Judge Walker is still concerned that she might have made a mistake letting Jason go, but there’s no turning back. For some reason, she feels confident that the young thief won’t let her down.
“Do you think I did the right thing?” Honoria Walker put aside the papers, staring at Kyle in earnest. “Should I have sent that boy to prison instead?”
“Honey, you couldn’t have convicted that boy for crimes he didn’t commit. You aren’t built like that. Besides, you’re not looking at the bigger picture here.”
“What’s the bigger picture, Kyle?”
“If this kid comes through, you’ll have been responsible for taking down an international thief and murderer.”
“How can we be certain she really exists?”
“Something put a smile on that lad’s face, and it should wasn’t self-induced. She’s real all right. And we’re going to nail her.”
“I hope he doesn’t get in over his head. He’s just a kid.”
“That kid has survived for nine years as a criminal, Honey. The first five he lived on his wits alone, surviving the streets. He’s taught himself seven different languages, honed his accent to sound like a gentleman and has more silk shirts than Jay Gatsby.”
Honoria smiled, raising an eyebrow at his literary allusion. Kyle rarely said things like that.
“I’d hardly compare him to The Great Gatsby, Kyle.”
“Oh, I don’t know. Gatsby was a self-made man as well and he acquired most of it illegally, just like Jason.”
“Dare I ask where they will be keeping him?”
“No mystery there. The safest place they can.”
“They aren’t locking him up in prison after all?” She was horrified at the idea.
“Nope. Far better than that, Honey. They’re taking the boy home.”
* * *
Jason was tired of waiting. He felt trapped by his jail cell. Now that he knew he’d be getting out of it, he hated the wait. Never having been patient, he had always forced himself into situations where he had to take things slowly. Impatience could be overcome by the right amount of stubbornness, something he’d proven many times. If nothing else, he was tenacious and that would see him through.
He forced himself to sit down and stop pacing. It was hard to do, but he promised himself a good pacing if he’d sit there for five minutes without fidgeting, twitching or fiddling. As the clock ticked past the four minute mark, he heard voices outside. Standing, he moved to the center of his cell, adopting a pose of calm attentiveness—just the opposite of what he was feeling.
Six people walked up to his cell. Two were guards, the other four he didn’t know. There were three men and a woman. The men were all big, strong, muscular and knew how to handle themselves. He was good at sizing up opponents. These guys could quickly and efficiently kick his ass. He was a decent brawler, but they were trained martial artists.
The woman was medium height with an athletic build. Her hair was an average shade of light brown, worn in a sloppy bun as if she couldn’t be bothered to style it. Her eyes were a common shade of blue, her complexion and looks attractive, but not impressive. She carried herself like a professional and her silvery gray suit coat bulged slightly under her left arm. She wore loose fitting, low riding pants that matched the jacket. Her shirt was stark white. She wore a tie, narrow, silk, gunmetal gray. Her makeup was minimal, severe. She had dark sunglasses perched on her head.
Putting the glasses to her teeth, she bit on the end a moment before speaking. “So, this is him, huh?” She looked at Jason like she was inspecting disappointing livestock.
“Jason Banes,” he said, stepping forward with his hand extended through the bars.
The men flanked the woman putting themselves in front of her like a wall.
“Cool it, guys. He can’t hurt me from in there.” She stepped forward, extending her hand.
Her nails were short, unpolished, well manicured. Her grip was strong, her fingers and palms calloused. Jason got the impression that she could kick his ass too. He took her hand, meeting the intensity of her grasp with equal pounds per square inch. His disarming smile flashed, making no impression whatever on the young woman.
“And you are?”
“Special Agent in Charge, Taylor Driscole.”
“You’re Agent Driscole?” He grinned, still holding her hand. The other hand went immediately to his head. Long fingers brushed his curly hair out of his face. “I was expecting a chap. Nice to meet you.”
“This isn’t a social visit, Mr. Banes.”
“Jason,” he corrected automatically.
“Mr. Banes,” she said firmly. “You’re to be released in my custody. The men and I will escort you to a secure location. They’re setting up surveillance and checking security now.”
“All right. How soon do we leave?”
“I’ve got a few more papers to sign, then you’re officially my headache.”
“I won’t be one, I promise. I’m house broken and I do know how to treat a lady.”
He wasn’t really trying to flirt, but Special Agent Driscole seemed to think he was overly familiar. She snatched back her hand, glaring at him.
“Get him ready,” she told the men with her. “Move into position,” she said to the cuff of her jacket.
“Yes, ma’am,” her entourage replied in chorus.
Driscole strode to the door, slapping it with her palm, knocking it aside angrily.
© Dellani Oakes