CH 6: '....And if I die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.'
Except for the floor littered in papers, it was just like a slumber party. Stacks of paper made a path towards the office where Conner, Blue, Terry, and Sara sat amidst papers that were not yet in stacks. Blue groaned for the fifth time in ten minutes as she collapsed into her pile of papers, helping to dishevel Sara's papers as well. "Good god woman, I thought you were some kind of an accountant. This shit is crazy!." She grabbed fistfuls of blue-black hair and made a face like monkey.
The woman laughed at her antics. "Hey those aren't mine, bubba. My shit's out there in all those neat piles." Conner pointed out of the doorway.
"Well then why do we care about this stuff?" she whined.
Terry rolled her eyes an answered. "Because, my dear, when the Fibbies came kicking in the door there going to arrest the midget over here on account of being an accessory to all the money laundering, back taxes, tax evasion, embezzling, and about 6 other felonies I can find in my pile alone."
Blue stuck out her tongue and stood up. "Whatever, smart ass, me and Sara are fixing drinks."
The blue-eyed girl looked up at the tall woman like she'd just been asked to kiss the Pope's ring. "We are."
Blue shook her head and held out her hand. The thin girl reached up and took the proffered hand with a cheesy grin affixed to her face. "C'mon will make Sangria and you can tell me the gossip."
Sara darted wide eyes from Conner to Terry and back to Blue. She looked slightly confused. "You gossip?" It was all Blue could do not to burst into laughter, but she could see Terry and Conner silently convulsing with laughter out of the corner of her eye. Blue shook her head and winked at Sara.
"No Sara, I don't gossip, but you do, so it evens out."
The brown haired girl seemed to contemplate the older woman's logic for a brief moment and then she smiled sweetly as she took full hold of Blue's hand. "Makes sense, besides they won't let me talk about Wil." She stuck out her tongue at the giggling women.
Blue managed a smile and spoke through her teeth, "that's so nice." She didn't bother to turn back, since she knew Terry and Conner were rolling on the floor laughing and making gagging gestures behind her back. She placed her free hand behind her back and saluted the two laughing women with the finger as Sara led her out of the office.
They returned a few moments later with a pitcher and toasted to something obscene and brown eyes drew to slits as Terry noticed Sara didn't drink. "Is it that bad, bubba?" Sara blushed and shook her head no. Conner picked up at Sara's meek response and took over Terry's line of questioning before the woman could order her thoughts.
"Sara my dear, what's up? You don't pass up Sangria, you sick?" Conner touched the back of her hand playfully to Sara's forehead." The dirty blonde laughed as she moved out of the way. Conner just stared at the woman until she put six and four together. She let out a whoop of discovery and drew Sara to her in a strong one-armed embrace. Blue and Terry looked on in question. "You shit! I don't believe you." Conner grinned from ear to ear. She turned to face the other women as she kept her arm around Sara's shoulder. "Sara's freaking pregnant guys!" Conner squealed with excitement.
Terry opened her mouth to something profound and found her mouth covered by a large tanned hand as Blue halted whatever biting comment she was going to make. Blue smiled at Sara as she held a squirming Terry in a semi-headlock. "That's great Sara, does Wilbur know yet?" The thin woman broke into a glowing smile and shook her head no. Blue looked down at Terry as she settled and then she released her, garnering a punch to her arm. "Ow!"
Terry just rolled her eyes and then turned her attention to Sara as she walked towards the woman and gave her a hug. "Can I be there when you tell the lug nut?"
Sara laughed. "Yeah right, you just want to see him vomit."
Terry and Conner laughed since they knew it was the truth. In their youth it was discovered that whenever Wilhelm was surprised he'd lose his lunch, which made for interesting pranks. "Terry wouldn't do that Sara." Conner said through a laugh. "Holy crap, there's going to be little Wilhelm's and Sara's running around. Ha!"
"Behave Terry!" came the alto from behind them.
Terry sucked her teeth and threw an icecube at the tall woman. "Shut it woman!"
Sara just laughed. "It's okay Blue, let her get it out now, cause once the baby's born I don't want to hear about it anymore." She pouted playfully as she gave Terry a hard stare and then the three friends burst into girlish giggles and squeals.
Blue wasn't sure if she was getting claustrophobic or if the squeals were just ripping apart her eardrums. She grimaced and walked past the laughing women. Conner barely looked up as she got to the door, but Blue stopped when she heard her name.
"Where you off to missy?"
"There's way too much estrogen in this room right now, I need some sports or something." She pulled a face as they laughed.
"Aw, come on Blue you've got enough testosterone for us all." Terry quipped. Blue just growled in response and gestured for Terry to suck her dick as she grabbed her crotch and then left the office. Terry smiled wickedly and turned towards a grinning Conner. "Does she pack?"
Conner's jaw hit the floor as her ears turned a shade of red only made by Crayola. "Oh..my..god." she said in a whisper of disbelief.
Terry eyed the smaller woman and pursed her lips. "That's not an answer midget." Conner squinted her eyes and just groaned as she willed away Terry's question.
"Guys what's packing?"
Whatever string was holding up Conner's sanity was snapped at Sara's innocent question. The women found themselves heaving with laughter until each was achy and teary-eyed.
Blue re-entered the room hesitantly and stood at the door until she managed to catch Conner's attention as she rolled on the floor. "Uh, do we like Duke?"
Terry sobered quickly as she put her glass down and looked at the singer like she had two heads. "Blue I'm going to have to seriously reconsidered our sexual fantasy life if you don't know the answer to that question."
"I know, I know. I apologize oh great Terrapin."
"They playing Maryland?" Conner asked with interest.
"Yup. And if they keep playing the second half like they did the first they might win."
Terry and Conner looked to each other and back to Blue with wide eyes. "Say what! What's the score?"
"Um, it's two minutes into the 2nd quarter and the game's tied, score is-
Blue had no chance to finish her statement as Terry and Conner let out strangled war cries and raced out of the office into the sitting room. The tall woman just held onto the door frame until she was sure they were gone. She looked at Sara with confusion.
Sara just shook her head as she met the woman at the door. "Maryland hasn't beat Duke since 95' and every time Maryland plays we get our butts kicked." Blue gave a nod of understanding. Sara looped her arm through Blue's. "Shall we?" Blue nodded as they walked out of the doorway. Sara turned pale blue eyes up to Blue as she quietly asked, "Do you know what it means to pack, cause Terry asked if you were packing."
Blue practically tripped over her feet as they stepped into the sitting room. Unfortunately, Terry and Conner were so lost in the 60" screen with the surround sound on full blast to give her any help.
Blue let go of Sara's arm as the woman sat down and looked up at her expectantly. Blue just shook her head and ran a shaky hand through her hair. "Um, S-sara, I'm going to get a drink, but I'm going to think about your questions, and,and, uh·I, um, I'm gonna find you answer." She smiled at the woman on the seat and made a quick retreat to the bar, mumbling to herself, "or I'm going to make up an answer."
Two days later Blue wanted to nothing more than strangle the still celebrating Conner. She was sure she knew all the words to the Maryland fight song and she was oddly sure that Terry and Conner had actually recorded it on answering machine. Which was right before they thought up the idea of wanting to drive down to the University, on Conner's prediction that they were going to be rioting in College Park. The tall woman found it extremely funny the next day when they opened up the newspaper and read about the riots of happiness that the students engaged in. Conner was so pleased and excited she cut a check for almost a quarter of a million dollars in the name of her Alma Mater.
The singer smiled to herself as she could hear Conner bellowing the fight song at the top her lungs in the shower, while she sat at the kitchen table. It truthfully was an exciting time for all of them. The ball was rolling on construction to the building next door to the club, all Conner had to do was sign the papers in the afternoon. Sara was glowing with motherly pride and Wilhelm was just too cute for words in his want to dote on Sara, he was barely letting the girl walk let alone do anything else for herself. Terry and Sam were on again, in there off again on again relationship, her mother and Cookie were enjoying the ranch and even she felt good. But perhaps sitting at the kitchen table in a place she had no qualms calling home, reading the newspaper and sipping iced tea like it was the most normal thing in the world to be waiting on Conner, she swore she could feel the tides change.
Blue folded the paper away with a pained expression on her face. The last thing she wanted to be worried about was how all of this could blow up on them. She leaned forward on the table with her elbow and supported her chin in her hand. She let out a huff of air and groaned softly as she mentally chided herself. 'It's not like you guys are being unrealistic everybody's aware of the possibilities, but yeah things are good, really good, and no I don't want to say too good, but yeah Newton's laws and all, but I just don't want to see the equal and opposite reaction for all this. I could just be paranoid and I could accept that, except I've got 10 years of running the streets to prove otherwise.'
She let out a grumble and then let her head slowly fall to the table, which she quickly picked up when she heard Conner bounding down the stairs. "You finally ready?"
Conner slid into the kitchen with a wild grin on her face. "Yes ma'am. Can we please take the car, that bike is killing my do." The blonde primped without actually touching her hair.
Blue let out a breathy laugh. "You have enough crap in there to fix the Hubble telescope, I'm surprised it even moves." She received a swat on the shoulder as they left the house and headed to the ranch house in Frederick.
It had been during the singer's convalescence, where two weeks of recuperation turned into three months, and the only return trips either of them made were to see her mother and to start rebuilding the ranch house in Frederick. The first meeting between Conner and Blue's mother had been horribly comical if not just horrifying·.at least for Blue. Between being so nervous that she couldn't form two words and the fact that she was so nauseous she thought she was going to drop dead from motion sickness things actually went well. Her mother's long time friend and house mate, Cookie swept the sickly tall woman away to hyperventilate in peace when Conner sat down with Carmen and told her who she was. Blue was sure the hole to hell was going to open up beneath the toilet where she sat and swallow her whole. Instead, the dark haired woman, broke into a wide smile as she turned her face up towards Cookie, who stood near by, held out her hand, and said in a clear voice, "you owe me five bucks."
Blue lifted her head from the cool tile of the bathroom as she heard, what she was sure, were the jackals of the underworld coming to drag her away. It was just laughter. She emerged, shaky and two shades paler, from the bathroom ten minutes later, only to have the urge to head back in as the three women sat on the couch surrounded by photo albums of a much smaller and mostly naked young Blue. The rest of the visit seemed to pass in an embarrassed yet joyful haze, that the singer hadn't yet managed to live down or probably ever would.
Conner pulled into the driveway and cut the engine. "Do you think I should tell her what's going on?"
The tall woman shrugged as she stretched her back and got out of the car. "That's up to you Red. Knowing, Carmen she'll probably knit you a sweater for the occasion." Blue let out a laugh as the smaller woman shoved her forward.
"Hey I love my mittens, so shut it."
Blue chuckled. "And they've got six fingers."
The tall woman spoke so seriously that Conner couldn't help but laugh. "Be nice, I mean÷it's not like she can see."
"Ha! She can count, there's no excuse." She received a playful swat to the back of her head.
"You are soooo mean." Blue just shrugged as she moved past Conner and turned the nob. "Why don't you knock, sheesh?"
A black eyebrow raised high in question. "What? Like they've got guests." Conner wiggled her eyebrows, causing the taller woman to groan. "Thank you for that image, midget."
Conner growled as she pushed past her into the house. "Any time Ox, anytime." Blue raised a hand to offer a comeback, but as Conner was swallowed up in an embrace by Cookie, the singer thought better to put it on the back burner, rather than having Cookie go to work on her with her wooden spoon.
Wilhelm parked the car to the far corner of the garage on the fourth level next to elevator. He was standing by the trunk looking at his watch, as he waited for Sara to get out of the car. "C'mon Sara, we're going to miss the flight."
Sara huffed as she pulled on her book bag and got out of the car. "We won't Wil. Anyway, who books a flight at 1:30 in the morning?"
"I told you, we'll beat the tourist rush at the Vineyard."
"Won't other people be doing that?"
The large man groaned as he strapped on the bags. "Can we argue about this on the plane?"
Sara gave Wilhelm a small pout, which made the large man feel like an ass. "I'm not arguing, just asking."
He hung his head and then leaned in to give the smaller woman a kiss on the cheek. "I'm sorry. Come on, and I'll let you have the window."
Sara smiled as they walked to the elevator, stopping when Sara stopped. "Crap, I left my book."
Wilhelm grimaced. "I'll buy you a new one sugarpop."
"I'll be two seconds. Just stand in the elevator and hold the door, I'll be right back."
"Let me go."
Sara shook her head. "You'll have to take off the bags, just stay there."
