Cut and run, p.48

Cut & Run, page 48

 part  #1 of  Cut & Run Series


Cut & Run

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Page 48

  “Me too,” Ty responded in the same quiet, calm voice.

  “Won’t be long until he—”

  “He needs us,” Ty interrupted confidently. “He needs us to make him feel as if he’s doing well. He won’t try to hurt us again. I’m sure of it,” he lied.

  The lie didn’t go unnoticed, but Zane had no plan to comment. He looked up at Ty sadly, wanting to say something, anything other than the soft words crowding in his throat. He swallowed on them again. He didn’t know how much more “speaking” they could do. Finally, a sentiment broke free in a rasp. “I won’t lose you. Not now. ”

  “I don’t plan to get any more lost than I am,” Ty answered roughly.

  He turned quickly, pacing away from the bed as he flipped open his phone.

  Zane squeezed his eyes shut and cursed silently. Curling his hands into fists, he got off the bed, put on his jacket, and retrieved his lighter, sliding the cigarette from behind his ear as he walked toward the door again.

  Ty watched him go from under lowered brows, waiting for Henninger to pick up. When the younger agent answered, Ty quickly told him about the change in profile and the pattern they had discovered.

  “Poe?” Henninger asked in a low voice, obviously trying not to be overheard. “You’re sure?”

  “The latest murder pretty much clinches it,” Ty answered. “We got one of those damn anthologies; we’re going to go through it and see what we find. Did you get a chance to gather those personnel files for me?”

  “Not yet,” Henninger answered hesitantly. “I’ll have them by the morning,” he promised quickly. “You wanted anyone who worked or lived in Baltimore between 2000 and 2002, correct?”

  “That’s right,” Ty answered with an unconscious nod. “Now, go get the word out about the pattern, get Bureau analysts all over this shit. We have to get ahead of him. ”

  “Right. But how do I go to them with this?” Henninger asked worriedly. “What do I tell them?”

  “Make up something. Take the credit,” Ty instructed.

  “What?” Henninger asked in a slightly stunned voice.

  “Tell them you figured it out with this latest murder; it’s pretty damn obvious when you think about it,” Ty suggested. “Tell them about the murder in Baltimore and how you made the connection from there. If they ask,” he was careful to instruct. “They probably won’t, so don’t offer any information you don’t have to. They’ll probably just be glad to have something to go on. If you get in too deep, just tell them you got a tip from a buddy in the Bureau who didn’t want to be named. Give them my name and number in Baltimore if they demand it. ”

  He waited until Henninger got a notepad and gave him the number in case he needed it.

  “Anything else?” Henninger asked with a heavy sigh.

  “Just be careful. We suspect he may know we’re back, and if he does, he may connect you with us,” Ty warned worriedly. He didn’t like the thought of being responsible for any more innocent lives. He still saw Isabelle St.

  Claire’s face when he slept.

  “No worries, sir,” Henninger murmured. Ty ended the call and sighed unhappily. Despite what should have been considered two major breaks in the case, he didn’t feel as if they’d made any progress.

  Zane stepped back into the room, smelling of smoke and looking troubled. “Time to move?” he asked Ty.

  Ty nodded wordlessly, and they began gathering their small amount of things and carrying them out to the rental car. The feeling that the killer was on their trail, rather than the other way around, sat heavily on both of them. They didn’t say another word to each other as Zane got behind the wheel and began driving with no particular destination in mind.

  Finally, Ty glanced over at him and watched him for a long moment.

  “We could just cut and run,” he suggested softly, watching Zane closely.

  Forcibly keeping his eyes on the road, Zane pressed his lips together hard, and his hands curled tightly around the steering wheel. “It’s a nice dream,” he finally answered, his voice as unsteady as the rest of him. “But I’d never be able to sleep. And neither would you,” he said softly.

  Ty couldn’t help but smile. “Yeah,” he responded as he looked back out the window.

  They were silent for several more minutes as they sat in midday traffic.

  “Okay so, change of venue,” Zane said suddenly in a slightly louder voice than he intended, hoping to dispel the funk that had settled over them.

