Not only is Agent Driscole angry with Jason, for some reason known only to her, she insults him. All that aside, there is something that attracts Jason to the chilly, blonde woman. Frustrating and disconcerting, he tries hard to hide his attraction.
After they’d driven about half an hour, the neighborhood became increasingly upscale and familiar. Jason looked around him taking in the details. It was hard to see from the back seat, but he was sure he knew this area. When they slowed down, making a sharp left turn into a driveway, he grinned. The security gate stopped them, but the driver leaned out toward the monitor, taking down his dark glasses.
“Agent Timothy Stuart. Package has arrived.”
Jason smiled happily, dark eyes glittering excitedly.
“By corky,” he said with a chuckle.
“What?” Alex asked him.
“Home Sweet Home,” he announced, holding out his hands toward the Spanish style three story mansion. “Gentlemen, Agent Driscole, welcome to Casa Blanca.”
Three of them gave him a questioning look. Agent Driscole gave him what could only be described as a withering glare.
“You’re kidding, right?” She said with a sniff of disdain.
“Seriously. This is my house. I call it Casa Blanca. Not because of the movie. You see, Banes means ‘white’ and it’s a Spanish style house, or casa…. Well, it seemed a good idea at the time.”
“Cool house, JB,” Kisler, the youngest of the men, said. “Got a pool?”
“Indoors. And a hot tub, gymnasium, sweet home theatre. Just finished putting it in.”
“And you paid for all of this by stealing things from other people?” Driscole was disgusted.
“Actually, love, this is built with investment money that I made by removing rather expensive objects d’art from unsuspecting, disreputable people who thoroughly deserved to be robbed.”
“What are you talking about?”
“Not to put too fine a point on it, since I’d rather not extend my jail time, but I had the unique opportunity of robbing some folks who’d stolen some priceless museum pieces for their own collections. I stole them back and returned them to the rightful owners.”
“Magnanimous of you,” Driscole said dryly.
“I thought so. The beauty of it is that they can’t complain to the coppers as they weren’t supposed to have them in the first place.”
“Did you steal them to begin with?” Alex Graves asked.
“Perish the thought,” Jason replied. “No. These were stolen long before I began my career. They’d been missing for twenty years or so, some of them. I happened upon the stash quite by accident when I was looking around for something else.”
“Do we want to know what?” Tim Stuart asked him, raising a quizzical eyebrow.
“Probably not,” Jason replied absently, biting his thumb.
They pulled up to the front door. The agents in the second vehicle flanked the first one before Jason was brought out. They moved quickly into the house, the agents taking positions outside the doors and windows.
In the living room was transformed into a huge office. Dozens of computer terminals and other equipment littered his once magnificent showplace. The Persian carpet was gone, replaced by what looked like a carpet remnant, on top of the slate tile floor.
Jason stopped just inside the door, horrified. “No! Where’s all my furniture?”
“In storage,” Driscole replied. “We have to have a command center.”
“In my living room?”
“It’s not exactly yours anymore,” she said with a sneer. “You’re a convicted criminal.”
“Yeah, but I paid for all this lot! I’ve worked hard to make this house magnificent. It looks like the bargain basement at Best Buy.”
“Can we move inside?” Tim Stuart asked. “We’re vulnerable here, Jason.”
Unable to speak, the young thief moved forward, his legs numb. He stood in the foyer eyeing the rest of his home. The dining room and library were all full of various pieces of equipment. Dozens of people wandered around. Phones rang, people spoke, noises blended into a din that he found uncomfortable.
“Could I not be a part of this?” He asked Greg Kisler. “I think I’m getting a migraine.”
“You’ll just be in the way,” Taylor Driscole said. “Take him to his room, guys. I’ve got to tidy up down here.”
“Could I get some coffee?” Jason asked.
“I’ll send bring some up,” Tim said. “I need some myself. How do you take it?”
“Light and sweet. Thanks, mate.”
“I’ll be up to debrief you in thirty minutes,” Driscole said as he walked up the stairs.
Jason had to suppress a chuckle. He managed until he got to the landing. His laugh burst forth in an explosive snort.
“Sorry,” he said to Kisler and Graves. “Forgive me, but that sounded vaguely suggestive.”
The two agents chuckled with him, admitting that it did. They led him to the master suite, checking the room before he went in. The floor to ceiling windows were covered in heavy drapes. The room was very dim. Jason moved to the window to open the drapes, but Kisler stopped him.
“Sorry, Jason. You’ll have to do without your magnificent view. Boss’ orders. We considered putting you in a different room that was more defensible, but that would have meant moving all your stuff.”
“Small price to pay for my freedom. Well—relative freedom. Well, not really freedom at all, but at least I’m not in prison.”
© Dellani Oakes