The Godfather Chapter 1. Cuban Connection.
Standard Disclaimer applies.
A/N: Huge thanks to:
Merciki for listening to be whine and reading through my rough drafts, and telling me that I should have started this two weeks earlier than I actually did, and to
Enfleurage for her amazing beta skills and incredible turn-around time, because if there was a trophy for procrastination, I would win one, hands down.
This is a part of The Mirror Series, but you do not have to have read either of the stories from the series to enjoy this one. This was intended as a standalone written for LJ Month of Mayhem. How it got this blown out of proportion I don't know, the case just took over.
"Hey, Mare? You were snooping around my desk again, weren't you?"
Marshall snuck up on Mary, catching her red-handed when she had answered his office line. She slammed down the receiver and whirled around, fixing him her patented glare as though daring to start up an argument. He smirked in response. Sidestepping him, she sauntered over to her desk, flopped into the chair, and turned to the screen of her computer.
Marshall followed and propped his lean hip against her desk. His eyes were fixed on her, twinkling with mirth. After working with Mary Shannon for slightly over a year, few things about her character fazed him. Her penchant for poking her nose into his personal life had been irritating until he realized she was chagrinned by his habit of keeping much of it private.
Growing up the youngest and most sensitive of the four Mann brothers, who were notorious for their roughhousing, Marshall perfected a unique gift of gab: he could talk quite a bit about anything and everything while sharing little about himself to avoid merciless ribbing. When he had met Mary for the first time, he pegged her for a female version of his brothers and acted accordingly. Even though his opinion of her changed when he had seen a glimpse of her unguarded personality during a witness transfer, after which he asked Stan to snap her up, he kept his guard up around her for a few months. They had gotten infinitely closer since then, but his habit of holding things back to leave Mary guessing became his private game. Besides, on most days he found her snooping quite amusing.
"Your phone was ringing off the hook. I grabbed it. Could've been important," Mary said in response to his quirked up eyebrow.
She fell silent and pulled the first 2-10 off the stack on the corner of her desk, pretending that her paperwork was particularly interesting. Leaning into her space, Marshall splayed his palms on top of her desk and asked, "And was it?"
She looked up, narrowing the eyes at him from under her long bangs. "What?"
"Important?" he asked patiently, as though dealing with a five-year old.
Mary looked down at the form in front of her and picked up a pen.
"Nope, 'twas Lynn De-something."
Marshall pushed off her desk, his face splitting into a jovial grin.
"Sure, whatever. I thought I'd ask her to spell her name, but then remembered… I'm not your damn secretary."
The green glare met its match in deep blue.
"Mare, if you pick up my phone, the least you can do is take a message."
Marshall turned away and reached his desk in a few measured strides. She looked at his retreating back and could not resist a final jab.
"If your girlfriend calls the office number… Scratch that. Your girlfriend shouldn't even have the office number."
"She's not…" Marshall said distractedly, but did not finish the thought. Wondering why Leigh had called the office line, he pulled out his cell phone to check for missed calls and was about to send her a text, when Stan walked out of his office.
"Inspectors! Conference room." When neither of them moved, Stan raised his voice. "Update on Beatriz Vanburen. Now!"
"Aye-aye, Captain," Mary said, rising from her chair.
Marshall sighed and snapped his phone shut. Getting in touch with Leigh would have to wait until later. Picking up a folder with the threat assessments and detailed plan for the witness transport to trial, Marshall walked into the conference room after Mary and closed the door.
The reading of indictments in the grand jury hearing for the trial "United States versus Hector Cortez et all," took good half an hour. Beatriz "Bea" Vanburen, nee Valdez, was a witness at a trial that had captured all media attention in Miami, Florida. It was not every day a drug lord's concubine agreed to testify against her former master.
Bea was born in the city of Havana on the fair island of Cuba. When she was ten, her parents were killed under murky circumstances and she was taken to Miami, Florida, to live with her paternal aunt. Lucretia Valdez Diaz had never liked Bea's mother. She had always thought her sister-in-law was a tramp and blamed her for her brother's death. Since Bea was a spitting image of her mother, she was an unwelcome addition to the Diaz family and Lucretia could not wait to get her out of the house.
