Cruz looked up, fingers still tapping the keys rapidly, raised an eyebrow and smirked.
“Do you even need to ask, Andrew?” His voice was a silky smooth baritone, nothing like Deacon would have expected from him.
“Make yourselves comfortable, this will take a while, but if there’s anything to find, Cruz can find it. I keep telling him to join the FBI or something.”
Cruz shook his semi-bald head. “Hell no, big money’s in the private sector. Government work is for sissies.” He grinned and kept typing. After about ten minutes, he leaned back, stretched and pointed at the screen.
“‘K, this is weird shit, man.”
Andy slouched forward to read over Cruz’s shoulder. Cruz swatted Andy’s face, pushing him away.
“Don’t do that, man. You know I can’t stand being leaned over. Lemme read it to you, since I can pronounce the big words. A’ight, we get three hits that come up funky. Harper Brothers Foods, Hinkley Farms and this one, don’t know what the hell that word is. Andy?”
Cruz pointed to the screen. Andy leaned forward again, disregarding Cruz’s earlier comments.
“Obamilmerl?” He sounded out slowly. “That’s got to be a joke. Who are they?”
“I dunno, best I can tell, they are all connected. The other two are subsidiaries of this Oba something. I’ve never heard of any of them.”
“Do they give an address?”
Kacy’s question surprised the young men who had completely forgotten the other two were present.
“No, Ms. Du Champs,” Andy said. “I bet Cruz can find one though. Work your magic, bro.”
Cruz chuckled as his long fingers tapped the keys like machine gun fire. Something came up on screen, he typed in another command, followed a couple links and ended up at a web page that looked like a directory. He printed it out and turned to them, hands clasped behind his head, looking pleased with himself.
“I found phone numbers. Using those, I did a reverse search and came up with this. All three use the same P.O. Box for mail and it’s local. The phone numbers for two are disconnected, but the one for Oba something is still active. It’s a cell phone number though. Couldn’t find a business address except for that P.O. Box. I’m willing to bet they’re all bogus.”
He handed Kacy the sheet of paper he had printed, grinning broadly. “So, how much do ya love me?” He winked at her appreciatively.
She hardly noticed him staring at her, but Deacon did. He could understand the reaction, she had that effect on men. He didn’t bridle as he might have done a few weeks ago. As long as Cruz kept his hands to himself, it was okay. Andy popped Cruz on the shoulder. Jerking his head sideways at Deacon, he made a rude gesture at his friend, none of which Kacy saw. She was reading the paper, lips pursed, frowning deeply.
“There’s something oddly familiar about all that,” she said quietly, half to herself. “I don’t know what, but something quite peculiar strikes me, and I can’t for the life of me place what it is.” She tapped the paper absently with her nail, biting her lower lip. “It will come to me, probably when I’m sleeping or something.”
“Cruz,” Deacon held out his hand to the younger man. “Thank you for your help, you’ve saved us a lot of time and useless bumbling. You should start your own business.”
“Sure! I can call it Hackers R Us!” He winked. “Glad to help, Mr. D. Andy’s talked non-stop about the two of you. Sometimes I wish we weren’t related, so I could bitch slap him. But I think Mom would wrap me in Saranwrap and tape me to the wall or something.” His grin was strangely like Andy’s.
“Oh, you guys are brothers? I thought you were just good friends. I’m paying close attention.”
“Yeah, twins actually,” Andy answered him. “Fraternal, so we don’t look exactly alike. Mom says I’m the handsome one and he’s the smart one.” That got him a punch in the upper arm from Cruz. Andy hardly seemed to notice.
“What he really means,” Cruz supplied happily, “is that I’m anal fixated and he’s still in the oral phase.”
“Loosely translated, that means he’s a mother f**ker—”
Cruz slapped Andy on the arm. “Lady’s present, bro. Shut up.”
Cruz chuckled again, smiling at Kacy, his dark eyes twinkling behind his rectangular, tinted, wire frame glasses. Andy whacked him on the back of the head with his knuckles, knocking Cruz’s hat off.
“Andy, man, I’m just looking! Can’t a man look?”
Andy frowned menacingly. “Not at Ms. Du Champs, Cruz. She’s off limits.”
Cruz stood, holding his baggy britches with one hand as he bowed to Kacy. “I apologize, Your Majesty. I stand corrected.” He winked and Kacy giggled at him until he sat down.
“Quite all right, I’ve got Andrew to defend my virtue. My trusty squire. Seriously though, this seems to scream at me, and I can’t figure out why that name rings any kind of bells.”
“Know what it makes me think of?” Andy stretched and scratched his head absently, his shirt rising up exposing a fine set of abdominal muscles. “That guy that what’s her name’s been seeing, you know the flower guy?”
“What? Make sense, brother. I think all the paint fumes have gone to your head or something.”
Andy drew a deep breath, exhaling slowly as he pulled his scattered thoughts together. “Bernadette, she’s seeing that flower guy,” he snapped his fingers rapidly, thinking aloud. “You know the florist?”
©2021 Dellani Oakes