Cry for the forgotten Part IV
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I entered the apartment and there was Miles and Tuvo. They were dressed impeccably in dark suits and sitting comfortably waiting for me. Jimmy the Gimp was staring out the window and gave me the once over when I entered.
He flashed his eyebrow at Miles, who grinned from ear to ear and shot Tuvo that look, the one that said the fun was about to begin.
I tried my best to look stern and all business like, but I could tell it was a futile attempt on my part. Tuvo was drinking his almond tea and Miles was chewing on his toothpick.
I suddenly realized I should just roll over and let them take their shots, it'd probably be a lot less painful and then decided against it. I smiled that crooked grin of mine as I crossed the threshold and sat down in the high-back King Louis XIV chair.
"Good morning, Cat. Nice dress."
It was Miles that opened up the round. He snickered as he noted the box in my hand, the one they sent my dress in with Tiny and now contained my torn outfit from the night before. Tuvo made sure to glance at his pocket watch and raise that eyebrow of his.
After spending four years around this trio, I learned a little about their tactics, Miles and Jimmy would open up and circle me, while Tuvo would come in for the kill.
I nodded my head gracefully towards them and I still had that crooked grin on my face. I figured at this point, I might as well go down swinging. I placed the box on the coffee table in front of me and graciously accepted the coffee Tuvo offered me.
The evening I spent with the kitten left me feeling like the Brown Bomber, and I was ready to go 12 rounds with these three cats if I had to. I looked at Tuvo and smiled warmly, and I knew my own eyes were sparkling.
"Miles, Tuvo, Jimmy, good afternoon."
"What's in the box, Cat?"
It was Jimmy's turn now, and I could tell by the gleam in the eyes of his two cohorts, I was in for a few good rounds. Miles was waiting for my response and ready to chime in at moment's notice. I decided to play dumb and see where it would go.
I pointed to the box sitting on the table, and I could tell by the look on their faces, they weren't expecting it. I figured I just scored the first punch in round one. It was Miles that took the next swing.
"Now come on Jimmy, that ain't just a box, boy. Haven't I taught you anything?"
Miles walked over to my chair and circled me like I was prey. I bowed my head down slightly and shot him a sidelong look. The fun was just about to begin and I wanted to make sure I'd get at least one shot in. He reached towards the table, removed the box and opened it.
"This here is a Village overnight bag, don't you know better?"
"Really? I thought that was one of those fancy box lunches."
I have to admit, they made me snicker with their dialog and I liked their subtle play on words. Miles reached in and pulled out my torn slacks and the jacket with the missing buttons I ripped in my haste to get undressed.
I knew I was about to go down for the count when they all smiled simultaneously from ear to ear. It was Tuvo's turn now, as Miles made sure to display the suit in full view. Tuvo's dark brown eyes were sparkling and he let out a loud high whistle.
"Damn woman, that must have been some fight the kitten put up. What does she look like, Cat?"
Miles and Jimmy burst out laughing, it was a sure sign the wolf pack was ready to set upon me. I slowly raised my head in dignity and took my time before I answered.
"Like a Cheshire cat, Tuvo. Sweet, gentle and fully satisfied."
It was the last thing any of them expected from me, and they burst out laughing heartily as they continued to examine my torn outfit. I knew I'd scored big time and stood smiling smugly.
"I'm sure she is Cat, and it must have taken a hell of an effort to get her there."
Tuvo looked into my eyes with admiration and I suddenly realized there was something about the kitten he liked. Something about the both of us being together that he approved of. I saw when Miles removed the toothpick from his mouth and realized he wasn't ready to belly up as easily as his brother did.
"I'll say it did brother, why Jimmy and I heard the screaming all the way up in Harlem. Didn't we Jimmy?"
The two fell into another fit of laughter and proceeded to slap each other in the hand, even Tuvo had a hard time containing himself.
I realized he'd called it quits on me, though he was still enjoying the action between his brother and Jimmy. Jimmy wiped the tears from his eyes and between choked fits of laughter, replied nonchalantly.
"Uh hum and the ground was a shaking like it was the end of the world. Lord I got on my knees and said, Jesus I know I haven't been a righteous man, but please don't let me die in this earthquake."
"Yep, that's true Jimmy, and if it wasn't for me realizing it was Cat's doing, I would have been there on my knees with you."
"Thank you, Miles. Thank you. I sure as hell wasn't ready to meet Tiny's Lucille in hair rolls and furry slippers, with a big old robe."
"Amen to that brother, Amen to that."
Jimmy was talking about Tiny's description of his wife being Satan's mother and we all joined in the laughter on that one. After a few long moments, we wiped the tears from our eyes and got down to business.
The day before, I had Tuvo follow a lead with a contact I had near the Westchester airfield where the abductors' plane touched down.
It was on private property in a large farmed estate on Croton-on-the-Hudson. My research showed the place belonged to a rich banker by the name of Dr. John Henke.
I had my usual runners trying to dig up Henke's past and they kept hitting a brick wall. Either this Henke character was one clean cat or someone was going through a lot of trouble in covering his trial.
About the most I could find out was that he was the President of Mutual Trust and had a doctorate in finance from Yale. We made plans to drive up to the town later that evening.
My snitch let Tuvo know the pilot of the plane arrived a few days ago and had took up residence in a local bar. We had worked out a way on how to meet him.
This was going to be a tough one, my snitch let me know the bar housed some local roughnecks that had their own ideas as to what the clientele should be. It was obvious, neither Tuvo nor any of his team would be able to enter with me.
That only left Eugene, who left Tuvo feeling uneasy, but at the moment we had no choice in the matter. He made a few calls and arranged for a new driver to replace Eugene at the Ritz. We decided it would be better if Tiny remained protecting the kitten.
In light of yesterday's events, both Tuvo and I decided to step up the detail on the kitten from surveillance to protection instead. I couldn't think of a better person to watch over my kitten than Tiny.
I put in a call to the kitten to let her know what we were doing, and it took a considerable amount of effort to get her to agree. She finally conceded, after extracting a promise from me to drop by her place when I returned from upstate.
I explained to her it would be considerably late and she seemed to brush it off. I told her I would give her a call later to check up on her and see how she was doing before I headed for upstate.
I decided to call my old friend Harold in the OSS to see if I could get more information on this Henke character and exactly what the interest in the kitten was. It took several call backs before I was able to reach him at his office.
"Hi Harold, how's it blowing?"
He knew from the term right away that it was me on the other end. It was a term I used on him a thousand times when we lived in Paris and hung out along the bars on the river Seine.
Harold was several years younger than me, and after I slapped him around for trying to put the moves on me, we became friends.
He was an aspiring musician that wanted a little excitement in his life and took a gig with a Jazz band that was touring in Europe. Halfway through the journey the band split up.
Harold was left without a dime to his name after their manager cut out with all the money. Speaking little French, he took to playing his clarinet on the walk along the river Seine for whatever scratch he could get from the tourists and passers-by.
I don't know how he did it, but he managed to eke out a meager living. Our paths crossed one warm June night when I was passing by with my then lover, a tall leggy brunette with bedroom eyes. She fell in love with his playing and offered him a job in her club.
