Disclaimers: See Chapter One of Storm Surge for all the legal yada, yada.
Alex set the phone down, and wondered what had possessed her to call Conner. Sure, she needed to confirm their plans for the next evening, but even as she dialed the phone, there were still questions in her mind about going through with the dinner. She had not been out with anyone since Feryle, and the thought of actually having to carry on a personal conversation with someone made her stomach hurt. Still, she had called, and now was standing there smiling over the conversation.
Conner certainly did not seem like the tongue-tied, klutzy woman that had been on the other end of the line. Experience told Alex that in order to survive the rigors of undercover work, one had to be quick witted and agile. Maybe it was meeting someone new that made Conner nervous. Sam had mentioned in her conversation earlier in the day that Conner had not seen anyone, well more than once anyway, since they had broken up two years ago. Alex chalked it up to nerves, just like the ones she was feeling.
Alex worked in the house, frequently glancing at the clock, waiting for Conner to call and say she was safe at home. A small smirk came to Alex's face when she thought about Conner's chin slide. Being home, and being safe were not necessarily synonymous considering Conner's tendency to be accident-prone lately, she thought. Alex wandered around the house, finally deciding to have a nourishing dinner of wine and cheese out on the deck.
She watched the sky begin to turn into subdued shades of gold and purple as the sun began its nightly decent behind the horizon. She watched as two women, oblivious to everything but one another, walked hand and hand down the beach. How many times had she and Feryle walked that same path; making plans for their house, and for their future. She acknowledged that those days were long gone, as a tear slowly crept down her cheek.
Today, Alex decided, it was okay to feel the pain. She almost welcomed the raw, heart-wrenching feelings that poured from her memories. Today she would allow the pain, for it provided the reminder of why she was back. Monday, she would turn the pain into the hate she knew so well. The hate that would bring Malcolm to his knees.
Alex ran a hand through her disheveled hair. Damn, if I keep this up I'll be bald. The habit was one that always gave away the fact that she was frustrated. Feryle had noticed it right away, and used it often as a means of getting the upper hand in some of their heated discussions.
Walking through the house to her office, Alex decided to read back over some of the files she had compiled on what she called now called "Feryle's Revenge." During her time recuperating after the raid, Alex had painstakingly cataloged, cross-referenced, and categorized hundreds of files, interviews, and case notes that pertained to the elusive Malcolm. As she read, she relived the fateful night of the raid. The night that she found out someone on the inside was a traitor, and the night she was almost killed because of that treason. She remembered the warehouse, the explosion, and the searing heat that radiated throughout her body as flying shrapnel imbedded itself into her back. She flinched as she remembered the pain, and literally jumped out of the chair, knocking the phone on the floor, as the shrill ringing of the damn thing broke into her thoughts.
Conner heard the receiver clattering to the floor, and Alex break into a colorful array of exasperated curses while picking up the phone, and then a breathless "Hello."
Conner was not sure how to respond, so she simply told Alex that she was home and safe.
"Good, I was about to dispatch the calvary and the Coast Guard."
Although Alex had tried to make her comment light and playful, Conner could tell the woman was upset.
"Alex, is everything OK? I mean, you sound a little upset." Conner asked, hoping Alex would not be offended by her questioning.
"Yeah...sure, Conner, I'm fine. I was just reviewing a case file, and the phone startled me, that's all." Alex hoped the lame excuse would satisfy Conner, although it was evident that her reaction had not been just the result of a ringing phone.
"OK, if you're sure. Well, I'll let you get back to your reading." Conner decided to pass the ball to Alex and let her decide if she was interested in any further conversation.
"Hold on a minute, officer," Alex almost ordered over the phone, "How's the chin...and the head...and the rest of your beaten and bruised body?"
"Chin hurts like hell, I now look like a cone head with this goose egg I have, and the rest of the body, well, it's not going to be very nice to me tomorrow I can tell already," Conner said, laughing into the phone
"I am sorry I caused your...umm...accident. Maybe I should just page you in the future; maybe that will be safer, and easier on the body." Alex could not help but chuckle. She did feel bad about Conner's chin and head, although the visual she got when thinking about her sliding across the deck of the boat seemed to ease the pain of her guilt.