The large man did as he was told with a grumble and stood in the elevator with his foot in between the doors. He watched as Sara made it to the car and then the doors started to close on his foot., he let out a groan and managed to kick against the sensors. The doors rebounded with a squeal so he never heard Sara's scream. Wilhelm's world spun on end as he watched a scarred man turn Sara's neck far too hard to the right and then he lifted the small woman effortlessly and tossed her lifeless body over the side. Wilhelm let out an enraged cry as he dropped the bags and ran full force towards the man standing by the car.
C.C. just grinned as the man came flying towards him. Both he and Wilhelm were almost carried over the edge of the garage as Wilhelm connected with C.C.'s midsection. When C.C. failed to shake the man from the edge he pulled back and they fell away from each other as they hit the concrete. Wilhelm was back on his feet in a split second as he attacked C.C. They went at each other like prize fighters who had nothing to left to lose. C.C. for one was oddly happy as he absorbed Wilhelm's kicks and punches, since this was the first time in months that he had a good fight. He surged with renewed energy as he sidestepped a wild punch from Wilhelm and used his momentum to put Wilhelm's head through the passenger window of the car. After that it was smooth sailing for C.C. as he pounded the woozy man. When Wilhelm could no longer stand C.C. leaned down, hoisted the man up by his collar and pushed C.C. over the edge of the garage. C.C. was too winded to look down at his work, but he was satisfied as he spit out blood and a piece of a tooth. He pocketed his gloves and walked to the other side of the garage to his car.
Both Conner and Blue sprang up in the bed at 2:30a.m., both obviously disturbed by night time visions. They looked at each other as Conner turned on the light and rubbed her eyes. "You too?" She asked quietly.
Blue ruffled her hair and nodded. "Yeah." She breathed deeply and looked around the bed for her shorts.
Conner scratched her head. "Think it's Carmen?"
Blue shook her head. "Nah, that's her snoring." She said through a yawn. "I'll check anyway."
The tall woman returned a moment later and got back under the covers. "Maybe we watched one too many Hell Raisers. After the first two, it does get rather nightmarish."
Conner chuckled and snuggled closer to Blue. "Or maybe those enchiladas."
"Hey Cookie's enchiladas are ambrosia, chick."
"Fine, we'll worry in the morning." She got a squeeze in response as both women fell back to sleep.
* * *
CH 7: Pooling one's Resources
Conner was still trying wake her self up as she walked into the basement, freshly showered. Neither her nor Blue had been able to figure out what jolted them from peaceful sleeps, a day earlier, and all though both decided it was nothing, Conner still couldn't shake the feeling of being unsettled. Conner was sitting on the floor of her office bobbing her head to some classic Santana, when Terry walked into her office looking deathly somber. Conner barely heard Terry's shaky voice call her name as she cut off the stereo and looked at the woman standing in her doorway.
Green eyes went wide as Conner stood up and stared at the red-eyed Terry. "Terry?"
Watery brown eyes met green. "Sh-she's dead." Her voice was barely above a whisper.
The words reached Conner's ears and she fell back towards the desk as her knees began to give out. "What?"
Terry took a step into the office. "She's dead, Sara's dead."
Conner shook her head in disbelief as she pushed away from the desk. "No she's not, she's not. She's in the Vineyard with Wil, Terry." She was adamant as Terry walked up to her and handed her a sheet of paper. Conner reached out a shaky hand and took the paper. The handwriting was barely legible, but the message was far from cryptic, as it read, "Back off." Conner let out a whimper of understanding as she and the paper crumbled to the floor. Terry met her as she fell to the ground and wrapped her in an embrace as Conner let out a sob.
Blue wore a large grin as she walked into the basement and saw the two women wrapped in each other. "Terry, you hitting on my girl again." Terry's face glistened with fresh tears as she turned towards the singer. Color flushed Blue's face as she moved towards them and dropped to her knees. Without looking Conner released her self from Terry and buried her face in Blue's neck. Frantic eyes darted from Terry to the shaking woman in her arms. She settled the softly crying woman in her arms as she looked to Terry who sat back on her butt and rubbed her face. "Somebody please tell me what the hell is going on."
Terry licked her lips and settled herself before she spoke. "Sara's dead."
Blue reflexively held Conner tighter. "What!? Jesus Christ, when?"
"Last night around one in the morning."
"Oh God." The words came out in a whisper. She started to ask a question, but she heard Conner mumbling into her chest. "Can't hear you?" she said quietly.
"She was pregnant." It came out in a sob.
"I know, I know." She rocked the crying woman and kissed her temple.
Terry dragged her hands down her face and took in a deep breath as she kept herself from breaking into tears. "I got this, this morning." Blue reached for the paper and read it. Blue eyes steeled as a flash of recognition went through her, as she looked at the handwriting. "What is it?"
Dark hair swung as she shook her head. "Nothing, um, um , I need to think." She sat back a bit, and raised Conner's head. "Hey Red, can you get up?" She nodded weakly. "Okay," Blue stood with the smaller woman. "go upstairs and I want you to pack a bag, can you do that?" She nodded again. Blue ducked her head and gave the smaller woman a kiss on the lips and looked after her with concern as she left the basement.
When Conner made it out of the office, blue eyes turned to ice and she picked up the phone. Terry stood and regarded the woman who was forming into a stranger before her eyes. "You want me to go after her."
"No." Her voice was flat. "Get your phone and come in here." Terry saw no reason to argue and she did as she was told. When she returned, the dark woman was sitting on the edge of the desk, one leg dangling in the air as the other foot rested on the carpet. She was smiling as she spoke, but it didn't reach her eyes. "Bon giorno, let me speak to Ceasare·.you can tell him it's the Queen of the gods·.he'll know." She looked up from the phone to Terry. "Call this number," she scribbled a number on a post it and handed it to Terry. "Ask for Gordy. When you get him, you tell him that A.J. needs a favor. What you want is, uh--" she snatched another post-it and wrote as she talked. "you tell him you need a sweep done on this house, like last week. Read off the stuff on this list and he'll take care of it." Terry nodded and took the other note and walked to the work bench and sat down.
An almost genuine smile crossed Blue's face as a man picked up the phone on the other end. "Hey you rat!"
"Holy shit! It is you, I thought he was joking."
"Where's the Borg?"
"He's really not here, out hitting golf balls you know."
"Yah, yah. Lookie, Joshua, I need some help here."
He chuckled. "So, all the shit I've been hearing about you and the Scotsman is true?"
"God's honest. But look, I'll explain later, I need to see Borg and now."
"Um, shit." He rattled off Italian to someone in the background. "Okay, um, we're going to be out of town for a couple of days, no can do I swear. But, I'll send up Vincent, how bout tha? And he'll sit tight until we can get there. How bad is this?"
"I don't want to really talk right now, I'm not sure what can be said, but it's not good."
The man on the other end, sighed as he heard the growl in the woman's voice, a growl he was all too familiar with. "Okay, babe, sit tight, and Vin will be on the next flight out, promise. You need anything else till then?"
"I can handle it."
Blue clicked the line and dialed a pager number and held the phone as she waited for it to ring. She looked over to Terry who was watching her with expectant eyes. Blue let out a sigh and gave Terry a weak grin. "What did he say?"
"Twenty-minutes." Blue nodded. "Do I get to know what's going on?"
"I was going to ask you that."
Terry opened her mouth to speak and turned towards the door where Conner now stood with a duffel bag at her feet. "Hey shrimp, c'mere." Conner ambled towards Terry and sat down on the bench with her. She held onto Conner's hand as she started speaking. "Wilhelm's still alive. He's in a coma though, they don't know if he's going to make it or what."
"How'd you find out?" Conner asked.
"I went to pick up my breakfast and I ran into, well Jason ran into me, all crazed. I ran into work to call you and I found the note on my desk."
Terry shrugged. "Cause I work for her attorney, I don't know?"
Blue groaned as she ran a hand through her hair. "You got a place to stay, because you can come with us."
Terry managed a smile. "I'll just go back to Sam's."
The three women were silent for a moment until Conner spoke. "What are we going to do?"
Blue hopped of the desk and helped Conner to her feet. "We'll figure that out later, okay." She hugged Conner and then steadied the woman as she jumped at the sound of the phone ringing. Blue held Conner close as she picked up the phone. With a laugh she spoke into the phone, "Hey ugly."
"Well I'll be in a bucket of shit, hot damn!" A woman's voice rang out clearly through the phone. She spoke into the background. "Al, you'll never guess whose on the phone."
"Tan stay with me here."
"Sorry, what's up you big shit?"
"It's never pleasure is it?"
"That depends." The both spoke the words at the same time. Blue grinned to Conner who was looking up at her. "Any way, where are you?"
"Huh? Are you on the lam?"
"Hell no. I'm fishing."
"Glad you gained another skill."
"It comes in handy when you are on the lam."
Blue let out a slight chuckle. "Look, I need you in Baltimore."
"Mary-land you say. What's up?"
"No time to explain really, but I got a feeling there's a little piggy you might want to see."
Tan let out a yell of joy. "Son of a bitch, you serious?"
"I'm not positive, but I'm not doubtful either."
"Fuck yeah, I'm there. Shit, I'll call when we cross the border."
"Bless you Tan."
"Pray for me after I've done the deed."
Blue hung up the phone and gave Conner a peck on the forehead. "Let's go, I'll explain on the way."
As the week began to come to a close, Blue knew that somebody's plans were moving along as everything around Conner halted. Building construction stopped, the bar was silent, and what business Conner was trying to settle for her family went unnoticed. As they returned home from the funeral, the tall woman divested Conner of her clothes and tucked her into bed. Blue standing barefoot in the kitchen prepared to make herself a drink when a knock came to the door. She instinctively padded her sides for a gun and then realized with a grimace that she wasn't carrying one, nor did Conner have one. She sighed with a hint of morbidity and looked through the peep hole. She cocked her head to the side as she swung the door open and met with the tall man with graying hair.
"Do I know you?"
The man smiled and extended his hand. "I'm uncle Cameron, well Conner's uncle." He chuckled. The tall woman eyed him and then shook his hand. "May I come in?" Blue walked away from the door and walked into the living room. The man rubbed his hands together nervously as he looked at the tall dark woman. "Uh, little bit around?"
Blue nodded. "She's sleeping, um, you want a drink I'm going to the kitchen."
"Please. Whatever your having."
He raised an eyebrow and nodded. "Make mine on the rocks please." Blue nodded and returned with the drinks as she took a seat in the chair across from the sofa. They sat in silence as they both sipped their drinks. Cameron put his drink down on the coaster and looked over at Blue. "I hope you take no offense, but I must say that you've grown up quite a bit."
Blue creased her brow and pursed her lips in a look of concentration. "Boston, eh?"
He nodded. "I, uh-
She held up a hand. "Don't even say it. It's not for you to say, but yeah I appreciate the thought."
"Good, so now that that's out of the way, you think I can talk to Conner."
"You could talk to me and I'll talk to her."
"Don't trust me."
She smirked. "I want to, but she's doped up on valium, so it would be like talking to Pinocchio at this point." She shrugged. "All though, I think I'm interested in what's on your mind."
Cameron picked up his drink and drank from it as he sat back onto the couch. "How much do you know?"
"I use her toothbrush, there's not much I don't know."
His ears began to flush as he took another drink. "Point taken. Well, the short of it is, Montrose has made his declaration of severance, coup, whatever the hell you want to call it, Wally is missing, and the bastard hired a ringer."
"His name is C.C. and who's Wally again?"
"It's four of us, Mt. Rushmore, you know. Wally, Charlie, Sean, and me. Anyway, I talked to Wally on Thursday and now he's gone."
"Did he skip."
"He's 75, Wally's not skipping any where." He blew out air. "Who the hell is C.C."
"Big ugly mean sorry-ass excuse for a mammal, if he even is that."
"Sound like you two broke bread together."
"Among other things." She held Cameron's gaze as understanding seemed to seep into the ice cubes of his drink.
"What do you want Conner to do?"
"I want to know what she wants to do."
"I haven't really had the time to ask."
"You know if she stays on now, the F.B.I. is coming."
She chuckled. "We got a call from agent Grimes yesterday."
Cameron nodded. "Ah, agent Grimey. He's a pistol that one, not to mention crooked as a politician. But, if she stays, then they'll think she's assumed the head of the family and the Rico statutes will begin and O.C.C.B. will open a file."
"We're two steps ahead of you on that. She's got her hands in so many legitimate pots right now, that by the time they pull of something illegal, it'll all ready be liquidated." She drained her drink. "My question to you, is what's the family take on all this?"
He sighed and started to answer. Conner's voice came from the doorframe. "I'd like to know." She let out a yawn as she passed by Blue running a hand through the dark hair and then sitting down next to Cameron. She gave the man a hug and then tucked her legs under her as she sat on the couch.
