Divide & conquer, p.18
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       Divide & Conquer, p.18

         Part #4 of Cut & Run series by Abigail Roux
Page 18


  Zane didnt know what to say. “Ill think about it,” he said weakly.

  “Do you still plan to give your talk at the community class this coming Saturday?”

  “Do you know what happened to me yesterday?” Zane asked carefully. “Yes, and Im very sorry,” she said, her voice softening. “The SAIC said that its your choice about Saturday. Can you let me know by tomorrow if youre going or not?”

  “Yeah, okay,” Zane said. He ended the call and set the phone back on the nightstand as he heard the water cut off. Zane felt Ty moving around the small room very shortly after.

  “You okay?” Ty said in a low voice, much closer to Zane than hed expected. Ty patted his shoulder and sidled past him. Zane reached out just in time for his fingers to drag down the damp skin of Tys back. “Yeah. ” Ty hummed in response, the sound coming from the general direction of the end of Zanes bed. “Have you seen my blue tie?” he asked distractedly.

  Zane chuckled before he could help it. He stood up, moving away from the bed. “Ah. Maybe hanging with the other suit in the drycleaning bag. ” Theyd gotten into enough messes the past few months that now they each kept a suit or two at each others place.

  Ty grunted and made an apologetic noise. “Sorry. Forgot about the… seeing thing. ” “Guess Ill get used to it fast,” Zane said as he tried to figure out by listening what Ty was doing. “Did they say how long this would take?”

  “Hour or two. Means probably four. ” There was rustling and the occasional whiff of Old Spice, and Zane figured Ty was putting on clothing, waving his shirt or jacket through the air as he put his arms into the sleeves. “Do you need anything before I go?”

  Zane reached out to touch the chest of drawers in front of him. He might as well get dressed if Ty was going to be gone. “No, I dont guess so. ”

  Tys hands suddenly slid up Zanes sides, moving to hug him as Tys chest pressed against his back. He was fully clothed—the soft material of Tys Tom Ford suit was unmistakable. Zane could feel the knot of his tie, the telltale quality of the material. “The blue suit,” Zane murmured. Close fit that hugged his shoulders and body, blue wool, silk overcheck, broken herringbone pattern, single-breasted peak lapel. Ty looked incredible in it. As much as Ty loved to dress down—ratty T-shirts and busted-down jeans—he knew how to look good too.

  “Yeah?” Ty replied, lips moving against Zanes shoulder. “Your favorite. You like the material. Pants fit right. Slim fit in the jacket. ” Zane lifted his hands to touch Tys and slide up over the suit jacket sleeves to Tys elbows. “Makes your eyes brighter,” he said before really thinking about it.

  “Is that so?”

  Zane ducked his head, glad Ty was behind him and not looking at his face. “I dont think anyone at the office is concerned about the brightness of my eyes. Except maybe that fucking PR guy. But thank you, all the same,” Ty tacked on slyly.

  “Yeah, well,” Zane murmured. That wasnt the kind of thing he said to Ty. It just wasnt. “I think I feel like an idiot now. ” Ty squeezed him hard. “You feel pretty good to me,” he whispered. Then his hands were sliding off Zane and he was stepping away.

  Zane swallowed hard as he lost touch with Tys warmth and had to grasp for something to say. Ty was going to think hed lost his mind. “I think Ill go back to bed for a little while. ”

  “Might be a good idea. ” Tys voice was moving away. “Get some sleep, Garrett. Call me if you need anything. ” Zane listened to the front door shut firmly and sat down hard on the edge of the bed. He felt hot and goddamn tingly all over, and it wasnt from anything but what would probably qualify as sweet nothings on the open market. Flopping back on the bed, Zane rolled, pulled Tys pillow under him, and buried his face in the sheets. It was time to do some serious thinking; he figured he might as well be as comfortable as possible to do it.

  “THANKSfor coming in, Grady. You werent injured, right?” Scott Alston asked.

  “Like you care,” Ty grunted at him. “Lets get this rolling, huh?” “Dont be a jerk,” Alston shot back. “Were all worried about Garrett, and therere others hurt too. Wilkinsons in the hospital with a compound fracture of her right leg, and three others are still there too. ”

  Ty held up both hands in surrender, closing his eyes. “Im sorry. Sorry. ” Alston sighed and sat down. “Yeah, well… its been a shitty couple of days. ” He shuffled through some papers. “All right. I need to bend your brain about both bombings, the ballfield and the boutiques. ”

  “We talked about the alliteration, Scott,” Ty mumbled, not even managing a smile. Alston glared at him, then ignored the words. “So far weve found only four agents who were in both places. That includes you and Garrett. ”

  “Who are the other two?” Ty asked as he settled into the seat across from Alston. It was uncomfortable and too low, forcing him to look up at the other man. Classic psychological tactic to make someone being interrogated feel inferior and uncomfortable. Fucking asshole Feds….

