Hi-de-Hi Campers! Sorry for the little delay in updating. I am currently working on getting my internet fully up and running. Hopefully things should be sorted this week, then I can post as often as I wish! Or as you wish! Thank you so much Vore De Ville and Lilikap for your pleasant, up building reviews, every review is precious to me! Even if you don't review, thank you for reading and hope you stick with me! (I check my stats you know!) Have a good week, everyone!
"Here you go, Kris." Sabrina brought two mugs of fresh coffee over and held one out to Kris.
After Sabrina had called and asked Chief Brandon at Central for help in contacting Charlie, she'd then turned back to find Kris looking for her near the phone booths. Kelly had been given a sedative after becoming agitated with not being able to recall much of why she was in hospital. Doctor Mundy had been paged and Kris had been kindly advised to let Kelly rest. Now they were both at Sabrina's apartment, waiting on a telephone call.
"Thanks Bri." She gratefully accepted the mug and took a small sip, relishing the hot, strong liquid as it made it's way down her throat. Boy, she had really needed a strong drink of decent coffee. No one ever actually liked machine coffee, did they? She watched Sabrina set her mug down on a coaster on an occasional table near the sofa, then hover by her telephone.
"I'm surprised Chief Brandon was so …" Kris thought about the correct word to choose "… helpful!" She smiled up at Sabrina.
"Yeah." Sabrina agreed. "He actually seemed quite disturbed by our news." She looked over at Kris, perched anxiously on a nearby chair. Kris looks really frazzled, she thought, distractedly. Her hair had dropped, she noticed, courtesy of a few missing clips, and was hanging in her eyes a little. Kelly's hospitalisation seemed to be telling on her. Sabrina's heart sank a little further. Having Kelly in the hospital had given both of them a scare, but now she felt protective of Kris as well. She gave Kris a kindly gaze.
"Are you okay Kris?"
Kris shrugged. "Ah, yeah! I'm okay! Bad day, eh!" She smiled, trying to convince Sabrina that she was handling all of this days events just like she would have handled any other day. And actually, she was, she realised. Okay, she was worried sick over Kelly. But that was normal. The day had turned out about as far from normal as it could get. But… She looked up and saw Sabrina watching her. Waiting her for her to …what? Start showing some cracks? Kris eyed Sabrina carefully. Sometimes she wondered if Sabrina thought she wasn't up to this job. She felt her mouth twitch sideways. A long time facial tick that she'd still not been able to completely overcome. She smiled immediately, to try and hide the tell tale sign.
"Kris, it's okay!" Sabrina smiled back warmly, seeing a little of Kris's distress. "You're right, it's been a hell of a day, huh!" She sighed and turned back towards the telephone, willing it to ring, wishing Charlie would hurry and contact them. And just as this thought overrode all others in that moment, she found herself suddenly startled by the loud bell of a call as it noisily jangled into the small silence of her living room, bringing her focus back on track. She snatched up the receiver, pulled an earring out of the way, then spoke into the phone.
"This is Sabrina Duncan…"
Kris sat up straighter, waiting to hear.
"Charlie!" Sabrina then exclaimed. "Kelly's alright Charlie. We've just come from the hospital. She's resting…."
Sabrina listened further. "…no, I don't think so Charlie… u-huh…"
Kris set her coffee aside, stood up, and walked over to Sabrina, who watched her approach.
"We're okay too Charlie…but the office…"
Kris suddenly felt strange - like she'd been dislocated from a well-oiled machine, somehow. No Bosley. No office. Kelly in hospital. Right then, she just wanted to hear Charlie's re-assuring voice. She stuck her hands deep into her jeans pockets and patiently listened to Sabrina's end of the conversation.
"Well, Charlie…." Again, Sabrina eyed Kris. "I don't think any of us are gonna back down on this one…"
Kris didn't exactly understand the whole meaning behind Sabrina's statement, but she shook her head at Sabrina anyway, to show unity. No, she was certainly in no mood for backing down on anything right now - whatever it was.
"And the only lead we might have is with Kelly about a phone call she thinks she had, just before the bombs went off…" Sabrina grimaced at Kris. "…No, she can't really remember much at all right now so it looks like we'll have to call the museum back, in Philadelphia - do you have the number Charlie?" She scrabbled around for a pen and some paper and jotted down some numbers…right... Okay…we will… thank you Charlie, Bye bye."
Sabrina hung up and looked at Kris, sighing.
"Charlie wanted to know if we still want to pursue this case."
"What?" Kris was perplexed. "Why?"
Sabrina nodded in her own agreement at Kris's question.
"Well Charlie is worried that we may have co-incidentally bitten off more than we can chew!" Sabrina threw her hands up in a gesture of bemusement.
