Disclaimer: The Sentinel, Blair Sandburg, Jim Ellison, Simon Banks, and all other characters are property of Paramount and Pet Fly. No copyright infringement is intended, and no money has exchanged hands.

Thanks to Shelly Knepley for beta-reading.

Rating: PG13 because of language.


by Susan Monica

Jim sighed as he watched Blair pick up a piece of his bagel for the fourth time, take a little nibble and put it down again. The kid had been shooting glances at Jim off and on since they sat down for breakfast. He obviously had something on his mind, but hadn't figured a way to come out with it yet.

"Chief, do you think you're gonna finish that any time soon?"

"Huh?" Blair looked up at Jim pushing away from the table and getting to his feet.

"You've been playing with that bagel for the last 15 minutes. Any chance you're going to actually eat it before we leave?"

"Uh, no. I'm not really hungry. I'll just wrap it up for later." He got to his feet and walked over to open the cabinet drawer. Pulling out a baggie, he slipped the half eaten bagel in and sealed it. He stood by the cabinet holding the bagel and staring at it.

How am I gonna tell him? Okay, just say it Sandburg. Start with meeting Sonja and just tell him. Glancing over at Jim again, Blair gave himself a mental shake. Nope, not now. I'll tell him when we get in. I'll mention it in front of Simon, nice and matter-of- fact. I'll only have to tell it once and Simon being there will keep Jim from blowing it out of proportion. Perfect, besides Jim would be less likely to murder me in front of a witness.

Jim finished rinsing his cup in the sink and put it in the drain to dry. Grabbing a towel to dry his hands, he leaned his butt on the edge of the sink and grinned at Blair. "Okay Chief, what's her name?"

"Whose name?"

"Oh, please. Spare me. Every time you lose your appetite, there is a girl involved. So. What's her name?"

Blair could feel his face getting red. He looked up at Jim's face and blurted out, "Sonja."


"Sonja Everclaire. She took some classes with me last year. Man, Jim she is so beautiful. And smart. I mean it. This girl has everything. Blonde hair, blue eyes and legs up to here." Blair held his hands up to his neck.

Jim started laughing. "Now that's some picture you paint Chief. So what's wrong with her? She into some weird witchcraft, or practice voodoo? No, no, let me guess, She has a prison record. With your track record, it's got to be something."

"Very funny. Man you are so cold. There is nothing wrong with her. She just has good taste in men."

Jim rolled his eyes and burst out laughing.

"Hey, hey. Don't go there man. Besides I've got a date with her later today. You don't need me to stay late do you?"

"Oh God, I know this woman is trouble. Okay, okay.We have a meeting with Steele and Simon this morning. Simon told me last night Steele has had someone checking out the pub for the last few days. Maybe we can work through the person he has in there."

Jim walked over and put his hands on Blair's shoulders to turn him around. Pushing him gently towards the door, he pulled his jacket from the hook and tossed Blair his own jacket. He grabbed his keys from the basket and opened the door. "You ready? Don't forget your keys."

"Yes mother." Blair grabbed his keys and backpack and ducked the blow aimed at his head and made for the elevator.

"Smart ass," Jim muttered to himself as he pulled the door shut and followed his partner.
Simon Banks glanced up from the file he was reading at the loud voices he heard outside his office door. Marcus Steele was standing next to Rhonda's desk towering over a young teenage boy. Simon couldn't hear what he was yelling about, but he looked like he was furious with the kid.

"Oh shit, what now Steele?" Simon muttered softly as he got up from his desk and walked out to the bullpen.

"Steele! Can I have a moment of your time?" Raising he eyebrows, Simon stepped back into his office and stared at Marcus.

Marcus looked up at Simon and ran a hand through his close-cropped hair. He took a deep breath and let it out. Putting a hand on the boy's shoulder, he turned him and steered him into Simon's office.

Simon watched them pass by him and gently closed the door behind them.

"Uh, a little problem Steele?"

"No, Captain. I'd like to introduce you to my son, Joshua. Josh, Captain Simon Banks.

"Pleased to meet you sir. "The youth stepped close to Simon and extended his hand.

Simon threw a quick look at Marcus, "Your son." He shook the boy's hand and smiled. "Nice to meet you, young man." Simon realized he should have seen the relationship sooner. The boy was shorter than Steele and slight with dark curly hair, but he had the same blue eyes of his father and there was a hint of his father's strong jaw line. He was a good-looking boy, with an air of innocence about him.

