25 April 2014
If you want to read the rest of the series, here are the links to Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12, Part 13, Part 14, and Part 15.
"So how does a field agent score an office?" said Cinnamon, flopping into one of the visitor's chairs opposite Geoffrey's desk.
"I haven't actually been a field agent for a long time," said Geoffrey. He tossed the whiteboard markers he'd taken from the supply room onto his desk. "They just wheel me out when they need a middle-aged soft-looking type to pose as a businessman or some other sort of mark." He glanced at Pepper. "You should sit down, Ellie."
Pepper shook her head. She undid the clasp on her locket and handed it to Geoffrey, who put it around his own neck.
"All right," said Geoffrey, picking up one of the markers with one hand as he tucked the locket under his shirt with the other. "Debrief. I have to say, the engagement hand-off between myself and Sheila was textbook..." His voice cracked.
Someone knocked on the office door. Geoffrey nodded at Cinnamon, who got up slowly and went to open it.
"Geoffrey." A short man pushed his way past Cinnamon into the office. His suit looked like he'd slept in it.
"Alex." Geoffrey waved the whiteboard marker. "I was just going through a debrief on the DeBussy op."
"Good, good," said Alex. "I was just going to borrow Ellie from you."
"We'll be done in an hour," said Geoffrey.
"I'll have her back to you by lunchtime." Alex took Pepper under the arm and steered her out of the office. To Cinnamon's surprise, Pepper just let him do it.
Geoffrey put his finger to his lips and shook his head at Cinnamon. Then he took her arm the same way Alex had taken Pepper's and pushed her out of the office.
"What are you..."
"Sh." Geoffrey pointed back along the corridor. Cinnamon let him take her to the elevators, through the underground food court, and along the PATH walkway to St. Andrews subway station. She only spoke again when Geoffrey produced two subway tokens and dropped the first one into the turnstile.
"We are not just going to leave her there. I'm not. You go do whatever skull-and-dagger crap you think you need to do, but..."
"We're coming back for her," Geoffrey said quietly. Cinnamon rolled her eyes and passed through the turnstile, then waited for Geoffrey to feed it the second token and enter the station.
"We're going to pretend to be going back to your apartment," Geoffrey said into Cinnamon's ear as they descended the stairs to the waiting area. "Then we're going to go to my house. They're not going to believe Ellie, they're not going to believe you either, and while I might be able to shake them a little bit because I'm one of them, they're not going to believe me without some physical evidence to back me up."
The train arrived, nearly empty now that morning rush hour was over. Cinnamon slouched onto the first available set of empty seats, Geoffrey perching beside her.
"There isn't any physical evidence," said Cinnamon as the doors chimed closed. "We know Ellie found that card in DeBussy's hotel room because we know she wouldn't make that shit up, but all Doug and Co. have to do is claim she had it on her all along, that she's the one who stole it, and..."
"We have a little physical evidence," said Geoffrey. "And if we can get to my place in time, we'll have a little more." He stared at the cement walls of the subway tunnel rushing by the windows. "I just hope they haven't thought of it already. Right now it's down to how long Ellie can stretch things out."