A/N: I do not own Numb3rs or any of the characters except Jasmine. This has not been officially Beta'd, but has been read by a fellow fan of Numb3rs (whom I thank for her time and patience), however I take full responsibility for any errors. As I live in the UK some of the facts about LA may not be accurate, for this I apologise.
Colby woke to darkness, he knew his eyes were open but he could see nothing. It seemed his whole body was in agony, he felt something trickle down his face and reached his hand up to wipe it away when his arm hit something hard above his head. Taking a steadying breath he started to feel around him. He seemed to be in a box only just slightly bigger than he was. He shook his head trying to remember what had happened to him, how had he come to be in so much pain and then shut in what amounted to a box the size of a coffin. Then it all came rushing back to him, everything that had happened in the last year, and he knew that his numb3r was up.
Chapter One – Accidental Attraction.
Colby stretched and yawned, which did not go unnoticed by his partner, David and boss, Don.
"Colby, why don't you head home, you look like you could use some sleep and you've been here over 24 hours. The paperwork can wait until tomorrow." Said Don with a look of concern.
"Yeah Granger, you're lowering the tone round here with that stubble you're sporting." Quipped David.
Colby scowled at his friend and boss, he thought about arguing but he was just too damn tired and his bed was calling to him from across town. "A shower and some sleep would be pretty good right about now." He started to clear his desk.
"You want me to drive you?" asked David.
"Nah thanks man, I'll be fine." Replied Colby as he donned his jacket. "See you tomorrow morning, thanks Don."
"No problem, I do NOT want to see you here before 08:00 tomorrow, hear me?"
Colby waved his hand in acquiescence and headed for the elevators. Once in the parking garage he slid gratefully behind the wheel of his car. At least the upside of being here until 05:00 is that the traffic will be reasonably light heading home. He thought to himself as he drove away from the building and turned towards Glendale.
He hadn't gone far down the 110 when he saw a couple of cars pulled over onto the shoulder, normally he wouldn't give it a second thought as accidents were a common occurrence in LA, but he could see that the drivers were out of their cars and were involved in a heated argument. Sighing with frustration, but seeing that one of the drivers was a woman on her own, he indicated and pulled over in front of the other 2 vehicles, he wanted to make sure that the woman was safe. As he carefully opened his car door he could hear the raised voices over the noise of the passing traffic.
"You stupid bitch, why didn't you look where you were going?" Yelled the man.
"It was an accident, it's not like I just decided to crash into you, for heavens' sake." Retorted the woman.
Colby could hear both fear and anger in the woman's voice, she didn't sound American, he thought her accent was English.
"Hey," he called out as he walked towards them, not wanting to startle either of them. "Is everything OK? Is anybody hurt?" as he approached he could see that there wasn't too much damage to either car.
The man shot him a look of annoyance. " Yeah, everything's fine, get back in your car and be on your way."
Colby sized the man up, he was a couple of inches taller than Colby, but with his training he knew that the man was not a threat unless he was carrying a weapon. The man's dark brown eyes met Colby's green ones daring him to come closer. When he turned to the woman she looked at him with some degree of relief. "Ma'am are you OK?" he asked gently.
"I was just trying to explain to this gentleman that this was merely an accident and we should exchange details, but it seems he would rather waste his time arguing." Clearly with someone else present the woman was feeling a little braver. The man started to open his mouth when Colby cut him off. "Look it appears that neither of you are injured and there is minimal damage to the cars, just exchange details and then you can both be on your way."
"What has this got to do with you? I thought I told you to get back in your car and go away?" said the man angrily.
Colby sighed, he had not wanted to use his badge to resolve this situation, but this guy was just not going to settle down. He put his hand into his inside jacket pocket and pulled out his FBI credentials. "Sir, I am with the FBI, I observed that the 2 of you seemed to be in difficulty and stopped to help, that is all. I don't want any trouble and would be happy to assist and get you both on your way."
On seeing Colby's badge the man simmered down somewhat and begrudgingly he took the pen and paper offered to him to enable him to write his details for the woman who had ruined his day. Once done he handed over the pad and pen to the woman who did the same. Details swapped the man threw Colby a dirty look and got into his car and merged with the traffic on the freeway. Both the woman and Colby let out a sigh of relief.
"Thank you so much for stopping, he was really beginning to frighten me." Stated the woman.
Colby looked at her more closely, she appeared to be in her early 30's, she had brown hair and blue/green eyes and was clearly considerably shaken by her ordeal. "Ma'am you are welcome, can I call someone for you?"