Simon walked back to his desk and sat down. "I didn't know your family was here in Cascade, Steele."

"Neither did I. My son is supposed to be in San Diego. Now I find out he just transferred into Rainier University!" Marcus turned to glare at his son with this last sentence.

Before Josh could answer there was a tap on the door and Jim and Blair walked into the office. "Uh, are we interrupting? You wanted to see us this morning Captain?"

"Yes, come in, come in. Jim, Blair this is Joshua Steele, Marcus's son. Josh, Detective James Ellison, and Blair Sandburg. Blair teaches at Rainier, Josh."

"Hello." Jim was studying the slender youth greeting him when Blair stepped forward and grabbed his hand and shook it. "Hey, cool man. When did you transfer in?"

"Last week. I'm in an accelerated class in my high school and I can transfer into Rainier University and take college courses during the summer.They count as college credits, so when I graduate, high school I mean, I can start Rainier as a sophomore." Blair was grinning at the kid as he finished his explanation without so much as taking a breath.

"NO!" Marcus slapped his hand on Simon's desk. "You're only sixteen, what the hell is your mother thinking of. I told you, you are not transferring into Rainier now. Sweet Christ! We're in the middle of a murder investigation and you're going to waltz into this school. No way!"

"But Dad."

"No! That's it, there is no way I am going to let you do this."

Josh turned to face his father, his body quivering with anger.

"But Mom already signed the papers! She said I could live with you for the term. She sent you a letter and …"

"No buts, I told you. The answer is no."

"Shit. This isn't fair. I worked so freakin hard to get this, to be with you. I'm not going back!" Josh stood facing his father defiantly.

Simon sat watching the exchange in silence thinking how closely this resembled some of his own battles with his child. His son, Daryl, was a typical teenager with an attitude, and it had worsened with Simon's divorce. He was still trying to stay close to his child and it was damned hard work.

Jim looked up and saw the bullpen had gotten decidedly quieter since war had broken out in the Captain's office. He leaned over and closed the blinds, trying to put an end to the show. Jim flashed back to his own teen years. His father had been a domineering parent, who felt he knew what was right for his sons, whether they liked it or not. This clash between father and son was all too familiar.

"What didyousaytome?" Marcus seemed to grow bigger with each word. Joshua backed up and bumped into Blair. When he turned, Blair saw him trying to clench his jaw and keep the tears that were clouding his eyes from falling.

Blair interrupted, trying to defuse the situation. "Listen Detective, Rainier is a great University. I know that there are some problems right now, but there are a lot of great kids going to school here. He really would be perfectly safe."

"Sandburg, are you insane? Do you think I want my kid anywhere near this situation?"

Simon decided it was time to calm things down. "Look Steele, maybe you should take your son and get him settled right now."

"I'm sorry, I think you're right Captain. Josh, we'll talk about this later." With that Steele started to usher his son out of the office. "I'm sorry Captain, if I could have an hour downtime?"

Simon motioned him away as he started unwrapping one of his cigars. Josh threw a brief smile at Blair and mouthed thanks as his father walked out with him.

"Kids. Don't you just love it?" Simon grinned at Jim as he sat back and lit his cigar.
An hour later, Steele returned and walked into Simon's office carrying a manila envelope and some photos. He was reading a piece of paper attached to the envelope.

"I haven't seen all of the photos yet, but it says here most of them are students." He handed them to Simon then pulled up a chair next to Jim.

"We managed to get some shots of people Buddy had on his list.Almost all of these were taken in the Pub. We have been shadowing them since he disappeared, but we can't place this guy. A guy by the name of …." Marcus reached over and took one of the pictures Simon was handing him. He passed it over to Jim. Blair leaned over Jim's shoulder to see the picture and almost fell over. "Ritchie Branis!"

"Right, Ritchie Branis. Hey, how the hell did you know that?" Marcus swung around to stare at Blair.

Jim could hear Blair's heart racing. He turned and raised an eyebrow questioningly at his partner.

"Well I'd like to know how the hell you got into these photos, Sandburg!"

Simon slapped the offending pictures down in front of Jim.

Black and white photos of Blair seated at a small table with several other people, with a girl smiling up into his face, another of her leaning across him to take a drag on a cigarette she cupped with her hand, other photos of Branis talking and laughing with Blair.

