I don't own the Timeless Series, I just play with Joseph.
"Skins," I called out and threw the basketball to Greg.
"Man, you always call skins," Greg grumbled and tossed the ball back to me. Then, quick as a snake, he moved to punch me in the gut. I deflected it; I always did. He grunted as the ball hit his chest.
"Well," I chuckled, "I'd rather bethe sweaty guy than have to block the sweaty guy." I shuddered at the thought of having to block the opposing team by the end of the game, all dripping with sweat. You'd think that FBI agents would all be trim and in shape. Wrong. Sure, there were some of us who took good care of ourselves (field agents), but in general, the typical stereotype is all wrong.
"Maybe we should request some team jerseys," Greg suggested. "I think the FBI could spring for that. I'll see if I can sneak that into the budget."
I shook my head and chuckled. "Greg, when are you going to get a real job with the FBI?" I asked with, no doubt, a teasing smirk on my face. "Accounting is for girls."
"If I'm so girly, why has my team won the last nine basketball games?" Greg asked with raised eyebrows, flexing his biceps. He was a huge man, the last person anyone would think to call girly. Maybe that's why we all liked to tease him so much. He was a good sport, though. One year he dressed up as a Britney Spears for Halloween—at work. He spent most of the day singing "Oops, I did it again" and "Hit me baby one more time."
"Only because I have George on my team," I defended. "Have you ever seen him try to make a shot? He needs blinders over his eyes so he isn't busy checking out ladies in the crowd. It's embarrassing," I spat as I stalked off to seize the basketball off the floor.
Just as I lined up to take my first practice shot, I heard my name being called from the entrance of the gym.
Tom. Of course.
"Yes, sir." Instantly I switched from basketball god to Agent Carter. I was in the zone like Tiger Woods on the back nine.
"You have an assignment," my very bossy boss informed me. He was exactly like the stereo type; black suit, black tie, white button-up shirt, slicked back hair and a serious expression on his face. "There's no time for an official briefing at the office—you'll receive one on the plane before you take off to Oregon. Change your clothes and be on the tarmac in one hour." He turned to walk away and then stopped and pivoted to face me again. "Oh, no need to pack, we'll return today if all goes as planned."
"Yes, sir," I repeated like a robot. I guess my team would be one short today. I gave an apologetic shrug to my teammates and ran to grab my bag.
"Leprechauns again?" Greg shouted from the court. "Or is it the Yeti this time?" A few booming laughs echoed through the small hallway that headed toward our lockers. I ignored them.
It was for occasions such as this that I kept a duffel bag, packed for any sort of trip, stored away in my locker. After a quick shower, I shaved and threw some gel in my hair, then dressed in our standard uniform; black suit, white shirt. I laughed as I thought of Agent Vittorio; he always wore a dark pair of sunglasses—apparently he was trying to uphold the typical FBI stereotype. I walked out of the bathroom, whistling Here Come the Men in Black. Ugh, I'll never get that song out of my head.
When I got to my new, magnetic black Nissan 350Z, a birthday present to myself, I thought back to why I had become an FBI agent. It was for days like today: the unpredictable schedule, never knowing what I'd be doing each day at work, never knowing where I'd be sent on an assignment. There were drawbacks, of course. I have always wanted a dog, someone to run up and greet me when I got home from work, someone to take running with me, someone to roughhouse with in the backyard. Unfortunately, my schedule was too crazy and unpredictable to be fair to an animal. Come to think if it, my schedule was too unpredictable to hold down a long term relationship, period.
My mom had herself convinced that I was too picky. In her mind, she'd rather see me married to any woman who'd take me than be single. I knew her dark secret: she wanted more grandkids. She wouldn't admit it, but I knew it was true. The worst part of it was that she tried setting me up with her friends' daughters—all the way in Florida! I tried to explain to her that I wouldn't settle down until I found the right woman. Honestly, is it a crime to be twenty-eight and single? I refused to settle—sue me.
I've dated. I've met some pretty terrific women, in fact. One of two things usually happened when we moved past the first few dates. Half of the women became too dependent. They saw a man who earned a great living and seemed to think that the platinum credit card in my wallet was there to cater to their every desire. I had to end those relationships quickly. Of course I'd love to spoil a special woman in my life; I'd jump at the opportunity—but not because they expected it—because I wanted to. I was looking for a woman who took pride in the fact that she could provide for herself. I didn't care if she stocked shelves at Wal-Mart and lived in a studio apartment, as long as she wasn't out looking for man to support a lifestyle that she couldn't afford on her own.
The other women couldn't handle my schedule; long days, unexpected extended trips, and the nature of my job. I think the fact that I worked in the Paranormal Investigations division freaked them out—or intrigued the truly weird ones. I could understand that, I suppose. I've seen some things that would make Dracula shudder. Of course, most of the things we've investigated had turned out to be hoaxes, but every so often we'd stumble upon something truly mind blowing.
I guess there was a third category; I've had a stalker or two—most recently, Sara. I had even considered changing my number after that whole debacle.
The plane seemed fairly empty; apparently only a few of us were being sent on this trip. As I settled into one of the couches in the briefing room, along with the few other agents who were on this assignment, we made small talk while we waited for Agent Morris to brief us about our trip. Idly, I wondered what this trip had in store for us. More alien sightings? Ghosts?
