Jason thinks he has disabled the bomb, but still insists that they approach the accomplice and take his phone, because he is certain that is the detonator. Greg does a little bit of acting and pickpocketing, and successfully takes the other man’s phone.
Grabbing the other man’s elbow, he steered him for the bathroom. Tim met them at the door, following them in. They waited for a couple other men to leave, locking the door behind them.
“I gotta find that phone! I really gotta!”
Greg took in details of the man for the first time. Only slightly over five feet tall, he was a drab, geeky looking guy with thinning hair and thickening glasses. He was pale and slightly stoop shouldered. He twitched his head from time to time. Greg spotted an ear piece similar to what he wore himself, but not quite as sophisticated. This one could receive but not transmit. Excellent.
“I’m telling you, I don’t have your phone!” Greg yelled, hitting the door to the stall. “Would you back the fuck off!”
“C—could you check your pockets just to be sure? I know I had it….”
Greg did a pat down of his pockets managing to avoid finding the phone. “Told you I didn’t have the damn thing! What’re you trying to pull?”
“Listen, buddy. I’ll give you a hundred dollars if you find my phone.” The look in his eyes was fear mingled with desperation.
“Lemme buy you a drink,” Greg said. He put his arm around the other man’s shoulders. “Come on…..”
He tried to lead the man into the lobby. For such a little man, he could sure put the brakes on. He wouldn’t move.
“No. No. I need my phone. If you don’t give it to me, I’m going to call security.”
“I am security,” Tim said. “You say this guy stole your phone?”
“He had mine,” Greg said, holding it out. “He came up to me and said I had his. He handed me mine. Prolly dropped it in here. One of those other guys prolly has it.”
“Quit fucking with him,” Jason said crisply. “Take him out—now. The show is starting. No doubt Orchid’s livid that we’re not all dying horribly.”
Tim clipped the accomplice behind the ear and he fell into Greg’s arms. They supported him, carrying him from the bathroom pretending he was drunk. They took him out to one of the catering trucks and lifted him in. Since it was really an FBI truck, he would be contained.
“Found the gas,” Bitsy said. “Jesus, this bitch was serious!”
“Cyanide?” Jason speculated.
“How did you guess?”
“Because if I were a homicidal maniac, that’s what I’d do. But you’ve got the transmitting phone, yeah?”
“Thank God. Here we go….”
The lights dimmed in the main room and the MC walked out on stage. He gave a little speech about the reasons for the benefit and how all these people had donated their time to put it together—blah, blah, blah….
Jason was nearly beside himself with worry. Orchid had to have realized by now that her plan to gas them had failed. She wasn’t going to go out there and pick clean the dead.
“What should I do with this phone, boss?” Greg asked, making sound like he was asking Bitsy.
Jason answered. “Lock it up. Don’t try to turn it off or disable it. Just lock it in a safe place so it can’t be fucked with.”
There was a locking cabinet on the truck. Greg placed the phone in it and Tim locked the box before pocketing the key.
The fashion show was in full swing by the time that Greg got back to the table. He sat between Jason and Eva. Taylor was on Jason’s left, pretending to watch the show with great enthusiasm. She was playing her part to the hilt.
The MC announced the next model. “Orchid is wearing….”
Jason stopped listening as soon as he saw her face. There was the visage of his would-be killer. There was the woman who threatened to castrate him with a bullet, but chose to end his life instead. He shifted in his seat as soon as he saw her, straightening his tie. She walked toward him, chin lowered, hips forward, her best catwalk strut bringing her ever closer to him. Her jade green eyes met his chocolate brown ones with a shock of recognition. Glaring at him, she stopped at the end, posing to show the dress she wore.
Jason couldn’t suppress a shiver of desire. He remembered well how silky her skin was, how soft her lips, her wetness around him, her smell—a mixture of perfume and lust. Even with Taylor next to him, he couldn’t shake the desire—the need—for her.
What the hell did she do to me?
She went off to change her clothing. When she came back on a few minutes later, she looked calm and collected. Fear shimmied up Jason’s spine. She was about halfway down the runway when a uniformed waiter came to their table as if to give someone a message. He leaned over Jason’s shoulder from behind and to his right. The muzzle of a gun pressed into Jason’s side.
© Dellani Oakes
To Purchase Dellani’s Books:
Under the Western Sky http://www.tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/Oakes_Dellani/under-the-western-sky.htm