[A sting ~ a confidence game, especially one implemented by undercover agents to apprehend criminals~]
A/N Thank you for reading the first chapter. I was writing this story as some kind of prequel to episode 'The Circle' 11x15. But of course with my own twist ? I sure hope you'll like what your read in this second chapter of this story.
Please let me know by leaving a review.
Los Angeles || NCIS' Boat House
For a while the Homeland Security special agent doubted if the address that was given was the right one, not too sure if the navigation system in the rental car worked okay. After all, this was far from any ordinary office-building and far from Los Angeles' Downtown. Instead, the location was somewhere in the Los Angeles harbor area.
Two cars were parked along the side of what seemed an ordinary boathouse. Yet, there was a camera which spied the entrance door, that much was clear. Anyone who'd approach would be noticed. Right, so this was the place.
Once the door of the car was opened the fresh ocean breeze overruled the thick and hot city smog.
Special agent Anghel drew in a deep breath, then headed for the entrance.
"Special agent Angel's here to see you, Callen," Henders announced in the open door of the interrogation room.
Callen got on his feet. He had no idea who he was going to meet. The first thing that crossed his mind was that this woman was far too young to be a special agent.
She was young and small, but except for that, she could have been a model, with high cheekbones, large catlike eyes in a very light greenish grey color. Lean.
With her chin up just a little like she had while she let her gaze go over him, he thought 'perky'.
There was a certain fragility, but he doubted that she was fragile at the same time.
Despite of her model-like features she had tried to make a casual entrance. She was certainly not overdressed and not uniformed either. Actually, she was dressed just like everyone of his own team. Faded jeans, a plain white blouse and a dark blue jacket, black boots.
He extended his hand and introduced himself 'special agent Callen, NCIS' and she did the same. "Homeland, Ioulia Anghel."
Callen raised his brows when he heard her pronounce her name. "So it's An-ghèl, not Angel?"
The smile she sent him was less confident, but she nodded anyway.
He let go of his grasp and motioned to the room. "Just have a seat in there. Can I get you something to drink?"
"A glass of water will do, please."
He came back in the room too, a matter later, putting her glass and his coffee mug on the table. Then he took a seat as well, opposite of her, and waited until she took a first sip from the glass.
She obviously wasn't going to be the first to explain, and so he finally asked "So, you wanted to see me. Tell me, what is this important to you that we both miss the briefing in your office?"
She scraped her throat and kept her gaze fixed at the glass she still had in her hands. Then she put it down on the table, let her hands go through her short dark brown hair and wet her lips. Looking up at him, she blew out a sigh and said "It's quite a story. Complicated too, so please let me explain. Ehm… during the past few months I've been working in Fort-Liberté, Haiti."
Her eyes clouded now, Callen noticed, when she continued "I started a modeling agency in there. In fact, it was a set-up, where I tried to work with sex traffickers. As an undercover operation, though."
Again, she paused and Callen decided he'd simply wait until she'd go on explaining.
"Girls… no, boys and girls, are targeted on the street. Sometimes in orphanages too. Some of them are far too young —" another sip of water followed, and this time she didn't look up before she went on: "these kids are lured in and sent over to me, hoping they'll be able to earn some money as a model. I'm interviewing them. Make some pictures. Make them — no, not me, but these people I have to work with - make them a lot of promises. These kids have to wait only a little, hoping they'll make it in LA. Instead, they're being transferred to a large containership, until the arrangements are made with the contacts in Los Angeles. If they're lucky my co-workers will pick them up before anyone else can sell them. Experts are trying to undo the damage done to these kids, here in town, before they head home again."
He shook his head. "You're working with sex traffickers… that's, well, Julia, it's a sick job if you'd ask me."
His message stung, Callen noticed as he saw a spark of annoyance in her eyes.
"It is." Her voice was soft now. "It's — it's not that easy to stay sane, you know. You don't know how it is to smile confidently at those kids. To keep it going when working with people who are pure evil. But I have to… It's horrifying to think what may happen to those kids if I quit or if I can't come back. I got back a week and a half ago and I don't really want to go back. But like I said, I have to… I have to rescue these kids."
Again, she jutted her chin just a little to look more self-assured. "So far, I — we got 150 kids back into safety, agent Callen. Damaged kids. You don't want to know…"
"Indeed, I don't want to know," he interrupted rather harshly. "What has this got to do with me? It's a long story you're telling and like I said, I don't get why you do what you do. Nor why I have to know it."
"Because someone's got to do it. And I do have to get back doing it. As long as they trust me. They won't hesitate to move their business if they suspect something's going on. Until now, they think they received a payment. Dirty work paid with dirty digital money. And we work with all kind of efforts our government has available on this side of the border. But rumor goes they'll move their business to Los Angeles. Before or after I'm back on the island, I don't know," she replied while looking him in the eyes.
He read the hesitance. "I'm only in there because I was the only one who speaks French, and because of my looks."
Callen had listened to everything she said and leaned back in his chair, meanwhile sipping his coffee and letting his thoughts go. "Yet you are not French," he remarked.
She shook her head. "American."
He squeezed his eyes. "Who're you working with? And again, what does it have to do with me?"
"You trust me?"
He huffed. "I trust Homeland Security. I trust my team, my family…"
"Callen. I was asked to look for a federal agent with this name and believe me, it wasn't that easy to find you. Do you know how many Callens there are in this city? But then, CIA, FBI, DEA, even my own agency: nobody seemed to know you."
"Who asked you to look for me?" He now leaned forward on his elbows, keeping his voice and face composed. Deep down, he knew it was nothing good he was going to hear.
"Your father," she started, unsure now how to continue, "Your father took care of a man —"
He spat up from his chair, his hands on her side of the table now and he swore in a hissing voice. "Damn. I don't have to do this."
There was rage in his eyes and voice now as he turned to leave the room.
Her voice was stronger now when she continued. "Darius Comescu."
In only a matter of a second he reached her side of the table and growled "You're fucking working with Comescu? Get out."
Slowly, she got up on her feet, biting her lip. "You can trust —"
His face was close to hers now and he hissed "Never. Now get out."
"Agent Callen, please —"
His hands were locked around her wrists less than a second later and his face close. She swallowed when she saw his bright blue eyes burning from suppressed violence.
"Comescu can't be trusted. And no, I don't trust anyone with that name. Ioulia… lucrul cu răul te face și tu rău [working with evil makes you evil too]."
He should've know better. She was a special agent as well, still the head butt that came his way surprised him. In a reflex he hit her back and after she stumbled to the floor, she slowly got up. With her left hand she wiped over her face, leaving blood smears on her hand and on her face.
She turned once she was in the door already and despite of all the anger he felt, he read the sorrow in her eyes.
"I'm sorry, Callen. Sorry for what happened to you," she said. "Forget what I was telling you. I'll handle it myself."
Moments later he heard the door of the boathouse close.