"I can't believe this!" Chris Larabee growled for the fifteenth time."I just
can't believe this."
"I'm Sorry, Pard." Buck said quietly staring down at his sling. Larabee whipped
around to glare at him.
"You Should be! Do you have any idea what you've done?" The blond snarled
at him. "We've barely gotten this thing off the ground, Barely started! We
don't even have a full team yet and you have to pull this! Buck I warned
you. I warned you!" Chris Larabee was raging. The vein in his forehead was
throbbing, never a good sign.
"I'm Sorry." Buck found himself cringing against memories of a darker time.
He closed his eyes waiting for a blow. Instead a gentle hand placed itself
on his un-wounded shoulder.
"That was back then and will never happen again, Buck. I'm sorry too. I shouldn't
take my anger out on you. Shouldn't have then, shouldn't have now. This is
rough, but we'll get through it." Chris said gently. It took a moment for
Buck to open his eyes. "I'm Sorry." Chris said again.
"Me too," Buck replied. Both of them knew that they weren't talking about
the current situation which was bad, but the past which had nearly destroyed
them both. Chris sat down next to him, his black suit rumpled and covered
with dust from where he had been crawling under the old conference table
upstairs trying to hook up the new computer system.
Barely active three months, the new RMETF Seven was just getting on it's
feet. The four very different men who made up the team balanced each other
fairly well, but it was obvious that there were gaps needing to be filled.
They were weak in Computer technology, needed a shooter, and most of all
they needed an Undercover agent. Buck was believable as a bully boy or hired
muscle, but not as the man 'in the cat-bird seat'. Larabee was believable
as a militia leader but he wasn't 'smooth' enough to pull of most of the
high-level impersonations that would break better cases. After the short
three months the RMETF was still stalled, searching for the agents to fill
those positions. Now it looked like they'd be losing an agent before they
even got really started.
Flashing a worried look at his best friend, Buck Wilmington considered his
options. This whole mess was his fault. It was true that he loved women,
lots and lots of women, but he'd never made one feel uncomfortable... until
now. Madeline Sorensen was an attractive woman. He'd made the usual overtures,
which had been enthusiastically accepted. She'd actually pushed for more
and when he didn't want to go that fast, she'd reported him for Sexual
He'd tried to talk to her but that only seemed to make matters worse. Now
Judge Travis, SSAC Williams, Alex Welch, the RMETF Coordinator, and a high
priced Lady Civil Rights attorney were deciding his future with the ATF.
Williams was a good guy, pretty fair, surprisingly. Travis was a hard case
but fond of him, at least he thought so...Alex knew that Chris needed him
to keep on an even keel right now, but that attorney? He didn't know what
She was something else, Wilmington decided. Tall, with gorgeous red hair,
and a face that belonged on the cover of a Fashion magazine, the woman was
also disturbingly intelligent. She'd interviewed him in the 'case' preliminaries.
He hadn't run into that sharp a mind in a while. The attorney was about Josiah's
age, with more than 30 years of practicing Law under her belt, but Buck found
her still youthful appearance both attractive and disturbing.
Along with the woman had come her team of specialist assistants and younger
lawyers. They were a strange bunch. One very Irish Catholic woman little
more than a girl to Buck's eye, currently praying her rosary in silence,
waiting for further instructions from the 'Boss'. One very Native American
Male, hair longer than most women had, who was one of the most complete law
libraries around, carrying it all in his memory. One very Hindu woman who
typed on a laptop blissfully content while members of the Federal building
staff stared at her large nose-earring combination. One assistant on the
phone long distance from Washington state, who interspersed his comments
with warnings that he'd be late for his church choir practice. One white
male who would look more in place at a 'Grunge' Concert. Buck shook his head.
This was getting him nowhere. Somehow Maddie had gotten herself some very
high priced help.
Chris was watching them too, out of the corner of his eye. So too were a
number of Federal employees who seem to have found all number of excuses
to linger in the usually civilian Judicial Floor. Buck was afraid that they
might say something to upset the strange group. In his admittedly small
experience, irritating Civil Rights lawyers was a huge mistake, especially
if you were "Law Enforcement" and accused of being in the wrong.
Buck knew that he would never knowingly do anything to make a woman
uncomfortable, but was what they were saying about him correct? Was he the
kind of man Maddie said he was?... Had Chris been right to worry about his
'Dating' problems?... He turned to look at Larabee, the cast on his injured
arm making the motion a little painful. Chris gave him a tight comforting
smile. It was forced, but Buck could sense the sincerity behind the expression.
