|Out of my mind
Author: Akasha617 PM
AU: A fangirl goes to TrentonRated: Fiction M - English - Chapters: 26 - Words: 85,517 - Reviews: 69 - Favs: 17 - Follows: 9 - Updated: 10-08-06 - Published: 09-18-06 - Status: Complete - id: 3159816
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
This is my first chapter of my first Stephanie Plum fanfic, and I appreciate all feedback, please be gentle.
Spoilers: None really, but then again, we see where it takes us.
Rating: PG13 for language, it's adult language
Disclaimer: I made the whole thing up, I own none of JE's characters.
Out Of my Mind
Okay, so it was an idiotic idea. What was my point, I answered the accusation in my head.
Clearly, I should by now been able to realize that an idea born between midnight and 4 AM, in a drunken stupor, should be discarded when the hangover wore off at the latest.
I had flown to New York from Boston to visit my friend Jessica and we had gone clubbing. Afterwards, exhausted from dancing and shitfaced from too may cocktails to count, we were sitting in her living room, when I happened to mention that New Jersey was the next state.
Jessica looked at me as if she was expecting me to go somewhere with that statement.
"Well, you know who lives in Jersey?" I asked, the idea forming in my head.
I knew that she had devoured all Stephanie Plum novels and was just as big as a fan as I was, but it didn't occur to me that she wasn't a mindreader and had no idea what I was talking about.
"A few million people?" she tried.
"Stephanie Plum!", I burst out.
Now my patience, which was barely there when I was sober, ran out.
"We could, like, totally drive down to Trenton and take our picture in front of all the landmarks, see if we can find everything she talks about in the books!"
I jumped up with excitement.
Jessica didn't know I had a history of crazy fan girl experiences.
Once, at 16, I had trekked to Sayreville, New Jersey, to find John Bon Jovi's house and high school. One might argue that, at 30, I should have grown out of things like that, but either way, there was precedence.
My friend smiled.
"Yeah, I can see that…" and she giggled.
We spun the thread further, thinking up all the places we could go, finding out if the storefronts really existed and such.
Now, the thing about me is, I can really talk myself into an idea. My mind was set. I think that night Jessica didn't take me seriously.
But the next morning, when she had to get ready to go work, I brought up the subject again.
"So, when are we going to Jersey?"
"You were serious?"
Unfortunately, she was expected to spend all day at work and go to class afterwards, but she suggested I could go by myself.
When I hesitated, she told me she could get a car from a friend and have me on the road by noon.
So I took off, a map on the seat next to me, bummed out a little that I had to go on my own, but giddy with excitement.
I don't know what I had expected, but I quickly learned that Trenton wasn't anything to write home about. Just a city with ugly industrial sections, neglected residential areas and a whole lot of nothing.
I drove around for a while, no real goal in mind when I read the street sign for Hamilton Avenue.
Finally, something familiar!
Traffic was kind of heavy and cars started honking at me when I tried to slow down to see familiar landmarks.
I had occurred to me that everything in the books was made up, although it was placed in Trenton, until I had discovered the street name.
I parked at the curb, fed the meter and shouldered my purse, ready to go explore on foot.
The weather was nice enough for April, and I was wearing sneakers, so it seemed like a good idea.
My next idea wasn't nearly as reasonable, as I stopped at a pay phone, fed it some money and dialed the operator. I guess I felt safe because it was a public phone, but it was still ludicrous.
It took some explaining that I didn't want 911 but the Trenton Police department's regular number, but before I knew it, the line was ringing.
"Trenton Police Headquarters" a woman answered the phone.
I cleared my throat and gripped the receiver tighter in my sweaty hand.
"Joe Morelli, please." I was amazed at how calm my voice sounded.
"Just a moment."
Hang up right this second! A voice that sounded eerily like my mom's chimed up, but I ignored it.
It rang three times before voicemail picked up. A deep voice told me I had reached the desk of Joe Morelli and to leave a message or call his cell.
I was shaking, but I managed to get my pen out and write down the number, having no intention to call it.
I hung up right at the beep and had to stifle a fan girlish scream. This was impossible! There was no way it was THE Joe Morelli, but still!
Boy, would I have a story to tell!
When I got my heart rate under control, I continued walking, a big smile on my face.
On the next block, I almost fainted.
I gasped as I read the storefront sign.
"Vincent Plum – Bonding Agent"
This was so not happening. Clearly, I was imagining at all and would soon wake up on Jess' couch, hungover and tired.
I closed my eyes, took a breath, and made myself count to 10. Then I slowly opened my eyes again, and, sure enough, I was still staring at the sign.
What the hell, I thought, if this was my dream, I might as well run with it.
I made myself step closer and open the door.
This was unreal.
The small office in front of me was exactly as I had read it described in so many novels.
Faux leather couch over here, desk on the far wall, in front of some doors, cheap walnut paneling on the walls.
I must have looked pretty scary, because the woman behind the desk eyed me warily before asking if she could help me.