Blue looked at her with a scowl. "You spit out those pills didn't you."
Conner nodded. "If I'm going to be brain dead, at least give me a joint. Anyway, I'd love to hear the answer to the question."
"You know we're behind you, Ceasare's with you all the way and as always Enrique just wants to fight." He chuckled, "Bruiso's hassling me, but I'd rather talk to the old man."
"Isn't that enough to keep me buffered while we fix this."
"It should be, but the way things are going I don't know."
Conner sat up. "What the hell does that mean?"
"It means, snake boy, put his cards on the table. He's threatening to pull out of Pimlico, he put Viscarti on notice, he's calling in our marker's, and doing his best to restructure the family."
Conner threw up her hands in disgust. "What the fuck? Cameron, how can he do this? What the hell is Mt. Rushmore doing? And what about the rest of them."
Cameron rubbed the back of his neck and looked to Blue, who either didn't know how to offer him support or wasn't willing. "Mt. Rushmore is doing what it can, honey, but three is still less than four."
"What do you mean three, uncle Cam?" Green eyes bored into the man so hard he had no choice but to look at the floor.
Conner cradled her face in her hands and shook with a deep breath. Blue leaned forward, prepared to get up to comfort Conner, but she sighed and pulled her face from her hands. The blonde clenched her teeth and touched her fingertips to the bridge of her nose as if she was getting a headache. "Okay, so Wally's missing, Sara's dead, Wilhelm's in a coma, I got thugs looking for markers, union boys want to know what's up, Pimlico looks shady, and God knows what else, and you have the nerve to ask me what I want to do?" Green eyes darted from Cameron to Blue, who both looked around the room desperately wanting an exit. Conner stood up and brushed her hair from her face. "I want a sit down on Monday. Fuck this!"
Cameron looked up at the small woman who grew redder with anger by the moment. "What about Ewan?"
"Fuck him too!" She waved a hand through the air. "He's got ears, if he wants this he'll come back for it, but until that happens, this is my business."
"What about your plans Conner?"
"They're still going on. I don't have to be standing at the construction site for things to get done. I've been sitting on my ass, and now one of my best friends is dead because I thought I could just waltz in and do this without sticking my neck out."
"Hey nobody's sticking their neck out.
Green eyes flashed with anger and prompted the tall woman to sit back in her seat. "This isn't up for discussion Jazz." Blue stifled the chill Conner sent through her and nodded in acceptance. Green eyes softened and turned back to Cameron. "Cameron, the last thing I want you to do for me, is give me a list. I need to know who's leaning towards whose side. I just want to know what I'm dealing with."
The man nodded and then looked up at Conner in confusion. "What do you mean last?"
"I mean you and Susie go take a long overdue vacation and that goes for the rest of Mt. Rushmore as well. I'm not losing anymore pieces of my family to that slimy bastard." Conner sighed and then walked silently to Blue, where she bent and gave the woman an apologetic kiss on the lips and then left the room.
Cameron pulled on his tie as blue eyes finally met his. "Apparently, I've been dismissed, huh?"
"No shit." Both stood up. "All though I haven't dismissed you, let me walk you to the car." Cameron looked at her oddly but followed her out of the door all the same.
"I'm not going to stand here and give you my life story, but let's just say I've never been good with the money end of things, not my cup of tea." Cameron just nodded as he leaned on the door of his car. She put her hands in the pockets of her pants. "While you're giving Conner her little list I need a list of my own."
Cameron nodded. "Street bosses, muscles, and runners, right?" She nodded soberly. He held out his hand and they shook. "I wasn't talking about the courtroom you know?" Blue made no move to respond as Cameron opened his car door and stopped. "Uh, I probably shouldn't say this, but it seems appropriate even if the circumstances are not what one would want, but·.welcome back." Blue eyes met Cameron's eyes and she nodded in respect.
It was barely eight in the morning on Saturday as Blue put on her cap and bent to give Conner a kiss on the head. The blonde burrowed deeper into the covers. "Tell, Carmen and Cookie I said hello, and sorry I couldn't come."
"Sure thing." Blue settled her cap on her head, glad Conner was under the covers and unable to see her face, which would have clearly given away the fact that she was lying. "Terry coming by later?" The covers moved with confirmation. "I'll try not to be to late. Oh and that guy I told you about should be by at some point." She patted the covers. "Give Wilhelm a kiss for me." She heard Conner laugh and then she left.
The tall woman felt no oddness as she turned the rental car onto the parkway and passed her Boston neighborhood. She felt that she should at least be queasy, but the truth was, which was perhaps more disturbing, is that everything felt good, hell almost right. She shook off her thoughts as she took off her sunglasses and walked in the bar.
Conner fixed herself a large glass of water as she and Terry returned from the hospital. She let out a groan and reached for the phone.
"Hey Carmen, how you doing?"
"Moving along, how are you?"
"Eh, been better. Hey, is your daughter around I need her to grab something for me."
Carmen hesitated. "She's not here."
Conner blew out a breath and tousled her hair. "She's not. Uh, it's Saturday right? Maybe I'm insane and it's not, uh, I thought she said she was heading to you, maybe not." Conner let out a nervous chuckle.
Carmen sighed and spoke to Cookie and then picked the phone back up. "Oh my, she said you two were just vegging out today, her words."
Conner managed a smile. "Oh, she did. Well okay, then. No clue where she is, huh?" Conner rubbed the back of her neck as she could feel the stress building.
"No sweetie, I'm sorry. Hey, try not to hurt her too bad."
Conner giggled. "I won't." Cookie's voice rang out clear from the background. "Jus' take a spoon to those pretty little legs and she'll be singing you a swan song." Conner broke into a laugh. "Thanks for the advice, I'll talk to you later Carmen."
Conner hung up the phone and let a shrill yell rip, that brought Terry flying up the stairs from the basement. "What the hell!"
Green eyes glazed over in anything but mirth as Conner punched the fridge. "I swear to God, I'm gonna kill her!" Terry just groaned and followed the fuming woman into the basement.
Unfortunately, it took Blue the better part of the day to locate C.C., so when eight o'clock rolled around and she was still in Boston she knew she was in trouble. She said goodbye to a few familiar faces and made the trek to the Southside knowing full well Conner was going to rip her new one when she got back. At ten o'clock Blue hung the payphone back up before she finished dialing and decided she couldn't save herself now, she'd had all ready missed her flight. She was checking the clip in her 9mm for the fifth time when C.C. lumbered by her without one glance in her direction. Full lips formed a crooked smile as she thought, "still got it." She waited on C.C. for a full hour and then followed him out of the bar. She made her steps noticeable on purpose as C.C. turned a corner well aware that he was being followed.
As Blue turned the corner, her gun met with C.C.'s temple as his wavered in her face. Whether he was a smidge tipsy or just slow as always, Blue pinned C.C.'s hand to the wall with her free hand and pressed the barrel of the gun hard into his temple. With a sadistic smile plastered to her face she growled out, "Hiya piggy." He grunted in response and she swiftly backhanded C.C. across the face with her gun.
He reflexively released his gun in pain and then spit out blood. "Fuck you!"
"It was a one time offer in my former life, no deal." She kneed him in the gut and watched in amusement as the thick man tried to stand his ground.
He let out a chuckle as he stood upright. "To what do I owe the honor of your presence."
"You're sticking your nose in my business."
"She's pulling you around by your nose I see."
"Perhaps, but you've definitely got my attention, you shit."
"Glad I'm such a looker." He glanced past her and sneered.
Blue had to release C.C. as she swung her arm back and cracked her gun against the head of the would be assailant behind her. She turned around to give the still squirming man a kick to the groin and C.C. took off. She growled as she took off after C.C. and downed the lumbering moron in the alley. She rolled on top of C.C. and punched him in the face. With ease she rose to her knees and planted one in his chest as she shoved the barrel of the gun against C.C.'s nose. "All right fuck wa what's your price?"
C.C. let out a strangled laugh. "You going to double it?"
"No, but I might let you keep it if you walk away." She pulled back the slide and chambered a round.
"You don't have the guts."
The dark woman rumbled with laughter. "You looked at your face lately piggy."
He launched a wad of spit at the woman that just narrowly missed her face. "All I see is your face."
"Yeah, I bet you do shithead." At that she stood up and hoisted C.C. to his feet. "This is the only warning I'm giving you."
The scarred man laughed. "I told you, you didn't have the guts."
She shrugged. "But you're going to wish I did."
With that she let out a low growl and let her hand fly with the gun in it. She cracked C.C. across the nose with the butt of the gun and he dropped to the ground like an empty pillowcase. Blue put the gun in the small of her back and proceeded to work the beast of a man over, as she bounced him like a pinball off of the dumpster, the concrete and her feet. She brought the man to his feet and leaned him up against the dumpster, her hand on his chest keeping him steady. "Is Montrose giving you orders?"
C.C. opened a bruised eye and spat out a "fuck you". She slapped him across the face. "He tell you to kill Sara?"
"Kiss my ass." His head snapped to the right as she backhanded him.
"Where's Wally you slag?"
He giggled. "Go to hell."
This time she kneed him in the stomach. She didn't bother to stand C.C. upright as she hung his hand over the edge of the dumpster and took hold of the metal top. "You got three seconds to answer either one of those questions, piggy." He grunted. "1..2.." With force she brought the metal top down hard on C.C.'s hand. His howl of anguish told her that she had probably broken every bone in his hand. She helped C.C. to the concrete with a shove. He fell forward on his knees resting his head on the concrete as he cradled his hand. She pushed on him with a foot. "Turn around." She reached into her inside jacket pocket and enclosed her hand around a glass vial. "Last chance piggy."
C.C. sat on his butt and looked up at the woman as he held his hand. "Fuck you bitch! I'm not telling you shit You figure it out for yourself, but I'll have your head one way or another."
Blue laughed. "You can't even have my lunch you pussy." Blue smirked and held up the vial in plain view of C.C. Swollen eyes opened wide as C.C. recognized the vial and what was probably in it. Blue held back a laugh as she looked down at the man with nothing but malice in her eyes. "I know you've been bought piggy, but if you want to enjoy any of that money I suggest you back off. Else you're either going to buried under a slab of concrete or get reacquainted with your shower mates in Attica; wishing you were dead." She took a step back as she let the vial dangle precariously between her fingertips. "You get out of town and take the snake with you and you won't be breathing through a tube."
She bared her teeth at the man on the ground and then let the vial drop. C.C. emitted squeal as the glass shattered and smoke begin to rise in between his legs. Blue was all ready out of the alley and half disappointed when she knew she couldn't see the look on C.C.'s face when he realized he ruined a pair of pants over dry ice. Her thoughts turned grim as she looked down at her watch and read the time on her watch. 12:05a.m. "She's gonna freak." She let out a shit as she broke into a light jog and headed back to her rental car.
* * *
CH 8: Who says you can't pick your friends?
It was going on 9 in the morning when Blue rang the front doorbell. Conner swung the door open wide as if she'd been standing there all night and then promptly closed it as she saw the singer standing on her doorstep holding a bouquet of flowers and wearing a smile. Blue caught the door as it swung closed and grimaced as she walked into the house. She was prepared to follow Conner but was stopped by a hand to her face. Terry settled the sheaf of papers on her hip and eyed the singer, who knew she'd been caught.
Terry sucked her teeth and then lifted one of Blue's eyelids, turned her head from side to side and sniffed at her. Blue stepped back and swatted Terry's hands away.
"What are you doing?"
Terry just shook her head. "Are you on drugs? Is this really you or a pod person? Are you hurt? Is the law after you? What's up?" She rattled off her questions at break neck speed.
Blue just shook her head as she stepped out of Terry's wandering hands. "No. I'm fine."
"Well then you've got no excuse, shit head." Blue just sighed and hung her head. "Give me the flowers, go talk before she comes back and pounds you." Blue turned to head down the stairs. "You might want to take that gun out of pants though."
Blue whispered a shit as she handed over the flowers and fumbled with the gun, trying to find a place to put it. She did a hasty job of putting it down the front of pants as Conner greeted her at the bottom of the steps with arms folded across her chest and a look of hurt visible in green eyes. The singer kicked at the rug and put her hands in her back pockets as she looked anywhere but Conner's face. Conner stepped up to Blue and gingerly patted the woman's crotch before removing the pearl handled handgun from her pants. Conner stepped back an arched and eyebrow at the woman who was trying to put on her best innocent look.