The two men had been trying so very hard to reconnect. For years they had
been the closest of friends, almost brothers. When Larabee had married, Buck
had been on top of the world. They were his family too as far as he was
concerned. Then the car-bombing that had changed everything. After Sarah
and Adam died, Buck had tried so hard to keep Chris from self destructing.
Finally he'd been pushed away as Larabee continued his downward spiral. Buck
had been sure that that was the end, that Chris would get himself killed...
Suddenly out of the blue, three months ago, Chris showed up at his precinct
in Denver and offered him a job with this special division of ATF. It had
been too incredible to be true. Apparently it was. Barely three months and
here he was destroying it. They'd kick him out because of Maddie and wreck
all the things Chris was trying to build. It was all his fault!
As if reading his mind, Chris gripped Buck's shoulder gently but firmly.
This man was his brother, they'd made it through Hell, they'd make it through
this. Maybe if ATF had to dump Buck, Wiley Redd could come up with a solution.
He knew Buck well, had been in charge of an unruly bunch of Navy SEALs and
was familiar with both of them and their problems. Maybe Wiley could help
them?... Chris thought about calling the Senator and seeing what his take
on the situation would be. He could tell that Buck was sinking into depression.
This had been a lousy couple of weeks.
Nathan Jackson, the team's new medic and Josiah Sanchez, the team profiler
were both finishing up their training at Shackelton. They'd packed up everything
they had in Kansas City before they'd left for training. Once the training
was done, they'd be driving up to settle in Denver. Would there be anything
for them to come to? He and Buck had worked with both men on a couple of
cases in the South and were slowly becoming a team. Would they lose the chance
now? Chris wasn't about to give up on them now!
Both men were deep in their thoughts when the door to Judge Travis's chambers
opened and the Judge, SSAC Williams, Alex Welch, and the Lady Attorney came
out. The woman looked at them with a slightly satisfied expression. Her yellow
linen suit stood out among the stodgy greys, browns and blacks around them.
She seemed very satisfied making Chris very uneasy.
"Larabee." Travis said.
"Sir?" Chris jumped up, favoring the woman with a frown.
"We have a few more things to wrap up here. Why don't you take Wilmington
up to your office? We'll be up in a little."
"Yes, sir." Chris said giving the Judge a look that plainly said that he'd
be fighting any decision that parted Buck from the Team.
Buck let Chris lead him back to the office. He looked around the bull pen
and sighed. It had been so exciting to see this thing getting started. This
team, this idea that had brought Chris Larabee back from the brink. He'd
been so thrilled to be a part of it. Now it was over.
He didn't want to wait, to have it drag out. Buck started looking for a box.
"Hey, It isn't over yet." Chris's voice shook him. Larabee grabbed him. "Buck,
Don't give up on this."
"It'd be better, Chris. I don't want to sink the ship."
"Buck, you didn't give up on me. Don't give up on this. It isn't anywhere
near over." Larabee hissed.
Wilmington just shrugged. It was over, even if Chris wouldn't admit it. He
started shoving odds and ends into the box at random.
"Packing, Agent Wilmington?" The soft voice surprised both Agents. Standing
in the doorway to RMETF Seven's offices was the Lady attorney.
"Thought I'd get it over with." Wilmington mumbled, for once the thought
of looking at a pretty woman didn't interest him.
"Whatever for?" She asked causing both Agents to look at her in some confusion.
"Agent Wilmington. You have not lost your job and if anyone tells you that
you have I will be most put out. I did not come all the way from Seattle
just to have my work undone."
"I thought...Weren't you...? Didn't you come to represent Maddie?" Buck was
"No, I was not here to represent Ms. Sorensen. The only way I'd represent
her is if she were under a psycho-therapist's care."
"Huh?" Buck blurted.
"Agent Wilmington. You are not the first Agent that Ms. Sorensen has pulled
this little con on. The Director in Seattle fired her with extreme disgust
after she tied his entire office up with her games. Imagine his surprise
and mine when she turned up working for the Federal Government here in Denver
as if nothing had happened. I was the attorney for the last victim of her
mind-games. You really need to get a better screening process in place."
"You mean I'm not fired?" Buck's jaw dropped. "I can stay?"
