Hell Hath No Fury
Near Los Angeles, July 1986
All right, maybe it wasn't the best way to start off a conversation. Threatening to blow someone's head off with a .357 Magnum never is, even if the whereabouts of said gun are currently unknown. Neither is cursing at them colorfully in several languages. Then again, there are not many situations likely to garner that reaction. Waking up blindfolded, bound and in a rocking conveyance is one of those times. He needed information, so maybe a change of tactics was in order. He took a few deep breaths and spoke more calmly.
"Hello? Who are you and, not to be confrontational or anything, but why am I tied up, blindfolded and naked?" I mean, wouldn't tied up and blindfolded be enough? "Oh yeah, and on a boat!" he added.
Templeton "Faceman" Peck, member of the fugitive A-Team, received no reply.
"Hey, I can hear you breathing!" His captor remained silent. "Oh, come on!" he cried out. "Whoever you are, you tell Colonel Decker this is completely inappropriate!" I mean, the Army chasing my team since Vietnam for a crime we didn't commit is bad enough, but this indignity is just low.
Fight or flight kicked in as he tried to move his hands and feet only to find them tethered to…something. He was on his back, cushioned, arms pinned over his head. Oh, come on! Who tied these knots, a boy scout? He struggled to no avail, trying to twist his double-jointed hands and wrists out of his bonds. My reputation is going to be toast if the guys find me defeated by some amateur's ropes.
Face forced himself to be calm, and assessed his surroundings. His combat-honed senses smelled trees, moss, and mud. A lake? Another scent. Wait, is that perfume? Calvin Klein's Obsession? His mind wandered. I love that scent. Was Vanessa wearing that last night? Vanessa!
Though still foggy, Face remembered his date with Vanessa... Wine store Vanessa; romantic dinner with stunning, blonde wine store Vanessa. God, he loved that store...so exclusive...he met some high-quality women there. A knowledge of wine vintages and regions almost always meant they were informed about...other quality pursuits. He snickered inwardly.
Okay, back on track. Dinner at the fine French restaurant was exquisite and the conversation, while shallow, was adequate. Face smiled as he remembered his usual suggestion of a moonlight walk by the water. Somewhat tipsy and noticeably amorous, Vanessa had put her arms around his neck, and they both moved in for a kiss...Then what? Think! Something clicked. Of course! She yelled, "Stupid mosquito!" and slapped his neck to kill it.
Reality hit. Not an insect…Wait, she'd- she'd drugged him! Likely the same 'nighty-night juice' the team uses to subdue BA on flights. That stuff would put an elephant to sleep for twelve hours.
Face hesitated. "Vanessa?"
A female snickered nearby. Yep, perfume.
"No, not Vanessa, although she is a very good friend of mine."
What? Not Vanessa but Vanessa's friend? Could they be working with Decker?
"So, Vanessa's friend, do you want to let me in on the secret?"
Coy laughter greeted him. "Um, no, not quite yet." He couldn't place the familiar voice. Obsession…Which of his dates wore Obsession?
He felt the boat rock slightly, and suddenly felt warm breath close to his ear. Were her teeth nipping his lobe? Face shuddered, unsure whether it was from fear or desire. Unease hit him as her lips lightly kissed his neck.
"Er-okay," he said nervously, "If you're going to be doing that, I should at least have a name."
Oh god don't suck there. Her hair tickled his chest as her mouth lavished attention. "Okay, fine. I'm going to make one up. How about Gertrude?" It was the most "old lady" name Face could think of, and one he hoped would keep his arousal in check. Sometimes he wished the opposite sex didn't attract him so damned much.
She moved her attentions downwards - Think of baseball. Baseball. BASEBALL! He sucked in a shaky breath as she circumnavigated around his— No, no, Gertrude, not the—Relieved at her sudden retreat, Face gasped as her hands traced lightly up his body.
"Do you remember," she whispered against his ear, "a beautiful green-eyed brunette you took up to a lakeside cabin last month?"
An ice cube dropped down his back would have been less jarring. Of course he remembered. The sinking feeling in his stomach banished any risk of arousal.
Face met Madeline at the same wine store where he encountered Vanessa two weeks later. They discussed how much they both loved the fine selection. When a 'business associate' mentioned their cabin would be vacant—well, waste not, want not. It wouldn't do for him to go alone, and Madeline was stunning.
"Madeline, of course I remember you!" He tried to make it sound like she was the most important woman in the world, and that the weekend had gone swimmingly. In fact, it could not have gone worse.
