Welcome to 2011, everyone! Let's hope things improve for all, this year eh? I needed to get writing again, so here's the 1st installment of a new fic - i know mostly where this is going, but it may take some time again, so hope you can bear with me! I hope i can improve on my last fic! Please review and help me improve!
Thanks and happy CA-fic-year to you all! :-)
The stunned silence in the room was deafening…then Sabrina broke it abruptly.
"WHAT did you just say Charlie?" The shock in her voice all too evident.
Charlie responded. "I'm very sorry Sabrina - everyone - this is a shock to me too, believe me."
"WHAT?" Kris re-iterated then left the sofa and quickly strode over to Bosley's desk. Bosley looked at her glumly as she came. She threw her arms out in an all-questioning gesture, looking open mouthed from Bosley, to Sabrina, who was coming around the side of the bar, then back to Bosley again.
"I don't - What…" Kris stammered, looking at Sabrina as she approached. "I don't understand! Has something happened to Kelly? Something we don't know about?"
"Okay, what's going on, Charlie?" Sabrina chimed in crossly, as she approached. She was suddenly quite suspicious of their boss for a reason she couldn't think of.
Kris folded her arms about herself as Sabrina came up to her and stood by her, both of them looking down at the speakerphone, waiting for some kind of comprehensive explanation from Charlie. Kris could feel the agitation building in Sabrina as she herself felt similar anxiousness.
"Angels, I don't know…"Charlie seemed agitated himself. "I was hoping you could tell me."
Sabrina had her hands on her hips, tapping a foot and looking up at the ceiling in bewilderment, wondering whether to believe Charlie, or to pinch herself in case she was dreaming. Then she took a deep breath to try and compose herself, then leant both hands on the desk in front of her.
"Charlie, this is a joke, right? A bad joke! I mean, Kelly just wouldn't do this!" She stood up straight and turned to Kris, reading her face and discovering the same sense of shock at this stunning news.
"It's no joke Sabrina." Charlie's voice was all too serious. "Kelly called me this morning and said she's had enough. She wants to move on, do other things…"
He seemed to pause to remember Kelly's words. "She said she wants to explore her life more fully. She's sending in her letter of resignation in by mail. And she expressly said she did not want to be contacted. I wish it were otherwise, angels, I really do." There seemed to be a note of defeat in his voice. Kris wondered if Charlie had tried talking Kelly round - without success.
Sabrina snorted. "Now see," She pointed a finger at the box on the desk, as if Charlie himself were sat there, "that's not like Kelly either! She wouldn't just 'leave town' without saying g'bye!"
Kris breathed out loud through her nose and looked away, a large frown of hurt and confusion on her face.
She looked back at Sabrina.
"I think we should go see her." She said quietly, seeing the disbelief in her friends eyes, which mirrored her own feelings.
Bosley spoke for the first time. "I don't know if that would be wise, Kris."
"Why not, Bos? She's our friend - we're like family! She can't just up and leave like this! She wouldn't!" Kris threw her hands in the air yet again.
Bosley twiddled with his pencil. "I'm just saying - if Kelly doesn't want to call in personally to say goodbye…well, she must have a good reason for not doing so." He shrugged, and frowned. "Kelly never does anything without a good reason. Maybe we ought to respect that." He looked down at his pencil, not wishing to continue looking at the immense hurt in Kris and Sabrina's eyes. Then he looked at the speaker on his desk. "Charlie?" He sent his apprehension at Kris's suggestion in his voice.
"I'm actually inclined to agree with…both of you." Charlie said diplomatically. "Perhaps Kelly does have a very good reason for this sudden change in career…"
"Yeah," Sabrina interrupted, stubbornness evident in her voice. "And maybe Kelly is in some kind of trouble too. C'mon Kris, you're right. Something's wrong, I know it. Sorry Charlie, but we gotta go."
"Bye Charlie, Bos." Kris said as she followed Sabrina quickly out of the office.
"Good luck, angels…" Charlie called softly after them. Funny how his Angels consistently tuned in to his wavelength…
Kris's white and blue Ford Cobra pulled up a few yards past Kelly's house, and Kris got out, and stood for a moment, looking toward her modest, nicely kept home, wondering if Kelly was inside, and if she was, did she hear a car drive up. Sabrina came around the car and stood beside Kris.