By the time Bea had turned eighteen, she was tired of living on the wrong side of town. She took a bus to work every day, where she watched women spend more on a pair of shoes then the Diaz family did on food in an entire month. She remembered that at some point, her mother had been one of these women. Bea longed for the lavish lifestyle she had had when her parents were alive and was prepared to do just about anything for it.
Coming of age a stunning young woman, she knew how to use her looks to get what she wanted. One night, a tall dark Cuban came into the boutique. Bea recognized him as her one of her late father's former associates. He had no idea who the gorgeous girl was, but needed little cajoling to invite her to dinner, which turned into breakfast. Their forbidden whirlwind of a romance landed Bea in a sprawling mansion in the Coral Gables, with all the expensive things her heart desired.
Confident Latin men rarely regarded their women as anything more than furniture. Hector had been no exception. As such, Bea saw and heard things that left little to the imagination. After two years of living in blissful ignorance and enjoying the lifestyle she had desperately craved, Bea realized she could no longer turn a blind eye to what Hector Cortez did for a living. The things that had once brought her joy left a bitter aftertaste in her mouth. She wanted nothing more than escape her golden cage.
Bea started collecting information: places, dates, and names, which could put Cortez out of business. Permanently. By sheer luck, divine intervention, or a search for the weakest link in the Cortez' organization, Bea's path crossed with an undercover FBI agent. Once he got the word out that Bea was more than willing to share the information she had collected in exchange for protection, she was whisked away to sunny Albuquerque, and assigned to Marshall Mann. Mary Shannon transferred into ABQ WitSec a year later and requisitioned Bea's case away from her partner as soon as she was finished with training.
The D.O.J. took almost two years to build their case against Cortez. Just as Bea had finally gotten settled into her life in Albuquerque, she was told to pack. After the trial, Albuquerque would no longer be safe. She was scheduled to appear at the United States District Court Southern District of Florida at nine in the morning of March 4th, 2004, which left Mary and Marshall exactly forty eight hours to sneak her into the city, twelve hours before her impending testimony.
Marshall's plan was to fly into Savannah, Georgia, spend the night at a hotel by the interstate, and drive the rest of the way on the following day. A marshal from Atlanta WitSec office would join them at the airport in Savannah, so their party would look like two traveling couples. Assuming no complications on the road, they would arrive in Downtown Miami no later than six in the evening, and meet up with the team of marshals, taking over Bea's relocation after the trial, at the safe house.
Bea was to spend one day on the stand, which included the cross-examination. Marshall put an elaborate contingency plan in place for a second day, because trials of this magnitude were rarely predictable. His plan involved playing musical chairs with their accommodations and decoy vehicles. The other team of marshals would be briefed on the details on location.
By the time Marshall was through the third contingency plan, Mary stifled a yawn and finished the last of her coffee. As soon as her partner was done poking his long finger into the layout of the Miami Federal Courthouse, Mary popped out of her chair and headed for the door of the conference room.
"Okay, I'm outa here. Got people to do, things to see."
"Mare, there's absolutely no reason to be crude," Marshall said, shaking his head.
She rolled her eyes. "Whatever, Prudence. Remember to get me on your way to Bea's tomorrow morning."
Both men watched her toss the messenger bag over her shoulder and key herself out of the office. Marshall shrugged and turned to the chief.
"Stan, are you sure I can still take off this weekend?"
Marshall's tone was tentative, uncomfortable with the idea that Mary would have to return to Albuquerque on her own. It was not as though she would do any of the paperwork to close out the case, so he was not worried about that. He had had Stan's preliminary approval for a few months, and there were no pending issues with any of his witnesses to prevent his much anticipated vacation. But he had not told Mary about taking the time off yet, and expected a bit of a blowup.
"Yes, you deserve a break. That kid will be lucky to have you as his Godfather." Stan smiled and slapped Marshall's shoulder reassuringly.
"Thanks, Stan. You know how much this means to me. But if anything comes up…"
"It might surprise you, Marshall, but I'm perfectly capable of holding down the fort in your absence. Once Bea is secure with the other team, you're off the clock. And I don't want to see you back here until next Monday."
