|Life with My Girl, Reyes|
|Rescue Me: Chapter 3|
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Baymont Inn – 0.5 miles from the Raleigh/Durham Airport - Morrisville, NC
Forty Five Minutes Later - 10:27 PM (ET):
Scully opened the door to her and her mother's motel room. …Oh wow… Did it ever feel good to finally get back to the motel. She – as well as her mother – was exhausted.
"Mom? You care if I take the first bed?"
"No, dear. That's fine," Margaret said, understanding her daughter's need to be near the door, not necessarily to be near the exit as much as to be the first in line of defense, just in case someone tried to break in on them. "Dana? How are you feeling? Physically, I mean."
Scully cocked an eyebrow. "Fine. Why?"
Margaret just nodded. She could have sworn she had heard her daughter say something quite interesting indeed to Agent Doggett earlier in the afternoon at the airport. She would not push it, or ask her daughter any more questions about the improbable possibility, but she could have sworn she had heard her daughter say something quite interesting indeed. After all, her daughter had told her one time a few years ago that she was barren, and could never have any children of her own, due to – well, she had never really understood all of what her daughter had told her that day. But if what she had just happened to have overheard today, completely by accident, was true. …Oh my… When had that happened? And how? And by who? Mulder? …Hum, probably… She looked at her daughter once again. …Oh my goodness gracious… The devastation her daughter must be feeling if she truly was pregnant with a dead man's child.
"Mom? Do you want any ice? Anything else to drink?" Scully said as she finished hoisting her overnight bag into the closet.
"Oh no. I think I could wash away as it is. Too much coffee for me tonight."
"Well, you did drink decaf now didn't you?" Scully teased her.
"Oh yes. I can't handle the caffeine anymore."
Scully smiled. "Me neither. Unless I'm on surveillance."
Margaret nodded again.
"Well. I'm going down the hall, get us a bucket for the night," the redhead said as she grabbed the ice bucket from the counter then headed for the door.
"Okay. I'll be here," her mother said.
Scully stopped then turned towards her.
"What, dear?" Margaret said furrowing her brow.
Scully then walked over and gave her mother one of the most intensely strong and tight bear-hugs she had given her in a long time. And Margaret was completely taken by surprise by that.
"Mom? Thank you for being here, for coming with me, I… Sometimes I don't tell you enough."
"Oh, well, mothers understand. And maybe one day you'll know that, too," Margaret said as she continued to hold her daughter close.
Scully flinched slightly at the comment. So, her mother had heard her slip-up earlier in the afternoon. …Oh my… Oh well. She had already known that soon she would not have any other choice but to tell her mother, for soon - very soon - she would no longer be able to hide her swelling belly from her mother, or anyone else. And even tonight, it was going to be hard to do. But, she did not feel like breaching the subject tonight. Tomorrow, maybe. But not tonight. She was just too tired.
She continued to stay in her mother's arms for a few more seconds before finally letting go.
Margaret smiled then kissed her on the forehead.
Scully smiled that shy, bashful trademark smile of hers then cocked an eyebrow holding the ice bucket up and swinging it by its handle.
Margaret chuckled. "Go get that ice. As if we need any on a night like this."
Scully chuckled, too. "Well, you never know. One of us might wake up and want something to drink, and then we'll wish we had some later in the night."
Margaret smirked, shaking her head, as her daughter left the room, ice bucket in tow.
Scully walked down the hallway towards the ice machine still thinking about the fact that she had talked to Reyes three times on the phone already today and had yet to have the opportunity to ask her - or tell her - about the touchstone that she was now holding again in the palm of her hand. "Good grief," she fussed under her breath. "Of all things," she huffed again. Three times, she had talked to her. Three times! Well, the first time had not really counted because the line had gone dead on them. But the other two, well. She just had not had the time, the opportunity or the suitable situation to ask her, or at least tell her about it, and then thank her for the sweet gift and wonderfully sweet handwritten note.
"Good grief," she fussed again. …She probably thinks that I either don't care, think she nuts or, gosh, I don't know… And she didn’t want to call her, not while the weary brunette was trying to get some much-needed sleep anyway. She glanced at her watch. …No. It's only been an hour. I can't. I just can't… She sighed heavily then dipped the big metal scoop spoon down into the ice machine for some ice. She began to fill the bucket, half full. She and her mother did not need a full bucket. That was for sure. Actually, they did not even need a half bucket. But that was beside the point.
She sighed heavily yet again, still toying with the idea of calling the sleeping brunette. "Oh crap. Just do it," she said to herself then pulled her cell-phone out from its holder. She quickly punched the redial button then waited as Reyes' cell-phone began to ring, eight times, before kicking into her voicemail. …Oh crap… She had hoped to actually talk to her, but then, on the other hand, this might be even better. Just leave her a message and hope that the darn thing didn't cut out on her before she was finished.
She waited patiently, enjoying listening to her lover's voice, then waited for the answering service to kick in again.
"…To leave a voice message, press 1, or just wait for the tone. To send a numeric page, press 2 now… At the…"
She quickly pressed 1.
"Oh!" she stuttered a little bit then started her message. "I, um… Hey!... It's Dana. And I forgot to tell you about something. I can't believe we have talked three times today already, and I have yet to mention to you about a strange phenomenon that happened to me earlier today. You're not gonna believe this, but, I kissed a rock. Yes! Moni, I kissed a rock!" she paused for a moment chuckling. "Can you believe that? What have you done to me to reduce me to such levels as to kiss a polished metamorphic sedimentary mineral in the hopes that you might feel it, sense it, have visions of it or something. God! I've worked on the X-Files too long. But, anyway, I just wanted to let you know that, yes, I found it, yes, I held it, yes, I squeezed it, yes, I rubbed it, yes, I kissed it, yes, I love it, and yes, it's going to stay with me constantly. But, I wanted to ask you, what type is it? What are the chemical properties, its formula, and composition? What's the mineral class? Say, maybe, a sulfide? Sulfate? I'm sure you know," she paused chuckling again. "And you'll probably tell me that it really doesn't matter, all that matters is, it's a touchstone, with all kinds of magical properties, mystical qualities, karmic energies and… Mmm, I'm not sure I want to know. But, oh! And it was yours? You carried it with you? God, Moni! For how long? And when did you get it? And where? I would really like to know. And, thank you, baby, for such a sweet gift. And especially, thank you for the incredibly sweet note. My God! That was so… Wow! You do things to me that I can't even begin to explain, and I… I'm not sure where we're going with this, but…"
"Beeeeeeeeep," the voicemail menu started again. "If you are satisfied with your message, press…"
"Ohhh," she groaned then quickly pressed the correct number, hung up, then pressed redial again. She waited through the eight rings then pressed 1 as soon as her baby's voice had finished its greeting. "Hey. It's me. I um… Wow!... I don't even know what to say this time, except, wish you were here, but maybe it's for the best right now that you're not. Well, what I mean is, obviously, the missing children are top priority, but, with Mom here and everything, it would have been so hard anyway for me to deal with things and hide it from her, what I'm feeling right now, you know? And, um… Gosh… Do you understand what I'm trying to say? I mean, Mom would have wanted to come anyway, to Mulder's funeral. And then I would have had to explain it to her, me wanting to be with you all the time instead of her and, well… Gosh… We'd have probably ended up in separate rooms for the night anyway. And if you were here, just down the hallway, or in the next room or something, my God! I'm not sure if I could have handled that, you know? It's hard enough without the added pressure… Oh! And I might have flubbed it today at the airport. Doggett asked me how I was feeling and I teased him a little bit, said something about being prego and now I think Mom must have heard me, which means, I need to tell her about it, tell her about the baby. And I have no idea how I am going to do that. It… Oh gosh, there is so much more that I need to tell you about all of that, too, but, I'll tell you soon, when we're together again. I guess I better hurry before this thing beeps on me again. I um… Gosh, Moni… I don't know what else to say except be careful, watch your back, I believe in you, and I know that you'll find the missing kids and…"
"Beeeeeeeeep … If you are satisfied with your message…"
"Crap," she fussed then quickly pressed 1 again, hung up, then pressed redial one more time. "Ohhh," she sighed as she waited through the eight rings one more time then pressed 1 again, as soon as she heard her baby's voice answer. "Hey. Me again. I love you. Later," she said then hung up grinning from ear-to-ear. She then picked up the half full bucket of ice and headed back down to her room.
