Disclaimer: See Part 1
“Uh uh…” Adam pointed the gun at Jo's chest. “Back off, you can put it in the bag when it gets up here.” Then he realized what the gesture meant. “Shit! They're out there, aren't they…”
Jo watched as his eyes took on a little desperate glint. Dammit! “Probably, yeah.” She slowly slid her cell phone from her pocket. “Should I call and see?”
“I could call my partner, Alan. He knew I was going to be here.” Jo didn't make a move to dial. She simply waited for him to make up his mind.
Adam gestured with his head. “Yeah, call and see what's going on out there.”
Dialing Alan's cell, Jo barely had to wait one ring before the man picked up.
“Jo! What's going on in there, there was a reported shot fired, is anyone injured?”
“No injuries, Alan.” Jo spoke calmly. “The shot went in the ceiling. It was an attention getter.”
“Thank God.” Alan breathed a sigh of relief.
“This guy wants to know what's going on outside…” Jo wondered if Alan would give them the correct numbers.
“There are about twenty police cars and several news vans…” He sounded frustrated. “But there isn't really anything we can do right now.”
“Understood.” She nodded and smiled into the phone, thinking how stupid that was to do, but doing it anyway. “Listen, I'm gonna give him my phone, so when you want to contact him, call my number.”
“Sounds like a plan.” Alan's voice softened. “Take care of yourself, Rook.”
“I'll do my best.” She disconnected the call then took a few steps forward, holding out the phone for Adam to take. If he would just come close enough… She sighed to herself as he gestured for her to lay it on a nearby table and back off for him to pick it up. “If you want to call them, use the number under ‘Alan'. He said there are about twenty cars right now.” Jo slowly backed up and resumed her position, leaning against the wall. She casually put the watch back on her wrist. “So now what?”
Adam scanned through the crowd, his eyes stopping on fascinated brown eyes. “You… brunette in the blue dress… find the sack and bring it up here to me.”
So much for not singling me out. Andy thought and looked around for the sack that was being passed back through the crowd toward her. She watched Miranda add her pearl necklace and what rings she had deigned to wear tonight to the growing amount of treasure, Blair too added her jewelry to the bounty. Miranda passed the bag to Andrea, their fingers brushing lightly, eyes meeting briefly, and then the sack was in her hands. Andy reluctantly let her new sapphire necklace and earrings join the pile then, with a last longing look at Miranda, began to walk toward the gunman.
He waited for the sack to be passed to his chosen messenger and watched as she reluctantly walked toward him. Smiling at his choice, he couldn't help but admire the way the shimmering blue material hugged every curve of the young woman's body and he unconsciously licked his lips as she drew closer.
Andy saw the look and tried to control her turning stomach. It made her self-conscious and she reached up with her free hand, her left hand, to ruffle her bangs. When she did, she saw his dismay. “What's this?” She was close enough now that he took a step forward and grabbed her hand. “You holdin' out on me?”
“Oh… I forgot it was there.” Andy lied, she never forgot about her ring. “It won't do you any good, it's my engagement ring, custom, you won't be able to sell it.”
He squeezed her wrist painfully. “Take it off.”
“No!” Tears sprang to her eyes. She'd promised Miranda she would never take it off.
The gun was now pressing hard at the point just between her eyes as he bent her backward with the force of his hand on her wrist. “Take it off, now.”
“Andrea!” Miranda's uncharacteristically loud voice rang out over the silent crowd. Everyone, even the gunman, looked toward the white-haired woman. “It's not worth your life, Andrea.” Anguished blue eyes locked with desperate brown. Miranda knew all her peers were here, watching her and in that moment she didn't care, uttering a word that none of them would ever have believed they would hear her say, at least not with the almost begging tone laced through it. “Please.”
“Listen to Granny, Ann…dray…ahh…” He took the gun away from her head and pointed it at her hand. “Take it off.”
