Cassandra watched as her boss, Mr. Bruce Viatonni, ate his salad. His jaw moved up and down with a purpose, as he chewed each piece of lettuce. She was getting more and more anxious with every second he stayed silent.
"You know, Ms. Keyes, I suggest that you eat as well," he said, wiping a smidgeon of dressing from his lip.
"No thank you," she replied, ignoring her plaintiff stomach. How in the world could she eat when he was evaluating her every move that very instant?
He wiped the navy cloth across his mouth and continued. "Very well. So. Tell me how your assignment is progressing."
Her stomach rolled as she continued to think what might happen if she told him about losing her only inside chance. She couldn't handle being reassigned to another case. No, this was much too personal to let go.
"We have things under control sir. The target is within our grasp. We just need to find the right time-"
"Bahahaha!" Viatonni roared. "Control? What control do you have Ms. Keyes? From what I hear, you've lost your key player to the enemy."
Cassandra bit her lip nervously and said, "That does not mean I don't have control. Ms. Reinerston may be siding with the Yautja, but that might be to our advantage."
"Please explain, because if I don't feel confident that you know what you're doing in the next ten minutes, I'm dropping the assignment."
"What if we were to acquire her ourselves, possibly under questionable circumstances? Then he would no doubt try to come to her aid and be right in our grasp."
Viatonni eyed her curiously, simply saying, "So you're suggesting that we kidnap the woman and hope that he tries to play hero? Then we nab him?"
He raised his brow and leaned back in his chair.
"And what will become of Ms. Reinerston?"
Cassandra chose her next words very carefully. "We could always say that we were the ones trying to save her from him, but regretfully it was too late. She was already deceased."
"Well, well, well, Ms. Keyes. This is quite a devious little plot you've come up with. I'll let you keep working, just so long as you give me those weapons."
They shook hands, and Viatonni stopped her. "There's one last thing I'd like to know. What makes you so sure that he'll come running to the rescue when you've got the girl?"
Cassandra felt a delightfully sly smirk make its way onto her face.
"Trust me, he will."
* * *
"Mroooooowr," Rascal complained nudging my cheek. My eyes fluttered open, and I looked around. Lying beside me was Ged, and the memory of last night filled my entire body with a certain bliss that could not be explained with words. I traced my finger along his chest and watched him sleep. If anyone had asked me two days ago if I would ever make love to him, I would have told them they were fucking insane. But now as I watched his eyelids twitch with whatever dream was playing in his head, I knew that I loved him.
Rascal jumped up onto my side and meowed again.
"I bet you're hungry, huh," I stated, picking him up and getting out of bed. I let him crawl up onto my shoulder as we made our way to the kitchen. I put him on the floor as I took a small cereal bowl from one of the cupboards and filled it with cat food. He rubbed his body up against my leg as I set the bowl on the floor.
"You only love me because I fill your belly," I teased, scratching behind his ear.
I left him to his food, and decided to go into the bathroom to freshen up. Not even two minutes after I had started to brush my teeth, I felt two arms wrap around my waist.
"Is that a thank you or you're welcome?" I smiled.
"Either or both," he whispered into my neck.
"There shall be none of that today," I told him, slipping out of his grasp. "Besides, I hear the doorbell."
I waggled my finger at him as I backed away slowly. He frowned and slunk back into the bedroom.
"What a goofball," I laughed to myself.
The doorbell rang again.
"Give me a sec," I grumbled, wrapping a robe around myself.
I hurried to the door and opened it. On the other side stood Cassandra Keyes.
"Ms. Reinerston," she said flatly, as if bored.
"I already told you," I sighed. "I want nothing to do with your little organization. Will you please just leave me alone?"
"I thought you might want to see one last picture," she purred coyly, handing me a single photograph.
It was of me and Ged on the roof from the other night.
"You really are something," I grimaced, handing her back the photo.
"I know he's in there. I'll find him. And when I do, he won't be the only one sorry," she threatened, a scowl appearing on her features.
"You just never quit, do you?"
"I'm telling you now Ms. Reinerston. This is your last chance to get out."
Her professional nature faded as her temper snapped, causing her hands to raise up in shock and anger. Ms. Keyes exclaimed with her eyebrows twitching, "How the hell can you side with that monster!? He's a murderer!"
"You don't even know him!" I spat back, voice dripping with acid. "In fact, as I recall, you don't really know anything at all!"
I slammed the door on her then. There was no way in hell I was going to help that lunatic.
"Once a killer, always a killer!" The dread woman shouted through the door, her heels clicking in a childish stomp on the porch.
A few minutes passed before I heard her footsteps slowly and gratingly depart. Why was she so persistent? How many times did I have to tell her no before she got the damn idea I wasn't going to accept?