In the morning, Mary drove to Bea's place from her apartment because she always did even if they took Marshall's truck. Marshall let her without a grumble: he was in a good mood and refused to have anything spoil it, including Mary's winning abrasiveness. His phone buzzed. He looked at the screen and chuckled. Mary shot him a reproachful look, taking a sip from a coffee cup he had brought her earlier, and returned her gaze to the road.
Everything at the apartment had been packed and boxed up. Bea looked around her empty place for the last time and let Mary hustle her into the truck, hauling her garment bag and train case. Marshall covered their backs. Getting into the driver's seat, Mary wondered idly why any twenty-year old woman would need that much makeup for a three day trip. That question was forgotten when she pulled the truck onto I-40 West, heading to Double Eagle II Airport, because Marshall's phone buzzed again. He flipped it open, read the display with a crooked smile and hit a few keys before clipping it back onto his belt.
"Enough, numb nuts. You look like a teenager with a crush. Who the hell are you texting at this hour?"
"Uh-huh… This friend got a name?"
"Sure. Her name is… I'm not tellin' you jack," Marshall said, his face splitting into a wide grin.
Mary turned to him, narrowing her eyes, fighting back her own urge to laugh.
"Jesus, I knew it. You have a secret girlfriend… This Leigh something or other? What is she, married? Engaged? Come on, Casanova, admit it."
Judging by Marshall's stunned expression, she guessed something right.
"Mare, watch on the road, for all our sakes. I'd like to get to the airport on time. Preferably, in one piece."
Mary huffed something unintelligible in response, but complied with his request. Meanwhile, Marshall got another text message… and then another. His phone kept buzzing all the way to the airport. When they got there, Mary was ready to bite the heads off unsuspecting flight crew. Marshall was just as amused as Mary was irritated: he got a kick out of pushing her buttons, and if he had to push a few, literally, to get her riled up, it was twice as much fun.
Bea was used to her marshals' antics. She was dozing in the backseat of the truck until Mary threw it in park on the tarmac. Bea rubbed her eyes and stretched. When Marshall opened her door, she left the vehicle and followed Mary into the Learjet. The flight would either be entertaining or headache-inducing. The outcome depended on whether she would watch the scene from the sidelines or get caught in the crossfire. After an hour of being airborne, Bea was ready to ask for a parachute. Mary's barrage of questions about Leigh did not let up since they boarded the jet and her assumptions got crazier by the minute.
"Marshall, por Dios," Bea begged, "decirle a Mary quien es este Leigh, así que puedo tener algo de paz."
Mary flashed Marshall a victorious smile. She knew enough Spanish to understand that her relentless siege of the fortress that was Marshall Mann yielded an ally, or more appropriately, a hostage who had ensured his capitulation. In her book, the ends justified the means nine times out of ten.
"Muy bien. Pero sólo puesto que le preguntado tan agradablemente…" Marshall said to Bea with a wink, and shot his partner an amused glance.
"I saw that, Mary-Sunshine," he said, referring to her eye roll.
"Oh, shut up. And spill already."
"Um, Mare? You do realize that you've just made two mutually exclusive demands?"
"Talk, numb nuts. Or I'll make you."
Marshall raised his hands in surrender. He wanted to keep all his appendages intact, so this time was as good as any to explain that Leigh was his former partner and friend from the academy. Married, with a new baby, and expecting him at her son's baptism that weekend. Mary took the news much better than he had anticipated. She ribbed him for being a softie, but her jabs lacked the usual sting. Something flashed in her eyes when she looked at him. Whether guilt or regret, he could not quite figure out, but decided to look into after they were done with this assignment.
The jet landed at the Savannah Hilton Head International on time just as Marshall had planned. A Deputy US Marshal from the Atlanta office waited for them on the tarmac leaning against a black Tahoe. He could have been his late twenties or early thirties, an average height and build. He watched them deplane, his posture screaming that he was eager to jump into action.
After the introductions we made, Mary sized the marshal up and down. Pointing to the SUV, she asked, "So, Eddy, Atlanta garage didn't have a truck that screamed law enforcement more than this one?"
"It's Ed, or Tomescu, not Eddy, Shannon," he said with a jerk of his chin. "And WitSec protocol dictates…"
"Tomescu… what kind of name is that?"
