A/N- Here is the next chapter in this little story. Than you to everyone who read, reviewed and followed, etc this story. It is going to be a little longer than I first envisioned as several new ideas have popped into my head as I've written this story. I know several of my regular reviewers are also reading Unsung Heroes and I am writing a new chapter for that story as well. It's just a challenge to find time to write both at the same time. That story will be updated soon as well. Without further ado, here is the next chapter. Standard disclaimers, I don't own Chuck.
Dressed in a beautiful blue Versace floor length gown with a plunging neckline and no back Lady Sarah Carmichael walked to the entrance of the historic Monte Carlo Casino on the arm of Lord Charles Carmichael who was looking dapper in a black Armani tuxedo. To ward off the slight early autumn evening chill Sarah wore a cashmere wrap over her shoulders and her diamond necklace and earrings sparkled in the moonlight. Her knives as always were strapped to her thigh just above the slit in the dress which allowed for movement.
The doorman opened the large ornate wooded doors for them and they stepped inside. After checking in Sarah's wrap they walked to the casino bar where Chuck ordered a dirty martini with three olives for each them which brought a smile from Sarah. She whispered in his ear. "You don't need to pull a Roan Montgomery on me Chuck. You already got me."
Chuck smiled and chuckled. "I know, and you got me too. Unfortunately it was the first thing that popped into my mind. Coming here I guess reminded me of that mission with Sasha Banacek."
Sarah looked at Chuck with a grin. "Don't worry, the only person you'll have to seduce is me, like you just did."
Chuck grinned back at Sarah and leaned in for a kiss, which she happily returned. "Ohhhh, trust me, I'll remember that. I just hope I won't get pushed off a balcony or jump off the roof of a building holding onto a sign."
"Let's just stay together so that won't happen, shall we?"
Chuck nodded and their drinks were finished and handed to them. Chuck started a tab at the bar before they headed over to the cashier to get 100,000 Euros in chips. Afterward they peered over the rims of their glasses as they took a sip and scanned the room. No one of interest had arrived as yet.
Chuck led Sarah over to one of the craps tables with a ten Euro minimum and watched for a minute. There were eight players and their spouses or significant others standing with them. The shooter, a tanned playboy type that was having a pretty good roll. He spotted Sarah and winked at her. After rolling his number and while the croupiers were paying of the bets he said to her in French, "May I buy you a drink?"
Sarah, who was standing right next to Chuck, whispered in his ear "Stay here sweetie. The shooter wants to buy me a drink. I think he needs cooling off, don't you?"
Chuck, a little alarmed whispered back, "Wh what are you going to do Sarah? Don't cause a scene. We don't want to get kicked out."
Sarah gave Chuck a 'don't worry' look and walked around the table to where the shooter was standing.
"Bon soir, monsieur." Sarah said to the man who couldn't stop staring at her cleavage.
He finally looked up into her eyes but the leer remained. "Bon soir. May I buy you a drink?" He called the waitress over.
"A glass of Chateau Margeau."
The waitress nodded and the man ordered another scotch on the rocks. "My name is Jean Paul."
"Sarah." She replied. He took her hand and kissed it, his eyes enjoying a closer look at her cleavage. It was starting to make her angrier and angrier. It came time to roll the dice again and Jean Paul asked Sarah to blow on them for luck. She did and he rolled a seven for a winner on the come out roll. The table cheered. Jean Paul looked at Sarah "You bring me good luck Sarah." Sarah smiled outwardly but groaned inwardly. Their drinks were delivered and Sarah held her glass of wine by the stem. Jean Paul proposed a toast. "To good luck." They touched glasses and each took a sip.
Chuck watched from the other side of the table, no longer insanely jealous whenever Sarah talked to another man. Movement just beyond where Sarah was standing caused Chuck to look in that direction. It was the oligarch and his entourage and they headed into a private room in the back. Needing to get his girlfriend's attention he walked around to the other side of the table and approached Sarah. Before he could get to her he saw Jean Paul 'accidentally' drop the dice into Sarah's cleavage. "Oops," he said. "Do you mind?" He started to reach toward Sarah's chest but before he got there Sarah acted like she lost her balance and tipped her class of wine onto Jean Paul's shirt which ran into his pants. "Ooooohhhhh. I'm sooooo sorry. How clumsy of me. I guess I just can't stand straight six drinks in." Jean Paul immediately jumped back and glared at Sarah but he softened at her apology. He still had hopes of getting her to go with him later. "That's quite alright my dear. It will wash out." By now Chuck had reached Sarah and pretended to steady her. Sarah looked up at Chuck. In a slurred voice she said "Look Charlie baby, I made an oopsy."