It was plain to see from the hunger in his eyes that he needed the money desperately. He found out I was American and latched onto me like a barnacle. We wound up having friendly conversations on American Blues and Jazz artists until the wee hours of the morning.
Somewhere along the line he must have gotten his wires crossed, when he tried to put the moves on me, I hit him with a right cross that sent him spilling to the floor and spitting out a tooth.
One would think he would have kept his distance from me permanently, but the next night he came over to me and apologized humbly. I accepted his gesture and he learned to respect me. He was a good kid, if not a little wet behind the ears.
"Hey, Cat. It's good to hear from you. What a surprise."
I could still hear that boyish shyness in his voice. If I closed my eyes tight enough, I could still picture him in a shirt too small for him with long black hair covering his eyes.
"This isn't a social call, Harold. I need a favor."
I always made it a point to cut to the chase with Harold, he lacked confidence, and if I didn't strike quickly he'd get cold feet and belly up on me. I heard when he started to stammer and I stifled a chuckle.
"S-sure, Cat. What do you need?"
"I need some information on two people Harold, a banker and a scientist."
"Gee, I don't know, Cat. That means I have to go out of my depart-"
I cut him off right away and went directly for his jugular, it was the only way to handle Harold. Otherwise his legs would turn to jelly and he'd hang up the phone instead.
"I don't care if you have to go to Roosevelt himself, I need the information Harold. It's important to me and you owe me."
It was my trump card. Just before Harold left Paris, I rescued him from the river after a jealous boyfriend from a cheap skirt he was chasing tossed him in. I decked the boyfriend, and jumped right in just before he went down for the third time.
With a little help from passers-by, I pulled him out and managed to get the water out of his lungs. He was grateful to me after that, and though I rarely called him, I knew I could depend on him in a pinch. I heard him suck in his breath and knew he would help me out.
"Alright, Cat. What are their names."
I gave him the names of the banker and the kitten, and left him a number to reach me at. He said he would get the information today and call me back when he had it.
Jimmy came back upstairs and let us know the two spooks were outside and sitting in their car. He said he saw them pulling up and parking a half block up after I exited the taxi from the Ritz that morning. I was a little upset with myself that I missed that and didn't pick up on it.
We decided not to do anything about it for now. What the hell, with Jimmy and Eugene behind the wheel we could shake them off at a moment's notice, and this time I wouldn't have to crawl out a window.
Tuvo called his contact in the University and verified the good Dr. Charleston would be arriving tomorrow as scheduled. He then called Gretchen, and confirmed we were still on the doctor's appointment list for 11:00 AM the next day.
It was about six o'clock in the evening, when a bit of a commotion went on downstairs and Miles stepped in laughing and rubbing his jaw.
It was obvious to us he'd just took a hit to the jaw as it was red and swollen. Tuvo and I were going over our plan of taking two cars when we both stopped and looked at Miles questioningly.
"Hey, Cat. You better get down there, that kitten of yours is doing a number on our team and she packs a mean left. I think Eugene and Tiny can use your help."
Tuvo closed my jaw shut and started laughing as he elegantly stood and put on his jacket. He headed towards the door with Miles close behind him. I quickly stood and followed the trail of noise to the landing below.
When we arrived, we immediately stopped and stared in shock, the kitten had just managed to connect a left hook to Eugene's jaw that sent him crashing to the floor and landing on his back.
We watched in amazement, as the kitten stood straight up and turned and faced Tiny, who was slowly back-pedaling against the wall. Eugene remained on the floor and was out for the count.
Tiny held his huge ham hands in front of him defensively, the three of us looked at each other and I noticed Miles made no attempt at taking the lead, his usual MO.
She heard the sound of my voice and stopped her approach on Tiny and turned to face me. I could tell by the gleam in her eyes she seemed to enjoy the punishment she was bestowing on the two guerillas and I couldn't help but chuckle. I made a mental note to myself not to piss the kitten off in the future.
"Cat, these two guards tried to stop me from seeing you."
I laughed involuntarily at the evident venom in her voice, as my two companions quickly joined me and we were immediately struck silent by her forceful glare and her movement towards us.
The three of us took an instinctive step back as she jutted that adorable chin outward and stared me in the eyes. I watched as Tuvo and Miles skirted quickly around her, dragging the still unconscious Eugene along with them.
I heard when Tuvo snickered and whispered loudly, that maybe we should take the kitten tonight instead of Eugene. He then wished me luck.
Tiny managed to regain his color and was the first one out the door, leaving Tuvo and Miles struggling with Eugene's dead weight.
For a moment, I was still dumbstruck until her intense stare returned me back to normal, and I swallowed deeply before I answered.
"They're just doing their job, Annia, and you shouldn't have come here."
She stood staring at me and refused to stand down. I was torn between being angry with her or sweeping her up into my arms.
She stood standing with her fists clenched by her side and I made sure not to get near her. I saw the rush of emotions striking her elegant features, her chest was rising and falling quickly and I could tell her adrenaline was high.
"I had to see you when you didn't call me."
I took a gander at my watch and suddenly realized that the time flew by and I never made that call to the kitten. Her voice cracked and along with my heart and I quickly closed the gap between us and enfolded her warmly into my arms.
I felt as her tense body began to relax and slowly collapse into my embrace. I kissed the side of her face and ran my fingers through the length of her hair and then whispered in her ear warmly.
"What's wrong? What has you so edgy?"
I held her gently by the shoulders and pulled her slightly away from me, those sensual blue eyes locking onto me and drawing me into their depths.
My own eyes must have been deep and intense, because I saw when she relaxed her features further and became vulnerable again.
"I don't want you going there tonight."
"Annia, it's what I do, and besides, I'm not going alone Tuvo will be with me."
I saw the flash of fear cross her sad eyes, and I couldn't help but feel a chill run down my spine. There was something knowing in her look and I was unable to read it.
"I know these people and Tuvo will not be able to enter the bar with you. You know that I am correct and I wish to go with you."
I smiled warmly at her obvious concern over me and held her hand gently in mine as I led her up the stairs and into the apartment. She was wearing a blue and white silk dress that clung to her seductively.
I watched her as she crossed in front of me to sit on the soft beige sofa. Her body was silk in motion as she sat down gracefully.
The soft beige paleness of the sofa was a striking contrast against her blue dress, the color matching her eyes perfectly. A velvet black hair comb with rhinestones pinned the hair away from her elegant face as it hung freely to her shoulders.
There was a soft wisp of hair that clung to her cheek possessively, it was obvious it fell loose in her struggle with Eugene and Tiny. She crossed her magnificent legs and the sight of smooth flesh sent shock waves through me.
I remembered fondly their warmth and it took all of the strength I had to keep my mind elsewhere. A light sheen of perspiration had formed on her upper lip.
I sat next to her and placed my arm on the back of the sofa. She was staring hard at me with that level of intensity she used when she wanted to make a point. Her eyebrow was raised high and had nearly disappeared off her face.
I recognized the look immediately, it was the defiant look, the one that told me she was going to make it difficult for me. She stuck out her stubborn chin and I knew I was going to have my hands full.
