"Hey handsome."

He didn't acknowledge, choosing instead to stare down into his drink. Out of his peripheral vision, he saw movement as she proceeded to sit down next to him, despite his frosty reception.

"Just here for the night. It would be nice to have some company before I ship out." She swiveled on the barstool and her knee brushed his thigh. "I guess 'ship out' isn't exactly the appropriate description. 'Fly out' probably works better."

Cal gave a grunt.

"I'm a flight attendant."

He wasn't really sure why this woman was setting her sights on him. He'd stopped on the way home after a completely fucked day. He and Foster had been at one another's throats and he knew why. There wasn't a whole lot of ambiguity in his actions. He'd goaded, pushed, tested, contradicted, bullied, even belittled and she'd had had enough. She popped off and fought back, viciously in fact. Normally it was satisfying to get a rise out of her. This time the victory felt hollow. Maybe he was just tired… or maybe the slow burn was just coming to a head.

"Barbara Crandon." She held out a hand to him.

With a sigh, he turned to tell her to move on but the words got stuck. Big blue eyes stared back at him, framed by chestnut colored hair. Cal found himself taking her hand as his eyes roamed the beautiful face in stunned surprise. "Cal Lightman."

"Nice to meet you." Her smile was brilliant and her skin was so soft against his palm. For a moment he thought he saw fear flicker through her eyes but it was so fleeting that he questioned the observation. Several drinks back he wouldn't have.

"So, where ya headin' tomorrow?" Cal's eyes didn't leave the woman's face. The resemblance was uncanny.

"Rio but not until the afternoon fortunately."

"Tough job, yeah?" He tilted his head and gave her a smirk.

"Can be but I guess it also has its perks."

"What are ya drinkin' Barbara?" Swiveling forward, he jerked his head at the bartender. "Mate, lady's thirsty."

The man watched the woman expectantly. He was also openly appreciating her.

"Vodka Stinger."

"You got it." The bartender pivoted to grab two bottles and a glass and mixed it in front of them.

"Thank you." She smiled around her glass before turning to face Cal once again, the other man dismissed.

"So, what do you do Cal?"

Telling her the truth could go one of two ways. She'd either be intrigued or it would scare her off. He opted to lie and pulled a title out of his ass that was guaranteed not to elicit questions. "Business Analyst." He had to fight a yawn just saying it.

"Oh."

Mission accomplished.

"No wonder you're drinking alone on a Friday night." Her voice was teasing and he grinned.

"Not any more darlin'."


Her tongue was in his ear, while one hand raked his chest with perfectly manicured nails and the other reached around to grab his ass.

Fortunately, because of the late hour, no one else had been waiting in or around the elevator, so they had a private ride all the way up to the 17th floor.

Barbara Crandon's full lips found his and she wasn't shy in the least as she aggressively pushed her tongue past his teeth to explore. He immediately retaliated and could taste the sharp flavor of crème de menthe from her three Stingers. One arm wrapped around her waist to keep her secure, while his right hand found the hem of her skirt and ran up the outside of her thigh.

He kept his eyes closed and concentrated on the sensation of her against him. His imagination sparked as he pictured a different coupling and his body instantly reacted. Physically the resemblance was amazing but it still wasn't her. Some part of him knew that he wouldn't have allowed this woman to pick him up if she had looked different. That realization could have been disturbing if all the blood weren't leaving his brain and plummeting south, leaving him slightly lightheaded.

The door binged open and they sidestepped into the hall, still grappling, hands everywhere. Her fingers were then hooked in his waistband and her thumb was stroking none too gently.

"This way." Her voice was sultry and low against his lips as she maneuvered them both left.

He followed awkwardly, his hands seeking her out a lot more intimately and she moaned in response.

Thank God no one was currently around.

Barbara's lips yanked away from his just enough to fumble for her card key before both were close to falling in the door. They managed to make it the few extra steps to the bed before his knees hit the mattress and he dropped backward, taking her with him.

He pulled her face toward his, kissing her deeply, excitedly. So close. Not close. Close only counted in horseshoes and hand grenades. This woman wasn't Gillian. The excitement ebbed every so slightly.

The thought began to buzz around him even as he attempted to shoo it away. Gillian currently thought of him as one right bastard right now. This woman didn't. She didn't know him well enough. That was a good thing.

Her hand was on his fly as his reached further up her skirt, past the garter, seeking out her epicenter.

The low click and the scuff of a heel against carpet brought them out of their lust filled haze.

Neither one had thought to push the door completely flush. Cal's eyes popped open to see Barbara's head swivel quickly and hear her low gasp. She scrambled off of him to turn to face the figure that had slipped into the room.

"Oh my God!' She took a step back as Cal sat up, his eyes falling to the gun in the man's hand. Frigid cold swept through him.

Bloody unbelievable. What were the odds?

The man didn't say a word, leveled the pistol and shot the woman in the forehead. She didn't make a sound as she tumbled backward and neither did the gun. He was using a silencer.

Instinctively Cal threw himself toward the man. The odds of his survival seemed pretty damned low considering the nature of the attack so he figured he had little to lose. With any luck maybe he'd take this guy with him. Or at least give him some bruises and a bloody nose.

Holding tightly to the man's gun hand, he tried to push it down and away when it went off. A lamp next to the bed exploded before the weapon was positioned between them again.

Cal clenched his jaw as he struggled to move the barrel away from him. The other man was bigger and had underestimated him, which wasn't uncommon. But he was quickly rectifying his mistake. The only sound in the room was their labored breathing as they wrestled and Cal wondered how long he could keep it up. He was still a little buzzed and fighting for his life hadn't been on his to do list tonight. Their eyes met and stuck, hazel to black. For a moment Cal's mind slipped as he blinked in surprise How many people had black irises?

A slow smile spread across the killer's face. "It's nothing personal." The gun moved up again and it suddenly took on the appearance of a cannon to Cal.


;-)