Afternoon waves crashed lovingly onto the Malibu shore, violently blue as the Pacific tried to kiss the Atlantic once more. The sun beamed down warmly, the coast line stocked with kids flaking on school and adults calling in sick alike.
Lucy Hamilton, however, had her own stretch of shore to call her own. She was alone in the wake, hair clinging to her just as tightly as her wetsuit as she sat on top of one of her well loved surfboards.
Still on land, Alex was laid out on a towel with his head down and his eyes on the brunette tackling the waves. His nose was white with sunscreen, a bowl of water just to his left where he could reach it perfectly without moving.
But that would be the last few peaceful moments for the Hamiltons for a while.
Around the front of the house, Vance Deveraux and his team of four raced up to the front of the beautifully designed seaside home, tires screeching as they forced their vehicles to a stop. All of them pulled out their guns as if on cue, their suits doing nothing to constrict their lowered positions.
A Jeep sat in the driveway, the maroon box a treasure of Lucy’s. The curtains were drawn on both levels at the front of the house, echoing a presence.
Agent Carson put a manicured hand on the hood of the Jeep, no warmth coming off of it. “Negative,” she said, an English accent ringing in her voice. “She’s not been anywhere in a while.”
Parrish knocked on the large front door with a heavy hand, one still gripping his gun. “FBI,” the agent called.
Moments passed and no response came, the agents seeming to forget what Natasha Archer had told them earlier that afternoon.
Agent Parrish counted under his breath before slamming his foot against the door and busting it open.
Parrish and Carson quickly filtered in, scanning the surroundings of the beach home, it clearly one of a recluse. Their guns remained at eye level, taking the loft while Danielson and Dane manned the ground floor, Deveraux going in last.
Agent Danielson’s eyebrows furrowed, finding a solo shelf holding copies of St. Laurens novels. “Every book ever published,” he said aloud. “This is definitely her.”
“I’ve got occult books and news clippings,” called Carson over her shoulder as she scanned a cork board hanging on the wall of the upstairs bedroom that doubled as Lucy’s bedroom.
Parrish, crouched in front of a large brown trunk at the end of the unmade bed, had put his gun back into his holster as he looked to the contents with confused eyes. “I’ve got a manuscript cache,” the Army discharge said. “I don’t recognize the titles. These must be her unpublished ones.”
Downstairs, Deveraux walked through the home as his co workers tore it apart, taking in the aura the building was giving off. He could sense seclusion as well as comfort, deducing that this Lucy Hamilton was perfectly happy in her aloneness. Spotting a photo hanging on the just outside of the kitchen, her went up to the glossy frame with curiosity in his eyes.
It was a brunette he’d never seen before crouched next to a gorgeous golden retriever with his tongue lolling out of his mouth, the two still damp from the ocean as they were posed on the sand of the Malibu beach.
Vance caught a similar image outside, turning his attention to the shoreline. “Hang on, everyone. There’s the dog.” He went to the sliding glass door, pulling it open enough to slip out. Still holding his gun, Deveraux made his way down the back balcony stairs.
Alex’s head perked, the golden retriever looking over his shoulder and finding the FBI agents that were slowly coming out of the home. He sat up sharply, sunscreen still on his nose. He barked twice, beginning to back up towards the water as if he could keep the stranger away from Lucy by doing so.
“Easy boy,” Vance coolly said as he put his gun away, instead offering out a hand towards Alex. “I’m not gonna hurt you.” He looked up beyond the dog, finding a figure in black rising above the water inside a wave, her board skimming marks throughout the blue. “Oh great, our unsub is just a lousy surfer.”
Alex continued barking, not making an attempt to attack Deveraux but clearly against the idea of the suited man going anywhere near Lucy.
Lucy’s attention pulled towards the shore as she rode out of her wave, dropping down onto her knees on her board before stretching out on her stomach. She paddled towards land, getting close enough to sense the authority radiating off of the five. “Don’t touch my dog,” she said as she reached the beach, carrying her board out of the water as it remained latched to her ankle.
Dauntingly handsome, Vance stood at the head of the small fleet, removing his attention from Alex. “Are you Lucy Hamilton?”