"I believe it's Romanian, right, Ed?" Marshall said, smiling reassuringly to diffuse the tension. Marshal Tomescu nodded, about to add something, when Mary interrupted.
"Forget I asked. I really don't care. But if you quote protocol again, I'll leave you on the side of the road. Hand over the keys, buster. I'm driving."
Bea rolled her eyes, listening to the exchange, and climbed into the backseat of the truck. Ed hesitated a second, slightly taken aback by Mary's attitude, but produced the keys from his pocked and got into the back after Bea. Mary walked around the truck, rattling the keys.
"Marshall, we need new wheels," she said, opening her door.
"Already on it, Mare," he said without looking up from his phone, texting Stan. An advance authorization for a rental would minimize their paperwork when they returned to the office.
They got adjoining rooms at the Embassy Suites off I-95 and room service from the restaurant downstairs. Bea turned in early, complaining of lack of sleep during the previous night. They left the doors between the rooms ajar, so Mary could hang back with Marshall and Ed to go over the plans for the rest of trip. Around eight in the evening, when Ed went to pick up a truck from a rental agency, Marshall's phone buzzed. Mary rolled her eyes.
"Damn, look at you, Mr. Popularity."
Marshall waved her off and answered his phone.
"Hey, Leigh, is everything all right?" He listened for a moment and pinched the bridge of his nose. Then he turned away and slowly walked into the bathroom, locking the door behind him. Mary lingered on the other side, straining to hear his lowered voice.
"Oh, no, I'm so sorry to hear that… what a jackass." His tone was a mix of concern and barely contained anger. He fell silent for a little while, and just as Mary thought that he had finished the conversation, he said, "Oh, no, don't worry. You know I can handle..." He chuckled. "Seriously, Leigh, I'll be fine. I'll see you Saturday."
Mary heard Marshall snap his phone closed and leaped onto his bed. He emerged from the bathroom with a mild concern on his face.
"So, what's that about?" she asked, watching him work through the news.
Marshall sighed. He did not have to bother with leaving the room. Mary would not miss a chance to eavesdrop on his side of the conversation. He raked his hand through his hair, trying to figure out how much to tell her. He leaned against the desk, resting his hands behind him.
"Leigh and Sal moved to Tampa from New York City. Both have a fairly large extended family and most will be coming down for Joey's baptism this Saturday…"
"And? They didn't order enough food?" Mary interrupted, rolling her eyes.
Marshall shot her a disapproving look, but did not move or change his stance.
"Geez, numb nuts, that was a joke. Whatever she told you can't be that bad."
"Leigh-Anne is the eldest of three sisters. The youngest, Natalie is still a teenager…"
"Listen, Marshall, I don't want her entire family history. What the hell is the problem?" Mary asked, jumping off the bed and stopping in front of him, putting her hands on her hips.
"Evelyn," he said slowly, looking away, uncomfortable with what he was about to share.
"The one in the middle?"
"Uh-huh. Apparently, she caught her fiancé cheating and broke off her engagement last week. Then she took the first flight out to Tampa, and has been helping out to get her mind off things… Leigh suspects she's on the prowl for revenge..." Marshall said quickly, glancing back at Mary to see if she caught on to what he was saying. Seeing that she knew exactly what he meant, he added, "Evelyn is the Godmother."
"Jesus, that's pathetic, Marshall. Even for you. You're scared some girl will jump your bones. And then you wonder why I think you're gay."
"Mare, I can assure you, I'm not gay." He let out an exasperated sigh. "But Evelyn is my friend's little sister, not some random piece of ass."
"She can't be that little…" Mary snorted. "When two uncommitted consenting adults…"
"Oh, just stop, damn it. How would you feel if I slept with your sister?"
"Who knows, you still might…" Mary muttered. "Wait, asshole, I never told you I had a sister. How in hell …"
"You just did," Marshall said with a shrug, before she could accuse him of running a background check on her. "And for future reference, I never would check your personnel file. It runs contrary to WITSEC regs."
"Good to know." Mary felt an odd sense of relief wash over her, but was unsure what to make of it. Instead she grinned wolfishly and said, "Hey, here's an idea. Why don't I come with you? I can guarantee I'll scare poor little Evelyn off."