Being no fool, and hoping to gain the upper hand, I brushed the hair away from her cheek and gave her my warm puppy dog look. I saw her features relax, and knew right away I gained some considerable ground.
I lowered my voice to that low throaty husky tone.
"Annia, Tuvo and his crew will be with me and I won't be entering the bar alone, Eugene will be with me."
Her face flexed and she gave me that look of shock, the one where she couldn't believe I was such a mook. I realized to late my flaw, I never should have mentioned Eugene, it was obvious he was a weak spot.
I raised my hand up in defense, before she could open that lovely mouth and state the obvious. The fact that she took Eugene out with one shot meant he was soft and weak in her book. For a minute, I reconsidered my plan after all, then quickly dropped it.
There was no way on God's good acre I was going to put the kitten in danger. I made a mental note to ask Tiny for his brass knuckles, for Eugene to use of course.
"I know what you're going to say, so don't say it. I can handle myself, Annia. I haven't survived in this business all these years without taking my share of lumps."
I could see the evident frustration in her features as she realized I had no intention of changing my mind. I noticed when she lowered her head before she answered.
"He is inadequate in protecting you and will only prove to be a liability. It would be better of the two of us entered together, perhaps with two women the pilot will be more willing to speak freely."
The kitten had a point, but her logic was flawed. I knew I'd just won the battle and she must of detected it, because her body stiffened as she awaited my response.
"Your plan will not work."
I saw the flash of anger that quickly covered her eyes, I could tell I'd just put a dent in her ego and she didn't take kindly to it. I chuckled lightly, which only made her angrier. She raised that adorable chin and clipped her words as she spat them at me.
"I believe that you are incorrect, my plan isn't flawed. It's more that you don't wish for me to go."
I looked at her with a gleam in my eyes and I could tell by her posture she was losing her confidence, though she refused to stand down.
"Your plan is flawed, because the pilot will know who you are."
I saw the fight leave her eyes as she lowered her head in defeat. Her jaw flexed and I knew it was a tough pill for her to swallow, she refused to look at me, as she spoke softly.
"I stand corrected. I apologize, I did not think of that."
I knew this was a hard thing for the kitten to admit, I could tell she wasn't use to losing. Neither was I for that matter, but I have to admit, I was glad I finally won a round against the kitten.
I reached out to her and lifted her chin and cradled her face gently in my hand. She refused to look at me at first, but I refused to let her get away with it. She finally looked at me and locked onto my eyes.
"I know you're concerned for my safety, but I assure you I know what I'm doing everything will be alright."
I bent my head slightly and kissed her gently. Her lips were warm and soft, she opened herself to me and granted me the depth of her warmth.
I deepened the kiss and she responded in kind, I was lost in the magic of her as I felt my body begin to come alive again, I pulled away from her and smiled warmly into her face.
"There is something you can help me with."
I saw when she returned to her normal arrogant self and realized I'd succeeded in reassuring her. It suddenly dawned on me that the kitten wasn't as sure of herself as she thought.
I recalled Tuvo's early comment when we first discussed the kitten. At first I thought he meant she lacked confidence in her field, but it was actually in her self.
"What is it?"
There was a lighter tone to her voice and I realized I managed to reach her somehow. I knew that the rest would go easy, but just in case, I shot her my warmest sincere smile, she smiled back and I knew I'd won.
I stood up and walked to the hard oak table that was in the dining-room and retrieved my notebook. I flipped to the page where I wrote the note I found on the skirt's papers in Gretchen's desk.
The kitten stood and walked over to me, I couldn't help but look at her legs as she crossed the room. She stopped in front of me, and I slowly raised my vision following the length of her form taking my time on those hips and curves until I looked at her face.
She had that smug look on her face, the one that let me know she could turn me to jelly anytime she wanted with just a movement of that seductive body.
I shot her my crooked grin when she placed a warm hand on my shoulder and leaned in against me. There was no need for her to be that close to read over my shoulder, but I sure as hell wasn't about to complain either.
I tried to bring my thoughts back to the problem in hand but it was a hard thing to do with her leaning against me like that. I rubbed my head and quietly placed my arm around that narrow waist, at this point I figured, what the heck, I might as well join her.
She looked at the German writing on the pad and I felt when her body stiffened, and she pulled that warm body away from me. I have to admit, I was a little shocked from the reaction and I looked at her.
She managed to turn her back to me and I could tell by the slight bent to her shoulders something was bothering her, there was something in the writing that she recognized.
She spoke low and very soft and, for a moment, I didn't recognize the voice. But I was able to detect the raw emotions, and I became concerned so I closed the distance between us.
"Where did you get that from?"
I turned her slowly towards me and I looked deeply into her eyes. She flinched slightly and refused to look at me directly. I decided to give her the space and see how it would play out.
"It was on one of Dr. Janeson's notes that I found in Gretchen's desk."
I saw as she winced, my words impacted her like a blow. I recognized she was starting to close up on me and I pulled her towards me.
I could tell my action had alarmed her, she wasn't expecting it and she tried to resist me. I refused to let her win, and I reached out and took her face in my hands.
"Talk to me."
I was beginning to think that maybe there was something going on with the skirt and the kitten, and I felt my jealousy begin to rise. At the moment I had no warm thoughts about the skirt in my head.
"I wrote that. I wrote it on the night Katrina disappeared."
If I had any doubts before, they were quickly wiped away. The kitten spoke the skirt's name as if it were silk rolling off her tongue. I knew then the kitten was in love with the skirt and it pissed me off.
I started to feel like a chump, like I just got taken in for a ride and I wanted her to feel it too, so I pulled away from her and gave her my own back and spat the words out like vinegar.
"Is there something you wish to tell me?"
Though I asked the question, I sure as hell didn't want to hear the answer, but it was too late, and I already jumped in the river with both feet first and there was no turning back.
"There is nothing to say."
Now that got my blood boiling and I felt the heat of anger rising and settling in my stomach, I was starting to feel something for the kitten and those words were sitting in my gut like a lead weight.
I spun around and faced her, the touch of arrogance in her voice got the better of me, and I had every intention of striking back and giving her a taste of her own medicine.
"I disagree, from the moment I took this case you've done nothing but lie to me and hide the truth. It appears this is something you're accustomed to and I don't enjoy playing your patsy. That's my neck out on the line, not yours, I want some straight answers and I want them now."
I knew at that moment it wasn't the case that was bugging me, it was the fact that the kitten was lying about her and the skirt. But it was the only thing I could think of saying, and I saw from the angle of her shoulders, I'd managed to strike a chord.
I saw her body sag and I knew I'd wounded her. I was torn between feeling like a heel and being pissed. I stood and watched her as she composed herself before answering.
"Geliebte, schließlich haben wir die Zeitspalte überbrückt, In the end we bridged the time gap. I wrote those words.."
I looked at her and realized the full impact of what she'd said. I realized that her and the skirt had managed to identify those temporal markers she spoke of the night before, it all began to make sense now, and I knew she and the skirt were more than friends.
