Webmaster Note: This fic was previously posted on another website and was moved to blackraptor in July of 2004.
COPYRIGHT @OCT 1999
The smug undercover agent smiled down, arms folded across his chest, at the groveling mustached agent who was on his knees in his cubicle.
"I've been trying to get a date with Karen for two weeks now, finally she agrees to go out with me if I find a date for her girlfriend," Buck explained to the seemingly disinterested looking agent. Ezra leaned against his desk, enjoying his friend's desperate pleadings.
Tanner passed by and snickered, causing the kowtowing agent to jump to his feet throwing the sharpshooter a deadly glare to hurry him on his way.
"C'mon Ezra you owe me one," the now suddenly sedate agent reminded.
Standish arched a sandy brow in question. He now knew that Wilmington knew no bounds when it came to winning the affections of a woman. There was no depth to deep that he wouldn't sink to when it came to the opposite sex, the man was a pillar of hormones.
"Remember when I took that bullet for you two months ago," Buck prompt.
"You were only grazed, and I was thinking more in the line of a steak dinner at Rodizo."
Standish liked Buck, but to double date, and a blind date at that was asking a lot. He wasn't sure he was ready for that. He had been growing closer to the elite group of agents he found himself attached to. It took awhile for them to accept him and just as long if not longer for him to allow them past his emotional armor. Standish eyed the taller man, seeing the undisguised pleading in his brown eyes. There was only two things in life that Buck Wilmington cared greatly about; his job and women, oh and JD.
The undercover agent bowed his head in resignation and sighed. "Alright Mr. Wilmington, on one condition, that the woman I'm escorting understand this is only a one time deal." Ezra's vibrant green eyes met Buck's thankful brown ones.
"I'll take care of it Ez," Buck assured as he bounded out of the cubicle like an overeager teenager, who had just been given the keys to the car. He poked his head back around the cubicle moments later. "Thanks, Ezra." Ezra nodded and gave him the familiar salute the team used.
Standish sat back in his chair and looked at the colors, which splashed in sync on his computer screen. He hit a key ending the screen saver and bringing up the desktop. The usually standoffish agent was soon regretting his decision, but quickly shook it away. He'd hadn't been out in over a month, this was probably just what he needed. It would be fun, with no strings attached just the way he liked it. He was still trying to convince himself as he printed off the last of his report to turn into Larabee.
Buck had borrowed one of the agency's undercover sedans so that they could all travel together. He was dressed in a light white and crisply ironed dress shirt under a dark tan jacket and wearing what looked like a brand new pair of jeans. Ezra also dressed casual, donning a pair of tan khakis and a dress shirt. They were picking the women up at Karen's place. It was going onto six as the two men drove into the driveway of the modest little bungalow.
Ezra noticed Buck was almost like a kid on his first date, he could see the nervous excitement in the bigger man's mannerism, the way his fingers kept combing through his hair and how he kept flicking away imaginary dust from his clothes. He certainly wasn't this fastidious at work, or at home, as evident by his rather cluttered work space and equally cluttered abode. Ezra wondered if this was why Buck liked to date so many different women, he was addicted to the feeling of the first date. Unfortunately, this is what also kept the womanizing agent jumping from woman to woman. Ezra on the other hand hated the first date and was much more comfortable with the second or third.
Karen greeted the two agents at the door. She had long brown hair, which matched her large, brown eyes. With her high cheekbones and tall stature she could of easily become a model and Ezra could understand why Buck wanted so badly to go out with her. She wore a simple cotton dress that showed off her long torso and equally long slender legs, in a most flattering way.
"Come in gentlemen, we'll be ready in a minute," Karen flashed Buck a most lascivious smile.
"Karen this is my friend, Ezra Standish," Buck introduced. Ezra took Karen's hand and gently kissed it bringing a slight blush to her face.
"A pleasure to meet you, Darlin'," Ezra smoothly said.
"Ah..oh most certainly a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Standish," Karen stammered slightly her eyes not leaving his handsome visage until she was brought back to earth by Buck's throat clearing. She turned, giving him an abashed smile then hurried down the hallway disappearing in what Ezra assumed was the bathroom at the end of the hall.
"Hey, don't forget she's my date," Buck good-naturedly reminded the southern agent.
"Oh of course, Mr. Wilmington." Ezra smiled deviously, bringing a frown to Buck's rugged good looks.
