A million thanks to Shelley K for the fastest beta ever!
by Susan Monica
Blair watched as Jim drained the last bit of coffee from his mug and set it back onto the table of the diner where they were having breakfast. He shook his head in amazement. "Man. How do you put away a breakfast like that and go chase bad guys?"
"That's how I can chase the bad guys Chief. Didn't your mother ever tell you that breakfast was the most important meal of the day?" Jim leaned back in the booth and grinned at Blair. "How many times do we get to sit and eat a nice quiet breakfast out, huh? Besides, I was hungry."
"Jim, bacon, eggs, pancakes, melon, coffee and a glazed buttermilk donut to top it off is not breakfast. Man, that's enough food for a small family."
"Yeah, yeah, yeah, keep talking," Jim slid out of the booth and reached back down to the seat for his jacket. He slipped into it and reached a hand down to pull Blair out of the booth. He let out a long suffering sigh, "Come on Sandburg, I need all the strength I can get. My first day off in how long and I let you talk me into doing more of your crazy tests."
Blair's blue eyes were dancing with laughter as he grabbed his jacket with one hand and let Jim pull him up and out of the booth with the other. He pulled his scarf out of his jacket sleeve and slipped on his jacket. "Just remember, one of these days my tests may help save your ass." Jim pushed open the door of the diner for him and held it with one arm, just as a couple of people were about to enter.
"Hey Blair. How are you doing?" A sturdy looking young woman with short dark hair, wearing a shiny blue running suit was standing with a young couple.
"Hey, hi Janice. I'm doing fine thanks. Hi, JJ isn't it and Patti?"
Janice raised an eyebrow and looked from Blair to the couple she was with. "You know each other?"
"Sort of. Sonja introduced us." Blair suddenly realized JJ and Patti were staring at the holstered gun showing under Jim's gaping jacket as he continued to hold the door. "Oh, uh this Jim Ellison. Jim, Janice Worth, you met her once before remember? Janice works at Rainier and we were in some classes together, and this is JJ and Patti."
Jim lowered his arm, stepped past them and turned to say hello. Janice smiled up at him coyly and stepped a little closer. She put out her hand and Jim clasped it. She tightened her grip and gave his hand a hard squeeze. "Yes, we met a few times before. How are you Jim?"
Jim gently pulled his hand away and put it on Blair's shoulder.
"Uh, fine thanks Janice. We've gotta get going Chief if you want to stop at the University. Nice meeting you again."
"Oh, yeah right. Well I'll see you guys on campus." Blair leaned over and gave Janice a kiss on the cheek goodbye and with a quick wave at the others followed Jim to the truck.
Blair was almost dancing around Jim as they walked to the truck. "Man, did you see that! Jim she is crazy about you."
"Yeah, except the operating word there is crazy. She is just one more in the legion of strange women you seem to attract Chief."
"Come on Jim. She's a lovely young woman; and the way she grabbed your hand and stared up into those baby blues…"
"Cut it out Sandburg," Jim growled. "Did you see the way she licked her lips? She looked like she wanted to throw me on a
plate and eat me for dinner." Jim glanced at Blair just as they reached the truck and saw his eyes widen comically. "Sandburg,
get your mind out of the gutter, it was just a metaphor! Get in the damn truck." Jim unlocked the passenger side door and cuffed
Blair on the back of his head before he could duck.
Janice sat looking at the breakfast menu, while JJ lit a cigarette and glanced at Patti sitting next to him looking nervous.
"Uh Janice? You know Blair's friend and he's a cop?"
Janice looked at JJ and raised her eyebrows. "Jim? Sure, but he is a Detective with the Cascade Police Department.
JJ turned pale as he felt Patti's fingers digging into his leg. "Is Blair a cop?"
"No, but he works with Jim and they're roommates."
"How do you know?"
"Blair and I dated once or twice. I had to pick him up at his apartment once because his car was in for service. That's when I met Jim. He is so gorgeous isn't he?"