Margaret was lying on the bed with the TV on watching the latest happenings going on down in Southern New Orleans. It was all over the cable news channels, and even some of the regular news channels, the bad happenings going on down there.
Scully quickly slid her key card into the door lock then walked in carrying her bucket.
"Well my goodness gracious. Where have you been?" Margaret bellowed.
"I… I ran into… I needed to talk to someone... for a moment," the redhead stammered.
"Oh... Well. I think I'm ready to turn in. It's going to be a long day tomorrow."
Margaret watched the little redhead for a few seconds then rolled over and turned off the small lamp beside her bed.
Scully glanced over at the TV then lowered the sound with the remote. "Mom? Mind if I watch some of this?" she said as she sat down on the edge of the second bed.
"No. But you need to get some sleep. Tomorrow is going to be a very long day," she repeated.
"I know, but…"
"Agent Reyes hasn't been on for a while now," she interrupted her.
"What? She was on the news?" Scully was shocked, and suddenly quite frustrated indeed that she may have missed her baby while leaving her a voicemail on her cell-phone down the hall.
"Umhum. Well, sort of. You could see her in the distance. And my goodness gracious, Dana, I'm so glad that you are not on that case. It's… They're really having some problems down there with the weather and all."
"What do you mean?"
"The rain, the wind. They just showed a rescue helicopter a few minutes ago having to do another emergency landing."
"Yeah. Two have gone down already, but not in a crash, they've just had to emergency land."
Scully nodded cocking an eyebrow as she turned the sound back up then began to unpack her pajamas getting ready for bed.
Her mother then rolled back over to watch more of the reruns of earlier events during the day. "Maybe if you changed it to Fox News or CNBC. I had it on CNN…" she trailed off.
Scully nodded, "No, it's okay. I just wish I could… talk to her… hear more about what all is happening down there."
Margaret glanced back over to her watching her for a few seconds. "Dana?"
"I hope you don't stay up too long. You need your rest."
"Mom… I'm fine."
Margaret cocked an eyebrow as she glanced down to her daughter's petite little belly that was not quite so petite anymore.
Scully caught her gaze then turned just enough to hide her swelling belly. She would tell her mother soon enough about her miracle pregnancy, but not tonight - tomorrow night, maybe - but not tonight. She was tired - very tired - but she also wanted to watch more of the news and see what all was going on down in New Orleans. Besides, it kept her mind off all that she would be going through tomorrow, seeing Mulder's tortured, mangled body for one last time, before he was finally buried six feet under.
Margaret sighed then glanced back up at the TV. "Oh! There she is! See her?" she yelped pointing to the TV.
Scully quickly turned back around to see the reruns of the earlier events. "Oh! My God!" she gasped. "She didn't…" …Jeezus! Moni... Reyes had never mentioned to her that she had been trapped inside of a stalling helicopter in trouble and ultimately had to ride out an emergency landing earlier in the day. …Jeezus! Baby...
"She's okay though. All of them are. Lucky, too," Margaret offered.
"No kidding! My God!" Scully gasped again as she watched more of the dangerous events unfold on the tube. "Good grief! I can't believe she didn't…" …Wow! God, baby! Why didn't you tell me?…
"She didn't what?"
"Oh. Nothing I… I can't believe she didn't… lose her lunch or something," Scully covered for herself.
"Well. She's such a sweet person. And it's so hard to watch some of this knowing that she's caught up right in the middle of it."
"She's the lead agent, you know."
"What do you mean?"
"Why is she the lead agent? Isn't that rather unusual? I mean, she's a special agent like you, right? So why isn't her boss the lead agent? Cunningham I think is his name."
The redhead then began to explain to her mother some of the ends and outs of the bureau, and how that when one agent has specific expertise and knowledge, or maybe even a back history with the perpetrators, then that agent could potentially be designated as the lead agent, the one that makes most all of the critical decisions, based on his or her specific knowledge, back history and specialization. She then went on to tell her about Reyes' formal education, how that she was a specialist in the Religious Studies, Behavioral Sciences and Ritualistic Crime, including Satanic Ritual Abuse, and how that these two small children had most likely been abducted by teen gang members of a Satanic Cult, not by a typical pedophile. Her mother was simply appalled at the possibilities it meant for the two little children. Scully then went on to tell her some of what Reyes had mentioned earlier in the week, about how many times she had apprehended, detained, interrogated, and then ultimately arrested many of the members of this particular group, only to have the juvenile courts release them back out onto the streets.
Her mother was even more appalled and frustrated with this newest information. "Well that is just horrible! Unacceptable!" she said shaking her head.
"I know. But it's the reality. We deal with it every day."
"Oh my goodness gracious. And these children? My goodness."
"I know. And it's hurting her so much. She takes it to heart and… Oh my."
"Well that's not surprising. She's very sensitive, very sympathetic, isn't she?" Margaret said glancing back over to her daughter.
"Oh wow. Yeah," the little redhead replied all dreamy-eyed for a few seconds then quickly caught herself. "Um. Well how would you know?" she teased trying to hide her unintended exposure of her true feelings towards the very sensitive, very sympathetic, and highly empathetic brunette as she began to shed her clothes and dress into her pajamas.
"Yesterday morning, while you were taking your shower, we had the best conversation."
"Oh yeah?" Scully grinned. She loved hearing that.
"Yeah. She is just so thoughtful, so caring. I… I can see how you would… like her," Margaret stammered not wanting to even think about the remotest possibilities of anything physically unhealthy or downright sinful brewing inside her daughter's heart - such as unhealthy, sinful emotions of blissful, ardent, infatuated love towards another woman.
"Yeah? Well, I do, Mom. I really do. I trust her, completely."
The older woman cocked a dark-raven eyebrow. …Oh my goodness gracious… Her daughter had not even known this woman but a week. Well, not even a full week – and yet she already trusted her? Completely? …Oh my goodness gracious… Blatantly unhealthy, sinful emotions were already brewing – obviously – inside her daughter's tender broken heart.
The news channel then began to report on the latest events happening around the world – The United Kingdom and British Isles, Scotland, Ireland, France, Germany, Poland, Belgium, The Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Holland and Finland, Portugal, Spain, the Baltic States, Hungary, Turkey, Russia, Romania, Greece, Italy, Tunisia, Morocco, the Ukraine, China, India, Thailand, the Philippines, Korea, Japan, then on down to Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Australia and New Zealand, then back towards South Africa and finally towards South America, Argentina, Chili, Bolivia and Uruguay - then ultimately back up towards the United States' closest neighbors, Canada and Mexico.
Scully watched for the next thirty minutes hoping to see more about all that was going on down in Southern New Orleans, but no such luck. "Well. Think I'm ready to turn in for the night," she said glancing at the clock for a moment then over to her mother lying comfortably in the other bed.
"All right, dear. Goodnight, sleep tight."
"Good night. You, too," Scully chuckled at the motherly sentiment.
Margaret chuckled, too, then rolled over and away from her.
Scully smiled then pulled the hidden little touchstone out from her pajama pocket then glanced back over to her mother for a moment. She then held it up to her mouth, just lightly resting it against her warm, soft lips. She thought back to what her baby had said to her earlier during their conversation while she was still at the funeral home.
Oh yes. Tonight, she would remember just how tightly her baby had held her last night as she lay down to go to sleep. She would remember just how sweetly her baby had held her, kissed her, touched her, and loved her, making love to her all night long; oh yes, and she would imagine and feel her baby's tireless love, endlessly surrounding her like a soft warm blanket of paradise, in the mist of this cold, dark hell on earth, as she faced the agonizing, gut-wrenching events of tomorrow, placing her best friend, Fox Mulder, into his final resting place, six feet under. Oh yes. She would remember as she crawled in under the covers, turned off the TV, turned off the lamp, then rolled to her side, thinking about her baby, and hoping that she was still sleeping peacefully inside her own office, curled up inside of her sleeping bag, regaining her own physical strength and stamina back to face yet another difficult, gut-wrenching day herself in search of the missing children.