"Son of a bitch! You went there didn't you. After I told you not to. Didn't you!" Jim shoved back his chair and turned to face Blair. "And you didn't think I would find out?" Blair backed away as Jim approached.

"Wait a minute, wait a minute Jim. I can explain," Blair stammered out as he tried to put more room between himself and his very pissed off partner.

"Ellison, sit your ass down in that chair. Alright, Sandburg start explaining these pictures. "Simon snapped out orders as he sat behind his desk. Marcus picked up the pictures that had fallen to the floor when Jim went ballistic. He started to hand them back to Jim, then thought better of it and slid them onto Simon's desk.

Blair started explaining his chance meeting with Sonja and Richard Branis, keeping one wary eye on his partner as he told them what he found out. He finished up with his plan to meet with them later on that evening.

Jim sat through his explanation with his teeth clenched tight, the muscles in his jaw working overtime. He turned and glared at Blair. "Sandburg, why the hell didn't you tell me this last night? Shit. I knew you were up to something with that fire. It was all a cover-up, wasn't it? We'll finish this little discussion later."

"I knew you would flip out if you smelled the pot on my clothes. I didn't know what else to do. I was going to tell you today. How did I know they were taking pictures of me?"

Simon rolled his cigar between his fingertips, staring at Jim and Blair. "Alright, alright. Both of you settle down. If they want to meet with you again, to feel you out as a potential buyer, then it looks like Blair's in it whether we like it or not."

Jim jumped up and started pacing. "No way Simon. It's too risky. He's not an undercover cop. What if something goes wrong?"

Steele nodded in agreement. "Jim's right, Captain. The kid's not a cop. Suppose he slips up? We'd have to use a wire on him and it would be risky."

Blair broke into the conversation heatedly. "Oh please, you had a cop in there and they found out. I can blend in. Hell, they already think I'm selling to the faculty."

Jim stopped pacing and faced his partner. "What? Sandburg I am going to kill you."

"Calm down, Ellison." Simon turned and growled at Blair, "What are you talking about Sandburg?"

"That's why they want to meet me tonight. They think I'm supplying the faculty at Rainier. Branis wants to make a deal with me. I'm supposed to meet him and Sonja there tonight to hammer out the details."

"Oh my God!" Jim ran his hand through his hair and started yelling at Blair.

"Sandburg, are you out of your mind? These guys are drug dealers for God's sakes. They're not fucking around!"

Steele had been listening quietly to Blair and Jim arguing. He turned and spoke to Simon. "You know Captain, this is really our first lucky break. If we don't let Blair go in we could lose the whole set up. Branis will know something is wrong and pull out."

Jim turned furiously to Simon. "No! Captain, you can't let…"

"Look, I'm sorry Jim. I don't like it either, but I really don't see a way out. The kid is supposed to meet them. Steele is right. If Blair doesn't show Branis will know something is wrong. If he has Buddy James alive, he won't let him go. He'll have to kill him to cover up. We can't take that chance. What time are you supposed to meet them Sandburg?"

"Between 6 and 6:30."

Okay.Steele, take these pictures of Blair and let your men know what's going on. Don't try to put anyone else in there. I don't want them getting nervous seeing too many new faces. Simon handed Steele the envelope with most of the pictures.

Steele took the pictures from Simon and started to leave. "Good luck kid," he said as he left.

"Simon, what are you thinking of. He won't have any backup." Jim was running his hand through his hair and pacing around Simon's office.

"He will have the best back up in the world Jim. You."

Blair walked over and put his hand on Jim's arm to stop his pacing. "Relax Big Guy. Even if you have to stand outside, you could still zero in on what they are saying. I'll be wired and I'll have my own personal wire tap going on." Blair gave him a small smile trying to eliminate some of his fears.

Jim was shaking his head. "I still don't like it. We both know you are the embodiment of Murphy's Law. Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong."

Simon leaned back in his chair and sighed. "Okay, both of you get out of here and give me some peace."

Gathering up some of the pictures, Blair pushed them into Jim's hand and started hustling him out of Simon's office.

"Buy me some lunch and we can go over all the pictures. Then you'll know who all the baddies are. I'll be perfectly safe. Stop worrying. What could go wrong?"

