Thursday, April 5, 2012

S4: Chapter 03: Killed in Action

Loud applause filled the room as Yvette stepped inside. A banner with the words “Congratulations you’re a free woman” hung against the back wall and there were streamers and a small buffet in the back along with other decorations surrounding them. Inhaling once as she moved towards the center of the unit room she couldn’t help but reminisce, happy to be back in with her team and ready to get things back to normal. She smiled seeing the balloons and cake with an escaped felon drawn into it on a table with a few gifts. Ryan, Dustin, Victor and Brett were cluttered near the table warm smiles decorated their faces and she walked quickly to join them. “What is all this?”
“It’s your welcome back party, Boss Lady. We thought it would be nice to do something special to commemorate the moment the team became whole again, it was Dustin’s idea.” Ryan wrapped his arms around her and hugged her tight. “It’s really great to have you back in action…legally,” he whispered.
“And it’s great to be back.” She glanced over the gifts and laughed at one in the shape of a gun, “From you Victor?” She ripped the wrapping from the side arm turning it over a few times in her hand, a huge grin formed on her face.
“It’s a Baby Desert Eagle II 9mm. It has a slide safety, decocker double action with a 4.52” barrel and a 15 round capacity. It’s lightweight and easy to conceal but it only comes in black steel so...I couldn’t chrome plate it for you.”
“Vic it’s gorgeous thank you!”
“Wow that’s…practical,” Brett smiled watching her look through the sight. “You gave her another gun.”
“Well it’s always useful right? Especially for missions that require less bulk and more camouflage. You never know when you have to pull out the old garter gun and blow someone away,” Ryan remarked with his arm still wrapped around her neck. “It’s what every girl needs.”
“And what makes you think I’d carry this in my garter?”
“Where else would it…I don’t actually think I want to finish that question. Here open this one,” he handed her a large, square shaped box and smiled. “It’s just a small token of appreciation.”
She pulled open the top of the box to reveal a pair of red and black six inch stiletto open-toed pumps with ankle straps. “Well now I need a dress to match!”
“Thanks Ry,” Brett rolled his eyes. “Now you can take her shopping.”
“Whoa hold on BK, ok I didn’t even get these! Stef said you’d like them then she got herself a pair of boots I don’t know shit about women’s fashion except that a $600 dress looks great balled up on my floor. What the hell do I look like Gianni Versace?”
“You know the very fact that you knew his first name is the reason this eyebrow right here,” Dustin pointed, “Went cocked in your direction.”
“Yeah? Bite me Dust.”
“I would take you up on that but you just don’t do it for me.”
“No I think he’s into chocolate too,” Yvette laughed and hugged Ryan back winking in Brett’s direction. “And it’s a nice gift just the same, thank you,” she pecked his cheek and placed them back on the table.
“You’re welcome Boss. And just so we’re clear, I try and keep a healthy diet of all flavors. As I told Brett once before he got lucky.”
“You mean because you would have had me bent over the weapons table, crying and screaming the Lord’s name in vain…or so I hear.”
“Oh he told you huh? Yeah well about that Boss you know I was only…serious.” Ryan quickly jumped behind her as Brett took a step closer and the room burst into laughter.
“Here Vette, I got you a mini tablet. It’ll help keep you up to date when we’re out and about. Nothing special but it came from the heart.”
“And I appreciate it, Dusty.” She tousled his hair playfully loving his new look and nodded in Brett’s direction. “And what did you get me?”
“Me?” he pointed towards his chest and tossed her a crooked smile. “Well, let’s just leave the unwrapping of my gift for later.”
“Mmm that’s a deal. And guys I love all of your gifts too, thank you. It wasn’t necessary though especially since I’m about to work you to death.”
“And we wouldn’t expect anything less,” Vic grinned.
“Good, because we’re jumping right back in it immediately,” she sighed dropping a folder on the table beside the cake.
“Does this mean the party’s over?” Dustin frowned as he shoved another forkful of cake into his mouth. “What’s the case?”
“An undercover agent who successfully infiltrated the Sinaloa drug cartel was murdered in Mexico.” She noticed as the team’s eyes narrowed on her and nodded. “That one indeed; we have to figure out who wanted him dead and why.”
“We know the who,” Ryan looked on confused and rubbed his hand behind his head. “We know the why also it was to save your life.”
“No, we know what Anthony told us but I’m willing to bet there was more to the whole story and he knew I wouldn’t ask considering it was life threatening at the time. He was able to distract me with the jeopardy of my mortality and prevent me from looking deeper into the reasons behind killing his competition as he said.”