They both walked up to Kelly's small porch and knocked and waited. No-one seemed to stir inside. Kris looked at Sabrina, who was trying to peer in through the lace curtained window of the front door. Sabrina knocked again, expectantly.
"Kelly?" She called, leaning on the doorframe. "Kelly, it's Sabrina and Kris, would ya come to the door?" She frowned when there was still no reply or sound of movement.
Kris looked around for any passing neighbours, but saw none.
"Do you think she's in? I can't hear anything." Kris tried peeking in through Kelly's front room window, shading her eyes with her hand up to the glass.
Sabrina tutted. "I don't know." She wondered if Kelly was purposefully laying low. But then, why would she do that?
"Do you think she's okay, Bri? Maybe we should try round back." Kris stood back, then they were both startled as a young boy on his bike shouted at them from the end of the driveway.
"She aint home, y' know."
Kris walked down the drive to greet the boy.
"Hiya - you know who lives here?" She asked.
"Sure, Miss Garrett. She's nice. She bakes real good cookies!" The boy smiled approvingly. "Are you her friends?" He asked, eying Kris then Sabrina with great suspicion. Kris smiled.
"Yes we are…my names Kris…" she motioned at Sabrina approaching down the driveway, "…and this is Sabrina. We're both good friends of Miss Garrett. We like her cookies too!" She grinned. "How do you know she's not at home?"
The boy looked from one to the other, seemingly deciding whether or not to trust them. Then he spoke up.
"My name's Darrel. Hmm, I seen her go in a car." Darrel flicked his head down the road to indicate which direction the car went in. "There were two men with her." He said thoughtfully. "They looked kinda mean…"
Kris and Sabrina's whole attentions were now fixed on the boy.
"When did this happen, Darrel?" Kris asked him.
He looked at Kris. "Oh, when I had to go to the store for my mom…" He fidgeted with the ringer of his bike bell, looking slightly embarrassed. Kris smiled inwardly. She never liked running errands at that age either.
"What time, do you remember?" Sabrina asked, hoping the boy had some idea of the time.
"Uhhhh…I dunno, my mom ran out of eggs, she said she wanted to make pancakes for breakfast…" Sabrina frowned, but then smiled again for Darrel's sake.
"Okay, do you remember what the car looked like Darrel?" Sabrina asked a little gently. She was getting impatient, worried for Kelly's safety. Darrel looked at Sabrina and smiled. "Oh sure, it was a Lincoln, just like my dad's!" He thought for a second. "It was black though." Then he looked back down the street and grinned. "My dads taking me fishing now!" And with that, he pushed off on his peddles and rode off, a world away from Kris and Sabrina's cares.
Kris started off to her car whilst Sabrina's attention was fixed on checking which house the boy went to. Then she looked around for Kris.
"Hey wait up Kris!" Sabrina called over, as she made her way to the passenger side. Kris jumped in the Cobra and picked up the phone, dialling the office quickly. Sabrina got in beside her, and watched as Kris waited for Bosley to pick up. She wasn't kept waiting long.
"Hi Bos, it's Kris - yeah we got news on Kelly…"
"Well what have you found?" Sabrina could hear Bosley's concerned voice on the other end.
"A kid who says he saw Kelly being taken off in a black Lincoln earlier this morning, by two guys…"
"It's a possibility Bos…"
"But why call in to resign?" Bosley's voice was full of confusion and anxiety. Sabrina frowned. It didn't make sense… but nothing ever did in these circumstances.
"I don't know Bos, but we're coming back to the office right now okay? Bye." Kris hung up and started the engine, a hundred different fears and an equal number of questions running riot through her mind. Sabrina sensed the mounting tension in Kris and put a steadying hand on her arm as Kris harshly jammed the car in gear.
"Easy, Kris - we're gonna find Kelly, okay?" Kris found a warm comfort in her friends tone and understanding eyes, but her fears could not be quelled. The Cobra sped back the way it had come.