Simon pointed his cigar at them. "Jim, don't forget to get Sandburg back by four so Henri can wire him for sound. He and Rafe will be parked in a surveillance van down the block from the Pub by five. They'll report back as soon as the party breaks up."

Jim rolled his eyes at Simon and let himself be pushed out of the office. He turned and grabbed Blair's arm. "I think we need to discuss a little something. Let's go hit the head."
Blair was still trying to pry his arm out of Jim's grasp when he was pushed into the middle of the men's room. Jim strode across the room and checked the stalls. He turned back and started walking towards Blair.

"You went behind my back. I told you to stay clear of that Pub and you planned on going there anyway." Jim grabbed Blair by the front of his shirt. Hauling him up and backwards he pushed Blair into the wall banging his head in the process.

"Owww! No! Jim, man I swear. I didn't plan anything, it just happened. I met Sonja and…"

"Bullshit! I told you it was too dangerous, but did you listen to me?" Jim banged him against the wall again.

"Oww, Goddammit, I told you I didn't plan it!" Blair raged at him trying to break the grip Jim had on him. "Come on, listen to me!"

Just then, the men's room door opened and Joel Taggart walked in. "Hey Blair, Jim. Everything okay?" The big man stood staring at the frozen picture they presented.

Jim loosened his grip and let Blair go. Blair straightened his shirt and smiled nervously at Joel. "It's okay Joel. We were just, ..ah, clearing the air."

Jim felt a rush of heat to his cheekbones as he stared at Joel. "Yeah, Joel. We were just clearing, uh, clearing up some things.We're okay."

"Good, then I'll see you gentlemen later." He turned and left the room.

Blair had reached up and was rubbing his head where he banged it.

"Look Chief, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to hurt you. I realize I jumped to the wrong conclusion. I thought you were just being pig-headed and decided to go to the pub anyway despite what I said."…

"Can it Jim. I told you. I didn't know what was happening. One minute we were talking, the next I'm in the middle of a drug deal. I know, I know," he held up his hands to stop Jim's comment.

"I'm sorry too. I wanted to tell you, but I knew you wouldn't take it well, and from the size of the bump on my head I guess I was right. Now, how about if you really do buy me some lunch. I am sooo starving."

Jim shook his head and took a deep breath. He walked over and pulled open the door and pushed Blair out in front of him. "Tonight, we do this by the book. No screwing around. Anything doesn't look right and you bail out. Right?"

"Right. Stop worrying. I'll be fine."
Blair looked in the Volvo's mirror at his reflection and shook his head sending his auburn curls flying. He took a deep breath and felt the wire taped to his belly pull slightly. He tried not to think about the wire as he opened the Volvo's door and stepped out into the parking lot of the Pub. He carefully tried not to look at Jim's green truck as he passed it on the way into the building. Blair patted the wire under his shirt gently and said softly, ">Okay guys, I hope you're all ears cause here I come"

Pulling open the door, he stepped into the small alcove that led to the bathrooms and vending machines. He tried to focus on the room in front of him. He stepped into the room and was assailed by the noise and smoke of people grabbing a quick burger and beer. They had a band playing tonight and some kids were yelling out the lyrics to the songs.

He scanned the room and saw Sonja, Ritchie and another man sitting at a table well away from the band. Sonja spotted him and started walking towards him. He didn't have to try to look happy to see her. He just tried not to look like he was drooling.

The alcove walls were paneled in a dark wood halfway up, topped with glazed glass and a wood trim finishing it at the top.The glass had vines etched into it to give the next room an illusion of privacy.

Jim stood in front of the cigarette machine and pulled some bills out of his pants pocket. He tried to focus his eyes between the etched vines and watched as a pretty blonde came forward and latched onto Blair's arm and led him to a table where two men were seated. Oh kid, you always did have a weakness for blondes. He kept his eyes on Blair and tried to isolate their conversation from the rest of the people talking and laughing.

"Hey Baby, I was waiting forever for you." Big blue eyes looked up into his and Blair found himself breathing a little faster. Linking her arm through his, she pulled him towards the table. "Ritchie's waiting."

"Oh yeah, right." Blair reached the table as Branis and the other man stood.

"Hey man, glad you came. I want you to meet an associate of mine, Sully Gannon. Sully, Blair Sandburg."

Blair looked at him as they shook hands and had a funny tingle up his spine. He was as tall as Branis, with long, white blonde hair tied at his neck in a ponytail. His pale green eyes bulged slightly in a pale white face. When he smiled, large white teeth glistened from between thick red lips.