"As long as Agent Larabee wants you to, I imagine."
"You weren't here to represent Maddie's civil rights?" Buck asked still unable
to understand this sudden change of situation.
"Not her Civil rights, Yours Agent Wilmington." The lady smiled, shaking
her head making her silver earrings jingle.
"We're almost finished with the paperwork, Dorrie. Is there anything that
you'd like to add?" SSAC Williams stuck his head in through the door. She
looked back at him with amusement.
"Have Jonathan look them over and I'll see what we need to add. I need to
speak to these two Agents for a moment." She smiled again at both men. "There
are a few things that I'd like to ask them."
"Okay, Jonathan is the Grunge fan?"
"No Jonathan is the Native-American. Blake is the Grunge-fan." Dorrie laughed
softly. "Rosemary is the redhead, Parvati has the interesting taste in Jewelry,
Jacob's the one on the phone. It takes a while, Eric, to keep them all straight
if you aren't used to working with us. Area Director Gwynn has the names
and numbers of all of the people in my firm on a piece of paper glued to
his monitor. They had to replace the monitor a few months back and he went
crazy calling until he rebuilt the list. I've started to have Jacob fax a
new list over once a month or anytime there are any changes. Saves trouble
in the long run."
Williams chortled and left.
"You do a lot of work with the Federal Government? Isn't that unusual for
a Civil Rights attorney?" Chris asked. He was still stunned by the turn this
had taken. Larabee had been expecting a long hard fight for his oldest friend
to stay on the team.
"You protect the People's safety, Agent Larabee. We protect the People's
liberties. Many on both sides would like it to be war between us, but for
us to function we need to be Allies. That alliance is often strained but
it's part of what makes our Nation work. Without either of us, we're all
in the soup."
"Speaking of Soup. There isn't anyway for me to thank you for pulling me
out of it." Buck began.
"It was the right thing to do, Agent Wilmington." Dorrie looked at him seriously.
"I support Wiley's Initiative. There are too many so-called Cold cases, too
many people who are not getting answers. It takes a strong and unusual team
of Law Enforcement Officers to get the job done. The type of people who won't
let go of a case unless they've explored every possibility, and even if they
can't solve it keep it in mind so that maybe the next person in line can.
The cases you'll be working in this RMETF will have a lot of Civil Rights
overtones. The cases most often buried are the ones that can't be gotten
cleanly, damaged evidence, incorrect procedures, personal vendettas. I don't
know whether to envy you or to worry about you."
"Both, probably." Larabee said. "But there is one thing that Buck and I can
do to begin to pay you back for stepping in and helping us. Can we take you
and your team out to Lunch?"
"That's very kind, Agent Larabee, but it's a little impractical."
"It's the least that we can do, Ma'am." Buck said.
"I may not keep many of the Laws, but I do keep Kosher. Parvati eats only
vegetarian, Jonathan and Blake are both carnivores and Rosemary is fond of
ethnic food. It's very hard to find a place to satisfy us all."
"Well, that's a tall order, but around here we're good with Tall orders."
Buck replied, giving her a smile.
"There's a Kosher Deli over a block and Inez orders from them all the time
for Agent Goldman. She also makes a pretty mean vegetarian plate. If you
don't mind going to a bar, we've got it covered." Chris said. He was intrigued
by this strange group and wanted to know more, especially how they came to
save Buck's ass.
"That's very acceptable to me. I'll round up the others and check with Jonathan.
Those papers should be filed before we leave this afternoon."
"You just came to Denver for the day? Because of this case?" Buck was floored.
A quick look at Chris showed that Larabee was as astonished as he was. The
idea of dragging five people from Washington State to Colorado for a single
afternoon was almost incomprehensible.
"Of Course, it doesn't matter where the need is, you go to it." Dorrie grinned.
"Even if it's only for an afternoon."
+ + + + + + +
Inez was prepping for the lunch crowd. Stacy and Alvin, the serving staff,
were washing down the tables and setting up the condiments.
"Buenos Tardes, Senor Larabee, Senor Wilmington, What will you have?" Inez
Recillios said, expecting Stacy or Alvin to handle the other people who'd
walked into J.Watson's.