"Please, my name is Jasmine Fuller, call me Jasmine, and no, there is nobody you can call, thank you though." The woman held her hand out to her rescuer.
"Colby Granger." He replied as he took her hand and found her grip to be firm. "You don't have any friends or family I can call for you?"
"I just got out of a very bad marriage and other than my soon to be ex-husband my family are in the UK, all my friends will be working, but really I'm fine."
Colby smiled at the woman's frank response. He hesitated a moment and then pulled a card out of his wallet and handed it to her. "If you have any problems sorting this out, give me a call, if I can help then I will."
Jasmine gave him a grateful smile and took the card. "Thank you Agent Granger."
"You can call me Colby."
"Now are you sure you're OK to drive Jasmine?"
"Oh yes, I'm fine now, it was just a little bump after all."
Colby held her door open for her and watched as she settled herself back into the driver's seat. "Drive safely."
"I will, thanks again Colby." And with that she drove off.
Colby got back in his car shaking his head. Trust me to come across a damsel in distress when all I want is to go home, shower and sleep. He thought to himself. With that he continued his journey home with no further interruptions to his plans. An hour later he was stretched out on his bed snoring softly and sleeping like a baby.
Jasmine made it safely back to her house and sighed. That was one strange experience. She manages to get in an argument over a car accident and is rescued by a gorgeous FBI agent, not bad going, she thought to herself. She spoke to her insurance company and sorted out getting the minimal damage to her car fixed and then settled down with a glass of orange juice by her pool, wondering what she could do to thank her knight in shining armour.
Next morning Colby arrived at the FBI offices just before 08:00 feeling refreshed.
"Hey Colby, did you have a good rest?" asked Megan, the other member of Don's team.
"Hi Megan, yeah when I finally made it home."
"What do you mean?" asked Don as he and David walked up behind them.
He proceeded to tell them about Jasmine and the car accident.
"Man, Granger, how do you get yourself in these situations?" asked David with a smile.
Colby just shrugged, he knew he had a reputation for getting into difficult situations, but he also had one for getting himself back out of them again.
The team settled at their desks and started to attempt to clear the backlog of paperwork that had piled up from their last case.
An hour later one of the team from reception came up looking for Colby.
Colby hadn't seen the receptionist approach, so absorbed was he by the paperwork.
"Hi Anne, can I help you with something?"
"This was just delivered downstairs for you."
Colby looked at it warily, a package he wasn't expecting could NOT be good news.
"Don't look so worried, it's been scanned and it's harmless." Anne smiled.
"Oh, OK, thanks for bringing it up." Colby smiled back as he took the package from her and she walked back towards the elevators.
"Come on Colby, what is it? Don't keep us in suspense."
"Megan, don't be nosey." Responded Colby.
"If you don't tell us we're just going to come to our own conclusions." Chimed in David.
Colby sighed and took his knife out of his pocket and cut the tape on the box and peered in. He shook his head and gave the rest of the team a bemused look.
"Er, it's muffins."
"Muffins? As in the cakes?" asked Don.
"Yup." Replied Colby as he removed the muffin basket from the safety of it's box.
"Who would send you muffins?"
"Read the card then." Said Megan rolling her eyes. She liked Granger, but sometimes he could be a little slow.
Colby shot Megan a look that spoke volumes as he removed the small card from it's envelope.
Thank you for being my knight in shining armour when I needed one.
As he read the card his cheeks reddened.
"Awww look he's blushing." Said David
"Red cheeks are not a good look for you Colby." Laughed Don.
"Do you want to share these muffins or shall I just eat them all myself, 'cos keep it up and that's exactly what's gonna happen." Said Colby.
"So, knight in shining armour eh? Must be from the lady he rescued on the freeway."
"Do you always read other people's cards Megan?"
"Only if you're dumb enough to leave it laying around!"
Colby sighed and rolled his eyes, he'd never learn. "Go on, help yourselves."
The team smiled and everyone reached into the basket and took one.
"Who wants coffee?" asked Colby as he stood up, taking the basket with him. He'd leave them in the break room for other agents to share. Even he couldn't really eat 24 muffins.
Exchanging looks the team all shook their head at Colby's offer and went back to doing paperwork, they didn't want to risk him having to make a new pot. Colby's coffee making was also legendary in the LA office.
"OK guys, time for a break, how about heading out for some lunch?" asked Don.
His team all looked at him thankfully, the last case had been a rough one and the paperwork always took almost as long as the case, everyone grabbed their jackets and headed out into the sunshine.
None of the team noticed the figure watching them from the other side of the street, they were too caught up in teasing one another and discussing where to go for lunch.