"But wait a minute!" Kris interjected. "We didn't actually do the biting! We never even started anything - whatever thing this is!" Kris rolled her eyes in emphasis and threw her hands out in agitation.
"I know!" Sabrina agreed. She couldn't agree more. This whole case - if anyone could call it that - this whole day was just one big nightmare!
"I know, and I just don't get it!" Sabrina repeated. She sank down onto her sofa to think. Kris followed suit, and resumed her position on Sabrina's chair.
"Bri - we are the victims here, I know. But I'm not about to go running when Kelly's nearly been blown to bits! I want to know what the hell is going on here and I'm not going to wait around for Officer Maybourn to figure it out!" Kris's voice was controlled, but her tone was adamant.
Sabrina rubbed her hands over her face. "No. Me neither."
Sabrina's tone told Kris all she needed to know. This huge mess was not going to be left to fester. Nor was it going to be exhaustively investigated to a successful completion by any other agency than themselves. Sabrina looked across at Kris.
"We're going to get to the bottom of all this, Kris. Whatever this is." Sabrina stood up and went back to the phone.
"I'm going to call the museum again and get the details we need about the robbery." But she first scribbled something down on paper, then handed the paper out to Kris.
"Here Kris - it's a number we can contact Charlie on. Take a copy in case we get split up."
Kris went over, looked the number over then shoved the paper into her jeans pocket.
Sabrina then picked up the phone and dialled.
The man sat by the girls' bedside, watching her sleep. Just as he'd done every day and night since she was born. Apart from the three months he had spent in prison. Those terrible ninety three days when he had not been able to lay eyes on his only daughter for even a moment. It had almost broke his heart. Again. He ran a hand through his almost shoulder length fair hair and sighed, looking down at his precious one, seeing a measure of peace on her beautiful, but delicate little face. He drank in the sight of his wonderful little sleeping angel, who was his whole life. His whole being. His whole universe. He wondered again, as he gazed down, how God could give such an incredible precious gift, then threaten to take her away again. As he had done with his wife. He lowered a hand down over the cot and tenderly brushed a wavy lock of dark hair away from across his daughters eyebrow. A tiny frown appeared ever so briefly, then disappeared, at his touch. He smiled knowingly. Sweet dreams, precious. He marvelled for the thousandth time at her dark hair and complexion. He was fair haired - although showing flecks of grey now - and so her mother had been. But Beth had appeared with the looks from a few generations ago, on her mothers side. Italian. It never ceased to amaze him how genes could jump about like that. How, they could also bring forth harsh unfairness as well as such fair beauty. Beth had been diagnosed with Hodgkins Disease not long after her third birthday and the doctors had told him it was most likely hereditary. It had struck down his father in his early thirties. Now his beautiful Beth was battling with all her little might through her tender infant years. Yet, even through the treatments and sickness, Beth had smiled and given, touching everyone with her own little joys she managed to find in every day life. Even the little things, such as a ladybird flying in through an open window and landing on her bedspread. Or her delight at an unexpected visit from someone. Or even just being able to enjoy honey spread on her toast occasionally, when she was feeling better and able to keep down richer foods.
He sat for ten more minutes gazing, thinking, wishing, hoping. And praying. Then he bent and kissed his daughter on her warm forehead.
"I love you, sweetheart." He swallowed the lump in his throat. "I'll be back soon." He whispered.
He left the room quietly, and made his way out of the hospital, his heart heavy as lead.
The following morning, a dark blue car drew up and parked near to the Townsend Agency and Kris and Sabrina got out, both anxious to be back on their familiar territory, but both acutely aware of the need for caution. After calling the museum back to get the required information the previous night, Sabrina and Kris had decided to start fresh in the morning. They were both feeling pretty wrung out, yet they both admitted they felt the need for a little companionship, so Sabrina had offered for Kris to stop the night. Kris, for her part, had frankly decided that she didn't care to be on her own that night and Sabrina had also admitted she was a little worried about both their safety.
Today though, Kris thought, as she swung the car door shut, was a new day. She drew in a deep breath and let it out quickly, looking around at Sabrina. Things had to start looking up.
They walked the few hundred yards to the Townsend entrance, their gazes falling on the boarded up windows and sooty brickwork. But when they drew level with the entrance, their attention was taken also by the two scorched patches of concrete on the road adjacent to the office. Kris wrinkled her nose. There was still a very slight smell of burnt fuel and rubber emanating from the road. She looked across the corner to where her Cobra sat, gleaming a little too proudly it seemed.
"You wanna go check it out?" Sabrina asked her, following Kris's line of sight and knowing how much she loved the Cobra.
Kris thought for a moment.
"Nah, it looks okay. Let's see if we can go inside, huh?" She nodded towards the office. It wasn't something she was actually looking forward to. It was ten fifty am. They had called the Fire Department first thing that morning to find out if the building had been declared safe. But they still had to wait for a final inspection and assessment. They had been told however, that so far there had been no signs of structural damage noted by the Fire Officer in charge, who had been at the scene yesterday.