"We'd like a booth. Inez, we're having a celebration," Buck said. He chuckled
at Inez's confused expression. "These folks are with us. This lady really
saved my bacon today. Inez meet Dorrie... I don't think that we were ever
Dorrie laughed, a silvery little laugh. "We weren't. Senorita Recillios it's
nice to meet you. I'm Dorcas Sandburg-Greenwalt. These are my team. Parvati
Rhandashu, Rosemary O'Leary, Blake Fawcett, and Jonathan Littleman."
"It's very nice to meet you, Senora Sandburg-Greenwalt." Inez liked the tall
"Dorrie, Please. All of that Hyphenation makes me think of my Brother's
law-firm." Dorrie laughed again. "I go for Character, he goes for Hyphens."
The members of her team laughed. "I hope that our various dietary restrictions
are not going to cause you difficulties, Senorita Recillios."
"If it's Dorrie, then it's Inez". Inez responded holding out her hand. Dorrie
took it. "No difficulties. None at all." The pretty Latina walked over to
the counter. She brought several of J.Watson's menus and a folded white paper
with green printing on it. "Senior Goldman has the same problem. He likes
to come and celebrate with the others when a case is successful, but he does
not wish to break his sacred law. The Gimel Deli is a nice place and Leah
is a wonderful cook. You just tell Alvin what you'd like and I'll have him
run and get it. Now, is it okay for the others to have beef around you, Senora
"If they wish to. I can only keep to my own beliefs and not demand it of
anyone else," the little Hindu woman demurred.
Soon the dietary difficulties were straightened out. J.Watson's was filling
up but the corner booth that they were eating at was close enough to the
action, but far enough to be semi-private. A group of Agents from the FBI
was in the next booth over. One of them started up the Jukebox in the corner
and Rosemary, Jonathan, and Blake got up to dance. Rosemary was dancing in
a graceful elevated fashion, holding her body stiff with arms to the side,
but her legs and feet were going a mile a minute. Jonathan was up and down
yet somehow his dancing and Rosemary's seemed to mesh. Blake was swinging
with one of the younger ladies from DEA. All in all, it was quite a comfortable
"Rosemary is the regional champion in Irish Step Dancing. Jonathan is one
of the best in both Hoop and Fancy Dance. They are total opposites, but somehow
it works." Dorrie said, watching Chris watch her team. Buck was talking to
Parvati about some person they both knew. Larabee grinned sheepishly.
"On the surface it shouldn't. You seem to have a lot of differing points
of view," Chris said, but they both knew it was a question.
"Most of the people in my firm are highly educated, frequently 'church-going',
and very ethically minded individuals. However those differing Creeds, ethics,
ethnic backgrounds... they do sometimes cause problems. There are more people
in our office than I brought for this, so you haven't seen everything." She
laughed. "Nowhere near everything. I won't say that we don't have our occasional
arguments, but respect for each other is the glue that keeps the firm going.
It took a good five years to get us moving in a smooth fashion, but now that
we are...Well let's just say that there aren't too many things that stand
in our way."
"I can imagine," Chris said dryly. "How did you get it to work?"
Before Dorrie could answer, a man leaned over from the FBI booth.
"Dorrie? Dorrie Sandburg?"
"Hello, Graham." Dorrie smiled at the interrupting Agent.
"What brings you to Denver?" Graham asked with a nod at Chris Larabee, a
token apology for interrupting. "Don't tell me. Let me guess! That sister
of yours is out protesting. Did Conner lock her up? She's probably out yelling
"I'm sure she is, Graham. Though she's not here, so I imagine Agent Conner
will have to find his amusement elsewhere. Last time I almost had his badge..."
She laughed and Chris was surprised when the Agent did too. "It's May, I'm
guessing that she's either out with Greenpeace or studying Harmonic Convergence
in Nevada. But knowing my sister it could be anything. And frequently is."
"Probably causing the local Law Enforcement a massive headache."
"Perhaps not as much right now. My nephew is rooming with a Detective back
in Washington, so she's being a little circumspect."
"Hanging out with a Cop? A, and I quote, "Jack-booted moronic incompetent
member of the American Gestapo"?"
"Not only that. From what I've been told, the man is former Military."
"Damn, I would have thought she'd go up like rocket fuel!"
"Currently she's processing. I've always thought my nephew had a little too
much need for justice to let his mother's prejudices blind him forever.
Personally I think he'd make a good policeman, but I have no doubt that that
would give my sister heart failure. It would have to be a pretty strong call
for him to forsake all the things she's taught him."
"Do you want him to be a Cop?" Chris asked. He was becoming more and more
confused by the situation.
