Author's Note: Okay, I know I am shameless, despicable and horrible for taking over a year to actually put up another chapter. I even tried to put this up on the same day I had updated the last chapter, last year (sounds so bad!) but I was busy throwing a party for my sister and it will took precendence. So yes, if anyone is still reading my story, I'm amazed by your patience and bow down to you. Here is another chapter, boring, but at least it's up. You all have Kat to thank because she emailed me reminding me about my story and I'd told her I'd have it up by Sunday at the latest. Mind you, I went to work and forgot about it until 10 o clock tonight, but I did finish it and somewhat edited it. So read, review and enjoy :)
"Whatever you do," James said to the others in a rush. "Do not resist them. It doesn't matter if they push you, hit you or pull your hair. Don't resist or fight back!"
Alice looked as if she might have argued, but Logan clarified the matter by saying, "The airport security guards are just dying to use their nightsticks and guns. Don't give them a reason, Alice."
Nothing was said afterwards as the officers descended upon them. All four put up their hands in a universal sign of surrender. Even so, Alice and Elizabeth were manhandled, shoved against desk as they were cuffed and thoroughly frisked by female officers, but that was nothing.
The other officers rushed and tackled James and Logan face-first to the ground. Although James and Logan still didn't resist, a few punches were thrown when they cursed as the wind was knocked out of them. Heavy knees dug into their backs as their arms were twisted back and cuffed. Additional officers stood around the perimeter of the scene, watching the crowd as to make sure no one tried to step into the ruckus, not that they would. A crowd shied away from the scene, but also watched with fascination.
Eventually they hauled the men to their feet and pushed all four of them toward the security offices. They were completely surrounded by the guards and some of them were even carrying their luggage. Once inside the security division of the airport, they were thrown in a small room that was little more than a cell. Through the window, they could see the guards efficiently tearing through their bags.
They were searching for, and found, weapons in the bags belonging to James, Logan and Elizabeth. However, they also found the permits permitting them to carry weapons.
Elizabeth immediately went to James and looped her arms around his neck. Her hands, as well as Alice's, had been cuffed in front of them instead of behind their backs like the guys. "Are you okay?"
"Fine," he said, tearing his eyes away from the window, where he watched the guards' actions like a hawk, to look down at her. Concern filled his gaze. "Are you okay? Did they hurt you?"
Elizabeth shook her head. "Your nose is bleeding."
"But not broken. Good thing too, it would have looked horrible in our wedding pictures."
Elizabeth shook her head again, but this time laughed. "Like you haven't broken your nose a hundred times in all those brawls you got yourself into."
"I'm a lover, not a fighter," he claimed.
Elizabeth shot him a look of disbelief and called him a liar. He grinned and corrected himself. "Okay, so maybe I'm a lover and a fighter."
"I don't understand how you all can be so blasé about this!" Alice interrupted as she paced in the middle of the room. "I want someone in this room right now so I can call Daddy and my lawyer!"
"It would just be better to call Dylan," Logan soothed from the back of the room where he had seated himself on a narrow bench. "He'll take care of everything. This is just a mistake."
"How do you know? I knew we shouldn't have stolen any cars," she huffed.
James was almost glad his hands were cuffed behind his back and he had no way from grabbing Alice and shaking her with exasperation. "You know, just for the hell of it, lets not mention any illegal actions we may or may not have taken while we are in custody."
Alice's eyes widened and cheeks flared red. She glanced out the window. "Do you think the room is bugged?"
"Probably, but they may not care much about the cars considering they suspect us for murder," Logan replied, dryly.
"Murder," Alice shrieked.
Elizabeth gasped and pushed away from James. "We didn't murder anyone!"
"Which is why this is all a mistake," James concluded.
"A mistake? Someone trashed our apartments, hunted us down to Yalapa where they obviously stalked us, maybe even tried to kill us, and you think this now is just some misunderstanding? Someone set us up!" Elizabeth cried.
"Oh my god," Alice exclaimed. "They're probably laying in wait for the opportunity to kill us!"
James and Logan exchanged a glance. "They're such smart cookies," Logan declared with a grin. He was instantly the recipient of two scathing glares.
"How do you know we're suspected for… for murder?" Alice demanded as she sat down next to Logan.
Logan kissed her hair, which was about as much comfort as he could give with his hands behind his back. "I overheard them calling us murderers. I don't suppose they'd call us that if they didn't suspect we killed someone, do you?"