"Was it that Keyes lady?" Ged inquired innocently, strolling casually into the living room as if it were his own.
"Ung," I said sliding down to my butt on the couch.
He sat down beside me, tossing an arm around my shoulders. "I'm sorry I'm causing all this trouble," he mumbled, stroking her shoulder a little.
"It's okay, Ged," I sighed. "It's not your fault that bitch is insane."
I leaned my head onto his shoulder and contemplated silently before glancing up at him. "Still, we need a better way to hide you."
"How exactly do you plan on doing that?"
"Well I don't like you walking around invisible scaring the shit out of people. But then again, you'll do that if you don't wear your cloaking device thing."
Why did things have to be this complicated? I stood up out of Ged's hold and paced around the room. It only took a couple minutes before a light bulb came on in my head.
"I know just who we can talk to about this," I grinned, hurrying over to my phone.
I punched the keys and waited, "Hello, Mr. Barker? This is Taylor Reinerston. Yes, Bruce's daughter. Yeah, it has been a long time. Of course I'll have him talk to you. Mr. Barker, I really need your help. Will you be at the college all day today? Because I'm in a bit of a pickle. A friend and I need your help. Yes. I'll be there soon. Thank you. Buh-bye."
"Who was that?"
"Harold Barker is a professor at Cal Tech."
"How is he going to help us?" Ged wondered, standing up.
"He's one of the smartest people in the entire country so I'm hoping he can figure something out."
Ged grabbed my arm and looked into my eyes with a hint of worry in his own, as well as seriousness. "Can we trust him?"
"It's alright, Ged. He's a nice old man. He and my dad go way back. I know we can trust him," I told him comfortingly.
He nodded his head, asking, "Do I get to come with you this time?"
"If I say no, you'll just find a way get there yourself anyway, so I might as well let you come. But I expect you to dress accordingly."
"What do you mean?"
I grabbed a dress from my closet and explained, "There are some khakis and a polo in Larry's closet."
I pulled my dress over my head and swiftly zipped it up. When I turned around to look at Ged, I busted out laughing. It was like seeing Mars Attacks meets Fred from Scooby Doo.
"Oh, dear God," I snickered. "there's no way I'm letting you go anywhere looking like that."
"I think I look pretty snazzy."
He grabbed a fedora from the hat rack and flipped it up onto his head.
"There, the topper to a deliciously perfect cake," he grinned.
"Of course," I added sarcastically, smiling back at him.
He stepped closer and asked, "Does that mean you don't think I'm deliciously perfect? Because I'm pretty sure you thought I was last night."
He then continued to tackle me down onto the bed.
"Ged!" I squealed, struggling underneath him and trying to get up.
"Do we have to go?" he whines, giving me his pouty face.
"Yes, as a matter of fact. We do."
I squirmed out from under him and twisted my hair up into a bun. He got up slowly from the bed and changed into a T-shirt and jeans. Ged was definitely not the prep type. I think that was one of the things I liked best about him. His personality and background was so different from mine. Maybe that's why we were so perfect for each other.
"So what's Cal Tech?" He inquired while we walked out to the car.
"It's a college in Pasadena, which is about twenty minutes away from L.A., give or take."
"What's the point of college?"
"We Earthlings actually believe in education," I giggled while starting up the car.
He stretched his arms out behind him and yawned, "Well so do us Yautja. Every child has to learn how to efficiently kill, skin, and collect trophies from their prey."
"I swear to God if you say one more word I will vomit on you," I frowned, my smile disappearing and skin paling.
"Okay okay, I'll shut up."
He stared out of his side of the car and switched on his cloaking device.
"If this little plan doesn't work," I began, pulling out of the parking garage. "I'm gonna commit suicide."
"How would you like it if you had to talk to nothing all day, while people stare at you like you're a basket case?"
"You're right. Guess I forgot how the social network of you humans works."
"Look it wouldn't be so bad if I was nobody, but I'm somebody. Get what I mean?"
"Uh, you might have to rephrase, I don't think anyone would understand that statement."
"You know what? I think you're just a hypochondriact."
"A what?" I sighed, turning the wheel.
"You're afraid of everything. You need to loosen up a little bit. Maybe we should have another run like last night..." He let off in a suggestive tone.
"Oh, shut up, you perv."
"Whatever. I'm just saying you need to relax once in a while, instead of worrying all the time."
"It's because I'm worrying for the both of us. Your problem is you don't worry at all!"
"And that's the way I like it," he said. "Now if you don't mind I'm going to take a little snooze."
I heard him moving to get comfortable and then it was silent. Things would be a lot better once we got to Mr. Barker. I hoped.