"How do you know they work together?" JJ ground out between clenched teeth.
"Oh. Well, I was working in the University's office when I saw some papers come through for Chancellor Edwards to sign. Blair needed some time off to help Jim with a case. He is supposed to do some kind of consulting work with Jim for the Department."
"Move!" JJ gave Patti a push to get her out of his way. Janice looked up from studying the menu. "What's the matter?"
JJ got to his feet and pushed Patti back into the booth. "Nothing, order something for me. I'll be right back, I gotta use the john." Patti looked frightened as she watched him hurrying away. "Yeah baby, sure."
JJ glanced around and passed the bathrooms on his way to the phone booth. He pulled the door shut, picked up the phone and dialed quickly. He took a deep drag on his cigarette, dropped it on the floor of the phone booth and ground it out on the floor. "Come on, come on answer the damn phone."
"Hello." Sonja's sleepy voice answered.
"Sonja! We're in trouble. You better do something, cause I'm not being dragged into this shit man. You told me Sandburg was cool, I am not gonna…"
"Hold it! What the hell are you talking about? What's wrong with Blair?"
"He's a cop man, well he's not a cop but his roommate is. And Sandburg works with him. Sandburg's meeting us was no coincidence. They know something and he's in on it."
Sonja's voice was wide-awake and nervous. "Who told you this?"
JJ glanced out the glass door of the phone booth nervously. "Me and Patti went out for breakfast with Janice Worth. You know her; she worked in the Chancellor's office. She and Patti are friends. Janice dated Sandburg and told me the roommate Ellison is a cop and Sandburg works with him sometimes. We're screwed Sonja."
"Calm down. Where are you now?"
"We're still at the diner."
"Okay, just relax. I'll call Ritchie and we'll take care of everything. Stick with Janice and don't do anything stupid. I'll
call you later." The phone went dead. JJ put the receiver back and closed his eyes. He took a few deep breaths and opened his
eyes. "Stupid, stupid, stupid." He pulled the door open and walked back to his breakfast companions.
Blair pulled the truck door shut and bent forward rooting through his backpack while Jim started the truck. Jim glanced over at him as he started pulling the truck away from the curb.
"Okay, now where to? Sandburg, buckle up that seat belt!"
Blair sat back up holding two small plastic bottles in his hand and slipped them into his jacket pocket. He pulled the flap back down on his backpack, and pushed a tangle of auburn curls back behind his ears.
"Okay, okay. You tell me that every time we get in this truck. Chill man, I will."
"Well if you did it as soon as you got in, I wouldn't have to tell you every time would I?"
Blair turned his body so he could stare at the big man seated next to him. "Jim, the way you drive there is no way I wouldn't wear my seat belt."
"And what's wrong with my driving?" Jim narrowed his blue eyes and turned to stare at Blair.
"Watch the road! Geez, I'm sorry." Blair was trying not to laugh, "Your driving is just great there Jim and I'll buckle up the instant my butt hits the seat, satisfied? Now, we're going to the park on Madison. You know, that little one near the University?"
"Yeah, I know the one. Good choice Sandburg, it's only one block from that new Wonderburger." Jim was grinning as he saw Blair
shaking his head.
"How many more, I'm getting a headache. We've been at this for two hours Chief." Jim was sitting at a picnic table in the park rubbing his temples. Blair pulled one of the little bottles out of his jacket pocket. "Just one more, and you need to use two of your senses in union with each other."
Blair watched as Jim stood and stretched to his full height, his light blue sweater pulling across the muscles in his chest. He waited patiently for light blue eyes to settle back on to his darker blue.
"Come on. Take a deep breath. Now, let it out slowly."
"Sandburg, it's almost two o'clock. I need to eat, I'm hungry."
"Concentrate! Man, you have the attention span of a gerbil." Blair closed his eyes and counted to three, missing Jim's quick grin. He opened his eyes and took a deep breath.