Chuck looked over at the man. "My apologies, sir. My wife gets a little 'friendly' when she's had too much to drink. I'll be happy to take care of the dry cleaning bill."
Jean Paul looked up at Chuck. "That's quite alright Mr…."
"Carmichael. Charles Carmichael."
"Robert. Jean Paul Robert." They shook hands. "I didn't know she was your wife."
"That's a common mistake. I can hardly believe it myself sometimes."
That brought a chuckle from both men. Chuck reached into his pocket, pulled out a 100 Euro chip and gave it to Jean Paul. "Here, please take this to pay for your cleaning bill." Jean Paul shook his head. "No thank you. I probably deserved that for what I did. I would like the dice back though."
Chuck turned to face Sarah and noticed the dice were still in her cleavage. He raised an eyebrow at Sarah who gave him a slight nod along with a smirk. Chuck reached in with his fingers and pulled the dice out from between Sarah's breasts, causing her to giggle. He lifted the dice up to show them to the croupier. "I think I'll keep these, if you don't mind." He tossed the 100 Euro chip to the croupier who nodded and Chuck pocketed the dice. "Come my dear, I think you need to sit down." Sarah and Chuck walked to the bar area and sat down at a table where they had a good view of the casino.
Hugo Panzer stood outside the casino talking on the phone. "Yes Mr. Volkoff… Still no sign of her but I bet she'll eventually come here… I will let you know as soon as I find out something." He disconnected the call.
Keeping alert to the patrons entering and leaving the casino he hid in the shadows of the side of the building while still giving him a view of the entrance. He couldn't get over the number of jewelry adorned women entering the casino making him half-wish he was a jewelry thief. The pay he received from Alexei Volkoff was more than adequate and he didn't want to end up in prison. It was time to be patient and find his mark for Volkoff was always very generous when he succeeded in his mission.
Heather Chandler admired herself in the mirror as she waited for Victor to zip up her new dress which he did. "It's beautiful Victor. Thank you," she said after she turned around and planted a kiss on his lips.
"You look beautiful in it Kathy," Victor said as he looked her up and down. The red sequined dress was floor length and had a tight bodice which accentuated her assets to the point they were almost spilling out of the top. "Are you ready to go?"
Heather nodded and smiled. "Ready." She took his offered arm and they headed to the deck of the ship. She was pleasantly surprised that only the two of them were going to the casino. She hoped that was a good thing and that she was his chosen 'date' over the other girls on the ship. In fact she hadn't seen any of the other girls since lunchtime and she wondered what happened to them.
A few hours earlier Casey was down in Castle talking to Greta. "When are you shipping out?"
"In two days. I'm surprised you didn't go with Agent Walker and Agent Bartowski. I thought you were a team."
This comment got a rise out of John Casey. "I am an integral part of this team. We are the best. The general was really just giving Bartowski and Walker a working vacation. Besides I hate France."
"Doesn't sound like the general to me to do something like that and Monaco is its own Principality."
"Listen, Greta. If I wanted your opinion I would have asked for it."
"Oooh, touchy Colonel Casey. Are you feeling a little left out? Do you have an itchy trigger finger?"
Casey growled at her before the monitor chirped indicating an incoming video chat. It was the general.
"Colonel I need you to get to Monaco as soon as possible. There's a big arm's deal going down and Walker and Bartowski may need your help. I'll brief you in the air." The video shut off and Casey looked at Greta with a smile. "See, I told you I was an integral part of the team when it's more than just a vacation."
Greta smirked. "If you say so Colonel. Good luck." She turned and headed back up to the Buy More before Casey could say anything else."
Chuck leaned close to Sarah and whispered in her ear. "The oligarch is in the room at your 9 o'clock."
Sarah raised an eyebrow. "Really? When did he come in?"
