"You're taking me to the bank."
Steve slowly raised his gaze from the newspaper in his hands and stared at the young doctor standing before him.
"You are taking me to the bank. Let's go."
Jesse turned his body a degree and stopped, a look of expectaion on his face.
Steve's eyes narrowed. "As a rule, I only take orders from my father, my boss, or my girlfriends. I'm afraid you don't quite fall into any of those categories, my feminie friend."
Jesse grabbed the top of Steve's newspaper and pushed it to the kitchen table with a rustle. "I'm afraid you're under indirect orders from your father. He said that you would be happy to drive me to the bank."
Steve moved his eyes to glare at his father, who was sitting on the couch in the adjascent living room. "He did, did he?"
Steve looked at Jesse again. The young man had a mischievious glint in his blue eyes that the detective thought only children were capable of producing. When that spark flared in Jesse Travis, the outcome was never pleasant. Steve would oblige the doctor's request, but he would be on his best gaurd all the while.
"Fine. Let's go," he said, folding the paper and laying it on the table. "Sooner we go, sooner you can go back to your cave."
Steve had invited Jesse over for a day of surfing and 'guy stuff'. Jesse's new car had needed some work done to replace a recalled part, so Steve had kindly accompanied his friend to the mechanics and then drove them back to the beach house. Neither of them had planned on the light showers that had plagued the beach all afternoon. Forced to stay inside and entertain each other, the detective and the two doctors quickly became bored and a little tempramental. Perhaps taking a breather and driving into town would relieve some of the tension.
Steve realized Jesse was grumbling as he grabbed his keys.
"...do NOT live in a cave, just because I'm not ON the beach dosen't mean there's anything wrong with my apartment..."
Steve rolled his eyes and shook his head behind his friend's back. "Bye dad," he called over his shoulder. "If he dosen't make it back alive, I'm pleading temporary insanity."
"I heard that!"
"Goodbye Steve," Mark chuckled as Steve closed the front door behind him.
"Thanks for the ride man, I was starting to go crazy."
"Really? I couldn't tell."
Jesse looked at Steve with questioning eyes. "Are you mocking me?"
"Of course not."
Jesse turned away and Steve focused on the wet road before them. "It's no big deal, I had to go anyway. Payday and all."
Jesse smiled and nodded. "Too bad I have to give all mine to the mechanics."
"I thought the part was recalled?" Steve questioned. "You don't pay for things like that."
"Oh, I'm not paying for the part. I bought this awesome new stereo and speakers-"
"Say no more," Steve interrupted. "Now I know where your priorities lay."
Jesse laughed, then grew silent for a moment. Steve could feel his friend's eyes upon him. "So you're not mad anymore?" Jesse asked carefully.
Steve set his jaw as he remembered his failed attempt to pull a fast one on the doctor. "Of course not. Besides, Dad said that was one of the oldest tricks in the book."
Jesse grinned. "It was pretty slick, wasn't it?"
Steve rolled his eyes. He remembered very vividly how Jesse seemingly drank his own urine, which later turned out to be only apple juice. After witnessing the sickening act, Steve had barely made it to the restroom in time, violently losing his lunch to one of the toilets of Community General Hospital.
"Yeah, it was pretty good," Steve finally agreed. He rolled his eyes again.
Steve turned the car into the bank's parking lot and Jesse laughed. "Man, you should have seen your face..."
The detective let out a suffering sigh. Jesse may have won that battle, but the war was not over. "Just you wait, Travis, just you wait."
"Ooh, I'm scared," Jesse taunted.
Together they walked into the bank and got in line behind and elderly woman who had sprayed herself with too much perfume. There was minimal staff visable, and those that were present were each busy with clients. The quiet atmosphere settled over them and effectivley silenced Steve's younger friend. Soon the woman in front of Steve gathered her belongings and moved aside.
Steve stepped up to the counter and was quietly greeted by the young female teller. He set his paycheck on the dark wooden counter and grabbed a deposit ticket when a thought hit him with enough force to still his heart.
The momentary shock quickly dulled and Steve fought against the curling of his lips. He glanced to the bored teller, then to the side, seeing Jesse's form in his periphreal vision. Neither one was really paying attention.