"And so now we know whoever is after us certainly has no qualms about killing… we're probably next on his list," Elizabeth stated.
"You're right," James stated. "That's pretty much what we surmised, but as much as I'd love to discuss in full what will probably happen next and what we should do, we can't because it seems like we're having visitors."
The room fell silent as they focused on the couple that was being ushered toward their room by one of the guards whom had taken them into custody. The couple entered the room and dismissed the guard, who looked as if he would rather stay. However he didn't argue and left the room, only to stand right outside the door.
James studied the couple. They were clearly law enforcement agents of some sort and, just as clearly, were American. The white man was tall with dark hair, green eyes. The woman was of average height, but seemed shorter when standing next to her companion. Her curly dark hair was held back with a clasp and her brown eyes studied him back. She was probably a mix of races.
Cops, agents, even bodyguards had a tendency of working in pairs so one partner always had the back of the other. However, the man stood quite close to the woman, his stance protective and even somewhat possessive. If James was correct, and he had become adept at reading people, these partners were also lovers.
"I want to call my lawyer," Alice announced.
The man responded. "Are you guilty of something?"
"Then there's no need to call a lawyer, now is there?"
Alice glared and Logan bristled. Nobody liked a smart-ass cop. The woman shot her partner a quelling look. "Why don't we start by introducing ourselves. I'm Detective Naomi Barclay and this is my partner, Detective Seth Randall. We're from the North Hollywood Police Department."
"You're a bit out of your jurisdiction, don't you think?" Logan piped up, already defensive.
"You don't really want us to leave you in the hands of the Mexican authorities, now do you? You're suspected for murder."
"We didn't murder anyone," James stated distinctly.
"Really?" Seth queried. "Because a man's body was found in one of the torched huts that up until that night, you four were residing in back in Yalapa. Of course, you guys are nowhere to be seen because you have up and disappeared. A few days later here you are trying to flee the country."
"Who else disappeared that night?" Elizabeth countered.
Seth smiled at her. It wasn't a nice smile. "An Asian couple that was booked under false names. No trace of them either. Also two white American men, one of whom was seen with the deceased."
"Why are you here?" James asked, impassively. "Cut the bullshit about what we supposedly did. Why did two detectives from North Hollywood come all the way to Puerto Vallarta? I know you aren't here for us."
A look was exchanged between the two detectives. "We're looking for a hired killer," Naomi replied honestly.
"What do you know," Logan replied. "We're running from a hired killer. Gee, what a coincident."
"Tell you what," Seth offered. "How about you tell us what you guys know and we'll get down to the bottom of this affair?"
"Sure," Elizabeth replied as she sat down next to Alice on the bench. "As soon as you get us cleared and out of here, we'll talk."
Seth's eyes narrowed. "I'm not sure you quite understand the delicacy of the situation."
James also took a seat. "Well, as long as we're in here with nothing to do, why don't you explain it to us?"
"Why don't we make a compromise?" Naomi suggested. "We can't let you leave because it truly is safer for you to remain in custody, but we will take off the handcuffs."
She went to the door and had a word with the man outside. He didn't look pleased, but came in and took off their handcuffs. Naomi introduced him as Constable Diego Lopez of the Police Force of Puerto Vallarta. Once their hands were free, the four felt less antagonized and relaxed, albeit only a little. They would, perhaps, be more inclined to talk now.
"How many people has this man killed?" Alice questioned.
"Within this month, about thirteen. Six bank robbers in North Hollywood, that's where we come in. There was also a family of three, two cops, the torched man in Yalapa and another man back in the States. He's suspected in a few others and attempted to kill another officer and witness," Seth answered briskly, his frustration evident. "This is why we need to know everything you four know, to prevent him from killing more."
"You explain everything you know. Then we'll talk, but I want to make a phone call first," James stated implacably and then clarified, "to my boss, not my lawyer."
"What can your boss do?" Naomi asked.
"He owns a bodyguard agency and has some interesting connections. You'll find him very useful if you're wise," he replied.
"Anyone you drag into this can be a liability. They could get hurt or even killed," Seth stressed, not liking the idea of bring anyone else onto his case.
Elizabeth knew how to play hardball. "Let Dylan come. He's got impeccable experience dealing with this breed of psycho."
"Alright, Constable Lopez will take you," she gestured at James, "to a phone where you can call your boss." Naomi shot Seth a telling glance when he was about to argue. They would deal with this man when he got here, but definitely not actually let him on the case.