"Nice to meet you, Ritchie here has been telling me good things about you."

Blair could smell his aftershave from across the table. His hand was cold and damp as he shook Blair's.

Blair sat next to Sonja and wiped his hand on his pants. "Thanks, but I can't imagine what he's been telling you."

"Oh Baby don't be modest. Ritchie was telling him what a nice little business you have going on at the University."

Ritchie flagged a waitress and ordered some beers for all of them. When the girl left he leaned closer to Blair and smiled. "I really think we can do business. I can supply whatever you need and as much as you need. Nice and quiet. I can deliver it right here to the school if you want and I guarantee all of the product. Now what could be easier?" Sully was sitting there smiling as Ritchie spoke.

Man this guy gives me the creeps, smiling that shark smile Blair tried to stay focused on what Ritchie was saying to him."I wouldn't want it delivered to me at the school. I mean why take undue risks. I think we should go slow Ritchie. I mean I'm sure everything is what you say, but I'm sure you understand. I have a nice little deal going on. I have to back out slowly." Blair pushed his hair back from his face and shifted nervously on his chair.

"Sure, kid. I understand. But you don't want to go too slow, I, ah, have a lot at stake, too. You understand. It's a dicey business we're in, anything could happen." Ritchie was leaning back now, taking a sip of his beer and glancing casually over to Sully.

Blair followed his glance and tried not to look like he was going to faint.

Sully's eyes had gotten paler and his skin had a slightly wet sheen to it. He was leaning in over his beer and staring at Blair.

Oh Jim, please be hearing this conversation nice and clear. Blair smiled and said, "Oh yeah man, absolutely. I mean ..uh ..I could probably handle a couple of bags of pot. Midterms are coming, that always means a supply of ludes and uppers. How about four thousand to start?"

"Oh kid, I'm sure you can handle a little more than that. How about six?"

"Six?" Glancing at Sully again Blair found himself nodding in agreement.

"Okay, six. When do you want to do this? I need a few days…."

"Sure, let's say Friday? That's not too soon is it Blair?"

"Friday?…. Cool, yeah I can do that." Blair suddenly noticed their glasses were empty and new ones had appeared on the table. He didn't remember drinking one and realized Sonja had finished both of theirs. He picked up a glass now and took a quick sip.

"Alright!" Ritchie and Sully started to get to their feet. "I think this is gonna be a sweet little arrangement Blair. You just relax and Sonja here will keep you abreast, so to speak." With a quick kiss thrown to Sonja, they started to walk away.
Jim glanced down quickly at the hand tapping his forearm. A pretty brown haired coed was staring up at him.

"I said: Are you going to buy a pack or just stand there and think about it?"

"Huh? Oh, no, no go right ahead." He backed away from the machine-losing track of the conversation going on at the table for a few minutes. The girl smiled up at him and put her money in the vending machine and pulled the knob for a pack of Marlboro's. She reached her hand down and picked up the pack of cigarettes.

Jim glanced through the glass to see Blair and Sonja alone at the table. The girl straightened up and let her eyes wander over Jim, lingering on his broad chest.

"Where the hell? Shit." He spotted the two goons Blair had been sitting with coming through the door into the alcove where they were standing.

He grabbed the girl in front of him and pulled her into his arms.

"Wha.." Big brown eyes widened and before she could say more, he bent his head down and covered her mouth with his own. She started to try to squirm free, but he tightened his arms and pulled her harder against him, while backing her up against the vending machine. She moaned against his mouth, while one arm came up around his neck to pull his mouth harder against hers.

The two men glanced over at them as they pushed through the outer doors. Sully stopped and leered at them. He stepped a little closer and made an obscene gesture with his hand. "Yeah man, go for it." Laughing crudely, he followed Branis out the door.

Jim broke the kiss and waited for the girl to open her eyes. He gently loosened his arms and watched as she slowly blinked up at him.

"You know you really shouldn't smoke those things, you have such a sweet, soft mouth." Big brown eyes stared up into his dark blue ones.

"I'm with the…SLA." Flashing his badge too quickly for her to see what kind of a badge it was, he started talking too fast for her to really understand what he was saying. "Softer Lips Association." We have to test girls all the time. Really, and I'm happy to say you certainly passed the test. Yes ma'am."