"And here I thought you were just happy to see me." Conner rolled her eyes as she sat down ontop of her desk and began to turn the gun over in her hand. With a practiced skill that didn't surprise the tall woman, Conner removed the clip, and pulled back the slide to reveal the chambered round. "Fully loaded, a round ready to go, and I wonder," she turned the gun over, "safety's off." She removed the bullet from the chamber and pulled back hard on the slide so that it snapped back into place with a loud crack. Conner placed the gun on the desk at her side and folded her arms across her chest as she fixed her questioning gaze on Blue who could do nothing but twiddle her thumbs. "Okay, you've got two minutes to explain or·" Blue lifted her head and met Conner's gaze, "I'm calling your mother.
The tall woman couldn't help but grin which elicited a small growl from Conner. Blue laughed nervously and took a step towards the seated. "Look, I can't even start apologizing enough, but I promise it was done all in good conscious."
Conner laughed. "So you're saying you were out rescuing kittens from trees and helping old ladies across the street?" Conner sucked her teeth and didn't let the slackjawed woman respond. "I don't give a rat's ass if you were out robbing a bank or doing grocery shopping, but don't fucking lie to me." She let out a heavy sigh and rubbed her temples. Blue took the break in Conner's defense to move in close to the woman. Standing between her legs, she rested her hands on Conner's thighs, palms up, and waited for the blonde to accept her silent gesture. A quiet moment passed and then Conner placed her hands in the larger ones and leaned forward until her head rested on Blue's shoulder. "I can't stop you from doing what you think you need to do, but just don't leave me out of the loop·not right now, just- She released a heavy breath. Blue remained quiet as she drew lazy lines on the backs of Conner's hands. ", Wally's dead, you know?"
Blue let out her on sigh as she quietly responded. "Yeah."
Conner lifted her head with a snap and made a weak smile. "So where'd you go that you needed such a pretty piece of machinery?"
Blue cringed. "Uh, Boston" she mumbled.
"Boston! You. Went. To. Boston." Conner squeezed the fingers of Blue's hands just hard enough to make her point, but not too hard and bared her teeth. She opened her mouth to start a rampage, but her voice was interrupted by the doorbell. "Who the hell?"
Blue flushed with relief as she started for the stairs with Conner on her heels. They reached the steps and Terry's voice rang out from the foyer.
"Hey Conner, there is a tall, deliciously wonderful, chocolate man on your doorstep, good Lord!"
Conner giggled at Terry as she looked at Blue with question in her eyes. "I'm telling Sam."
"I'll go with you to tell him. Oh my!"
Both Blue and Conner laughed knowing Terry was probably about to eat the man alive. "Who is it?"
"Vincent, he says, but I'm just calling him hot damn!"
Conner burst into laughter and turned to Blue, but the tall woman was rushing up the stairs. Conner made it up the stairs just in time to see her tall lover trading bear hugs with a man who was at least a head taller than her and pretty much what Terry so eloquently described as 'hot damn.' Conner stood next to Terry and just watched. "Well hell-o."
Terry didn't even turn in Conner's direction. "No shit."
"She doesn't even run up the stairs for me like that."
"Would you run up the stairs for you?"
Conner sucked her teeth and backhanded Terry on the arm. She coughed into her hand, which did the job of pulling Blue away from the man in her doorway. A blonde eyebrow raised high as Conner noticed the extreme blush crossing the singers' face, she decided to tuck that piece of information away for later as Blue walked towards her.
"Vincent, this is Conner." The man in question stuck out a muscled arm and shook hands with a wide eyed Conner.
"It's nice to meet you Conner."
Conner held in a giggle as the man's creamy low alto reached her ears. "Nice to meet you to Vincent." Conner held onto his hand as she eyed him appreciatively and then let go as Blue spoke again.
Terry cut the woman off as she stepped in front of Conner and barely left the tall man any personal space as she took his hand. "I'm Terry." She drawled. Blue just opened her mouth in disbelief at Terry's forwardness. She looked over at Conner who was pretending to shield her eyes from the action. Before either woman knew it Terry was whisking Vincent off into the basement, leaving them both standing in the foyer shaking their heads.
Blue spoke first as she pointed an accusatory finger towards the blonde. "That's your friend."
Conner grinned. "Yea,yea, but for someone so blue, your awfully red, miss Jasmine."
The tall woman feigned a coughing fit as she brushed by Conner. "I think I should go and pry Terry off of Vincent before anybody gets naked." Conner smiled to herself as she watched the tall woman retreat quickly down the stairs.
Conner walked to the bar and sat down on a stool in between Blue and Vincent. She scooted the seat back, enough that she wouldn't be in their direct line of sight, but she could still assert her possessiveness if need be.
Blue sipped from a glass of water and started talking. "I won't beat around the bush, since I need to explain this to Conner as well." She dropped a manila folder on the countertop and opened it. "This is snake boy's ringer, his name is C.C." Conner picked up the black and white picture and then dropped it like it was covered in flesh eating bacteria.
Terry actually detached herself from Vincent's side as she stood next to Conner and picked up the picture. "Spew!" She turned the photo upside down and on an angle as she squinted her eyes and examined the photo. "Ooh! He must've had some bad karma to come out looking like that."
Vincent couldn't help but chuckle. "Actually, he used to be kind of cute."
Terry shook her head and put the picture back down. "That's even worse. I would hate to meet the psycho-ass freak who did that to him." She shivered.
Blue scowled to herself and was unable to stop Vincent before he replied to Terry. "Too late."
Conner just looked at the floor as Terry turned to her left and saw the pained expression on Blue's face. Terry shut her eyes tight and grabbed the bridge of her nose, pleading for the instantaneous pounding in her head to stop. She gave a nervous smile to dark woman and then wrapped her arm around her shoulder and gave her a squeeze; trying the best way she knew how to convey the message that while she was an ass-head, she didn't mean any harm. She let out a shaky chuckle, which Blue returned and then gave the woman a friendly smooch on the lips. She stepped back and gave the tall woman two thumbs up as she spoke enthusiastically, "but I love ya!!"
Terry clapped her hands together and then pulled Conner off the stool in order to take somebody with her in her retreat. Conner let out a squeal as she was forcibly removed from the seat. "Why don't we let them talk."
Conner looked at Terry like the had just confessed to liking the movie 'Showgirls'. "Wait, when the hell did I become a mafia wife?"
Brown eyes rolled as the two women became locked in their own banter oblivious to the two grinning people seated at the bar. "Cause you need to help me get my foot out of my ass."
Conner tossed her head back in laughter. "Hell no. Terry you were born with your foot up your ass, I'm not helping you."
Terry tugged on Conner's arm getting the smaller woman to budge two steps. "Bubba, just because I slapped the priest at my baptizing and called you a red-nose honky when we met, that doesn't mean it's genetic."
Conner just laughed at the smiling woman as she started walking with Terry. "You also made fun of Mr. Jerry's dog."
"How the hell was I supposed to know the dog was going to lose its leg. Yes, it was wrong·but it was funny."
Blue and Vincent sat back and listened to the two women go back and forth until they disappeared up the stairs. The singer could only smile as she turned towards her grinning friend. "When are you putting those two on the road?"
She laughed and leaned forward onto the bar with her elbows. "Jesus. Is it too early for a drink?"
"Not according to whino Jim."
She laughed at the inside joke and looked in Vincent's direction. "So how you been?"
He shrugged broad shoulders. "Not bad, not bad. Actually, pretty quiet until you called me."
"Disturbing your cat naps?"
"Something like that."
"So how are things?"
He scratched at his arm absently and gave a small sigh. "Not the same, but not too bad, and other than that just complicated. Kind of boring too. I think I might get a girl and take up your gig."
She raised a brow. "You're not suggesting I'm a kept woman are you."
He held up his hands. "Oh no, but it certainly doesn't look half bad." He wiggled his eyebrows and she snarled at him playfully.
"Hey, I put in my contribution. Speaking of, I need to call the boy and get my ass back to work."
"Well I thought that's what I'm here for." She nodded. "So talk."
"Isn't saying C.C.'s here enough."
"I'm concerned yeah, but who am I dealing with other than that?"
"That's a lot of the problem. I don't know too much about this guy Montrose, and seems like nobody does. Only person, that may be able to give me a little insight is the last person on earth I want to be in a room with."
"C.C. knows something?"
She shook her head. "McGreely."
He nodded as if he understood and then his eyes opened wide as understanding hit him. He glanced over at the woman, who playing with the rim of her glass, not about to help him along in any way. "That's young blood's sister right?" His voice rang with amusement. Blue just nodded and then Vincent let out a hearty laugh. "Forget about C.C. I want to know how you managed to swing this one. That's the chump from Boston right?" She nodded again. Vincent slapped his hand down on the countertop and laughed. "You have got to have the best mack in the whole U.S.A." Blue just laughed. "She knows right?"
Blue almost choked on her water. "Hell yeah!" she managed to choke out.
He gently patted her back. "I was just checking." He leaned forward in his stool so he could see over the bar. "Bloody Mary's are morning drinks right?" He winked at woman to his side and they both smiled. He pulled the ingredients up to the countertop and grabbed to glasses. They looked at each other and spoke at the same time: "Hold the tomato juice." Their laughter carried up to the kitchen where Conner was working on fixing the biggest omelet in the known hemisphere to keep her mind off wondering when they would come upstairs.
When Blue and Vincent emerged from the basement 45 minutes later, Conner had made four omelet's, a stack of pancakes, and was working on quesadillas, when the two walked into the kitchen decidedly less tense than before. Terry looked up from the paper and just shook her head at Blue and made a face that was pleading for her to stop the insanity. Blue leaned into Vincent and whispered in his ear. "She cooks when she's nervous." He nodded. "If you're not afraid, grab Terry and tell her to give you the tour, I need to talk to Red."
He smiled at his friend and gave her a light punch to the arm. "And you say you're not a kept woman." She stuck out her tongue and watched him escort Terry from the kitchen.
Blue tilted her head as she watched Conner from behind. "Okay, Iron Chef your hour is up, let's see the goods." Conner dropped the knife into the sink and turned around. In two quick strides Blue stood in front of the teary-eyed woman and grabbed her by the shoulders. "Baby, I-I'm sorry, what's wrong?"
Conner grinned and wiped her eyes. "It's just onions." She said with a sniffle.
The strain in Blue's face dropped as she peered over Conner's shoulder and saw the large vidalia onion that was working Conner's tear ducts. The tall woman smiled and walked Conner over to the preparation island in the middle of the kitchen. "Could I be anymore guilty?"
Conner laughed and sat in the stool beside Blue. "Well I've always wanted little interracial kids. You guys could make some pretty kids."
Blue raised an eyebrow and smirked. "Yeah, but I'd like them to have your eyes."
Neither woman spoke for an eerie five seconds and then they burst into laughter. Conner ruffled her hair as her laughter subsided. "Have we left the twilight zone Rod?"
"Yes, I'm sorry. We gotta stop watching Donna Reed before bedtime." Conner laughed and wrapped her arms around Blue's neck as she leaned and kissed the woman senseless. Blue eyes blinked rapidly as the tall woman regained her equilibrium. "Or we could just stop watching t.v. all together." She wiggled her eyebrows and both women laughed.
Conner pulled away and rested her elbow on the counter so she could play in Blue's dark hair. "So, what's the deal Daddy-O?"
"Well hot-mamma, we're having a sit down on Monday and regardless of what happens there you need to have a sit down with all the old guys and figure out the best way to get rid of slimy, because if you go down then they can follow."
Conner nodded. "So I'm appealing to their selfishness and not loyalty."
"I wouldn't go that far, but let's be honest, I think explaining to joe blow down at the Wharf why you're giving him a better deal on the vic has nothing to do with loyalty."
Conner frowned. "I know that's true, but you do realize that's not necessarily the case."
Blue took hold of Conner's hands and kissed the knuckles. "Conner, I know you can charm the tail off a pig, and sell vinyl siding to a guy living in an apartment, but the stuff that works on the guys who've been around for 20 and 30 years doesn't sell to the hot shot punks that think they've got the world on a string because they can pull a trigger."
Conner nodded and idly fingered the back of Blue's hand. "So while I'm out selling knives to people who only eat soup you're going to be breaking kneecaps?" Blue shrugged. "What's that supposed to mean?"
"It means, I'll do what you ask me to do, even if that means keeping my nose clean."
Conner let out a laugh. "You would not!"
Blue smiled. "Yes I would." Blue and green eyes locked in a short stare down. "But that's not to say that I wouldn't accidentally on purpose make a suggestion to some people who know some people who would do the kneecap breaking."
"You're full of shit, Jazz." A large smile took the heat out of her words.
She shrugged and looked at Conner with coyness written all over her face. "Hey I'm good at what I do, what do you want?"
"Yes, yes you are. You are a very good SINGER." Conner tweaked the dark woman's nose.
