I know it's not a very long chapter, but I hope you enjoy it anyway. I just wanted to get out a little something tonight! Let me know what you think.

The Pain of Change Chapter 8

"Come on, Mr. Caffrey. I don't bite."

Neal wasn't too sure that was true. Cautiously, he walked to the table and sat down next to Mozzie.

Peterson didn't exchange pleasantries or try to ease into the conversation. He spoke bluntly. "I'm sure you're surprised to see me, Neal. Can I call you Neal?" When Neal didn't respond, Peterson continued, "The truth is I debated after you left the hotel if I should rescind my offer and I decided that I wouldn't. I want the best and you're the best, so I'm here this morning to ask again."

Neal swallowed roughly. He knew Peterson was the kind of guy that didn't take "no" easily. Breathing deeply, he replied, "The answer is still the same. I can't take a job I know nothing about. Besides, I don't want to get involved in something that will draw the attention of the local authorities."

Peterson smirked and said, "If you are truly trying to return to the game as your friend has implied, my offer is actually a nice way to ease back into things. After all, you won't be on the radar of the authorities. No one knows my friend has the Rembrandt, so he's not going to report it when you take it. And, besides, you're simply stealing something to give it back to its original owner."

"Original owner?" Neal questioned with a raised brow.

Peterson chuckled and said, "Well, its owner since 1972."

Neal shook his head and stood from the table. He walked away and stated, "I know there is more to this. You won't tell me where the painting is or how it's being protected. That alone tells me I don't want to recover it."

Peterson also stood and said, "Okay, let's just drop the pretenses."

Neal turned around, prepared to tell him that he wasn't playing games when he saw Peterson's glare.

"The truth is I didn't want to tell you the specifics to test your skills. I wanted to see if you could possibly help me to get the entire collection back. My friend sold the collection a little by little after he had stolen it from me. Forget about the fifty thousand dollars I mentioned as payment. I will give you two million dollars if you help me get it all back."

Neal stared past Peterson at Mozzie. His friend had raised his brow with interest, and Neal immediately turned his attention to his shoes. Sighing, he answered, "The truth is I haven't actually planned on returning to my former line of work. I was debating about it, but now that the possibility of returning to that life is here, I don't think I can do it. I want to try to do things…the right way. I'm sorry, Mr. Peterson." He watched the man's smile morph into a heated glare.

"That's not the answer I wanted, Mr. Caffrey."

"So, we're back to 'Mr. Caffrey,'" Neal noticed. "I'm sorry. It's just that…I've tried not to be a criminal for several years now, and well, I don't want to go back to that old life."

Peterson stood closer and replied, "I can make things difficult for you, very difficult."

The hairs on the back of Neal's neck stood straight out. He could tell Peterson meant what he said and he could only imagine what the man meant, but he had a good guess: he might alert the authorities to his presence and identity. Why did Mozzie even tell him who they really were? He wanted to strangle his friend at that moment, but he knew it wouldn't do any good to get mad at Moz now. What was done was done. He stepped back from Peterson and said, "Just tell me about the one job. We'll start with that one." He hoped it was enough to get Peterson to back down and hopefully leave for the time being. He also hoped that the other wouldn't notice that he hadn't actually agreed to do the job. He crossed his fingers for luck. If he could get Peterson to leave without any suspicions that they weren't actually going to do the job, Mozzie and he could decide what to do. It seemed as though they just might have to run again.

Peterson smiled and replied, "Lewis Jacobs. He has an office in Mississauga. The Rembrandt is in a vault on the top floor of the building. Lewis has a security team that used to be military. They are…good at their job to say the very least. I need someone equally as good at stealing as they are at protecting. I know you're my man and I can't take 'no' for an answer, Mr. Caffrey."

Biting his lip for a moment, Neal then asked, "What building is it?"

"The Lennox Building."

He nodded and said, "I'll case it and get back to you."

Peterson's smile turned into a grin. "Thank you, Neal." Without any more niceties, he strolled to the elevator, but before he left, he added, "And, don't think about running or hiding, Mr. Caffrey. I'll find you."

As soon as the elevator doors opened and then shut with Peterson inside, Mozzie walked over and asked, "So…Neal, when do you want to take a look at the Lennox Building?"

Neal's jaw dropped as he stared at his friend in disbelief.

=)=)=)

Peter smiled in success as he watched a silver Ford Fusion slip into view of the camera. He recognized the driver instantly as the car pulled to a stop. He felt like a huge weight had been lifted off of his chest even though he technically hadn't found Neal yet. Canada was a huge country with a lot of places to go, but he had an idea and hopefully, it was the right one.

He ejected the recording and left it on the table. Strolling out of the office at the local FBI building, he pulled out his cell phone and called El. As soon as she answered the phone, he exclaimed, "Hon, I found Neal! He crossed the border into Canada!" He didn't wait for his wife to respond; instead, he gave orders right away. "Pack up our things and make sure we brought our passports. We're going into Canada this afternoon, so we can beat the rush hour traffic in the morning."

"Where are we actually going?" El asked. "Do you have any ideas where Neal has gone in Canada?"

Peter smiled and answered, "I don't know for sure. It's just a hunch, but obviously since Neal crossed the border into Ontario, he's decided to stay in that particular providence. When I looked at the map, one place stood out as a location that Neal Caffrey would be interested in."

"Oh, really?" she questioned. "And, where is that?"

He replied with a grin, "Toronto."

=)=)=)

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