The two men shifted uncomfortably in the small living room. Ezra noticed the small collection of romance novels and inwardly cringed. Oh well, no one's perfect he thought. He knew that Karen was intelligent, she was a computer specialist for FEMA. He just couldn't understand why someone would want to read such drivel. He hoped his date had a little bit better literary taste.
It felt like an eternity, but it had only been about ten minutes when the two women appeared in front of them. This might not be so bad after all, Ezra thought, taking in the beautiful woman who appeared before him. Karen had already situated herself comfortably under Buck's arm.
Karen introduced the woman to the two agents. "Ezra, Buck this is my girlfriend, Melody. She only moved here about a month ago,"
Standish took the young woman's hand and kissed the back of it lightly. The woman smiled, making her even more beautiful. Ezra had to swallow the slight lump in his throat. "It's wonderful to make your acquaintance." She had hair as black as night and dark almond shaped eyes which shined. Her long hair framed her soft oval face and laid straight down her back. She was wearing a spaghetti strap dress revealing smooth, soft shoulders.
"It's a pleasure to meet you Ezra," Melody replied, looking up into his emerald eyes. She wanted to dive into those sea-green eyes and drown in their depths. And his accent almost caused her to melt right there on the spot.
Ezra took her hand placing it firmly within the crook of his arm and the foursome walked out to the car the warm fall evening adding to the pleasure of the night.
Thirty minutes later they were all sitting at the Broker restaurant, enjoying the shrimp bowl and waiting to be served. Ezra was shooting daggers of hate at Buck from across the table. And Buck was trying to ignore the perturbed expression on his friend's countenance.
The ride out to the restaurant had started out pleasant enough. Ezra and his date rode in the back, she appeared nervous and distracted. He tried to start up some friendly conversation with the beautiful woman, and she would of stayed beautiful if only she had kept her mouth shut. Her beauty seemed to fade right before his eyes the longer her mouth stayed in gear.
Ezra had tried to put her at ease by asking about her family and job, this he realized to late was his first mistake. At first she seemed slow to open up. Telling him that she had come to Denver after leaving Pennsylvania to get away from a rather nasty breakup. She now worked as a clerk at a nearby JC Penneys. Then it was like the flood waters of an overflowing dam finally being released, drowning all inhabitants who happened to be next to her. Any insecurities that she had exhibited earlier were washed away.
She started talking incessantly about every detail of her life, from her awful childhood to how she was never understood as a child to her 1st crush to her many lovers and apparently there were quite a few. Standish was feeling more like a shrink than a date.
By the time they received their dinners Ezra's eyes were glazed over, he had hardly been able to get in a word edge wise. He noticed that Buck and Karen seemed to be hitting it off, which only increased his anger towards the gregarious agent. Dinner seemed to last forever even eating didn't stop her. She would take a few bites quickly chew then continue for several minutes before taking another bite. Ezra wondered how she breathe? He tried and tune her out and enjoy his steak, but she would grab his arm or touch his leg to get his attention.
Wilmington noticed that Ezra was angry and uncomfortable, something that Melody seemed to miss or just plain ignore. He was grateful that the suave undercover agent was still playing the gentleman. But he had to hand it to him, even he was getting annoyed by Melody's incessant chattering. It probably wouldn't be so bad, but the only topic she seemed able to discuss was herself. He knew he was going to pay for this big time. But when he looked into Karen's brown eyes he figured it was worth it.
Standish tried to change the subject several times and he would succeed for a short time, but inevitably Melody would manage to tie herself to the subject. Finally, the ladies excused themselves. As soon as they were out of sight, Ezra grabbed Buck by the shirt and pulled him across the table to within inches of his face.
"Get me out of this now!" he sneered.
"I'm sorry Ezra it's almost over. I won't even suggest we go out for ice cream we'll just tell them we have an early morning and drop them off at home."
This seemed to appease the riled southerner and he released his hold on Buck's shirt. They saw the women returning and Ezra took a deep breath preparing for the second half of the date from hell episode.
It was only nine o'clock when Wilmington told the girls that they had an early morning and would be dropping them off at home. Buck gave Karen a long and passionate kiss at the door while Ezra and Melody lingered by the car. He looked at Melody, who had finally stopped talking, she was beautiful and he figured with everything he had put up with he at least deserved a good night kiss.
"Oh Ezra, I had a wonderful time..." Before she could continue Ezra planted a kiss on her lips, which she returned in full. He had to gently force her away, realizing she would not stop at just a kiss and he didn't think the others being present would be that much of a deterrent.
"Thank you for an interesting evening, Miss Melody," Ezra replied pleasantly.