Blue sighed. "Gods' honest truth, I'd rather be doing that. I should be calling Sam and the boys and making a set list for next week, not chasing thugs across state lines because he killed my girlfriends' best friend." Blue tried to pull back in her last words as Conner gripped her hands tightly.
"You knew?" Green eyes started to fill with tears.
Blue inwardly groaned. "I knew, but I wasn't sure until I saw him again."
Conner took a deep breath and tried to keep her voice from shaking. "What did you- she stopped herself and shook her head. "Is he still alive?"
Blue leaned forward till there were almost touching noses and spoke with a quiet seriousness. "Until you tell me otherwise."
Conner let out a small whimper as she leaned forward and touched her forehead to Blue's. "Jesus." She whispered. "That's not my decision to make?" The statement came out like a question.
Blue lifted Conner's chin so that she could look her in the eye. "This is the whole kit and kaboodle, Red. The good with the bad."
"Fuck!" Conner let her neck loll back for a second. "I must be out of my mind to think I can do this." She met Blue's eyes. "I can't do this."
"Then let me make the decision for you." She looked deeply into Conner, wishing to God she could just ease her pain and make everything better, but she knew it would never be that simple.
Conner swallowed the lump in her throat and spoke clearly. "I can't let you do that. I won't. I'm not sending you down that road again, not for me, it's not worth it."
Blue creased her brow as she touched Conner's cheek and held the woman's face. "Hey, first off I thought this was about me and you. Us, together, twelfth of never and all that." Conner nodded as she willed herself not to cry. "Secondly, I don't want to go down that road again either, I'd love to find a better way, but this is the only way I know. If you can find me a better way, then hey, I'm all for it. But understand something, you are worth every torture of hell to keep you safe and to keep you happy." Conner nuzzled the hand that held her face as a single tear traveled down her face. "Look at me for a second, I need you to hear this okay·I have taken so much life with these hands that I didn't think it was possible to feel anything coursing through them. But the moment your little spiky head popped into my line of vision I felt the things that I thought died with Gi-Gi. Conner I love how alive I feel when you're in my arms, hell when you're three feet away. I don't want to take any more, but I'm not going to stand aside and let any one take you from me. You understand me?"
Conner nodded. "I do, but, I just don't want to put you in this position."
Blue let out a frustrated half laugh half sigh. "Have I ever complained about your positions before?" Her comment made Conner smile, as she received a pinch to her arm for her troubles. "Seriously, if I didn't want to be here, I wouldn't be here, but there's no place else I want to be, and if that means I have to go back and visit some dark corners then I will. But, it's only with the knowledge that you'll be right there to drag my sorry ass out of the pit." The women smiled at each other. "I'll make you a promise. I, me," she pointed a finger to herself, "will not personally kill any one." Conner opened her mouth, but Blue silenced her with a finger. "However, I do reserve the right to beat someone senseless, but I do promise to leave them within an inch of their lives." She finished her statement with a cheesy grin.
"You know that's not funny right?"
"Perhaps, but I'm trying to ease the tension here, help me out."
"Sorry. But are you serious?"
"As a heart attack·..I think."
"I'm joking, I'm joking. I'm not going to kill any one. So tomorrow or the next day if somebody comes up missing, don't look at me."
Green eyes bored into blue. "Is somebody going to come up missing?"
Blue shrugged. "Why are you asking me, I didn't do it." She batted her eyelashes looked at Conner with nothing but innocence.
Conner couldn't help but laugh. "Fine, I'm holding you to this promise, but it's still my call to make." Conner looked at the woman without a hint of hesitation.
"Are you sure?"
"Ask me again in 24 hours, but for now, yes I'm sure. My father did this and mother loved him like he was going out of style. I know it's not going to my first choice, but I also accept that when pushed I may just have to push back."
"I think your father would be proud."
"He's 0 for 2 right now, I'm thinking at least one of his kids should do this right." Conner let out a breath. "Are we done with the heavy talk?"
Blue nodded. "I'm done if you are."
Conner started to stand, but Blue held her hands. "You sure right?"
Conner grinned and kissed Blue on the cheek. "The good with bad right?"
Blue nodded and smiled. "Tomb to womb."
"Sperm to worm." Blue kissed Conner's knuckles and then let the woman stand up as she made a show of drawing in a big breath of air.
Conner recognized the action for what it was and shot the still seated woman a glare. "I thought the show tune phase was over."
"Over? Over!" Blue stood and threw her arms wide in a dramatic gesture. "Show tunes live forever."
Conner just grumbled and made her way to the sink as the tall woman broke into the entire score of West Side Story, starting with "When you're a jet" complete with choreography through the entire first floor of the house. Conner heard Terry before the woman entered the kitchen with Vincent by her side. "Don't even ask?" She said as she turned around.
"I was just going to stop for a moment of prayer."
Conner rolled her eyes and then looked at Vincent. She gave her best Donna Reed smile as she caught his gaze. "Vincent, I hope you're hungry, cause we've got omelets, pancakes, and in a few minutes we'll have quesadillas."
The large man smiled a bright smile. "As long as I can help."
Conner smiled her own bright smile. "Please."
The three burst into laughter as Terry clapped her hands together and squealed with joy, "mom, can we keep him."
* * *
CH 9: "And in this corner·..
Still in her bathrobe, Blue was pacing the top floor of the house with her ear glued to the phone like an irate director looking for their coked-up lead actor. Conner on the other hand was taking the longest shower in the known universe and she just stood stock still under the heavy spray of the shower head and wished away the butterflies from her stomach. When she emerged from the bathroom in a billow of steam Blue was actually off the phone and standing in the walk-in closet with the most perplexed look on her face. Conner roughly ran a towel over her head as she stepped into doorway of the closet.
"Can't decide between black and black can you?"
Blue snapped from her daze and smirked at the smiling blonde. "Be quiet. You feel better after you used up all the water in the city?" Blue made her way into the bedroom.
"Well yes, yes I do." Conner beamed.
Blue plopped down on the bed and patted the spot next to her. Conner rewrapped the towel around her waist and sat down. "Here's the deal, the car will be around to pick you and Vincent up at a quarter to five. Terry and Lane should meet you at the back door when you guys get there, so there shouldn't be any problem, okay." Conner nodded. "You know what the conference room looks like, so there shouldn't be any lay out surprises. You just stay on your side of the table. Terry and Lane will be in the lobby, so they should be there when it's all done. Vincent will be right behind you and never out of your reach, okay."
Conner nodded again. "Where will you be?"
Blue eyes filled with mischief. "Around."
"It's okay, I promise." She held Conner's hands in her own as she spoke. "There's two things I want you to do tonight. First, when you're in there talking to grease ball, you act like you fucking know everything. I want you to act like you're the best thing since toilet paper. As far as you're concerned you're the shit and you can prove it. Don't let him goad you, don't let him lead you, nothing. You have to make it like you got all of this covered and he's just wasting time you could otherwise be spending doing something way more constructive÷like painting your toenails."
Conner laughed. "Funny thing is, all that's true."
"Guess it is. You know what he wants and he's betting on you being scared out of your mind. I want you to be your usual smart ass self. For every snide comment he makes you should have four comebacks that each make him look down on the ground to pick up his teeth."
"Good grief, I feel like I should be hitting a speed bag or something." Conner grinned.
"Exactly, just like that. Be aloof, be cool."
"Real cool-like. So while I'm playing the Fonz you're just going to be 'hanging back' huh?"
Blue smiled at the woman who was clearly enjoying herself. "Yeah, Daddy-O, just like Vincent Vega and Mr. Wolf, okay."
Conner laughed. "Okay, what's number two coach?"
Blue eyes rolled. "I've created a monster," she mumbled. "Any way, second thing I want you to do, no matter what I do, you have to act like you all ready knew I was going to do it."
"Like I gave you the nod or something."
"Basically. But really, no matter what I say or who else shows up with me, you have to act like you've known them since grade school."
"Who are you bringing?"
"Nobody you know."
"I know that smart ass."
Blue blocked the pillow swung at her head and grappled with Conner until she pinned the smaller woman on the bed. "I'll", she leaned down and kissed Conner on the throat, "tell" she made a path with her tongue up Conner's neck to her chin, "you" a nibble to nose, "later" she pressed full lips to Conner's and kissed the smaller woman until her lungs were ready to give out. Hazy green eyes met blue.
"What was the question, again?" Conner's face held a lazy smile.
Blue just grinned. "I don't think I remember." Both women laughed as Blue let Conner sit up. "Seriously, I'll tell you later on tonight when this is said and done."
"Okay. Look no shaking." Conner held out her hands which were surprisingly steady.
Blue smiled. "I'll be there the whole time okay." Conner nodded. "All right get dressed, I gotta get myself out of here. I'll see you there, you just won't see me, okay." Conner nodded and gave her a forceful hug. Blue pulled away with a grin. "I love you."
"You better." Conner grinned devilishly. "Love you too."
Dressed in a dark suit, with a crisp shirt, and a complimenting tie, Vincent held the door to the stretched Mercedes open for Conner as she walked out of her house. The sun was slowly fading out of the city sky, but Conner still felt justified in wearing her sunglasses as she made her way down the front steps. She gave Vincent a smile, which he returned as she got into the limo. She was sure to duck her head more than normal as she got into the car so that she was sure not to muss her hair; which of course was styled in a fantastic explosion of short blonde hair. She settled herself on the leather seat and she smiled to herself as she waited for Vincent to get in the car. She made sure to give a wave to Marcus, the chauffeur, who she had known since she used to run with her brother and stretched her legs out in the car. As nervous as she should have been she was actually pleased with herself. Even if she was edgy as hell at least she knew she looked the part. She undid the buttons of her double breasted blazer and gave her clothes a rest as Vincent took his seat and they took off. She smoothed down the lapels of her royal blue shirt and steadied herself with a deep breath. When she looked up from her grooming, she saw Vincent looking at her.
"Not as much as I should be." She shrugged slightly.
He smiled. "She'll take care of you." Conner smiled. "That's if they get through me of course." He raised black brows up and down and Conner laughed.
"That's good to know Vincent."
He settled himself in the seat. "So, how bout we change the subject and you tell me about this guy Sam."
Conner removed her glasses as she giggled. "I don't know if we have enough time, but I'll give you the skinny." The limo filled with laughter and a change of conversation as they traveled the city streets.
When Conner walked into the conference room with Vincent at her back, she briefly wondered if she should just turn and run. Montrose was all ready seated on the other side of the table with no one sitting next to him. Behind him, standing by the windows, were four muscled and large gentlemen. They stood ramrod straight with their hands clasped in front of them like they were well trained soldiers. Montrose stood as Conner entered and presented the woman with a thin lipped grin as she neared the table. Conner nodded in his direction as Vincent pulled out her seat and she took her seat.
The thin man took his seat directly across from Conner and sat his hands on the table. "I'm happy we could get together Conner." His voice was sharp and lipsy as always.
Conner refused to let the sound of his voice grate on her as she crossed her legs under the table and leaned back in the high-backed chair. She rested her arms on the arms of the chair. "Understand Monty, this is the last thing I'm giving you."
The beady-eyed man accepted the veiled threat with a slight nod. "We won't waste time I see?"
Conner shook her head. Montrose raised a thin eyebrow and looked above Conner. "I see you aren't without reinforcements."
Conner felt her heart skip a beat. She hadn't even heard the door open but she could feel Blue's presence in the room a long with several other people. She just shrugged and gave Montrose a smirk, acting as if she knew full well who was behind her. "I'm sure that I'm no more prepared than you are."
The thin man steepled his fingers and leaned back in his chair. "I must admit I don't like that we have to meet this way, Conner Rose, I mean honestly."
Conner's eyebrow twitched, but other than that, she made no visible sign of being bothered by the use of her name. She ran a pink tongue across her top teeth and then spoke. "Well, Mon-goose, circumstances have become such that I feel the need to exert my presence."
The thin man pursed his lips. "Since we've removed the air of casualty here, it is precisely your presence that I wish to speak with you about."
Conner crossed an arm across her midsection and then traced her bottom lip with her other hand as she eyed the man across from her. "I'm listening."
"Conner I know as well as you do, that you don't want what's been pressed upon you. I assure you that I am in no way underestimating your determination and you skill at doing the job, but you've stated that you don't want it·and I feel I'm doing the right thing in alleviating you of it."
"Oh, so you're alleviating me. Well Monty, I can admit to being hasty in my earlier decision, so with that said, I accept my responsibility with open arms."
He smiled. "You don't want this Conner. Whatever will you do? You plan to legitimize and take the heart out of this business."
