boxes. The painting above his sofa hung lopsided against the wall, and the awards for journalism lay on the floor among a pile of broken glass. He found his phone in the corner of the sofa, under his jacket and slipped it into his pants pocket.

He went into his bedroom and began sorting through the rubble of thrown clothes and up-heaved drawers. Nothing appeared to be missing and he said a silent prayer of thanks that he was smart enough to keep his real files locked away at the newspaper office. A small silver, horseshoe shaped button lay on the floor, hidden beneath the edge of his bed. It wasn’t anything to really be concerned over and nothing that could bring this thing to an end, but it was evidence nevertheless.

The sound of the front door opening, brought the man back to reality with a sudden pounding of his heart. He quietly opened his dresser drawer, but his revolver was missing. Out of desperation, he reached for his golf club from where it laid on the floor and inched his way quietly down the hall. The form of a man crouched on the floor, sifting through the debris of papers. He looked up at Jordan as he entered the room, staring at him with an amused expression. A small grin curved his dark features as he stood up and confronted the man.

“Planning on teeing off on my skull, old buddy?” he asked, as Jordan lowered his club.

“Don’t you know better than to sneak around another man’s mess?”

“Mess is right. I couldn’t believe it when Biggs called me. I’d ask if you’re alright, but I can see for myself. I guess you won’t be winning any beauty contests for a while, huh?”

“Very funny. Just laugh it up at my expense, as if I haven’t been through enough already.”

Jordan sat on the edge of the sofa, tossing his weapon off to the side.

“Okay, I’m sorry. Let’s get down to business. What have you got for me?”

“Not a whole hell of a lot. I found out he’s here for his brother’s wedding. He came in under the name Harrison Williams. I talked to his wife, who told me a little more about the embezzlement than her father let on. It seems she really didn’t want her old man to press charges, because they have a seven-month-old baby. She actually thinks he’s going to come back to her, regardless of what he’s done. I got in touch with the old man before the bastard caught me off guard. He’s done more digging and has found another two and a half million missing. He learned about a woman he’d been sleeping with in Connecticut, and another one in Manhattan. The man has a problem keeping his pants on.”

“What about his partners?” the man asked. “Any news of them yet?”

“No. The old man said the last time he saw either Mario Vanzetti, or Bill Hunter, was two weeks before Prescott checked into the motel in Salt Lake.”

“Have you questioned Melanie Kent? Does she know anything about this?”

Jordan turned his face toward his hand, using his eye as a means of avoiding the man’s inquisitive stare.

“I don’t think she knows anything about it. She’s a simple girl, a school teacher. Her folks are farmers from Vernal, and she’s not trying to hide herself from the public eye. I really think she’s innocent to all of this.”

“Maybe so, but I suggest you keep her under a watchful eye.”

Jordan smiled to himself, promising to do just that. He tossed the dark black man the small button.

“What’s this?”

“I found it in my bedroom. It must have come off in the struggle.”

“It’s not much, but at this point it’s better than nothing. I’ve gotta go, and J.J., I think you need to keep your gun close just in case of a repeat performance of last night.”

“Yeah, there’s a problem with that.”

“What?” the dark man asked with a frown.

“It’s missing. I didn’t have it on me last night, and it looks like the bastard found it.”

“That’s great. Do you have any idea the paperwork involved in reporting this?”

“I know, I know. The hard part is telling Maxwell about it.”

“Ok, I’ll schmooze Maxwell, and I’ll get a new weapon for you. In the meanwhile, keep your eyes open, or your eye as it were,” he joked at the injured man’s expense. “I’ll call you in a couple days to see what you’ve come up with. Until then, learn how to duck, alright?”

“Ha, ha. Why don’t you just try and do something useful and see if that manager at the motel is back.”

“I’m heading over there now. I’ll talk to you later. Oh, and one more thing, we found a lover in Rock Springs. I’m going to go up and check her out and see what she can tell us.”

“Better get the bureau to check out the other two as well.”

Jordan watched the man leave before falling into the sofa and kicking his foot to the coffee table. He glanced around the room again, seeing the smashed bag of chips on the floor, and the beer he had just opened under the dining chair.

Images of Melanie flooded back into his mind. He smiled as he considered the woman’s passion and felt his libido harden again, thinking back on their encounter at breakfast.

How did you tell your overly cautious partner you had fallen in love with one of the prime suspects? It was one thing to keep her under his watchful eye, it was another to sleep with her. It went against everything the bureau taught him.

With a heavy sigh he stood up and paced his way back to the door, taking his jacket with him. How in the hell did he get involved in all of this? Four years in the Marines and five years as a reporter, only to find himself working undercover for an agency he fought so hard to stay away from. If it hadn’t been for Melanie, he wouldn’t have thought twice about taking on this stupid case. He’d have stayed in Washington, existing rather than living, and trying nearly every day not to think about the beautiful little sixteen-year-old he once knew.

Slipping out of the apartment, Jordan closed the door, keeping as much of his hand off the knob as possible, then returned to Melanie’s place. He closed the door and did a quick walkthrough to make certain to avoid a repeat encounter of last night. He smiled at the messy bed covers, remembering the passion they had shared. It was a long-awaited event, that had him eager for a repeat performance.

Jordan cleared his throat then pulled the covers up, making the bed and tucking them into the mattress. Melanie had a thing with messy houses, and he didn’t want to give her any reason to ask him to leave.