"Mmm," she sighed lightly then clutched her pillow, rolling all the way over onto her tummy, then kissed the little touchstone once more, then squeezed and rubbed on it with her thumb for a few moments before finally replacing it back into its home for the night – her pajama top pocket.
Within minutes, she and her mother were both sound asleep in their separate beds, the younger one breathing softly and steadily, the older one snoring softly and steadily.
Reyes' Private Office – FBI New Orleans Field Office –New Orleans, LA
Two Hours Later - 12:35 AM (CT):
"Mmm," the tall brunette moaned then stretched, sitting up and rolling her neck and shoulders around somewhat, then popped another kink out of her back. Her office floor - lying on top of a thin summer weight sleeping bag - had not been the most comfortable of places to try and get some sleep, but she had managed as she glanced at her desk clock. "Whoa!" It was a little later in the night than she had realized. She had set her clock to go off at 10:30 PM, and yet it was now half past midnight. …For Godsakes… She pulled the clock off the desk and looked at it. The alarm button was in the off position. …What in the world?... She knew she had turned it on before she lay down to go to sleep. She then saw her cosmetics bag sitting on her desk. She cocked an eyebrow. …Cunny… Yes, ASAC Cunningham had turned her alarm clock off so that she could sleep a little longer than two hours. And if she had not awakened from needing to go down the hall and relieve her bladder she would have still been sleeping. She shook her head then smirked. She had such a great boss. She then got up, grabbed her cosmetics bag from off her desk, and then headed for the ladies' room.
She entered the small room, took care of business, then washed her hands. She leaned over the sink studying her eyes and seeing just how bloodshot they actually were from lack of any real sleep. And her rain-soaked-three-times-then-air-dried-thrice hair looked like something out of a B-rated Horror movie from the 1940's or something. She chuckled as she found her hairbrush then began to try and do something about her raven rain-soaked-and-dried-three-times locks. What she could really use right now was a hot shower. She wasn't nasty dirty or anything, and she had sponged-bathed earlier, but just the feel of a nice warm shower would do wonders to help wake her up and get her ready for the next surveillance detail.
"Mmm, well. Not too bad Reyes, not too bad," she chuckled as she finished brushing the tangles out of her shiny dark, raven hair. And, actually, one would never guess that she - along with her shiny dark, raven hair - had been soaking wet, through and through, from high winds, rainstorms and swamplands off and on all day long. "Oh," she sighed wearily then pulled out her cell-phone and turned it back on placing it on the counter. After a minute, it began to buzz informing her that she had new voicemail. She quickly retrieved it then called it punching in her password. "Oh," she sighed heavily yet again listening to three old messages from SAC Reigel and then two from Doggett from earlier this morning when Reigel was searching for her, trying to locate her and call her back to New Orleans. She had never taken the time to delete the five old messages. So now was the time, as she followed the instructions and deleted each message. She hit the button to listen to the next new message.
"Oh!... I, um… Hey!... It's Dana..."
"Oh!" her heart fluttered inside her chest.
"…And I forgot to tell you about…"
"Oh baby," she grinned as she began to listen to her baby tell her all about a strange phenomenon that had happened to her earlier in the day. She began to giggle. …Kissed a rock, huh?... Geez!... She giggled again. …A polished metamorphic sedimentary mineral?... She snorted then laughed. Only a scientist would come up with such a description as that for a rock.
"…But, anyway, I just wanted to let you know that, yes, I found it, yes, I held it, yes, I squeezed it, yes, I rubbed it, yes, I kissed it, yes, I love it, and yes, it's…"
"Ohhh, baby," she moaned, her heart doing summersaults inside her chest, as she continued to listen to her baby's soft, sweet, low, sultry, sexy voice tell her all about it. She began to giggle again. "Mmm, my lovely forensics scientist," she giggled again listening to her lover's questions about the chemical composition and specific mineral class of her surprise gift. ...Sulfide? Good. You're right on, Sweetheart… She smiled as she continued to listen to the long message.
"…a touchstone, with all kinds of magical properties, mystical qualities, karmic energies and… Mmm, I'm not sure I want to know. But, oh! And…"
"Uh-oh. Oops," she grinned, chuckling again, as she continued to listen to the long, sweet message, "ooohing" and "ahhhing" happily, as she listened to her lover's sweet heartfelt ramblings. "Ohhh, honey," she breathed again.
"…My God! That was so… Wow! You do things to me that I can't even begin to explain, and I… I'm not sure where we're going with this, but … Beeeeeeeeep... To erase, press 7. To return…"
She quickly pressed 9 to save the message, then 8 to return the call. She waited through the eight rings then quickly pressed 1 to leave her baby a message. "Hey honey. So you found my surprise, huh? Good. I'm glad you like it. And, yes, it's a touchstone, with all kinds of magical, mystical, supernatural properties, but, oops, I won't even go there, and delve into such new-age nonsensical absurdity as that with my lovely forensics pathologist who prefers the more scientific approach to unexplainable happenings. Although feeling the need to kiss a polished metamorphic sedimentary mineral warrants further analysis, wouldn't you agree?" she giggled. "Oh Dana, God! Just hearing your voice right now, I can't tell you what it means to me! Thank you for helping me start my day off right," she said quickly glancing at her watch. "I got about three hours sleep, so, it's just after midnight here, and I'll soon be on another squad. We have some good leads, but we're running so low on manpower and, oh geez, never mind, you don't need to hear about that. Anyway, thanks baby, for calling me. And, oh! Gosh! Yes! It's Angelite! Anhydrite in its rarest form, with a composition of CaSO4, Calcium Sulfate. Happy now, my love?" she giggled again. "I should have known that you would entail all the particulars. Anyway. I love you, and my thoughts are with you. I hope you are having a restful night's sleep tonight, and no bad dreams. I'll try to call you sometime before 1:00 your time, but I can't really promise you for sure exactly when. But, I will call you today, I just don't know when, exactly. Anyhoo, I love you. And call me if you need me. I might be out in the field or something but just leave me a message, okay? I'll call you as soon as I can. I love you. Guess I said that already, but. Well. Later, my lo…"
"Beeeeeeeeep … If you are satisfied with your message…"
"Ohhh," she groaned. Oh well. She was satisfied with her message. So she quickly pressed 1 then sighed happily. She glanced at her watch for a moment then pressed the correct button to retrieve her next new message.
"Hey. It's me. I um… Wow!..." It was Scully again.
"Oh my God!" she chirped in utter surprise.
"…don't even know what to say except wish you were here, but maybe it's for the best that…"
"Ohhh," the happily surprised and grinning brunette sighed contentedly as she listened intently to the next long message from her baby, understanding every single thing she was trying to say and actually agreeing with her that it would have been much too hard to pretend under such dire circumstances.
She waited patiently, enjoying just listening to her lover's low sexy sultry voice, then pressed 9 to save it, then 8 to call her back again. "Hum, hum, hum," she hummed wading through all of the ridiculous buttons - press here, press there, press one, press now. It was downright ridiculous all that one had to go through to leave someone a frickin' message. …For Godsakes. Finally… She could begin her next message. "Hi honey. Me again. And, yes, I agree. It would have been much too hard for us to have to pretend, especially around your mum. Skinner is bad enough. And, John? Geez! I have a hard enough time hiding anything from him without me trying to hide how madly and passionately I have fallen in love with you. Geez! Anyway, I understand, baby, but I still wish I could have been there for you, or at least be there for you when you come back home. And, honey, it'll be okay with your mum. She'll be so happy to hear about the baby. She loves you and she'll be so happy. Mark my word. And I'm not really sure why you are so concerned about that anyway. She liked Agent Mulder, right? So, she'll be fine to learn that he was the father. But… Oh gosh, I know that you can't really tell me right now, over the phone, why you're so concerned about that. I understand. But, baby, I'll be right here, waiting, for when you can, okay? And whatever it is, it'll be okay. You've got a great mum, Dana. She's awesome! Wish I… Well, never mind. I'll talk to you soon. And, again, call me baby, any time. I'll be thinking about you this afternoon. Oh, and I just hope that you've had a good night's sleep by the time you hear this. Hold onto your mom and Skinner today, okay? Let them help you through. And baby, give John a chance, too, okay? He's a good man. Believe me. One of the best. And he'll do anything he can for you, too, anything you need, okay? I trust him with my life. And you can, too. He'll be there for you if you let him. Well. Gotta go. I love you, always. Talk to you later," she finished then pressed 1 to send the message.
