My very first fan-fic. Indeed, my first fiction since college I have let anyone read. So any reviews, comments, suggestions, constructive criticism, etc. are greatly appreciated.
I do not own Chuck or Burn Notice.
CHUCK VERSUS THE BURN NOTICE
My name is Michael Westen. I used to be a spy.
Hi. I'm Chuck. My situation… is a little more complicated.
Chuck Bartowski wandered into the kitchen in his Nerd Herder outfit of short-sleeve white shirt and silver tie and opened the cupboard to pull out a cereal bowl. His sister, Ellie, sitting at the table, smiled. "Morning, Chuck. You were out late last night."
Chuck winced. The mission last night had been rather simple, but since it was in Newport Beach, he, Sarah and Casey hadn't gotten home until almost three a.m. "Yeah, big Call of Duty match last night against Large Mart. We cleaned their clock."
"Chuck," Ellie chided. "You're not getting enough sleep. You're not twenty-one anymore, you know."
Chuck gave her a look. "Gawd, Sis. You make it sound like I'm getting old or something."
"I just think you shouldn't spend all hours playing video games anymore, Chuck. You know…" She was cut off by Devon "Captain Awesome" Woodcomb coming in, sans shirt of course, to give her a kiss on the cheek. He had the phone in his hand.
"Awesome news, Babe," he said. "Just got off the phone with the parental units. They've been tapped for a Doctors Without Borders mission to Guatemala so they can't go to Miami to use their timeshare. They want us to use it instead. Two bedroom condo, eighth floor, overlooking the beach. Awesome!" He looked into the kitchen. "Oh, hey bro! Woah! Brilliant idea! You are Sarah could come along! That'd be super awesome! The condo's got two bedrooms."
"When, honey?" Ellie asked.
"Week after next," Devon answered. "Seven days of sun, sand, and parasailing."
"Do you think we can both get off on such short notice?" Ellie asked.
"Already called Doctor Feinstein. He said as long as we got someone to cover our shifts, he's got no problem with it. Randy, Sharon and Cho Lee all owe us so it shouldn't be a problem."
Ellie shot to her feet and threw her arms around Devon's neck. "We haven't been on a real vacation in ages!" After kissing Devon, she turned to Chuck. "Chuck, you and Sarah just have to come. You've gone longer without a vacation than I have."
Chuck looked skeptical. "I don't think Sarah and Casey will go for that," he mumbled.
Ellie looked confused. "Casey. What has he got to do with it?"
"Oh, ah, well, um. Big Mike put Casey in charge of scheduling for the next couple weeks so I mean I would have to work out the schedule with Casey and, you know, he can be a little difficult…"
"Well! I'll go talk to him right now," Ellie huffed. Before Chuck could say another word, she headed toward the door of the apartment to charge across the courtyard to John Casey's apartment, her fuzzy pink robe billowing behind her.
"Woah, sis, woah," Chuck called, running after her. He grabbed her by the sleeve and she stopped and frowned at him. "First," Chuck said, "I don't think you should be visiting strange men in your bathrobe." Ellie looked down, and then gave her brother a chagrined look. "Second, Casey and I are riding in together. I'll talk to him."
"You promise?" Ellie asked.
With a sigh, Chuck nodded. He could just imagine the coming confrontation with General Beckman.
Fifteen minutes later, Chuck and John Casey, his NSA handler, were in the Nerd Herder, driving to the Buy More. Chuck kept glancing over at a scowling Casey, trying to figure out how to broach the subject. It wasn't the scowl that gave him pause. John Casey's face was pretty much always set in a scowl. No, it was the inevitable outburst over how stupid Chuck was for even suggesting an out of town trip, especially one unconnected with a mission. Somehow, Chuck never managed to get up the nerve before they were pulling into the parking lot at the Buy More Plaza.
Chuck glanced over to the Orange Orange, the cover job of his CIA handler and cover girlfriend, Sarah Walker. Her black Porsche was in its usual parking spot.
"Um, Casey," Chuck said as he got out of the car. "I need to go talk to Sarah for a minute."
"What about?" Casey said suspiciously.
"It's personal," Chuck replied.
"Still trying to get your hot dog in her bun, Bartowski?"
"First of all, that analogy would have worked much better if she was still at the Wienerlicious, Casey. Second of all, NO! Sarah and I are purely professional."
"In a pig's eye," Casey muttered.