  “Waller and Carmichael, both from tech ops. They were on the street. As were you, right?” Ty sighed heavily and nodded. He spent the next hour telling Alston everything hed done, seen, felt, heard, and thought at both scenes, culminating in a ten-minute rant about his Bronco being melted and who the hell was going to pay to fix an old Bronco that was worth more as evidence than it was on the street and when the hell was he getting his Bronco back exactly?

  After Alston managed to quiet him down, Ty was forced to sit there in the uncomfortable chair for another fifteen minutes as Alston got papers together for him to sign. By the time the man returned, Ty was calm again, concentrating on breathing in, breathing out, making the fucking Om sound in his head.

  “Okay, Grady,” Alston said after Ty was finished running two pens out of ink. “Theres good news and… well, other news. What do you want first?”

  “Scott, dont make me hurt you,” Ty muttered dejectedly. “Youre done here, Ty, no more paperwork,” Alston said sympathetically. “But… youre also done for the rest of the week. Macs orders. ”

  Ty stared at him, not truly surprised but still disgruntled over being benched. But who was he kidding, really? He was mangled from trying to stop a fireman the size of a refrigerator from scoring in a softball game that was basically a PR stunt, his Bronco was smoldering in an evidence yard somewhere, and his partner had been blown up and was helpless at home. Ty didnt want to be here when he needed to be there.

  “Yeah, okay,” he mumbled, looking down at his hands and picking at the medical tape around his fingers. “Its not just you, Ty,” Alston said, sounding surprisingly reassuring. “Weve locked down Waller and Carmichael, too, and, well, you know about Garrett. We know youre a target. Your face has been all over the news. Theyre still running that sound bite of yours, and those bastards went after your truck. Now we need to figure out if Garrett was a target as well, and we want you off the field of play. Youll also have a skeleton crew checking on you, just in case. ” He sighed. “Ill call you as soon as we answer some of the metric ton of questions, okay?”

  Ty just nodded and stood. “Are we done?” he asked tiredly. “Or am I due for a full rectal exam today too?”

  “Go on. Youre looking rough, even for you,” Alston said. “Nice suit though. ”

  “Shut up. ”

  Alston smiled. “Well hold down the fort. Let me know how Garretts doing when you hear from him, would you?” “Yeah. ” Ty turned and practically trudged toward the elevators. Intellectually he knew why he was being sent away. It still didnt sit well with him. He wasnt used to being shooed away to safety when things got too hot. He told himself to look at it as some much-needed time off from work to be with his lover, but even that held a sour note. He tried not to think about Zanes sight and when or if it would return. He told himself not to think of anything as he rode the elevator down.

  Zen, Ty, Zen. Z ANE heard a key in the lock, and the door complained loudly as it was opened. “Honey, Im h
ome,” Ty called out in a less-thanenthusiastic voice.

  His eyes closed against the utter darkness, Zane could see it: the battered metal-core door opening and Ty stepping inside from the stoop, short hair ruffled from the cold wind Zane could feel sweeping in behind him, dressed in a dark wool overcoat, that incredible blue suit, holster at his right side, badge clipped on his belt, displayed whenever Ty set his hand on his left hip in a gesture of mild annoyance. From the sound of his voice, Ty was frustrated now, which meant the tie would be askew—if it was still on at all—and first thing, his jacket would be off, maybe even his shirtsleeves rolled up. Ty had long muscled forearms sprinkled with fine dark hair, and surprisingly trim wrists. Zane had more than once closed his hand all the way around one of those wrists. And Tys fingers were snub-ended but nimble, for all that several were various amounts of crooked from all the breaks.

  He wondered if Ty was frowning. It furrowed his forehead, two lines darting between dark eyebrows, and his usually bright hazel eyes would be somewhat shadowed, trending to brown or dark green. When his full lips pressed into a firm line, it caused dimples to appear in his perpetually tanned cheeks. Zane had caught himself several times in the office looking at Tys mouth. It got his pulse up when Ty chewed thoughtfully on his bottom lip.

