Authors: Morgan Kelley
She led him to the kitchen. “Doctor Adare, she’s an interesting person, but when it comes to inviting in crime,” she
paused, pointing to the stack of papers sitting on the counter mail basket. “In here are two credit cards, unopened, a bank statement and then all her personal information she wrote in this little book.”
Yeah, that was pretty careless. Desdemona was making it easy for the stalker.
“I’m assuming none of it was touched, which again makes me believe that this person was looking for something. Doctor Adare has money, you can tell by her house, her things, and the person who came in here didn’t touch a single thing worth value.
So, the intruder was either an idiot, or it was someone here with intent.”
Whitefox knew the intent. It was to terrify her and make her run. But where?
“How about upstairs?”
“That’s the fu
nny thing,” she led him there. “We found no damage upstairs, but the person did make it there.”
Whitefox walked into the woman’s bedroom and it felt like her, and then he saw it. On the bed stand was a vase of roses, and on the bed a single red one.
“Maybe someone she’s in a relationship with did this, is she sleeping with anyone?” she asked. “He could be the first suspect we need to talk to about this.”
Now Whitefox was angry.
“Doctor Adare is sleeping with me, and I can guarantee I didn’t leave her red roses. I was on the same assignment, and we left three days ago to work in Red River with both directors. Ethan and Elizabeth have the list of her past relationships, and he’s working that angle already.” Agent Christensen was very smart and very good at her job. Just by walking through, she’d come to the conclusion they were all aware of, and he knew evading the truth wouldn’t matter. Now he had to trust the woman who was running this assignment.
Ethan and Elizabeth huh?” Agent Christensen was entertained that the agent was calling the big bosses by their first name. She knew he was new to the division, but that took balls. “Just so you know, if they hear you calling them by their first name, you’ll get your ass handed to you by the female one,” she grinned at him. “I hear she’s a ball buster and eats agents for breakfast regularly. You don’t mess with the female of the two.”
grinned at how funny it was to hear Elizabeth described that way by people outside their circle. “Well, I’ve been calling Ethan by his name since we were kids and as for Elizabeth, she and I are on a first name basis and have been for a while. In fact, she’s very fond of me. You can ask her. Elizabeth is crazy in love with me.”
The woman looked at him like he’d lost it.
“Ethan Blackhawk is my brother,” he said, laughing.
“Oh, and that makes the ball buster…”
He laughed even more. “My sister-in-law, but Elizabeth is more like a real sister.” He saw her bristle. “Just so you know, she’s busted my balls plenty, and if she heard you say it she’d agree. So relax, because she’s pretty easy going.”
Somehow she doubted that.
She nodded and made a mental note to tell anyone in her area about this, just in case. “Thanks, anyway, I was told this was your entire scene. What do you want me to do now that you’re agent in charge?”
“Bag anything up you find and take it to FBI West with a rush on it. Then after the sweepers are done, I want a team in to put it all back together again. Or at least get the glass up off the floor.”
“Okay, works for me,” she answered, walking out of the room. “Really, she’s fond of someone?” she inquired incredulously. Elizabeth Blackhawk was an enigma among the agents. She inflicted awe and a little bit of fear. Christensen had seen her on the firing range and watched in amusement, as she outshot her husband and the other males easily.
He laughed, “Yep and
I’m pretty fond of her too and the baby.”
Agent Christiansen was infinitely grateful she didn’t make the spawning comment that she had planned on making. “Where wil
l you be until the team is done?”
I’m taking her to my brother’s place. It’s the house right behind this one,” he followed her out the door.
“Give me your cell
number; I’ll call you when it’s clear.” Christensen took his card he handed her. “Talk to you later,” she said, walking away to get the team ready to go from sweep to clean up. It wasn’t their typical job, but if it came down from the directors, they were going to comply and then do it fast.
Agent Christensen looked out the window at the big house behind the Medical Examiner
’s home. “Must be lucrative being directors of the FBI,” she muttered, and bundled up before heading back into the cold.
Whitefox went out to the Denali and climbed in, and
Desdemona was anxiously waiting for him. Part of him wanted to pull her into his lap and offer her comfort, but he knew techs were milling around and he didn’t want to make more of a scene. “Let’s get to my brother’s house and we’ll talk about it,” he said, stroking her cheek. “Okay, sweetheart?”
Desdemona nodded, and accepted his hand when he offered it. It gave her some strength just knowing that he was sticking with her. “While you were inside, I emailed Elizabeth the information
regarding the two blondes from last night. I completely forgot about them, and didn’t know if you told them.”
“I didn’t, thank you,” he said smiling gently. He knew she was trying to take
her mind off the entire thing. When he pulled into the driveway, she was inspecting the house. “We’re here.” Whitefox noticed she was taking in the entire house. “Not what you expected?”
“It looks like a castle, all the stone on the front of the house.
It appears less imposing from the back.”
“From what I hear, Ethan picked the house.”
