How To Steal A Million Revisited
Please see part one for all disclaimers.
Nat paced outside of The Kelly Gallery waiting for Kate to show up.
ĎWhere is she? I told her to be on time. If she isnít here in five minutes then Iím out of here.í Thought Nat to herself grimly as she continued to pace the sidewalk. She sighed, knowing that she would wait as long as it took for the blonde to show up.
Suddenly a breathless body was beside her. Kate had run all the way from the corner of the block where the cab had dropped her. "Iím so sorry, I had the most persistent man call on me before I left and I couldnít get rid of him till I promised to marry him. Is it ok? Am I on time?" She said still trying to catch her breath.
"Let me understand you. You got yourself engaged in order to get here on time?" Nat asked incredulously.
The blonde nodded leaning against the wall of the gallery trying to get her breath under control.
Nat shook her head in wonder and said, "Well we still have a few minutes to spare if youíd like to go back and marry this guy?"
"Very funny, lets go." Kate said taking Natís arm and leading her into the gallery.
The Crystal Panther was a beautiful, perfect depiction of a panther and the Goddess Artemis in rose crystal quartz. The Goddess was stunning and for some strange reason familiar to Nat. She had seen the statue in books but this was the first time she had seen it so close. ĎSo why does it look so damn familiar?Ď She thought to herself. She got as close as she could till the guard was beside her with a hand lightly on her shoulder. She smiled up at him and stepped back.
She then looked at her companion and then back at the statue and then at her companion again. ĎWait a minute!íShe thought, her eyes widening as she stared at the green eyed blonde.
Kate was pretty sure she knew exactly what had gotten under the tall beautyís skin. Her father did that statue in the 1950ís and the model for it was her mother. "What?" She finally asked Nat.
"Maybe Iím nuts but I see a....resemblance."
"You're nuts. That statue was done in 1890."
"Where were you in 1890?" Nat asked with a smirk.
"I canít be sure, but I know I wasnít dressed like that." She said pointing toward the nude Goddess.
Natís eyes glowed for an instant with a desire to see her companion just like that.
"Well if not in that lifetime maybe in the next?"
Kateís eyes widened as she realized what Nat was saying, "May I remind you that this is business."
"Ah, yes, business...Well lets get to work. Introduce me to the owner of the gallery."
"Youíll see, " Natís eyes twinkled knowingly.
"You are the most smug and annoying woman I have ever met," Kate grumbled.
"Well if you're going to hang out with us bad guys you get what you deserve. How do you like being a gangster moll?" She asked wiggling her eyebrows.
Kate rolled her eyes, "Come on." She took Natís hand and led her to a distinguished older man. "Mr. Grimilli, This is my friend Natalie Miller. Nat this is an old friend of our family, Mr. Grimilli. He owns this Gallery."
Nat smiled her most dazzling smile, almost knocking Kate to the ground from the effect. "Its an honor to meet you, Sir."
"Its always a pleasure to meet friends of little Kateís here..."
"Sorry Kate, youíll always be that pigtailed terror to me."
A deep blush settled over Kateís features that Nat felt very attracted to.
ĎLets be honest, Iím attracted to this girl when she breathes.í Thought Nat with a shake of her head. Then an amusing thought flashed across her mind and she smiled into Kateís eyes and said, "Pigtails?"
"Forget he said that, Nat." Kate growled.
"Aw, it sounds so cute."
"It was." Said the amused, older gentleman.
"Ok, ok, enough memories, Mr Grimilli. Nat, didnít you want to ask him something?" Kate asked trying desperately to get off the current topic of discussion.
Nat had an exceedingly amused expression on her face as she asked innocently, "Did I?"
Kate growled and elbowed the annoying woman, "Yes."
Nat chuckled, "Oh yes, thatís right. I was just wondering how you keep watch over so many beautiful things. I mean there are some very small objects here. How do you keep everything safe?" Her face and voice was so innocent that Kate stared in pure astonishment.
Mr. Grimilli was very pleased. Proud of his security, he loved to show it off as Nat knew he would, "Well Natalie..."
"Call me Nat," Another dazzling smile.
He smiled back and his eyes twinkled, "Nat, let me just show you how." He took her arm and began a long intricate speech about every security operation in his gallery. Nat winked at the shocked Kate as she followed willingly, listening carefully to every single detail.