Conner almost sat up, but she caught a glimpse of Vincent out of the corner of her eye and calmed herself. "This business is my family and it's not for you to have and take apart at your leisure. I feel I would be degraded all my ancestors if I allow my family's livelihood to fall into the hands of an outsider who has no concept of what it is that we are as a family."
Montrose leaned forward on to the table in curiosity. "And just what are you Conner."
She smirked. "I'm a Scotsman, what are you?" she purposely added a decidedly Scottish lilt to her voice as she spoke. "Monty this is not a fortune 500 company that you can just purchase and dismantle at will, this is my family, my life, my blood. You propose nothing that would further this family. You desire to twist it into some repugnant vision of your shell of a life. I refuse to dishonor my family by handing it over to you."
He nodded and then smiled. "Well said, but I feel like I've deceived you to an extent."
"This is not something that I've taken to on my accord, I would leave it to you, but actually I was requested to look after this in the interests of someone else."
Conner sat forward. "So I'm supposed to believe that your just here in lieu of someone else."
Conner chuckled. "I'll refrain from calling you a rat faced bastard liar, but I'm afraid I don't believe you."
"You show such restraint Conner." He licked his lips. "I swear this is not my doing." He spoke unconvincingly.
Conner sat back and creased her brow. "You're wasting my time Monty, this is bull shit. You can do what you will, but as long as I have breath in my body, this business stays with me and that's it."
Thin lips drew into a crooked smile as he reclined back in his chair. "You challenging me Conner Rose?"
Green eyes bored into the thin man's face. "You threatening me you snake."
The thin man tossed his head lightly and Conner detected a small movement in one of his bodyguards. Before she could even sit back in alarm the softly lit room came to life with movement. It took everything Conner had to not stir as she heard movement from behind her. She kept her eyes affixed to the men on the opposite wall who stood reaching for their weapons. The man in the corner raised his arm with pistol in hand and quickly found his arm pinned to wall by two throwing knives. Another knife sheared a lock of hair from the man to his right as it lodged in the wall behind him. The remaining two men two men managed to pull there guns, only to be mirrored in their gesture by Vincent and the two women that had entered the room after Conner, but no one dared make a move as they focused their attention on Montrose.
He sat stock still in his seat with his palms face down on the table. He kept his eyes focused and steady and for all intense purposes he appeared not even to be breathing. There was a hand on his chin that was forcing him to hold his head at an awkward angle to the right. Pressed hard into his temple was the barrel of gun. Conner couldn't help but blink, but she did manage to keep her mouth from hanging open as her eyes, like everyone else's in the room, was drawn to the tall woman who was holding Montrose at her mercy. Ice blue eyes stared down at Montrose as the singer cum enforcer silently dared the man to even flinch without her permission. Conner focused confident green eyes on her tall lover and wasn't sure if she run for her life or just ask the tower of a woman draped in black silks and leather to fuck her brains right there on the table.
Blue eyes caught green and Conner came back into reality when she got a quick glimpse of the woman she knew and not the malicious knight that stood before her. With an almost undetectable nod Conner settled herself in her chair and smiled. For all the world, she played the part like she had been doing it forever. As far as anyone was concerned, she had given the word, and this was her will and nobody elses doing. She craned her neck to the side in a comical manner in order to bring her eyes level with Montrose, who was doing his best not to show any signs of pain, but the bulging tendons in his neck and forehead were betraying his expressionless features. "Monty, I think we're done talking at this point." She waved her hand carelessly through the air. "You've insulted me and now look what you've gone and made me do." She batted her eyelids at the thin man and smirked. "I've no time for this. You're free to start something of your own, hell you're even free to challenge me·.if you feel you can do better." She took her time looking around the room, for the first time really realizing that she did have the upper hand. ", But you will not do this at the expense of my family.
Montrose raised his hand slowly, only to have the barrel of the gun pressed harder into his temple, surely leaving a bruise. "May I speak." Blue eyes swept to Conner and the blonde nodded. The tall woman eased back on the pressure and released Montrose's neck, but still kept the gun pointed to his head. "I respect that you want to leave, but I think you should hear me out."
Conner laughed and pushed her chair away from the table. "You've got nothing I want to hear."
"Perhaps I don't but someone else may." Montrose turned his head as far left as he was allowed and looked towards the dark opening that led back into the office. "C.C. if you'd please."
The gun that was next to Montrose's head wavered for a split second as Blue changed hands and with her free hand pulled out another gun. This, she aimed in the direction of the darkened entrance, that she herself had entered the room from moments before. A bruised and battered C.C. made his way into the room and Conner couldn't help but grimace at the sight of the large man, who looked like he had just been forced to run the gauntlet. Blue opened her mouth to say something smart, but her eyes grew wide as a second man made his way into the room. As the second man fully came into view, Blue kept her eyes in his direction as motion from the side confirmed that Conner saw what she saw.
He had obviously lost some weight and he was trying his hand a goatee, but it was still Ewan. A shorter haircut, a little worse for wear, but it was him. Conner stood up in a forceful rush of motion that knocked the chair on its back. Gone was the air of control and know-it all attitude, she was shocked and mostly she was pissed off. She slammed a small fist down on the table and took a step back. Fiery green eyes looked from the thin man who wore a wisp of a grin on his face to her brother, who looked to be just a bit out of it. "Son of a bitch!" she growled out, not looking firmly in either man's direction. "Fuck you, you son of bitch!"
Ewan stepped forward and made sure to keep out of the tall woman's line of sight as he kept his eyes on his sister. He stopped as he reached the edge of the table and put his hands in the pockets of his suit pants. "Hey Conner."
"Hey Conner? Hey Conner!" She steeled her eyes and leaned forward onto the table and rocked as if she was judging the distance she'd have to jump to reach him. A soft hand to her back stilled her motion. She blew out a breath and did her best to curtail her burgeoning temper. "Not a word for almost a year and all you have to say is Hey Conner." She started to continue but just shook her as she leaned back from the table and waved her hands through the air in a sign of defeat and disbelief. "I'm done here."
"Conner please, I just want to talk."
"Ha! Fucking talk. No, nonononono," she pointed a finger towards Montrose, who was still seated. ", you talk to that shit who has the nerve to say he's been doing all this for you, because it is you right? Right..don't even fucking answer, you shit!" she slapped the table again. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. "Fine, you want to talk, than we talk," she pointed to herself and Ewan, "me and you, no bullshit, no people just us. I must admit that I really want to hear the story for this one, I can't believe this crap. You're both out of you're fucking minds!" Conner ground her knuckles into the table as she glared at both her brother and Montrose. She caught Blue's attention and made a small nod. "This.. this..pleon. Afino."
If Blue was surprised that Conner remember the little Greek that she had taught her the tall woman didn't show it. This was indeed over and it was time to leave. Blue depressed the hammers on her guns and put one in her holster and the other in the small of her back. She made no attempt to make contact with Ewan as she passed by him, leaving ample room between them. She curled her lip up at C.C. and walked towards Conner. When Blue made it to the other side Conner turned and managed not to show surprise as she finally came face to face with the other people behind her back. For a split second she almost wanted to turn to the woman behind her and ask her if she had sisters. Standing on either side of the door, looking like book ends were two women who were probably six feet tall if not a bit more. The leather vest they wore, while putting their ample cleavage on display, left no doubt to the fact that these women two women looked like they stepped off the winners podium at the Miss Universe competition. All though their eyes were hidden behind sunglasses the two women did manage to give the small woman quick smiles that only she would notice as she walked by them. Conner just kept her head forward and told herself to walk in a straight line, for fear deviating would cause her to find a corner to go puke in. She heard Blue whisper something to the two women, but nothing registered as she was ushered from the room.
Vincent stayed behind with the two women he was quite familiar with, and slowly put his weapons away, as they did as well. The large woman who was standing to the right of the door, strode across the room and retrieved her knives from the wall. She stopped as she made her way to C.C. and smiled. She gave a hard pat to his cheek, that felt more like a slap to the man. "Good to see you piggy." C.C. growled but she just smiled as she turned and made her way out of the door with Vincent and the other woman behind her. As Vincent and the women made it to the lobby they found Terry and Lane all ready on their feet. Terry spoke before he could even order his thoughts. "They took the first car and went back to the house."
Vincent nodded. "Okay, we'll give them some room."
"What happened? She didn't say a thing."
"Her brother showed up."
Terry groaned. "Jesus." She rubbed the back of her neck.
"Hey why don't you two ride with us, cause I could use a drink."
Terry just nodded in a daze as his words finally registered. "Yeah, yeah. That'll·.that'll be good." She gave a weak smile to the tall man and then looked passed him. "Uh, do I get to meet the wonder twins?"
He chuckled. "Yes you do, but let's get out of here first."
Blue hadn't tried to say a word to Conner as they made their way out of the building and into the waiting limo. The air hung heavy with tension, so Marcus just raised the divider and then pulled off once both women were seated in the car. The sat on the back bench with a small gap between them. Conner turned her head to the side and stared out of the tinted window into the night time city street. The blur of the city lights seemed to keep her calm even if she was on the verge of bursting into tears, which she refused to do. She knew she couldn't look at the woman next to her, for fear of breaking down like a small child. Conner stared wistfully out of the window and tried to rationalize that she shouldn't be disappointed with herself and moreover the woman next to her wasn't disappointed either. She'd tried to do everything she asked, but in the end she cracked. Conner had been second guessing herself since this entire thing began, but for one brief moment in the evening she felt like she had it covered, and now she was sure it was all just wishful thinking.
She knew the woman at her side was struggling as well, but Conner knew she didn't have any words and knew she probably wouldn't have. She did it just on instinct, but she knew that laying her hand out between the seat would convey the things that she couldn't articulate into words. The moment the back of hand met would with the cool of the leather seat it was encased in the warmth of Blue's larger hand. Without thought Conner allowed herself to lean to the side, where she was quickly pulled into Blue's strong embrace. It was an embrace she would not leave for the rest of the night, as Blue neither let go her to get her out of the car, or carry her in the house, or even when they crawled into the bed, not bothering to remove their clothes.
When Conner awoke for the second time on Tuesday things were decidedly different. For one, it was now early afternoon, she was in her pajamas, and bed was empty, save for her and the two cats nestled around her legs. She stretched her body awkwardly since the two cats looked too cute to dislodge. She rubbed at her face with her hands and she picked her head up off the pillow as she heard distinct, yet unfamiliar voices coming from the second floor.
As if the singer had a motion detector implanted in Conner's body, she was there to greet the blonde as she swung her feet off the bed and onto the floor. "Hey sugarpop." The tall woman was dressed in jeans and t-shirt as she leaned on the doorframe with a glass of orange juice in her hand. Conner smiled and ran her hands through her hair. "Want some juice?" Conner nodded and Blue was quickly at her side on the bed handing her the glass. Blue began to knead the base of Conner's neck as the smaller woman drank deeply of her orange juice. "You feeling better?"
Conner held the empty glass in her lap as she absorbed her lover's ministrations with gratefulness. "I guess," she shrugged, "but I'm confused and worried, so that's not helping."
Blue nodded. "I'd be worried if you weren't all those things."
Conner turned her head to face Blue. "Are you okay?"
Full lips curved into a lopsided grin. "Not bad, but I'll be better when I know you're doing okay and ready to eat."
Conner giggled. "I didn't say I was doing that bad." Both women laughed and leaned into one another for a kiss. Conner let her eyes linger on Blue when they broke apart, her eyes full of question.
"What's up?" Her voice was slightly hesitant fearful of what Conner was thinking.
"Who's in my kitchen?"
Blue rolled her eyes more in relief than amusement. "Get dressed and come to the kitchen."
Conner stood and then looked at the woman with a blonde eyebrow raised in speculation. "You're not attempting to cook are you?"
Blue shook with laughter. "Pshaw! Nope, but Vincent is." She gave the smaller woman a light pat on the butt. "Hurry up, we're waiting on you."
Conner took her time sauntering to the bathroom, with the knowledge she was giving the woman behind her a small show. "Don't rush a lady. I'll get there when I get there." Conner's voice was heavy with mischief and seduction. Dark hair swung about the singers face as she shook her head and watched the blonde disappear into the bathroom.
Apparently, there was a party in Conner's kitchen and she misplaced the invite. She had slipped into a soccer jersey and her favorite khakis, that without aid of a belt sat well below her waist and exposed her underwear quite nicely. She gave a warm smile to the people assembled in her kitchen as Blue wrapped and arm around her shoulder and walked her over to the island.
"Guys this is Conner, Conner this is Tan and Al. And the guy in the corner is Gordy, you know the other knuckleheads."
