[1030 words | Prompts: Inspiration Monday
, The Writing Reader
, Sunday Scribblings 2
]”Who are you?”
Joaquin blinked at the woman’s squinting eyes and the stern expression on her face. She shifted her hands behind her back to hide something. Joaquin allowed a wide grin and took a step back from the door. “Frank told me to wait for someone.” He paused and allowed his eyes to roam over the petite woman from head to toe. “How do I know you’re the one I’m waiting for?”
The woman sighed and brought whatever she was hiding behind her back in plain sight. “Let me guess,” she declared, an amused rise in the corner of her lips, “Frank had to step out, so you got stuck waiting for this.” She waved a thick envelope at Joaquin, and let it thump soundly on a table adorning the entryway.
“So,” she continued after glancing at Joaquin, “who’re you with? CIA, FBI, NSA, DHS? Detective Frank Massey has lots of friends in a variety of federal offices.” Her eyes focused on his right eyebrow. “He also has contacts in other organizations.” She winked. “Street organizations…”
Joaquin’s smile fell. The blonde woman nodded as if he had confirmed her suspicions. “Well, uh, I…” he stammered.
She held up a hand, palm toward Joaquin. “Save it; I don’t want to know.”
Joaquin looked over his shoulder and back to the woman. “What’s your name?” he queried.
She smiled. “Just let Frank know that all the information and ancillary content he wanted is in the package.” She gestured toward the envelope balanced precariously on the edge of the table.
“Okay, uh, Betty, er, I mean, Officer Patterson.”
She smirked and turned to exit the foyer back to the street. Her pleasant smile faded when she saw a black Ford Explorer with dark tinted windows parallel parked across the street. Joaquin followed her gaze, and he noticed the slight distortion coming from the tailpipe. Whoever it was, they left the motor running. The vehicle suddenly pulled into the street and sped away. Betty and Joaquin watched it disappear over the slight rise of the pavement, noting the government license plate.
Betty tightened her jacket and turned back into Frank’s apartment. She met Joaquin’s eyes with a cold determination that made him swallow audibly. “Tell Frank that I don’t know what he’s into, but he needs to watch his back.” She reached over and pushed the envelope further on the table. “He needs to keep me out of whatever’s going on. I want no part of an operation that has spooks watching what’s going on.”
She turned and stepped across the threshold. She looked left and then right, before another glance over her shoulder at Joaquin. She descended the stairs and headed down the sidewalk opposite from the direction the black SUV went. She looked as if she hadn’t a care in the world, but Joaquin knew better.
He was certain that his destiny and Frank’s were intertwined and so very fragile. One mistake could end them both, possibly even the world.