"Call me." Melody called back over her shoulder as she walked up the pathway towards the door, not waiting for an answer.
"When hell freezes over," he murmured, walking around to the passenger side of the car. A moment later Buck slid behind the wheel the smile on his face reaching from ear to ear.
Ezra's head was leaning against the head rest his eyes closed, trying to keep a growing headache at bay.
"Don't ever ask me for a favor again, Mr. Wilmington."
"I'm sorry Ez, really I am. I had no idea what she would be like. But thanks." Ezra opened one eye to peer over at his elated friend.
"Well, at least one of us had an enjoyable evening." A sly smile found it's way on his clean shaven visage.
"Oh yeah, she might be the one." Buck remarked, backing the sedan out onto the main street.
"The one what?"
"You know, the one I could settle down with," Buck replied. Standish closed his eye and smiled. He wouldn't bet on it.
Melody sat dreamy eyed in the living room while Karen made them both coffee.
"Isn't Ezra the most wonderful man you've ever met?" Melody mused out loud, sinking down into one of the overstuff chairs.
"He's a might bit anal if you ask me. How do you want your coffee?" Karen called out from the kitchen.
"Black," she replied, then in a quieter tone. "He's just perfect for me." She glided her fingers over her lips remembering the feel of his soft lips pressing on hers. To Melody the night had been a dream come true and it was love at first sight for both parties.
The next morning Standish sat at his terminal ready to tackle yesterday's reports when he logged in he got the familiar voice telling him he had mail. He clicked on the mail box to reveal twenty-two messages, which shocked him, the most he ever had was usually five. Then he noticed the address was one he was not familiar with. He clicked on the first message:Sender: Mad4u@juno.com
Date: 21 Sep 1999
subject: last night
Ezra I hope you had as good a time as I did last night, it was truly magical. I knew you were the one for me the minute I laid eyes on you and could tell you felt the same way. It was fate that has brought us together and together we shall remain
Ezra stared at the message unbelieving, was she even with them last night. What had he missed.
The rest of the messages were basically the same. He read two more then deleted the rest, leaning back in his chair, not sure what he should do if anything. Maybe if he just didn't acknowledge them she would get the hint.
Over the next couple days the undercover agent was bombarded with gestures of eternal love and devotion. Every morning at work would be ten to fifteen e-mails, when he got home at night his voice mail would be overflowing with litanies of love. He finally decided to acknowledge the emails.Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org.ATF.gov
Date: 24 Sep 1999
As much as you enjoyed our brief interlude I must ask that you cease your romantic trappings as I have no desire to start or continue a relationship. Please do not take offense I'm sure you will have no problem meeting someone, who will be more than happy to give you what you need.
"Hey Ez, these were left at the front desk for you," Sanchez said as he stepped into the southerner's cubicle, holding a vase of flowers and a wrapped package. Ezra just groaned and put his head on his desk.
"Whoa, you have an admirer, Ez?" JD innocently asked, taking a whiff of the fragrant flora.
"More like a fanatic," Ezra replied dryly as Josiah put the vase down on his desk, and handed Ezra the package. He carefully unwrapped the gift to reveal a beautiful wood carved frame, which held a very flattering picture of Melody inside. She had inscribed the picture, "With Love, Melody, xxx" on the bottom.
"WOW!" JD expressed, looking over Ezra's shoulder at the picture. "Who's that?" Even Josiah had to take a second look and release a calming breath.
"That, is a woman possessed," Ezra explained. "Listen my young associate, beauty isn't everything and here's the proof." Standish threw the gift into the trash can along with the flowers. What did it take to get through to this woman that he was not interested.
The young agent reached in and pulled out the beautiful frame. "Hey this is a nice frame, can I have it?"
"Sure," he absently replied, returning to his computer screen and deleting the endless love emails.
Standish was riding up to the ATF offices, actually proud that he would be on time for once, when the elevator stopped at the third floor and in stepped Callie Adams. Ezra smiled pleasantly at the young woman. He had noticed the new records clerk last week and had been trying to get up the nerve to ask her out. He never felt so apprehensive in meeting a woman as he did this one. She stood a little in front of him and he couldn't take his eyes off her. Her long blond hair dropped smoothly mid way down her back. She carried her self with confidence and the glint in her eye revealed a fun-loving demeanor. They rode quietly up in the elevator neither one knowing what to say to the other or how to make the first move.
Callie surreptitiously glanced in the shiny reflective surface of the elevator walls to see the handsome agent standing behind her. She had seen him before and was completely taken by his southern charm and good looks. She had heard he was the best undercover in the agency, he looked so confident.