She then glanced at her watch then decided that she had best be heading back down to her office. There was only one more voicemail to retrieve and she could easily do that on the way back down the hallway. She gathered her things, tucked her cosmetics bag up underneath her arm then left the ladies' room headed for her office. She quickly redialed her voicemail then pressed through all of the buttons until she could listen to her final message.
"Hey. Me again. I love you. Later … Beeeeeep…"
"Oh my God!" she yelped, her heart fluttering once more inside her chest. She could hardly believe it that Scully had called her back the third time just to tell her she loved her. She quickly pressed 9 to save the short, but oh-so-sweet message, then entered her office and quickly closed the door behind her. She then hurriedly redialed her lover's number and waited to leave her one more short and sweet little message herself.
"Oh," she waited through the eight rings. …Finally… She pressed 1. "Hey baby. It's me again. I just got your last message, and, so… you do? Really? You really love me?" she teased. "Ohhh, and I love you, too, baby... So much… Forever and a day… Well. I'm not sure when you'll be hearing this, but, try to eat a decent breakfast this morning, okay? That is if you haven't already. And if not, then think about your little man growing inside of you, and do it for him, okay? And give him a nice big rub and pat for me, too. And tell John, 'hey' for me, and that I'll try to call him, too, before the day is over. Give your mum a great big hug for me, too, and be sure and tell her it's from me, okay? And say 'hey' to Skinner and tell him that we are doing our best down here. And, Dana, my God, I can't even begin to imagine what you must be going through today, but just know that my thoughts and prayers are with you, and that my heart aches terribly for you. And Dana, God, be good to yourself today, okay? Be good to yourself. And cry, if you need to cry. Don't try to hold it in. Just cry. Go ahead and cry, honey, and let it out. No one is expecting you to be tough today, so just cry, honey. Go ahead and cry. Let it out. And if you need to hit and scream at something then just do it, okay? Just do it. But find John first before you do. He can take it," she smiled. "All I'm saying is, allow yourself to feel, whatever it is, just feel it, okay? But then, you may feel nothing, just emptiness, numbness. And that's okay, too. Whatever you feel - or don't feel today - it's perfectly normal. And don’t let anyone else try to tell you differently, okay? Just go with it, whatever you feel. And soon I'll be with you - as soon as I can, I'll be with you - to help you pick up the pieces… I love you, Dana. Always. Hugs and kisses. Later," she said so frustrated that she could not actually talk to her baby, but just send her this latest heartfelt message. She then pressed 1, sending her baby the message, just as the door to her office squeaked fully open.
Eric Mason had been standing just outside the doorway to his girlfriend's office for a few seconds waiting for her to finish her phone-call. "Babe?" he said as he entered her office.
"Oh! Eric! God! You startled me!" she gasped feeling as if she had just been caught red-handed with her fingers in the hot sauce.
"Hey babe. You didn't call," he said sliding over to her and then giving her a great big hug and kiss.
She backed away slightly, pulling away from his big sloppy kiss, then realized what she had done; and her boyfriend of three months would certainly not understand that cool little welcome.
He furrowed his brow starring into her eyes. "What's that all about?"
"I um, well, for one thing, I'm very tired. And I'm busy. My mind's going in a hundred different directions right now and…"
"And you can't at least give me a decent kiss?" he said again as he moved in for another one.
…Oh God… "Eric? Not now, okay?" she said backing away from him yet again as she placed her cell-phone back inside its leather pouch along her hip. "Besides, we need to talk."
…Talk?... He wrinkled his brow once more. "Talk about what?" he quipped. And it was a legitimate question since he was completely in the dark as to how her week had gone.
She smirked. …Oh geez… He was such a nice guy, and she really did not feel like discussing a breakup with him right now. Especially when she would be hitting him broadside with the news. They had had an argument yesterday morning over the phone, but it had not been serious enough to clue him in on her plans to break up with him. She would never do that, break up with someone over the phone. That was too hurtful and heartless.
"Babe? What's going on?" he asked again. "You still pissed at me over yesterday?"
"Oh. No, but, gosh, Eric, I'm in the middle of a case right now. You know what that's like. And I..."
"I know. I just came by to see you for a minute. I just finished my shift and Pierce said you were up here so…" he shrugged. "I missed ya, babe. Been holdin' out all week," he said then playfully grabbed onto her around her buttocks and pulled her in tight against his straining package bumping and grinding it in against her.
"Oh! Eric? Shit!" she fussed. Oh yeah. He had missed her all right – or at least something had, by the way it felt bumping and grinding hard against her mound.
"What? I'm just playin'."
"Well, not here, not now. Shit!" she fussed again.
"Since when did it become not here and not now?"
She raised an eyebrow at him. "Since I have a job to do. Remember?"
"Aw, babe, don't get mad at me. I was just playin' with ya. And I can't help it if my unit springs up into action every time I see ya," he teased pulling her in for another bump-and-grind.
This time she allowed it but. …Shit!... This was just not going to work! For even another second! …Holy shit!... Then suddenly someone else knocked on the doorframe. …For Godsakes!...
"Reyes?... You up?... Oh! Excuse me." It was Pierce.
"No, it's okay. Come on in," she said, very happy indeed with this latest intrusion into her private office, as Eric quickly let go of her.
Pierce smiled, nodding at the handsome, well-built, brawny and handsome young man. He had let the handsome young Slidell Police Department Sergeant in through the Security Station downstairs. So he was not surprised to see the handsome, young, well-built and brawny, sandy-blonde-haired, baby-blue-eyed, dark-tanned, Brad-Pitt-look-a-like hugging Reyes inside her office.
"Cunny wants me to take you to the airport and pick up your vehicle," he said as he glanced at Reyes then back over to the smiling young man.
"Oh! I can do it! I'll take her!" the young SPD police sergeant immediately offered.
…Oh frig… Reyes groaned inwardly. This was not good.
"You don't mind?"
"No! Let's go! You ready?" Eric jumped at the chance to be with his girlfriend a little longer as he glanced back over to her.
"Sure. Yeah. Why not?" she gave in. …Ohhh geez… She inwardly groaned yet again.
Airline Hwy, US 61, headed West towards the New Orleans Int'l Airport
Ten Minutes Later:
Reyes glanced out the passenger's side window yet again. The strong winds and heavy rains had slowed somewhat, but another front was already on the way moving in by early morning.
Eric reached back over, for the third time, to try and hold her hand.
This time she allowed it, but. …God!… Everything about him felt wrong. Everything. Everything about his scent, his face, his voice, his kiss, his hug, his hairy arm, his rough weathered hand, his everything felt wrong - so very, very wrong - after being with Scully for only four days. …Geez. God!... How could it be? How could this be, that one woman could have changed her life so dramatically? And in only four days? How could it be? …God!… But just being in the same car with him right now was almost more than she could handle, her guilt and remorse were troubling her so. She didn't want to hurt him, but it was over. Their budding new relationship was over. And she could hardly breathe as they traveled along in silence trying to figure out how and when she would break the news to him, and break up with him, without hurting him too badly.