  “How about a jazzy place in Greenwich? Good restaurants. Great bars. ”

  “You talking hotels?” Ty asked dubiously.

  “More bungalow-type setups. Rent by the week. Artsy places,” Zane explained. “It’s different. ”

  “Do I look like an artsy type to you?” Ty asked, bristling on principle.

  It didn’t even faze Zane. “You look like sex on legs to me. You’ll blend in, no problem. ”

  “I swear to God, if you try to put me in leather pants or some shit like that I’ll kill you,” Ty warned with a point of his finger at Zane.

  “I was thinking along the lines of no pants, baby,” Zane said with a smirk. “In our room, anyway. ”

  That gave Ty pause and he pursed his lips to consider. “Yeah, okay,”

  he finally agreed with a smirk.

  ZANE found an eclectic neighborhood with bohemian shops, art galleries, and people all over the place. They lucked out and found a furnished studio apartment for rent rather than a hotel, and the landlord was happy to rent to them for an unspecified amount of time as long as it came with the hefty down payment they offered, no questions asked. Hundreds of people drifted in and out of Greenwich each year. These two men were nothing special.

  The three-room apartment that was half of the third floor of an old brownstone was decorated in warm colors and comfortable fabrics. There were no electronics, except for a phone, but there was wireless Internet coming from somewhere, probably the small café across the street.

  Zane dropped his bag and box on the round table in the front room.

  He turned to see Ty surveying the room warily, and it made him smile.

  “Coming in?”

  “I don’t know,” Ty frowned. “Does it smell like hemp and incense?”

  “Just the bed,” Zane said straight-faced.

  “Too bad,” Ty replied seriously. “That was the only part I was looking forward to. ”

  Zane’s lips twitched. “Still have the couch,” he said, trying to get Ty into the room.

  Ty took a step into the room and stopped stubbornly. “I feel my manhood seeping out of me,” he muttered.

  Zane dropped his jacket on a wingback chair after pulling the bottle of Mountain Dew out of it. The apartment was cute and quaint; somewhere no one would ever look for two FBI agents. He pulled his gun out of the holster and set it on the table as Ty ventured further into the rooms.

  When Zane turned his attention back to his partner, Ty had his back to him, his jacket was off, and his holster sat snug against his pressed blue dress shirt. He was rubbing the back of his neck and looking down at the bed in front of him, his free hand on his hip. Looking at the shined dress shoes and the expensive, tailored suit he wore, from this angle he may as well have been a different person from the one Zane had worked with before.

  Zane wondered what had happened to Ty’s crazy T-shirts. They had fit his style and his hard-ass image. He’d probably packed them away, Zane figured, packed them away with all his old habits and thoughts as the physical and mental therapy had taken over.

  Zane missed those T-shirts.

  Watching him, Zane considered pulling Ty into his arms in hopes the man might relax a little. But the vibe Ty was putting out clearly said that touching of any sort was not the way to relax him. Stretching, Zane sighed and dug into his duffel, looking for a clean T-shirt. Unfortunately all of his were plain ones.

went to the bed and pulled the covers back, smoothing his hand over the sheets before heading to the bathroom. It had been a long day, and he was more than ready to rest.

  Ty followed him and leaned against the doorframe that led into the bathroom as Zane went over to the antique oval mirror above the sink. Zane washed up as Ty moved closer to him, and he stiffened in surprise when Ty wrapped his arms around him from behind.

  “It’s good to have you here,” Ty told him impulsively.

  Zane shifted back, closer to Ty’s body, sliding his arm back and around Ty’s waist to press flush against him. Ty held him silently, settling his chin on Zane’s shoulder after several breaths. Zane turned his cheek into Ty’s and closed his eyes, and Ty waited tensely for some sort of response, flushing at the words he had uttered.

  “I wouldn’t have agreed to come here, if it hadn’t been you,” Zane murmured finally. “Don’t you know that?”

  Ty jerked a little in surprise, but he didn’t release him. “Why?” he asked in a whisper.