James flashed Naomi a smile and followed the disgruntle Constable Lopez out of the room. Elizabeth also smiled. These cops had no idea what would hit them when Dylan got here. James returned after a moment and it was time to talk.
Seth began explaining how they had discovered that Cory Evans had been sent to kill them and was indeed framing them for the murder committed in Yalapa.
"How did you discover this?" Logan enquired.
Naomi and Seth exchanged a glance, deciding whether to show all of their cards or not. "A man by the name of Dale Grant contacted us and turned himself in. He was the American who was seen with the deceased. Apparently, Grant had been a small time con-man or basic thug. He worked with another man, whom he won't name because he doesn't want to sully his partner's memory. He did reveal that the man was the body we found in Yalapa."
"The hired killer, Cory Evans, he killed Grant's partner," Alice muttered. "Why did Grant turn himself in?"
"He saw Evans kill his partner. He later saw Evans lead everyone in Yalapa to draw the conclusion that your four had killed Grant's partner and then fled. Grant didn't want Evans to get away with killing his partner so, he decided to turn Evans in and thereby himself as well," Naomi explained. "It's sort of a twisted loyalty to his slain partner."
"Where is Evans now?" James demanded.
"We believe he is lying in wait somewhere between here and New York waiting for the opportune time to, well, kill you."
"How comforting," Alice murmured and leaned against Logan.
Seth pulled an envelope out of his bag. "In this envelope, I have a few grainy pictures we have to Evans and several sketches of what he might look like. Take a look at them and tell me if anything seems familiar."
The four leaned toward the table and studied the pictures. Elizabeth gasped softly as she studied one of the sketches. She felt James' arm snake around her waist and held her against him as he too noticed the familiar figure in the picture.
"What is it?" Seth demanded.
Elizabeth looked up at him with wide eyes. "This man was on a boat by the beach. I thought… I just felt creepy and noticed him and he raised something black in his arm. I thought it was a gun."
"What happened?" Naomi urged.
"She ran to me and pointed him out. All I saw was a man with a camera. We thought she had overreacted due to her nerves from the attack the night before, but he had probably just switched his gun for his camera," James replied, his arm tightening around her.
"What happened the night before?" Seth asked, leaning forward. Naomi took the sketch and handed it to Constable Lopez, who abruptly left the room with it. He would circulate amongst his staff, whom would be on the look-out for him.
"The afternoon before, Elizabeth and I decided to hike up the mountains to the Vida Spa where we had a great time, but on the way back, we were stalked and then attacked. The thugs, neither of them were Evans, told Elizabeth to give them her treasure or something like that. We got away and ran in the woods where we promptly got lost. We wandered in the forest until evening or so and the entire time it was like someone was watching us," Alice explained, then shuddered at the memory.
Elizabeth picked up where Alice left off. "When we got back, Logan and Alice went to one hut while I was in the other and got that feeling again. So I doused all the candles and waited between the door and the window so should someone come from one entrance, I could escape from the other. Someone tried to come in through the window and they definitely had a gun, with a silencer, I think. James scared him away."
"I just happened to be returning with the mayor of Yalapa and yelled at him," James explained. "The mayor said he couldn't really do anything and left it at that."
"The men who originally attacked you were Grant and his partner," Naomi disclosed.
Seth absorbed that all in while jotting down the pertinent information. "Did anything else happen?"
"Their apartment's were ransacked. Elizabeth and Alice share one, James lives alone. Mine was left untouched," Logan explained. "Dylan sent us a message about the apartment, told us to protect the girls and come back home."
"Protect the girls?" Naomi repeated, shaking her head. Sometimes it amazed her how twentieth century men were still so remarkably similar to cave men.
James gave her a shark smile. "We're bodyguards. You'd already know that if you checked our weapons permit."
"So why is Evans after the girls? When did weird things start happening to them?"
"Me," Elizabeth stated. "I think they are after me. I don't know why."
Alice patted her shoulder in comfort. Elizabeth mentally went back through the past few weeks. The first 'weird' incident would have occurred… at the carnival with the weird clown. The teddy bear. It started when the man gave her the teddy bear.
"I think I know-" Elizabeth stopped when James tightened his arm around her. He didn't want her to tell them. She looked back and patted his arm. "I think it would be better if we told them, James."