“Shit Yve,” Brett picked up the folder and began reading. “So what do you think he had on Guns?”
“I couldn’t say for sure but that’s the first thing I’ll ask when I see him.” She glanced at the wall clock and frowned. Agents Hendrix and Jensen kept her locked away for the entire morning and now it was late afternoon and too late to try and begin the investigation. They needed to get on task but she decided to let them enjoy their first day whole again before tackling a case that she was directly involved in. It was a bad reality thinking of how to point the finger on someone else when she was the one to pull the trigger but that was where she was living at the moment. She had to figure out the real motive behind this job and she knew getting that information from Anthony would be harder than squeezing blood from a turnip.
“Well where do we start?” Brett dropped the folder and looked over at his girl. She was heavy in thought and he knew it wasn’t a good place for her to be alone. “Yvie?”
“Don’t call me that Brett!” The words came off harsher than she intended and she smiled apologetically realizing he meant no harm in it. “I think we should finish off the clock and work on this first thing tomorrow morning. I won’t crack the whip this time.” She turned and started for her desk but was stopped by Brett’s hand slipping into hers.
Turning her to face him he brushed a hand across her cheek and brought her eyes to meet his. “What’s up? Hmm?” He gently pecked her forehead and pulled her deeper into his arms. “Don’t stress out over this. Had you not been the one to pull the trigger, I’d have done it for you.”
“Same here,” the others chimed in. “There was no way we were losing you Vette,” Victor folded his arms into his chest. “And I’m sure Guns was counting on that.”
“Yeah. He definitely played on our weaknesses and now he has a lot to answer for. But tomorrow ok?”
“Well I don’t know about y’all but I say we let go of the bothers of the job and head over to Sharky’s for a drink or four.”
“Four?” Yvette smiled in Ryan’s direction. “And who’s driving your drunken ass home?”
“That’s the best thing about you Yve. I know you’ll ensure we all get home safe and sound right? Now come on let’s get moving. I hear a rum and coke that’s just calling my name.”
“Sounds like fun, what do you say Yve?”
She nodded and smiled agreeably receiving the kiss from Brett’s lips to hers. “Why don’t you guys go ahead though I want to stop over and see Scott for a bit but I’ll be right behind you.”
“I’ll come with…”
“No, it’s ok really. I just need a moment. I promise I won’t be far behind.”
“Ok but if you need ANYTHING Yve, call me alright?”
“I will, I promise,” she kissed him again and they all started for the parking lot.
Aimlessly she started down the road listening to the sounds of the pavement smoothly blend beneath the tires of her car. Her stiff fingers reached for the knob on the radio and she turned the music up as loud as it would go to drown out the sound of her own doubt echoing in her head. She knew this case could possibly end disastrously and once again she’d sucked her team’s lives in with hers. Absentmindedly she glanced up at the road signs and realized she wasn’t heading towards Scott’s home. Though it’s where she said she was going something was pulling her towards her own place.
She quickly exited the freeway and drove down that familiar rode she saw every day for the four years she lived in that home. She pulled up shortly to her front door and sat in her car for a moment in the driveway staring blankly at the porch. What are you doing here, Yvette? She shut off the engine and slowly pulled herself out of the driver’s seat. Taking in a breath slowly she placed the key in the lock and entered the foyer.
The door released with a faint pop as if the cover of an old vault was being pried open and instinctively her mouth curled up in a smile. Gliding her fingers along the wall she felt for the light switch and flicked them on hearing a electrical pop in the wall as the room became immersed in radiance. Stacks of mail were sitting on her sideboard as well as a large pile of old newspapers dating back to the day she’d fled. Instantly she remembered how she hadn’t returned home after the BOLO was issued on her for Newell’s death yet the place seemed well cared for; Scott.
He must have been over religiously caring for her place, there was no dust to be found over any of the furniture or art and the place didn’t smell like a moldy old mattress. In fact she could scent her Mother’s perfume which she assumed he must have sprayed around the house in order to make it feel as though they were both still around. Her heart ached a little with the thought of how lonely she’d made him within the year she was on the move. Well she was home now, sort of, and she had a lot of making up to do.
Idly she stood running her hand over a glass dove sitting on her mantle when she heard a knock on the door. Intrigued but cautious just the same, her fingers gripped the butt of her personal weapon and she stood on her tip toes peeking through the peephole. She sighed seeing those soft, luscious pools of honey brown eyes and slowly turned the knob.
“Nick!” Yvette gasped in surprise as she opened the door. “What are you doing here?”
“I was driving by and saw your car in the yard and thought I’d drop in on you.”