As the elevator door opened the gentlemanly agent gestured with a wave of his arm and a word of French, which caused Callie to smile as she replied in kind. Ezra's green eyes lit up. That was all that was needed to break down the walls and the two started laughing and conversing in French much to the confused expressions of passer-bys.
Standish had to unfortunately break away from their fated interlude, but managed to obtain a promise to join him and his associates for cocktails at the saloon tonight. He figured it would make it easier on both of them to meet in a more social setting, less pressure. He planned on asking her out on an official date then.
Ezra entered the Team Seven's office area, late as usual, but with a spring in his step, which everyone noticed. And if they missed that they certainly couldn't miss the humming coming from their normally restrained undercover agent. Standish sat at his desk, placing his hands behind his head and thinking about the beautiful and wonderful woman he just met, putting the past few days and Melody out of his mind.
Everyone, including Ezra, was thoroughly enjoying the evening at Inez's saloon. Buck was trying to impress his colleagues with his many erotic tales as JD's quick underhanded comments had everyone rolling with laughter. The two agents were a bundle of activity and exhilaration, life boomed around them and anyone nearby risked getting caught up in their vivacity.
Callie even got into the spirit of things, surprising everyone with a few quick retorts towards the gregarious agent. The more Ezra got to know about this woman, the more he liked. She had grown up in Cleveland, Ohio and had joined the Army after high school. She was going to college at night and working to become an agent, but she enjoyed working down in the records room.
Wilmington nudged JD when he noticed how the smooth talking agent's arm had slipped around Callie's slender shoulders pulling the girl close.
Ezra liked that she maintained a proper decorum in public, but his mind went through all sorts of fantasies in private. He didn't notice the dark glaring eyes of the woman across the room. Melody couldn't believe it, she had found out from the security guard that the agents usually came here after work on Friday, so she had intended to surprise Ezra. Now she was standing not ten feet away, staring at the man she loved while he fawned over another.
"Ah, Ezra I think you have a visitor," Vin remarked, seeing the woman staring intently at him.
Standish turned his head his eyes going wide. "Awww hell," he replied as his chin dropped to his chest. The blond records clerk turned her head to see the dark-haired beauty glaring back at them.
"What is it Ezra, who is that?" Callie asked as a chill went down her spine. She didn't like the way the woman glared at her.
"No one my dear, if you'll excuse me." Ezra patted her hand and stood. He walked up to Melody, grabbing her arm and forcing her farther away from the table.
She jerked her arm from the glaring agent's grasp. "You two-timing, son-of-a-bitch, you think you can just use me then dump me like yesterday's garbage!" Melody yelled loud enough for everyone to hear, even over the jukebox music.
Ezra only groaned and looked back at Callie, seeing the shocked expression on her face, which twisted his gut into so many knots. Something good had finally come into his life and this brazen harlot was going to ruin it for him.
Wilmington saw the appalled look in Callie's face and knew what she must be thinking.
"Buck, what is going on?" Chris asked, noticing that his long time friend was intently watching the scene that was taking place in front of them. He usually made a point not to get involved in his men's personal lives, but by the looks of this woman he might have to rescind that rule.
Buck ignored his friend and boss and took Callie's hand getting her attention. "Darlin' it's not what you think." With that the mustached agent began to explain things to her; he figured it was the least he could do since he sort of got Ezra into this mess. The others also listened as Buck explained everything to Callie.
Melody continued to rant and rave at Ezra, who clenched his jaw and was only growing more and more angry. He barely heard what she was saying, only thinking that this woman was going to cost him any relationship with Callie.
Suddenly Melody's anger vanished, like someone had flicked a switch, which startled Ezra for a moment bringing him out of his despair over losing Callie. A smile formed on Melody' soft face and she lovingly took his hand gazing up into his emerald eyes.
"Ezra, my darlin' I forgive you. Let's just go some place private so we can talk things over. I'm sure we can work this out," she said sweetly, bringing her hand up to his face to stroke his cheek.
It took a moment for him to get his bearings, Melody's sudden transformation had thrown him out of sync. He pulled away from her touch and glared at the confusing woman. Everyone else at the table was also stunned by the sudden transformation that took place.
"Man, she's like some sort of Dr. Jerkyl and Mrs. Hyde," JD muttered, seeing the sudden metamorphosis.
"My dear there never was and never will be an us. It was a simple dinner date, a favor I did for a friend. I'm sorry if somehow I gave you the impression it was more," Ezra curtly explained.