She thought she was going to be sick, but she blinked away her tears and slowly slid the ring off her finger. He grabbed it and examined it. “My guy can work with these gems. You're right though, the ring is worthless to me as a whole. I can't use anything engraved.”
Engraved? Andy blinked and blotted the tears carefully from her eyes. She didn't want to look like a raccoon again. She found Miranda's face in the crowd. “Engraved?”
“Don't you know what it says?” He was laughing now. “It's so sappy.”
Andy shook her head. “I didn't know it was engraved, I've never taken it off.”
“It says, ‘My Andrea, My Heart, Always', now isn't that just sickly sweet?” He dropped the ring into his shirt pocket. “Where is your sappy boyfriend, I want to know just what this wimp looks like.”
Andy looked across the crowd and was surprised when several men began to move toward her. Miranda's voice halted their motion.
“Stop.” She looked at them all and smiled, truly touched by the gesture. “I thank you gentlemen, but there is no need.” Lifting the hem of her dress slightly, Miranda made her way down the path the crowd had cleared for her, heels clicking on the dance floor, then going silent on the carpeted area, until she was standing beside Andrea, almost directly in front of the gunman.
“Holy shit… you?” He waved his gun at Miranda, “... and her?” The barrel swung over to point at Andy as he spoke to her. “You, and Granny? That's just…” He looked at Miranda. “You're one lucky bitch.”
Andy bristled, but Miranda just smiled and nodded. “I frequently remind myself of that very fact.”
Adam glanced over at Jo. “How many dykes you know on the force?”
Jo shrugged. “Several.”
“Bet they don't look like this.” He gestured to the pair standing in front of him.
Jo smiled and agreed. “No, not many of them.”
“Bet they hit on you.” Adam nodded, “A beautiful police detective, just like on TV… I'll bet they all want you.”
Laughing at that, Jo shook her head. “I get some occasional flirting, but that's about it.”
“Does it bother you?” He narrowed his eyes at the detective. “Do you enjoy it?”
Jo shrugged. “I don't mind some harmless flirting from time to time. It's kind of flattering actually.”
Adam moved closer to Andy and laughed as he heard her stomach rumble. “Hungry, baby?”
Andy's nostrils flared. “Don't call me that.”
“Oh...” He grinned and ran the barrel of the gun along Andy's cheek. “But we could have a lot of fun, you and I.”
“This is a charity dinner.” Miranda barely controlled the anger in her voice. “Of course she, and many others I'm sure, are hungry as we have not yet sat down for the meal.” She indicated the large buffet that had been filled during the time they had been dancing, but was as yet untouched.
“Ohhh…” Adam grinned as he wrapped his arm around Andy's shoulders. “Granny's got some fight in her.” He leaned in to whisper in Andy's ear. “Is that how you like it, baby?”
Jo interrupted Andy's response. Knowing her friend, she'd respond with something sappy and totally dripping with love, which wasn't what she needed to do right now. There was no way Adam should know how much the two women meant to each other. He would just use it against them. He already knew too much but Jo could tell the man didn't put too much stock into lesbian relationships; if Andy were to start talking though, it would soon become evident exactly how much Miranda meant to her. “You know, she has a point. If you were to allow them to eat, they might be a little better controlled. Hungry and desperate doesn't really make for a good combination in this kind of situation.” She didn't want to say the word ‘hostage' just yet. Plus, I'm hungry too.
“True.” He scanned the layout of the room and nodded to himself. The tables were all in the middle of the room, so to get to the doors on either end of the room someone would have to walk across the dance floor, or walk across a large entrance space, either would be clearly visible and an easy shot. When he saw that each place at the tables was labeled with individual names he grinned. “Okay people, looks like we're gonna be here a while, so you may as well take your seats.”
“C'mon, Detective.” He motioned her toward the entrance area and gestured to one of the long tables covered in brochures promoting various charities. “Move that table up against the door.”