Turning back to the cops, she explained, "Quite a few members of my family work for the F.B.I. My brother Noah and his wife, Sierra are both agents as well as Sierra's other sister-in-law Lila Pierce. Maybe this is all related to them and someone is attacking me to get back at them."
Seth's eyes narrowed as he watched her lie through her teeth. She had been as open as a book until a second ago and although her facial features remained the same as before, something had flickered in her eyes. It was like watching a curtain being drawn in a window.
"From the information we gathered it seems that Evans is working for two men, whom Grant refused to name, but he implied that both of them are powerful and they both want something from you, Miss Jade."
Elizabeth gave him her perplexed, but innocent smile. "I don't know what I could possibly have that they would want that badly. Maybe it could be work-related. As a professional hacker, I could be privy to a lot of information companies don't want people to know."
Seth's green eyes clearly displayed his contempt. "Lying to us is not in your best interest. Tell me, before the vacation what did you and Mr. Wyatt do together without Miss Forrester or Mr. Radcliffe present?"
Her reaction was just the slightest widening of eyes before a politely puzzled mask slid on her face. James Wyatt's face remained expressionless. It was James' reaction more than Elizabeth's that led Seth to believe he was on the right track. If he was hiding something, Seth's face would have been expressionless too.
"We went to a charity function her family always attends a while back, we went to a carnival and then back to Fiche, where we grew up to visit my grandmother," James replied.
"Tell us what happened at the carnival," Naomi replied, picking the item in the middle. People tended to remember the first and last things on a list, so if one wanted to slip in something unobtrusively, the middle is where they slipped it in.
"James' date cancelled on him because her grandmother passed away, so we ended up going out to the carnival, we played some games, ate, went on some rides and then came home," Elizabeth replied.
Seth watched her for another long moment. It was clear that he had somewhat underestimated these four. He had assumed that once told that they would not be held accountable for murder in Mexico, they would readily speak, but obviously that was not the case.
He motioned Naomi to stand. Taking her cue from him, she smiled warmly at the four. "Well, thank you for taking the time to talk to us. We'll be in touch."
"Wait!" Alice cried, playing right into their hand. "Aren't you going to get us out of here?"
Constable Diego Lopez entered the room as he saw the detectives getting ready to leave. His gaze dropped to his four prisoners and his lips twisted cruelly in what was his version of a smile.
Seth shrugged. "If you had cooperated, perhaps, but as it is…"
Elizabeth narrowed her eyes at him. "It's nice to have family in high places, Detective. One call to one of my brothers and I'll be out of here within the hour."
Naomi cocked her head to the side. "Didn't they already use their call on their boss?"
"We each should get a call," Alice retorted hotly.
Constable Lopez shrugged. "We are not so strict with those rules in Mexico as they may be in the States. You'll get your calls, but not now. It's a shame, really, you seem much to soft for prison."
He toyed with a strand of her hair as he made the last comment. Logan was on his feet and pushing Alice behind him within seconds. "Don't touch her."
The constable laughed and with the licentious look towards the girls, he mused, "Perhaps we should separate the girls from the boys."
Elizabeth glared at Seth. "You know we aren't guilty of anything."
Seth shrugged. "Well, we have to check it out and all. I mean, we can't just take Grant's word for it all, can we? You guys could have paid him to make his confession. We'll be back tomorrow morning. Maybe you'll think of more things to say to us by then."
"Son of a bitch," James growled.
Seth smirked and followed Naomi out the door.
Constable Lopez went to the door and barked a command at a lesser officer. Within minutes and under the fulminating glares of James and Logan, Elizabeth and Alice were herded by the officer into another room.
The constable stopped just outside the cell, when he remained alone with James and Logan. He smirked, "I think I'll have to pay your girlfriends a visit later tonight. See if I cannot convince them to be more forthcoming."
He closed and locked the door before either man could lunge at him. However, not even the door could muffle Logan's oath, "Fuck!"
The constable made his way to the office where Naomi and Seth waited. Taking out a handkerchief, he wiped the sweat off his brow. "How was that?" he asked them, still slightly nervous. He had been so afraid his acting hadn't been up to par.
Naomi laughed and patted his arm. "It was perfect, Diego. You played it just right. They'll be much more eager to speak with us now or at least strike a deal."
"I should have let my deputy play 'bad cop'. Lorenzo, he's quite good at it. I feel bad for hassling those poor kids," Diego admitted. "Those boys probably think I'm going to molest or rape their girlfriends."