When Agent Morris took his place behind the podium, he didn't waste time with pleasantries. "Zelko Corp has reported discovering three corpses from Italy dating back over two thousand years. Their Supernatural Specialist, Dr. Moretti, has discovered that they have the ability to regenerate new skin."
Agent Morris clicked a remote control in his hand and the white screen in the front of the room showed a slide show of the bodies. There were two males and one female. Shockingly, they looked healthy, peaceful, and most certainly not a few thousand years old.
"All testing has been halted until we relocate these bodies back to our Paranormal Division Lab. At this point we have no reason to believe that the corpses pose any threat, but I do expect you to be alert and on your guard for anything that seems unusual. We will be bringing Dr. Moretti back with us to head the testing here in D.C. She is quite young for someone with her credentials, but is the most qualified specialist in the world. I've been informed that she is a skeptic and is nearly impossible to fool, so this may be the real deal. I expect you to treat her with the utmost respect."
"I won't be going on this trip, but Agent Austin is already in Oregon with Dr. Moretti, so she'll be heading up this trip. If you have any questions or trouble while you're away, you'll report to her. Read the brief that Emily is passing out and get familiar with the details."
After our briefing, we dispersed to various areas of the plane. As I settled onto a couch, I skimmed through the brief, coming to a halt as I saw the word "fish bowl." What kind of company named a lab a fish bowl? As I continued to scan through the details of the corpse, I began wondering what they could possibly be. Dead bodies, thousands of years old, regenerating … It had to be a hoax; I was certain of it. Or, maybe not; Agent Morris did say that Doctor Moretti was the real deal. I quickly pushed these thought out of my had as I laid my head back and allowed myself to doze off, guessing that it would be a couple of days before I'd have the opportunity to get a good night of sleep.
I woke up with a start as I felt the plane begin it's decent into Oregon. I'd slept for four hours.
"Pamela was watching you sleep. I think she has a thing for you," Matt whispered with a sly look on his face.
"Pamela, huh?" I chuckled quietly. "I don't really go for the cougars, Matt. I refuse to date anyone old enough to be my mother." Pamela was at least in her mid fifties and had been making passes at all the young men in our division. On second thought, maybe I should go for her, just to drive my mom crazy. A woman that old probably couldn't have kids anymore … my mom would probably keel over. I shuddered at the thought of even pretending to date Pamela; it definitely would not be worth it. Well, I wasn't going to stick around to find out if she would make her move. I decided to take evasive action; the second the plane was still, I bolted out of my seat and practically ran down the stairs to the tarmac.
Once I was a safe distance away, I relaxed and watched as the tarmac sprung to life. Several black SUV's and three hearses stopped several feet from where I was standing. From the first hearse, Agent Austin stepped out. She was tall, with long brown hair and I knew many of the FBI agents ogled over her quite often. I never saw the appeal, though she did seem to have a radiant glow to her; maybe she was pregnant. She immediately started barking orders, each one coming in loud and clear through my ear device. I wished the thing would come with a volume button. As each load of vehicles was emptied, they sped away to leave nothing but a sea of black suits working together in securing the area. Apparently a crew of agents from the west coast were coming back with us.
My phone rang. I sighed and reached in my pocket to see the caller ID. It was Sara—for the millionth time today. I hit the ignore button and put my phone back in my pocket. Sara was my ex-girlfriend that couldn't seem to understand the "ex" in ex-girlfriend. We dated for a couple months and things were great—she was great—until she started following me around. Of course I had to keep many things about my life a secret, and she was just another one of those women that couldn't understand that part of my life and had to figure out the answer. Well, I was an FBI agent—of course I knew she was watching my every move. Sometimes I drove all over town when I knew she was following me, just for fun! When I became bored, I decided to "catch" her in the act. So, I caught her—three times. On the third, the saying "fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice shame on me" hit me and I realized I was a fool for keeping her around. The games just weren't fun anymore. This only brought on a whole new round of questions. Ergo the ignore button.
My phone vibrated again, signaling that I received a voicemail. And again, I ignored it. Several boxes with the words "fragile" passed in front of me as lab techs began to load the plane. There were some airline workers there to help, but every time they tried to move or carry boxes, Agent Austin started shouting. She could be scary when she wanted to be.
My phone rang. Again. The sound received the same action it had for the past week. I sighed, pulled my phone out of my pocket and read the caller ID. I opened the phone this time.
"Hey Mom," I relented.
"Hi, Dear. I hope you aren't busy. Sara asked me to cal—"
"Mom," I sighed loudly, "I broke up with her. She's been stalking me around town."
"Honey," she sighed back, just as loudly, "I thought you really liked her. I'm sure she is just curious about your profession since you won't tell anyone about what you do! She must really care for yo—"
"Whose side are you on?" I barked. It still bothered me that Sara had conveniently found my mom's phone number and called her and weaseled her way into my family without my permission.
"Yours, of course."
"Okay, Mom. You know I love you, but things between Sara and I are over."
It was silent on the other end for a few seconds. "All right, but if you change your mind—"
"Mom!" I sighed, exasperated. "I won't change my mind." I paused. "I'm at the airport right now in Oregon. I'll be back in D.C. later this evening."
"Doctor Moretti will be arriving in a few minutes," a voice announced over the ear piece.
"Mom, I need to go, I have work to do. Give Dad a hug for me. I'll call you when I get home."
"Ok Honey, be safe. I love you."
"I love you too, Mom"
I'd like to give a huge thank you to lolafalana for betaing this chapter. I love you lady.