Raising her eyebrows, Jo sighed. “Right.” She shifted the table so that it crossed the doors. They opened inward, so the table would block it, but not for long, that wasn't the purpose. They weren't put there to keep the police out, they were there to keep the people in, in long enough that if someone did try to escape that way, Adam would have a lot of notice, and a clean shot. The doors on the other end across the dance floor were quickly secured with cables ripped from the DJ's audio equipment.
That done, he hopped up on the raised platform the head table was on and grinned when Andy began to climb the three steps up as well. “Can't stay away from me, eh baby?”
She glared at him. “My seat is there.”
He reached over to look at the place card. “Andrea Sachs… so it is…” He reached for the card at the setting next to Andy's. “Miranda Priestly…” He looked at the white haired woman standing on the steps just behind Andrea. “…I'll bet that's you, eh Granny? Miranda sounds like an old lady name.”
“You are correct, that is me.” She took the last step up and began to walk to her seat before his laughter stopped her. “Oh no…” He flipped the name card away, “this is my seat now.”
Miranda was aware of others moving past her to their seats at the head table. She heard Detective Jo's voice, “Looks like someone didn't show up.” She prayed Blair had answered the RSVP on the tickets true to form.
Adam looked to see an empty seat between Andrea and a terrified looking blonde. “Who?” He grabbed the place card. “Joanna Warner… Joanna….Jo…” He looked at Jo. “What's your name?”
“Josephine…” She lied. “Josephine Polniaczek.”
“No shit? That's a hell of a name to marry into.” Narrowing his eyes, he asked. “What was your maiden name?”
Jo replied immediately. “Garrett.”
Grunting, he motioned Miranda to move. “Okay then Granny, you can sit there.”
Blair found the courage to look Jo in the eye, wishing her wife wasn't quite so self-sacrificing. A small smile and the barest of winks was all she got before Jo found herself in a little bit of a jam when Adam spoke.
“So where's your seat, Detective?”
“Here.” A voice on the floor spoke, and an arm rose to draw attention to himself. “Our seats are here.”
“Thought you said your husband was working…” Adam was suspicious now and he jumped down to the floor, crossing over to where the man sat. He grabbed the place card and grunted. It just said ‘guest'.
“Yup, this is just a friend.” She came within a breath of saying ‘from work', but that would mean that this guy was probably a police officer as well, which he was; in fact he was the Chief of Police, but Adam didn't need to know that.
Adam saw that everyone was now seated, “You are all very lucky this is a buffet type dinner, because I wouldn't have let any waiters or waitress' in, even for food.” He waved the gun at the head table. “I'll let you go one table at a time, just like little kids in school… the head table can go first since it was ‘Andrea' whose hunger prompted this.” He gestured for them to go and watched, satisfied, as they filed down to the buffet line slowly.
Jo exhaled softly as she sat. “Thanks… I'm not sure how I'd have gotten out of that.”
“Somehow Detective, I think you would have managed.” The man sounded impressed. “Getting him to agree to the food was excellent work.”
“It was already here,” She waved off the compliment, “If it hadn't been… we'd all be hungry now.”
“I'm not so sure about that either.” He glanced at the head table. “How long do you think he can keep this up?”
Jo shook her head. “I don't know. It depends on how eager he is to escape. Right now his plan went to hell and he's trying to think of some other way out of here.”
“And what do you think that will be?”
Jo sighed as she looked up at the main table and watched with clenched teeth as Adam tormented Andy. When he brushed some of Andy's wavy hair off her shoulder with the barrel of his gun, Jo knew. “Hostage.”
The Chief grunted. “Damn.”
“Yeah.” She sighed at the murderous look in Miranda's eyes. “It's gonna be trouble.”
Adam had Andy fill a plate for him as the people at the head table went through the line. He grinned as she carried both plates back to the table and sat them in the appropriate places. “Thanks, Baby.”
“I hope you choke.”
He rounded on her with the gun, jamming the barrel under her chin. “That wasn't very nice.”