It could have gone worse. I could be in prison.
Face began to understand. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned and all that. It was the level of fury that concerned him, with him naked, tied up, and on the water…He tried not to think that far.
Escape was impossible, given the iron clad knots. Only his infamous charm could save him. Before Face could made a sound, Madeline ripped off the blindfold. His eyes struggled to adjust to the light. A quick recon of the area revealed she had tied his hands to a hook on the front of a large rowboat. He was propped against some life preservers, and could see the lake.
"Maddy," Face started. She glared. "Okay, okay…Madeline," he corrected, "Look…I know you're angry…".
"Do I look merely angry to you?" she demanded. "Because if this look doesn't make you afraid, I might honestly have to go to Plan B, and you really won't like Plan B." Madeline smiled wickedly.
This is not going to be easy.
"Look, I know the weekend wasn't everything I hoped it would be, but…" he tried. She cut him off.
"Not everything YOU hoped it would be?" she hissed incredulously. He worried Plan B might become a reality.
"Well, I mean, obviously the cops busting the door down wasn't optimal…" Face wanted desperately to downplay that event.
"Not optimal? NOT OPTIMAL?" Madeline sounded practically apoplectic, and turned a lovely shade of purple. "You left me naked and cuffed to a bed while you jumped out the back window never to be seen again! Do you have any idea how humiliating it is to have a sheriff and three deputies find you like that?"
Right now, Face knew exactly how it felt. He supposed that was the idea of this little stunt. Normally he could melt a woman with his eyes, a smile, and smooth words. He never considered a situation with the opposite sex he couldn't handle. Horrified, Face grasped a disturbing reality: He was out of his depth, both literally and metaphorically. He had a reputation to uphold, and this could wreak havoc.
It was obvious that Madeline had roped her friend Vanessa into this revenge scheme, and it was no accident he met Vanessa at the same store. Once they hatched their plot, they knew where to find him. He moaned inwardly as he followed that train of thought to the station. Note to self, don't tell pretty young things how often you frequent...well, anywhere. Gotta start being less predictable before Decker and his military police goons start frequenting the same store.
Unable to raise his hands in surrender, Face used the only weapon left—his killer smile. "I apologize I left you in that … situation, and I swear I'll never do it again. Scout's honor." Growing up an orphan in L.A. he had never been a scout, but she didn't need to know that. Madeline smirked. Normally he loved a woman's smile, except when they looked like they ate the canary.
"Oh, I guarantee you won't," Madeline said smoothly. "Would you like to know why?" He didn't; he doubted it would be favorable to his well-being. Face nodded anyway.
"Well, Temp, this is how the rest of your day is going to go," she said stroking his face lightly. "I am going to swim back to shore to call the military police and tell them where you are."
His legendary poker face masked his concern.
"And," she continued, "I am also going to leave a message for your friend Murdock at the VA hospital. I certainly hope he's in his room." Madeline chortled mischievously. "I wonder who will find you first."
He silently thanked Murdock, who had called the car phone in the 'Vette while Face and Maddy drove to the lake. Otherwise she would not have known how to get in touch with anyone on the team. Face had pulled the sympathy card, that his poor friend was in the psych ward at the VA hospital; a card now paying off in spades.
"Either way, someone is going to find you in a very…compromising position." The Cheshire Cat had nothing on this girl.
At first Face hoped his team would reach him first. Then he thought of Hannibal and panicked slightly. If he's the one who finds me, I'll never live it down. Past history of falling for well-endowed military plants already provided his commanding officer with enough ammunition. This would be icing on the cake. Decker started looking like a more welcoming rescuer. At least then, he would be dressed by the time his team broke him out of jail.
Madeline leaned over and kissed him passionately. "Something to remember me by," she whispered, then dove over the side of the boat. She flipped over on her back, waved to him, then swam towards the shore. Face looked longingly after her. Man that girl has a killer body, especially in a bikini. I wonder if she has a sister...
Suddenly, the situation struck him as funny and he started to laugh. She hadn't thrown him overboard. No matter who got to him first, eventually he'd be safe. Oh well, time to work on my tan. He closed his eyes and listened to the birds. The rocking of the boat lulled him to sleep.
"Well I don't believe it!" A voice he knew well woke him. "That woman was telling the truth!" Face smiled as his rescuers cut him loose. All in all, the day could have gone worse, especially when it started off with, "Why am I naked and tied up in a boat?" Sometimes a bad way to start off a conversation is actually the best way. Face grinned mischievously. Hell, it wasn't even deadly...this time.