Divide & conquer, p.32
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       Divide & Conquer, p.32
 

         Part #4 of Cut & Run series by Abigail Roux
Page 32

 

  Standing there in the bank lot, Ty had mulled over the girls words, trying to decide what shed meant when shed said “the other place. ” He would have suspected she was just rambling, referring to the diversionary bomb. But where were the other three? What had they used her as a diversion for?

  It had struck him that they might have intended to come for him, for him or Zane. He had called, but Zane hadnt answered. On the torturous drive in a Bureau sedan to his row house, hed tried to tell himself Zane might be in the shower again. It hadnt eased the vise around his chest or the guilt he felt every time the girls blue eyes flashed through his mind.

  Now, he was no longer worried that Zane had been taken. Even blind, Zane would have made a mess if someone had attacked him. That meant hed left without considering that Ty might freak the fuck out when he found him gone.

  And that was possibly worst of all, that after all the crap hed put up with in the last week, all of himself hed given and taken, he didnt even warrant a spare thought or simple note before Zane went skipping out the door.

  He steamed and stewed another ten minutes and was just about to go out and do something when he heard voices outside the door and then fumbling at the lock.

  When the door swung open, Ty stood just off to the side of the door, his gun drawn as he greeted whoever was coming in. “Jesus!” Special Agent Fred Perrimore swore as he dropped to one knee, one hand going for his gun, his other raised behind him to stop whoever was behind him from crossing the threshold.

  “What is it?”

  Zane.

  “Give me one good reason not to shoot you,” Ty growled dangerously to Perrimore. Perrimores eyes went big, wide, and white, standing out against his black skin, and he looked over his shoulder and up at Zane, who was frowning. Perrimore returned his eyes to Ty, hands out in front of him in a conciliatory gesture. “Because I run interference with BPD?” he tried.

  Ty narrowed his eyes and lowered his gun, holstering it slowly. “Good answer,” he offered with a nod. His eyes moved to Zane. “Where the fuck have you been?”

  Zane raised an eyebrow, uncannily looking right at him even though his eyes were unfocused. He plucked at the sweaty T-shirt visible under his casual winter jacket. “Freddy took me to the gym. ”

  “Whats wrong, Perrimore? You cant leave a damn note?” Ty growled. Perrimore stood up and edged back out the door. “Garrett didnt mention anything about needing to leave a note,” he ventured, looking between the two partners.

  “I was only gone two hours, and youre supposed to be at work,” Zane pointed out.

  “Yeah, well, Im not. ”

  “Its not like I could have gotten anywhere on my own. ” “Has it escaped your attention that there may be someone trying to kill you?” Ty asked through gritted teeth. Zanes eyes narrowed in what would have been a glare if he could have aimed it. He reached out and touched Perrimores arm. “Thanks for the ride. ”

  Perrimore shifted his weight nervously. “Yeah, Garrett, sure thing. ” He glanced at Ty, who snarled at him wordlessly. “Yeah, Ill just be going, then,” Perrimore muttered as he turned and made his retreat.

  Zane reached out to touch the door jamb and walked inside, shifting to close the door behind him. He tipped his head, listening for something. Ty stood glaring at him, knowing he should get control of his temper but truly not willing to do it. Hed reached the end of his rope.

  “Are you going to say something or just glower at me?” Zane asked. “I went out for a couple hours. I was with a friend, a trained agent who carries a gun. The only way Id have been safer would have been to be with you. ”

  Ty pressed his lips tightly together and closed his eyes, but it wasnt helping. “I dont care where you go or who youre with. Im not your goddamned babysitter,” he said tightly. “But youve got to take this situation seriously! Youve got to be where you say youre going to be when you say youre going to be there! Just because you cant fucking see doesnt mean the rest of the world has come to a halt too!”

  “Take the situation seriously,” Zane repeated flatly.

  “We only caught one of them today, did you know that?” “Take it fucking seriously?”

  “Theres no telling where the others are or who theyre after!”

  Ty kept ranting over him, both of them talking at each other and not actually hearing what the other was saying. Finally Zane shouted above Tys voice.

  “Did you actually hear what bullshit just came out of your mouth? Believe me, I know really damn well how the world is going on without me!”