  “Garrett?” Ty said in a flat voice. “You still in there?” He put his hand on Zanes chest, leaning over the back of the couch to do it. Zane actually startled out of his imagining with a sharp inhale. “Oh, sorry,” he said, lifting one hand to cover Tys. “Are you frowning?”

  “What? I am now—what the hell kind of question is that?” Ty muttered as he pulled his hand away.

  Zane could hear him continuing to mutter as he moved away. “You sound frustrated. What happened at the office?” “Benched,” Ty groused. “Didnt tell me shit except that I was to go home until theyre sure were not targets. Well also have a protection crew tailing us. ”

  Zane frowned and sat up. Ty sounded almost angry. “Hey, come here,” he requested quietly. Something heavy, probably Tys overcoat, flopped onto the back of the couch. He felt Tys weight on the couch beside him, and soon Tys hand ran into his hair affectionately, carefully avoiding the small crooked line of stitches along the back of his skull.

  Zane relaxed and leaned into the hand, moving his own to bump against and slide up Tys thigh. It was reassuring, having him this close, and if Zane needed anything right now, it was peace of mind. He turned his head to press his cheek against Tys palm, and Tys lips touched his gently. Only bare seconds passed before the hip that leaned against Zanes body began to ding and vibrate, but Ty ignored the cell phone in his pocket in favor of the kiss. It warmed Zane, something so insignificant as Ty choosing him over a cell phone call. Silly, maybe, but he was taking all the feel-good karma he could get at the moment. Wanting to be a little closer, he slid one hand to cup lightly around the back of Tys neck as he gave under Tys lips.

  Ty sat up after the phone went quiet, running his hand through Zanes hair again as he leaned against him on the edge of the couch. “They gave me the rest of the week off,” he announced suddenly. “Im probably a target. They want me to lay low, not come back til Monday. ”

  “The likelihood of us being targets is really damn small,” Zane murmured, rubbing Tys back with one hand. “Even with the bomb in the Bronco, it was the only car there overnight. Small chance anyone could know it was yours. And down at the shopping complex? We werent even supposed to be there, really. We got sent last minute to help out. More likely they want you out of their hair. ”

  “Mac doesnt have any hair left. He pulled it all out,” Ty muttered unhappily. “I got to check this,” he added, and Zane could feel him pulling his phone out of his pocket. Zane relaxed back, keeping his hands on Ty, just for that connection. Despite the encouragement from talking to Deuce, Zane still felt pretty damn pitiful and lost.

  Ty snorted at whatever he was reading on his phone, and Zane heard him snap the phone shut a moment later.

  “Whats up?” Zane asked. “Its just my buddy Nick,” Ty said as he leaned against Zane again. “Hes a cop, on the last hour of an eighteen-hour shift, and hes trying to stay awake by driving me fucking crazy. ”

  “So hes the one who texts you all hours of the day and night?” Zane asked as he rubbed at his temple. The raging headache hed had in the hospital was still hanging on as a dull ache.

  “Mostly, yeah. Why, does that bother you?” Ty asked with a hint of concern. He took Zanes hand as he spoke, his fingers rubbing at the base of Zanes thumb until he found the pressure point between the fingers and squeezed hard.

  Zane groaned as the headache began to dull. If Ty knew one thing, it was how to use and abuse a pressure point. “No, it doesnt bother me. ” He scrunched up his nose on purpose. “You havent texted me since you got caught with your girlfriend,” he lamented, but then he ruined it with a little laugh.

  “I still owe you for that,” Ty told him wryly. He let off on the pressure point just a little, and the throbbing ache in Zanes head began to subside almost to the point of being gone. “Youre right here next to me. I dont need to text you. ”

  “Still. ”

  “You want to hear some of the crap he sends me? Then you wont be jealous. ” Zane smiled slightly. He suspected Ty kind of liked that he might be jealous. “Sure,” he said amiably as he slid his arm between Tys back and the couch to pull him closer.

  Ty shifted around to reach his phone again, and Zane heard him flip it open to find some example texts to read out loud. “The one he sent me on the way home said, „at my funeral it’ll be your job to throw yourself on my casket and weep. And the one he just sent me, he says, „false alarm, still invincible. No idea what he was doing that he thought he might die. The one before that was „for future reference a lint roller appears to be the best way to get glitter out of a beard. ”
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