"Okay, I had a friend of mine splash some of this perfume on some tree leaves somewhere in the park, he left the rest of the bottle capped under the tree. I need you to find it."
Jim looked around waving his arms. "Are you crazy? Do you know how many trees are in this park? Or, how many odors are around here. Are you nuts, I can't do this."
"Yes you can." Blair's voice deepened. "Look, just relax. Here take a whiff of this, this is what you need to find." Blair pushed some of his curls back behind his ears and came to stand close to Jim. Blair took the cap off the bottle and held it up for Jim to take a sniff.
"Gross! What the hell is that? Jim sputtered and coughed turning away.
"Hey man, that cost me last weeks salary. It's supposed to make you think "only of me." Well at least that's what the salesgirl said. Are you telling me it's too strong?"
Jim took another little sniff. "Whew, no Chief you're right. Only you would wear that."
"Okay smart guy, then this should be easy right? Now. Filter out everything else." He lowered his voice and put his hand on Jim's arm to keep him from zoning.
Blair watched as Jim raised his head and gently sniffed at the air in the park. Jim tilted his head and turned his body toward a stand of trees near a small pond almost three city blocks away.
"Now, piggyback your sight on to the smell. Focus. Let the two merge into one." Blair was speaking softy watching Jim's expression change from narrow-eyed concentration to satisfaction.
"I got it! There, over by the water, that tree with the bent branches. It's right there at the foot of the tree. The bottle has some rocks around it."
Blair took a small pair of binoculars from his jacket pocket and focused in on the tree. "Hey, you got it man. That is so cool." Blair grabbed Jim's arm and shook it in his excitement. "I knew you could do it."
"Yeah, well that's it. I'm done and I'm hungry. How about we grab some lunch before I drop you off at the University?"
"Oh man thanks, I'll only be there about an hour. I need to drop off this stuff and get some papers I left in my desk."
"No problem, I've got some errands to run and then I'll come back and pick you up. You go get the bottle Chief and I'll get the truck." Jim started walking towards the truck.
"Hey, wait a minute, why do I have to get the bottle?" Turning, Blair started jogging toward the pond. Man he is going to be impossible to live with for the next few days, after this test. But boy was it worth it. If he can smell it this far without breaking a sweat, I wonder how far he really can go. If only I can get him to … Blair's thoughts were rudely broken into by the sound of Jim honking the truck's horn.
"Okay, okay here I come keep your shirt on." Blair picked up the bottle and sprinted to the truck. Jim leaned over and pushed open the door for him. Blair jumped in and closed his eyes and sat gasping for breath. He opened his eyes and saw Jim resting his big hands on the steering wheel staring at him making no attempt to leave the park. Blair looked at Jim blankly for a minute. "What? Oh for Pete sakes." He reached over and snapped on his seat belt. "Happy?"
Jim was smiling when he reached over and patted him gently on the chest.
"Very good junior."
Sonja grabbed a cigarette from the pack on her nightstand and lit one. She picked up the robe on the end of her bed and slipped it on. Walking over to the window, she stared blindly through it. "You little shit. I'm not getting caught, not like this. Okay, think Sonja." She turned and stared at the phone. Striding over to it she grabbed up the receiver and punched in a number. Pushing her blonde hair back from her face nervously she murmured, "Come on baby, be there. Please pick up Ritchie." On the fifth ring she heard a male voice answer, "Branis residence."
"Mr. Branis please."
"May I ask who is calling?"
"Yes, tell him it's Sonja and it's urgent."
Sonja lit another cigarette as she waited to hear Ritchie's voice. "Sonja, honey what's up?"
"Ritchie, we got a problem. You've gotta do something. I'm not going to jail, Ritchie I'm not."
"Whoa, what the hell are you talking about? Wait a minute, where are you, at home? Not on the phone Sonja, meet me in half an hour in front of Joy's Deli on Market Street. You know the place."
"Okay Ritchie." Sonja dropped the phone and grabbed her jeans and sweater from the chair and headed towards the bathroom to change.
