Two Years Later.
I walked into Vinnie's office followed by the Tank, Lester, Bobby, Hector, Hal, Cal, Joyce Barnhardt, Lula, Connie, Melvin Pickle and the newest bounty hunter Clair.
Everyone sat down in the various couches and chairs in Vinnie's office and looked at him expectantly.
He cleared his throat and said "Ok. Well I have to tell you some news. There is a pair of bounty hunters arriving today that will be working out of this office for the next few weeks."
"Why? We don't need help with any skips Vinnie." Joyce said. I was wondering the exact same thing.
"One of their most dangerous skips has crossed into our territory. They asked us to allow them to work in this area. So the file will cross your desk but you must give it to them. No one here is allowed to take it." Vinnie said looking at Connie. She nodded and Vinnie continued "Now the partners are a male and a female and apparently they are two of the best bounty hunters that New York has to offer."
"What are their names?" Lester asked.
"The female's name is Samantha Price and the male's name is Dominic Weston." Vinnie said reading off the file in front of him. As soon as I heard the second name, I got angry. I turned to Tank and the others and noticed them barely keeping their cool.
"Do you guys know him?" Lula asked.
"Yea. We served with him in the Rangers." Tank explained.
I stood up and said "Is that all Vinnie?"
Vinnie nodded and I left the room. Clair came up to me and wrapped her arms around me, the engagement ring I gave her glinting in the sunlight that shone through the windows. She kissed my neck and said "Are you ok Ric?"
I nodded before turning her and kissing her on the lips. We had been dating for a year and engaged for a year as well. Everytime I kissed her however I thought of my Babe. I missed Steph with all my heart. I loved her so much but because I was a fool, I never told her that I wanted to be with her forever.
"I've got some skips to catch. Dinner at Haywood tonight." I said. She nodded and walked off. I turned and noticed Tank and the others looking at me. Tank walked over to me and said "Why are you marrying her when it is clear you see her as Bomber?"
I glared at him and said "I don't think of her as Steph. Steph left that's it. Come on."
I left the office in deep denial.
I was in my zone when I was shaken by Dom. I pulled my gun out and pointed it between his eyes until I noticed who it was.
"What?" I groaned as I put my gun away. We had arrived in Trenton yesterday and I was in a bad mood. I hated being here because it reminded me of my past.
"We have to go to the bail bonds office. We need to pick up the new file on our guy." Dom said as he handed me a coffee.
Dom and I had been partners from two years and not once had I been covered in garbage or had anything blown up. I was now a better bounty hunter. In Dom's opinion I could rival Ranger. Yes, I know that Dom knows Ranger and the Merry Men. He told me the whole story of how he served with them in the Rangers. They didn't like him and he wasn't to fond of them.
"Why don't you go and I'll wait for you here?" I said.
Dom shook his head at me before lifting me up and resting me on his shoulder, being mindful of the hot liquid in my hand. "I don't think so. You need to face your past sometime." He said as he placed me on the floor in the bathroom. "Have a shower, get dressed and I'll meet you in the lounge room with some breakfast."
He left and I turned to the mirror in front of me. I had some of my coffee before I inspected my reflection in the mirror. My hair was no longer uncontrollable. It now lay in sleek waves that ended at my lower back. My hair was no longer brown; instead it was now a rich copper colour that suited my eyes and skin tone. I was much fitter now, I had abs, a flat stomach and, in Dom's words, an ass and legs to die for.
I undressed and placed my coffee on the bathroom sink. I hopped into a hot shower and washed myself with the Bulgari body wash I always used. I finished my shower, got out and wrapped myself in a towel. I picked up my coffee and walked back into my bedroom.
I threw on a pair of black cargo pants, a tight, black tank top and my black heeled combat boots. I pulled my hair up into a ponytail and got my black Ray Ban sunglasses. After putting them on my head I got myself geared up. I was no longer afraid of my gun, in fact, I carried three: One at my waist on a gun belt, one at the small of my back and one at my ankle. I also carried a knife on my waist and one on the opposite ankle to my gun. In my gun belt were two pairs of cuffs, some pepper spray and a small Maglite. I had a fully charged stun gun that I used most of the time. Dom always insisted that I was fully geared out and that I knew how to use my equipment. I grabbed a black leather jacket and put it on over the top of my outfit, zipped it up and I was ready to go.
I walked out into the kitchen and found Dom holding a plate of buckwheat pancakes with a small amount of syrup and a fruit smoothie. See, as Dom cut off my supply to fatty foods, I had to live on healthy food. After a while I began to enjoy them and I realised that they weren't half bad. Dom and I sometimes indulged ourselves with McDonalds or Cluck in a Bucket but very rarely.