Conner smiled and extended her hand to the women sitting on the other side of the island and waved at the man who stood next to Vincent in the corner. "Um, nice to meet you all, and um, I guess thank you for the other night."
The brown-haired woman with the hair that fell just beneath her chin, gave Conner a toothy grin. "It was our pleasure Conner. Besides, it was an excuse to see this fool." Blue just grinned as she took a seat.
Conner smiled and found a seat as well. "You're Tan right?" The large woman nodded. "I just want to remember. Short hair Tan, long hair Al."
The twins smiled, and Tan spoke again. "So if you don't mind my asking, what's the plan from here?"
Green eyes open wide. "To be honest, I'm not really sure yet, but um, some things need to be worked out."
"That's cool, but you know if need something, we're at your disposal."
Conner blinked and glanced at Blue for a moment. "People at my disposal, huh? Well, Tan I'm not looking for disposable people, but I would love to have your help."
The twins smiled and said "Sure thing" at the same time.
Terry spoke from her seat at the kitchen table. "Lil' bit I hate to break up the love fest and I know you're not sure of what you're going to do, but before you do anything, know that you have a hot date with O.C.C.B."
Conner turned to Terry and groaned. "O.C.C.B.?"
"Yeah, Organized Crime Control Bureau." Conner groaned louder and rested her chin on her fist as she leaned forward on to the countertop.
Blue smiled weakly and rubbed her back. "Don't worry about it, it's just a formality, you've got absolutely nothing to hide. The only thing you've signed off on as of late is construction work and that's completely legit." Conner nodded and blew out a breath.
"That's true and all, but to be I'm sure word has gone out that she met with Snake-boy."
Al spoke this time in response. "For all they know, he could have been shaking her down."
"True, but then again this could be about Ewan."
Conner worried her lip. "You think so?"
Terry shrugged. "I don't know, I'm just thinking out loud. But look, I'm just saying it to let you know what's up. No real need to worry, me and Lane got things covered, all though with Wally gone I suggest you talk to the rest of Mt. Rushmore and figure out where all of this supposed to go."
Conner nodded. "We're supposed to meet at the club tomorrow night," she turned to Blue ", if everything is still going as planned."
The blue-eyed woman nodded. "Oh yeah, nothings changed. Hell, we need to at least have some semblance of normalcy around this place."
Terry gave a gentle slap to the table and stood up. "Groovy. I'm heading out of here then, um I'll see you guys tomorrow night."
"How you getting home?" Blue asked.
"Cool." Good byes were exchanged as Terry left the house. Blue waited till she heard the engine start in the limo to look at Al. Al stood up from her stool and grabbed a jacket. "Stay with her." Al nodded and then looked to Conner.
It took the blonde a little more than a second to realize this was her cue to give her consent. She smiled at the waiting woman and nodded. "I'd appreciate it and thanks." The large woman nodded and left the kitchen with Blue behind her.
The singer walked her to the door. "Thanks Al."
The woman smiled and winked at the singer. "Hey, she's a good kid, she just needs a boost of confidence." The singer nodded in agreement, but blew out a breath full of frustration and concern all the same. Al smiled and squeezed Blue's shoulder. "She loves you, I can see that., and you know what? You're not going to take her any where she doesn't want to go."
"I hope your right chick." Al smiled and they clasped hands. She repeated the words to herself as she watched the woman leave, and hoped her friend was right.
* * *
CH 10: Blood In, Blood Out
The following night, Conner found herself, dressed to the nines, and surrounded by Terry, Lane, and her new found friends as she sat at a table in the club sipping on a cosmopolitan. She was bobbing her head to Karl's bass solo and still smiling from the joke Vincent made about the Atlanta Brave's relief pitcher, John Rocker. Everything actually seemed normal. She waved over her aging cousins as they entered the club and all still seemed well. She sipped at her drink casually and kept her eyes affixed the goddess on stage, her goddess and she couldn't help but smile. If she ignored the fact that Sara and Wally were gone, things almost seemed sane, this life seemed possible to live.
When the band finished the first set, reality reared it's ugly head as Conner's office filled with family members and new family members. Cameron, Sean, and Charlie all occupied the Conner sat in her chair behind her desk Blue leaning down on the chair behind her. Lane sat in an arm chair while Terry sat on the corner of Conner's desk. The remaining areas of the room were occupied with Vincent, the twins, and Gordy, with the women both standing on either side of the door and the men to the back wall. Conner looked about the room and let out a nervous sigh as she clasped her hands together and focused on her three cousins sitting across from her on the couch. She gave a wisp of a smile to the men, if only to ease her tension before she spoke. "Well gents, it appears we have much to discuss."
"Yes my dear, it seems us old farts have gotten ourselves into a bind." Charlie raised his eyebrows and sat back on the couch.
Conner smiled. "You're not an old fart Charlie· just a fart." Her comment got sincere smiles from the men on the couch. "So, I'm asking, what do you want done?"
The men all looked perplexed for a moment and then Cameron spoke. "Conner, this is your show. I've gotten the things you asked for and truthfully we're waiting on your call."
Conner nodded. "So, I don't get any advice here?"
"We've got plenty advice, but what's helpful depends on what you need."
"I guess asking about Montrose is out of the question."
Cameron waved his hands through the air. "When he came on, it was Ewan's show, and we left it with him, we're only here because of his absence."
Cameron swallowed and shook his head. "We heard."
Charlie fixed his sliding glasses and spoke. "Conner Rose, this situation is not good."
Blue's gentle nudging of the chair kept Conner from grimacing. She rolled her eyes and just grinned. "Charlie, I know this isn't good, but I need to know what you guys want, or really what you don't want."
There was silence as the men seemed to take in her statement. Sean spoke up first. Conner couldn't help but warm to his thick Scottish accent even if she could barely understand him sometimes. "Will not go under lass, no indeed. Are you planning to talk to him?"
"Before the week is over."
"Good." Under his breath, he mumbled. "All though, I'd rather you get rid of Ewan on principle."
Conner coughed in disbelief as she heard her cousins utterings. "Sean! I'm not putting a call in on my brother." She shook her head.
Cameron gave a glare to Sean, and turned towards Conner. "Conner, that's not even an option, WE know that." He glared at Sean once more and focused back on Conner. "But perhaps, severing yourself from him is the best thing."
Blue spoke before Conner could open her mouth. "How do you propose that?"
Cameron turned his eyes on the tall woman and grinned. "The FBI of course."
"Of course you say, explain." Terry responded with curiosity.
"O.C.C.B. is about to rip you a new one, or at least their going to try, so if that's the case then there is nothing wrong with sending a lamb to the slaughter."
Blue grinned at Cameron "But in this case we're not dealing with any lamb, are we?"
Conner ignored the exchange between Blue and Cameron and turned to Lane. "Is it possible?"
Lane's smile was wide. "Completely. With a few extra nips and tucks, they'll be wading through Ewan's shit years before your name even comes up."
Conner raised her brows. "That easy huh?"
Lane shrugged. "You kept good books Conner what can I say. More than that, whether you did it consciously or not, you kept yourself pretty clean. To the outsider, you simply look like a C.P.A. from H &R Block™ . Just say the word and I can make the FBI and O.C.C.B. disappear."
With interest Conner leaned forward onto the desk. "For how long?"
"No less than a year. At most, you're looking at three. If we catch a stroke of luck, you're looking at five years."
Blue came from behind the chair and sat on the arm of Conner's chair. "What's a stroke of luck?"
"Ewan comes out of hiding an announces he's taking over again."
"Well that's not happening. What if Conner takes over?"
Lane shook his head. "I wouldn't suggest that, and I'm saying that as a layman. I wouldn't say a thing, you guys can ride this turf war, if there's to be one, for quite a while. As far as anyone is concerned, things are in a moment of limbo. Which means, suspicion won't fall to you automatically, and they'll be very careful."
Conner rubbed at her temples with the onslaught of information that was being thrown her way. "Wait a minute, isn't limbo a bad thing for me? I may not officially be the head of anything, but talk is talk, and wouldn't that talk implicate me and make me a target for any idiot with a gun?"
"Not necessarily." Both Cameron and Blue spoke at the same time. Cameron nodded and let the singer speak. "On the surface, sure you'd appear to be in line for everything, but to the people running the show, you'd just be a decoy for someone else."
Conner turned confused green eyes to Blue. "Who?"
Blue shrugged. "Nobody in particular, just anybody but you."
Conner sat back in her chair with understanding. "So a phantom really?'
"Nice going Velma." Blue winked at the blonde.
Conner smiled and spoke loud enough for Blue to hear, "Well if it wasn't for you and those pesky kids." She looked up to the men on the couch. "Is that something you all can live with?" She got nods in response. "Good, then I want you all to take nice vacations or whatever you call it when you're all ready retired."
"You suggesting we run, Conner?" Charlie asked with hurt in his voice.
Conner sighed. "Cousin Charlie, I don't want you to run, but at the same time, I don't want you to stay here and get caught up in all this. Wally's dead and Sara's dead, and Wilhelm·well we're waiting. Point is, I don't want your blood spilled if it doesn't' have to be. I know you don't want to, but at least humor me and think about it." Charlie started to say something, but just nodded and smiled at the blonde. Conner looked at her watch and then looked to Blue. "Gotta go." Blue nodded and Conner stood. "All right, thank you everybody. Uncle Cameron give Lane and Terry whatever they need and then I don't want to hear from you guys unless it's from a remote island okay."
Cameron smiled as he waited for her to walk from behind the desk and they embraced. "We can still stay and enjoy the music right?" Laughter rang in the office.
"I'd beat you up if you didn't." She gave the greying man and kiss and then helped her cousins to their feet. "Besides I've got a bottle of single malt with all our names on it."
Charlie let out a holler and gave Conner a squeeze. "Aye lass, there's the rub." The room filled with laughter as Conner pinched Charlie's cheeks and they all made their way out of the office.
Once again, Remus and Romulaus were occupying their other favorite spots, next to the radiator, since the bed was full at the moment, with moaning women. A few days after the meeting in the club, things actually seemed to be getting back to normal, even if Conner was fielding calls from number runners and bookkeepers. This was actually the first moment in a week and a half that the two women had a chance to be intimate without worry of someone walking in on them or being down the hall.
The singer eyed the blonde beneath her with sheer animal lust as she kissed her way down the supple body, of the woman tied to the headboard. Conner could only let her head loll back onto the pillows as teeth bit into her nipples and tugged with welcome pressure. With guttural moans and the bucking of hips Conner pleaded for the dark woman to move lower. A cool tongue was teasing the inside of her thigh when the doorbell rang. Blue was less than an inch away from her goal when the doorbell rang for a third time accompanied by pounding on the door. Conner let out a groan as the dark woman got off the bed and snatched a robe off the floor in a rush of angry motion.
"Will you at least untie me?" Green eyes turned to blue that were on the verge of icing over in rage.
Blue managed to grin as she raised an eyebrow. "Unless it's Ed McMahon at the door with a check I'm killing whoever it is at the door, so stay put."
Conner pouted playfully. "You promised."
Blue rolled her eyes as she threw on the robe. "Yeah, yeah, but I can plead insanity." Conner could only laugh as she watched the tall woman walk out of the bedroom in a robe that was two sizes to small for her. With a firm scowl all ready in place the singer swung the front door without even looking through the peephole.
Ewan almost took a step back as he took in the slightly disheveled woman standing at the door. He looked to the floor, as the wind created by the door, opened the barely closed robe. A smooth black eyebrow raised and full lips made a smirk as she took in the reaction of the reddening man at the door. The singer made no movement to close the robe as she silently gestured for Ewan to come in. "Have a seat, I'll go get your sister." Ewan nodded without looking and walked into the living room. Blue sucked her teeth as she closed her door and stalked upstairs.
She broke into a smile as she found the blonde using her teeth to undue the scarf tied around her right wrist. "Want some help there?"
Conner laughed. "Oh yeah, who is it?"
"I'm just going to let you walk down there, all though I suggest you get dressed."
Conner looked at the singer with confusion, as her wrists were untied. "Cameron?"
Conner stepped into a pair of sweatpants. "I take it you're not telling me right?"
"Hey if I didn't get to know, than you can't either."
Conner laughed and then the doorbell rang again. "Is this grand central station?"
"Apparently." The singer put on her on sweatpants and reached for a shirt that she would soon find out was not hers as she walked down the stairs.
Terry bust into laughter as she took in the singer in the small t-shirt that clung to her breast and stopped right above her navel. "Shopping at Baby Gap I see."
"Fuck you, come on in, and welcome to the party."
Terry winced and whispered. "He's all ready here?" Blue nodded. "Just great."
"Nice try though."
Terry waved a hand through the air and walked to the kitchen without even giving a look into the living room.