  “And it doesnt matter that Ive been bending over backward trying to help you,” Ty said angrily. “Doesnt matter that you disappearing would scare the shit out of me?”

  Zane grimaced and rubbed at his temple. “Yes, of course it matters, but—” “But what you want is more important,” Ty finished in disgust. Zane shook his head, and Ty glared at him as he felt the weight of the week crashing down on him. “You know what, Zane? Im done,” he said with a wave of his hand. “You want to reconnect with the fucking world, strike out on your own for independence, go do it. But youre gonna do it without me,” he grunted as he grabbed up his jacket from the back of the couch and stalked toward the door.

  “What the hell crawled up your ass and died? You are totally overreacting!” Zane protested as he reached out, catching Tys arm by blind luck.

  Ty turned and lashed out, catching him right under the chin. Totally surprised, Zane was knocked off balance, and he collapsed backward against the bookshelves, hitting them hard enough to send several books thunking to the floor as he fell with a hard grunt to the thin carpet.

  Ty turned to head for the door, shaking his hand and grumbling. “Ty,” Zane said weakly.

  “Go to hell,” Ty responded without turning around. He grabbed at the doorknob and yanked the front door open.

  “Ty,” Zane repeated, a real tinge of desperation in his voice. “I think I can see something. ” Ty stopped and turned to look at him, frowning. Zanes face was set in a pained wince. He pressed the heel of one hand to his temple as he blinked over and over. Ty cocked his head and watched him, waiting. When Zane looked up, one of his eyes was totally bloodshot, more red than white. He kept blinking like he was facing a bright light.

  “Son of a bitch,” Ty muttered as he slammed the door shut and stalked past Zane toward the kitchen.

  “Get the fuck back over here, you asshole,” Zane ground out. “That fucking hurt!” “Im calling the doctor,” Ty snapped back at him. He snatched up the phone and jabbed at the numbers angrily. Zane didnt growl back; he just held his head in his hands, looking miserable. Ty warred with the instinct to protect that had been in overdrive for a week now and the urge to kick him while he wallowed down there. He wouldnt have placed bets on which instinct would win out.

  After some terse snapping, he got one of the doctors on the line, turned back to Zane, and poked him with the end of the phone. “Doctor wants to talk to you,” he said in a low voice.

  “Bastard,” Zane muttered from where he sat on the floor, leaning back against the shelves, covering his eyes with one hand and bracing that arm on his propped-up knee. He fumbled for the receiver. “Yeah,” he said into the phone. After a moment he added, “Yeah. Ive had a hell of a headache all day, until I went to the gym. ”

  Ty paced, still fuming and unable to stand still. Apparently the doctor was droning on, explaining what might be happening. “So this is a good thing?” Zane asked after listening. Ty could feel Zanes gaze following him. After a week without it, Ty felt uncomfortably pinned down, and that just made him angrier.

  “Okay,” Zane said, his tone unsure, and he thumbed off the phone.

  “Gonna live?” Ty asked him curtly as he took the phone from him.

  Zane turned his head slowly, as if afraid he might be dizzy. “Yeah. Maybe you should have hit me sooner. ”

  “I couldnt agree more. ” He t
ossed the phone toward the couch as he moved to the door without another word.

  “Ty, wait,” Zane called out, his voice pained. Ty answered by slamming the front door. He thought he should have felt just a little bit guilty. But he didnt.

  ZANE stalked into his apartment and kicked the door shut behind him. Five hours. Five goddamn hours hed sat at the hospital for the doctors to look at him for five minutes, a ten-minute CT scan, then a pat on the head and shove out the door. And all hed been able to stew about was how hed fucked up so royally with Ty, however unintentional it was.

  He shed gear and clothes as he walked through the apartment to the kitchen in his jeans and socks, intent on getting a Coke and then a hot shower. When he yanked open the refrigerator door and saw the untouched boxes and bags from Chiapparellis, his first instinct was to slam the door shut, yell, and throw… something. But he swallowed on the anger, and though it was really, really close, he made himself grab a can of soda off the shelf and shut the door carefully. He hadnt been this angry in a long time, and it made his head pound, his eyes sting, and, dammit, his heart ache.