Kelly had risen a little later than usual this morning. It was Saturday and as luck would have it, the angels had just wrapped up another difficult case…somehow neatly in time for the weekend. So Charlie had magnanimously gave them the weekend off. She hummed lightly to herself as she began looking through one of her kitchen cupboards to see if she had any eggs left. She fancied an omelette for breakfast. She found the small egg crate she remembered seeing yesterday but when she lifted it off the high shelf… oh, empty! Still, it was a sunny morning. A stroll in the sunshine through the park to the local store would be a nice way to start the day. Kelly put her light jacket on, grabbed her handbag and stepped out of her front door.
Kelly jumped then swung round, immediately startled by the male voice behind her. Two men in dark suits were standing a few feet away, watching her intently.
"Oh! Yes? Can I help you?" Kelly courteously replied. It wasn't just the fact that one of them knew her name that made her suspicious, and her inner hackles were up, but she didn't show it. Instead, she smiled sweetly. "I'm sorry, I don't want any magazines today, thank you." She went to step sideways but the man who spoke, discreetly drew a pistol from inside his jacket and got Kelly's further attention.
"And I'm not offering you any magazines today Miss Garrett." He smiled at the running joke. "What I am offering you is a chance to walk nicely with us" he emphasised the adjective "to our car and take a little trip to see someone who requires your services." His tone was even, but Kelly knew the man wasn't messing around - they both looked like they were used to getting whatever it was they wanted. She shrugged her shoulders in defeat, yet let a little surprise flicker across her face.
"Okay, seeing as you have me at a disadvantage… although your offer is intriguing." Kelly replied in kind, not wanting to give the men any reason to be uneasy with her. She did have a small advantage hidden from sight in her bag.
"Thank you Miss Garrett, but please, before we go…" the man held his hand out "…the bag, if you don't mind." Kelly looked at him, and he saw a slight sign of an inward curse flit across her features. He smiled again. "We know you carry, Miss Garrett - we know quite a lot about you - and your friends." He added, letting a hint of intent carry in his voice. Kelly held the gaze as she handed over her bag and watched as he removed her gun, checked the bag for any other forms of harmful intent, then returned her bag to her.
"Thank you." Kelly decided a civil tongue would likely go a long way. The man gestured for her to go before them, to the car. She did as she was told, with full understanding that these two 'messengers' were not in the habit of lousing things up. Their dress, their accents, their whole way of carrying out their business alerted her to the fact that she wasn't in the company of any old street gangster's henchmen.
The drive to their destination wasn't particularly long, but Kelly felt desperately stuffy and uncomfortable. She had been handcuffed and then had a black scarf tied around her head to cover her eyes. It was all she could do to keep her breathing even, if this journey went on much longer, she wondered if her claustrophobia would get the better of her. Finally, the car slowed down and rolled evenly to a halt. The two men, who had maintained a rigid silence all the way, helped her out of the car, still blindfolded, and led her across some gravel, up a few steps and led her into a building. She gathered it was large, and also likely richly decorated, due to the echoes of her footfalls on a wooden floor, and a pleasing smell of highly polished wood and other agreeable odours that went with a highly maintained interior. She was led further inside, into a somewhat smaller room, which was carpeted. Very nicely. Kelly could get the sense of the depth of pile as she was led into the room. Then her handcuffs were removed and she was pushed down into a leather chair and the scarf was removed from her head. Kelly grimaced a little and blinked as her eyes focussed. Well, she wasn't on the east side of the city, that was for sure. And, she was unharmed. That was a start. The two men appeared to have left, and she looked around to take in her surroundings and was startled again when a female voice behind her spoke up.
"Miss Garrett, thank you for accepting my invitation." The woman made her way around to stand in front of Kelly, who looked up.
"I wish people would stop creeping up on me today, it's getting a little unnerving!" Kelly said, a little peeved and tired of all this charade of etiquette. "And this isn't my idea of a fun day off either!" Kelly went to stand up, her aggravation finally getting the better of her.
The dark haired woman gave her a cold, meaningful look that made Kelly sit back down again. But she let out a sigh to indicate that she wasn't giving in on account of fear. Kelly understood that presently, she really didn't have a lot of options.
The woman turned her back and walked to the windows, pulled at the closed velvet drapes a little, and peered out. Then after some seconds, she seemed to have come to a decision to give Kelly her full attention. Kelly looked back at the woman, trying to figure out where she'd heard the name before. Yet Kelly knew she didn't know her personally. She waited for her to speak.