"Connie?" I croaked.
"Do I know you?" she hadn't gotten up and grabbed her gun, I took that as a good sign.
The fact that I bit my tongue before I said "No, but I know you.' Might have helped.
I cleared my throat and squared my shoulders.
"I'm Lindsey Taylor and I was given your name to apply for a job as a BEA".
I was having an out-of-body experience, there was no other way to explain what I had just said. The name I could explain easily enough, it had been my alias for years, all my friends knew it as the name to address me by in bars and clubs.
But what was I saying?
"It's a dream!" I reminded myself "You can be anything you want to be in a dream."
Although I couldn't recall any dream this vivid before, I decided to go with it. How else was I to explain Joe Morelli's voice mail and this office?
Connie's presence only confirmed that theory.
She looked like a Jersey Girl of the 80's to me, although I hadn't known their style hadn't changed with the new millennium.
Amazingly, her face softened and she got up.
"You'd have to talk to Vinnie about that, and he's in a meeting right now. But I can have you fill out an application and get you started."
Aha! Further proof that this was my imagination, because who in the world would not ask questions when addressed by name by a perfect stranger?
I grinned and nodded, practically falling onto the couch as my knees buckled.
Five minutes later, I stared at the form in front of me and the bogus information I had filled in. Whatever, I thought, the hell with it.
I could barely keep my hand under control, it was shaking so hard.
When the door to the left of Connie's door opened, I jumped in my seat and nearly had a heart attack.
Voices carried out of what looked like an office (Vinnie's office! I reminded myself, Holy Shit!), and Ranger stepped out.
My mind registered this, the name just being assigned to the man in the doorframe, seconds before I began hyperventilating.
I coughed to cover my stupid reaction and looked up to find everybody staring at me.
Connie's eyebrows met with the frown she gave me, and the hunk in the doorframe assessed me quietly.
Tall, dark and handsome. This was clearly Ranger. Or, if not, clearly the basis for the character.
Downing a mental shot, I got up and approached him, extending my hand.
"Ricardo Carlos Manoso? I'm Lindsay Taylor."
What the hell, if he drew his gun, I'd probably wake up sweat-drenched from this nightmare.
I must not have looked threatening in my jeans and t-shirt on my 5'3" frame, since he took my hand and shook it.
I may have had an orgasm on the spot when he spoke.
His dark eyes were fixed on mine, and I just new he was trying to place me and find out how I knew his name.
By now, I was Lindsay Taylor, bounty hunter extraordinaire, not Sandra Cline, systems administrator. Clearly, my subconscious must have been working on this idea for a while, since I had no clue how I managed to stay calm and make my mouth work. There was a substantial part of me that wanted to squeal like a teenager at a boy band concert, but I kept it under check.
My hand was still in Ranger's and our eyes held.
Everyone was looking at me expectantly, I realized.
Buying a moment, I cleared my throat and peeked behind Ranger at Vinnie. Since Connie had all but confirmed he was Vinnie, and the sign on the door said it, I was only mildly shocked to recognize him as well. Hunched over, dark, slicked-back hair, I quickly understood how he could be described as a weasel.
"Mr. Plum, I am from Boston and I'd like a word with you?"
Now I even put a seductive smile on my face, still hoping I would wake up before I'd talk myself into a corner.
Up until now, it was the kind of dream I may remember fondly, but I didn't know what would happen if my infamous verbal diarrhea took over. It may become embarrassing.
Ranger stepped aside, his eyes watching me carefully, and I noticed the gun on his hips.
Vinnie motioned me into his office and took a seat behind the desk.
I realized that this part of the office had never been described fully, so I took a moment to look around.
A desktop computer, a few file folders and a phone on the desk, along with some gadgets and gizmos, an aged carpet on the floor, 2 faux leather and chrome visitor chairs. Nothing I hadn't expected.
Some pictures on the walls, but mostly forgettable.
Vinnie had crossed his legs and sighed.
"Do I owe you money?"
Oh, this was going well. He didn't ask what the fuck I was doing in his office, I took that as encouragement.
"No, no, of course not. Although you may, if you agree to my proposition."
I smiled again and wished I had worn a sexier outfit, because if he was anything like in the books, I could persuade him to do anything with a suggestive smile and cleavage.
As it was, I relied on my 'sexy voice', that I'd only ever practiced in front of the bathroom mirror.
"I would like to work for you, as a bond enforcement agent."
When I sensed his objection, I quickly raised a silencing hand.
"Hear me out. I know you don't know me. You don't know what I can do. So my suggestion is this," I took a deep calming breath "Give me the chump change, the 500 dollar skips, whatever. See if I can deliver. If you like my work, let me advance. In return, you don't ask me any questions and refrain from checking my background."
I thought that last part was necessary because I, Lindsay Taylor, really didn't have a background.
Vinnie seemed to consider. I was getting my hopes up. It was my fantasy, but there was no guarantee my made-up characters would go along with it. Well, Janet's made-up characters, but same thing.