Over the rainbow
Wed Dec 21, 2005 01:24


What a polite euphemism for the chore about to commence. Janey sat in the front seat of her father's car, punching in the number of a cell phone. Jeff waited patiently in the driver's seat, whilst Jane the Elder flanked John in the backseat. The poor giant didn't really have a chance; he'd been outmanuvered from square one. Or day one.

"Hi, Dan! It's me. Just a reminder that we're meeting at the park across from Popeye's on west 19th. See you at noon!" The perp's name was Don, but there was little chance he'd resist meeting the girl behind Janey's expertly breathless voice. She'd already called the other two baddies and performed the same trick. Each meeting was scheduled an hour apart deliberately; it would allow the team leeway time in case something went wrong.

Butterflies danced through her stomach when the blonde glanced at the clock. At ten, in just half an hour, she would parade herself through a public place in an outfit that Cher would balk at, and lead a boy into certain danger. That wasn't what made her jittery, however. It was the reason behind this charade, planned in under fifteen minutes once her parents had pried out certain acknowledgements from their would-be son.

Geno was in love, even if he didn't want to admit it.

Resisting the urge to turn around and start needling him about it, Janey spent the next few minutes making sure the few devices that she would be carrying were in place before finally nodding towards Jefferson Blue. "Alright, Daddy. I'd better get out there and do this before he objects again." Any guesses as to who 'he' was? Didn't think so.

The older man nodded, glancing back at his wife.

"Janey wants to go win one for the Gipper, my love. Are your toys ready at the safehouse?" An affirmative snort was his answer, before she returned to playing poker in the backseat. "Okay. Operation Drumstick commences .... now." There was a faint undertone of concern, but Mister Blue was smart enough not to restrain his offspring or wife from saving the world whenever they felt it was neccessary.

Today was one of those days.

Janey slid out of the passenger seat, pausing to wink broadly at John. "See you later, alligator." And then she was off, striding down the sidewalk in a tshirt sized for Barbie and a blue miniskirt that could have doubled as a band-aid. There was absolutely no way that any redblooded American male would resist that fine specimen of womanhood. Hell, Janey probably would have fetched a king's ransom in a medieval harem.

[Later that same day . . .]

"Wakey, wakey Don."

Janey leaned forward, lightly slapping the young man's cheek to rouse him out of a drug-induced stupor. Chloroform still did the trick, especially when disguised as breath freshener in the grasp of a beautiful girl, which the agent most certainly was. His eyes fluttered open almost comically; panic flooding his gaze when he tried to move and found he couldn't. Well, that was what happened when one was duct taped to a school chair.

"Hello. Welcome to your nightmare. If you'll look to your left, you may noticed Nathan and George in similiar restraints. There is a good reason for that, and we will come to it presently. For now, however, I'd like to inquire after your health. May I get you water, tea, some coffee?"

Bewildered frowns followed her offer, made all the more chilling because Janey didn't look like a Playmate anymore. No, she was garbed in a leotard and stretchy jeans for the excercize ahead. "Very well. Some weeks ago, you and your mates decided to jump a lone actor named Sean Cafferty. At first, we weren't sure if it was purely greed or something more sinister. After looking into your background, it came to my attention that all three of you are bigots. Fag haters." She paused, tone still light -- much like an elementary school teacher might lecture on a math quiz.

"So I dug deeper ... and came across the unfortunate information that you and your friends had done this before. I was shocked, as any sane person would be. All of you come from educated backgrounds. Middle class. Decent grades in high school, but no college." Janey tsked, three pairs of eyes glued to her pacing form. "There was no concrete reason for you to detest homosexuals the way you do. So I was forced to conclude that it is a game to you. No worries over the lives shattered when you pick on those who may not share your views. Funny how no one in your neighborhood would talk openly."

The blonde paused, her smile absolutely chilling.

"That will change. I want all three of you to meet someone. His name is Geno Castelluccio." She gestured for John to step forward out of the shadows so the three hoodlums could see his bulk. "This is Sean's boyfriend. And he really didn't appreciate what you did to the actor. So I'm going to go have some coffee and you four can get to know each other much, much better."

A panicked gurgle issued from behind Don's duct taped mouth, but Janey ignored the plea for help. There had been no one to help Sean. "John, one favor. Leave them alive." With that she moved passed him and across the vast floor of a warehouse in New Jersey, where the three suspects had been transported. Her parents were waiting just outside, and Jeff slung an arm around his daughter's quaking shoulders.