Steve proceeded to fill out a deposit slip as normal, then he pushed the slip and his paycheck to the teller with a smile. As she began pecking at the computer's keyboard, Steve grabbed another slip and discretely dragged it towards him. Shifting his weight and partially concealing the paper, Steve picked up the pen and turned the deposit slip face-down.
In big, blocky letters, he scribbled: 'THIS IS A STICK-UP. GIVE ME ALL THE MONEY IN YOUR DRAWER.'
Quickly turning the paper right side up again, Steve dropped the pen and tried to disguise his adrenaline-fed excitment. He was practically shaking with excitement: this was possibly the most beautiful scheme he had ever thought up. Steve looked at the occupied teller innocently.
Finally she stopped typing and handed him a reciept. "Thank you Mr. Sloan. Have a nice day."
"Oh I will," Steve replied with a little more enthusiasm than he wanted to reveal.
He stepped to the side as Jesse stepped up to the counter. "Here you go," he said, polietly sliding the deposit slip to his friend.
"Oh, thanks," Jesse mumbled as he pulled out a wrinkled paycheck from his back pocket.
Steve watched long enoguh for Jesse to begin filling in the numbers, then announced, "Well, I'm gonna go wait in the car."
Jesse waved a hand. "Okay. I'll be there in a second."
Pride and adrenaline surged through the detective. This was going to be great. He only wished he could be here when the teller turned over the deposit slip to check for additional checks...
With a happy tightness in his chest, Steve turned on his heel and made his exit. He wanted to jump up and down despite the drizzle that continued to leak from the grey clouds overhead. This was quite possibly the best practical joke he ever executed. Where was a camera when you needed one?
Steve setteled into the seat of his car with mighty feeling of accomplishment. A slight feeling of apprehension tingled in his bones- this was a dirty trick and could possibly backfire horribly. Was it worth the laugh if the doctor's feelings got injured?
Now it was time to sit back and watch the show.
As soon as Steve turned the key in his ignition, the most beautiful call filtered over the police scanner.
"All available units please respond to a silent alarm at the Bank of America on Troost."
Steve grinned as several of his fellow oficers responded. He picked up the radio. "This is detective Steve Sloan, I've got the situation under control. No further assistance is needed."
"This is Detective Banks. What are you up to Steve?" a femine voice asked over the radio.
Steve smiled. "Just helping out a friend."
"Whatever you're up to, I want in on it."
"I second that," a masculine voice added.
Steve sat back. Reinforcment would be here within minutes.
He should get an Oscar for this performance.
Jesse smiled as he handed the young woman his check and the deposit slip."Nasty weather, huh?"
She spared him a quick glance before entering information into the computer. Jesse sighed and looked around the bland building. The whole place was impersonal and very formal. It smelled of ink and paper and reminded Jesse of his grandmother's house when he was little, where he had never been allowed to touch anything for fear of a swift punishment. The hot summer days in that house were very long.
Absently-mindedly, he reached out and fiddled with the upright nameplate bearing the identy of the young woman before him. It fell from the holder and clattered to the counter with an echoing racket. The teller looked up from her desk in horror.
"Oh, jeeze, I'm sorry," Jesse mumbled, trying to right the thin rectangle of plastic. "Bet you can't wait to get me out of here, huh?" An embarassed grin spread over him.
The woman's hand slipped beneath the desk as she looked into Jesse's eyes quickly. He stopped fumbling with the nametag and stilled his movements. The young woman looked completely horrified. Jesse didin't understand. He hadn't even broken the stupid thing.
"Uh, you okay?" he asked tentively.
"Just calm down sir," she replied, her voice barely above a whisper.
"Me?" Jesse questioned as the woman actually stepped back from him. Was there something on his face? A huge, hairy spider standing in line behind him? "Look, all I want is my money-"
"I'm going as fast as I can," she replied as shaky hands dumped the entire drawer's contents into a dark fabric bag.
"What are you doing?" Jesse asked, furrowing his eyebrows and watching her trained movements in awe. "Did I win some kind of prize?" He relaxed and smiled. "Am I the one millionth customer?"
A trembling hand shoved the heavy bag towards his chest. "Take the money," she squeaked.
Jesse took the bag, delighted at the weight of it. "This is so cool!" he exclaimed. "I thought the only way I would ever see this much cash is to hold someone at gunpoint or something!" To enunciate, Jesse swung his arm around, causing everyone around him to duck.