Curiously her brow rose at him and she noticed the item he kept tucked behind his back safely and securely out of her view. “Really? You just happened to drive by here? What made you think I’d be here?”
“Intuition? I know you…ok I was following you. You must have been really out of it too because it was much easier than it should have been.”
“You followed me? Why were you following me? What do you want Nicholas?”
He lifted the bottle of wine he hid towards her and smiled. “Can’t a man visit with an old friend to see how she’s fairing?” He stepped closer until she backed away from the frame allowing him entry.
“Depends on what it is he’s after. What do you really want?”
He licked his lips and inched closer towards hers watching her eyes before softly pecking her cheek instead. “You shouldn’t ask such a loaded question unless you’re ready to face the answer.” He whispered against her ear sending a chill down her spine. He kissed her again and felt her pulse quicken beneath the tender flesh of her neck.
She quickly backed away and started towards the living room again. Nicholas took inventory of their surroundings and smiled in her direction as he placed the wine on the coffee table. “Where’s the boytoy? Don’t tell me he left you alone and defenseless all by yourself.”
She threw him a look and sighed. “You and I both know I’m anything but ‘defenseless’. Brett is with friends where I should be heading soon.”
“Then that means I have you all to myself right now?” His wicked smirk reappeared and she took one step backwards from his approach. “Why are you running?” He raised his hands in defense and continued towards her. “I won’t tempt you I promise but I would have that drink with you please?”
She retrieved two glasses from the kitchen and joined him on the sofa. He poured her a glass and watched her take a sip before sliding closer. His eyes drank in her body, slowly rising from her bare legs and towards her bosom that rose and fell sensuously with every breath she took. He watched her tongue lick at the taste of ripened grapes from her lips savoring the flavor; a gentle moan followed before her eyes met his. “Mmm this must be HUGE! You’re buttering me up for something.”
“Well you’re half right. The wine is a gift because I know you enjoy it and I admit I get pleasure from watching you drink it. But I do have a favor to ask and it’s not small.” He flashed his pearly whites and drew one from her lips as well. “You remember the guy father asked you to kill?” She nodded and he continued. “Well he had a partner and his partner is starting to make noise and…”
“And you want me to take care of him. He’s also in Mexico I assume?”
“Close to the border? Same security setup?”
“How many men are on the property at any given time?”
“You’re asking as if you’re agreeing.”
“Well I do owe you; I did kinda wrecked one of your cars.”
“And left the other two in a D.C. impound,” he concluded. “But I don’t hold you accountable for them. It was last year’s model.” She shot him a look and he laughed. “Come by the club later and we can go over the details. Pop would love to see you again.”
“Yeah I’m sure; there’s something I need to discuss with him as well. I’ll see you later Nicholas.”
“Good you can bring the boy toy if you want.”
“Why so you can incite him again? Make him throw bows?”
“I wouldn’t dream of it. But at least he knows what he has and is willing to fight for you.” He watched her, deciding whether he should try his hand at another kiss before sighing and backing out the door. “Later Beautiful.”
Brett waved his arms frantically drawing her attention and she smiled as she moved towards the team. “I was about to come looking for you if you weren’t here soon,” he whispered against her neck as he pulled up from the booth to let her slide in. “How’s Scotty?”
“I don’t know. I never made it over there.”
“What? Then where did you go?”
She looked down at the glass in front of him and picked it up tipping it to her lips she let the rich caramel liquid skate down her throat coating her mouth in the spiciness of the 1 Barrel rum. She closed her eyes as it burned her chest and felt that warmth filter down the rest of her body with a numb tingling sensation. The subtle flavors of hazelnut and apricots lingered on her tongue overwhelming her senses in its nutty aroma. When they opened again she noticed the entire table was watching her waiting for her answer. She smiled warmly and slid Brett’s drink back towards him. His hand reached out to recover his stolen alcohol brushing across hers lightly. “Can I get a Bacardi Mojito please?”
Ryan motioned the waitress over and placed her order not taking his gaze away wondering where she’d spent the last half hour as well.
“Babe where did you go?”
“Home, well…to my house. Did you know Scott took care of it while I was gone? He kept it cleaned and,” she sighed. “I owe him so much.”
“Yve he’s your Dad you don’t owe him anything, he’d do whatever he could for you. What made you go home?”
“I don’t know actually. I was starting towards his place and just sorta detoured. Ran into Nicholas; apparently he was following me from work.”
“And what did old Nicky boy want?” Victor raised a brow. “Restitution for the car I wrecked?” He chuckled lightly. “You can tell him I owe my little girl a boat but when I make it big he’s on the list for payback.”