* * * * *
"Well that was interesting." Kate said as she bit into a hotdog, "Why the sudden interest in postcards?"
"Why? Thieves have friends too, you know." Nat answered chuckling. Then took a huge bite of her hotdog. Suddenly she spotted a street vendor that she wanted to visit so she handed her dog and coke to Kate. She ran after the man returning with a boomerang and a huge satisfied grin on her face.
Kate handed back the hotdog and coke, "Would you like me to buy you a rubber ducky for your bathtub too?"
"Only if youíll share it with me," As she retook her food and her seat on the bench in the park.
"Business, Nat, business."
"Not a second for monkey business, huh?"
"No, not even a second. What are you planning?"
Nat leaned back against the bench and looked around the park breathing deeply, "Take a long last look at the trees, grass and birds my friend. It may be a long time before you see them again. Of course I detest them personally so prison doesnít worry me. It could be ten years in prison for this. Are you sure you want it that much?"
"More...You do have a plan, donít you?"
"Yep, and Iíll tell you..." She moved close so she was breathing gently against Kateís neck, "Me and my plan are going to go home to the Plaza and go to bed. Would you like to join us?" She asked with an upraised eyebrow.
Kateís hopeful face fell, "What do you mean?"
"I mean why? Why are you doing this? Why do you want risk you freedom?"
"I...canít ...tell you...." She said crying. Her head was tilted down but Nat could see the tears and they broke her heart.
"Tears wonít work. I donít break that easy," Nat said trying desperately to harden her heart. She was failing miserably and she knew it.
Kate was still looking down, the food forgotten on the bench, nodded her head and said quietly, "I know."
Nat took a deep breath and followed her heart. She reached out with both hands to the woman beside her gently wiping her tears with her thumbs. Then she lifted Kateís head by her chin and put her forehead against the smaller womanís saying quietly, "Iím an idiot, but meet here tomorrow at a quarter to six."
Kate pulled back slightly so she could see Natís eyes, "Really?"
Natís eyes softened even more, she kissed Kateís forehead and whispered, "Really."
* * * * * *
Nat was happy to see Kate right on time. She smiled brightly at the younger woman, "Didnít get engaged tonight, huh?"
"Ha,ha, very funny."
"I didnít notice before, its a pretty ring. This guy has good taste in rings and... in fianceeís"
Kate blushed beet red.
"You're awful cute when you blush."
Kate had to turn around to catch her breath. Nat smiled, "Come on, lets get this over with," She held out a hand so Kate could see it. Kate grasped it willingly and they entered the gallery.
Once inside Nat asked the security guard where the bathroom was, though she of course remembered exactly where it was from her tour yesterday. Across the hall from the bathroom was a small room where all the security equipment was and next to the bathroom was a small utility closet. Nat quietly thanked what ever deity made it possible that the back area was not covered by the security cameras.
They walked down the hall and just as Kate was about to open the door to the bathroom Nat grabbed her arm and dragged her into the closet. Kate was about to ask why they were stuffed inside the small closet when the closing bell sounded.
Nat winked at her, amused. Kate looked confused till it dawned on her that they would remain hidden till security locked up the gallery.
Suddenly they heard a click outside the door. Kate panicked but Nat got a hold of her quickly and held her close putting a gentle hand around Kateís mouth. She waited till the lights were turned off before she reluctantly let Kate go.
"We're locked in. What are we going to do?"
Nat smiled, "Calm down, weíre fine."
"Fine? How are we going to accomplish anything locked in a closet?!"
Natís imagination whirled with the things the two of them could accomplish locked in a closet, "Calm down, Kate. We are fine. I do have a plan."
"In a closet?"
"Well, thatís another plan entirely. Do you know anything about Houdini?"
Trying to get her head around being trapped in a closet with this beautiful woman that she was already attracted to and the sudden change of subject she was barely able to a yelp out, "No."
Nat smiled and gently caressed her cheek,"Well my young friend, he said the trick about being locked inside a safe is that its not set up for someone to unlock. The same holds true for this closet. Hold on to this and Iíll take care of this lock." She said calmly placing a soft black totebag that was rolled into her back pocket in Kateís hands.