The fact that everyone in the building was watching him with silent horror totally escaped the grasp of Jesse's observation.
The teller straightened slowly and nodded, her face deathly pale.
"Wait till Steve finds out what happened!" Jesse said, heading for the door. "He's gonna be so angry! I love it! The first thing I'm gonna buy is a really fast boat-"
Jesse stepped through the front door of the bank and stopped dead in his tracks. Red and blue lights chased each other around the parking lot from their perch atop two police cars. His face fell as for the first time, he took in his surroundings and more importantly, the two cops training their guns on his suddenly very vulnerable self.
"Uh, hi guys..."
"Hands in the air buddy," the woman ordered, advancing towards him a step.
Jesse responded reflexively, jerking his hands up so fast that the sack of money swung back and forth in his grip. What was going on? Where was Steve? Why was he getting so much attention from the authorities?
Was this because the gum wrapper he threw from his car two days ago?
The two armed police moved forward with determination. The woman kept her gun trained on Jesse as the man stepped forward, patting Jesse down in a very formal and humiliating manner. Apparently satisfied, the man yanked Jesse's arms down, snatching away the sack and swiflty locking cold steel handcuffs on the doctor's wrists.
Stunned and moving numbly, Jesse let himself be led roughly towards the flashing squad car.
Grinning nervously, Jesse blinked rain from his eyes. "So I guess this means I'm not a winner?"
Steve was humming as he let himself in the front door of the beach house. The tune was lighthearted, matching the euphoric song in his veins.
"You guys make it back okay?" Mark asked, raising his voice to be heard from the kitchen.
Steve laughed. "Oh yeah, everything's fine..." He thought for a moment. "As it should be."
Mark's head appeared around the door frame. He narrowed his eyes. "Where's Jesse?"
Steve shrugged. "He caught a ride with some friends."
Mark dropped whatever he had been holding and stood in the doorway, his hands on his hips. "Steve, what have you done?"
Steve's spirit refused to be dampened. "It was brilliant, really," he giggled. He didn't even care that he was giggling.
Mark sighed. "He's still drawing breath, right?"
"Of course," Steve said with a flourish of his hand. "I'm not that cruel. In fact, you should be hearing from him-"
On cue, the phone rang.
Mark raised an eyebrow. "Is it for me?"
Steve made himself comfortable in a large chair. "Yup."
With the sigh of an over-worked father, Mark picked up the phone. "Hello?"
"I'm gonna kill him!"
Mark flinched and pulled the phone away from his ear. "Jesse?"
"I swear on everything I hold dear, your son is going down!"
"Slow down Jess, where are you?"
"This is so not funny, Mark. I swear, the second I get out of here, it's on."
Mark looked at Steve, who was smirking. "You're in jail," he repeated with resignition.
"Finger printed, photographed, one phone call- the whole she-bang!"
Mark rubbed a hand over his face. "Are you alright?"
"No! I'm in a jail cell with a very large man named Bob and I'm feeling a little uncomfortable." Jesse's voice trailed off as it rose in pitch.
Mark closed his eyes in sympathy. When he opened them, he glared at his son. Steve had the grace to look guilty. Jail was no place for Jesse to be, ever, not even in jest. Mark could imagine the friendly, exuberant doctor rubbing everyone in the station the wrong way- select officers included.
The proverbial fish out of water.
"Just calm down and hold on Jesse. I'll be right there."
"Thanks Mark." The older doctor couldn't remember the last time his friend sounded so pathetic and lonley.
He hung up the phone and stared at Steve.
"Relax, it's just a joke!" Steve exclaimed, hands out in appeasment. "Nothing's going on his record and they're keeping an eye on him." Steve had the disapointed look of someone who just told a joke and was the only one laughing. "He had it comming anyway."
Mark shook his head in exasperation. He was too old to be playing referee, ecspecially between two grown men. He sighed.
"I'm going to 'bail him out' now. If I were you, I'd find a very good hiding spot and plan on staying there for at least a month. When I turn him free, he'll be out for blood."
Steve snorted although a look of worry flittered across his features. "Yeah, right."
Mark grabbed his keys and headed for the door. A small smile crept over his face and he slowed and finally stopped, his hand on the doorknob. "So how did he wind up in jail, anyway?"