"We need them to talk," Seth reminded him. "Besides, we'll be talking them later today, not waiting until tomorrow. It'll not harm them to worry a little bit. Hell, with Evans on their back, they should be a hell of a lot worried. Did you find anything interesting in their bags?"
"Everything was thrown together in a rush; clothes, passports, a first aid kit, a dirty toy, a GPS unit and weapons," Diego replied with a shrug.
"A dirty toy? Like a vibrator?" Naomi asked.
Diego laughed. "No, just a teddy bear with stains on it."
Seth frowned. "A teddy bear?"
James waited in agony for three hours. He wasn't naïve to the ways of the world. He knew what could happen to Americans outside of the States. People often bitched and complained about the local cops in their area when they got speeding or parking tickets, but were glad at the end of the day to have them there. With the exception of actual criminals of course.
However, in other nations, the police were not just occasionally annoying. They were feared. The sight of their uniforms brought terror to citizens and parent's used the police like another might use a bogey monster. "Don't stay out too long, or the police will come and get you." "Make sure you do your homework, or I'll have to call the police." James hadn't overlooked the constable's threats toward the girls for he knew how real they could be.
So did Logan. He had been living in the same hell that James had been. The bone-deep chill had settled deep in their guts. They both reassured each other that the girls would be okay while secretly not believing their own words. Anxiety clawed at their insides.
The moment Seth Randal entered the room, their fear switched to rage, only barely contained. Within seconds, James had grabbed Seth by the collar of his shirt and pushed him against the wall. Logan stood by the door, on watch. Seth had made the mistake of entering their cell alone.
"Get Elizabeth and Alice back in this cell with us, completely unharmed, and maybe I won't ensure that your ass will never again be wearing a uniform again, unless of course it's a janitor's uniform," James threatened between gritted teeth. "However, if the girls have been harmed in any way, then you won't have to worry about your clothes because they'll never find enough pieces of you to warrant clothes at your funeral!"
Logan let out his breath in a hiss and put his hand on James' shoulder in a restraining manner. This was not because James had been slowly cutting off Seth's air supply, but because through the window on the door, he saw the girls walking toward their cell with Naomi and Constable Lopez. "Company."
James released Seth, who gasped for air and cursed their stupidity, while mentally chastising himself for his own stupidity. Naomi entered the room first and glanced quizzically at the dishevelled Seth. Rather than admit he had been caught off guard, he ignored her look. James and Logan ignored her completely as they held Elizabeth and Alice, respectively to ensure that no harm had come to them. Constable Lopez stood in the room trying to mimic the expression and posture he had observed in his deputy Lorenzo and fervently wished he were there to play the bad, corrupt foreign cop.
James didn't let go of Elizabeth until she protested being smothered. Then he turned to Seth and simply said, "We leave within the hour to get to American soil, and I mean in the country, not the embassy in Mexico, and I'll show you what Evans is after."
"It's a deal," Naomi replied, setting a tape recorder on the table. "I'm glad we can finally work this out."
James ignored this and demanded someone bring in their bags. Once this was done he turned to Constable Lopez. "It would be simpler if you left the room now."
"He stays," Seth countered.
James shrugged. He went to the bench where their scattered luggage was dropped and rifled through it until he found the teddy bear.
"James, what are you doing?" Elizabeth demanded.
He turned to her and his blue eyes held such intensity that it stole her breath away. "I'm making sure you get home safe, unscathed and alive."
He examined the bear for a moment, kneading its plush belly. Turning it around, he found the zipper in the back. The room was gripped in silence as James held everyone in rapt attention. As he viewed the contents, a cynical twist of the lips parodied a smile.
"The reason why we've been chased and stalked, the reason why people have died appeared to be complex and unfathomable, while it was actually quite simple. It all comes down to greed," he declared. His hand slid into the pocket and emerged with something held tightly in his fist. He slowly unclenched his hands and examined the large shimmering, red rubies. "It all comes down to teardrop gems with amazing clarity, exquisitely cut and the colour or pigeon's blood. That's what it's all about."
Elizabeth stared at the gems that resembled frozen fire and whispered, "Tears of blood."
So there was a lot of talking and little action of any kind, but yeah that's what I had. Also, it doesn't show you the separations I had between the scenes, but I hope you nonetheless enjoyed it. Please review to let me know what you think. And it's about 2 am in the morning and I think I deserve to go to sleep now :) Goodnight everyone and thank you for continuing to read my story! Flawless Storm :)