Twenty-five minutes later she pulled into a parking space and spotted Ritchie standing in front of the deli smoking a cigarette. She locked the car doors and walked up to him, took the cigarette from his fingers and put it to her mouth and took a deep drag.
"Sonja, what happened? Come on; let's walk over to the docks. Okay, now what's got you so rattled?"
"Blair is working with the cops." Ritchie stared out over the water. "They know Ritchie, Ritchie are you listening?"
"Yeah, yeah baby, I'm listening." He turned and looked at her with a grim expression on his face. "How do you know?"
Sonja took a step back from him. "JJ called me. They were all at breakfast and he met Sandburg and his friend coming out of the diner. He's a detective and Blair works with him. Janice Worth dated Blair and told JJ they work together."
Ritchie flung his cigarette onto the ground and grabbed her by the arm.
"Crap! How did you miss that you idiot?"
Sonja was whining now, she was terrified of the look on Ritchie's face. "I didn't know he moved out of his place and in with this cop. He used to live downtown in the warehouse district. Baby, I didn't know! I mean look at him. Does he look like he would have a cop for a roommate?"
Ritchie pushed her away from him abruptly. He ran one hand through his hair and started pacing. Pulling another cigarette from the pack, he lit it and took a deep drag before turning back to face her.
"Alright relax, let me think a minute. Do you know where he lives now?"
"Yeah, but JJ said he overheard them talking about having to drop Blair off at the University."
"Listen to me. Pack a few things and tell your friends you're going out of town for a few days. Do you have any cash?"
"I've got about two hundred."
"Stop at my apartment and I'll give you some more to tide you over. Go check in someplace nice and quiet. I'll call you in a few days. Just leave me a phone number to get in touch with you. You said he went to Rainier?"
"Yeah, he was supposed to." She dropped the cigarette on the ground and stepped on it.
"Everything will be okay, trust me."
She closed her eyes. "Ritchie, I.."
"Shh baby, go now." He turned her back toward where she was parked and gave her a little push and she walked away without looking back.
Ritchie pulled out his cell phone and punched in some numbers. Tapping his foot impatiently, he stared out over the water.
Speaking softly into the phone he said, "He's at the University. I want him now. Make sure it's clean and fast. Pick Sully up
first and he'll show you where to hold him. I'll meet you there." He snapped the cell phone closed and looked at the gold watch
on his wrist. "Okay, Blair baby, you want to play games with the big boys. Let's play."
Walking towards his car parked in the small parking lot adjacent to the Science Building at Rainier, Blair juggled file folders and books while digging in the front pocket of his backpack for his car keys. Blowing his curls out of his eyes he bent his head to see if he could spot his keys. "Oh come on, I know you're in there," mumbling softly under his breath he stopped just short of colliding with Joshua Steele.
"Oh, hey how ya doing Josh. You lost?"
"No, I went to your office but must have just missed you. One of your students said you were headed here. I need to talk to you." Josh pushed his hair away from his face nervously.
"Just let me, ah ha! I knew they were there." Pulling his keys free from his backpack, he unlocked the car doors and tossed the books and files into the back seat. Blair turned towards Josh and leaned back against the car. "Okay, shoot."
"Please, you've got to let me help you with this case. I can be one of your suppliers on campus. They don't know who I am, they just know that I'm a student. I can go to the meet with you."
"What! Hold it Josh, what are you talking about?
Josh shoved his hands into his jacket pockets and couldn't look at Blair for a minute.
"My dad and I had a huge fight last night about me staying here with him. He wouldn't tell me what he was working on, or why he wants me out of Rainier. Blair, he wouldn't even listen to me, so when he went out to pick up dinner I went through my Dad's notes. I know all about it. It's the only way I can get them back together."
"Whoa, back up kid. Get who back together?"
