A/N: Characters belong to Janet Evanovich I just appreciate being able to play with them.
Thanks to all the people who took time to review. I can see why people become 'addicted" to the feedback.
Bobby climbed into the back seat giving me the shotgun position next to Lester. "Take a look at these and tell me if you get one of your spidey senses about any of them," he said passing the folders to me. I wondered if he was serious or teasing me until I saw the sincerity on his face.
"What do you guys say we stop for lunch and we can look over these files and see if Steph picks up on anything," Les suggests glancing over at me. Just as I was ready to nod in agreement, my stomach growled loudly. Bobby laughs, "I guess that's a yes!" I blush then shrug. "No leaves or tree bark," I warn. Les laughs. "No problem, Chinese food okay with everybody?"
Bobby and I agree, so Les heads toward Spring Gardens. I re-open the file in front of me. "Darn, I wish I had my laptop," I think, not sure if I said that out loud or not. "I have mine," Bobby says digging in a bag behind my seat and handing it to me. "Thanks," I say thinking I really have to watch that.
I type in a hunch on Julian Baker and a few minutes later my suspicions are proven correct. "Yes!" I smile pumping my fist in the air. Lester smiles at me. "What've you got there Steph?"
"Well, I remembered this guy's name from Burg gossip. I was thinking he was the guy NJPD suspected of flashing Mrs. Juniper and Mrs. Flannigan at the senior center." Les chokes on his water, shakes his head and pulls into the restaurant parking lot coughing and sputtering trying to breathe normally.
"What was he charged with in the file?" Bobby asks patting Les on the back in an attempt to help.
"Assault…seems he got into a fight with a bar patron."
"Okay," Les chokes out, "What am I missing here? What does flashing old people have to do with a bar fight?"
"Well, I remembered Grandma mentioning this guy being well built."
"She was at the senior center?" Les asks still sputtering after the water went down his windpipe.
"Yeah," I said, "She's banned from this senior center, so officially she wasn't there." Les smirks and Bobby tries not to laugh. I glare at them but continue. "Her boyfriend volunteers there on Wednesdays and the flashing happened while she was waiting for him."
"How old is this skip?" Les asks shutting off the engine. Bobby opens the file. "45. It looks like he is a body builder."
"Chippendale's dancer," I corrected. "Then when I saw his picture I remembered Grandma describing a big tattoo under his arm, along his ribcage."
"So your granny recognized him?" Lester asked.
"No, one of my college friends had a bachelorette party at a Chippendale's show. I remember seeing this guy and tattoo. The venue isn't far from the senior center. I'm thinking he was drunk or high and didn't realize where he was flashing his junk." I said, getting out of the SUV and heading toward the restaurant door.
The heavenly smells of Americanized Chinese food filled my lungs. Yum! The young host took one look at Lester and Bobby and handed us menus telling us to sit wherever we want.
It is always interesting to see how people will react to the Merry Men. I know and love them so I forget sometimes how intimidating others find them. Les smirked and led the way to a large booth in the back. I scooted in next to Les and Bobby next to me so we'd all have our backs to the wall. I've been sitting like this lately. I guess hanging out with mercenaries rubs off on you.
Our waitress takes our order and pauses staring at me. "Stephanie Plum?" I look up. "It's me, Christie Clark from Herbert Hoover Grade School. How have you been?"
"Oh my God, Christie, it's been a while. I'm good and you?" I ask, my burg manners kicking in. Her eyes went from Lester to Bobby. "These are my friends and coworkers, Lester," I said indicating him with a Vanna White worthy hand gesture, "and Bobby." She gave a pinched smile and nod. Les gave her a wink and she blushed profusely and scurried away. "Don't forget my duck sauce," Les called after her with a mischevious grin.
"I don't think she liked me," he chuckled. My elbow made contact with his ribs. "Umph," he groaned, "watch those boney elbows would ya!"
"My mom hears about this and I'll be cut off from pineapple upside down cake!"
"Relax Beautiful," Les says giving my temple a kiss. "Ella will make you anything you want. Besides we aren't doing anything wrong."
"I know, but you know how my mom is and Burg gossip."
"Speaking of gossip," Bobby says, "How does this skip being a stripper and having a tattoo and flashing some senior citizens help us figure out where to find him?"
"I'm glad you asked," I grinned snagging a chunk of shrimp egg roll appetizer off the plate and dipping it in sauce. The sweet and sour sauce globbed on my chin. Bobby shook his head and chuckled grabbing his own chunk of egg roll and popping it in his mouth.
He really is a gorgeous man. I wonder why he isn't attached. He's the whole package. My mind drifts, sifting through single women I know that might be right for the sexy Mr. Brown. I turn and look at Les and notice how sexy he is too but he's still a player so there is no point in going there. "Why do I get the feeling I just got dissed in your internal dialogue?" Les asks raising an eyebrow. I see our food coming and shrug.
As I am polishing off Les' sherbet, Bobby looks at me and asks again what I found on the skip.
"I knew when I saw the picture that this was the dancer I saw. Then, I saw the tat grandma described and realize he must be local talent, not part of the regional tour. If he is local then he lives somewhere near the club and the senior center is between where he works and lives. The bar he got arrested at is also in the area, my guess is that he walks to work and something happened. He got drunk or high and flashed the senior center and stopped in at the bar. The files shows the club as his address but my guess is he lives in the only apartments in that area. They aren't known for being classy and as a dancer he probably is using an assumed name so women can't find him."
Lester grins. "So we stake out the apartment complex for him?" I nod. "Yeah, it's nearly 1pm so my guess is he is just getting up and moving around by now."
"No time like the present then," Lester says, "unless you think you can get another drop out of my dessert cup?" He catches my elbow in his hand mid-swing. "Not this time Beautiful," he grins
"Come on kids," Bobby says shaking his head as he scoots out of the booth and throws some bills on the table.