"Miss Garrett, my name is Mrs Alexandra Limardo. Perhaps you have heard of me? I have heard a lot about you… and your agency - Townsend Investigations." Mrs Limardo took a seat opposite Kelly next to a large antique-looking desk, and steepled her fingers. She was a slim but tall woman, with intent brown eyes, darker than Sabrina's, Kelly noted. Yet like Bri's, accentuated by her almost black hair. Her face was drawn, Kelly also noted. There was some kind of sadness about her that Kelly could feel. Kelly sat up straighter in her chair. The name Limardo was zipping its way through her memory like lightening snaking across the sky. Limardo…of course, Lorenzo Limardo. Italian mobster shot dead by police in New York maybe six - eight months or so ago?
Mrs Limardo was watching Kelly. Trying to read her face, to see signs of recognition, remembrance… or signs of anything else that would help her to read Kelly Garrett. She needed to know exactly who she was going to deal with, in order to deal successfully with her.
Kelly now looked back levelly at Mrs Limardo.
"I know that your husband was killed by the New York police Mrs Limardo, but I really don't see what that's got to do with me - or Townsend Investigations?" She watched Mrs Limardo. "And I'm a little tired of being taken places against my will."
"Oh I am so sorry, where are my manners…" Mrs Limardo said, not completely apologetically, and hovered a hand over a buzzer on her desk. "…please can I offer you a drink?" Though she knew what the answer would be.
"No thank you Mrs Limardo, I would like some answers, or I'm leaving!" Kelly wanted to get out of there, she'd had enough. So much for a pleasant weekend…
Mrs Limardo smiled in spite of herself. Miss Garrett indeed had some wit.
"Miss Garrett, my husbands death was shocking and very, very sad for me and my family, but that is not the reason you are here… I would like to offer you a business proposal." She stood up and walked over to the wall near Kelly and gestured to a gilt framed portrait of a young dark haired woman, possibly in her very late teens or early twenties. Not much younger than Kelly herself. Kelly saw the resemblance straight away.
"This is a portrait of my beautiful daughter, Alda." Again, the sadness, Kelly thought.
"She is very beautiful." Kelly said truthfully. She ventured further. "How old is she?"
Mrs Limardo turned a tortured gaze on Kelly. "She is dead, Miss Garrett. My beautiful daughter is…dead." She turned back to the portrait and Kelly could have sworn she saw a tear as she turned. She waited for Mrs Limardo to continue, wondering where this was all leading to. But as Kelly waited, Mrs Limardo seemed to lose focus, coiling up almost imperceptibly in her grief and memories. Kelly cleared her throat and in doing so, pulled Mrs Limardo back into the present. She shot Kelly a warning glance as she saw the look of pity soften Kelly's face.
"I do not wish for your pity, Miss Garrett - I wish for my daughters killer to be brought to me!" She said, icily. Kelly was a little stunned, and wondering why on earth she was being dragged into all this.
"Look, Mrs Limardo. This 'invitation' to bring me here - this business proposal…" Kelly gestured around with her arm. "…all this sugar-coated threat - I don't get it! You say you want me to investigate the death of your daughter? Why? Aren't you so well connected you can see to this yourself? What about the police? Don't they have it all in hand? Or why don't you just go in 'mob-handed'" she let the sarcasm touch her voice "and take out whoever killed your daughter?"
Kelly was exasperated, she looked expectantly at her captor, wondering if she'd pushed too many buttons. However charming her surroundings, Kelly was in no doubt as to how much trouble she was finding herself in.
Mrs Limardo studied Kelly for a few moments before replying. "All your questions, Miss Garrett, are obviously valid ones." She walked back to her seat and sat down, crossing her legs and smoothing out the skirt of the very expensive suit she attired herself with.
"I know you are single Miss Garrett. No parents, no siblings, no children." Kelly kept her features schooled. Her past was no one else's business. Where was this going?
Mrs Limardo continued. "So I have chosen you, because I feel you are the most single minded of your team. You have no family, and therefore are of no threat to anyone else. And you would hardly be missed…" Again, the threat, Kelly chewed inwardly on this blatant display of power. "And yet…I also admire your qualities of kindness and mercy to others, after all you have gone through in your life..." Mrs Limardo finished, hinting at the degree with which she had done her research.