"Ha, Ha. That damn thing usually scares me worse. I have to keep it on vibrate, especially when I'm on the street, and it always feels like a stun gun when it goes off. Most people probably think I'm having the d.t.'s or something when they see my reaction.
Alex could not hold back her hardy laugh at Conner's description, and added, "Well, maybe I'll just start e-mailing you, then."
"Oh no you don't. I hate damn computers. They make me feel so incompetent. Last time I checked my email at the precinct, I had to get Buet to get me into it. I had something like a 100 emails, dating back six months. So my suggestion is if you want a timely response, just call me. I promise not to do anymore swan dives, OK."
"As you wish. It's your body, after all," Alex replied
"Hey there, I can get this treatment form the guys downtown." I'm sure I will tomorrow morning, Conner thought. "I thought you liked me."
"I do, Conner...I like you a lot. Why else would I give you such a hard time? I don't treat just...anyone like this." Alex's voice took on a dark and sultry tone as she chided Conner, surprising herself when she thought back on the remark she had just made.
On the other end of the line, Conner found herself searching for her voice somewhere in the depths of her gut. Not knowing just how to respond to Alex's statement, she simply uttered a simple, "Oh, OK"
Alex knew the woman had been temporarily speechless by her comment and tried to lighten things up a bit. "I usually just body slam and cuff the ones I don't care for. You might want to watch out that you never make me mad. I just might come at you with and evil look on my face and cuffs in my hand."
Conner could feel the heat radiating in the lower parts of her anatomy. She could just imagine what Alex could look like with and evil look and handcuffs. Although lust and not anger was the emotion Conner was contemplating in her mind. "Well. If you're not careful, agent Montgomery, I just might think you're daring me here. It's been a long time since I've had a woman come after me with handcuffs, she said in an equally sultry voice.
Conner could almost hear Alex swallowing. She did not know if the silence on the other end of the phone was because of Alex being angry, or speechless as Conner had been just moments before. She knew the conversation had turned towards dangerous ground, and did not want to frighten Alex away before she really got a chance to know the mysterious woman.
Alex was trying very hard to find her voice when she heard Conner screaming from the other end of the line.
"You little shit, I'm going to kill your furry ass in about two seconds if you don't get out of my face."
Alex broke out in a hardy laugh knowing the cat that Conner was baby-sitting had managed to irritate her again. "Conner, how is it can you take down drug dealers, but can't seem to control a tiny little kitty?"
"This isn't just any tiny little kitty, I'll have you know. This is the cat from depths of hell. You should have seen my place when I got home last night. Almost everything in the house that was not nailed down was scattered in the middle of the floor. When I left, he was doing that cat thing, licking himself, and looking all innocent, but when I walked out the door he apparently found other things to take up him time." Conner finished her raging with an audible growl.
"...And if that's not bad enough, my living room smell like a dirty shoe. Seth, Magnum's daddy, decided he needed to have something that had his scent on it so the poor little thing wouldn't be frightened. Now I have an old dirty T-shirt lying in the corner of my living room, and from the stench coming from it, I think it's been worn daily and not washed in years."
Alex let Conner vent her frustrations, and laughed as she recanted her experience with the cat. At least the conversation had veered back toward safer ground. Alex decided it would probably be easier if Conner just met her at the house the next evening. Alex knew of a great Italian restaurant not far from where she lived. They talked a while longer, deciding to meet the next evening at six. Alex gave Conner the directions to her house, and her phone number in case anything came up or she got lost, and then said their good-byes.
Conner replaced the phone, and gave the cat a glaring look. "Well, I guess you did get me out of a tight situation. At least my scream broke the heavy silence that had made its way into out little conversation." With a growl, Conner gave the cat a pat on the head and walked down the hall to the bathroom, to the next order of business, a nice hot bath.
Continue to Part Seven of Storm Surge
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