  Zane closed his eyes and kept their cheeks pressed together. “I trust you. ”

  A flush of guilt swept through Ty with the words. He couldn’t say the same about why he had agreed to take this case. He would have come alone. It was revenge for him, pure and simple. Unfinished business. He turned his head more and pressed his nose against Zane’s cheek. “Then you’re a fucking idiot,” he said gruffly.

  Zane chuckled. “Yeah, but you already knew that. ” Ty was silent.

  Zane pulled away gently and moved past him, figuring no other comment on Ty’s part meant the talking thing was done. He went out into the main room and reached for his duffel to dig out his shower kit.

  Ty let him move away, a heavy feeling in his chest and an unsettled feeling everywhere else. He couldn’t seem to feel anything but guilt unless Zane was near him. Why was that? Why did he need Zane in order to feel?

  “We do better when we’re fucking," Ty muttered to him as he followed him back out into the room.

  Zane snorted quietly. “News flash,” he said as he sat on the edge of the bed and began unlacing his boots.

  Zane thumped into the room and dropped the bag of snacks and drinks he’d just picked up at the quick mart down the block. He hadn’t been Z able to sleep, and he was glad that some places were open at four in the morning. He tossed his jacket to the side and headed to the table to unload his gear. He glanced over at Ty, who curled on his side on the bed, apparently sleeping. As Zane watched him in the light from the street that filtered through the window, Ty growled in his sleep and rolled, tangling in the sheets as he did so.

  Smiling slightly, Zane stopped to look down at him. Ty never seemed to sleep easy, except when Zane was in bed holding him. He wondered what Ty dreamed about. Usually Ty woke as soon as Zane moved. The fact that he was still asleep meant he’d either already been awake and discerned he wasn’t needed, he was very tired, or he was sick. Thoughtful, Zane took care of his gun and wallet, setting them carefully aside.

  Ty muttered in his sleep and tossed his head fitfully. Frowning, Zane walked over and crouched down beside the bed, looking over Ty’s face as it twisted slightly. Zane wanted to wake him just to interrupt the bad dreams, but he wasn’t going to reach out and touch until the other man knew he was there, just in case. Ty had all kinds of ingrained military training that his body instinctively followed, and Zane didn’t relish getting attacked by a Recon Marine having flashbacks.

  “Ty,” he murmured, prompting the other man to wake up a little as he shielded himself with the side of the bed.

  “Hmm?” Ty responded as he tossed his head again and rolled back toward Zane.

  “You’re tossing around so much, you can’t be resting,” Zane said quietly.

  Ty’s eyes fluttered open and he looked at Zane without seeming to recognize him. He stared for a moment and then closed them again. He sighed and shifted slightly in the bed, then opened his eyes again. They were clear when he met Zane’s eyes. “Shut up,” he muttered sleepily.

  Zane chuckled. “You’ll be crankier than you were when you went to bed. ”

  “I’m not cranky,” Ty insisted drowsily as he closed his eyes again and rolled onto his back. He stretched with relish, yawning and curling his toes contentedly. “I was dreaming,” he muttered.

  “Mm hmm,” Zane agreed, shifting to sit on the edge of the bed and lay his hand lightly on Ty’s abs. “Dreaming of?”

  “The desert,” Ty answered in a mumble. He shifted again, arching up into Zane’s hand like a dog getting his belly rubbed.

  Zane started rubbing agreeably, watching Ty move. “Desert, huh?”

  Ty inhaled deeply and then sighed, opening his eyes again to stare at the ceiling. “Makes my trigger finger itch. ”

  “Sand does itch,” Zane replied blithely. “One of the reasons I chose Miami over western New Mexico. ”

  Ty turned his head slightly and looked up at Zane in confusion.

  Zane raised a brow. “What?”

  “What?” Ty asked in a lost voice.

  Zane shook his head. “You’re definitely not awake. One of the reasons I refused the assignment in New Mexico is because I hate eating sand.

  And I don’t like rattlesnakes. ”

  Ty blinked at him rapidly and then looked around the room before pushing himself into a sitting position. “What assignment in New Mexico?”

  he asked as he rubbed his eyes.

  Peering at him in amusement, Zane decided to explain even though Ty was still out of it. “The one I was offered before they stuck me in Miami.

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