Jim had been backing towards the door and quickly pushed it open and stepped out into the parking lot. He walked towards his truck scanning the lot for any sign of the two men.

The young coed glanced at the pack of cigarettes she still clutched in her hand and gently touched her fingers to her mouth. Tossing the pack into a nearby wastebasket she turned to walk back to her table. Licking her slightly bruised lips with her tongue she muttered, "Where the hell do I get tested again?"
Blair was leaning close to Sonja, playing with the fingers of her right hand.

"What are you doing, Blair? Sonja whispered softly.

He looked into her face, watching her blue eyes darken. He bent his head closer, seeing the little pink tongue slide slowly over her bottom lip. He touched his lips to hers and felt her tongue trace the outline of his lips. He felt a jolt into the pit of his stomach as she sucked his lower lip into her mouth and bit it. He pulled his head back startled as she giggled and planted three little kisses onto his mouth. "Oh poor baby," she crooned. "Did that hurt?"

Blair leaned in to kiss her again, when she pulled back gently. "Blair baby, I have to go."

"What? Wait, wait a minute Sonja. I need to talk to you."

She was pulling back from him, looking for her bag when she stopped and looked up at him with those incredibly blue eyes.

"Okay, how about giving me a lift home. We can ..uh talk..nice and private."

"Yesss. Let me get this. Blair glanced at the bill on the table and left money for the beers and a tip. "Listen Sonja, before we leave I need to …."

"It's okay, I'll wait right here."

Blair quickly walked away from the table, across the small dance floor to the restrooms. He slipped through the door of the Men's room and pushed open the door to both stalls. Satisfied he was alone, he stepped into one and locked the door.

He opened his shirt and grasped the tape holding the wire to his belly with one hand and covered his mouth with the other. He pulled it quickly away from his body."Ehhhhahhh!" His hand muffled his scream. He had to wait a minute to catch his breath. He pulled the wire and mike from under his shirt, rolled it up and put it into his jacket pocket.

He buttoned up his shirt and unlocked the door. Walking over to the sink, he turned on the cold water and splashed some onto his hands and face. He wiped his face and hands with some paper towels glanced at himself in the mirror. There you see, you did it, and it didn't hurt that much. Yeah,right. He patted his jacket pocket once and left the room.

Sonja came to her feet when she saw him approaching the table. He took her hand and led her through the crowded room out to the parking lot to the Volvo. He opened the door for her and then ran around to his side and got in.

"Oh Blair this car is sooo cute."

"Cute? No, uh this car is not cute Sonja, this car is a classic."

"Uh huh. Look, just take this to Conover and make a left. I'm just past the University. You know those little duplexes?

"Yeah, sure. Listen, I need to ask you something."

"Sure Baby, what?"

"How well do you know this guy Branis? I mean, Sonja this guy could be trouble. What do you know about him?"

"Ritchie? Oh Blair, I've known him forever. He really is nice and he's always so sweet."

"Look Sonja, this guy is a drug dealer. I mean did you ever think maybe he's using you to get to the other students. He's dangerous; look at that guy who was with him. He scared me."

"Oh Baby, no. Ritchie is harmless and Sully. Well, I never met him before, but he seemed ok. Ritchie likes having people like him around. He's just there to protect Ritchie. You know, Ritchie likes that sort of image."

"Sonja. These guys are dealing drugs. You could get hurt being around them. I mean, being involved with this stuff."

"But Blair honey, so are you. I mean what's the big deal. It's only pot and stuff. It's not like anything horrible. Relax; I don't understand what's the big deal. Ritchie is very reliable Blair. You're not worried are you?"

"Worried? No, I'm not worried. I mean, if you say he's okay, then he's okay."

Sonja glanced out the window. "Oh, here's my street. That's my house, the blue one, number 71."

Blair pulled in front of the duplex and turned off the car. He turned towards her and slid his arm behind her. "When can I see you again? I mean without Ritchie or anybody else around?"

Leaning against him she rested her chin on his shoulder. He didn't realize she was staring at her own reflection in the window on his side.

"Mmm, Blair that would be so nice. I can't wait to be alone with you Baby. Maybe after you meet Ritchie on Friday we could go somewhere?" She stared at her mouth in the glass as she wet her lips with her tongue.