"When you were busy 'cooling off' you amorous Frenchman." Chuck made quotation marks in the air as he said cooling off.
Sarah chuckled. "I'm glad you were paying attention to the mission. Why did you buy the dice?"
Chuck smiled. "After they ended up in your cleavage I wasn't about to let anyone else touch them. I think I'll put them in a mesh bag and hang them from the rear view mirror of my Nerd Herder as a token memory of this night."
Sarah looked briefly offended before realizing he was joking. "Ha, very funny. Chuck started laughing knowing she almost fell for his joke. "We really need to figure out a way to get into that room." Chuck said.
"You're right. There must be some sort of high stakes game going on. I wonder how you can get an invite. I'm sure Lord and Lady Carmichael should be able to get in there." Sarah said.
The waitress came over and asked if they wanted another drink. This time Chuck asked for some champagne. "Excuse me," Chuck asked before she left with the order, "I heard there was a high stakes poker game at the casino. Do you know where it is?"
The waitress looked at Chuck and Sarah closely before answering in heavily accented English. "Behind that door," she nodded in the direction of the room the oligarch went in. As if anticipating the next question she said "You have to be invited to get a seat."
"How do you get invited?" Sarah asked.
"I'm not sure. I think they extend an invitation to those people who are really high rollers. The stake I hear is very high."
Chuck reached into his pocket and handed a 100 Euro chip to the waitress. "Thank you for the information. I would really like to play in that game. If you learn of anything else, please let me know."
The waitress nodded and left to get their order. Sarah smiled. "It's a good thing Casey isn't here or he'd be giving you grief for throwing around government money."
Chuck laughed softly. "I think it's time for Lord Carmichael to show the casino bosses that he is a very high roller."
The waitress returned with their flutes of champagne and Chuck gave her another generous tip. Loud enough for the waitress to hear Chuck said "Let's hit the tables, shall we?"
Sarah smiled and took Chuck's arm and headed to one of the Blackjack tables. Chuck took a seat on the end and Sarah sat next to him. There were three other players on the other side of the arc, leaving two empty spaces next to Sarah. The table had a 20 Euro minimum and the dealer was a distinguished looking silver haired man that was a very deft shuffler of the cards. The shoe held six decks of cards making it difficult to count cards for anyone but an intersect.
As the dealer was shuffling Sarah whispered in Chuck's ear after giving him a kiss. "Be careful. Don't win too much too fast."
Chuck kissed her back and said "Don't worry. I'll make sure I lose almost as much as I win. You just have fun and watch out for the bad guys."
Sarah smiled and looked out over the room. Chuck took out 20,000 Euros in chips and gave half to Sarah. After several hands Chuck was ahead about 1,000 and Sarah down about a 1,000. While the next hand was being dealt Sarah gasped for a moment. Walking toward their table was Heather Chandler and her sugardaddy. As they came closer Heather saw Sarah and Chuck and grinned before turning to Victor. "Look Victor, there are two open seats. Shall we take them?" Victor smiled and said "Of course Kathy. Lead the way." Heather walked around the table and sat down next to Sarah. Sarah raised an eyebrow and Heather said "It looks like you're doing pretty well honey." Sarah said "I'm holding my own but my husband is ahead."
Heather looked over at Chuck and back at Sarah. "Hi, I'm Kathy." She offered her hand and Sarah took it. "Sarah." Heather leaned closer and whispered "Don't worry, I won't blow your cover if you don't blow mine."
Sarah raised an eyebrow and nodded. Victor noticed Heather talking to Sarah and asked "Who's your friend Kathy?"
Kathy smiled and Victor and kissed his cheek. "Oh, we just met. Victor, I would like to introduce you to Sarah and looking over at Chuck said and this is her husband." Chuck and Victor leaned forward and shook hands. "Charles is the name. Pleased to meet you Victor."
Victor smiled at Chuck. "Pleased to meet you too, Charles."
They played Blackjack for about an hour before Sarah excused herself to go to the ladies room. Heather decided to go with her. Once inside the bathroom Heather asked "Okay Burton, what brings you here."
"I could ask you the same thing Heather, or should I say Kathy."
Heather chuckled. "I asked you first."
"We're here on vacation."
"Right. If you expect me to believe that your daddy must not have taught you very well."