She took out a flash light that she turned on and put around her neck and a lock pick.
Kateís eyes widened, "You're a genius!"
Nat winked, "Yep."
Kate rolled her eyes and watched as Nat successfully picked the lock.
"You did it."
"Did you doubt me?"
"No...But I...Nat, I really like you. I donít want anything to happen to you. Lets go....Iíll...."
Her stuttering speech was silenced by a gentle hand and soft, kind, blue eyes that twinkled at her as she asked, "Then what will you do when Professor Marten comes to examine your million dollar baby?"
"Its a fake, isnít it?"
Kate nodded and lowered her head.
"Who sculpted it?"
"Who posed for it?"
"Ah...Hence the resemblance..."
Kateís tear-filled eyes met Natís, "How long have you known?"
"From the moment you asked me to steal it."
"Then why..." She was interrupted when she felt Nat embrace her and lips met her own, passionately. Then all she felt was bliss.
When they parted she looked up into sparkling blue eyes filled with love.
"Oh, thatís why...Iím very slow will you explain it to me again. Please?"
Nat gladly followed through till they had forgotten the closet, the panther, the professor, everything except each other.
* * * * *
About 20 minutes later Nat was sitting on a stool and Kate was in her arms nestled on her lap.
"As wonderful as this is, donít you think it would be a good idea if we got on with it?"
"Whatever you want," Kate replied dreamily her head on Natís shoulder.
"What I want is to develop this to the next logical step. I will not make love for the first time to the love of my life in a closet. So come on, lets got your million dollar baby and go." She gently pushed the smaller woman up and got up herself.
Then she took her hand and pulled her across the way to the room with all the camera equipment. She then pulled the postcard of the empty museum from the bag and timed it so it looked like that next camera frame on the time lapse camera, knowing she would have to fix the time on the film at a later date.
They went down the hall and she stopped Kate at the doorway to the gallery. She got out the boomerang and whispered, "Ok, Iíll only be able to do this once. When I say your name run and grab the statue then come quickly back to me....please." She went from sounding like the professional she was to the pleading lover with a heartbreaking expression on her pretty face.
Nat shook her head, "Ok, get ready," She threw the boomerang to hit every sensor point in the gallery, the second it left her hand she shouted "Now Kate!" to be heard over the alarm. Kate nodded and ran with her hands over her ears. She grabbed the panther and hightailed back to Nat and out of the gallery. They ran towards where Nat parked her car a block and a half away through the back streets. When they got near the side walk where the car was she slowed their pace and casually walked to the car. They left the area at the legal speed limit.
* * * * *
They were both quiet as they entered Natís suite. Kate put the statue, which was hidden in the cloth tote, down and turned toward Nat with a beaming expression on her face, "I canít believe we did that. You're a genius."
"Not quite. Weíll need to do a little clean up, but first...sit down Kathryn." She said pointing to a chair. Kate did what she asked with an open question on her face.
Once she was seated, Nat knelt in front of her and said quietly, "I think its time I fully introduce myself. My name is Natalie Miller and I am in love with you which is why Iím breaking client confidentially and telling you that I am not a thief. I am a criminologist and an art expert. I was hired by your fatherís ex-partner Larry Valdez. He hired me to prove that your Father was a mad, genius forger and you caught me in that cute little nightie of yours not trying to rob you but getting a piece of paint to examine. My job..."
Nat put a finger to her lips and said, "Iím not done yet, Love. I have degrees with distinction in law and criminology and I catch forgers for a very good living....Now we have a bit of a dilemma, Iím not going to give up my job so we will just will have to convince your father to give up his hobby. Do you think you can?"
Nat removed her finger and caressed the beloved cheek. Kate leaned into the caress and said, "I donít know. I think Iím on overload. Iím in love with you too. As for Daddy, I think I can get him to um...not publicize his work for me. But stop... Nat, I donít know. He loves art and heís proud of it. I love him so I really donít want to hurt him." She looked pleadingly at Nat.
Nat smiled gently and shook her head. "I donít either. Ok Kate, weíll talk to him later..." She stood up taking the smaller woman with her, "Right now I think we need to finish what we started in that closet." She said, then she kissed the other woman passionately as she carried her toward the bedroom and their future.
beyond uber index <> homepage