"I want him to be whatever he was created to be. He's a great young man,
but he's let my sister's view of the world dictate to him for far too long.
Don't get me wrong. There's a need for views like my sister's, but that doesn't
mean it's the only acceptable view. Each person in the world has to find
their own stand, their own ethos. What is right for one isn't necessarily
right for the next person."
"You mean true?"
"Truth is unchanging, but what aspect of that truth we individually serve
changes both us and the lives around us. There is in fact Truth, Goodness,
and Beauty..." She looked at him seriously. "Each person decides for themselves
what is right, but each person needs to have respect for the rest of the
world and their choices."
"Isn't that kind of an odd way of thinking for a Civil Rights attorney?"
"It's the way I think. I've been finding truth, balancing compromises, and
punishing those who forget 'equal under the law' for longer than you've been
around, Agent Larabee. I started helping my father when I was seven years
old. By the time I had my Bat Mitzvah, I was an old hand at disputes. But
then again, I was one of ten very strong minded and differently minded children."
"That's a large family." Chris said reminded of Nathan Jackson's family.
Their Medic came from a large and very intelligent family, yet the man seemed
unable to give in to compromise.
Dorrie laughed. "It is. My parents were unable to have children so they adopted
orphans from Europe. My twin sister, myself, and one brother were born in
Amsterdam and were fortunate to be rescued by them. Our birth parents were
killed for the crime of being Jewish. My sister was very seriously ill back
then, and was more safely sheltered, so she does not remember any of that
time. Unfortunately, she didn't see what the real Gestapo was capable of."
Dorrie grimaced in pain. "That's why she throws those words out so easily.
It does bother me, far more than she understands, but I can't convince her
of the difference. Since we were hidden in different places with different
families so much of what I experienced she did not. I saw enough of the Evil
out there to set me on the course of justice early on. However, my sister
found herself on the wrong side of an opinionated police officer in the early
Sixties. That set her mind in stone. She's been protesting that officer ever
since...With varying results. To be truthful, she's as intelligent as the
rest of our family, but she finds the most wild things to become intense
about. Her dislike of the Police has done her little good, but all in all,
she's done an awful lot of good for others, but just not in a textbook way."
The Lady Attorney had a very pensive look on her face.
"Not textbook." Chris said, a little overwhelmed. He tried to get the
conversation back on safer ground. "That's the description of this team so
far. Travis has been on my case about the 'oddballs' that I've been choosing.
Buck and I work well, he keeps me on an even keel. I have a massive temper.
Buck's fond of women as you know from the case, Nathan is a bit of a prig,
and I'm guessing that Sanchez is probably weirder than your sister in the
causes that he champions...It's going to be hard keeping all of them on track,
but I don't even have a full team yet. I can't imagine how wild it's going
to get depending on who the others are."
"Orrin said that you'd been having some problems choosing."
"You know Judge Travis well?" Chris asked startled by the use of the Judge's
"Orrin and Evie are very old and dear friends. They flew out to Seattle when
my husband Michael was murdered, I came to Denver when their son Stephen
was. We've been close for years, but lately it seems like we only see each
other for funerals or cases." Dorrie said wistfully.
Recognizing her pain as it echoed his own loss, Chris was uncertain how to
redirect the conversation. Any need to do so was taken out of his hand when
Agent Baker began hassling Jonathan Littleman. Before he or Buck could do
more than get out of the booth, Dorrie was across the room and in Baker's
face. She didn't raise her voice but whatever she said to him made him first
red in the face and then pale. The other Agents in the room had been ready
to back her play, Larabee noticed, whether that was because she was a woman
or because they all disliked Baker he couldn't be sure.
Dorrie straightened the creases in her yellow suit and came back to the booth.
"Interesting man." She said her earrings jangling.
"Ma'am that's one word for him." Buck said. He'd been ready to take Baker
apart. He didn't like the man at all and threatening Littleman, who was just
a 'kid' in Buck's estimation, was the act of a bully or a coward. Wilmington
couldn't stand either kind.
"Believe it or not, he's one of the ones they want me to have on my team.
Undercover agent." Chris said with irritation.
"Not him, Pard, not him." Buck pleaded.
"Yes him, They say I need to make allowances for 'Artistic temperament' in
an undercover Agent."
Dorrie scrutinized the Agent who was now being shown the door by Inez.
"Allowances, yes. Not Excuses. That one shouldn't be an Agent."