Sarah bristled at the mention of her father. "You should talk. How did you escape from prison?"
"Oh, let's just say I had a little help in shortening my sentence."
Sarah chuckled. "I hear Alexei Volkoff requires a pretty high payment for shortening your sentence."
Heather was taken aback for a moment. "How do you know about Volkoff?"
"Let's just say I have my ways. I heard Hugo Panzer was in town too."
Heather's face turned white at the mention of Panzer's name but quickly tried to school her reaction. Sarah noticed everything. "We work together. I'm not surprised he's here."
Sarah nodded. "Well we better get back." Chandler nodded and both women headed back into the casino.
A few hours later, Chuck was at the cashier with his chips ready to cash them in. He played expertly, winning and losing just enough to avoid suspicion before hitting it big on the craps table with a little help from Sarah's encouragement. As he reached the window, the on duty manager of the casino approached him and Sarah. "Mr. Carmichael?"
Chuck nodded. "May I help you?
"I understand you were interested in participating in a poker game?"
Chuck nodded. "Very much sir. My favorite game is Texas Hold 'em."
"You're in luck. There is an opening for tomorrow night's game if you are interested. And your wife is also welcome."
"Do you hear that honey?" Chuck said excitedly to Sarah. "We'd love to play."
Sarah smiled and kissed Chuck on the lips.
"There is a 250,000 Euro buy in. If you like we can hold that much from your winnings so you don't have to transport it."
Chuck smiled. "Very well, my good man."
After cashing out and leaving the buy in, Chuck and Sarah left with 200,000 Euros, double the amount they started with.
Chuck said "It's too bad Casey isn't here right now. I could rub it in that I actually made money for the government this time."
Sarah laughed. "I'm sure he's stashed quite a bit of money in various places around the world from excess funds found during missions over the years. He should talk."
"I suppose you're right but I did feel bad at losing that $100,000 to Lon Kirk."
"Do you have to bring him up again, Chuck? I'll never do anything like that again with any mark."
Chuck pulled Sarah into a tight hug. "I didn't mean to make you feel bad. I was just thinking about the money I lost. Nothing else."
Sarah smiled at him and kissed him. "I'm sorry I flipped out. Are you ready to go?"
Chuck nodded and they headed out the door.
Hugo Panzer was about ready to call it a night when his phone buzzed. He looked at the display. "Yes Agent Frost?"
"Any sign of Chandler?"
"I think I may have spotted her going into the casino but I'm not 100% sure. I'm waiting for her to come out."
"Never mind that right now. We're almost to the Nice airport. Come pick us up."
"Yes ma'am. I'm on my way."
Panzer walked quickly down the sidewalk back to his hotel to pick up the car, right before Heather Chandler left with Victor.
Chuck and Sarah reached the sidewalk and right before they turned to head up the street back to their hotel a black town car pulled up in front of them and stopped abruptly. The driver, dressed like a chauffeur jumped out and hustled around the car to open the door for them.
"Lord and Lady Carmichael. Sorry I am late. Did you have a successful time at the casino? Are you ready to head back to your hotel?"
Sarah was about to reach under her dress for one of her knives when she finally recognized who it was and stepped closer to the car with Chuck.
"Casey, what are you doing here?"
"Just thought I'd get that crazy thought of you turning this into a permanent vacation out of your head."
Chuck and Sarah laughed. "We're not running away and you know that. What are you really doing here?"
Casey grunted and smiled, sort of. "Beckman thought you could use some help with the arms deal. It's getting bigger and bigger."
"We were afraid of that. Glad you're here." Sarah said. "Where are you staying?"
Casey grunted as they stepped in the car and he closed the door. After pulling into the street Casey said "Same place as you are. Lord and Lady Carmichael want their chauffeur close by at all times." He grunted again.
Chuck and Sarah laughed before Chuck pulled Sarah in for a kiss. Casey couldn't resist a comment.
"Keep it in your pants back there Bartowski. This car is a rental."
Sarah laughed. "Isn't that my decision Casey?"
Casey grunted. "Not you too."
Chuck and Sarah snuggled together before Chuck said "Once around the Monte Carlo, eh Casey?"
A/N 2 I couldn't leave Casey out of the mission. I think it's better when the entire Team Bartowski is involved. Until next chapter...