After a one-sided talk with the lawyer (he talked, I pretended to listen), I was left alone in the interrogation room while he went to make a call. I quickly thought over my options. Before putting me in the car, Gard had taken the gun holstered to my leg and I was stuck to a metal table with metal handcuffs in a room monitored by a camera. My comms unit was gone, and while I still had the wire attached to my corset (Gard didn't have the nerve to search me there), that would do me no good. My conversations were recorded? Good. Great. That does nothing.
Except. My conversations were being recorded, but the person who held the recording device was Seth Donoghue. And if I knew him at all, he would be looking for any way to get me out of the situation I was currently in. I bowed my head and tried to look contemplative for the camera, "Seth, you had better be listening to this. I need the cameras out and I need a distraction big enough to hide my escape. I can do the rest."
Now, it was only a matter of waiting. I figured Gard wouldn't come back in unless he had more questions, which was unlikely considering my narrative earlier that night. The lawyer, as lawyers were wont to do, would be harrowing everybody but me, the client, and that left me with little choice but to just sit there and think.
As I sat there, though, I tried to position myself with my back towards the camera so that my face would not be recorded. I waited a few more heartbeats then started wriggling around in the chair as if trying to scratch an itch. Then I lifted my left foot to my lap and reached down as far as I could with my hands, scratching it. At least to the camera it looked like I was scratching. I knew that hiding the metal piece in the sole was a good idea. And luckily, the handcuffs were long enough to let me reach my foot, if I bent a bit.
I palmed the bit of metal and scratched my foot a few more times for good measure before lowering it back to the ground. Now, I only needed to hide my hands from the camera, a feat much more difficult than hiding my face since the camera was positioned in a corner of the ceiling and was pointing directly at my hands. I looked around as if bored and sighed, making sure that my heaving chest was obvious. I was, to all appearances, bored. Actually, if the situation hadn't been so imperative, I probably would have been bored. I found interrogations distasteful.
Playing up the part of my boredom, I lay my head on the table, covering my hands from the camera's view with a corner of my face and the curve of my elbow. From there, it was only a matter of bending my wrists most uncomfortably to pick the locks on the handcuffs then keeping my hands still so that I would not break out of them until just the right moment.
I was mostly free, and if I wanted to be caught on camera breaking out of an FBI facility, which would probably get me at least a dozen officers, not to mention the local PD, on my tail, then I could have just gone. But it would be so much better if I could just slip out when the cameras were dark and there was a distraction. I would, like famous thieves of legend, just vanish.
I looked around the room again then settled my sights on the camera, watching the red dot on its base for proof of it being live. If Seth had gotten my message, then it shouldn't be long before I was out. Or so I hoped. As it turned out, I had another twenty minutes of sitting in the quiet interrogation room before anything happened. I considered singing but decided that would be distasteful. Better to suffer in silence.
Then, as I considered just leaving and risking the tail (though it would likely result in my capture... again), the red light on the base of the camera winked out. I straightened and waited three heartbeats before pulling my hands free of the cuffs and lunging for the door of the interrogation room. I paused, listening closely. There was nothing for a moment, then the thumping of shoes and excited voices. I waited until everything was silent again then slipped out and made my way to a fire exit, avoiding the cameras as much as I could.
When I couldn't get to the blind spots, I hid my face with my hair. It took me another two minutes to get to the fire exit and avoid being spotted, but I made it. I ducked through the door, and there being less security on the stairs, was able to just run down to the ground floor and exit the building. I had been outside for less than ten seconds when Seth appeared out of the shadows, a smug look on his face.
"Took you long enough," I snapped at him as he started running along the street, probably to a safe spot.
"It's nice to see you, too," Seth replied and I grumbled something rude under my breath. He just chuckled and kept running. I followed. We made it to an alley way with taller buildings on either side and Seth ducked into a basement window, the glass open but hidden by a storm drain. I slipped in after, my cocktail dress catching on a sharp piece of the corrugated metal of the drain.