I finally had the reason why the Krauts snatched the skirt and the reason why Charleston was taking over the project. What I didn't know was which of the two good doctors was responsible and why the kitten didn't tell me sooner.
"You identified the temporal singularities, didn't you?"
I looked at her in disbelief and watched as she crossed the room to put some distance between us. She turned her vision to the window and pushed the lace curtain to the side, her back to me all along.
Her voice was low and raw. I noticed that she went back to using those short answers again and that her natural defenses came right up. I hated my next move, but the kitten left me very little choice in the matter.
"You're going to have to do better than that."
I saw her back tense and I knew the tone of my voice hurt her. I tried to bite down on my anger and found it wasn't an easy task to do. I stood waiting for her response and took the time to compose myself.
"It was a month before her disappearance and we were working in the lab. I was going over the latest equations and began expanding our findings further. I discovered a slight flaw and when I corrected it, it all began to make sense to me. I found the key and I showed Katrina my findings and we worked on them further. Three days later, we identified the temporal markers and she had me destroy the notes. Dr. Charleston became aware of it, Katrina had left her personal journal in her office and he read it. He threatened to have her project terminated if she didn't surrender her notes."
"So it was you that cracked the sequence and not Dr. Janeson? You have them stored in that lovely little head of yours and her kidnappers don't know that."
I knew that I was being sarcastic again and at the moment I didn't care. I was finally getting the answers she should have given me long ago and I wasn't about to let up.
"That is correct. As I told you last night, Cat, I am incapable of forgetting. It's my fault that Katrina was taken and I can't erase that from my memory."
"They think she hid her notes and they're trying to get it out of her?"
"I believe you are correct, yes."
"How did the Germans get involved?"
"That I don't know, but I believe they have her."
"Then I guess I have no choice, I'll let you know what I find."
I saw when she tensed again at the sharp tone of my words and I felt like crossing the room and holding her in my arms. But my anger managed to get the better of me and I didn't take kindly to playing second fiddle.
It suddenly dawned on me, I had feelings for the kitten more than what I wanted to admit. I watched her as she turned to face me, her body moving slowly and defying time, there was certain surrealism to her movements and I did my best to ignore the feelings that were rising.
"Please be careful, I couldn't live with myself if something happened to you."
Her voice was soft and raw and I could tell by her eyes she meant what she said, they were deep and endless and called out to me in agony. I chose to ignore the stare and looked at her with contempt. I saw when she flinched.
"No need to worry. You paid me to do a job and I take my work seriously."
I gave her one last look, the kind filled with regret, regret of lost opportunities and desires. I straightened my shoulders and turned quietly and began exiting the room. My hand reached for the doorknob when she stopped me with her soft sultry voice.
I felt as it reached out to me against the span of time and I stopped, my hand stood holding onto the knob. I refused to turn around, my eyes where focused on my hand and my back faced her.
"I thought that we had more than that?"
I could feel the strain in her voice as it wrapped itself around me and struck me harshly, the force striking me head-on and leaving me breathless.
I felt my heart as it dropped and settled in my stomach. I swallowed deeply and responded in a low pained voice, my tone was raw and wounded, and I knew it gave me away. I stood straight and answered her before opening the door and exiting.
"You thought wrong."
I slammed the door behind me and leaned against the wall and took a second to compose myself. I wiped my brow and took in a deep breath and expelled it slowly. I headed down the stairs and outside.
Tuvo and Miles where standing by the door as I exited outside, I could tell by the look on both of their faces they were concerned. They knew me well and long enough to know when something was wrong.
Miles headed down before me and opened the door to the car. I stopped just before I entered and I prayed that my voice wouldn't betray me. I turned to Tiny, and Bobo, who was replacing Eugene for the night.
"Stay on her, Tiny, and get her back to the Ritz."
"I'm on it, Cat."
I nodded my head and knew that Tiny would follow my orders to the letter and I hesitated slightly before entering the car. I didn't have to turn back and look up to know that she was watching me from the window. I felt the heat of her eyes boring into me as I slowly climbed in.
Tuvo followed me, and Miles took the second car with Jimmy the Gimp and some extra muscle. Eugene turned to look at me from behind the wheel. I nodded to him and he began to pull away.
We drove a few blocks and I could tell by the way Eugene kept looking up at the mirror he was concerned about me. I decided to ignore his quizzical eyes.
"Keep your eyes on the road Eugene, and I want you to shake the tail."
I saw as his body flinched slightly, and he must have been shocked that I read him so easily. The fact of the matter was that Eugene was an open book. We headed uptown, and in less than ten minutes, Jimmy and Eugene had managed to shake the tail.
We got on the highway and headed upstate towards Croton-on-the Hudson. There was a dead silence in the car, and for the moment, I was grateful for it. I felt as Tuvo shifted next to me and knew he would try to break me out of it.
"You want to tell me what happened up there?"
I breathed in deeply and shook my head silently and told him no, he nodded his head up and down, a sign that he understood. I knew him long enough to know he would try it again and we drove that way for another twenty minutes, until I was able to find my voice.
I could tell by the tone in my voice, Tuvo would be able to pick up on how I was feeling, and at the moment, I didn't care. Tuvo was more than just a friend, he was a rock and at times like this, I could always lean on him.
"She lied to me, she's been lying to me all along."
Tuvo waited quietly a few moments, and I could tell that his wheels were spinning as he was taking in what I said. He knew that it was more than just what I said.
"What did she lie about, the case or her relationship to Dr. Janeson?"
I flinched at his words and he let out a slow breath, Tuvo always had a way of getting to the heart of the matter. It wasn't the first time that he surprised me with his profound perceptiveness.
My answer was short and to the point, it was ironic that I would suddenly be using the kitten's mode of operation. I turned my face to the window and stared at the passing scenery, my mind absorbing the impact of Tuvo's words.
"What matters most to you? It isn't the first time a client lied to you."
As much as I loved Tuvo, he had an innate way of getting on my nerves with his forwardness. I often wondered what was it that drove him. I knew he wasn't trying to hurt me. I knew my current anger was disappointment at the kitten.
But Tuvo always had a way of bringing me back to reality and he made sure he wouldn't let me get away with anything. He was one of the few people I could always depend on to set me straight and get away with it.
"I guess it's the latter."
The confession hung in the air and I felt as it strangled me, the air suddenly too heavy to breathe. I kept my eyes focused on the window and I felt Tuvo's stare on me. I rolled the window down lower and felt as the breeze struck my face.
"Did she tell you about her relationship with Dr. Janeson."
I chuckled one of those laughs that reeked of sarcasm and finally tore my eyes away from the passing scenery to look at Tuvo. His eyes were warm and dark and I felt reassured by his presence.
"She didn't have to go into specifics, it's what she didn't say that matters."
"What exactly did she say?"
I related the story back and I watched as he nodded, and I answered the questions that he would occasionally ask. I finished the saga and found the anger rising again so I forced myself to look back out the window.
I reached into my pocket and pulled out a cigarette. For a minute, I almost forgot Tuvo was sitting next to me until I saw the glow of the match and he lit my smoke. The soft glow of the light filled the backseat momentarily, before he gently blew it out.
