Cage Undone Part Twelve
Sorry all for the lack of updates…real life interferes on occasion.
We’re halfway through at this point…I would humbly ask y’all to bear with me and be patient.
We’ve had many upheavals here…. work, family (my nephew went wheels up for another tour in Iraq, he got married to a fantastic young lady just prior), mom is back here with my sis this time, I asked my dear Allison to marry me and she said yes. Lucky me…grin…. Saints and Sinners conference…took down a drugged out guest at the hotel and had to answer those freaking questions (Did you really have to put him in a headlock? Answer…ummm yeah)…met my woman’s parents…had her meet half my family…still sweating the rest of the intro’s (like my family won’t tell stories on me…urg). Went to a wedding for Allison’s niece, had a great time, rest of her family liked me. Have had to suffer through way too many busy weeks at the hotel and finally exterior sinus surgery…my face hurts. Like I said upheaval.
So here we go on the rest of the story. To all who have read, and been really, really patient…thank you so much…without you…I don’t have anyone to read and comment…if it’s good or if it bites…tell me. firstname.lastname@example.org
Cage pushed the swing with her foot hard and fast not really caring if the upper frame hit the wall or not. The restless feeling was not something she could get rid of. And honestly she wasn’t sure if she wanted to get rid of it.
She hated Olivia being away at a mandatory conference. It had been two days all ready with one more to do and she was going out of her mind with all the things that could go wrong. Cage took a breath and sucked down another swallow of beer. The pushing continued as her brain churned. Her little shadows had been oddly missing in action.
That made her suspicious. Suspicion made her curious. She almost smiled then had a flash of curiosity nearly getting her killed. Her smile died before it got to her lips. The memory was unexpected and uncomfortable. She had been just experienced enough to stumble into a dangerous situation and not experienced enough to be able to get out of it without getting hurt.
Cage got up off the swing and walked into the cabin, letting the screen door smack closed hard. She snagged another beer and twisted the cap off. A part of her brain wondered how she had lived this long. Another part of her brain was incredibly grateful for having been alive this long.
“I’m getting too old for this shit.” She muttered and trashed the empty bottle.
She nearly jumped out of her skin when the cell phone in her pocket announced a text message. She read it, erased and then dialed a number.
“Quinn.” She announced when the line answered. She listened for several moments. “Repeat last.” Again she listened, committing the information to memory. “Thanks. This makes us even.” She paused. “I think. My brains aren’t what they used to be.” She flipped the phone closed and took another sip of beer. Then she began to pace.
If all went well in three hours an intelligence satellite would fly over the area, take very detailed photographs of activity in the compound. The photographs would be emailed to her raw. No other eyes would see them until she in turn sent them to someone else. Now all she had to do was kill three hours.
“Well, well. If it isn’t my little bathroom window sneak.” Mandy, the biker chick welcomed Cage with a grin. “You dodging suits again?”
Cage smiled as she settled into the barstool. “No, not this time. I came in the front door and I plan on leaving by the front door.”
“Too bad, my bud’s liked the free beer. What can I say? Those fuckers are cheap.” She laughed to take out any sting that might have been in her words.
Cage leveled serious eyes at the woman. “I do appreciate it. If I can ever return the favor…” she let her voice trail off in offer.
“Nah.” The Mandy waved off. “You bought the beer as promised. It’s enough for us.”
Cage nodded and ordered two beers from the bartender. “So,” she wondered out loud “where’s the posse?”
“Oh God, those guys? Out. Riding. It’s a fantastic day so they’re rolling. Thanks for the beer.”
“Any time. Why aren’t you riding?” Cage grinned.
“Freaking oil pan leak. It should be out of the shop by Monday.”
“Now that truly sucks. Yours is the purple pan head right?”
Mandy grinned. “Ohh yeah. Bought it four years ago and love it like crazy. You know your bikes?”
“I have some friends who love theirs. I like them, but not enough to buy one.” Cage admitted with a wry smile. “Hear any thing interesting lately?”
“Nah. Lately it’s been slow.” The woman answered then slowly stopped. “Well except Jimmy’s missing, sort of.”