Chuck chose to ignore Casey's snide comment. "For your information, my sister Ellie asked me to ask Sarah a question."
Chuck detected a barely perceptible softening of Casey's expression. Casey would never admit it, but Chuck suspected that Casey had a soft spot for the elder Bartowski. Ellie had that effect on people. It was impossible not to love her – or her cooking. The threat of not being invited over for any more of Ellie's home cooked meals was enough threat to put Casey in his place. Casey gave grunt number twelve (non-committal/not worth my time) and simply walked off.
Chuck crossed over to the Orange Orange and tapped on the door since it was too early for the shop to be open. A few moments later, Sarah unlocked and opened the door. Chuck's breath caught slightly at the sight of her. Only Sarah Walker could look like a beauty queen in her Orange Orange tank top, her hair pulled back in a ponytail. 'If only…' flickered through his mind as he took in her beauty.
Sarah's face lit up in a smile. "Good morning Chuck. Come on in." She stepped back to let Chuck in, then locked the door behind him. He stopped just inside the door and stared down at the floor.
"Chuck," Sarah said, hopping up on one of the stools against the wall. "What's wrong? You seem nervous."
The words came spilling out of Chuck's mouth in a torrent; fast even by Bartowski standards. "I know the answer's 'no', but Awesome's parents can't use their timeshare in Miami and they offered it to Awesome and Ellie and it's two bedroom and Ellie – well it was Awesome's idea really – wants us to come with them week after next and spend the week with them on the beach and I know it's impossible and Beckman will never go for it but I promised Ellie I would ask and since I did promise I really have to ask since Ellie says that it's been too long since I was on a vacation and she can be really insistent and…"
Sarah placed a hand on Chuck's arm and he looked up at her. "Chuck. Breathe," she said with a twinkle in her eye. Chuck took a deep breath. The first since he's started his soliloquy. He got a goofy grin on his face when he saw Sarah's smiling at him. At least she wasn't mad, he thought.
"As fun as that sounds, Chuck, you know it's not a good idea. There's no way Beckman will go for us going to an unsecure location like that. It's too much of a security risk."
Chuck looked at her. Was that just a hint of regret in her voice? "Sarah," he asked. "When's the last time you went on a vacation."
"Chuck…" she began.
"You know," he said, interrupting her. "I think I'm gonna ask Beckman anyway. You need to get out of town. Away from all of this. Even if I can't go, there's no reason you can't take some time off." He stopped. "Unless, of course, there's somewhere else you'd rather go. I guess a week in a condo with me and Ellie and Awesome is probably not your idea of fun. Your idea of a vacation is probably a trip to the Pakistani border to assassinate a tribal warlord."
Sarah frowned and Chuck quickly shut up. He knew he'd put his foot in it… again. "Chuck," Sarah said softly. "A week on the beach with you, Ellie and Awesome sounds wonderful. But I'm just not so sure it's a good idea… for lots of reasons." Chuck thought she blushed slightly, but surely that was just his imagination. She took his hand in hers. "I'm sorry," she said. "I just don't see any way it's possible."
Sarah assumed that was the end of it. But of course, one should never underestimate the force of nature that was Eleanor Faye Bartowski.
The next day, just before the lunch rush, Ellie came into the Orange Orange. "Ellie!" Sarah cried and came around the counter to give Ellie a hug. Sarah couldn't help it. As hard as she tried not to, she had begun to think of Ellie as something of a surrogate sister. "What's up?" Sarah asked, motioning Ellie to sit at one of the tables.
Ellie sat and Sarah slid into the seat across from her. "Chuck tells me that you're too busy to go with us to Miami. And since you're not going, Chuck doesn't want to go because he thinks he'll be a 'third wheel.'" Sarah started to speak but Ellie put her hand over Sarah's to stop her. "You know, Sarah, it's been ages since Chuck has been on a vacation. He never goes anywhere. You know, Stanford is as far away from home as he's ever been."
Sarah suppressed a smile. If only Ellie knew. In the Dr. Blaine Hecht affair alone, Chuck had travelled to Tokyo, Rio, Switzerland and Mount Rushmore, all in less than a week… and saved the life of the new president in the process. [Author's Note: See the Chuck comic books.]
Ellie pressed on. "I called Orange Orange franchise headquarters. They have specially trained personnel who can step in for one of their franchisees in order to allow them some time off. All you have to do is call and they'll send someone out. It's a little pricey, but I talked to Devon and he agreed that we can help you cover the cost, if need be."