"My parents." Josh looked miserable. "My dad left to protect us. He thought after that last case in San Diego, he was a failure and he was afraid someone would try to hurt us. He moved us to a small town near my grandparents and left, that's why I came down here. My mom doesn't know I'm here. She thinks I'm on a retreat for two weeks with my science class. If my dad can get these dealers and that policeman back, he'll know he's still a good cop and come back."
Blair shook his head at the boy. "Josh, I can't believe you read those notes, or how you came up with that theory but I do know your dad would skin me alive if I let you anywhere near this case. Man, Jim didn't even want me involved."
Blair's blue eyes were shooting sparks. He poked his finger into Josh's chest to reinforce his words. "These people are dangerous men. One cop is already missing and you want me to bring a sixteen-year-old kid into this? Are you crazy? When your father gets a hold of you and finds out what you've done he is going to kick your ass all the way back home. Oh man, I don't believe this." Blair stared at the boy a moment, then turned and threw his hands up in the air.
He glanced up briefly at the blue van just about to pass them, when the van suddenly stopped and a man jumped out at him.
"Sully?" Blair's eyes widened as he recognized the man from the night before. Sully walked up to Blair and leaned against the car and smiled at him. "We meet again Blair and I hear you've been causing some trouble."
Blair's heart started pounding as he stepped back away from Sully. "What are you talking about?"
The side door of the van slid open and two men jumped out. A big man in coveralls with a pockmarked face quickly pushed a cloth over Blair's nose and mouth as he tried to shout and pull away.
"HEY, stop!" Josh jumped on the back of the one holding the cloth. A younger thug with a greasy looking ponytail grabbed him, spun him around and hit him on the point of his chin snapping his head back. Josh's eyes rolled back in his head and he collapsed into the man's arms. The big man in coveralls helped Sully slide the now unconscious Blair into the back of the van. "What do I do with this one?" the thug holding Josh asked Sully.
"Take him too," Sully motioned him into the van. "Ritchie said no witnesses."
Hidden behind a tree, Tracey Dion looked on in horror. She had just seen Mr. Sandburg and the new boy Josh talking. She wanted
to show Mr. Sandburg a paper he had helped her with when the van pulled up and those men had grabbed Mr. Sandburg and Josh. The
man with the white hair said something to the two men then glanced around. She crouched down and looked at the van's plates.
Oh my God, oh god. She grabbed the first thing in her purse, a lipstick and copied the plate number onto her forearm. Tracey
squeezed her eyes shut in terror and stayed on the ground. Please don't let them see me. The man seemed satisfied, and he
slammed the van's sliding door shut and jumped into the front passenger side. The van pulled away slowly not drawing any attention
to it. Tracey stayed down and counted to fifty. She slowly lifted her head and seeing the van was gone, jumped up and ran to the
Simon Banks glanced up from the papers Henri had just handed him and saw Jim enter the bullpen. "Well, what are you doing here? I thought you and Sandburg had the day off."
Jim slid out of his jacket and dropped it over his chair. "Yeah, well I wanted to check on something Henri ran down for me."
Simon held the papers up he had been reading and smiled at Jim. "Are you looking for this?"
Jim's blue eyes pinned Henri to the spot. The younger black man held up his hands and started backing up. "He asked me what I was doing man."
Simon gestured towards his office with the papers and Jim walked towards it. Henri looked over at Rafe grinning at him. "You keep grinning pretty boy, just wait till that Ellison glare is pointing at you man."
Simon leaned his butt on the end of his desk and looked at Jim. Jim stood there fidgeting and ran his hand through his short brown hair. "Look Captain I only did it because…"
Simon interrupted his little speech, "Ellision, you cannot use this office to check on your partner's dates. I don't care how you write up the requests. Jim, you are not his father, you can't.."
Jim's blue eyes looked up at his boss pleadingly. "Captain, you know this kid's track record with women. I mean, he is a magnet for every wacky girl from here to Tacoma."
There was a tap on the door and Marcus Steele walked in carrying files. "Captain. Hey Jim, I thought you were off today?" Jim looked up at Simon and saw his lips twitch.