“Yes, I am,” the brunette replied as she pushed her dripping hair out of the way. “How can I help you, agents?”
Agent Carson hesitated, narrowing her eyes. “How did you know we were agents?”
“Wild guess,” she said as she noted their crisp suits and mild expressions. She undid the velcro strap of the leash, planting the surfboard in the sand next to her. “What brings you to Malibu?”
“We’re with the FBI. We’d like you to come down to the Los Angeles field office,” Deveraux told her, no real question in his request. Nearly blinded by the intensity of the mission, he’d not even noticed how her eyes embodied the ocean behind her.
Lucy remained quiet for a moment, glancing between the stiff agents as Alex sat at her feet. “May I ask why?”
Vance kept eye contact with her, monitoring the situation at a level it wasn’t at. “Come with us and we’ll talk all about it.”
She cleared her throat lightly as she looked down to her attire, “Do you think I could change first? I’d hate to leave your fancy car smelling like a lousy surfer.”
Vance, although silently appreciating her wit, clenched his jaw as he motioned toward the home. “By all means.”
Lucy headed between the agents after picking her board up, well aware Vance had sent the two female agents to follow after her in case she would attempt to run for it.
Alex followed closely to his owner, cautious glancing to Agents Carson and Dane as they made her way towards the house.
“If you’re only asking for me to come to the office, you don’t have much grounds,” said Lucy as she racked her board on the shelf mounted outside of the deck. “None at all if you don’t even have enough to tell me why you even need me.”
“What’s your point?” the youngest agent questioned as she and her partner followed Lucy into the house while the others went around to prep the vehicles.
“It means you don’t know what the hell you’re doing.”
Carson and Dane looked to each other with annoyed expressions as they waited on the stairs of the loft while Lucy shed her wet suit and gathered a set of clothes.
“Just hurry up,” retorted SA Dane as she checked her watch.
Hidden behind the bamboo panel of the loft, Lucy kept down a subtle laugh as she tugged on a pair of light wash jeans. “I was just in the ocean, I can’t dry that quickly.”
Alex sat just outside of the panel, facing the two agents as Lucy changed.
“What’s a British gal doing with the FBI?” questioned the writer, buttoning a chiffon vest top as she watched their figures through the bamboo, the light striking where she could make out their images but she was hidden. “Shouldn’t you be out James Bond-ing with MI6?”
Carson looked flatly in her direction despite being unable to see Lucy. “How terribly ethnocentric of you. I was born in America, raised by an English family. I’m as much a citizen as you are, Miss Hamilton.”
“Whether or not you’re a citizen,” said Lucy as she dried her hair with a nearby towel, “did you accent cause the government to question you before allowing you to become an FBI agent?” She walked out from behind the bamboo panel, running a hand through her chestnut hair before setting the blue towel over the balcony to dry.
Agent Carson, the ripe age of 24 with a quickly earned master’s degree in criminology, hesitated before speaking as she watched the novelist zip up a pair of heeled ankle boots. “I don’t see how that’s relevant to the situation.”
“It’s only small talk,” Lucy defended with a light sigh, petting Alex’s head with a soft stroke. “Did they question you on your accent versus your citizenship?”
“They did, yes,” Carson agreed, hazel eyes cautious.
Lucy only softly smiled, “It’s not myself who’s ethnocentric, agent, but instead the nation you work for. Where you are persecuted for simply being you.”
Dane stepped in before Carson could respond, “Alright, that’s enough. I see what you’re doing. Don’t spin this off of her. Let’s go.”
The 27 year old held up her hands idly, “Okay, all right. I’ll go quietly into your sweet night.” She silently told Alex to stay where he was, walking down the loft stairs in between the two agents. Grabbing her cell phone and key ring, Lucy made an effort to lock up the house once she’d been brought back out into the sunlight. “Which vampire car am I getting in?” she questioned as she approached Agent Deveraux rather defiantly. “Because I know my Jeep’s not an option.”
Vance remained deadly silent, opening the back seat of his own vehicle. Ignoring her curtsey to him, the agent shut the door on her the moment she got inside.
The only thing worse than Lucy Hamilton pressing her limits was that she knew exactly where they were.
Lucy would cause a lot of problems, and not only for the bureau.