"I think you're wrong, and you're letting your jealousy get the best of you."
I blew out the smoke in a rush as I turned to him and stared at him in disbelief. I couldn't believe I was hearing those words from my friend, and most of all, I hated the fact that he was right. I noticed Eugene watching me through the mirror again.
"There isn't anything to be jealous about."
I tried to put a bite behind my words, and I could tell by the look on his face, I'd failed miserably. I had no intention of giving in and I felt my fighting face coming on.
"I disagree, it has everything to do with your jealousy. From what you've told me there's nothing wrong in what she did, there was no reason for her to let you know she's the one that broke the code. It doesn't affect the case in any way, the fact remains that Dr. Janeson was kidnapped and you were hired to find her.
I looked at him for a moment and couldn't quite figure out how to explain it, explain that there was something more in what happened between the kitten and me.
"She didn't exactly translate everything on the note."
"What do you mean?"
I took in a long drag of my cigarette and exhaled the smoke. I watched as the cloud swirled in front of me and, for a minute, I remembered when she first walked in my office, stepping out like a goddess in a cloud.
"geliebt, she left out geliebt, I spent some time in Europe remember? It means beloved in German, she's the one the skirt was talking to on the phone that night."
I flicked the cigarette out the window and watched the orange ember bounce off the window and into the night. I looked at Tuvo and found him staring at me, studying my face. I waited for him to answer. He breathed in deeply before answering me.
"What are you going to do?"
"My job. I'm going to find the skirt, it's what she hired me to do."
"And what are you going to do about Dr. Hansen?"
That was the one thing about Tuvo he had a method of latching onto something and not letting go. I really didn't want to answer him, but I knew he wouldn't stop until I did.
"Reunite her with the skirt."
It was the only answer I could come up with, and I knew from the tone of my voice, he would back off and let me off the hook. As I always said, he was a cultured man.
I returned my vision back to the passing landscape and let the stillness fall back between us. I knew from the tone of his voice he was disappointed in me and I didn't care. I couldn't get the image of the kitten out of my head and for now I needed to wallow in my self-pity.
We pulled off the exit and took the streets, the night was dark and I could barely see my hand in front of me. How the hell Eugene could take the tight curves so easily amazed me and I welcomed the distraction.
We parked a 1/4 of a mile away from the bar and Tuvo and I went over our plan one last time before he exited my car and jumped in with Miles and Jimmy. I moved to the front seat as Eugene and I drove up to the back of the bar and parked in the rear.
I noticed Tuvo's car drive slowly by and he nodded at me as we entered the bar. I knew that he would be circling and keeping a tight eye on the situation. I felt better knowing he was there and I handed Eugene, Tiny's brass knuckles to slip in his pocket.
The bar was dark with a lot of oak wood and there were a few tables scattered about. We ambled to a rear table and sat down. A blonde haired waitress who'd seen better days walked over to us and eyed us up and down.
I could tell she'd been around the block a few times and about the only thing left soft on her was the sole of her shoes. She had yellow teeth and smelled like a cheap bottle of perfume, which did very little to hide the odor that emanated from her soiled body.
She had bright red lipstick that only made her look more hideous and her eyes were painted in a deep shade of blue. I could tell the only way the family dog would kiss her, was is if you tied a pork chop around her neck.
I chuckled lightly when I saw Eugene shudder as she eyed him up and down like he was her next meal. I figured we could use that to our advantage, and for the first time in a week, I felt sorry for Eugene.
"What can I get you honey?"
She had a deep raspy voice that came from smoking too many cigarettes, and I could tell from the accent, she hailed from Brooklyn. I shot Eugene a look, letting him know the waitress was the least of his worries if he ordered any booze.
"A whiskey for the lady and I'll take a cherry coke."
She shot him a look of disappointment, and it suddenly dawned on me, that the only way a dame like this got a guy to look at her was if he was staring at her through the bottom of a whiskey glass.
"One whiskey and one cherry coke coming right up."
She turned around and headed towards the bar, and I saw a small rag dressed rummy stepping out of the men's room. I kept my eyes on him and watched as he walked over to a tall blonde haired slouch sitting at the bar.
I noticed when the rummy tried to hit the slouch up for a drink and I knew right away that was my mark. The rummy was my snitch and it was his way of pointing out the pilot to me.
I kicked Eugene underneath the table to get his attention, my foot slipped and I hit him a little too hard. He winced in pain and looked at me accusingly. I nodded gently in the direction of the pilot.
The blonde slouch pushed the rummy hard and he hit the floor like a sack of cement. I started to get up when I felt Eugene grab my forearm and hold me in place. He whispered through the side of his mouth.
"Easy, Cat, or you'll blow it."
I bit down on my anger and settled back into the seat. I knew that Eugene was right and I could easily blow it with my haste. I watched as the rummy crawled away on his hands and knees. Eugene stood up and headed towards the rummy.
He helped him up and brushed him off. I saw when he reached into his pocket and handed the rummy a fin. The rummy licked his dry lips and bowed before scooting off to the other side of the bar.
I made it a point to pad the rummy's fee a little and make it worth his while. I watched as the blonde slouch looked at Eugene and sneered at him in distaste.
"You're wasting your money on that scum."
His voice was hard and raw and thick with a German accent. Eugene just shrugged and handed him one of those boyish grins. I saw as the slouch relaxed and actually smiled back. I was shocked by the next words out of his mouth.
"The more he drinks, the quicker he'll die."
Eugene made sure to continue smiling and I saw as the pilot's shoulders shook with the force of his laughter. For a minute, I had to shake my head and realize this was really Eugene. Maybe it was his blonde hair and blue eyes that appealed to the pilot.
"My name is Karl."
He held out a big beefy hand towards Eugene, who quickly grabbed it and pumped it warmly. Eugene still had the boyish grin on his face.
"You are German?"
"By way of Yorkville."
I watched the play between them and I was completely surprised that Eugene could handle himself so well. I saw as the pilot relaxed, he must have thought he'd found a kindred spirit in Eugene.
"Ah, I have some family that lives there."
"Can I buy you a drink?"
The German was feeling more relaxed and I saw when Eugene eyed me speculatively. I didn't care one bit that he managed to ingrain himself with the mark. If he even accepted the offered drink, I was going to break both of his arms.
"Actually, I've just ordered one and I'm with a friend, perhaps you care to join us?"
Eugene nodded towards me, and the burly pilot turned around in his stool and eyed me up and down. He must have approved because he stood up and walked towards me with his drink in his hand, with Eugene following closely behind.
He was tall, about 6' 3" and had a powerful build. Dressed in black pants and a white short sleeve shirt, his hair was a white blonde. As he neared, I noticed his eyes were two different colors, one blue and one brown.
He pulled his massive frame into the seat next to me and raked his eyes over me again. His face was attractive and strong, and if it wasn't for the distracting nature of his different colored eyes, I might have found him handsome.
"My name is Karl, and what is your name, Fraulien?"
I couldn't help but feel the sickening feeling in my stomach as he referred to me in German, though we weren't in the war and it seemed a million miles away, there was something about his arrogance that bugged me.