Kelly let this information sink in. She was wrong - Kelly did have a family - one which would go to any lengths to protect her. Then another thought hit home. Did Alexandra Limardo think of Kelly as some kind of kindred spirit? If so, there was a chink in her armour. Kelly feigned surprise.
"Wait a minute…you are choosing me to work alone? But we work as a team. We get the job done as a team. That's the way it works..." Kelly appeared uncomfortable and nervy in her chair. Mrs Limardo smiled and shifted more comfortably in her own chair.
"No. Not this time. I have heard a lot of Townsend Investigations - yes, you do all get the job done… some of my associates can testify to that." Her charm wavered as her face darkened momentarily.
"But this job is somewhat different. I need stealth, wit, intelligence, female intuition, a healthy measure of beauty…" Mrs Limardo looked pointedly at Kelly. Kelly was only just beginning to see where this was going.
"You need to send in a woman to do the dirty work…?" Kelly smiled a little. Some things never change.
Mrs Limardo looked her over. "You are exactly what I need."
"But I still don't understand…"
"Miss Garrett," Mrs Limardo cut her off. "After her father died, Alda joined a…" her expression darkened once more "…a religious group - some people calling themselves The Chosen Of The Lord. My daughter chose - she chose to decide that she didn't want anything more to do with the family and she ran away to join this religious cult!"
Kelly could sense some bitterness in Alexandra Limardo now, but she also sensed it wasn't the prevailing emotion. She stayed silent and allowed Mrs Limardo to continue to express herself.
"She ran away from her family - from me - to join a religion!" Mrs Limardo was losing her focus again, grief taking hold, as Kelly got the irony of the whole picture. This poor girl, brought up in a mobsters family, lost her father to 'the business', ran away to find herself through God, only to lose her own life. If she'd have stayed where she was, she probably, ironically, would have been safer.
Mrs Limardo seemed to gather herself once more, and her countenance became icy once again.
Barriers, Kelly thought. A necessary part of living in a corrupt world.
"I want answers too, Miss Garrett - and I want my daughters killer!" She took in a breath to control her anger then continued.
"This group is made up almost entirely of women. The only men are the ones in charge. The police investigated, found Alda's blood to contain a large amount of alcohol and amphetamines - and they ruled on accidental overdose. Miss Garrett, my husband was what he was. The police will not take my daughters death any further. My business activities have seen to that. Wasting police time! Hah!" Mrs Limardo laughed humourlessly. "I should waste their pathetic lives!"
Kelly watched, just wondering if Alexandra Limardo was on top of her game at all.
"My daughter never touched alcohol or drugs, Miss Garrett!" Mrs Limardo leaned in closer to Kelly, from her chair. "She is… was… so different! All her short life, she never did touch anything! She just only ever wished to be happy!" Kelly sensed Mrs Limardo's pain on a deeper level and did indeed feel some sorrow for the woman, despite her corrupt lifestyle.
"How could this happen to my precious Alda?" Alexandra Limardo seemed to question no-one in particular and Kelly wondered if the thread of conversation was going to be lost in a mist of grief yet again. But then she straightened up and looked clearly at Kelly, with questioning eyes.
"Where did the drugs and alcohol come from, in a religious order, Miss Garrett? The police have stated that if anyone goes near the headquarters of this …Chosen of the Lord - well let's just say, it would not go well with me, my business - or any of my connections." She stood up and looked again at the portrait of her daughter. "Let us just say, I need to tread softly. When you are in my line of business Miss Garrett, you have to be very, very careful of whose toes you may be treading on." She turned back to Kelly. "And that is why I am only requesting your help alone Miss Garrett. I cannot arouse anyone's suspicions. I cannot take the chance."
Kelly winced inwardly at the insane hypocrisy of the statement. Lorenzo and Alexandra Limardo had already taken the worst possible gamble ever on all of their lives… and already lost so much. What else was there?
Retribution. And greed. Two of the most motivating forces known to man.
"Okay, I understand what you are saying Mrs Limardo - but my colleagues will want to know where I am, what I'm doing…what do I tell them?" Kelly wished like hell that Kris and Bri were not far away…
Mrs Limardo smiled patronisingly. "That is why you are going to resign, Miss Garrett."