Cage turned her head as she sipped on the bottle of beer. “How does one go ‘missing, sort of’?”
She shrugged. “He said he was going on a road trip, but he’s never been gone this long.”
“Maybe he met someone?” Cage ventured and took a slow sip.
“Jimmy? He could have. But lately he’s been hanging out with some real dickheads. Locals who like wearing camo like it was a fashion statement ya know?”
“Is he carrying new firepower?”
She shrugged. “I don’t pay that much attention to tell you the truth. I’m here for the bikes, the beer and the men who don’t have an old lady.”
Cage had to laugh. “In a round about way I can understand that one.”
“You still on the Sheriff’s shit list?”
Cage had to think about the question. “Probably. Why?”
“Word gets around. Your girl is better liked than you or she might want to admit or know. Just some friendly advise.”
“Where I come from advise like that costs.” Cage bristled underneath a calm façade.
“Just some free beer and immunity from prosecution in this case.” She answered with a slow smile.
“I’ll keep that in mind”. Cage said after several moments of thought.
Mandy took a sip of her beer then pulled up short, nearly snorting the drink. “Oh, man I almost forgot. You missed the best stuff the other night. There’s this kid, rich as fuck and just a pain in ass, you know ‘viva le revolution’, ‘fight the white man’ which is funny as hell since he’s pastier than Mozart in the movies.” She took a breath. “So this kid horns in on a pool game going on and this chick just puts him on his ass. Not normal put him on his ass by punching him. She grabbed his wrist, twisted it and stepped on the family jewels. He cried like a girl.” She laughed in a sinister sort of non-sympathetic way.
“So a couple buds of his try to walk in and this other woman slides out from the booth, all leather and real life ‘tude, so she says you best be leaving this one off and let him take his lumps. Only she’s got this really funny accent.” Mandy sipped on her drink while her mind worked overtime.
“I got it, it was like that movie with Harrison Ford and Brad Pitt. What was the name of it? Totally sad story.”
Cage blinked as she tried to follow the words. Finally she had enough. “What the fuck did you just say?”
“Keep up, total ninja woman backed up by some funny talkin’ woman. It was the coolest thing around here for years. Then the two women take off and the Sheriff shows up since some nut fearin’ boy must have called him. It was funnier than hell.”
Cage shook her head. “It must have been.”
“So where were you? It was great.” Mandy flashed an oddly attractive smile.
Cage grinned. “I was in bed, not alone.”
“Which is code for I really shouldn’t ask, right?” Mandy finished her beer with a laugh and stood up away from the bar. “I am so not asking. It’s time to play pool with some of the boys. I’d ask you to join me but they don’t know you and they get nervous.” She finished her beer and settled the bottle on the bar, leaning over slowly to Cage’s ear. “Lindy is my mom’s cousin. Your ass is covered if you’re really protecting her. The boys like her too.”
Then she was gone.
Cage shook her head. This she could not have ever guessed. As a near after thought she checked her watch. It was time. She tossed down several bills and high tailed it out of the bar.
While watching the raw video feed she had to shake her head. The sheer number of little ant like figures running around nearly gave her a headache. Someone was not running a half assed cult; they were training a full-fledged militia type unit. She watched uniformed figures set up targets, set up the firing line and pass out weapons and ammunition. Whoever they were they were acting like professionals, taking time to correct mistakes and apparently teach well.
“Fuck me running.” Ran through Cage’s head. “I can’t call the gang.” She actually said out loud. “This is too big and it’s going to be messy, maybe backup but this is going to take guerilla tack’s. This is gonna have to be illegal as hell.” She had to chuckle into the air. If the public really knew half of what goes on they’d mutiny.
She pushed away from the feed and paced. Her brain worked better that way most of the time. Other than being known in the army as a scary freaking bitch she was known for thinking on her feet. She paced for a very long time, until she had to sit down again.
Still her eyes tracked the feed. Her brain was still not working like she was used to, it was not feeding out ideas; it was just absorbing. She checked her watch. There were too many hours left until Olivia would be there, keeping her warm. She closed her eyes for a long moment. Then opened them and decided that she wanted French toast and breakfast potatoes.