"My name is Cat."
"Cat? You are Catrina?"
I nodded my head in approval, I saw no need to explain anything to this slouch and I watched as the washed up blonde waitress ambled towards us with our drinks. She placed my drink down in front of me, a little to hard for that matter, and the whiskey sloshed out of the glass.
I gave her my look, the real pissed one, and I saw the fear flicker in her eyes. She quickly turned her vision from me and mumbled a cheap apology. I never said a word and let her wallow in her fear, she handed Eugene his drink and quickly left us alone.
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the German watching me and for a moment I felt sick, sick because I could see the approval in the German's face and anything that he approved of made my flesh crawl. I forced down a sip of the whiskey and it did little to wash away the taste of bile.
I watched him, not wanting to look at his face, and I knew I had to get my best acting face on and get with the program. He studied me carefully, and I saw the conspiratorial sneer as he leaned in a little too close and whispered quietly. His breath reeked of cheap beer and cigarettes: the room felt suddenly hot.
"You have spirit for a woman."
I'd met this type before, and he was the reason I preferred the company of women. It occurred to me that if he was the last man on earth, I would become quite familiar with my right hand and name it Alice.
I swallowed deeply before I answered, and I could tell I wasn't to successful in disguising my disgust. I watched as he leveled his one blue eye at me, the brown one twitching slightly.
"So I've been told."
I figured I'd keep my answers short and sweet, the object was to get the pilot to talk. I turned my face towards him and I handed him one of my most enigmatic smiles; it worked like a charm.
He let out a bear of a laugh and I felt the table shaking underneath the weight of his arms. He slapped his hand on his knee and then slammed it loudly on the table, which Eugene quickly grabbed to prevent it from tipping over.
There were two things I quickly learned, one that he was strong and the other was that he was quick to read people. I realized then I would have to use my best tactics to get around him. I decided to lay on the feminine charm and see how far that would get me.
"I like a woman with spirit."
"Lucky me, I like a man that likes me."
I smiled warmly at him and focused my eyes on the top of his head, it was the only way I could keep myself from heaving. The slouch was making my skin crawl and I couldn't help feeling the shivers every time he moved closer to talk to me.
He had one of those annoying habits, the kind where he was constantly invading my personal space, and it was beginning to make my blood boil. I kept my anger in check and focused on the task at hand.
"What is it that you do, Karl?"
I could tell he was the kind that liked his ego massaged, and it was obvious from the way he carried himself, that I was right. His eyes took on a definitive glow and I braced myself for his self-promoting speech.
"I fly airplanes."
He shot me that look, the one where I should be ripping my clothes off and throwing myself on the table for him. I pretended to be interested and forced myself to smile and sound real impressed. The fact of the matter was, he couldn't impress me if he came wrapped from head to toe in hundred dollar bills.
"Really, that must be so exciting, I just love men who are daredevils."
I knew from the tone of my voice, I sounded as sincere as a con man that was trying to sell some out of town mook the Brooklyn Bridge.
Eugene's eyes flickered with the hint of a smile and I managed to contain my own laughter. Karl fell for it hook, line and sinker and I expected nothing less.
He sucked his breath in, and I noticed when he jutted his barrel chest outward, he looked like a peacock preening his feathers.
I tried hard to maintain the sincere stare and managed to emote one of wonder as well. My trick worked, because the slouch leaned into me again and invaded my space, before he whispered in what he must of thought was a masculine tone.
"There are some things which I am more of a devil at than others."
He flashed his eyebrows up and down and I couldn't help but feel seasick. I chuckled and then quickly covered it with a breathless response. I reached over and clasped his forearm for emphasis.
I have to admit, I was impressed by the muscle underneath which he quickly flexed for me. I often wondered why men did that, whenever a woman would clasp their arms they'd always flex their muscles.
"I want to know all about your flying, where have you flown?"
I could tell I did a great job at stroking his ego, because he immediately became animated and I knew he liked taking center stage. I smiled inwardly, and thought how easy that went and waited for the boorish speech to begin."
"I have flown everywhere in Europe. I was a fighter pilot in the Great War and shot down 34 enemy planes. I was never shot down. I am the youngest man to have been awarded the Iron Cross. After the war, I entered four races and won over four thousand dollars in prizes. I once flew a race against Charles Lindbergh and I was winning, before my plane developed engine problems and I was forced to land 100 kilometers away from the finish line. It was the only time I was defeated in my life."
I suddenly noticed Eugene dozing off and I swiftly kicked him underneath the table, he startled slightly and nearly spilled his coke. All the time, I stood staring at the slouch and even batted my lashes at the appropriate breaks in his story.
Either I was better at this seduction stuff than what I thought, or the slouch was so in love with himself, he couldn't see the forest from the trees. My senses were feeling dull and rather numb, and I was trying to figure out if it was the whiskey or the slouch's speech.
The rest of the two hours passed with Eugene and I taking turns kicking each other under the table, and nodding our heads every now and then and smiling at the slouch.
It was getting harder to stay awake as the slouch continued to lull us to sleep with his long winded dialog about his aviator skills and sexual prowess, it was obvious to both of us he loved the sound of his own voice.
We finally caught a break when he got to the part of his story that we came here for. I suddenly shook the numbness off and forced myself to stay awake.
I realized I now knew more about this slouch than his own mother, and at the moment, I was cursing her for having ever borne such a self-serving slouch. I forced myself to look attentive again, which was taking every ounce of acting I could muster.
"I work for a very important man, I am his personal pilot."
I shot him my glowing grin and batted my lashes again, even Eugene managed to feign a little interest and leaned into the table acting like he was all ears. We were both silently hoping it wouldn't take another two hours of story telling.
"Anyone I know, like Rockefeller or something?"
I gave him my 'please say something to impress me' look, and he quickly jumped at the bait.
"More powerful than Rockefeller. He is a very rich and powerful banker, Dr. John Henke."
"Henke of Manufacture Trust?"
I figured I should act like I had really heard of the mook and maybe the slouch would be more forthcoming with information.
"You have heard of him?"
I was ready to respond, when I was suddenly cut-off by Eugene and I realized he managed to shake off his groggy state and play along with the game. It was the one good thing about Eugene, when he was sober he managed to know how to get with the program.
"Who hasn't, he's the President of Mutual Trust and one of the richest and smartest bankers alive. You work for him?"
He let out a low and long whistle, the kind that makes you think he's impressed. If I thought I could lay it on thick I was sadly mistaken, because Eugene had me beat by a mile.
The slouch stuck his chest out even further, and I wondered how the hell the buttons on his shirt managed to stay in place, I tried hard not to look disgusted by his obvious display, but it was real tough.
Not wanting to lag behind myself, I quickly added to the conversation. I knew Eugene would follow my lead and between both of us hurling questions at the dumb slouch, we should be able to get to the answers we were looking for.
"I bet you've gone to some very exciting places with him?"
I tried to look all-sweet and soft, as if I should be on my knees and grateful that the slouch was even given me the time of day. It must have worked, because he immediately adapted that long-winded speech look again, only this time I was going to stay awake.