"It's not that I don't appreciate the offer, but… are you feeling okay? You don't do social events or family gatherings. What gives?"
"Fine. If you don't want me there, I'll go back to Albuquerque. Enjoy the festivities." She crossed her arms at her chest and glared at him.
"No, Mare, that's not what I meant. Of course I want you to come. I just don't want to force you into something you don't want to do."
"Like you can make me do something I don't want to. Good one, numb nuts." She scoffed and socked him in the arm. "I'll call Stan. Tell Leigh you're plus one."
At eight in the morning, three marshals and one witness were greeted by the sight of a purple Durango, parked across from the entrance of the hotel. Ed unlocked the truck and tossed the keys to Mary.
"You're freaking kidding me," she said, glaring at him. "It's mother-humping purple!"
"Shannon, you wanted a truck that looked nothing like law enforcement? There you go."
Before she had a chance to rip Ed a new one, Marshall blocked her path. Smirking, he asked, "Um, Mare? I can't say that I like the color, but surely there's something to be said about all things familiar…?"
"Bite me." Mary turned and headed for the driver's side of the truck.
Bea looked after Mary, and then broke into a fit of laughter. As unlikely as it was, the paint job of the truck was the exact shade of Mary's eggplant Probe. Ed shrugged with resignation, realizing he missed an inside joke, and opened the back door for Bea. She climbed in, brushing the tears out the corners of her eyes, still giggling. Marshall closed the door behind Ed, and got into the front seat. Mary tore out of the parking lot as soon as Marshall's seatbelt was buckled.
By the time they passed Jacksonville, they finished their coffees and went through a sack of pastries Marshall had picked up from the coffee shop at the hotel. Except for Marshall fiddling with the radio, the truck was quiet.
"Uh, cut it out, numb nuts. There's nothing on but country."
"Would you rather I sing?" Marshall asked with a grin, referring to one of their first road trips when he actually delivered on that promise.
"Oh, hell no!"
Mary was about to turn the radio up when Ed asked, "How about the "who am I?" game?"
Mary snorted derisively, but Marshall and Bea seemed excited by the idea. Outnumbered, Mary resorted to making inappropriate comments and poking fun at the identities they had picked. Otherwise, the drive down into Titusville was uneventful. They had lunch at TGI Friday's by one in the afternoon and switched places. Marshall was going to drive the rest of the way down to Miami. After getting behind the wheel at a gas station, he found a Latin Station. Looking into the rearview mirror, he winked at Bea, when she started bopping to a popular beat.
As planned, Marshall pulled into the garage of the safe house by six in the evening. Leaving the truck, they heard the sound of a TV coming from inside.
"We've got company," Mary whispered, pulling her Glock, and shoving Bea behind her. Marshall advanced to the fireproof door into the house, while Ed covered the back. The door swung out, revealing two guys, holstering their weapons. Pointing to the surveillance system on the wall, the taller one said, "Stand down. US Marshals. I'm Don Saunders, and that's Tony Quattro."
"Badges please, if you don't mind," Marshall said, lowering his weapon, while Ed and Mary still had theirs trained on the duo on the doorway.
Don smirked and flipped his out from his pocket. Satisfied with the inspection, Marshall holstered his Glock, nodding to Mary to usher Bea inside. He cleared the house before settling in the living room. It was not that he did not trust the other marshals to do the job, but he had to run his own security check to have confidence in the perimeter.
The house was a modest three bedroom, which meant that Bea and Mary would have to stay in the same room together just as the night before. Mary called dibs on the only bedroom with the en suite bathroom and no one argued. Marshall and Ed knew better, while Don and Tony were fast learners.
They had pizza delivered around seven. After dinner Marshall spent two hours briefing Don and Tony on their plans for getting Bea in and out of the courthouse, then covered contingencies and contingencies for contingencies. When he was done, Don and Tony volunteered to take the first shift. They had started their trip that morning and were in a considerably better shape than their Albuquerque counterparts, who had been on the road for more than twenty four hours already.
Before heading to bed, Marshall did another perimeter check. Knocking on the door to the women's bedroom, he asked, "You decent?"