Sarah was speechless. What was it about the Bartowskis? What was this magic they possessed that made her, an agent trained to kill in dozens of ways, feel so helpless and at sea?
"Please, Sarah," Ellie said, squeezing the younger woman's hand. "Chuck really needs this. He's been so stressed lately, I can tell. And I think you need it too. Besides, I think it will do you and Chuck good to get away together." She left it unspoken but Sarah caught the subtext, 'so you can take your relationship to the next level.'
Sarah looked at Ellie and at the expectant look on her face. God, why did life have to be so hard? Before she could stop herself, the words came tumbling out of her mouth. "I'll see what I can do, Ellie. I promise."
Ellie squealed with delight and launched herself across the table to grab Sarah in a hug. "Oh, we are going to have the best time! It'll be so much fun having you along!" Fortunately, Ellie could not see the look of panic and distress flashing across Sarah's face. 'Just how,' she was thinking, 'am I going to explain this to General Beckman?'
Thirty minutes later, Sarah was in The Castle, the secret base hidden in the basement of the Orange Orange, standing in front of the large screen television on which was the dour image of General Diane Beckman, NSA Director. "Let me get this straight, Agent Walker," Beckman said, her voice hard. "You want permission to take the Intersect on a vacation to Miami? To an unsecure location."
Sarah tried hard not to look down and shuffle her feet. Why did talking to General Beckman always remind her of being called into the principal's office? Not that Jenny Burton had ever been called into the principal's office – that would call too much attention to herself – but she imagined this is what it felt like.
"It was his sister's idea," she said lamely.
"And you agreed?"
"No!" Sarah said, a little too forcefully. She took a deep breath to calm down. Damn this assignment. Damn Chuck and Ellie Bartowski and their uncanny ability to put her in situations like this. "General, you don't know Ellie Bartowski. She can best be described as a force of nature. Chuck and I told her that I couldn't go, so she called Orange Orange corporate headquarters to arrange for someone to watch the shop for me. She can be very insistent. I'm afraid if we don't go, it will make her suspicious and she may start questioning Chuck and my covers."
Beckman looked angry; but then, like Casey, that was pretty much the norm for her. "I don't like this. I don't like this one bit. I do not appreciate being put in this situation." She paused. "What does Major Casey think?"
"Since I didn't think it would get approval, I didn't mention it to Major Casey," Sarah admitted.
"Tell Major Casey that I want him in Miami no later than this Friday to set up surveillance on the condominium where you'll be staying and do the prep work. Operation Miami is a go."
The screen cut off so abruptly that Sarah didn't have a chance to get in another word. She was so shocked by the General's decision that she almost reestablished the connection to make sure that she had heard correctly. As she thought further about a week in a condo overlooking the beach with Chuck, a smile, and then a look of panic quickly flashed across her face in rapid succession. How was she going to deal with being alone, with Chuck, in the same bed, for a whole week? Wasn't this assignment difficult enough?
Then an even more terrible thought crossed her mind. Beckman had told her to tell Casey. "Oh God," she groaned. "Casey is going to kill me."
"She said what?" Casey roared.
"That you are supposed to go to Miami no later than this Friday to set up surveillance on the condo Chuck, Ellie, Awesome and I will be staying at and to do the necessary prep work."
"You have got to be kidding me."
"You can call her yourself, if you want," Sarah replied, knowing full well Casey would never call Beckman to question his orders. Even Casey wasn't that brave.
"So I have to schlep to Miami, and take a week of my vacation at the Buy More so you two love birds can shack up in a beachside condo? Great!"
"It wasn't my idea, Casey. If you want, you can explain to Ellie Bartowski why Chuck and I can't go with her and her fiancée." Sarah thought she caught an almost imperceptible shudder at the suggestion that Casey cross Chuck's sister. Casey simply gave grunt number eight (don't think that I'm going to forget this) and stalked off. Sarah had already arranged for a CIA operative to fill in for her at the Orange Orange (it wouldn't do to have some temp from Orange Orange headquarters stumbling on the access to The Castle in her and Casey's absence) and now all she had to do was go tell Chuck and Ellie the "good news." Sarah trudged up the stairs of The Castle to go talk to Chuck at the Buy More. In many ways, she thought, this could very well be her most difficult mission yet.