Once the bed was back in order, he returned to the bathroom and filled the sink with water. He found her razor in the drawer, and a can of shaving cream with aloe and skin softeners under the sink, then carefully shaved the stubble from his face. He drained the sink and returned the items to their prospective places, before taking out the can of disinfectant cleaner.

Twenty minutes later, the bathroom was clean, the dishes washed and put away, and the living room straightened up. He loaded up the laundry and went to the door, intending to start a load downstairs in the complex’s coin machines, when the doorbell rang.

Cautiously, he looked out the peek hole, seeing the tall image of a man in a suit next to a cop in blue. Relaxing, he opened the door and looked to the two, ignoring the shocked expression on their faces when they saw his.

“Agent James?” the man said, removing his badge as Mrs. Walsh opened her door.

“Yeah, come on in,” he said, then quickly closed the door behind them so the woman wouldn’t overhear what they said.

“I’m Detective Newberry, this is Sargent Whitley. We need to ask you a few questions about last night.”

The three men sat down with Jordan in the armchair and the other two on the sofa. He watched Newberry remove a notepad and pen from his pocket, knowing the routine the man was going through. It had been the same with him when he first started at the bureau.

“The report stated you came home around twelve thirty to find a man in your apartment,” Newberry began.

“It was twelve forty-five, and I didn’t find him in my apartment. It was more like he found me. Everything was secure, the door was locked, and there were no signs of forced entry, though these apartments really don’t have very good security locks. A simple deadbolt that any first-year cadet could pick.”

“When did you first discover the intruder?”

“When I got the shit knocked out of me, sorry,” he said, unsure if the men were part of Utah’s religious side. “There was no noise, no signs of anyone there, and when I turned my back, I was hit. We fought for a few minutes, before I knocked him out. I came here, to Miss Kent’s apartment, and called you.”

“You told the officers last night, that you believe the guy was involved in a case you’ve been working on,” Newberry added, making notes in his book. “Can you elaborate on that?”

“I’m sorry, but no.”

“Did you recognize the guy?”

“He had a ski mask on. All I can tell you is he was about six feet, a hundred and eight pounds, and caucasian.”

“How do you know he was caucasian if he had a mask on?” Whitley asked.

“He wasn’t wearing gloves, and the hand that introduced itself to my face was white.”

“Can you describe what he was wearing?” Newberry asked, and Jordan nearly groaned.

“Black pants, black long-sleeved shirt, sneakers and a dark grey ski mask.”

“That doesn’t give us much to go on,” Newberry frowned.

“I’m aware of that, but that’s about all there is. I know he was in my bedroom, so you can dust the dresser and doorknobs. I keep the doors closed when I’m not there.”

“How do you know he came out of the bedroom?”

“I have a one-bedroom place. The bathroom door opens beside the kitchen, and the bedroom is down the hall with a linen closet. The guy may not have been as big as me, but I doubt he’d fit in the closet.”

“Okay, we’ll take it from here,” Newberry said. “If there’s anything else you can think of, please let us know. I’ll have the fingerprint guys come by later today, but I’m afraid I’ll have to keep you out of your apartment until they’ve finished.”

“That’s great,” he said, his mind racing through the possible scenarios to stay with Melanie over the weekend.

“We’ll be in touch,” Newberry told him, standing and shaking his hand, followed by Whitley.

“Listen,” Jordan began as he walked them to the door. “The landlady is a nosey old biddy, and she’s throwing a fit about the tape across the door. Is there any way of taking it down, if I give you a key to the place?”

“Ordinarily, I’d have to say no, but considering the F.B.I. is involved…I guess we can make an exception,” Newberry told him, watching as Jordan pulled the keys out of his pocket.

“You can leave it with Miss Kent when you’ve finished,” Jordan told them, ignoring the looks the men gave him after glancing at the laundry basket.

Jordan said goodbye, shook their hands again, and opened the door to find Mrs. Walsh standing outside. He knew she’d been trying to listen in on the conversation, but she couldn’t have heard much. The door was thick, and they were far enough away from it to make their voices muffled at best.

“I want to know what exactly is going on around here,” the old woman complained, looking slightly embarrassed at being caught by the police.

“I’m afraid that’s on a need to know basis,” Newberry told her, walking past her and down the hallway.

“Mr. James, I’m going to contact the owner of the building…” the woman began.

“Mrs. Walsh, when I came home last night, there was a burglar in my apartment,” Jordan told her, listening to the security door close. “The door that is supposed to be protecting the residents of this building was open, and it wasn’t the first time I’ve notice that since I moved in. When you speak with the owner, please inform him that I plan on writing an article on his buildings, and how they are left open at all hours of the day and night. I will also mention the fact that the residents of the buildings are left unprotected and vulnerable to assault, just as I was.”

“But…you can’t do that…” she said with wide eyes as she tried to form her sentence.

“As long as we’re on the subject, the police have band me from entering my place until Monday. I am going to need a spare key to Melanie’s apartment until then.”

“I can’t do that without her permission.”

“Do I need to remind you how I was dressed when she left this morning?”

Mrs. Walsh’s face turned a deep red as she turned to go back down the hallway.

“That’s going to cost you fifty dollars,” she argued. “I can’t just give keys out whenever someone asked for one.”

Jordan smiled to himself as he took the laundry basket and closed the door. He wasn’t accustomed to being pushed around by old ladies, and he wasn’t about to start now. All he had to do, was make certain Melanie didn’t ask him to leave before he had the chance to make her need him.

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