The washed up blonde ambled over to us and deposited another round of drinks. I noticed the slouch never reached for his wallet and Eugene gave me the stare, the I'm broker than shit one.
I figured by this point, what the heck, I wanted his loose tongue to keep moving, so I paid for the round of drinks. This was the eighth round I'd paid for and it was finally beginning to pay off.
"I have flown him everywhere."
His words were starting to slur and I knew then this could be a bad thing, I was hoping he wouldn't pass out on me, so I made sure to buy some insurance.
I reached for my bag and went for my smokes and made sure I tilted his drink and sent it crashing to the floor. I let out a long pretentious apology and began wiping the front of his shirt.
It managed to sooth his nerves and then he stood and headed for the men's room. I motioned for the waitress to come over.
I noticed she tended to stay away from us as much as she could; I figured it had to do with the death stare I shot her earlier. I leaned into her and slipped her a fin as I asked her to take her time in bringing the slouch a new round.
She nodded at me and greedily accepted my offer. It was easy to tell that the last time she saw a tip that size, she was on her back and counting the cracks on the ceiling.
The slouch exited the bathroom and was still wrestling with his fly, when he nearly landed face first on the table. I helped him steady himself, as he fell into the chair. Now I invaded his personal space, and I could tell I knocked him off his mark, no doubt it was the last thing he suspected.
"So you were telling me about San Francisco."
I figured I'd throw it in and maybe step his story telling into third gear. We had spent more than two hours in this joint and about the most I gotten for my troubles was an empty wallet. I figured with the way he was feeling, he'd have a little memory lapse.
"Ah yes, San Francisco, it is a most beautiful place. I was there about a month ago, in the Napa valley. Have you heard of this?"
"Don't they grow wine there?"
I noticed that the more he drank, the thicker his accent became and I also noticed he was quick with the information. I decided to toss caution to the wind and go for the kill.
"Yes Liebchen and scientist too."
He placed his finger to his lips and made a sloppy shushing sound, the spittle falling down the side of his chin. I felt left like I wanted to heave and I swallowed it.
"Scientist? You have a lady scientist friend there?"
I pretended to act jealous and I could see it worked, because his wolf smile came on and he wrapped his massive arm around my shoulders, the weight of his body leaning against me nearly knocked me off of my seat.
"Not there, she is here."
I tried to hide the excitement, but I finally felt good about spending my hard-earned dough on the slouch: the eight rounds were paying off.
"She isn't going to come in here and find us together, is she?"
I gave him my come hither look and he fell for it like a ton of bricks. He licked his lips in a wolfish fashion and I noticed his eyes on my breasts. I made sure to inhale deeply and give him a better view.
"No, there is nothing for you to worry about, liebchen, she is on 84th street and 1st avenue."
We both snapped our heads at the sound of his name being shouted across the room. I looked and saw a tall lanky man flanked by two blonde goons. I knew we were in trouble and I motioned to Eugene under the table.
I reached for my purse and opened it, making sure I'd have quick access to its contents. The three men drew closer and for the first time I could make their faces out. The tall lanky man was bald and had a high forehead, he had that arrogant look to him.
His two companions were obviously muscle, and they looked at me and Eugene like we were garbage. I have to admit, I didn't exactly appreciate their assessment.
I saw the washed up waitress signal to the tall lanky bald man and he walked over to her. I saw when she grabbed his arm familiar like and knew we were in for a hard roll. The dame was dropping the dime on us.
The two goons flanked us and waited, while the bald man finished his conversation with the washed up blonde. I noticed he slipped her a brand new crispy hundred dollar bill, which she quickly folded into her bra, she then shot me an evil stare before returning to the bar.
There was no way we were going to get out of this without a fight, so I quickly reached for my brass knuckles and slipped them on. I then lowered my hand under the table. I made sure to nod silently to Eugene who was beginning to sweat.
The tall lanky bald man walked over to us. He had thin lips and a stuck up nose. He was wearing a dark blue suit and, for a minute, I wondered if he was human. He had the jacket closed and rested his hand neatly inside his right pocket.
It was hot as hell in this place, and the bald mook was barely breaking a sweat. I could tell he was use to snapping orders and expecting them to be followed to the letter.
He pulled closer to us and stood between me and Eugene. Ignoring us for the minute, he nodded to the two goons and they quickly lifted the slouch off the chair and weren't too gentle about it either.
The tall bald mook leaned in and slapped him hard in the face, and started speaking to him in German. My German may have been rusty, but I was able to get the gist of the conversation.
He wanted to know what he told us, and the slouch was too drunk to admit to anything. He turned and look at me and I had a hard time containing my anger.
"What do you want here?"
His accent was thick and I placed it as Austrian. He had that arrogant snarl to his voice and it only managed to piss me off a little more. There was something about putting him in his place that suddenly felt appealing to me.
I knew I was sounding sarcastic and I was hoping he wouldn't miss it. I could tell by the purse of his lips I managed to make my point. With my left hand, I held my half-empty glass in the air and stood eyeing him.
"And maybe a little information?"
"Why, are you giving any away?"
I knew our cover was blown. It was obvious the washed up dame had a bit to do with it and there was no sense trying to talk our way out of it. I could tell by his muscles' body language that this wasn't going to go out nicely.
"Only advice. If you value your life I recommend you forget what you may have heard here."
There was something about his arrogance that got the better of me and I knew my next words were going to cause us some pain. I pushed back from the table and leaned my chair backwards. I was ready to spring to my feet at a moment's notice.
"I'm not one to take advice, especially from a Nazi loving kraut."
That did it, I quickly moved to my left as the first muscle started towards me. Eugene quickly rose from his seat and used it to bash the second goon over the head with it.
I quickly ducked as the first goon took a swing at me and he found himself hitting dead air instead. I spun around, still crouched, and came up with an uppercut to his jaw. I heard the bone shatter, and figured that was the end of him.
He fell backwards and landed on the table. I turned around and dodged the second goon as he came at me. I noticed that the drunken slouch was suddenly sober enough to enter the party.
He connected with a right jab to Eugene's jaw, which snapped his head back. I lifted my chair and sent it crashing across his back, the chair splitting in two. I knew I was in real trouble when he brushed it off like a gnat and turned on me.
Though I saw it coming, I found I was unable to move quick enough. His punch connected with the right side of my face and suddenly my lights went out. I felt myself slipping into darkness and knew I was out for the count.
I woke up later and I felt like I was run over by a truck. My head was pounding and my ears were still buzzing. I blinked several times and cleared the fuzziness from my eyes. I noticed I was sitting in the back of the car and we were moving.
My head was cradled in Tuvo's hands and he had that worried look on his mug. I tried to smile, and grimaced when the pain shot to my eye. I reached for it instinctively and found Tuvo stopping me.
"I wouldn't do that if I was you, that's a hell of a shiner you got there."
My voice cracked and my mouth felt like cotton, as I managed to lift myself from his lap and sit straight. My head spun lightly and I managed to shake it off. I noticed Eugene was driving with a cut lip and a broken jaw, so I figured I wasn't doing so badly after all.
