Wake Up Maggie(13)

By: Beth Yarnall


“We need to move you. Now.” He took me by the elbow and hustled me to where we’d parked the car. The other FBI dude was gone.

“How’d he do that?”

“What?”

“Disappear like that?”

He bundled me into the car without answering. As we pulled away from the curb, an ominous feeling came over me, and I shuddered.

“That wasn’t Thai Dinh who shot at me, was it?”

“No.”

“Who was it?”

“We don’t know. It seems there’s a new player in the game.”





Chapter Nine


I’d lived my whole life on the principle I won’t pee in your pool and you don’t pee in mine.

Somebody was not only pissing in my pool, they were defecating in it.

I couldn’t go back to my apartment, because as Super Agent had put it—it had been compromised. Compromised. A stupid word with a double meaning, neither of which were of any use to me at the moment. So there I sat in an impersonal apartment somewhere “safe”, surreptitiously listening in on Super Agent’s cell phone conversation with his superior. So far I hadn’t been very impressed by this other agent’s superiority, as it was his foul-up that had landed me here.

Super Agent ended the call and let out a frustrated sigh. “They were able to salvage a few things from your apartment. The rest is a total loss.”

Total loss as in fire. Fire as in firebombed. Firebombed as in a total and complete fuck-up.

“Fantastic.”

“Insurance should cover most of it.”

“Yeah, if I had any.”

He stared at me as if I’d broken out my rusty Greek. “You don’t have insurance?”

“Oh, gee. Did we just stumble on the only thing you didn’t already know about me?”

He scrubbed his hands over his face. “Holy fucking hell.”

“Yup. My thoughts exactly.” I opened my purse for my Furious Fuchsia lipstick, because what do you do when everything you own has been destroyed and you have two people out there who want to kill you? You freshen up, naturally.

“You amaze me.”

I looked up from the mirror. “How so?”

“You’ve just been shot at, everything you own is gone, and you’re sitting there touching up your face.”

“If I’m going down, I’m going down with lipstick on.”

He grinned at me, and I realized how long it had been since I’d seen that smile. There hadn’t been a lot to get cheered up over lately. Seeing it now put a lump in my throat the size of my Pontiac.

“I’m so freakin’ crazy about you.”

All I could do was stare at him. Stupidly.

He held up a hand. “I don’t expect you to respond. I just wanted you to know.” He came over to me and kneeled down beside me. “Will you go out with me?”

“Like a date?”

“Yeah.”

“I don’t know. I’m sorry. I just…I don’t know. Maybe.”

His smile widened. “I’ll take that maybe.”

“You’re a very odd fellow.”

“This is a very odd situation.”

I couldn’t deny that. This whole thing couldn’t get any stranger if a troupe of circus elephants suddenly traipsed through this crappy apartment with monkeys on their backs, juggling cats.

“What’s the plan?” I asked.

“The plan is for you to get some rest while I do some work.” He got up, kissed me on the cheek and went back to his computer on the rickety little dining table in the corner.

“It’s the middle of the day.”

“Watch a movie or something.”

I dropped the lipstick back into my purse, and it suddenly occurred to me that everything I owned was either in this bag or parked at the curb across from my burned-out apartment. I blinked, expecting tears, but it seemed I was all out.

Instead, I turned on the TV and flipped through some channels. “There’s no cable.”

“Sorry.”

I got up from the couch and wandered over to the window.

“Don’t stand there,” Super Agent said.

“What?”

“Get away from the window.”

Oh, right. Don’t make the killer’s job easy. I moved to the little kitchenette that was part of the living room/dining area and started opening doors. Not much to look at. Not much to do. I leaned against the counter and crossed my arms. I could see the computer screen over Super Agent’s left shoulder from this angle.