"Powerful relations. I've already had the lecture about shaking hands with
"You need to make your own choices, Agent Larabee."
"Chris. Please, Chris." Chris asked. "I will make my own choices, but it's
getting increasingly hard to avoid the power brokers. I told you that Travis
wasn't pleased with my collection of 'oddballs'. He wants some textbook agents
on this. Something that he can show off a little with."
"Orrin does have some political aspirations, Chris. However, the difference
between an 'oddball' and an incompetent is very much of concern to him."
"Appearances count apparently." Chris said. This had been weighing on his
mind for the last couple of months.
Dorrie frowned. "Someone I'm acquainted with once told me that 'Appearances
are everything'. Nothing else seemed to matter, but the truth is that Appearances
are everything, and always deceptive. We only show the world what we think
we want the world to see, not the reality. For this to work, you need the
reality, not the appearance of reality. If you'd like I'll have a talk with
"That's okay. I still have final say as to who is on this team. I've got
a lot of applicants and a lot of suggested Agents to check out." Chris paused.
"I do have a couple of questions. How did you find out about Buck's situation?
Did Travis call you in?"
"No, Travis didn't. Alex Welch mentioned it when he asked about the advocate
assigned to the Pacific coast RMETF."
"You know Alex too?" Buck asked curiously. This woman seemed to know everybody.
"We've traveled in the same circles. Most people talk about doing things
or vote to do things, there is only a small group who are actually Doing
things. The advocate for the Pacific team wasn't working out but the team
leader, Agent Fiarotta doesn't like me, so I'm not able to help them. I was
able to find a replacement that Fiarotta was willing to accept, but it took
Wiley Redd's involvement to get the man to accept any Civil Rights review
at all. Had to look all the way down to Mississippi to find someone compatible.
" She sighed. "Fiarotta's a hard man to deal with. A little too arrogant
for the Northwest if you ask me. However, dealing with Militias should knock
some of that chip off. You don't last long if you aren't flexible."
Chris listened to her carefully. He got the idea that there was a lot more
that she didn't say. "So the attorney for Team Nine... He lives in Mississippi,
or did he move?"
"She still lives in Mississippi. Unfortunately, Fiarotta opted for the once
a year review by Civil Rights. It doesn't actually help a team like yours
avoid violations that will destroy cases if you only have an annual review.
Fiarotta won't utilize his resources at all well. Why?"
"I was wondering." Chris said slowly. "You don't have a RMETF that you're
"No, none of the other leaders were interested in an 'oddball' like me. Chris,
what are you asking?"
"We need an external Civil Rights reviewer. Since we aren't a full team yet
and haven't done much in the way of actual cases, it hasn't really been an
issue. I want someone we can work with, but someone who will stand their
ground. I think you're the right firm to deal with."
"The firm? That could get very interesting, even once a year." Dorrie mused
with a slight grin on her face.
"I wouldn't want once a year. I think that we're talking review with each
case. I don't want to lose cases because of an error. I can't avoid them
all, but I want someone to help us avoid as many as we can. It seems like
it would take a whole lot of people to do that. A firm."
"Well, I know we'd be interested. It might cause you some headaches. My people
are very stubborn and opinionated."
"So are mine." Chris laughed, thinking of Nathan Jackson. "So are mine."
"Why don't we go back to the Federal building and run this past Orrin first,
before we get ahead of ourselves?"
"I think he's available. I thought he said we'd be all day because of the
case." Chris frowned in concentration. "I'd guess he'll try to leave early
since you finished so quickly. He likes to spend afternoons that he has off
with his grandson, Billy."
"Well, I think we're all finished." She turned to the Hindu lady. "Parvati,
do you want to stay here or come back to the building with me? Our ride won't
be coming for another two hours. I'm guessing that the younger set would
like to dance a little more." Dorrie smiled watching Blake walk his fifth
partner to her seat. Jonathan and Rosemary were still at it, but that didn't
surprise her. The stamina required to be champions in their varied competitions
led to long endurance whenever they got up to dance. Since she didn't have
anything that required them, she'd let them play. Besides it would annoy
Roger O'Leary no end when he heard about it... That could only be a good
"I'll stay here. It's just across the street and I can watch over the 'stuff'"
Parvati teased in reply, seeming very much at ease with her 'boss'. "We will
meet you in front of the Federal building in an hour and a half. Precisely."