“Actually he could care less about it. I think he’s already replaced them with something new. He wanted us…me to take out the UC’s partner.”
“And you told him exactly where he could go right?”
“No. I told him that I’d see him at the club later to discuss the details.”
“What the hell Boss? You can’t actually be contemplating helping them again?” Dustin dropped his bottle on to the table in front of him as the waitress returned with Yvette’s Mojito.
She scooped it up quickly and sipped slowly from the potent kick of rum and mint mixed drink. A low moan passed her lips as she enjoyed the crisp, refreshing spritz of the lime citrus and sweetness from the pure cane sugar. The bubbles of the club soda tickled her nose as the mist spouted from the rim of her glass and she licked her tongue across her lips absorbing every drop. “No but if they think we’re playing ball they’ll be more inclined to offer information. If they believe it’s a part of another case, Anthony will close up immediately and might resort to his old ways.”
“Then perhaps it’s time we paid your old friend a visit,” Brett sighed and pulled up again from the booth. “I’d like to know what he has planned.”
She glanced towards Ryan and Dustin who both seemed less than willing to accompany them to the Lucianos. “I have to get home and check on my sister Boss, I’m sorry. If you need backup call and I’ll be there but I have to make sure homework’s done and she’s ready for school in the morning.”
“And I promised Mica we’d watch the Mentalist together. It comes on in half an hour.”
“I’m sure Sierra can handle my rugrats for another hour or two. Let’s get moving.”
“No Vic, I’d rather you get home and tuck your kids into their beds. Yve and I can handle this. I’ll text you guys an update when we’re done, no worries.”
“You sure? I know she won’t mind.”
“We’re sure Victor. Give them a kiss for me too please. Are you guys ok to drive?” Yvette asked pulling away from the table and hugging each of them.
“I can drive blotto and keep it on the road, Vette.”
“And I would never want to see that Victor so are you gonna be able to get home ok?”
“I just had two drinks, I’ll be fine. I can’t speak for these other clowns.”
“Ryan? Dustin?” After confirming their sobriety they walked them out to the parking lot and started towards the Blue Flame.
“YVETTE!” Anthony greeted her as she stepped inside the building. “Nicholas said we should be expecting you but I guess I just had to see it to believe it. After our last engagement I thought surely you’d have my name at the top of your hit list.” He pulled her warmly into his arms and embraced her snugly sparking curiosity to surge through her core.
“Don’t be so sure that it isn’t Tony. You did try and kill me the last time I saw you.” She pushed away from him and watched his movements as he extended a hand towards Brett but the gesture was ignored.
“Bygones! Besides, Nicky would have never let it come to that and neither would I. But I know you. You need…encouragement sometimes to pursue a task full speed. I gave you motivation with a gentle pat on the back.” His eyes moved back to Brett and he smiled. Brett returned the expression with a death gaze and folded his arms into his chest. “Yes well I suppose some are more forgiving than others. Shall we adjourn to my office then?”
“Nick said that you wanted me to do a follow up on the partner?” Yvette asked stepping in front of his desk once the door closed behind her.
“Indeed. His partner you see is…”
“Did you know who he was?”
“You mean that he worked for the Federal government? The fact that he was an undercover agent working for your company? Yes, I knew that.”
Yvette wasn’t surprised, not at that admission. It was rare Anthony “The Guns” Luciano let anything slip by him of that nature. Hell he told her he knew exactly who she was the moment she’d set foot in his casino on the first day of her undercover assignment. What surprised her was how forthcoming he seemed about the whole thing. He was up to something; getting information from him was always a chore. The fact that he was offering it so willingly pointed towards an ulterior motive. “Why did you have me kill him if you knew who and what he was?”
“Because it was the only way for you to get back on track. You were following cold leads and false witness reports trying to uncover the identity of the person that was after you. That list that I gave you, the people on it all had something to do with what happened to your Mother. I needed to refocus you; plus it didn’t hurt that I got a little something out of the deal too. You helped eliminate a major threat to my exportation business and for that I’m grateful.”
“How do you know any of this Tony?”
“Because…,” he sighed and moved around to the front of his desk keeping his eyes focused on hers. “I hired your father for an elimination once before. Not the one that works with you, your real father. I hadn’t made the connection then but the name I kept close because it struck me odd the kind of person he seemed. When I figured it out I knew you wouldn’t believe me unless you heard it for yourself. So I helped you seek the truth in my own way of course.”