She loved him. But not in the way that he deserved. But then she had never been in-love with him. And she had known that from the very beginning, when they had first made-love, taking their budding new relationship to the next level of physical intimacy. But she had assumed that her floundering feelings for him were due to all the pain and anguish she had suffered, through the hands of Assistant Director Brad Follmer - her former boss and beau from back in New York - when she had broken up with him a little over a year and a half ago. Moreover, she had assumed that, in time, she would grow to feel a similar kind of love for Eric, too. But, obviously not, for she had fallen so head-over-heels-in-love with Agent Scully, and in only four days, she could hardly breathe anymore Scully had taken her breath away so.
"What is wrong with you?" the practically-every-hetero-girl's-dream-Brad-Pitt-look-a-like driving and sitting within a foot and a half of her finally asked as he grabbed at her hand yet again.
"Oh," she sighed closing her eyes and resting her head along the headrest. "Eric? Not now, okay? Not now. It's not a good time to talk about it," she said as she retrieved her hand from his grip yet again, then reached down inside her coat pocket to pull out her book of matches so she could light up another cigarette.
"Good God. How many are you going to smoke tonight anyway? Huh?"
"I don't know. Until I'm all out I guess," she said glancing back out the side window again doing anything to keep from making direct eye-contact with him.
"Monica? What is going on with you?" he asked again.
"Mmm," she sighed a long, dismal sigh then lit up her third cigarette.
"Mon? Who was that on the phone earlier?"
"When I walked into your office."
…Oh boy… She glanced back out the side window once again. "I didn't realize it was any of your business," she said.
"Hah! Wow! You're just itching to start another argument aren't you!"
"No. I'm not. But I don't appreciate someone eavesdropping on my conversations."
"Hah! I wasn't! I was just… Good God a mighty! What is going on here?"
"Eric. Look. You need to just bear with me for a few days, okay? Just until this case is over and then we can talk about things."
"Things. What things? What do we need to talk about?"
"Oh, for Godsakes, Eric. Please! Can't you just give it a few days? Please?" she said as her eyes watered up. Suddenly, she was feeling all sorts of pent-up pressure from every angle possible, both inside and out, and all that pent-up pressure was about to burst through the seams.
He glanced over at her for a moment seeing the tears in her eyes. …Ohhh… "Babe, I'm sorry. But what's wrong? I don't understand what is going on with you. Don't shut me out. I love you and I…"
…Oh God… Reyes felt her tummy tighten into knots.
"Is it the case?"
"Yes. Yes, it's the case. It's eating my insides out, okay? Can't you accept that for now?"
"Okay," he whispered reaching back over and stroking her cheek with a knuckle. "I didn't intend to upset you earlier in your office. Guess I shouldn't have done that, but I was just messin' with ya, trying to get you to laugh and feel better."
She smirked at the irony. Any other time, she would have laughed then copped a quick little feel of his hardened arousal, too, to help him feel better about things as well, giving him a quick little rub and tease of things yet to come as soon as the case was over. …Oh God… But no more of those quick little rubs, feels and squeezes of a man's erect cock for her. Oh, no. Those days were over and done with for now – and for any time in the very near future, and probably for the very rest of her life - thanks to Dana K. Scully.
Eric reached over and grabbed her hand yet again then placed it inside his lap – very, very close to his straining need. But he would not force the issue. He knew she was under much pressure over the case, so now was not the time to ask her to give him a little head, and relieve his aching need, as he drove down the road like she had done so many times in the past.
…Oh God… She felt her stomach begin to rumble in discomfort from the feel of his bulging cock so near her hand and the feel of surprising nausea beginning to rise inside her gut. "Eric… Oh God, how do I say this?" she mumbled as she pulled her hand away yet again.
"You just say it," he said simply.
"Right. Well. Not tonight. Not until this case is solved and I get these kids back to their respective families and homes."
He nodded, "All right. But after the case we'll get it all worked out, whatever it is. We can work it out, babe. I know we can."
…Ohhh, frig… She sucked in another quick breath, twisting in her seat to ease the pain inside her gut, then took another nice, long drag off her cigarette. She had always been good at sucking on things. Her years of cigarette smoking just added to the perfection of that skill. But suddenly, there was one thing that she knew deep down inside her very soul that she would never have any desire to ever suck on again. Just the mere thought of it made her nauseous. Poor Eric; no more fellatio for him from this tall, dark and gorgeous woman that could practically suck the chrome off a trailer hitch leaving him writhing and breathless with spent ejaculatory exertion.
Scully's Motel Room, Morrisville, NC - Three Hours later - 5:13 AM (ET):
Scully began to toss and turn a little more aggressively in her sleep as her body began to sweat and pant breathlessly. "No," she barely mumbled. "No. Don’t," she barely mumbled again. "No… Moni, no... Don't! Don't!" she suddenly yelled rising up into a sitting position as her mother instantly awoke in the other bed. "No! Moni, STOP!" she screamed out yet again as her arms instantly flailed around in the air, either grabbing onto or pushing away at something. It was hard to tell.
"Dana!" Margaret instantly jumped up from her own bed and hustled over to her dreaming daughter, wrapping her arms around her. "Dana, wake up! You're dreaming!" she said as she held her shivering daughter in her arms, then slightly shook her to awaken her. Old memories of long ago when her daughter was just a little girl - dreaming horrible terrifying nightmares - began to flood her thoughts. "Dana. Sweetheart, wake up," she whispered again to her trembling daughter.
"Mon… Moni," Scully barely mumbled again almost inaudible into her mother's neck as she began to awaken.
"Shhh, yes, my sweet, it's Mommy. You were dreaming a horrible dream."
Scully then fully awakened realizing who's arms she was actually in - her own mother's - then sighed and leaned in more comfortably against her, needing the added support and security for a few moments, as she regained her bearings and began to process the horrible nightmare she had just dreamed.
"Oh sweetheart, I hate to see you like this. I just despise these awful dreams," her mother whispered.
"Mmm, no, it's okay. I'm just… tired. And it always happens when I'm tired."
"Um, and when you're under a lot of stress."
Scully smiled. "I'm always under a lot of stress, Mom," she chuckled.
"Not like these last few days, dear. What were you dreaming about anyway? Do you remember?"
"Um, no, not really, I… I'm not sure," she said. And, actually, that was the truth. She had no clear memory of the dream, only a haunting, fleeting image of another's chest practically sliced wide-open, with their heart trying to beat its last rhythm of life.
"Well what was I doing in it?"
"What? What do you mean?" Scully said as she rose up out of her mother's arms to make eye-contact.
"Well? You were calling for me and telling me to stop doing something."
"I was? Wow! Well, I don't know. What did I say?"
"You said 'Don't, Mommy stop'."
"I did? Well. Wow! I have no idea."
Margaret then glanced over at the clock. "Well dear, you've done well tonight to only have had one bad dream. It'll soon be 6:00."
Scully nodded as she breathed in a deep, heavy breath. Her pajamas were slightly damp from her perspiration but other than that, she was okay. And whatever she had been dreaming about, it was not too out of the ordinary for her to dream about someone's chest being sliced wide-open, with their heart – and all their other internal organs – being cut out in plain view. Although to see the heart actually trying to beat its last thump-thump was rather unnerving. But then, given her job, generally, she was the one that had done the slicing on the chest cavity of a cadaver and had the internal organs laid out all over the place for further study.
"Oh wow. Sorry, Mom. I'm not sure what brought that on, but… thanks."
Margaret smiled as she gave her daughter another tight hug. "You sure you're okay?"
"Oh yeah. Fine. Just tired."
"Well, I think I want a little more sleep myself before getting up for the day."
Scully smiled again, "Me, too."
Margaret then eased herself off the bed and climbed back into her own.
Scully slid back in under the covers herself then just lay there for a few minutes thinking about her dream. For the life of her, she could not remember what she had been dreaming about, what had frightened her so, and who the other person was that had been in her dream. All she could see was this haunting, fleeting image of another person's chest being cut, sliced, diced, flayed, or maybe even shot wide-open with a shotgun blast to the heart or something, close-range - with the chest cavity lying wide-open, and their heart beating its last few beats while the person gasped for their last breath of life – as she lay there trying to settle her thoughts and emotions down enough to drop back off to sleep.
