The men are highly impressed with Jason’s house and amazing car collection. Taylor simply seems annoyed for some reason that none of them can fathom. When they leave the garage, Greg Kisler asks Jason about the pool. He explains that the pool was laid out so that he could watch the sunset as he took a swim in the evening. The glass was, of course, bullet proof.
Jason smirked, dodging away as Kisler tried to ruffle his hair. The agent wasn’t much older than he, maybe three years. He was considerably taller, lanky of build and obviously knew how to handle himself.
“So, Taylor, think we can convert some of that space below to a shooting gallery?” Jason asked abruptly.
“Shooting gallery. You promised to teach me how to handle a weapon.”
He grinned, making her inhale sharply.
“Um… I’m not an expert. I suppose?”
“If not, we’ll take him to the Bureau,” Kisler suggested.
“We can’t take a felon into the Bureau range,” Driscole said acerbically.
“Oh, I suppose not. I forget he’s a criminal,” Kisler said, deliberately hiding a smile.
“You really don’t know how to shoot?” Graves asked.
“Nope. Guns frankly scare me. After having more than one waved in my face as a kid, I took a strong dislike to them. Taylor seems to think I should learn — for my own safety.”
“Got to agree,” Stuart said. “We’ll figure something out. You really do need to learn. Let me see what I can do after lunch. I don’t think anything downstairs will do. They really need to be planned in advance and they’re tricky to set up. It would take a lot of time. But I could arrange to take you to a private range. My brother owns it.”
“He can’t buy a gun,” Driscole pointed out.
“I’ve got several,” Jason replied.
“You collect guns and can’t use them?” She was incredulous.
“Well, ya see—an older gentleman of my acquaintance, asked me to do a job for him. He couldn’t pay cash, but he had some marvelous weapons to give me in exchange. They’re in my study.”
“You’ve got a study?” Driscole couldn’t believe the incongruity of that remark.
“Got to plan jobs someplace, sweetheart,” he replied acidly. “I even write the occasional letter and read a book from time to time. Want to see the library? I’ve got a collection of erotic art that’ll make you wet.” He walked away briskly, angrily tossing his hair out of his eyes.
“Nice one, Tay,” Graves said. “Got any other ways to insult and alienate our boy? Need I remind you that he’s on our side?” He followed Jason.
Stuart walked off, saying nothing.
“What’s with you today, Taylor?” Kisler asked her quietly. “You’re hostile, tense, insulting. Not that these aren’t all marvelous personality traits of themselves, but they aren’t you.”
“Leave me alone, Greg.” She moved away from him.
He grabbed her, this time catching her elbow. She turned on him, furious. Her eyes had turned dark blue, flashing dangerously.
“You can talk to the others like that and get away with it, but not me Tay.”
“We’re not together anymore, Greg. You made that pretty clear when you started dating my roommate.”
“You didn’t want me anyway,” he whispered. “You made that clear. Jason’s a nice guy. And I can see in your face you’re more than a little interested. Remember, he’s our primary. No fooling around with the subject, Tay.”
“Do you expect me to fool around with you instead?”
“Not anymore,” he said angrily. “Not that you did all that much before — hence the roommate.”
“Don’t,” she said. “Just don’t.”
“Tay, I know you’ve got a lot of bad baggage in your past. Hell, so do I. But you pushed me away and you’re still doing it. Any man gets a little close and you can’t get rid of him fast enough. But that man’s had a lifetime of hell and the woman he thought he loved tried to kill him and blamed six murders on him. When she figures out where he is, she’ll come after him. It’s a matter of time.”
“What do you want from me, Greg?”
“Be nice to him. Smile once in awhile. Be yourself. You’re one of the most charming women I know.”
“What about no fooling around with the primary?”
“I never said to fuck him, Tay. But be polite, kind. Take his feelings into consideration, okay? If he closes us out, we’ll never catch this bitch. After what happened to your dad, I’d think you’d be that much more anxious to hunt her down.”
“Leave my dad out of this, Agent Kisler.”
“Yes, ma’am.” He saluted before storming off after the others.
A small bathroom presented itself to her right. Taylor locked the door, turned on the water in the tap and cried until she couldn’t anymore. Her makeup was a wreck and she didn’t have anything to fix it. Instead, she dampened toilet paper and wiped the rest of it off. Drying her face with the hand towel, she stared at herself in the mirror. Her eyes were red rimmed and puffy, her cheeks tear streaked.
“Why does he have to be so goddamn adorable? Why do I have to be so attracted to him?” She sighed heavily, shaking her head.
© Dellani Oakes