"Yeah. I am. I just needed to check on someone."
"Oh, well here are the rest of the files. I've been going over them and I just feel I'm missing something."
Simon walked around his desk and sat down. Opening the files, he saw Jim already engrossed in the folder Henri had given him. "Jim you might as well stay put and help us go over these files again. Buddy James reports are with them." He looked up at Steele. "Maybe it's something you saw in the reports Marcus."
Steele sat down and rubbed his eyes. "I don't know. It's just there out of reach. I can't figure it out."
Jim looked up grinning. "I told you! I told you he's a trouble magnet."
"Now what?" Simon sat back in his chair and lit up a cigar.
Jim started reading off names from the report. "Sonja Evercleare, aka Sonja Evers, Sunny Claire, and Sandra Cleary. She comes from New York and she started her career young, Captain. At sixteen, she was arrested with six ounces of pot. At eighteen she was picked up for prostitution, but let go. Credit card fraud, petty larceny and possession. Oh man, the list goes on. She moved to California when she was twenty-one. She was busted there for drugs again, but she walked. Nothing after that, she moved to Cascade two years ago and enrolled in Rainier University. Funny thing though, when she was collared up in California, an R. Branis posted bail and got her out. So she's known Branis awhile."
Simon tossed a folder on to his desk in disgust. "Okay, so Branis and Sonja have a history. What I can't figure out is who this Sully guy is. Blair said Sonja didn't know him. Jim's right, he is too much muscle for Branis's operation. He looks and acts like a heavy hitter. Which brings up the next question. Who the hell is fronting Branis. The guy is living up on the Woods Hill section of town in a mansion. His business is good gentlemen, but he can't be pulling in enough to bankroll that type of operation. Besides, he certainly doesn't seem smart enough to run this type of business."
Steele had been listening with a distracted look on his face. Jim glanced up at Simon and saw him staring at Marcus too. Suddenly, Steele grabbed the folders on Simon's desk and started going through them. "Oh geez, that's it! Oh man, I can't believe I missed that."
Jim could hear Steele's heart start to pound as he quickly turned pages in the reports.
"Missed what?" Simon pulled the cigar from his mouth. "Steele what the hell are you doing?"
"Branis! It's somewhere. That name kept bugging me; I know I remembered it from some other damn case. I couldn't think of where, or why it rang a bell. Here! Sonja and Ritchie come out of California. Denton James organization is based in California. Denton James had one younger sister, he was crazy about her. Their parents died in a car accident and she was living with him. He got her out of the states when he got into the drug trade, and sent her to live in England with some aunt. She married some big shot Brit, his name was Gerrard Branis. They had one child, a son named Richard. Gerrard Branis died in some freak hunting accident and Denton James brought his sister and her child back to the States. Richard Branis is Denton James nephew! That's the damned connection! I can't believe I missed that."
"Take it easy Marcus, he kept that pretty well hidden. It's a miracle you picked it up at all."
Jim stood up and started pacing nervously. "Captain, that means Sonja and Ritchie have been doing this for a long time. James has been bankrolling him and setting him up in different cities since California. Sir, there is no way I'm letting Blair go through with the meet. It's way too dangerous, especially now that we know Denton James is involved."
"All right. We'll just have to see what else we can come up with."Jim turned and looked questioningly at Steele. Steele held his hands up in front of his chest. "You've got no problem here. The kid proved himself twice over just going through with the meeting with Branis and Sully Canon."
Simon looked at Steele and picked up the phone. "I'm going to get your boss in here, maybe he has something we can use to get Blair out clean. By the way Jim, where is Sandburg?"
"He's at the University sir, he had some stuff he said he needed. I'm going to pick him up now and tell him." Jim reached for the folders on Simon's desk. "I think I'll just bring these papers on Sonja with me. Blair's not thinking clearly when it comes to Sonja, he seems to be running on hormones right now."