Chuck looked up just as Sarah entered the Buy More. He couldn't help it. Every time she walked through those doors, time seemed to slow to a crawl and the whole world seemed bathed in a soft, white glow. She came over to him and gave him a quick brush of her lips against his that left him breathless – again. "Hi, sweetie," she said. "Are you excited about our trip? Have you talked to Big Mike yet about getting off?"
A short, bearded man popped up from behind the rack of cd's. "Trip?" he said. "Where are we going? You didn't tell me about any trip, Chuck."
Chuck looked from Sarah, to his best friend Morgan, and back to Sarah. "You mean?" he stammered to Sarah.
"Yep," she said. "I cleared it with the Orange Orange bosses and I'm good to go. We're good to go. You have cleared it with Big Mike, haven't you?"
"Well, um, I didn't think we could go so I didn't bother," he said, still flustered. "Really? They really said we could go?"
"Mm hmm," she said. "All the proper clearances. I even have a special temp to watch the Orange Orange for me."
"That's… that's great," Chuck stammered. "I, uh, guess I better go talk to Big Mike."
"But where are we going?" Morgan whined.
Chuck didn't seem to hear him as he turned and walked in a half-daze toward Big Mike's office.
"A week!" Big Mike roared. "You want to leave me alone with these animals for a whole week?"
"Emmit will be here," Chuck offered. "And I'll get Jeff and Lester to promise to lay off of the – well at least cut down on the after-hours beverage consumption while I'm gone."
"You can't leave me alone with these freaks for a whole week, Bartowski."
"But Big Mike," Chuck said. "I've got the vacation time."
"Hell, Bartowski. I know you've got the vacation time accrued. I count on the fact that you never take vacation. I'm not so sure I can…"
Just then, there was a knock at Big Mike's office door, which swung open to reveal a beaming Sarah Walker, radiant in her Orange Orange uniform. "Big Mike," she said, crossing over to touch him lightly on the arm. "I am so glad you decided to let Chuck go away with me for vacation. It means so much to me." She paused. "You did tell him yes, didn't you?"
Even Big Mike was not immune to Sarah Walker's considerable charms. He paused, then managed to stammer, "Oh, yes, of course. I was just telling him that we all hope he has a good time and that I hope he can get in some deep sea fishing while he's there."
"Oh, thank you, Big Mike," Sarah gushed, then gave Big Mike a quick peck on the cheek that caused him to blush a brilliant red. Sarah turned and glided out of Big Mike's office, with both Big Mike and Chuck staring after her. It took almost a full minute before either of them found their tongues. "I still don't understand how you ended up with a piece like that, Bartowski, but who am I do deny a man his pleasures?" He thought for a minute. "You know," he said, "There's a tackle shop near the Miami pier that was one of the first in the country to get the new Reelco Spinner. I wonder if maybe you could stop by there for me?"
Since Chuck was taking vacation, there was no way Big Mike would approve Casey taking more than a week off at the same time, so Beckman had to arrange a call from Casey's sickly maiden aunt saying that she had taken a terrible spill and she needed her "Johnny Boy" to come and take care of her. When Emmit found out, he tried to cancel Chuck's vacation (more out of spite than necessity), but when Chuck told Big Mike that Ellie would be disappointed to hear that and hinted that Ellie might just stop her twice a month cookie deliveries to the Buy More break room, Big Mike put his foot down and said that, dammit, Bartowski deserved a little time alone with his lady.
Morgan was more of a problem. When he found out that Chuck was actually taking a vacation and he wasn't invited, he spent the whole week in a blue funk. It was only when Sarah promised that she would let Morgan create a character for her for World of Warcraft that he relented and "consented" to let Chuck go on the trip.
Ellie was beside herself. Only the fact that she had to work double shifts in order to get enough shifts traded to take the week off prevented her from dragging Sarah off to the mall every day to buy new outfits for the beach. Sarah protesting that she already had a couple swimsuits did not deter Ellie's insistence that she needed "just the right clothes" for this getaway. Sarah suspected that Ellie was hoping that getting Chuck and Sarah away from the craziness that was their lives in LA would get Chuck to consider "popping the question." Ellie clearly wanted Sarah as a sister-in-law and wasn't even trying to hide that fact.