Melody's open hand slapped Ezra across his handsome face. Chris and Josiah stood, prepared to protect...who? They weren't sure. Sanchez didn't think the chivalrous agent would strike a woman, but everyone had their breaking point and after hearing and seeing what this woman had done he wasn't so sure he wouldn't.
Standish took a deep cleansing breath. He couldn't understand what was happening. They had only dated the one time, she acted as if they had been intimate and close for years. Her hand came up to slap him again, but this time he was ready and grabbed her arm twisting it back down to her side. Thankfully, Chris and Josiah appeared behind him.
"A problem we can help with Brother Ezra," Josiah intoned from behind.
"Yes, please gentlemen, if you would escort this lovely lady out before I do something I'll regret or be arrested for it would be much appreciated."
Chris and Josiah each grabbed an arm and gently pulled the screaming and spitting woman towards the door. They forced her out then blocked the entrance so she could not enter.
Ezra returned to the table his head down, expecting Callie to get up and leave, he wouldn't blame her, instead she placed her hand on his arm guiding him down to his chair.
"My dear I'm dreadfully sor..." he began.
"Don't...Buck explained everything to me," Callie interjected, the smile on her face untying the knot in his stomach. JD and Vin just smiled insipidly at the two love birds. Ezra flashed grateful eyes over to Buck who grinned.
"Jeeze Buck, if I was Ezra I'd think I'd shoot you," JD stated as Chris and Josiah finally returned to the table.
"Don't give him no ideas," Buck replied, giving Ezra a sheepish grin. Callie brought a hand to her mouth to stifle a laugh at the two agents.
"Ezra, I'm sorry, Karen never told me a thing about that girl I had no idea. In fact she told me yesterday that she'd hadn't heard from Melody since our date. Karen said she gotten a little weird," Buck explained.
"Weird is an understatement, Mr. Wilmington," Ezra replied. "It's not your fault Buck, hopefully now she has gotten the hint." He gave Callie a reassuring squeeze, nothing could bring him down.
The rest of the evening passed uneventfully, except for Vin and Buck having a little to much to drink. JD grabbed Buck's keys as Chris poured Vin into the back of his truck. Josiah and Nathan both headed off in separate directions, leaving Callie and Ezra alone in the parking lot between their respected vehicles.
Callie looked up into the clear night sky and shivered slightly giving Ezra a reason to fold his arms around her. He looked into her hazel eyes neither one saying a word. His lips parted and slowly came towards her. Callie had dreamed of this moment. She closed her eyes, parting her own full lips slightly then feeling his smooth mouth press on hers and allowing his tongue to slip inside. She quivered with excitement and felt him press against her. They slowly parted both trying to control their breathing. Ezra ran his hand down her cheek. He didn't want to rush this; he wanted the relationship to blossom. Callie saw the look in his eyes and understood.
"We take it slow, okay," she whispered, running a finger down his cheek.
Ezra smiled in relief and kissed her again before helping her into her car.
The two were inseparable all weekend, attending art shows, movies and dinners together. They even surprisingly joined Chris and Mary horseback riding up at Larabee's ranch. Chris got a look at a side of his undercover agent he felt sure few people ever saw. It also surprised him that the city raised man was a superb horseman. He thought it quite a coincidence that all his agents were good riders, maybe they were all cowboys in a past life.
Everyone sensed something was different as they entered the office Monday morning. It took a second, but then they all realized what it was. The normally grumpy undercover agent, actually had a smile on his face before nine o'clock. Jackson felt the suave undercover agent's forehead checking for a fever. "Oh yeah... he's lovesick alright," he teased eliciting a good-natured scowl from the southerner.
"And there's no cure," Buck piped up from somewhere amongst the cubicles.
"Gentlemen, I assure you I am still my self same egotistical self," Ezra replied, swatting the dark agent's hand away. "If you'll excuse me, some of us have work to do."
Agent Dunne smiled at the banter while he finished installing a new program which would enable him to scan pictures and send them to FBI headquarters to get information. He wanted to test it out and remembered the picture of Melody still in the frame that Ezra had given him. He removed the picture and scanned it sending it on to FBI headquarters then went to sit in on the morning's briefing.
Ezra and Vin had decided to go out to lunch. They were going to take his jag since he refused to ride in Tanner's so-called vehicle. As Ezra neared his pride and joy he immediately saw the long scratch running from the front end all the way to the back. The whiteness showing up vividly against his black paint. Ezra frowned, knowing immediately who had done it.