They stepped up to the entrance itself and Sabrina peered through the open door and saw three uniformed men - presumably the assessment team, judging by the paraphernalia they carried - coming towards her, crunching glass and plaster underfoot.
She stepped back outside, Kris behind her, to allow the men out.
"Good morning, Miss…uh…Duncan, isn't it?" The first of the men greeted her and scribbled something on a clipboard of paper.
"That's right. Good morning!" She smiled a quick courteous smile then looked meaningfully over the mens' shoulders to the inside.
"So, what's the verdict Sir?" She looked back at the team leader.
He smiled and held out the clipboard and a pen.
"We're happy to say the building is sound and you can now gain access…obviously, please be careful of the glass. Please can you sign here, and then you can take the top copy for insurance purposes."
Sabrina signed the form and the men left her and Kris alone to face the mess.
They cautiously entered into the main office where the lights had needed to be switched on, and both gasped at the starkly lit scene before them.
"Aw Kris!" Sabrina exclaimed, as she slowly and carefully crunched her way across the glass littered carpet to the middle of the room. Kris followed Sabrina, then fanned out to the left of her towards Bosleys' desk when she had spotted something on the floor. Something that made her shudder inside when she got up close and was able to see it better. Some drops and smudges of crimson. It was Kelly's blood. Kris stood, unable to take her eyes off the stains, her mind suddenly assaulted by images of Kelly thrown down there, knocked senseless and getting cut to ribbons in the process.
"God!" She muttered. Sabrina was by her side in a few strides, looking down at what had grabbed Kris's attention.
She put an arm around Kris's shoulder.
"C'mon Kris. Kelly's safe now, okay? She's going to be alright. C'mon now, huh?" She turned Kris away from the spot, distracting her by changing the subject and pointing out what needed to be replaced, and then coming up with ideas on how they could redecorate the office. Kris welcomed the distraction and looked around at the mess, but actually seeing that it was an excellent excuse to have some of their own way with the décor. She grinned, in spite of herself and the situation. She could just see Bosleys' face when he got back from his vacation, to find the office drenched in vivid hues of blancmange, lilac and azure… She caught Sabrina grinning back.
"Okay," she shrugged, "maybe not blancmange…" she grinned again. Sabrina raised a quizzical eyebrow at her. Then almost jumped out of her skin when the phone rang.
"Jeesh, my heart!" Sabrina joked, patted her chest, then turned back towards the desk. It was cluttered with all kinds of debris and there was no sign of the squawk box or the phone, but the direction that the persistent ringing came from told her she needed to look back to the floor. She crouched at the far side of the desk and pulled the phone out from underneath a pile of fallen books, and lifted the receiver up to her ear, carefully brushing off and avoiding the tiny shards of glass everywhere.
"Hello? Townsend Agency?"
"I'm sorry… your friend got… hurt…" A wave of static chipped through a strangely muffled voice at the other end, then the line went dead.
"What? Hello?" Sabrina then drew the receiver away, looking at it in disbelief, as if it had just performed some kind of magic trick in her hand.
"Sabrina…" Kris began, alarmed, "Who was it? What's wrong? Is it Kelly?"
"No!" Sabrina put the receiver back down and looked at Kris, stunned. "Someone just apologised for Kelly getting hurt!"
"What?" Kris exclaimed, incredulous. "You mean, whoever caused all this mess…" she waved her arm around, "…and put Kelly in hospital - just called to say… sorry?" A note of anger now crept into Kris's voice.
"I don't believe it!" She continued, her voice rising, belying her crowding emotions.
"Kris…" Sabrina stood up to face Kris, and saw temper flaring across her friends normally calm and friendly features. She reached a hand out towards her, unnerved.
"Sabrina! Who ARE these people?" Kris looked around the office, the awful feeling of dread returning from the previous day. Someone was watching them. Someone knew they were here. She felt Sabrina's hand touch her arm and involuntarily flinched, causing Sabrina to pull back a little. She caught the look of uncertainty on Sabrina's face and suddenly felt ashamed.
"I'm sorry Bri! I didn't mean to… it's just that…"
A ghost of a smile touched Sabrina's lips. "It's okay, I know Kris - we're being watched." She cleared her throat tensely. "C'mon, let's go."
Kris didn't need any further encouragement. She led the way out. Sabrina followed, casting a quick glance over her shoulder, feeling a terrible stab of guilt at their hasty exit. This was yet another lesson learned. The one place where they had almost always felt safe and secure, the place where, as well as conducting business, they came together as family; laughed, joked, forged deep friendships…this place suddenly gave them both the creeps. This place was suddenly the last place either of them wanted to be.