I ate quickly, grabbed a bottle of water from the fridge and turned to Dom. He smiled at me and locked up the hotel room as we left. He put an arm around my waist as I drank the coffee that I had placed in a travel mug. Dom and I weren't a couple, it's just that he had helped me through a lot and we were close- like brother and sister.
We got into Dom's black Porsche and headed off towards the bail bonds office. The trip from the hotel took ten minutes and in those ten minutes I went into my zone, preparing myself for the confrontation between the people inside.
I felt the car stop and I opened my eyes. Shit, not good. No only was Lula's Firebird there but also Ranger's truck, Morelli's SUV, a Rangeman SUV and Joyce's SUV. I put my head on my knees and breathed deeply.
I felt Dom's hand on my back rubbing slow circles. "Come on gorgeous. Don't let them see you like this. This is the past. This is the old you- the scared little Stephanie. You are now the confident and sarcastic Samantha. Come on. I believe in you." He said soothingly.
I looked up at him and smiled. He hopped out of the car and walked around to my door. I flipped my sunnies down to cover my eyes as Dom opened my door. I took his hand and got out of the car.
"Holy Shit!" I heard Lula say. I turned and saw Lula, Connie, Melvin and the Merry Men all looking out the window at us. I smirked and turned to Dom. He pulled the blank face but I knew he was laughing inside. He wrapped an arm around my waist and we walked towards the door of the bail bonds office.
I woke up the next morning with my arms wrapped around a warm body. I looked down and took in the blonde hair that was resting on my bicep and remembered that this was my fiancé Clair and not my Babe.
I carefully rolled out of bed and got into the shower. I washed with the Bulgari body wash that I knew Steph loved. Clair didn't like it but I kept using it saying that it was my favourite scent. She didn't need to know that I used it to keep the memories of Babe alive.
I got out of my shower and dressed in my normal clothes. I drank a cup of coffee and made one for Clair when I heard the shower turn on. 30 minutes later she walked out of my room smelling like citrus fruits. I would never get used to that scent. Babe always smelt like vanilla, almonds and musk. Clair accepted the coffee and kissed me on the lips.
"Remember we have to be at the Bonds office this morning. I'll meet you in the garage in 20 minutes." I said. I gave Clair one last kiss before walking out of my apartment and into the elevator. I headed to control where Santos, Tank, Hector, Hal, Cal, Bobby and Ram were all waiting.
"Morning boss." Tank said as I walked in.
I nodded and said "Are you all coming to meet these bounty hunters."
They all nodded and I said "Meet in the garage in 15 minutes."
I left the room and headed back down to the gym. I didn't work out instead I just sat on the mats and let myself enter "the zone" as Steph called it. 15 minutes later I walked down to the parking garage and met up with the boys and Clair.
"Ok. Clair, Tank, Santos, Bobby and Hector in the truck with me. Ram, Hal and Cal go in one of the Broncos." I ordered.
We got into our cars and headed towards the bonds office. When we pulled up, Morelli's car was already there as was Lula's Firebird. We put our cars in park, got out and walked inside.
Ever since Babe had left, Morelli and I had become civil. We had searched for her for 6 months together. When we couldn't find her we made a pact to not fight again because Steph wouldn't have wanted it. Morelli found a new girl in the form of his new partner. Her name is Cassandra and she suits Morelli well. When we walked in not only were Morelli and Cass there but also Big Dog and Eddie. I shook hands with the cops whilst Tank gave Lula a kiss.
We exchanged some general conversation until Lula was at the window. "Hey get a load of this Porsche." She said.
The boys, Connie and Melvin moved to the window to get a better look. I also had a look and watched as a man got out of the car. When he looked at the office I recognised him as Dom. He walked around to the passenger side door and opened it, offering his hand to whoever was inside. I watched as a beautiful female hopped out and stood up.
"Holy Shit!" Lula cried as she looked at the woman. The woman turned and smirked before Dom wrapped his arm around her waist and they headed for the office. It was very funny to see the boys, Connie, Lula and Melvin race back to their original places.
The door opened and the bell above rang. Everyone turned to the door as the pair walked in. Dom flipped his shades up but the woman didn't.
"Hi. My name is Dominic Weston. This is my partner Samantha Price." Dom introduced himself. There was something very familiar about Samantha but I couldn't put my finger on it.
Vinnie walked out of his office when he heard the door open and, like many of the guys in the room bar Tank, Morelli and myself (ok maybe I was), stared at Samantha with a look of awe and lust.
"Hi. I'm Vincent Plum. Call me Vinnie." Vinnie said as he shook Dom's hand but kissed Samantha's hand.
Samantha twisted his wrist behind his back and took him down in one move, pulling a gun in the process. She held it to the back of a petrified Vinnie's head. Joe, Cass, Tank, Myself, Big Dog and Eddie had pulled our guns and were pointing them at Samantha's back.