Lucy spotted Cage and yelled the order to her cook without even having to talk to Cage. The woman just had the ‘I need a sugar rush’ gleam in her eye. She poured a steaming cup of coffee and carried it to the general area Cage was walking.
When Cage sat down she was greeted with a cup of coffee and a grinning Lucy. “Your order is already in, don’t even try to lie to me. I know you want the French toast.”
“Lucy are you sure you’re not Irish?” Cage laughed and sat back to relax.
“Please.” She rolled her eyes. “With these looks? I’m all mutt.” She laughed and bumped Cage’s shoulder with her hip. “Where’s your girl?”
Cage shrugged. “Out of town, but I haven’t gotten tossed in jail yet.” She joked.
Lucy laughed. “God help us all.” She looked to her left. “Oh crap.”
“Danny Denozi and his football buddies are walking up. His ex girlfriend is here with her cheerleaders and this will just get ugly.” She answered with a huge sigh.
“You really know all this stuff?” Cage asked.
“It’s a small town Cage, what do you think?” Lucy huffed and moved away to tend to another table.
“I think this town needs an Irish pub where nothing ever happens.” Cage said to herself.
Lucy snorted. “Irish pub and nothing happens is an oxymoron. My sister was married to an Irish.”
“My many condolences to your sister.” Cage laughed.
“Are you kidding? She may not have always liked the idiot she married but she was never, ever bored.” There had to be a story behind the smile on Lucy’s face. “I’ll be back as soon as I can.”
Cage watched the woman walk with purpose to another table. She then turned her attention to the others in the diner. For the most part she saw honest faces; people who did no wrong to others with intention. There were a couple of people who she could tell might have something to hide in the way the held themselves in a guarded fashion. Honestly, she counted herself among that category. Sipping on her coffee she watched the young man in a letterman’s jacket as he sat with his little group of overgrown schoolyard bullies. Within just a few seconds of observing him she was suddenly feeling every year of her age. Even at her most bold worst she had never acted like this young fool. He never noticed as his coarse language offended an older couple trying to enjoy their meal.
Cage looked down for a moment, at war with herself. Part of her wanted to get up and smack some manners in to the boy. Part of her knew it would probably do no good what so ever. He had been most likely raised to be exactly who he was and his success on the field only enforced the idea that he was special.
“What the fuck are you looking at bitch?”
Cage looked up and watched as a single woman sitting in a booth near the football player lowered her eyes in a mixture of fear and embarrassment. In an odd sort of way the manner in which she wore her silver gray hair reminded her of her grandmother. Something inside Cage snapped softly.
“She’s looking at an overgrown five year old act like a fool.” Cage answered in an even tone as her eyes locked on to the football player.
Denozi’s head snapped in Cage’s direction. “Who the fuck asked you?”
“Well, you asked the question out loud and many people have called me a bitch so I just assumed you were talking to me.” Cage quirked a small sneer.
“You need to mind your own fucking business.” He grunted and smacked his buddy on the shoulder.
Cage nodded. “I’ll do that as soon as you act like the role model you’re supposed to be and not act like a spoiled child cussing people when they look at you because you’re acting like an ass in public.” She returned.
“Bitch, we can kick your ass so bad you can’t talk.” He challenged. His friends looked at each other, not exactly joining right in. “Right boys?” Only two of his friends nodded but no one backed him up verbally.
Cage laughed out right. “Son, you can issue that challenge again in about five years when you can actually back it up.”
He stood up and pulled off his jacket. “Let’s go right now.”
Cage snickered again when he flexed a bicep into a bulge. “I hear you have a good chance to take the state championship this season.”
He blinked at the change of topic. “Yeah. We’re the best and I’m the best.”
“Then do yourself a favor, sit down and eat your snack. Leave everyone here alone and then go do whatever you do after. I can guarantee that if you decide to bite off more than you can chew, you will not take the field. You will be too busy trying to relearn how to walk again with a wired shut jaw.” She never raised her voice or changed her tone as she stirred a little more sugar into her coffee cup.
“Bull shit.” He answered even as his voice lost some of its bravado.