Rhonda knocked on Simon's door and walked in. "Captain, you have a call on line two. A call came in on 911 and they transferred it up here when the dispatcher heard Blair's name. It's a young woman with information about Blair and she says it's urgent."
"Thanks Rhonda." Simon pushed the button for the other line.
"Captain Banks. What!" Simon looked at Jim and saw his face pale. "When was this?" Jim moved closer to Simon's desk and cocked his head. His jaw clenched tightly as he listened to what the girl was saying on the other end. Simon's voice softened as he spoke to the girl. "Okay, slow down Miss. You got the number? Good girl, how many? Wait a minute, what other boy? What did he look like?" Simon glanced up at Marcus Steele.
Marcus stared back questioningly.
"Okay, a policeman will be there in a few minutes to take your statement, but I want to thank you for your help. Simon hung up and looked over at Steele. "Marcus, where is your son?"
"He's at Rainier, why? Marcus turned pale and sat down hard in his chair.
"God, no! Simon, what is it?"
"Son of a …" Jim flung the folder he was holding across the desk. Simon started barking orders. "Rhonda! Get Henri and Rafe. Send them in here. Jim, calm down we'll find them. Marcus, Blair and Josh were kidnapped from the University parking lot. A young woman saw it happen and had the presence of mind to write down the van's color and plate number."
"Why take Josh?" Steele shook his head numbly.
"He was probably just at the wrong place at the wrong time. They didn't want any witnesses. I'm sure he'll be fine when they realize he's not involved."
Jim was pacing in front of Simon's desk. "I never should have let him do this. I knew something would go wrong. How did they know? Why grab Blair? Captain, we have to do something!" Jim's voice had risen and Simon saw Jim spinning out of control.
"Settle down Ellison and get hold of yourself! We've got the make and model of the van. DMV will tag it and put out an APB on it. In the meantime, let's go and check out the University and then we'll go visit Mr. Branis."
Rafe and Henri came into the office as Simon was putting on his suit jacket. Pulling a page off his pad, Simon handed it to
Brown. "Blair and Josh Steele were kidnapped a little while ago at the University. Here is the make and model of the van, go and
check it out. You can reach me on my cell when you find out anything. Let's go you two." Marcus got to his feet and followed Jim
and Simon out of the office.
Josh was flung against Blair as the van turned another corner. He tried not to panic as he felt the tape across his mouth pulling at the bruise on his chin. His wrists were taped together so he couldn't touch Blair to see if he was okay. God, why hadn't he listened to his dad! He had given Josh orders last night to stay put in the apartment and not go near the University.
He was shaken out of his thoughts as the van came to a stop. The doors were pulled open and the guy with the pony tail hopped out, turned and grabbed Josh by his arms pulling him across Blair and out of the van. He saw they were in a small alley next to what looked like a small warehouse by the water. A black car was parked close to the van, with the driver standing by the back door. He opened it when he saw the van park. The big man with the white blonde hair jumped out of the front of the van and pulled a set of keys from his pocket and unlocked the side door. The younger thug shook Josh hard and said, "Keep your eyes on the ground." The blonde man motioned to the van and spoke to the older pony tailed thug.
"Chet, grab him and bring them down to the cellar. Lock them in and then get rid of the van. I'm going to the airport; I'll be back late tonight. No food or water, I need to have a little chat with Blair when I come back."
He turned and walked to the black car and slid into the back seat. The driver closed the door and got into the front and the car slowly slid away from the curb.
Chet grabbed Blair and pulled him up and over his shoulder in a fireman's hold. Blair started moaning softly.