The week flew by and before any of them knew it, it was early Monday morning. At six o'clock sharp there was a knock at the front door of Casa Bartowski and Chuck opened the door to find Sarah in a flowery sundress, a rolling suitcase behind her. "Good morning," she said with a half-yawn and gave Chuck a quick peck on the cheek. The door pushed open wider and Ellie elbowed Chuck aside to wrap Sarah in a hug. "Oh, I am so happy you're coming with us," Ellie beamed. She released Sarah and looked at the small suitcase that comprised the sum total of Sarah's luggage. "That's all you're bringing?" Ellie gasped.
"I like to travel light," Sarah replied, for some reason suddenly embarrassed by her lack of baggage.
"Oh, that just means we'll have to go shopping once we get to Miami." She squealed and wrapped Sarah in another hug.
"Hey, the Chuckster's lady has arrived!" Devon's voice boomed from the kitchen. "How about it, Sarah? Want some coffee?"
"Coffee would be great, thanks," Sarah said. "I'm not much of a morning person."
Chuck suppressed a grin, remembering finding Sarah's alarm clock pinned to her wall with a throwing knife. 'Not much of a morning person, indeed,' he thought.
True to form, Ellie had a breakfast casserole waiting and they all sat down to breakfast before the cab came to take them to the airport. Chuck and Sarah washed and dried the breakfast dishes while Ellie and Devon gathered up the bags and looked for the tickets, which somehow had been misplaced the night before. Finally, tickets in hand, bags in tow, and Ellie giggling like a schoolgirl, they piled into the minivan taxi Devon had arranged to take them to LAX.
Sarah felt a little naked at the airport since she could bring neither gun nor throwing knives with her when they boarded the plane. She hadn't been more than a few steps away from at least some kind of weapon since her and Chuck's 'real first date or second first date' had been interrupted by Mr. Cole. At least Casey had promised that he would meet them in Miami with a full set of the necessary accoutrement.
As a special surprise, Devon's parents, the Doctors Woodcomb, had traded in some of their innumerable frequent flier miles to get four first-class tickets for Ellie, Devon, Chuck and Sarah. (When you were as awesome as the Doctors Woodcomb, you were constantly flying around the world to speak at medical conferences). Ellie and Devon took the two seats on the right, while Chuck and Sarah took the two seats on the left. As they got on the plane, Sarah nodded slightly to the air marshal in the last row of first class. He was actually a CIA agent who had replaced the regular air marshal at the last minute to keep an extra set of eyes on "The Asset." Sarah let Chuck have the window seat since she knew he would want to catch all the landmarks as they flew across the country.
Fifteen minutes after the plane was in the air, Sarah was asleep on Chuck's shoulder. Chuck signed contentedly as he wrapped his arm around her, then he too was asleep. They were awoken by the pilot announcing that, if they looked out the left side of the aircraft, they could see the Grand Canyon. "Look, Sarah, the Grand Canyon," Chuck proclaimed excitedly. Sarah grinned. In so many ways, Chuck was still a little boy, all fascination and wonder at the world around him. A darker thought flashed across her mind. She sincerely hoped that being the Intersect didn't destroy that innocence and wonder.
They had lunch somewhere over Texas and touched down in Miami just before five o'clock, local time. Devon had arranged for a car to pick them up. Actually, the reservation had been intercepted and the driver was an agent who didn't know who the passengers were, only that he was to take "special care" of them.
The car dropped them at a large, ocean-side condominium. The Woodcomb timeshare was on the eighth floor. A bellman gathered their bags while Devon, who had been to the timeshare before, took them up to the condo. Sarah and Ellie both gasped when Devon opened the door and ushered them in. The entire far wall of the condo was glass, with a stunning view of the beach. The condo was tastefully furnished in comfortable, modern furniture with a huge plasma TV dominating one wall. Opposite the glass wall, on opposite sides of the entryway, were the kitchen and dining room. On either end of the living room were doors to the two bedrooms. "Chuck, you and Sarah take the bedroom to the right. Ellie and I will take the bedroom over here. Don't worry, the beds don't squeak when you're 'working out.'"
"Devon!" Ellie chided.
Chuck blushed but Sarah just smiled. "Come on, Chuck," she said. "Let's check out the bedroom." The bedroom had a king-sized bed, a love-seat, a dresser, two nightstands, and doors into a large bathroom and out onto a balcony overlooking the ocean.
"I guess Awesome's parents like to get away in style," Chuck said, taking in the room.
The bellman delivered their bags and Awesome took care of the tip. After the bellman deposited their bags in their room, Sarah went to the bedroom door and called to Ellie and Awesome, "I think we'll just freshen up a bit."