Cage smiled at Lucy as she settled the breakfast plate in front of Cage. “Thank you, ma’am. May I have some more coffee please?” Cage asked making a point without even trying. Several of the older faces softened at her words. She readjusted her plate and closed her eyes.
“I said bull shit.” Denozi repeated.
Cage did not open her eyes. “I’m saying grace, have a little respect.”
All eyes snapped over to the young man who looked around and shut his mouth after feeling the silent wrath of his neighbors. He really did not want that sort of thing to get back to his mother. His dad wouldn’t care, but his mother was another story.
“Yes, I would say having a little respect is good advise indeed.” A man to Denozi’s left said out loud as he stood up from his table and laid down the money for his meal.
“Better words have not been said Father James.” Cage said as she finished crossing herself.
“I think my sermon on Sunday will address the callous attitude our young children are now exhibiting in this day and age.” He continued casually as he placed his hat upon his thickly gray head. “Lucy I thank you for this meal.” He started for the door but stopped at Cage’s table. “By the way Captain Quinn, it’s nice to see you again. I do expect to see you at mass soon and congratulations. I understand that you are a credit to your parents, this country and the army. “
Cage nodded. “I hope I did my parents proud. But I just did my job Father.” She stated softly.
“And a fine job indeed as I hear it.” Father James retorted as he resumed his walk to the door.
“Slainte agus tainte.” She called after him with a small smile.
“Gurab amhlaidh duit.” Father James replied, wishing her happiness and health as well as he opened the door for a young man in a letterman’s jacket who was the size of a small tank. The boy walked passed Cage, did a nearly whiplash move then walked on to join his friends. He slapped hands with them and scrunched into a chair.
“What’s up?” he asked and leaning over the booth stole some fries off his girlfriend’s plate. “Hi baby.”
“Hi Pat.” She grinned at the attention. “Danny’s pissy. He got put in his place by that woman over there.”
Patrick looked over then at his friend and quarterback. “Oh you lucky son of a bitch. She’s one bad ass mother fuck.”
“Pat, I’m telling your mom you said that.” His girlfriend threatened with a grin.
“And I’ll tell your mom you let me kiss you.” He fired right back.
“She knows that.”
“Guess I won’t cuss then for a while.” Pat winked.
“You’re pussy whipped.” Danny accused.
“Yeah, and that’s bad why? At least I have a girlfriend.” He laughed without being mean.
“Yeah.” Danny grunted. “What do you mean she’s a mother fuck?” he nodded in Cage’s direction who was busy chowing down on breakfast.
Pat laughed. “According to my dad, her family used to spend summers here. He picked on the wrong girl and she sent him to the ER. Broke his nose really bad. He says he never picked on another girl again. They say her dad was a badass green beret and he taught both his kids to be like him. You really don’t know this shit?”
Danny shook his head. “I think its bullshit.”
“Hey dude, it’s your trip to the ER not mine. I ain’t messing with her.” Patrick promised.
“Pussy.” Danny challenged.
“Dude you are so full of shit. The papers told her story. See that scar around her right eye? The bad guys in Bosnia caught her and they kicked the shit out of her last year. Look at her. She’s alive and here. You think you can take her?” he laughed.
“Yeah I can.” Danny boasted with a grin as he expanded his chest.
“Then go do it.” A low grizzled voice from behind Danny sounded. “I’m tired of your shit boy. Quit talking and get to doing.” The man in worn jeans and a faded long sleeved shirt challenged.
“Hi dad.” Patrick said quietly.
“Mr. Magee.” Danny greeted automatically.
“Danny, you been getting too big for your britches for a long time and most of us let you do it. But don’t go there now. She’ll make you hurt.” He promised. “I’m a lot of things and most of ‘em are bad, but there are things I don’t do. I don’t go cussing nice ladies like Mrs. Castle and I don’t go messing when folks are saying grace. I know you’re mother didn’t raise you up like that. Grow up son before you ain’t got nowhere to go.” He finished quietly and nodded at his son. “Midnight curfew Pat.”
“Yes Sir.” Pat answered.
As Magee walked up to Cage’s table he looked at her. “Quinn.”