"Gabe, move your ass and get the kid going." Chet shouldered his way past them through the door and down the stairs. Gabe grabbed Josh's shoulder and pushed him roughly through the doorway and down the stairs. The hallway was dark with an Exit sign giving off the only light. Josh could smell the sickening stench of mildew and other dank odors. He stumbled and bumped into Blair hanging upside down over Chet's shoulder. He tried to see where they were going but was confused after the second turn in the corridor. He could hear the faint sound of music muffled by the walls. Chet stopped them in front of a large wooden door. He pushed up the latch and stepped inside, dumping Blair on the floor unceremoniously. Josh was pushed into the room and ended up kneeling next to Blair. The room had the same closed musty smell and another odor Josh was afraid to identify.
"Let's go." The two men left the room and slammed the door shut. Josh heard the latch come down locking them in.
Blair groaned as he came awake, blinking his eyes to clear them. He saw Josh kneeling next to him staring at him anxiously. "Are you okay?"
Blair let Josh help him up off the damp floor. "Oh man, I am so not okay."
He turned and looked around the room. "What happened? Where the heck are we?"
Blair heard a faint rustling and a soft moan come from the corner of the room. He strained to see through the gloom and could roughly make out the shape of a bed pushed against the wall. He started walking toward the bed and the sounds of a soft continuous moaning. Josh was right behind him with one hand clutching the back of Blair's shirt. "Blair….Josh's voice was scared …I don't think…"
"Shh, relax Josh, I just need to see who our roommate is."
The odor of an unwashed body hit Blair's nose as he leaned over the figure lying on the bed. He stared down into the face of a young man. His features were marred from being beaten and his once blonde hair hung matted around his gaunt cheeks. Blair could see little beads of sweat rolling down his neck onto the flat filthy pillow under his head. Eyelids fluttered opened as Blair gently put his hand on the man's forehead. Cracked lips opened and a soft voice keened at him. "No more, please. Please. No more, no more, please."
"Easy, just take it easy. No one is going to hurt you. What's your name?"
Nervous fingers plucked at the dirty sheets, while the young man continued his soft moaning.
"Who do you think he is?" Josh whispered softly. Blair looked at him and shook his head.
"I don't know. Hell, I don't even know why we're here." Blair rubbed his hand over his eyes and tried to shake off the last of the nauseous feeling left from the chloroformed rag that had been held over his nose and mouth.
"What happened after I got knocked out?"
Josh glanced over at the man on the bed and moved further away from him. "The big guy with the white hair.."
Blair interrupted, "His name is Sully."
"Oh, okay Sully was talking to you and all of a sudden the other guy put a rag over your face. I jumped on him, but this Gabe guy hit me."
Blair reached out and gently felt the dark bruise on Josh's chin. "He got you pretty good."
"That's all I remember, except waking up next to you in the van."
Blair put his hand on Josh's shoulder to keep his attention. "Did you see where they took us? Is it a house or what?"
"No, it looks like a small warehouse or something and I could hear music. They took us down through the side door. We're somewhere in the cellar, that's all I could see."
"Great, that's great Josh." Blair smiled reassuringly at Josh, but the boy looked scared stiff.
"Blair, no one knows we're gone or where we are. We don't even know. How are they gonna find us. My dad will think I left and went home. Oh man, supposed he calls my mom?" Josh's voice had gotten more and more frantic.
Blair grabbed him and gave him a hard shake. "Hey, take it easy. Jim will know I'm gone by now. He'll find us."
"How? How is he going to find us?" Josh leaned forward and pushed his face against Blair's chest. "Blair, I really don't want to be here."
Blair heard the tears in Josh's voice and he moved closer to put his arms the boy. "Hey. I'm telling you, Jim will find us. He always does. I mean this isn't new. I'm always getting lost man and Jim always finds me. Trust me, it will be okay. Look, let's check the room and see if there is anything we can use to break out of here. Go slow and check everything." Josh wiped his eyes on his shirt sleeve and took a deep breath, stepping away from Blair. "Okay."
Blair watched him walk slowly to the opposite side of the room and start his search. Blair closed his eyes for a minute and whispered softly, "Okay Jim, please be looking for me. It's happened again man."
Go on to Friday
Hope you enjoyed it. All feedback is greatly appreciated, just remember to be kind!