“Tony regardless of our strange relationship I know you’ve always been honest with me. You could have said all of this from the beginning instead of playing these games and making me responsible for the death of…” she stopped short as her breath caught in her throat with the realization of what he’d done. He intended for her to be in Mexico to be the one to complete the task and he knew as she had she would say no. “You wanted me to be the one to pull the trigger on him. You needed me there. What are you up to Anthony?”
“I’m not really at liberty to discuss…”
“Damn the games Anthony, I want answers and I want them now!” she yelled and jumped to her feet. Pacing in front of his security monitors she tried to keep a mental check and stay in control of her emotions. She wasn’t worried for herself but Brett. If he saw just how angry she truly was or felt she was threatened he’d spring to action without a second thought and she feared what that would mean for him.
“I owed him Yvette. As corrupt as I may be at times like you said I’m honest and I keep true to my promises. I owed Evans and his payback came in the form of your trip to Mexico. Had I told you any of this upfront you’d have never done it and I would still be under his thumb; I hate being in that position. Now that this man is dead, I’ve repaid my debt and you are one step closer to a face-to-face with your old man.”
“Where is he?”
“I don’t know. I’ve only ever received communications from him in the form of messages left on a burner. The drugs were his idea he said he needed insurance you’d carry out the mission.” He stood from his desk and approached her slowly knowing that at any moment she could react and his world would be ended. “He wanted me to kill you had you refused again but I wouldn’t have been able to do that Yve, you must know that.”
His hands were up defensively ensured she was ready to hit him but when she nodded instead he breathed a sigh of relief and placed his hands to his side. “Your father is a very dangerous man and if not played correctly he can be your worst nightmare.”
“Yeah well my Mother helped me kill the boogeyman in the closet by teaching me to be strong for myself. Next time you talk to him tell him I said bring it on.”
– May 18, 2002 –
“Yvette may I speak with you for a moment?” Scott asked rapping lightly on her bedroom door. Turning the handle he entered and watched his baby girl spinning happily around her room with her prom dress in her hands and ballroom dancing with herself in front of the mirror. Katrina had taken her shopping three days before her mission was to get underway and promised she would be home in time to interrogate her date with Scott thoroughly.
Though Yvette found it funny the reaction the guys she dated drew when faced with two federal agents questioning them like they stole something, it also had a negative effect preventing many of them from ever asking her out again. This one though would be worse; her date was 18 and a senior and she was only a sophomore. Hell he even had hair on his face which she think scared Scott the most. “Of course Daddy I’m just looking through my things again. I can’t wait,” she beamed glancing at him briefly. “It’s going to be magical.”
“And you’ll shine like a star, Angel.” He dropped his weight onto her bed and patted a spot beside him. Hanging her dress on the mirror near her closet she joined him and nudged his arm.
“Why so glum Chum? Did Johnny call and cancel? You know whether I have a date or not I’m still going to the dance so cheer up Charlie!”
“No Baby it’s not that it’s something else, something serious.”
“Well what is it?” she asked through a watery laugh as she watched the expression on his face deepen with sorrow. “Daddy you’re scaring me what’s wrong?”
He turned towards her and gripped her hands into his gently rubbing his thumb across the soft flesh of her tiny fingers. Chewing on his bottom lip he tried to find the courage to begin. He glanced up briefly as he felt hot tears streaking down his face and blinked a few times to clear his vision. “Uh…K-K-Katrina’s mission was a success,” he tried to smile. “She intercepted the rogue agent and kept him from selling the weapons to his international contact. But there was a complication and…”
“No!” Yvette snatched her hands back and covered her face afraid of what was coming next.
“During her extraction she took a direct hit; it bypassed her flak jacket and got her in the heart Baby. She’s,” he swallowed hard trying desperately to maintain control over his emotions for his daughter’s sake. “She’s dead.”
“They’re flying her body to a local mortuary and…” his last words choked in his throat hearing the pained sobs releasing from his child.
Yvette felt her chest tighten and she fell over onto Scott’s chest as the flood gate opened. Crying into his shoulder he held her tighter than he ever had before knowing the hurt that was slowly invading every nerve and sense within her body. “I’m so sorry Baby, I’m so sorry.” Scott cried into her hair squeezing her tighter as if he was afraid of losing her as well.
Though he had been her legal guardian since she was 10 he hadn’t gone through the process of adoption though he had the papers in their bedroom waiting for the day Katrina was ready. He never imagined this day would come but knowing how easily her biological father could take her away, that was the first thing he would seek to do; there was no way he could lose them both. He glanced over at the dress hanging from her mirror and lost it. Katrina would never get to see her daughter off to prom.

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