…Monica… Reyes' first name suddenly entered her thoughts. "Oh God," she barely mumbled under her breath. …Oh God, no, surely not. Surely… But then she had suffered through several nightmares all week that had involved Reyes - Reyes fighting for her life, Reyes fighting for her unborn son's life, Reyes fighting for all three of their lives, and Reyes ultimately being injured critically, fighting for her and her unborn son's lives - being wounded so gravely it had caused her imminent death - as she had died successfully protecting them from some unforeseen foe. …Oh Jesus, Sweet Mary, Mother of God. No… Her thoughts rambled as she lay there in fear of the possibilities no matter how farfetched they may seem.
Old Dilapidated Warehouse located somewhere along River Road, SR-18
South Eastern City Limits of New Orleans, LA:
"Reyes?" Pierce called out yet again to his partner as he shined his flashlight beam down along the old walls and flooring of the dark, musky hallway then inched his way around the next corner of the narrow corridor inside the old, dilapidated building, holding his fully-loaded and already-cocked Glock at the ready.
"Over here," she called back to him. "Be careful. Booby-traps are everywhere," she whispered in warning.
"No shit," he chirped as he rounded the next corner, slowly inching his way towards her, then gasped at the sight of the back wall just behind her speared with probably twenty to thirty throwing knives perfectly aimed at the level of an adult's chest had he or she been standing there in the line of fire of the perfectly aimed booby-trap. "Holy shit! Are you all right?" he ran to her.
"Yeah. I'm okay. Just a little nick on my arm."
"Holy shit!" he said again as he began to study the latest booby-trap of the five-inch-blade flaying knives and the quite familiar pattern that the razor-sharp blades had left against the back wall instead of his partner's chest. "Jeezus!" The rigged booby-trap of five-inch blades could have easily been sticking out of his partner's chest right about now, slicing and dicing her chest and insides wide-open, killing her almost instantly, had she not somehow miraculously stopped then instantly jumped out of the way.
"Think they wanted to leave us a message?" she joked calmly, shining her own flashlight beam up along the perfectly-patterned imprint of the flaying knives too. She had also recognized the teen gang cult graffiti pattern imprinted along the wall.
"Holy shit! How the hell did you know to stop?"
"I don’t know. Something just told me to stop. So I did."
"Holy shit!" he said again.
She chuckled at his wide eyes. "Come on, we're almost there," she said as she shined her flashlight beam back down the long, dark, narrow corridor and began to lead them to another of the teen gang's secret passageways that would ultimately lead them to an underground network of secret passageways and hideouts along the riverbanks of the Mississippi.
The old building was completely surrounded by the local NOPD and SWAT teams as backup, which meant - if they played their cards right – the three two-person-teams of federal agents should be able to hunt down, force out and capture the kingpin and his right-hand man of this wicked, sadistic gang. Then they would have the top players of this gang securely in their clutches, legally detained over the next forty-eight hours, and happily at their mercy as each agent continually rotated their intimidating interrogations and relentlessly pressed their advantage to get them to finally break under the unrelenting pressure and talk. Yes, it was just a matter of time until things shifted more significantly in their direction - the right direction - for Reyes, her taskforce and the two missing children.
Scully's Motel Room – Morrisville, NC:
The little redhead rolled over again clutching the small touchstone in her hand as she tried to drift back off to sleep. Her mind and thoughts began to wander back to Reyes yet again. But now her thoughts and emotions were beginning to settle, compared to just moments before. She felt at ease and comforted again with no unshakable feelings of impending danger towards her lover.
…Hum… This latest dream had really done a number on her, there for a minute or so, once she had begun to remember it more clearly. Moreover, her mother had not been the one she had been calling out to either. No. It had been Reyes that she had been calling out to in warning: "Moni! STOP!" not "Mommy, stop." She wondered, too, what had been causing all of these consistent horrid dreams about the possibilities of Reyes being hurt or in impending danger from something lurking around just out-of-sight and out-of-sound.
The first nightmare had occurred last Wednesday morning, in the wee hours of the morning, while they were both still in Helena, Montana sleeping in two separate beds in two separate rooms inside a little motel in the wintry cold northern state; and that first dream had been horrifying, to the point that she had gotten up from her bed, slipped on her robe, and left for Reyes' room in need of Reyes' comforting arms to surround her and drive away her fears. …Ohhh God… She rolled over again as visions of that horrific nightmare - Reyes lying in her arms from a shotgun blast to the chest, bleeding out all over her, with not one damn thing she could do about it, medical doctor or no medical doctor, and gasping for her one last breath before ultimate death - entered her thoughts. …Ohhh God… Why was she having these consistent horrifying dreams about Reyes getting critically hurt or possibly even killed while trying to protect her and her unborn son these last few days? But then this latest dream did not seem to be related to all the others she had dreamed of Reyes trying to protect her and her unborn son. This dream seemed to have had its own agenda; and whatever it had been it appeared to be over with now.
"Mmm," she rolled over again then glanced at the clock. She wondered what her lover was doing right about now, over 860 miles away from her, as she hunted down the kidnappers of the two missing children. Well. She was confident that whatever she was doing she was giving it her best as she narrowed her search down to find the two missing kids. Moreover, she had faith in her that she would find them in time and be successful with their rescue. She clutched her pillow a little more snuggly then ultimately drifted back off to sleep.
Small Conference Room – FBI New Orleans Field Office – New Orleans, LA
Two Hours Later – 6:27 AM (CT):
SAC Reigel cleared his throat yet again indignant with this latest screw-up by his six best federal agents in the field, four local NOPD Squads, and the local NOPD SWAT Team. "How in the hell can five people get past forty suits - armed and in position - and already prepped that they were coming through one of those tunnels? Anyone care to explain?" he snapped again.
ASAC Cunningham just sat back in his chair and sighed loudly.
"Well? What the hell happened, people?" Reigel yelled again at his three best agents.
Cunningham glanced over to Pierce, then to Reyes.
Reyes cocked an eyebrow then eased up in her seat closing her eyes herself in disbelief. How could an entire combined forty-person-squad of highly-trained law enforcement personnel – part Local and part Federal – armed and in position surrounding an old dilapidated warehouse manage to let a measly five people slip through their fingers from inside those storage tunnels? She hadn't an answer either.
"Well, that's not gonna cut it, Reyes! Tell me something!" Reigel roared at the baffled brunette.
"Sir?" Pierce immediately jumped to his partner's defense.
"No. No Brian," Reyes stopped him reaching over and touching his arm for a moment. A part of her felt that she deserved SAC Reigel's livid indignation, but then a part of her knew that she did not. Not everything that went down bad was her fault. Even though she consistently tended to take the blame for things that went down bad - whether she was any where near the screw-up or not - not every single thing that ever went down bad was her fault. She could not control every single person out there in the field and make sure that all of them were in the right places at the right times and doing their jobs the right way. "I um, I'm not sure that I…"
"You're not sure. Well, what the hell do you expect me to tell that family sitting out there? Huh?" Reigel yelled at her again.
"I'll tell them," she spoke calmly rising up from her seat.
"The hell you will!" he yelled at her again then got up himself. "Sit down!" he yelled again.
She quickly sat back down.
"And come up with another plan! Now! Damn it!" he yelled at her and the other two agents in the room once again then left closing the door quite loudly behind him.
A few moments of silence passed in the room.
"Ohhh... Well… Whew… That went well," Cunningham finally said, glancing back over to the perturbed brunette again, then to Pierce, then back to her. "Well, what do you think happened?"
Reyes pursed her lips nibbling on her lower lip for a moment then took a sip of her coffee. "Well. I smell a rat."
"A rat? Explain."
Reyes then took a pen and piece of paper out of her jacket pocket and began to sketch out the underground network of passageways and tunnels that she, Pierce and the two other two-person teams of agents had followed earlier this morning, as they forced out the kingpin, his right-hand man, and three other gang leaders out from the belly of the network to three main tunnels. The Local PD and SWAT Teams were already in place, surrounding the three main tunnels, when one squad suddenly flanked to the right of the far left tunnel, backing up another team that was already in place leaving the far left tunnel free and clear for the five men to escape.