"Oh, man," I said, examining the rip in my dress. It went from the bottom nearly up to the bottom of my corset. "I actually liked this dress, too."
"Don't worry," Seth said. "We'll get you another one. There's some jeans and a t-shirt in your size over in the storage closet." I blinked, about to ask a question, then looked around. What I had thought was a dirty basement was actually a cleverly disguised safe-house. The lack of light made it look abandoned and disused, but the furniture was of good quality and there were small alcoves leading to a kitchen, bathroom and bedroom. This was one of the many safe-houses that Seth had stashed all over the world.
I changed clothes, keeping on my thieving corset, just in case, and settled down at the kitchen table while Seth made some toast (the kitchen wasn't really stocked, so I assumed he had only just recently put this place back into use). "So, how did you create a distraction?" I asked around the mouthful of toast, not realising how hungry I was until I had smelled the melted butter.
"I had Fyodor walk into the FBI and just stand right in the middle of the Bureau, wearing a t-shirt with the sickle and hammer," Seth said. I gaped at him. "Really. The Feds all knew who he was, but couldn't do anything about him. They have no evidence, thanks to a certain break in, and he was just standing there. Didn't say a word."
"Brilliant," I said. "I should let you take point more often."
"Then maybe I wouldn't have to wear those silly waiter's uniforms," Seth teased. I scoffed and rolled my eyes; he would not let me forget that for quite some time. I finished my toast and the conversation between us lulled off. I don't know how long I sat there, no longer looking at Seth, not really looking at anything. I just sat, alone with my thoughts.
Seth sighed and wrapped his arms around me, pulling me into a hug. I didn't respond at first but his arms were strong and safe and it felt good not to have to be strong for once. I leaned into the hug and it took me a few minutes to realise that I was crying. "Ana," Seth said softly. "None of this is your fault."
"I should have seen it," I retorted, pushing back enough to look Seth in the eye. "I was the one Gard chased and after all those years, I knew that he thought more like me than he did like a noble FBI agent. And while he chased me, trying to think like I did, I analysed him. I know how he thinks and I knew that he wanted me to face justice, more than anything. So why didn't I see this coming?"
Seth said nothing for a moment and just pulled me closer, resting his chin on the top of my head, gently stroking my hair, "Because despite what you may think, sometimes you just have to see the good in someone before you can see the bad."
I shuddered, tasting the salt of my tears on my tongue and feeling ashamed and abused. Suddenly, I was glad I had given the case to Interpol rather than to Gard, though really that was why he arrested me. But I certainly wasn't going to have it go to Gard anymore. "So what happens now?" I asked, out of plans. In truth, I hadn't planned for after the con because I didn't know what would happen. Was I free? Well, I had just escaped FBI custody, so it was likely I was not going back to them.
"I know a nice museum in Zurich," Seth said, releasing me and standing. I remained seated, looking up at my partner, my lover. "And I happen to know a lady who owns a private jet she might let us borrow."
"Zurich," I murmured. Did I want to go to Zurich? Did I want to get back into the life of thieving and adrenaline rushes as I jumped off a building or pulled a con?
Seth walked over to me and leaned over, kissing me gently. He tasted wonderful, of pine and of danger. He seemed to mould to me perfectly, or maybe it was the other way around. I didn't care. I just knew that I wanted to be where he was going to be. So if he was going to Zurich, then so was I.
"After all," Seth said, smiling even as he kissed my jaw, "we have to start replacing the jewels you lost from your apartment."
I laughed softly, still feeling used and slightly sad. That was alright, though. Because maybe endings didn't always have to be happy, maybe they could be bittersweet instead. I was giving up on Gard, a man I had inadvertently placed my trust in, for a life with Seth, for a life that I knew.
"So what do you say?" Seth asked, kissing me again.
"I say we go steal the moon."