"Oh forgot to mention. Sam doesn't like being touched. Call me Dom and like I said, this is Sam. Sam let him up." Dom commanded, mirth lacing his tone.
Sam released his wrist and stood up in one fluid movement. She placed the gun back in its holster at her side and walked over to the coat holder. She slipped off her jacket revealing a well toned body and more weapons. We all put our guns away and waited for them to speak.
"Have you got the file on our FTA?" Dom asked. I was beginning to wonder if Sam could talk or if she was a mute.
"Yea. Here it is. What did he do?" Connie asked as she handed the file to Dom. Before Dom could take it, Sam took it and flipped it open.
"He has been charged with first degree murder, rape and assault. Why he was bonded out we don't know but we are going to catch him." Sam said, speaking for the first time. Her voice sounded so familiar and I knew that the others could hear the familiarity as well.
"Have we met before? You seem extremely familiar." Lester said as he looked at Sam.
She smiled at him a breath taking smile and said "Yea. We have met, once upon a lifetime. Don't worry it'll come to you."
"Well ladies and gentlemen. We have to go and do some research. We will probably be back later on today if we can't find out anything. It was nice meeting you Vinnie." Dom said. He put his hand on the small of Sam's back and grabbed her coat as they walked out the door.
"Oh Vinnie, if you hit on me again, I'll tell Lucillethat you have switched from farm animals to incest. Ciao." Sam said as she walked out the door.
"Wait a minute. No way. That's not possible." Connie said.
"What Connie?" Bobby asked.
"Vinnie, you sick freak." Connie exclaimed.
Vinnie looked just as confused as the rest of us when he asked "What have I done this time?"
"You just hit on your cousin. Who else refers to the sex you have with Joyce as having sex with farm animals?" Connie said.
"NO WAY! THAT WAS MY WHITE GIRL?!" Lula shouted.
I get my face blank but inside my insides were turning to jelly. Babe had been in the office with me and I didn't know.
"Wait, you're telling me that that hot chick. That weapon toting, sarcastic bitch is Steph?" Vinnie asked. When Connie nodded, Vinnie went pale and headed straight for his office.
"When did Steph learn to hold a gun?" Morelli asked.
"Forget that, when did Bombshell start carrying weapons? Did you notice the belt. She had a knife, a Maglite, a 9mm in the belt and also a .38 at the small of her back. She had cuffs and pepper spray as well." Tank commented.
"She also had a .22 at her ankle and a knife on the other one." I said quietly.
I knew what had happened now. She had left Trenton, gone to New York and met Dom who had turned her into a machine. She was no longer the klutzy, bumbling Steph. She was now Samantha Price- a proper bounty hunter. Oh god. What had he put her through?
"Oh Vinnie, if you hit on me again, I'll tell Lucillethat you have switched from farm animals to incest. Ciao." I said as I walked out the door.
Dom and I laughed the whole way back to the car. Once we were in the Porsche, I flicked through the file. We only knew the basics but this file held more detail.
Name: Michael Anderson
Description: 6"2, Brown hair, green eyes. 285 pounds
Offences: 1st degree murder, 1st Degree Rape and 1st degree assault
Weapons of choice: Gun, knife, piece of wire for strangulation
Details of crime: Assaulted his ex-girlfriend's new boyfriend, tied him to a chair and made him watch as he raped his ex. Killed ex girlfriend (gun shot to head) and fled scene.
Place of Residence: 134 and 54 Smith Street
Home Number: 555-8898
Cell Number: 555-0276
Family: Mother, Sister and brother.
Family Whereabouts: Brother (Luke Anderson) lives in Trenton, New Jersey- 234 Davis Road. Sister (Kelly Bright nee Anderson) lives in Connecticut. Mother deceased. Father unknown.
Priors: Shoplifting, GTA, Arson, Assault.
"Whoa. He did a number on his victims." I said. I read out the case to Dom as he drove.
"Where does his brother live?" I told him the address and he turned off. "Let's go and pay him a visit then shall we." He said as he drove.
I leaned back into my seat and went into my zone. All I could think about was the blonde haired woman that was sitting next to Ranger. She had her hand entwined with his and there was an engagement ring on her left finger.
He had forgotten me. How could he. I haven't dated in 2 years because he was my world. I could never love anyone like I loved Ranger. He was my heart, my everything. He was the reason I wanted to change. I wanted him to be proud of me. I would do anything for him and I would always be ready if he needed me. Now I guess I have been replaced by a blonde, fake version. He obviously didn't need me anymore but I sure as hell needed him. I loved Ricardo Carlos Manoso.
"Hey gorgeous," Dom said. I felt the car stop and I looked up at the house in front of me. It was a simple two-storey townhouse.