"Reyes?" Cunningham said again.
"Here. Right here," she said pointing at the far left tunnel. "Bailey and Brown had them cornered, in their sites, then radioed it in, shots were fired, then the outer squad suddenly flanked to the right. Why?"
Cunningham then eased up in his chair to look at the hand-sketched drawing. "You sure they flanked right?"
"Yes. I broke in on their squad leader's orders, ordered them back to the left - back to their original position - but by then it was too late."
"No. No way. Not twice in a row," the frustrated brunette shook her head.
"Twice in a row? What do you mean?"
"Yesterday, with Elisa. Who led that last squad in during the rescue attempt?"
Both men shrugged.
"Well. We need to find out. But my guess is it's the same one that led this squad in to mistakenly flank right this morning."
"Incompetence?" Cunningham offered giving the unknown squad leader and his team the benefit of the doubt.
"No. Don't think so. I've got a bad feeling about this one."
Cunningham furrowed his brow. "Reyes. You know what you're saying?"
"Yes," she nodded.
"We can't go after a cop without any concrete evidence," he countered.
"Sure we can. Quietly," she winked as she retrieved the small hand-sketched map from the table then eased up from her chair.
"But, Reyes?" He cocked an eyebrow yet again.
"Three beignets and a latté it's our trigger happy cop from last night. Betcha."
"Lt. Manning?" Pierce chimed in his eyes widening with surprise.
She nodded as she eased towards the door.
Cunningham began to argue, "Reyes. I can't go after him without anything more than your gut feeling. We've got to have something more than that."
"Then we'll get it," she said glancing back over to her partner.
Pierce nodded in agreement. "I'll ask around, see what I can come up with. I gotta friend over there in his unit. Think he's with the 7th."
"Good. Just be careful," both other agents said in unison then smiled at each other.
Reyes then cleared her throat, "Okay. Well, the last thing we need is for him to make us on this. We'll either drive him underground or he'll instantly end this wicked little game of his, leaving us two dead children on our hands."
SAC Reigel suddenly opened the door. "Reyes. Chamberlain family wants to see you."
…Oh boy… "Okay. Tell them I'll be with them in a moment," she pursed her lips.
Reigel nodded then left the room again.
"You up to it?" Pierce touched her arm.
"Yeah. Just wish I had some good news, something of real significance to tell them."
"You do. We're closer than we were," he encouraged.
"Yeah. Maybe," she said then left the room.
She then walked down the long hallway towards the ladies' room to give herself some privacy for a few moments before facing the Chamberlain family. She entered the small room, glanced up in the mirror, then dampened a paper towel using it to dab away some of the telltale signs of extreme exhaustion. She was beginning to look bad - really bad - with the deep, dark circles surrounding her bloodshot eyes. The strain of the case, strain of the pace, strain of the constant surveillance, strain of the ultimate long interrogations of several known gang members, and strain of lack of any real sleep or proper nutrition was beginning to show more readily in her eyes and countenance. She sighed wearily as she washed her face and hands, then soothed her weary eyes with the cool, clear water. She then reached inside her jacket pocket, grabbed another breath mint, then left the room headed for the Chamberlain family waiting patiently in the visitor's lounge.
"Agent Reyes!" the nice young man from the Reagan International Airport and Airbus Jet yesterday morning that had flown them both to New Orleans jumped up from his seat.
"Todd," she greeted him warmly, shaking his hand, then smiled at his younger sister and brother-in-law, the young mother and father of the missing little boy, Cody Chamberlain; the same young mother and father whom she had met coincidentally back in Georgetown, Washington, DC, two nights ago at the Shops at Georgetown Park, and then the same young mother and father whom she had officially met again last night, due to this case and their youngest kidnapped son.
"Agent Reyes. Good morning," the young mother quickly stood up next to her older brother.
"Good morning," Reyes said walking over to her and giving her a warm hug. "Would you like something to drink? Coffee? Tea? Or anything?"
"No. No, we… we just don't know what to do with ourselves this morning, and we… Well, we wanted to see you," the young woman said as she let go of the tall brunette.
"Agent Reyes?" the young father then stood too, as he held their older son in his arms, whom was sleeping quite peacefully in his protective arms for the moment, oblivious to the seriousness of the situation and the ramifications it could initiate for his missing little brother. But then that was understandable for a young boy of his age, because he was only seven-years-old himself.
Reyes barely smiled nibbling on her lower lip. His tearstained eyes and cheeks were tearing at her heartstrings so much she could hardly breathe.
"Um, Agent Reyes? Is there anything? Anything new, that you could tell us?" he asked.
"Um, no, I'm afraid not. Nothing more than you have already been made aware of."
He nodded then turned to his wife as he lowered their heavy little son back down to the couch so he could sleep more comfortably.
The young mother then said, "But, Agent Reyes, we were told that you had the ringleader surrounded last night, and that once you had him in custody it would be just a matter of time before…" she shrugged, full of questions and apprehension, just as any fearful mother would be.
"I know. I realize that Mrs. Chamberlain, but I'm afraid that he managed to slip away from us this morning. I am under the impression that SAC Reigel talked to you earlier and explained the latest?"
The young mother nodded, "Yes, but we wanted to hear it from you. We trust you."
…Ohhh God… Reyes felt her heart tighten inside her chest. …Oh God… They trusted her. They trusted her to find their missing son. Hence, she would do everything in her power to be worthy of that trust and find their missing son, before it was too late, and bring him back to them alive and whole, both physically and emotionally. "Well. Okay. I'm not sure what you've been told this morning, so, if I repeat anything…"
"Oh no, that's fine. I'm not sure if we are hearing everything correctly anyway. We're just so…" the young mother shrugged.
Reyes nodded again in understanding as she reached over and clasped the young woman's shoulder for a moment. The young woman smiled in spite of her fear and anxiety. Reyes smiled, too, then began to explain to her, her husband, and her older brother more clearly about the latest events of the case, giving them all of the pertinent information that she could without jeopardizing their progress.
The family listened attentively, asking questions when appropriate, then gave more information as needed as they listened then remembered something else that they thought might be of significance and help towards finding their missing son. Reyes listened carefully and asked more questions herself about the timeframe of the crime, the crime scene area and any other relevant events that may have led up to Cody's ultimate abduction, juggling any new information that she could from his father's memory, as he began to go through the seemingly typical early Friday morning events again.
He would never have believed that planning an early morning fishing trip with his two young sons and young cousin yesterday morning would have ever led to his youngest son's kidnapping; and he felt such guilt and remorse over that. How could he have not seen what was about to happen to his youngest son? How could he not have been more aware and more protective of his overly-zealous young son - so outgoing and trusting of everyone, including complete strangers, and ironically, including this very agent that was now talking to them and leading the taskforce in search of his missing son? He suddenly burst into tears, sobbing with extreme feelings of guilt and remorse over his youngest son, and begging his wife to please forgive him for being "so bad", and "such a bad father", and "such a bad husband", and "such a bad…" anything else that he could think of as he rambled through his fretful tears.
"Oh no, honey, don't do this," Mrs. Chamberlain instantly grabbed onto her sobbing husband without any unwarranted blame or anger directed towards him as she began to cry more fretfully right along with him. He was a wonderful father and a wonderful husband; and what had happened to their little son could have just as easily happened to her; and she knew that. Many a time, she had allowed her younger son to wander away from her sight for a few moments trying to teach him to keep an eye out on his surroundings, and on where his parents were at any given moment. But, this time, it had backfired - tragically.
…Oh Christ… Reyes swallowed hard to keep from bursting into a fit of tears herself from watching this sweet young family suffer so as the persistent lump in her throat tried to push through. She could not afford to cry herself in front of this nice, young family. But in many ways, it reminded her of her very first case with John Doggett's son, Luke; and that case had been one of the hardest cases she had ever worked on in her life.
The nice young man - Cody's uncle – then eased her over towards the main window of the small room away from his sniffling sister and sobbing brother-in-law. "Agent Reyes, tell me the truth. Tell me what to expect. Please," he pleaded.