  Zane slid onto a bar chair and pressed the cold can to his cheek, then his temple, then his forehead, trying to get some relief as he fought the swell of emotions. Upset and anger, obviously. A healthy dose of utterly pathetic gratitude and frantic joy. An aching regret, and an even deeper hurt. The conflict was about to make his head explode.

  With a sigh, Zane set down the Coke, and he was about to get up when he saw the small pile of mail sitting forgotten on the far side of the bar. He reached out and dragged it over. Coupons. A church tract. Generic insurance offers. A flier advertising a nearby car-wash grand opening, another announcing a special couples dinner night out at one of the other prominent Italian restaurants in the area. He unfolded the last one to find only a sheet of paper with messy handwriting.

  But it was clearly his name at the top.

  Zane silently read the few short lines, and the emotions started bubbling up again, threatening to choke him.

  Mr. Garrett, Pierce Sutton is the reason you’re blind. He has your truck too. You have to stop him before he kills somebody. Please. F OUR days had passed since the teenage girl had been shot outside the bank, and the whirlwind was still churning. The public was equal parts praising the FBIs dedication to keeping Baltimore safe and crucifying the “trigger-happy monster” whod taken the shot.

  That monster just happened to be the same agent whod become one of the darlings of the media, but no one knew that. And he was missing in action, sent home to lay low yet again until the case was done. He kept thrusting himself in the middle of all the trouble, and Dan McCoy simply couldnt have him around anymore.

  McCoy felt sorry for Ty Grady. Usually he was like a cat: he didnt necessarily always land on his feet, but he had the uncanny ability to twist during the fall and at least land on all fours. He just couldnt seem to win on this one, though. He was on all fours, all right, but McCoy didn't think it was voluntary.

  So McCoy had sent him packing, sending a different agent several times a day to check up on him. By all accounts he wasnt handling the shooting of the girl well. One agent reported that Ty had actually uttered the phrase “you kids get off my lawn” when the rookie had knocked on his door. McCoy knew that Ty was either messing around with them for shits and giggles or he was truly traumatized. Truth be told, it was probably a combination of the two.

  On the plus side, Zane Garrett had been released to light duty by the Bureau doctor late yesterday and was “officially” back in the office. Hed called in the night of the shooting, having found a letter left at his apartment while he was blind, a letter that gave them a name. Fingerprints were no help; whoever had handled the paper didnt have a record, so there was no way to know how the writer had found Zanes apartment. That still bothered McCoy, as well as Zanes team, who had all volunteered to continue the protection detail.

  It would have taken a fight to keep Zane out of the office, doctors orders or not, so McCoy had Zane brought in—his truck was still MIA—sat him down, put his cyber skills to work dredging some more nontraditional sources of information, and kept a close eye on him.

  Pierce Sutton turned out to be a kid and therefore in the wind, not at any address his meager records said he might be using and hard to pin down. The search continued, as did other aspects of the investigation, including the one currently on top of the pile on McCoys desk.

  McCoy pushed a button to call for Zane as he perused the file in front of him. He got an immediate reply. “Garrett. ”

  “Get in here,” McCoy grunted as he flipped a page.

  He didnt get a verbal answer, but Zane was in his doorway within a minute. He was dressed down, in black jeans and boots with a nondescript blue button-down, pushing the line of what office dress code strictly allowed, and he still looked pretty haggard, hair ruffled and face scruffy. McCoy ignored the break in protocol and beckoned Zane into his office.

  “Sit down. I need your help with something. ” Zane hesitated for a beat before moving into the office and taking one of the chairs across from him. McCoy looked at him for a moment, then down at the file spread out across his desk. Ty Gradys file. These two were like lightning rods, and any given day, he wasnt sure which one would draw the most voltage.

  “You doing okay, Zane?”

  Zane snorted quietly. “Better, anyway. ”

  McCoy nodded, looking Zane over critically. Zanes eyes were still bloodshot enough that he could see the red in them from seven feet away, but he decided the answer would do for now. “Have you heard from Grady?”

  Zane sat up straighter in his chair and made eye contact. “Not for a few days. ” “Neither have I. Ive gotten word hes not handling the situation very well. Has his phone off, letting everything go to voice mail. Youve heard that he was the one to take the shot at the bank, yes?”
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