"You should see the other guy."
Tuvo chuckled and shook his head. I could tell he was happy to see I was feeling better. There was a reason why my school chums named me Cat, and I always managed to live up to the title.
"What happened and how long was I out?"
The buzzing finally settled down and I was able to start thinking straight, though my eye was still sore I felt better than what Eugene looked. I couldn't help thinking about the kitten and how nice it would feel to be in her arms right now.
"Which question do you want me to answer first?"
"You took a shot to the face, and by the time we went in Eugene managed to bring the pilot down. You've been out for over an hour."
Tuvo explained how all hell broke loose after the pilot took me down. It seemed that chivalry wasn't exactly dead in Croton-on-the-Hudson after all. Some of the bar patrons came to my aid, and Tuvo got wise when the first goon went crashing through the window.
By the time Tuvo and his muscle came to our aid, the fight was basically over, Eugene putting the finishing touches on the pilot. It seemed that Dr. Henke managed to find the back door when the fight was no longer in his favor.
I made a mental note to get even with him the next time we met. I noticed we were pulling up to the kitten's hotel and I shot Tuvo the look, the one that said I wasn't too happy with him. I noticed how he pursed his lips and ignored me.
"Stop being so stubborn, and go to her. You need her."
I stood staring at him and I noticed how Eugene and Miles stared right back at me. It didn't take a math wizard to figure out the odds were against me.
Miles jumped out of the car and opened the back door for me. I knew right there and then I wasn't going to win this one. I had no doubt in my mind, they would have left me stranded there and with a beautiful shiner to boot.
I shrugged my head and took Miles's offered hand and got out of the car. I made sure to shoot him my stern look, which he promptly ignored, as he slipped behind me and got in the back seat with Tuvo and shut the door..
He lowered the window all the way down and called to me, as I started to walk away. I stopped and turned around and took a few steps back to the car and leaned into the window. He reached into his pocket and handed me a pair of dark sunglasses.
"I think you might need these, Cat."
He had that smug look on his face and I heard them both laughing as the car pulled away. For a moment, I considered hopping into a cab and high tailing it out of there, and then quickly dispelled it.
The fact of the matter is that I wanted to see her; I wanted to fall into her arms and feel her warmth. I turned around and headed towards the elevator and up to her suite.
I exited the elevator and ignored the rueful laugh from the operator and walked to her door. I hesitated slightly before knocking on the door, my inner voice struggling with the rising fear.
I swallowed deeply and knocked softly on the door. For a minute, I thought she wasn't in, and I was ready to leave when I heard the door open. She was dressed in a satin light blue robe that wasn't fully closed. I could tell she wore very little else underneath.
I wondered if she had been expecting me, and then I saw the flash of fear on her face, as she reached her hand towards me and removed my sunglasses. I displayed my beautiful shiner to her like a badge of honor, after all I took the beating for her.
She ran a long smooth finger along the side of my eye and I flinched against the pain. She continued until she reached my lips and caressed them lightly. I felt the strong warm grasp of her hand on my arm when she pulled me into the suite.
She placed her arms around me and I fell into them easily, for some reason I couldn't explain. I needed her strength, having none of my own to offer in return. We stood that way for a long time and I loved the feel of cool satin and flesh against me.
Her voice was soft and low and it caressed me and took all of the pain away. My face was nuzzled comfortably in the nook of her neck and I breathed her sweet scent in fondly.
"I forgot to duck."
I felt the rise of her chest as a soft smooth laugh flowed easily into the air. I tightened my arms around her waist and held her for dear life. I knew I would never be able to let her go and walk away from my life so easily.
She placed warm kisses on the top of my head and my hands began to explore the suppleness of the flesh hidden within the satin robe. I marveled at how wonderful she felt to my touch. I raised my head towards her and she kissed me warmly.
I felt myself melt into her and I gained substance from her strength. I deepened the kiss and she responded, and held me tighter to her form. Her embrace was warm and passionate and all of my fears and anger began to subside. I felt as my soul began to heal.
I knew right there and then I loved her, and I didn't care if she knew. I put all of my love into our passionate kiss and felt her body cling onto my soul in a wondrous embrace.
She pulled away from me and I hungered for her touch again as she led me quietly into the room. I noticed as the sash of her robe gave way and watched as the smooth satin fabric flowed gently behind her.
I was captured by the image, and knew I would remember it for the rest of my life. I would remember the first time I admitted to myself that I loved her. I followed her sheepishly and let her guide me gently to the bed and sit me down.
I saw that she was naked beneath the robe and my breath caught in my mouth, the beauty of her warm silky flesh astounded me and I reveled in its magnificence.
She walked to the bathroom and returned with a towel filled with ice. She placed it gently on my eye and cradled the back of my head. I winced against the coolness of the ice as it touched my hot flesh. I was sure, at that moment, it was her that was causing the heat on my face to rise.
She looked at me longingly with those icy blue eyes and I found myself lost in their depths. Somehow I managed to find my voice and I whispered softly to her.
"It seems this is becoming a bad habit."
"Do you mean seducing me or my healing your wounds?"
I pushed her hand away and pulled her down to me and kissed her roughly, my hands becoming familiar with the pleasure from the evening before. I felt her beginning to remove my clothes and quickly assisted her.
I turned her on the bed and laid against her and admired the perfection of her form, my hands running smoothly down the length of her body as I imprinted her naked form into my mind's eye for all of eternity.
I took my time exploring her and kissed her slowly and deeply. She ran her fingers through my hair and ignited my desire for her further. I placed long wet kisses down the length of her neck and I settled there.
She arched her body upwards and I found myself losing control as I made my way downward and settled into her bountiful fruit, the sweet scent of her essence called out to me and I answered it willingly.
She moaned loudly when I found her sensitive nodule swollen with her desire and I suckled it greedily, her essences filling me and causing my own to escape. We fell into an easy and slow rhythm and I entered her gently as she opened up to me.
I felt the tight muscles close around my fingers as I reached her inner region and settled into its hot warmth, her voice called out to me and I heard her call out her love. I raked my teeth against her nodule and she pushed further upwards and I drowned in her desire.
I felt her when she began to tremble and as I increased my assault she screamed out in ecstasy, her strong thighs wrapped tightly around me taking my breath away. We rose together, and I felt the second wave strike before the first ended.
I brought her down slowly and took my time making my way up, spending long moments on each part of her hot sensitive flesh. I made sure to reacquaint myself with her breasts and felt her warm languid touches on my back.
I rose and kissed her deeply, the sweet taste of her mouth mingling with my own. After a long and torturous moment, I released her sweet warm mouth and settled closely to her ear. I whispered quietly and watched as the emotions crossed her classic features.
"I love you."
I nibbled her and felt when she turned her face towards me and captured me with her gifted tongue. She kissed me thoroughly and left me breathless before releasing me. I felt the warm rush of her breath against my neck.
"I love you, Cat. You have captured my heart, and I knew that you would."
We settled into a warm embrace and fell asleep in each other's arms, the beat of her heart calling me into a deep and undisturbed sleep."
Continue to Part Five