"Wow, Ez, this woman really hates you," Vin stated, getting a bad feeling about this. He looked over at his friend worriedly. Standish didn't say a word, but climbed behind the wheel of his car.
Callie was day dreaming about her date with Ezra tonight as she made her way through the parking garage. They were going to spend a quiet evening together watching some old movies at her place. The squeal of tires broke her from her reverie and she turned just as a dark car came racing up behind her. It struck her flinging her over the hood and into the wall where she crumbled. The car then sped away.
Standish looked up from his computer at the sound of an ambulance siren. He stood up and walked to the nearby window looking out just in time to see the vehicle drive into the parking garage. He then turned to someone yelling and running out of the elevator. He was met with Buck's anxious face and a sick feeling grabbed his stomach.
"Ezra, it's Callie." The regret heavy in Buck's tone. Standish didn't wait for more he pushed past Buck and headed for the stairs. Buck turned to see Chris standing in his doorway and the two agents went after him.
Ezra reached the parking garage just as the medics were loading Callie into the back of the ambulance. He jumped in next to her taking her limp hand in his. He saw the splint on her right arm and gently caressed her face, pushing the hair back from her closed eyes.
The ambulance pulled out the siren echoing throughout the parking garage. The rest of the Seven ATF agents appeared as the ambulance turned into traffic. What hurt one, hurt them all. Larabee approached the uniformed officer, who was writing down some information in a notepad.
"What happened?" he calmly asked.
"Don't know for sure, someone just ran her over then took off. The only description I got was a dark blue sedan with heavily tinted windows and no license plate."
Standish was sitting in one of the waiting room chairs his face in his hands. He didn't even acknowledge when everyone came in. Sanchez stood next to him, placing a huge hand on the distraught younger agent's shoulder. No one said a word. Larabee stared at his undercover man worried about what this would do to him. Callie was the best thing that could happen to the solitary man, everyone saw that. They knew Ezra considered them friends, but Callie gave him something else, someone to truly love and care about.
An hour later a doctor finally came out, causing Ezra to finally leave his seat.
"How is she?" he asked.
"She'll be fine," the doctor assured.
The relief that flooded through him so fast caused him to waver slightly, Nathan reached out thinking he was going to have to catch him.
"She has a severe concussion, a broken arm and lots of bruises."
"Can I see her?"
"Only for a moment she's heavily sedated."
Ezra entered the darkened room, seeing the pale form of the woman he thought he could spend the rest of his life with, under the small fluorescent light. Bruises stood out on the pale skin of her face, marring her beautiful features. He gently picked up her hand and pushed back her stubborn bangs of blond hair, and then just stared into her beautiful relaxed face.
Chris had silently entered, coming up to stand behind him.
"It's my fault," Ezra softly murmured.
"How is it your fault?" Chris was worried this would happen.
"How could I of ever thought with my job, my life, I could have a meaningful relationship." Tears streamed down the distressed agent's face.
"I don't think Callie would want you blaming yourself," Larabee replied. He knew what the younger agent was feeling. He had lost his family because of his job.
"How could I put her in danger?"
"Ezra you can't live like that. Callie cares very much for you and you care very much for her."
He turned to look up at a man he had come to respect. "That obvious?"
"If I had thought the way you are, I'd of never married Sarah and had Adam. And even though I miss them terribly I wouldn't of traded the time I had with them for anything. The good memories still make me smile and were worth it, and I know she doesn't blame me. And if we had it to do all over again." Chris choked slightly at this admission. "We would."
Ezra was dumbfounded, Larabee had never confided in him before, especially about his family. Larabee clasped his shoulder and smiled.
Ezra walked into the office still wearing the same clothes he wore yesterday. He had spent the whole night and all day at Callie's side. She had regained consciousness early that morning. He saw no blame in those quiet hazel eyes. She wouldn't let him leave and he didn't want to.
"Ezra, how's Callie?" Nathan asked the weary looking agent.
"They're going to release her tomorrow."
"That's great!" Agent Dunne yelled out.
"Ezra, go home, we'll finish up here," Chris ordered seeing the deplorable condition that his agent was in.
Ezra was too tired to even argue, he gave a two finger salute and left.
An hour later everyone was preparing to close up shop. JD decided to check his email one last time. "Ah Shit!" he yelled loud enough to get everyone's attention. The young agent came running over to Chris' office, the others milling around with their coats in their hands preparing to head out to Inez's.