"I really, really hate being mean," the girl admitted. "But they nearly killed Geno's boyfriend." Stomach lurked, prompting her into a thicket of bushes near the gravel driveway; what little food she'd eaten that morning soon decorating the daisies.

"See you tomorrow, Tennyson."

That phrase had haunted her for an entire week. So had his kiss, the piddly little thing it was. Not a real kiss, the sort that Rhett Butler placed on Scarlett before dragging her upstairs for some 'together time'. Not that Sonnet was even remotely attracted to the Holmes guy. Not in the least. She'd told her mother so almost every morning when the woman casually inquired after the officer's health.

So here she was on a Friday afternoon, wasting the thirty minutes of her break to stand around at an outdoor cafe near Broadway whilst her mother attended to the fans that invariably found them on the weekly mother-and-daughter lunch dates. Dinner dates with her father were invariably more quiet; but not quite as amusing, Sonnet had to admit. Sipping idly at her iced tea, the cop listened to a grandmotherly type gush about how realistic Cadence Marlowe was. How Isabel allowed her protagonist to make mistakes, to have morning breath, to muck up the occasional date.

Sonnet had to grit her teeth in order not to but in on that one. Was nothing sacred to the woman? Apparently not, for Isabel delightedly launched into an explanation of how the real police department worked, though she mercifully did not refer to her own daughter as the 'inside informant'. There was no way that the cop would ever live that down. Ever. Visions of Lethal Weapon danced through her head, prompting the woman to glance around out of boredom.

"Sonnet, right?"

The voice belonged to a stunning redhead, dressed to the nines in a pinstripe pants suit and Italian boots. The kind that cost at least one of Sonnet's paychecks.

"Yeah ..."

"I'm Moira Holmes. It's a pleasure to meet you." The woman held out a hand, the one that wasn't burdened with about a gazillion shopping bags. Well, maybe just four, but it might have well been the larger amount. Sonnet wanted to sink right through the pavement, especially at Devon's sister's rather assessing look.

OH, please God. This would be a really good time for an earthquake.

Well. She got her wish. Kind of. The burglar alarm of a store down the street shrieked right on cue, seconds before a large man carrying a case full of expensive jewelry shot past. "Uh, duty calls. Tell Devon I said Hi." And then she was off, sprinting after the thief while calling in her location and asking for backup along the way. If memory served, there was a small park just a few blocks away. Perhaps she could corner the guy there . . .

Sonnet rounded the last corner, expecting to find an empty patch of grass. Instead, she found the perp there, standing behind a little girl. The case of jewels lay on the ground between them, and the man was slowly backing up towards the exit. " The gems or the girl, ma'am. That's your choice." His voice was surprisingly cultured, but her attention was on the revolver hovering just behind the hostage's left ear.

"Just let her go and we can talk this out. If you harm someone during a crime, the stakes get much higher." She had to fight to keep her voice steady; what with the rush of nerves accompanying this stunt. Where was her backup? Surely someone, anyone was nearby. Cautiously she took a step forward, thumb already clicking back the hammer of her own gun.

Blam! Blam! Blam!

The noise shrieked through her ears, causing a few moments of disorientation. However, her hand rose as it had been trained to do, eyes automatically sighting along the barrel before she pulled her own trigger and emptied the clip straight at his head. Most of the bullets missed kidnapper and victim, but two slammed right into his throat -- prompting the man to stagger backwards into the street behind the park.

Sonnet watched him waver, staring almost dumbly as he let go of the little girl seconds before a Cadillac bore down on his position, unable to stop in the rush of traffic. There was a sickening thud and someone screamed. It was odd, how sounds could seem like that originated far, far away. And why was the light fading? She blinked, trying to clear her head.

"Sonnet, darling. Oh my god. Someone call an ambulance."

The cop turned halfway around, her mother's horrified face swimming into view. "Mom?" It was then the pain hit, searing agony spreading across her right shoulder like wildfire. Something was wrong, but she couldn't quite wrap her brain around the problem. Maybe someone had drugged her tea? She lifted a hand to brush away whatever had landed on said shoulder, because it was really painful, and inhaled sharply when her palm came away with crimson streaks.

And somewhere, over the rainbow, she could hear sirens approaching. Which was a good thing ..."Mom, I need to lie down."

And Officer Sonnet Tennyson of the NYPD crumpled gracelessly to the ground, three bullet holes in her right shoulder and surrounding areas. The perp hadn't missed.

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