She turned her face up to him. "Goodnight Blair. Thank you so much." She put one hand on his shoulder and slid the other to the front of his shirt and pulled his mouth to hers. He could taste beer and mints on her tongue as she gently sucked his tongue into her mouth. She slid her fingers under the buttons of his shirt and made little teasing circles on his chest.

"Mmmmm." Breaking off the kiss she looked at Blair, "Night Blair." She pulled the door handle and got out of the car. Blair sat slinking bemusedly at her a moment. She gave him a quick little wave and walked up the steps to the duplex.

"Man, oh man." He started the car and pulled into the street. He never looked back. He didn't see her smirk at her own reflection in the glass door, or hear her quiet, "You owe me big Ritchie honey," as she closed the door behind her.
Jim was sitting in the loft surfing channels, listening with one ear for the ping of the elevator outside his door. He picked up his phone and punched in the number. He tossed it on the couch in frustration when Blair's cell phone didn't pick up. "Where the hell are you, Chief?"

He almost dropped the remote when the phone rang next to him. Catching it on the second ring he answered brusquely.

"Ellison. Oh Captain. No, not yet. I knew I shouldn't have left. I should have waited and followed him." Cocking his head towards the door he said,

"I'll call you back, he's here."

He jumped up from the couch and strode over to the door. Jim grabbed the doorknob and pulled open the door just as Blair was pushing his key in.

"Hey! Where the hell have you been, and where is your freakin phone?"

Jim grabbed him as he came through the door off-balance.

"Oh shit, I forgot. The battery's dead."

Holding Blair by his upper arms he opened his senses up and did a quick once over making sure he wasn't hurt. Good. No obvious cuts or contusions. No smell of blood, but what was that stink. Jim sneezed.

"Chief, what are you wearing?"

"My clothes? – What?

"No, no the cologne."

"Hey." Blair held his jacket up to his nose and sniffed. "Old Spice, I always wear it."

"No, man it stinks. It's kind of sweet, but sharp. Wait. I've smelled it before. On that guy, the blonde sitting next to you at the table. When he left he got a little too close. Geez, he stunk."

"Oh Sully. Did he see you?"

"No I used a little diversionary tactic."

"Jim let me tell you man, you should've seen this guy smile. All teeth man, like a man-eating shark." Blair's arms were flailing around and Jim backed out of harms way. Blair dropped his jacket and keys on the couch, then turned and leaned hit butt on the back of it to finish talking to him.

"Did you hear everything? What do you think of these guys?"

"Yeah, I heard the whole thing. I don't know if Simon is going to go for giving you that much "up front" money. I wish you'd kept it down to four."

"I didn't want to chance him thinking anything was wrong, or that I couldn't deal with it. I was good though,huh? Blair was up off the sofa and almost dancing around Jim excitedly. "I mean I stayed cool. I didn't panic when Sharkman was flashing those pearly whites in my direction. I think I'm pretty good at this undercover stuff you know?"

Jim couldn't help grinning at his antics. "Yeah you were great Chief. Listen. Don't get too cocky. These guys aren't stupid, and they have a lot to lose."

"I can't figure this Sully guy though." Jim started pacing in front of Blair. "He wasn't in any of the pictures and he just seems like too much protection for a guy like Branis. I expected some small time muscle, you know a local guy."

"Yeah, that would make more sense, besides Sonja didn't know him either."

"Speaking of Sonja, I thought we agreed you would leave right after them?"

"I know man, but I figured I should stay a little longer. You know, until the coast was clear.Then she asked me to drive her home."


"And I drove her home. Jim this girl has the most amazing mouth. I mean she could make you forget your name. I'm telling you, Jim she is a really sweet girl. This Branis guy just has some kind of hold on her. She doesn't realize how involved he is in the drug trade. Sonja thinks selling pot and stuff isn't hurting anyone. I mean, she doesn't see him as the bottom feeder he is."

Jim was grinning as he turned Blair and pushed him towards the bathroom. "Down boy, it's time to head for the showers. Besides you don't know anything about this Sonja. Let me finish checking her out before you get too carried away. Look Chief, I've got to call Simon back, and then I'm turning in. Take my advice and do the same."

Cradling the phone against his ear Jim uttered his parting shot. "Oh and Blair, sweet dreams buddy."

Blair turned and headed to his bedroom smiling, "Yeah right. Sweet dreams. You just wish you had my dreams Ellison."


Go on to Thursday

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