She smiled warmly gazing into his receptive eyes. "Todd. All I can say is, don't ever give up on a miracle, okay? He's out there. He's alive. And with God's help, and my guts and determination, we'll find him, okay?"
The nice young man nodded seeing the gallant guts, dogged determination and fervent fortitude in her eyes. "So what do I do right now?"
"What you're doing. Be supportive. Listen and give support as needed. And don't hold your brother-in-law responsible. He is a good man, a good father. It could have happened to anyone. Even you. Learn something from this where your own two daughters are concerned. Never let a young child wander off out of your sight. Never. I know that's hard to do but…"
"But if you do, something like this could happen."
"Yes. Exactly. It only takes a few seconds, and they can be swiped away and gone."
He nodded then glanced out the window at the big splash of bright light scattering through the dark, dreary morning sky. "Crap, this rain just won't quit will it?"
She smiled again, "No, not this time of year. It rains and rains and rains until you wonder if you'll just drift away into the Mississippi."
He smiled as he glanced back up to her noticing the dark heavy circles under her eyes. "You need some sleep."
"I've had some."
"You were on a case back in DC?"
"Um, no, I had just flown in from one though. Actually, one of our own went down this week and he's to be buried later this afternoon."
"Oh, God, sorry to hear about that."
The nice young man nodded again. "Well, was that your partner? Your girlfriend back at the airport?"
Reyes smirked then cocked an eyebrow yet again.
"Oh God, I'm sorry. Guess I shouldn’t have asked you that around here."
She chuckled then licked her lips. …Hum. My girlfriend, huh? Oh yeah. I guess you could call her that. My girlfriend. Umhum… She liked the sound of that. "Yeah," she grinned again as her heart and soul began to tingle with love and adoration towards the little redhead to whom he had been referring.
"Well. I'm cool," he said grinning himself.
She chuckled again. "I think I figured that out, back at the airport. But, thank you anyway, for telling me," she grinned again.
He grinned and winked, too.
Just then, the Garcia family entered the small room. The grandmother of little Elisa spotted the tall, dark, raven-haired beauty standing next to the young man then rushed over to her. "¿Agente Reyes? ¿Encontró algo?" she asked enthusiastically. "Ah. Perdone," she whispered suddenly, realizing that not all in the small visitor's lounge could speak Spanish. It was a simple matter of courtesy towards another with the Isleños. They rarely spoke in their native tongue around those that did not speak the language. They were a very courteous, respectful and dignified people. If only other cultures could learn from their quiet spirit of strength and graciousness.
"Ah. Señora Garcia," Reyes immediately turned to the older woman giving her a warm tight hug as she smiled at Elisa's father, two older brothers and older sister. Elisa's mother had died giving birth to her - their precious little baby sister - whom had now been missing for almost forty-six hours. "Please, sit down, and I'll tell you what I've just told them, okay?"
The older woman nodded. Reyes again offered coffee, tea, bottled water or whatever to the newest family to arrive as they all shook their heads, but thanked her anyway for the courtesy. She then began to introduce them to the Chamberlain family explaining whom each of them where. They all shook hands, greeting each other with a love, compassion, and understanding that went beyond human comprehension. The young Mrs. Chamberlain then reached over and hugged the older Señora Garcia, understanding her overwhelming sense of fear, trepidation and loss.
"Well, if you don't mind, I'd like to bring our newest arrivals up-to-date, too, all right?" Reyes said glancing over to the Chamberlain family again as she took a seat in front of her small audience. They all nodded in agreement. "I may switch to Spanish at times, to make sure everyone in this room understands me clearly. Okay?" she said again glancing at the Chamberlain family once more. They all nodded in agreement understanding the situation. The older lady, Señora Garcia, did not speak as fluent of English as her younger family members; and Reyes wanted to respect that and respect the older woman, making sure that she understood every single word she said about their progress in finding the two missing children.
Reyes then began to go over all of the progress they had made so far in catching many of the gang members and most all of the gang leaders, interrogating them and detaining them; which meant keeping them off the streets and hampering their means of communication with each other - and anyone else on the outside, for the time being - as she and her taskforce systematically learned more about where their secret locations were, one by one, systematically searching through the newest locations, narrowing the perimeters down until they would soon have another location to target, and then go in, this time using the Federal Hostage Rescue Team again and the Coast Guard as the front line and using the Locals for backup on the next rescue attempt.
All the family members nodded and commented, occasionally asking more questions, then commenting again on Reyes' careful answers, as she handled the very difficult meeting - both emotionally and intellectually - with the two distraught families. She had to be very careful not to give them too much information, false information, or false expectations and false hope, and yet somehow not deter their hope, enthusiasm and beliefs that they would soon see their missing children and grandchild again. It was so difficult to do, meet with a family of a missing child or grandchild; and yet here Reyes was, having to meet with the two families at the exact same time. It was so hard to do and so wearing on the soul.
She glanced at her watch, approaching a stopping-place for her unofficial debriefing to the two families, just as her partner entered the room. He motioned to her to come over to him for a moment. She did, quickly listened to what he had to say, then began to politely excuse herself from the room.
"¡Un momento!" Elisa's grandmother then spoke up rushing over to the tall brunette.
The older woman then pulled her down to whisper something into her ear.
"¿Qué?" Reyes' eyes widened. "¡Ah! ¡Mi Dios!" Why had they not been told this before now? Not that it would have helped them find little Elisa in a more timely manner. But, still, they needed to know such life-threatening information as this just the same. She glanced over at her partner, "Brian, we've got a problem."
"What's up?" he said coming up to stand beside her.
She then leaned in and whispered, "It's Elisa. She's diabetic."
"What?! Oh God."
Reyes then pulled the older woman in for another tight embrace whispering soothing words into her ear. The older woman nodded, clutching the tall agent tight against her breast, then whispered something else into her ear.
Reyes nodded, "Entendida." …Understood… then let go of the older woman. "Brian? Meet me in the Situation Room in five minutes," she said.
"Okay," he nodded then left the room.
She then gave the older woman another quick hug, whispering something else into her ear, then went over to Cody's mother, quickly whispered something else into her ear as well, then gave her another quick hug, too, before ultimately leaving this room for the Situation Room.
Situation Room – Five Minutes Later:
Reyes entered the room with a dogged determination that she had not felt in years. Elisa was a juvenile diabetic. …Damn!... Which meant that they were running out of time for more reasons than one. …Damn! Why this little girl? Why? Why any little girl? Why any little boy? Damn!... She felt the anger rising in her soul as the blood began to boil in her veins. She quickly walked over to the 8"x10" black-and-white photograph of the top gang leader hanging on the cork board - the same sadistic cult teen gang leader that had managed to escape their clutches earlier in the wee hours of the morning – and smashed the back of her fist against the mug shot. "He's mine, damn it! By tonight, he's mine!" she yelled as she banged the back of her fist against it one more time.
"Reyes, calm down," Pierce said.
"No! If I calm down, I'll… No!"
"No! I will not lose this child! Either child! To this worthless piece of… Ugh!" she growled in anger. "Damn it! Have you found out who led that piss poor fuckup of a squad this morning?!" she growled again.
"Yeah," he stated calmly. …Oh buddy… When Reyes was pissed – which did not happen very often, but on this particular morning she was royally pissed – one did not want to be in her line of fire, not if one wanted to keep their ass in tact.
"Well, it wasn't Manning."
"What?! You have got to be kidding me!"
"Let me see that," she said as she took the report from his hand. She began to scan through the document then turned the page to check on the previous fuckup that had happened on the first rescue attempt earlier yesterday morning around this time. "What the fu… Frig!" she fussed as she read the two different names, indicating two different commanding officers; and neither officer had been Lt. Jerry Manning. "No. No way. Something is wrong here, I just know it," she said as she looked at her partner.
Pierce just shrugged, "I don't know what to say, Reyes. It's right there."
She narrowed her eyes then headed for the door.
"Reyes?" he called after her but it was too late. She was gone.