Conner was down the steps in the next moment. "Was that Terry?"
"Than who the hell else is here?" Blue only grinned as the blonde made it all the way down the steps and her eyes immediately went to the figure in the living room.
The air around Conner instantly grew colder as she steeled green eyes and moved past Blue into the living room. She glared at her brother and then turned back to Blue who still stood by the step. She grabbed a hold of the sliding doors. "We're just going to talk." Blue raised a brow and Terry frowned. Conner nodded. "It's cool, I told him we would."
Blue eyes cut from Conner and settled on Ewan. "You need anything, you just call, okay?" She softened her gaze as she looked to Conner. Conner smiled and mouthed the words 'I love you' to Blue and then slowly closed the sliding doors.
Ewan walked to the far end of the couch and sat down. He moved one of the throw pillows out from behind him only to end up leaning forward and resting his elbows on his knees, he entwined his fingers and waited for his sister to sit down. Conner eyed her brother suspiciously as she walked to the mantle and began to toy with one of the African statues. If anyone else had been sitting in her living room, she would have surely been trying to put on a show of control, but she wanted him to know she was angry beyond words. Finally, she turned to face him, as she folded her arms across her chest and leaned back against the mantle.
She chuckled nervously and ran a hand through her hair. "I don't know where to begin."
Ewan could only nod as he clasped and unclasped his hands and grinned with apprehension. "I'm glad you can find something to smile about."
Ewan stopped grinning and released a breath. "I just want to ease the tension somewhat."
She snorted with impudence at his statement. "This is not something to be eased Ewan with a well timed quip, oh no, this needs to be physically removed with the aid of heavy machinery."
"Well perhaps I can bring the forklift."
"Please, enlighten me, and make me understand . Explain to me how Mon-goose's words were nothing but words and that you have absolutely nothing to do with this."
Ewan swallowed hard and crossed his legs as he sat back on the couch. "I can't say that."
"What!" Conner moved away from the mantle and stood in front of Ewan with the coffee table between. "Fine, write it down, take a picture, I don't give a fuck! But that's the only thing I want to hear."
He held up his hands as Conner's voice grew loud. "Conner please, can we just talk about this like-
"Don't give me that civilized human beings shit." She leaned down and pointed her finger in his direction. "Civilized human beings do not put seventy-five year old men in the bay to make a point."
Ewan visibly flinched and avoided the burning gaze of his sister's eyes. "Conner, this is business and that's precisely why you don't have to do this."
Conner stepped back as she laughed. "Oh so you're going to come in and help the little girl. Gonna do the brotherly thing, huh? And beat up all the bullies so I can go outside and play with my dollies." Conner squinted her eyes as she smiled hard and then let her expression quickly dissolve into a frown. "So let me get this straight, you're doing all this for me right? For almost a year, you've been sitting on your ass on some bluff in Edinburgh playing William Wallace and plotting and planning your comeback as the rest of your family shuffled around and tried to cover their asses from all the fall out you left." She sucked her teeth and threw back her head in laughter. "Is that the truth? You've orchestrated all of this?"
"To an extent yes." He met her eyes briefly and looked away.
Conner smirked as if a light went off in her head. "Your full of shit." She sat down on the edge of the coffee table. "How much Ewan, just tell me how much?" Her eyes darted across his face as he sat back from the push of his sister's words.
He raised a brow in confusion. "How much what?"
"What's your price? How much are you getting paid?"
"What?" He shook his head vehemently.
Conner smiled in a semi-feral manner as if she was a lioness about to go in for the kill. "Did you plan all that stuff with Manny? I bet he isn't even dead. Was that the plan all along? Take the bottom out from under your family and go live the life of Riley?"
Ewan was clearly uncomfortable as he fidgeted with his shirt and moved to the other side of the couch. He looked at his wide-eyed sister in disbelief. He titled his head as looked at her. She was practically foaming at the mouth. "Conner, I think the stress has gotten to you. I've done no such thing. Mt. Rushmore appointed you on their own and once I heard about it, I decided to come back."
Conner stood up and pursed her lips as she traced her chin with a fingertip. "You just decided to come back?"
"Yes, I did. I had always planned to, but of course not under these circumstances."
Conner put her hands on her hips and walked to the mantle. She pulled on her lip as she mulled over her next question. "So why not call me, why not tell me what you were doing, why kill people what's the point."
He shrugged. "As crass as it sounds I had to make an entrance."
Green eyes blazed with hate as Conner looked at the man sitting on her couch. She found herself gripping the glass bobble on the mantle intending to throw it at him, but she knew that would only cause Blue to come barreling through the door ready to beat Ewan to a pulp. Conner closed her eyes and thought about the woman that she knew was standing outside the door pacing. Conner breathed deeply and calmed herself as she let go of the glass and folded her arms across her chest. "Okay, let's say for a second, I buy this line of crap you're shoveling my way. So you've made your entrance. That still doesn't explain why you didn't contact me, that still doesn't explain why you didn't make your intentions known to Cameron or Brusio or Marachi or anybody for that matter. It doesn't explain the family restructuring, pulling out of Pimlico, or-
Conner paused in her train of thought as she watched her brother face flush with odd surprise. Her mind went on overload and she turned her back and pretended to lose her train of thought. She bit her lip as she stopped herself from saying, 'liar, liar pants on fire.' Instead, she wiped the grin from her face and faced Ewan again. "Sorry, lost my place, but you seemed a little confused at my last comment."
Ewan blinked rapidly and sat up. "No, no, not confused, just uh· I thought we discussed that and decided against it, that's all."
"Oh that's all." She titled her head at her brother and raised her brow.
"What? Why are you looking at me like that?"
"Because you're lying."
He slapped his thighs in frustration. "Damn it Conner! I'm not lying. You may want me to be lying, but this is the truth." He stood up and looked at the blonde sternly. Conner stepped back towards the mantle at the force of his conviction. She could tell he was desperately trying to believe his on words. "It may be petty, it may be sibling rivalry or whatever, but this is mine fair and square and I can do what I want with it·and well I want it back."
"Just like that. Without so much as a 'how do you do', you're just going to come in a snatch this up like my fucking Legos and I'm supposed to smile and nod and give it up?" Conner could feel her ears grow red as she began to get angry. "You're the one who's out of their mind. I wouldn't give up the damn remote without being put in the camel clutch and you think I'm going to give up a million dollar business cause you're older? Fuck you!"
Ewan shook his head and ran both his hand through his hair letting his hands rest on the back of his neck. "Conner you've never wanted this, why now? Go live your fairy tale with your·whatever and let me do what I need to do."
"What does he have on you? What has he promised you? For the love God, please tell me that your some cybernetic entity parading around as my brother."
"Conner this is my doing and that's the end of it. Besides you've removed yourself from this family, so you've no say."
"Are you smoking crack?! How the hell have I removed myself?"
"You're dating the woman that killed your brother, you forget that?"
Conner let out a huff of air and kicked at the mantle. "Are we still on this? For the love of Pete, get over it. Good God, everybody and their mother knows that and you're the only one still running around like it's news. It's over Ewan! It's been said and done and I for one would have thought you would have used your little hiatus to get your shit together and find some peace. But maybe that answers my questions. Maybe you've just gone completely fucking nutso, so you've entrusted your counsel to Monte-zuma and you're running around like you're Al Capone."
She cut him off with a wave of her hand. "No, you know what. I don't believe a word that comes out of your mouth, I think you're certifiable and just for that I'm not letting go of this and especially not to you. I'll turn this shit over to Borgia and Marachi before you get this again. You fucked up, so it's the changing of the guard and all that."
"Conner this isn't supposed to be this way."
"Supposed to be this way!" She didn't try to soften her voice. "Well mister big man, you've made it quite clear that this is supposed to be a fucking blood bath from day one. If this was supposed to be handle with discretion and civility than your errand boy forgot that part of the conversation and has just done as he pleased. But of course you're going to tell me that you told him it was all right to kill Wally right?"
He spoke with conviction. "It's my call to make, it was just a message."
Conner was silent as she looked at her brother in disbelief. She spoke her next words evenly and with less volume than moments before, but full of rage none the less. "And Sara and Wilhelm were a warning?" There was no cover up for his surprise as the words came out of her mouth. His knees almost gave out on him as his face grew florid and he raised his eyebrows in honest shock. Conner almost let out a scream, but instead she grabbed for the first thing on the mantle and sent the glass bobble flying towards his head. It shattered against the corner. Both stood stock still, one set of green eyes filled with confusion and the other filled with disappointment in missing. Conner didn't take her eyes off of Ewan as she spoke loudly to the woman outside the door, no doubt only a split second from bursting through the door. "It's okay, I'm all right. I promise, just give me another minute." Conner listened quietly as she heard the faint sound of Blue removing her hand from the door knob, and staying where she was.
Conner and Ewan continued to stare at each until he began to open his mouth to speak. Conner silenced him with a raised hand. "Don't say a word." Her voice was raspy with anger. "You're lying and I don't know why, and I no longer want to know why. I suggest you go back to Scotland and continue meditating because when I get through snake-boy and his minions there will be nothing left of what you were planning." She shut her eyes as she tried to keep control. Through clenched teeth she continued. "When you come to your senses and you want help getting out of whatever mess you're in than you come to me. Until than consider yourself pariah, Monty goes down·.you go with him." She opened her eyes and walked to the window, effectively turning her back on him. "Get out of my house. Don't even speak my name ever again unless you're begging my forgiveness." She heard him let out a breath. "Leave."
Whatever Ewan wanted to say, was lost as the sliding doors opened. In an outfit that would have looked comical on anybody else, the six foot tall woman was far from making anyone laugh. Ewan avoided her eyes and did his best to avoid her as he walked out of the living room. He didn't have to touch the woman to feel the waves of heat rolling off her body. He reached for the door and glanced towards the kitchen only to watch Terry turn her head away from him. Ewan straightened his shoulders and walked from the house.
Both Terry and Blue stood in the foyer and just watched Conner stare out of the window, neither was sure what the correct approach was at the moment. After a quiet five minutes Conner spoke. "Ter, I need my phone book." Terry didn't care that Conner spoke considerably harsher than usual, but at least she was talking so that meant she was breathing. Terry disappeared down the steps. Blue grabbed the phone and was all ready to toss it to Conner when the woman asked for it. Conner caught it and just stared at the woman standing so far away from her. Conner knew she wasn't ready to pampered but she didn't want to be alone either. Green eyes softened a bit, as the blonde silently willed the tall woman over to her. Blue caught the hint and walked to the mantle and stood so that only the width of the window separated them.
Terry entered and sat down on the couch with the phone book. Conner looked at her friend with apologetic eyes and then turned back to the window. "I need Borgia's number·please." Terry just smiled as she looked over at the singer with a knowing look and then returned her attention to the phone book.
Conner dialed the number as fast as Terry spoke them. "Pronto, it's Conner·.can't really talk right now, I need to talk to Ceasare·..For how long·..Okay·If you catch him at the airport just send him my way·.um, no·.sure, let me have it·.804-555-7548·gratsi·.I will."
Conner closed the cell phone and turned towards the two women. "Here's the deal, first I need a drink, a big fat one, and two plans for the club and expansion have not changed, but we need to hold off on liquidation cause uh, apparently I've got a family to run." Blue and brown eyes grew wide. Conner shook her head and grimaced. "I know, I know, but like it or not I just threw my hat in the ring and I can't talk my way out of this one. So," She clapped her hands together, "anybody else up for happy hour." She didn't even wait for the two women to answer as she left them standing in the living room.
Terry stood up and echoed Blue's groan. "Is it possible to get an instantaneous ulcer?"
"It'll go well with the tumor I just grew." The two women looked at each with half-smiles and started walking towards the basement.
"Laney's going to shit a brick."
"Is that good or bad?"
"Just means that he'll be just as excited as he is scared, and I'll be buying cases of Pepto Bismal every freakin' week."
Blue chuckled. "Come on, let's go get the captain before she drains the entire bottle of Vodka."
"I've seen her do it and bowl a 180 to boot."
"All in her lane?"
"All but two frames, it is still the most impressive things I've ever been witness to."
Blue smiled. "Fell in love huh?"
"Head over heels."
They both laughed. "Fine we'll make her dance a jig later." They laughed their way into the basement and joined the blonde at the bar, as she was slicing limes and lemons and lining up shot glasses.
Terry leaned into Blue and spoke quietly. "I haven't done this since college."
"I haven't done this since '88."
Terry shuddered as the smell of Tequila hit her. "We're gonna be puking all night aren't we?"
"You still got that Pepto?"
"Oh yeah, Oh yeah."
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