Taking on Responsibility-Chapter 1

"Ro! Hurry your punk ass up!" Brian O'Connor playfully yelled in their garage at closing time. They had taken their 'earnings' from the whole Carter Verone assignment and had opened their garage as they had planned. Brian and Roman were supposed to be meeting Monica Fuentes in twenty minutes at the local Red Lobster to discuss something she had said was very important.

"Chill, Brian. You still got feelings for her, don't you?" Roman came out, throwing on a t-shirt. Brian rolled his eyes.

"You got it all wrong, Roman. YOU are the player." Brian laughed, shaking his head and grinning boyishly. Roman grabbed Brian and put him in a headlock.

"Dude,my hair." He joked, freeing himself from Roman's grip.

"Freakin punk." Roman joked. "I'll race ya there." He yelled, jumping in his spyder. They had been able to keep their cars after it had all went down, lucky for them. They cruised down Miami Boulevard, both roaring into the parking lot. Brian raced for the door, Roman dawdled. He still didn't care for Monica as much as Brian seemed to.

"Hey Brian." Monica stood up, giving him a quick hug. She nodded at Roman, who nodded back, his eyes narrowed a noticeable amount.

"So, where's the food? I'm hungry." Roman was quick to say, looking around impatiently.

"Ro, chill." Brian kicked him under the table, making Monica laugh in her typical way. Brian looked her in the eyes. "Ok, so what s it now? That was supposed to be the end of it." He said, his eyes locking into hers.

"And it was. But, guys, come on. I know there was more money there than what you guys turned in." Monica said, playing with her glass of water. Roman looked at Brian.

"Told you, man. I knew she was up to no good." Roman said, ready to get up. Monica put her hand on his shoulder to stop him from leaving.

"Now hold on, Playboy, you should hear me out." She said, grinning. She looked at Brian pleadingly. Roman grumbled, hoping Brian was not going to give her a chance, but it being Brian, he knew she would have her way to explain.

"What is it, Monica. I know you don't normally stoop to blackmail, even though I am not convinced you have any kind of reason to think that." Brian said, staring into her eyes yet again. Brian was able to read people by their eyes.

"Ok, you're right. Let's order and we can talk." She suggested.

"Now you are talking some kind of sense." Roman agreed, making Monica and Brian both laugh. "I want the all you can eat lobster feast." He closed the menu, handed it to the waiter, and then took to eating a biscuit.

"Manners, Ro." Brian teased. "I'll have the same." He nodded.

"I'll have a salad and a water, please." Monica said, closing the menu.

"See? I knew you weren't a REAL girl." Roman accused. Monica looked at him, confused. "Yeah, you, Fuentes." He nodded, looking at her with exasperation.

"Roman Pearce, what the hell do you mean?" She asked, now interested in his reasoning.

"Real girls eat real food. You a Barbie wanna be." He said, stuffing another biscuit in his mouth and watching her. She rolled her eyes.

"Maybe I need to order a daiquiri so I can deal with him." She looked at Brian, who was grinning at his friend.

"Order me one too, what the hell." Brian said, loving how she looked. He couldn't lie to himself. She was pretty. The only problem was he had been corrupted into a street racer ever since he had raced with Team DT. She was a cop, and a federal agent, at that. "Ok, so what, exactly are you getting at?" He asked, taking a drink of his Pepsi.

"Well, I got this problem of some sorts and I need your help. And it's a fairly big problem." She said, stirring her ice water and looking at the ceiling. She hated to look at Brian's deep, ocean, blue eyes. She felt a connection there but they were from two different worlds and she knew it would never work.

"Hell no, you're outta yo damn mind if you think we are helping your force out." Roman said, twiddling his thumbs. He was hyped up on RedBull. He was jittery and nervous at her intentions. He was even more nervous of Brian accepting something to get them involved in another mess. His homeboy was so good at getting them both into messes like the whole Carter Verone thing.

"You really need to relax. It's nothing dealing with any agency, Pearce." Monica said as their food was put in front of them.

"What is it? You okay?" Brian asked, concerned.

"It's more of a personal favor, if you will." She said, taking a deep breath. She wouldn't have minded asking Brian but Roman was going to make this as difficult for her as possible.

"Spit it out already, Home girl." Roman said, getting exasperated. It was a Friday night and almost eleven pm. The races would be starting soon and they had to be there for Tej. Brian had earned himself the title king of the streets in Miami and Roman was pretty well known himself.

"Ok, look, I'm not dumb." Monica said, leaning into the table and closer to the boys, her tone in a whisper. "I need to go to the restroom, I'll be right back, excuse me." She got up. Roman shook his head.

"Way to go, Roman. You got her all mad now." Brian hissed as she excused herself to go the bathroom, not having quite the nerve to spill her request yet.

"Listen, Bro, we got like an hour before Tej needs us at the pier. So either you get your little girlfriend to spill it or reschedule this meeting and leave me at home next time." Roman grinned, knowing he was wearing on Brian's nerves. They had bantered like this back and forth since they had been in kindergarten, growing up in Barstow together. Brian was the whole reason Roman was in Miami and he never let Brian forget it.

"Dude, she's not my girlfriend! She asked us both to come here, remember? Come on, Rome, chill, man, chill." Brian said, himself wondering what could be so huge that Monica needed their help. She hadn't asked for anything, much less called since the day they had saved her from Carter's wrath and gotten him caught.

"Yeah, and Bra, she's a damn pig. Don't let her looks fool you." Roman shot back, shaking his head and still eating.

"Sorry, but you have it all wrong. Slow down before you choke." Brian said in a quiet voice as Monica made her way back to the table. "It you want this to be over, shut the hell up." Brian ordered right before she sat down in a tight whisper.

"Sorry, I had a call from the person that deals with something with why I asked you to come here." Monica apologized, trying to explain herself.

"So you told us another lie. A little lie but still a lie. I thought you were going to the bathroom." Roman nodded at her suspiciously. Roman shook his head, so serious Brian had to laugh. He was not going to ease up on her at all but that was just Roman. It took him a long time to get over things. Brian knew this from personal experience.

"You are so irritating and so juvenile. Gawd, what is your deal?' Monica asked, starting to get annoyed now. Roman mocked her but stopped with her cold stare. He became serious, knowing it was the only way she was going to talk and that they were going to get to the races on time.

"Ok, go on and talk. We're listening." Roman said, nodding.

"Thanks for the permission." Monica said dryly.

"You're welcome." Roman quipped, but then stopped. "I'm gonna go call Tej and let you two talk." He said, knowing he wasn't wanted anymore.

"Gawd, he has gotten worse." Monica complained, but smiling at Brian.

"Yup,good 'ol Rome." Brian laughed and grinned. "Ok, so what's up?" He asked. "You in some kinda trouble? I didn't ever see blackmail your style." He said, frowning with part concern, his arms folded.

"Yes and no." Monica replied, chewing her lip. Brian found it hard not to be smitten with her looks. She was beautiful enough to be a model. He was still in disbelief at times that she could really be a federal agent.

"I just really need some help and I am not sure how you will feel about what I need help with." She said hesitantly.

"Monica, you gotta tell me. If it's anything with the force, I can't. If it's for you, I will do my best." He said, leaning back in his chair.