Chris raised an eyebrow, Buck smirked but Dorrie seemed unconcerned by it.
+ + + + + + +
Travis was thrilled that Chris had chosen the Sandburg-Greenwalt firm. Dorrie
was indeed a close friend and he reminded her that frequent review meant
that she'd be in Denver often. Evie would be very pleased and that was one
of Orrin Travis's greatest goals in life, keeping Evie pleased.
Dorrie came up with Chris and Buck to the RMETF's offices to sign and file
the papers. Deborah Rinaldi, Chris's newly assigned assistant took the forms
to type up and prepare for the signatures.
"Drat!" Dorrie exclaimed.
"What?" Chris asked in concern.
"My earring broke." She bent down to pick up the broken silver piece then
she removed the rest from her ear. "This happens in my family. My mother
loses earrings all the time." Dorrie took out the undamaged earring and looked
at both of them in the palm of her hand. "Here." She said, handing them to
"Sorry?" Chris was confused but took the earrings she held out to him.
"Family tradition. When you break an earring, you have to give it and it's
mate to the person you are talking to at the time. It's for luck."
Chris looked down at the silver earrings and realized that they were Easter
lilies. He looked at Dorrie, not willing to ask the question.
"I love flowers. Easter lilies are my favorites. I may not be a Christian,
but that doesn't mean I can't enjoy the flower." Dorrie paused."It's rather
like what we were discussing at the bar. It's not what your outward appearance
is but what's in your heart and mind. Appearance isn't everything, it's an
illusion. You have to choose the people for your team, for your life, by
what's really inside them not the package they come in or the one they want
you to see."
Chris could see Buck watching them with a grin that meant he was going to
get the ribbing of a lifetime about the earrings. He wasn't entirely sure
what to make of her. The thing was, what she was saying was true. He really
couldn't handle dealing with people who were only useful on the outside...that
only appeared useful. There was no way that he was going to choose someone
for this team by appearance alone.
Signing and filing the paperwork took almost the rest of her time. Dorrie
gave him a card with the firm's telephone number, her cell and home numbers,
an email address, and an emergency line. With the card came the stern instruction
to call her at anytime they needed anything, not just a Civil Rights review.
Chris tried to hide his grin as she lectured him like his own mother would
have. Buck was trying to smother his laughter at the sight and was failing.
"Just remember, Chris. Not appearance but what's in the mind and heart. Go
with your gut, with your instincts. You'll do well. I know it. Take care
and don't forget to call if you need anything." Dorrie said and an instant
later she was gone.
Chris set the silver earrings on his desk, right next to the framed picture
of Sarah and Adam. He stroked a finger against the glass. "Miss you." Smiling
at the thought of what Sarah would have thought of Dorrie Sandburg-Greenwalt,
Chris's mind drifted off in memories. His new assistant, Deborah Rinaldi
knocked on the open door interrupting his revery.
"Agent Larabee, Sir?" Deborah asked hesitantly. She wasn't sure she should
come in. He was staring at that picture of his family. When she took this
position, she'd been warned by just about everyone... Chris Larabee was known
for his black moods when thinking about his murdered family. Watch yourself.
"Yes, Deborah?" Chris asked. His mood was even and he was feeling at ease.
Deborah relaxed slightly.
"I've filed the paperwork. All of the numbers Mrs. Sandburg-Greenwalt gave
me are now in the roll-a-dex. Is there anything else you'd like me to do?"
"No, that's fine, Deborah."
She almost left, but somehow she couldn't without mentioning it. "Sir?"
"That kid is back again. He really wants an interview...Is there anyway you
could see him? Even if it's only to explain that he's not what you're looking
"Alright, I'll see him. I have 9:45 open, don't I? No wait, I'm not sure
I'm up to talking to a kid that early in the morning. Make it 1:30."
"Yes, Sir." Deborah brightened up. She hated to keep telling the young man
that Larabee was unavailable. It would break his heart not to get chosen
but at least Chris would see him.
"Davidson? Right?" Chris asked writing the appointment on his calendar. At
Deborah's confused look he added. "His name is Davidson?"
"No, Sir. It's Dunne. JD Dunne."
"Okay. Tomorrow at 1:30."
"I'll tell him."
"Thanks." Chris followed her out of his office and started toward the conference
room. He frowned down at his dusty suit. "Buck? Do you know where the Damn
Continues in New Beginning