"Is this the house?" I asked. When Dom nodded I realised that I had gone into my zone when thinking about Ranger.
I hopped out of the car and we both walked up to the house.
A man of around 30 answered the door. He was around 5"10 with black hair and brown eyes. He was at least 200 pounds and looked like a well off man.
"Can I help you?" He asked.
Dom and I flashed our badges and Dom said "My name is Dominic Weston and this is my partner Samantha Price. We are here to talk to you about your brother. May we come in?"
"Of course." Luke said. He invited us in and led us to a very clean living room. In the room were a woman and three kids.
"This is my wife Joan. Joan these people are Bond Enforcement Agents. They're here about Michael." Luke explained as the woman stood.
"Hi. I'm Dominic Weston and this is my partner Sam Price." Dom said. We both shook the woman's hand and she smiled at us.
"Kids, go up to your bedrooms now please." Joan said. The three kids stood up and walked upstairs. Jean offered us seats and we sat down, ready to question the two people in front of us.
"How long has it been since you last saw your brother?" I asked. I pulled out my notebook, much like a cop and got ready to take notes.
"It has been about 6 months. He came by and asked for some money. He's my little brother so I gave it to him." Luke said.
"How much money did you give him? Dom asked.
"About five hundred dollars. He had just lost his job and I was going to help him." Luke said. He put his head in his hands. Joan rubbed his back up and down and whispered to him.
"When was the last time either of you spoke to him?" I asked.
"About 3 weeks ago. He told me that Taylor, his ex girlfriend had been killed." Luke said.
"Did you know that he was the one that killed her?" Dom asked carefully. We both judged his reaction. His face paled and his eyes widened.
"Mike killed Tay?" Joan asked quietly.
"Oh god, that's why he asked me for bail money. I thought he had been caught shoplifting again. He… he killed Taylor?" Luke said.
"Did you give him the money?" I asked.
Luke nodded before he stood up and left the room.
Joan stood and said "I'm sorry."
"That's fine ma'am. Here is my card. Please give us a call if you think of anything or if he contacts you. " Dom said, handing Joan a piece of white card. She took it and showed us out. We got back into the Porsche and drove away. We soon pulled up at the bonds office again and noticed the cars were all still there.
"Come on. Lets use Connie's computer to find anymore information about Michael." Dom said.
We got out of the car and headed inside. I hung my jacket up again and turned to my friends. I flipped my sunnies onto my head and smiled. I walked through the stunned mass and over to Connie's desk.
"Hey Connie, can I use your computer?" I asked. She nodded deafly and stood up. I slid behind the desk and started typing.
The room was completely silent. I looked up once and saw Dom glaring at Ranger and the Merry Men and vice versa.
"Dom!" I said in a warning tone. Dom moved his gaze from Ranger to me. I indicated for him to come over to me. He threw one final look at Ranger and the boys before walking over to me. He put an arm on either side of me on the table and leant over, his head on my shoulder. I knew he was doing it to piss the Merry Men and Ranger off so I suppressed a smile.
"What did you find gorgeous?" He breathed into my ear. I was fighting hard not to laugh as Ranger probably was plotting to send him to some third world country. Ranger's eyes steeled and I knew he had heard what Dom had said.
"Nothing yet." I replied. "I'm about to you know." This was mine and Dom's code for hacking. I had been taught by some really cool people and I can now hack into different computer systems.
Dom smirked and asked "NYPD or Trenton PD?"
I shook my head, grinned and said "FBI." Dom laughed and kissed my head. He kept looking over my shoulder as I typed in various codes.
"What are you talking about?" Connie asked. Dom and I looked up and noticed everyone staring at us.
"Sam is just about to get us some more files on our boy." Dom said with a shrug. I turned back to the computer
"How?" Lula asked, staring at the way Dom and I were close together.
"She's gunna hack the FBI files and see if they have anything on our boy." Dom explained whilst I typed.
"How can Steph do that? No offence Cupcake, but you suck with computers." Joe said.
Dom and I looked up and Dom glared. "You're right Morelli, Steph sucks with computers but Sam here is amazing at computers. She can hack into anything and she can fix any computer."
I turned back to the computer and continued typing whilst Joe and Dom glared at one another. I found a file on our boy and clicked print.
I slipped out from under Dom's arms and over to the printer. I pulled the file off the printer when it was done and sat back in my seat. Dom took his eyes from Morelli and turned to the file in my lap. We both scanned through it and were shocked with what we read.
"I'll ring Cade and tell him what we've got." Dom said. He pulled out his phone and walked outside. I kept reading over the file when I felt the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. I looked up and saw Ranger looking at me intently.
"Babe, can we talk outside?" He asked. I nodded and slipped the file under my arm. He led me out to the alley behind the office. I turned to him and said one word that he had said to me many times.