Awesome, standing in the doorway of his and Ellie's bedroom, grabbed Ellie around the waist and pulled her close. "Freshen up," he said. "I like the sound of that."
Sarah closed the bedroom door and turned on the television in the room. "Casey," she said softly, "You there?"
Casey's face appeared on the screen. Behind him Chuck could see a room very similar to their own, but outfitted "Casey style" with various equipment and heavy weaponry. "About time you too got here," Casey groused.
"Not enjoying your Miami vacation, Casey?" Chuck needled the grouchy agent.
"Put a sock in it, Bartowski," Casey growled. He turned his head ever-so-slightly to look at Sarah. "We've got video surveillance of the entire suite, plus the halls, the elevators, the lobby, the pool and the beach for two hundred yards either side of the building. Anything outside of that and we'll have to do it the old fashioned way. Oh, and I stored your kit in a false bottom in the third drawer of the wet bar in the living room. I didn't know which room you'd be in."
"Understood," Sarah replied. "You'll have to keep out of sight. It would be kind of hard to explain your presence in Miami to Ellie and Devon."
Casey gave a growl (number eighteen – I don't question your skills). "If I can't tail you without two doctors on vacation seeing me, I'll turn in my NSA merit badge."
"Wow," Chuck interjected. "I don't know the NSA gave merit…" At a side-long glance from Sarah, Chuck stopped and looked at the ground. "Oh. Spy humor."
"Make sure you keep me up to date on your itinerary and make sure Bartowski keeps his GPS watch on."
"Geez, Casey," Chuck said. "We're on vacation, not a mission. Can't you relax?"
"Sure, Bartowski," Casey snarled. "Because all the bad guys happen to be in LA and there are no Fulcrum operative in Miami."
Chuck just threw up his hands and turned to start unpacking his suitcase.
Sarah gave him a glance, and then turned back to Casey. "We'll be here at the condo for a bit. I told Ellie and Devon we were freshening up."
"Is that what they're calling it these days?" Casey said.
Sarah ignored him. "My guess is we'll probably go out to dinner and then do a little wandering around. We've haven't discussed plans with Ellie and Devon yet, so you'll have to play it by ear."
"Understood. Casey out." The screen went blank.
Once it did, Chuck looked up at Sarah and grinned. "Are you at least going to try and enjoy the vacation?"
Sarah tried to look stern, but it was hard to be in 'agent mode' when Chuck was giving her his trademark grin. "Chuck," she said. "You need to understand. It's my job to protect you no matter where we are. I can't take a vacation from my responsibilities. I'm here to do my job, not for a vacation."
Chuck took her hand in his. His grin faltered for the briefest moment. Without her training, Sarah might not have caught it. But then it was back full force. "But that doesn't mean you can't have fun," he said in a sing-song voice. "Sun, sand, surf and no missions and no flashes for a week. Just you, me, Ellie, Devon and our two-hundred pound, bad-attitude guardian angel, John Casey."
Sarah couldn't help but laugh. "Yes, Chuck, I'll try to have some fun." Then, of course, the moment was broken when Sarah hurried out of the bedroom and came back with a black bag she had retrieved from the wet bar. She opened it and began to take out her throwing knives and several guns which she began to secret around the room.
Chuck considered asking whether all that was really necessary, but decided he didn't need another lecture, so he let it drop.
A few minutes later, there was a knock at the bedroom door. Ellie had changed into a sundress and sandals and had a large straw hat. "Hi guys. Isn't this place wonderful? Devon's parents have used this place for years. Anyway, we were thinking of going out to get some dinner, and then maybe hit one of the clubs. What do you think?"
"That sounds great," Sarah said. "Give us a minute to change. Where were you thinking of for dinner?"
"Devon says there's a really great Cuban restaurant a couple block down, and then we thought we'd hit La Borracha for a little dancing."
"La Borracha," Sarah said. "The Drunk?"
"Is that really what it means?" Ellie said. "I didn't know you spoke Spanish, Sarah."
"Oh, just a little I picked up in High School," Sarah lied. "Ten minutes?"
"We'll be on the balcony," Ellie said.
Sarah changed in the bathroom, and then called Casey while Chuck went into the bathroom to change. "We're leaving to do dinner at a Cuban restaurant a couple blocks down the street, then to some club called 'La Borracha.'"
"The Drunk?" Casey asked. "You gotta love Miami. Do you know the name of the restaurant?"