Defiant brown eyes glared at him then she heard a sound to her right. It was a cross between a gasp and a whimper and Andy knew Miranda had made it. Relenting, she spoke quietly. “No, it wasn't very nice. I'm sorry.” She relaxed somewhat as the gun was removed but shuddered as he brushed a lock of her hair off her shoulder with the barrel.
Patting the one hand she had laying on the table, he smiled. “That's better.” He turned his attention back to the other tables and dismissed the next one to get their food, but his hand returned to hers between bites.
It was the weirdest dinner nearly any of them had ever had, the silence was the worst. Normally at a function like this there was talking, laughing, glasses clinking together and silverware clashing on the plates. The only sounds now were the occasional tiny clink of silverware against china. The buffet had been practically depleted; no one would have asked to go back for seconds anyway.
“All finished, Baby?” Adam grinned at Andy and her half eaten plate, “you know you should eat all your food.” He mocked whatever authority figure he'd heard the saying from. “Take all you want, but eat all you take.”
“Maybe later.” She turned to see Miranda and glanced at her fiancée's plate. The older woman hadn't done much better at swallowing the stuff than she had, but her plate was emptier, because she'd taken less to begin with.
“It wasn't that bad…” Adam used the last of his roll to soak up some gravy from the beef stew. He chewed it, thoughtfully. “Pretty good, actually.”
Pushing her plate away, Andy put her hand on her tummy, and lied, “I don't usually eat that much in the evening,” she complained. “And it's too hot in here.”
“The police are to blame for that.” He nearly growled at their tactics. An hour after the initial gunshot had been reported, the air conditioning had been cut and it was beginning to get hot in the room. He'd had an extensive yelling session at them over the cell phone, but it hadn't helped and the cool air continued to be withheld. But he used Andy's discomfort for his own fun. “Awww…” Adam grinned and put his hand just under where Andy had hers. “Got a tummy ache?” He leered at her. “Want me to kiss it and make it better?”
“Don't touch her.”
Laughing, Adam looked down the table. “Granny speaks.” He leveled the gun at Miranda. “You better watch what you say because I'm not really a patient man.” He nodded at Miranda's silence. “Better.” He grinned and turned back to Andy, placing his hand back on her stomach. “Now, where were we?”
Closing her eyes against the revulsion that she felt, hoping her dinner didn't make a surprise reappearance, Andy spoke quietly. “I think you were just about to ask me to dance.”
“Yeah?” He thought about it then shrugged. “What else do we have to do?” Escorting her to the dance floor he was the picture of a perfect gentleman, except for the gun in his hand. He left Andy standing in the middle of the cleared area and managed to start a song playing.
Of course it was a slow swaying song and Andy saw the hurt in Miranda's eyes as the man pulled Andy close. She wondered if she could pretend to be clumsy and knock him down, but before she had the opportunity he whispered in her ear. “If you do anything funny, I'll shoot Granny.” He grinned at the dismay on her face and knew he had her. “Got it?”
Andy nodded. “Yeah, I understand.” She continued to dance with him, knowing from the look in his eye that he was serious. Oh God, I can't let him hurt Miranda… I have to do what he says... She thought she was going to throw up when he pulled her closer against him. Anything he says.
They continued dancing as the music played on and on, slow song after slow song. Andy managed to meet Miranda's eyes occasionally. She hoped that her fiancée could see the anger in her eyes. She hoped Miranda could read the thoughts that had been going through her head ever since the man had threatened to hurt the woman she loved. I won't let him hurt you, Miranda. I'll get him, just give me some time. The man mashed against her and she barely held her stomach in check. Finding Miranda's eyes again, seeing the anguish the man had put there; Andy wanted to reassure the woman, Just give me a chance, Miranda. I'll get him, I promise. Andy swallowed the bile rising to her throat as the man's hands slid over her back. She knew his actions were hurting Miranda and for that he would pay. She swayed automatically to the music and thought.
Nobody messes with my girls.
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