Sarah was driving him crazy, as usual. And it was making him drive crazy.
As the herder skipped over the curb, the narrow strip of grass, the low retaining wall and plunged into the artificial lake in the park, Chuck's only thought was, Sarah!
He came to a moment later, the air bag almost cutting off his breath, water flowing into the car and oxygen flowing out. Chuck began to panic but instead decided to picture her face one last time, her neck bent, shyly looking up at him from under her lashes. Or the one where she throws her head back and looks him boldly in the eye, challenging whatever it is he is saying to her. Or, facial muscles relaxed, eyes closed, breathing gently in and out on the pillow beside him, his penlight casting strange shadows as he sneaks a look during one of their fake sex nights. It was hard to pick just one.
So instead of choosing, Chuck gave himself a mental shake and opened the door, escaping the submerging car just as the last of the air bubbled out, and surfaced, spluttering and gulping fresh air, stroking with his arms until his feet felt the bottom, then standing and reaching up to clear hair and water from his eyes.
Before he could see properly, he felt two hands on his arm and heard her voice. Sarah had come for him.
"Chuck, are you all right?" she asked urgently, sounding as though she were about to cry.
Before he could answer, she was yelling at him.
"How could you do that, Chuck? When I got the emergency signal that your air bags had deployed, I didn't know what to think! I was so worried! How could you do that to me?"
And before he could catch his breath and say anything to reassure her, she was kissing him hard, pressing up to him and getting her own clothes wet, then pulling him over to the black van she had arrived in.
An LAPD officer on patrol in the park was walking up to them now, intercepting them and slowing their progress. Sarah tried to wave him off, almost dragging Chuck by the hand in her haste to get to the van, but the cop was having none of it.
"Excuse me, ma'am, sir, I'd like to ask you a few questions," he said, officiously.
Sarah whipped around, flashing some I.D. she had taken out from somewhere on her person, and hissed, "Federal agent, Officer. I need to interrogate this suspect right away."
She fumed at the delay, still holding Chuck's hand tightly as the officer carefully inspected the I.D. card, and when Casey drove up behind the van in his SUV, stepping hard on the brakes and screeching to a halt before he jumped out, Sarah grabbed her I.D. back from the officer and whipped open the van's side door, pushing Chuck inside and jumping in after him, giving the officer one last glare before slamming the van door shut.
Casey positioned himself outside the van door and pulled out his I.D., saying, "NSA, Officer. We'll take it from here."
The officer, confused by meeting up with two federal agents on his quiet park beat, hesitated, then looked with suspicion at Casey as he heard strange sounds coming from the back of the van.
"What kind of an interrogation is that?" he asked, as the unmistakable sound of a long, drawn-out moan of pleasure could be heard, followed by two distinct voices, one male, one female, panting and grunting heavily as the van started to bounce around a bit.
"New techniques. Experimental," deadpanned Casey. He couldn't keep his head from turning over his shoulder, however, at the sound of something or someone tumbling around inside, and he returned his gaze to the officer, eyebrows raised, daring the man to contradict him.
Finally, when the motion of the van and the noise coming from the inside were starting to attract a crowd a little distance away, Casey placed a collegial arm around the shoulder of the officer and turned him towards the park, lowered his voice and said, "This operation is top secret. I'd like you to set up a perimeter, say, 1,000 feet, keep these people behind it. They'll be safer that way. And I've called a special ops team to look after the car in the water."
When the man turned his head sharply to look straight at Casey's face, eyes narrowing, opening his mouth to protest, Casey added, "You'd be doing your country a great service."
The officer, still skeptical, nodded and radioed for backup as he walked towards the largest knot of people to move them out of the area.
Casey, once again taking up his position outside the van door, smirked and laughed to himself, feeling sorry for Chuck as he listened to the rest of the "interrogation" and wondered how long the poor sap was going to need to recuperate.