"Yeah. Get in here, I won't bite."
He opened the door and slowly made his way in, glancing around the room. Mary was sitting on one of the beds, pulling her hair back into a ponytail. She checked her Glock before stuffing it under her pillow and looked up at Marshall.
"Bea's in the bathroom, not M.I.A… What?" she asked defensively when he did not move away from the door, staring at her. "Do I have pizza sauce on my face or something?"
"No, you're fine," he said, trying to remember when she had started answering questions that he only intended to ask. It was not that surprising, considering they had operated in sync on an almost subconscious level, but knowing Mary's character, this realization was still somewhat startling. Marshall expected that sort of intuition from himself, having gotten a pretty good feel for the way her brain worked about four months into their partnership. And these days, reading her came naturally to him about ninety percent of the time. How did he miss she was doing the same? Shaking off his musings, he said, "We're in lockdown. I'll see you bright and early tomorrow."
"You're not going to tuck me in?" she asked, mock-pouting.
"Wouldn't that be inappropriate?"
"God forbid you do something inappropriate, Marshall. Go to bed. See you in the morning."
Don and Tony turned in around six to get a few hours of sleep, before having to take over Bea's transfer following her testimony. Mary, Marshall, Bea and Ed were up and ready to roll out. They were expected at the courthouse by seven, to give the A.U.S.A time to speak with the witness before she got on the stand. Two more teams of marshals rolled up to the house. It took a total of four trucks to handle Bea's protective detail: the real deal, the decoy and two escorts. Ed moved into the decoy to report back to the local USMS office once Bea was secured at the courthouse. His part of the assignment was complete; he was not responsible for the witness.
Mary and Marshall took Bea to the courthouse in the truck from the local Marshals Service garage, one Don and Tony had driven the night before. The purple monster stayed in the garage. Assuming Bea's testimony went off without a hitch, Don and Tony would handle her transfer to Miami International in a different vehicle, leaving someone else to return the rental.
Mary looped around a few side streets to make sure they did not have a tail, before getting onto I-95. At quarter to seven, they were rolling through Downtown on North Miami Avenue. Marshall's study of the neighborhoods and precise route mapping ensured Mary avoided the Little Havana. She pulled the truck into the garage by ten to seven, and ushered Bea through the metal detectors at the interior entrance with five minutes to spare. The A.U.S.A waited for them at the designated room, anxious for the last hour of prep.
Bea was sworn in at nine on the dot and took the stand. When glancing about the courtroom, she avoided the direction of the defendant's bench, where Cortez sat looking suspiciously smug in his sharp suit. Marshall was in the gallery, wearing an earpiece, looking over the crowd and scanning for threats. Mary stood behind Bea, assessing the room with just as much vigilance.
Before the cross Bea was doing spectacularly: her testimony in a strong confident voice left the jury with little doubt as to the culpability of the defendant. The judge called a recess for lunch and excused Bea from the stand. Mary was at her side in a few seconds, which, unfortunately, was more than enough for Bea's gaze to lock with Cortez'. He smiled widely, winked, and blew her a kiss.
When they got Bea back to the prep room, she was a weeping mess, absolutely certain of the imminent danger to herself and everyone around her. She was drawing verbal pictures of creative ways the organization had employed to remove threats to its existence, switching from English into Spanish and back. After thirty minutes of semi-coherent monologues, which involved a lot of gesturing, it became clear that Bea was in no condition to return to the stand. The A.U.S.A. worked his magic with the judge and got her to adjourn until the following morning.
Marshall's foresight paid off yet again: the first contingency plan was put into motion. But Don and Tony arrived to the courthouse in fifteen minutes with more troubling news. According to the latest Intel, the location of the safe house had been compromised. There was a chance of a breach, and relying on the local office until the smoke cleared was risky. Putting their heads together, they decided to keep all the hotel reservations, which were booked for Marshall in anticipation of a security issue, but stay at hotel next to Aventura Mall. Its northern location offered a few distinct advantages over every other option in town: it was a considerable distance from Little Havana and Coral Gables, which took some pressure off Bea, and a straight shot on I-95 with easy access to the courthouse and the airport in case they needed to sneak her out of the city quickly.