"Chris, I just got this back from the FBI." JD handed Chris the piece of paper. "I was testing out some new software and I used that woman's picture, you know the one that Buck talked Ezra into dating."
Wilmington moved up alongside his young friend a frown deepening the lines on his forehead.
Chris' face paled as he read the report.
"What is it, Chris?" Buck asked a sick taste coming to his mouth.
"It appears Melody is really Jenna Manley an escaped mental patient from the Pennsylvania State Mental Facility."
"Oh lord," Josiah murmured.
"She was locked up for trying to kill her ex-boyfriend and his girlfriend five years ago. Apparently she has a hard time dealing with rejection."
Chris glared at Buck, he knew it wasn't his fault, how could he of known he was setting Ezra up with a psycho.
"You don't think she had anything to do with Callie?" Nathan nervously asked.
Chris pulled out his cell phone and dialed Standish's cell number everyone swore when they heard his phone ringing from his coat pocket, which was draped over his chair in his office. Larabee then dialed his home number it rang once then the line went dead.
**** Part 7
Melody had managed to talk Ezra's apartment manager into letting her into his apartment, telling him she was Ezra's half sister and that she'd make it worth his while later. It never ceased to amaze her what she could get with just bending over and wiggling a little.
She waited silently in a closet, taking in his scent and wrapping herself in his expensive Armani suits. She smiled upon hearing the jag pull up.
Ezra entered the darken apartment throwing his keys on the nearby table. He switched on a table light and immediately headed for the shower, hoping to relieve some of the stress of the past day. When the water started Melody quietly slipped out of her hiding place and walked around the rooms. She switched off the table light throwing the living room into darkness. An outside street light bathed the front half of the room in an amber glow. She jumped when the phone rang and quickly grabbed the line, cutting it with the huge butcher knife she held in her hand.
Two trucks zoomed through the Denver streets, luckily it was late and traffic was light. Why hadn't anyone seen it? Chris' hands gripped the steering wheel so tight his knuckles were turning white. He glared at drivers who didn't move fast enough for him. His heart was beating fast and hard, and his mouth had become suddenly dry. They all should of realized after that display in the bar.
Jenna heard the shower turn off and melted into the corner of the living room where the light from outside didn't quite reach. Her heart pounded, she would soon be with her lover forever.
Ezra felt better after the hot shower. He threw on a pair of drawstring pants and a shirt, exiting the bathroom as he towel dried his brown hair. He planned on making himself a light dinner, a drink then go to bed. He wanted to be up early to go and pick Callie up at the hospital.
He kept thinking about what Chris had said, but his fear for Callie's life...It would of killed him if anything had happened to her. Could he live with this, could she? He knew how he felt about the woman, even after only a few days he knew. He didn't want to live without her, no matter what. A weight seemed to leave him as he made this decision. Chris had told him he wouldn't of traded the time he had with his wife and son for anything. And that he should let Callie make her own decision on whether she wanted to be with him or not.
Something didn't feel right. Ezra flung the towel over his shoulders, the hairs on his neck starting to prickle. His brow furrowed when he noticed that the lamp he had turned on was now off.
Melody attacked with a viciousness that startled the unaware agent she lunged at him with the knife held high, bringing it down and burying it into his shoulder. Ezra pushed away, landing on the bed. He started to roll to the other side only to feel the blade slice into his side. He threw up his fist, catching the woman in the face and sending her sprawling backwards. Ezra scrambled out into the living room half his shirt already covered in blood. Melody picked herself off the floor and spotted the gun on the nightstand.
Ezra's legs gave out and he collapsed to the floor draging himself to a far wall.
"Now darlin' is that anyway to treat the woman who loves you," Melody's sultry voice intoned.
His heart stopped as the silhouetted figure of the crazed woman appeared in the doorway of the bedroom. He saw that she now had his gun.
The SUV and pickup pulled up in front of Ezra's apartment complex. Ezra's place was on the bottom floor with an outside exit. Larabee motioned for everyone else to hold their positions as he went to the door keeping his body to the side. He knocked.
"Ezra, you in there?" He called out.
Melody's dark eyes grew angry, how dare they interfere.
Ezra was relieved, but was growing weak from blood loss. He tried to drag himself away, but froze as Melody brought the gun down into his face. She kissed two of her fingers then placed them against his lips. Then smoothly rose and took a step forward.
"NO!" The southern agent yelled as she fired twice into the door causing Chris to jump away.
"I guess she's in there," Vin remarked as the other agents jumped behind their vehicles.