"No," Sarah replied. "Ellie didn't say."
"Okay. Stall for a few minutes to give me time to run a locator and then get in position."
Chuck came out of the bathroom and saw Casey on the television. "Must be the NRA Channel," he quipped. Sarah rolled her eyes and Casey cut the connection mid-growl.
Sarah gave Chuck the once-over. Obviously Ellie had had a hand in his packing because he looked good in knit shirt, white pants and top-siders without socks. He looked good, Sarah thought with an inward sigh and suppressed the urge to reach out and smooth down a wayward curl. "Ready?" she asked.
"Let the vacation begin," Chuck said with a grin.
The Cuban restaurant was delicious. Chuck had tried to pick up the check, but Devon was faster. "This one's on me, bro. You can get the next one."
They were about to leave when Sarah caught a signal from Casey in the far corner of the restaurant. He was wearing the same wig and false soul patch he wore when he posed as a maitre di at the restaurant to which Chuck took his ex-girlfriend Jill. At his signal, Sarah turned to the rest of the group. "I need to powder my nose before we head over to the club," she said. That would give Casey time to get set up at the club.
"I'll go with you," Ellie said.
"We'll get a cab," Devon said. "Meet you lovely ladies outside." He gave Ellie a quick kiss, so Chuck felt compelled to do the same to Sarah. Darned the luck.
Ellie hooked her arm in Sarah's and led her to the ladies room. "Ooh," she gushed. "I am so happy that you and Chuck could come with us. You know, I don't think Chuck has ever been on a vacation with a girl. Other than me, of course."
"Really," Sarah said. "He and Jill didn't ever take a vacation together?"
"I don't think so," Ellie said. "Besides, the less said about that witch the better." Sarah was a little taken aback at the venom in Ellie's tone. Ellie quickly changed the subject and the bubbly enthusiasm was back in her voice. "You know, at some point we're going to have to ditch the boys and do a little shopping. And Honey, Devon's mom, has booked us a package at the spa next to the condo on Wednesday." She grinned at Sarah. "Ooh, we're going to have so much fun. You have a sister, but I don't. So I'm adopting you."
Sarah thought back. That's right, she thought. While playing the game 'Know Ya' with Chuck, Morgan, Ellie and Devon, Sarah had said that her most dangerous moment was when she and her sister had accidently put on baby oil instead of sun tan lotion. She had to change the subject fast before Ellie started asking too many question about her sister.
"A day at the spa sounds great, as long as you promise me that it's safe to leave Chuck alone with Devon. No para-sailing or spear fishing while we're getting pampered."
Ellie laughed. "While I have no doubt Devon will try, I don't think you have to worry about Chuck getting talked into anything life-threatening. Thankfully, Chuck is something of a coward when it comes to threats to life and limb."
'Oh, if you only knew,' Sarah thought. 'If you only knew.' But what she said was, "Of course. I don't know what I was thinking."
The club was a short taxi ride away. This time Chuck was a little quicker and paid the cabbie before Devon could. As they got out of the cab, Chuck whispered to Sarah. "Hey, since you're working, can we submit this on your expense account?" Sarah just gave him a dirty look.
"Hey, can't blame me for trying," Chuck grinned.
"Trying what?" Devon asked.
Sarah gave Devon a wink and Devon smiled. "Awesome, bro. Keep up the good work, my man."
Since it was a Monday night, there was thankfully no line to get in the club, but it was still crowded. Devon managed to spot a table in the corner and made a b-line for it. They sat down and ordered drinks. Devon and Ellie got up to dance while Chuck and Sarah waited for the drinks.
While they waited, Chuck looked around the club to see if he could spot Casey. As his gaze passed over a two men ducking into a private room on the far side of the club, a familiar feeling came over him. As he looked at the first man, a series of images flashed before his eyes. Then, almost immediately, he flashed on the man's companion.
"Oh boy. Oh boy." Chuck murmured.
Sarah recognized the slightly vacant look on Chuck's face, followed by the look of panic. "What is it, Chuck? Did you flash?"
"Bad man. Two very bad men, just went into that room over there."
"Who were they Chuck?"
"The first guy was Enrique Obregon. Known drug trafficker. The DEA has been after him for years, but he's too small a fish for a major effort."
"And the second guy?" Sarah asked.
"He's the really scary one," Chuck said, his face pale. "His name is Michael Westen. He used to be a spy."