After ironing out the details, Bea was escorted down into the garage by the four marshals. When they were about twenty yards away from their trucks, the sound of screeching tires pierced the air. Instinct drove Mary on top of Bea when she heard Marshall yell, "Get down!"
A string of shots was fired in about five seconds, followed by a loud crash of metal against concrete. Mary lifted her head and scrambled up.
"You okay?" she asked Bea, glancing in the direction of a wreck, which used to be a compact car only seconds ago.
Bea nodded wordlessly in response, her eyes wide and frozen. Jerking her upright, Mary half-dragged her to the truck and tossed her onto the floorboards like a ragdoll.
"Stay down!" Mary ordered, slamming the door, and turned to Marshall.
"You all right?" she asked. Taking note of three nods to the affirmative, she yelled, "What the hell are you standing around for? Move it, idiots."
She did not have to repeat herself. Proceeding according to plan, two government-issued black trucks tore out of the garage: the first hit the interstate up north making four detours to ensure there was no tail; and the second headed in the direction of the Marshals Office.
They got three apartment-style rooms at the hotel: two adjoining and one across the hall. All were booked under Jeremy Robbins. Mary wondered about that, but did not ask Marshall any questions. They could wait. She was too busy trying to piece Bea back together. The young woman was on the verge of a nervous breakdown, sitting on the edge of the bed, rocking. The exercise was reminiscent of working on Humpty Dumpty, with Mary being a hairbreadth away from seriously considering herself for the role of one of the king's men.
"Mary, por favor, I can't go through with this… I just can't. Don't make me…" Bea wept. "I'm a nobody… and there's no one who'd care if I were to die, but you're putting yourself in the harm's way…"
Mary interrupted Bea's rant, crouching in front of her and meeting her blank stare.
"That's the job. We chose this, you didn't. I can't pretend I know what you're going through, but I've seen it often enough to know it's a heavy burden to carry. I know it sucks. Royally. Nothing's going to change that. But you have to buck up," she said, her voice softening, when she noticed her words were having an effect. She rose up and took Bea by the elbow, guiding her to the bathroom.
"Bea, come on, let's get you into the shower. It'll make you feel better."
Letting the water run, Mary left the bathroom and kicked open the door into the adjacent room.
"What's the word, numb nuts?" she asked, looking around the room. "Marshall, where the hell are you?"
Marshall was hunched over the desk in the corner, blocked from her view by a TV armoire. Wordlessly, he stretched out his arm and waved. When she made over to the desk, she realized he was on the phone. Ending his call, he turned to her and said, "Good news. After the incident at the garage, the judge has granted the motion for teleconferenced cross-examination. Don and Tony are on the way up here to take Bea into protective custody. She'll be out of the sunny city of Miami in the next three hours."
"You're right, this is good news," she said, derisively, "but you're omitting one minor detail. She almost got shot an hour ago. Jesus… the girl's scared out of her mind, and won't feel whole for months!"
"Don't you think I know that? But, for her, right now, getting the hell out of Dodge increases the likelihood of getting better faster."
"Did you calculate the goddamn odds? Willing to put your money where your mouth is? Oh, that's right," she slapped her forehead. "Silly me. We won't know anything about her after tonight."
"Look, Mare," he said, rising from the chair and locking his intense gaze to her furious one. "You do know that I'm just as concerned about her as you are? I get that you must have the last word, but can we call truce for now? I promise, you'll have your chance to vent as much as you need when we're on our way to Tampa."
"Deal. But only if you do the transfer paperwork at the office."
"Don't I always?"
Translations from Spanish:
If there are any native speakers reading this, I would appreciate your correcting my grammar if it is wrong. My Spanish is a bit rusty.
Marshall, por Dios, decirle a Mary quien es este Leigh, así que puedo tener algo de paz. – Marshall, for God's sake, tell Mary who this Leigh is so I can get some peace.
Muy bien. Pero sólo puesto que le preguntado tan agradablemente. – Okay. But only because you've asked so nicely.
There's going to be a second chapter, because I never did get to the quote from "The One Way Mirror" that started this story.
Thank you so much for reading this story, I would really appreciate a review.