Chris motioned for Josiah to try and talk to the woman. He had the most calming influence of anyone he knew. Hopefully, he could get the maniacal woman to give herself up.
Jenna heard the baritone voice through the door. "Listen Jenna, we only want to talk to you." Damn they knew who she was.
Ezra was only barely able to make out what was going on.
"Go away we don't want to be disturbed right now," she yelled out.
"We can't do that. I would like to see Ezra it's important," Josiah added.
Vin suddenly appeared at Josiah's side by the door and went to work picking the lock. The others started moving in closer keeping away from the windows. The spiritual agent decided to try another tactic.
"I know Ezra hurt you, Jenna. Why don't you come out and we'll talk about it. I know he can be a bit of a scoundrel."
"No, he loves me and we're going to be together forever."
Buck looked over at JD not liking the sound of that. Chris nodded for Josiah to open the door slowly.
Jenna brought her gun to bear on the slowly opening door, Josiah stood off to the side then cautiously peered around the corner. He could see the woman holding the gun her wild eyes matching her equally manical features.
"No one wants to hurt you," he calmly explained, putting both his hands out to show her he wasn't armed.
"Please go away," she begged. She knew if she could just have some time, she could make Ezra love her.
Josiah's heart skipped a beat when he saw Ezra on the floor behind her, a darkness covered half his white shirt. He pulled back and walked over to Chris gesturing for Nathan.
"Ezra's down, looks like he's losing a lot of blood," Josiah explained to Chris and Nathan what he saw.
"Nathan call for paramedics and notify the hospital of Ezra's blood type," Chris said.
Chris and Josiah returned to the doorway. Jenna was still standing in front of Ezra holding the gun. The ATF agents didn't want to shoot her, but Chris could see they were running out of time and soon there wouldn't be a choice. Then he saw something and smiled.
Ezra had never felt so weak, well he probably had but he couldn't remember. He just wanted to sleep. Then he saw Callie's face and a renewed strength seemed to come over him. He forced his eyes opened, seeing Jenna standing in front of him holding a gun. He saw Chris and the others at the door and window. He noticed that Jenna was standing on the edge of the Asian rug, which greeted people at the front door. Ezra kept his eyes on Jenna's back and started dragging himself towards the rug. He winced at the pain radiating from his shoulder and side. He grabbed hold of the fringed rug and pulled with everything he had left.
Larabee was ready as Jenna was thrown forward, the rug taking her feet out from under her. Chris leapt at the woman grabbing her around the waist and forcing her down to the floor. He quickly straddled the struggling, shrieking woman, holding down the arm, which still held the gun. Vin raced in and wrenched the gun from her hand, which took all the fight out of her and she went limp.
Nathan and Josiah rushed to Ezra, who was laying on his right side his eyes shut tight against the pain that raged through him. Josiah gently turned the injured man onto his back, relieved when his green eyes opened.
Ezra swallowed convulsively. "Tell Callie I love her." Both Josiah and Nathan's hearts sank.
"No brother, you tell her. You hear me you stay here. We will not be the bearers of bad news." Josiah's voice rose with his fear.
The injured agent smiled and slipped into unconsciousness. Nathan was trying to get the bleeding to stop from the two wounds. He was afraid that the sophisticated agent might of already lost too much.
The paramedics entered the room and put Ezra on a stretcher, quickly hooking him up to an IV.
Chris had handcuffed Jenna, who now sat in the corner, sobbing softly. She looked up into Larabee's cold blue eyes. "I only wanted him to love me. I loved him, why couldn't he love?"
The ATF leader didn't know what to say to the distraught young woman, but he couldn't supply any sympathy for her, not after all the hurt she had caused.
Ezra awoke to see the faces of his associates and friends surrounding his bed. Then he felt a warm slender hand take hold of his and looked into the face of love. Callie's battered and bruised face beamed down at him, he thought she never looked more beautiful.
"You had us worried for awhile there, pard," Buck said, emotion causing his voice to crack slightly.
Ezra licked his lips. "What happened to Melody?"
"She's back at the mental hospital getting the help she needs," Josiah replied.
"How do you feel?" Callie finally asked. Ezra looked up into her hazel eyes and smiled.
The others quietly left, suddenly feeling very awkward.
"Hey Buck remind me never to let you set me up with a date," Vin teased the gregarious agent as the six agents walked down the hospital hallway.
Buck scowled at his laughing friends. He wasn't in a good mood. Karen had broke it off with him, saying she couldn't live with the fear of him being shot or killed on the job.