“Magee.” Cage offered a smile.
Cage laughed. “Nice nose.”
“Yeah. Should have ducked.” He answered.
“Should have passed on that mission.” She fired back. “Tommy has us both beat. He drove over a mine.”
“You make him pay for that one?”
“Every time I talk to him.” She promised as she took a sip of her coffee. “Your boy looks like a good kid.”
“Yeah. His mother’s doing.”
She mulled it over for a moment. “And maybe his dad’s.”
He took it for what it was and shrugged his shoulders. “Maybe I learned something.” He admitted after a moment.
“Maybe we all can. I know I did.” She said slowly and then looked up at him. “Maybe it’s time to put some things away. You drink beer?”
“Been known to toss back a few.” He admitted.
Cage grinned. “Call your wife. You two are joining me in about half an hour for drinks. I gotta finish breakfast first.”
“Breakfast is a good thing.” He agreed. “I’ll call her but I warn you, she might not like you. She says I snore ‘cause of you.”
“I could re-break it for you. You know make it even and all. You might not snore that way.”
“Think I’ll skip it. If she says yes, we’ll meet you at The Dive.” He said and resumed his walk.
The smell of coffee brought her back to the land of the living or maybe it was the more than annoying woodpecker drilling a hole from the inside of her skull. She lifted her body slowly and fell back against the pillow wondering what had happened.
The door to her room opened allowing a smiling Olivia to walk in dressed only in one of Cage’s long sleeved shirts and a happy smile. In her one hand she managed two mugs of coffee.
“Now, that’s a sight for very sore eyes.” Cage sighed out loud.
“Sure, you say that now. When I got in you were impossible to wake up,” Olivia sat down on the side of the bed and handed over a cup. “And you were mumbling in your sleep.”
Cage took the cup. “I don’t talk in my sleep. I’m trained not too.” She leaned over and kissed Olivia softly. “Thank you for the coffee. It’s very nice to see you.”
Olivia smiled at the kiss. “Ok, but according to your non sleep talking you are mowing my lawn later.” She had to laugh at the expression on Cage’s face. “I’m holding you to that by the way. And it’s damn nice to see you too.”
“How was the conference?” Cage asked after a long sip of coffee. “You are a goddess for making coffee.”
“I thought I was a goddess because you love me.”
“Well, there’s that too.” Cage let herself slip into the Irish accent that Olivia seemed to like very much.
Olivia readjusted her sitting position and wrapped both hands around the warmth of the mug. “It was good. I made a few networking contacts that I think might help us with more funding. And made some contacts with a few more rural areas I think I can help with their problems. All in all good, but I missed you like crazy.” She admitted in a softer voice.
Cage ignored the woodpecker in her head in order to lean closer to Olivia. Her free hand slowly reaching up to Olivia’s face, brushing the back of her fingers along a soft cheek. “I do love you and I missed you. You are my goddess, my home and my reason for being. Next time I’ll ignore the doctors and go with you.”
“You can’t fly yet.” Olivia leaned into Cage’s touch.
“Say’s them. I’m a Quinn, I can do anything.” She smiled gently.
“Except talk in your sleep and mow.” Olivia laughed, nearly spilling her coffee on the bed.
“I do not.”
“And you don’t snore either.” Olivia challenged smugly.
“I admit to nothing, but they did apparently break my face so if I do and it’s a big if, it’s not entirely my fault.”
“Cage is it ever your fault?” Olivia wondered out loud.
“If you listen to Tommy oh hell yeah.”
“I should listen to Tommy more often.” Olivia laughed. “Oh I learned another one.” She interrupted herself. “Dia duit ar maidin. Did I say it right?” she asked shyly.
Cage smiled softly. “You said it right. Good morning to you as well.” Cage kissed her woman gently with no small reverence. “You really have to teach me more Comanche, you know. I’m sadly lacking in that area lately.”
Olivia kissed back and sighed. “It’s easier to teach a Comanche the Irish than it is to teach an Irish Comanche. Sometimes my people don’t have a translation for your words. But right now,” she kissed again “I really don’t want to use words.” She let out a long slow breath. “I want you.”
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