Desdemona grinned. “I can believe that. It looks like something he’d like,” she said, looking over. “You know, to keep the fair maiden safe from any pillaging armies.”
Whitefox never thought about it that way, but it was probably a very accurate evaluation. “When we were growing up, we lived in this tiny cabin,” he offered, sharing a part of his past. “We’d dream about what life would be like when we grew up.”
“Is this what he thought his life would be?” she asked, curiously-not only about her boss, but the man beside her.
“Ethan always said he’d have the fastest car, the hottest woman and a castle to call his own.”
Desdemona grinned. “Then I’m guessing the shiny black Mustang with the chrome is all his, and the bad ass looking jeep is Elizabeth’s vehicle.”
“It sounds like he got what he wanted. Elizabeth is gorgeous, and this resembles a castle.”
Whitefox nodded. “He deserves it.” There was still that guilt he felt for betraying his brother those many years ago.
“Hey, you okay?” she asked, touching his arm.
Whitefox shrugged. “I betrayed my brother once, and lost him for almost twenty years. I was just thinking about that,” he said, turning off the Denali.
Desdemona wondered what he did, but she wasn’t going to ask. If he wanted to share, he would. “How about you, Callen? When you were younger, what did you want when you grew up?”
Whitefox was surprised at her question. He was fully expecting to have to tell her what he did to betray his brother. Not what he wished for as a kid.
“You don’t have to tell me.”
“I wished for love.”
And he’d been fortunate too. When his brother returned he found it easily. Once when they reconnected and once with Elizabeth, but he kept it to himself.
It caught her off guard.
“Like I told you about my mom, she wasn’t very maternal. I didn’t ever have her love. I’m fairly a simple man. I like my cabin. I love my truck. I drink beer out of bottles, and I just wanted love.”
Desdemona’s heart skipped a beat, and she could feel the pain and see it in his eyes. She leaned forward and kissed him gently on the lips. “I hope you find it,” she whispered, and then stroked his cheek
, already knowing who he was talking about.
pretty sure he was on the right path.
“I hope you do too, Desi,” he answered, looking right into her eyes and soul.
Desdemona knew she was already gone. It was just a matter of waiting to see if he caught up or walked away. Never had she felt this safe and protected with anyone, and she’d take that any day over love. The man with her right now was offering her his family and safety and that to her was paramount to the emotion of love.
“I’m ready to go inside.”
“We’ll crash here until the house is ready, and then we’ll stay at my house on the reservation tonight. I think we’ll be here a day or so, until we get everything taken care of,” he stated, leading her to the door. He unlocked it and stepped in to turn off the alarm.
They hung their coats up on the coat tree, and walked into the house. It was silent and peaceful. Callen was
accustomed to being there. He often stayed overnight if they had a family dinner, or if it was a holiday. He, his father, and grandfather all stayed for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Being there felt like home, more so than his small cabin on the reservation. Then it occurred to him, maybe she’d hate his home. It was simple, small and essentially a lot like him, a plain man. Callen grew up with very little, as did his brother; he continued to live that way, where his brother went the other way to escape it all.
“It doesn’t look like them
,” Desdemona stated, walking around and looking at the photos. “Elizabeth is tough, and Ethan is very quiet and mysterious. I pictured their home to be colder, and less, accessible.”
He understood what she meant.
He thought the same thing when he first saw their home.
“This is very warm and inviting,” she said. “I love the colors. The red, green and chocolate brown
make me feel all cozy. I may have to steal those colors for my house. My walls are sterile white. It’s like a family lives here,” she said, softly. What she wouldn’t give to not be alone in her house, the big empty existence of her life.
“I spend most of my time here,” he paused, “or my grandfath
er’s home. When Ethan came back he accepted me into his life, and I was grateful. That’s why I have a key- I’m here so much.” It was funny. “I’m a permanent fixture here.” Whitefox pointed to the recliner that his brother and sister bought him for Christmas and kept here at their house for him. To prove it was his and his alone, Elizabeth had bought him a pillow embroidered with his name on it and some of the tribal colors and symbols that matched the ones tattooed on his and Ethan’s’ bodies.
“If you have your own furniture, I guess you are a fixture.” She ran her fingers over the embroidery. “They match your tattoos.”
“Yep. This one is the word ‘
’ in our Native language,” he said, lifting up his shirt and matching it to the one on his back. “Ethan and I got them one day when granddad told us tattoos should mean something. Nothing means more to me than that.”
Desdemona felt her body heat up, and forced herself to not touch the man’s body, even though she wanted to run her fingers
across the tattoo on his back. Then she saw the heart and everything cooled.
“Elizabeth is hell on details, and the chair and pillow are two of my favorite things in this room. Next would be the pictures.”
Desdemona took that as a personal invitation to wander to the book shelf.
She picked up a picture and
giggled. “Why is Elizabeth dressed like a pilgrim,” and then she got it. The picture was of her standing between both men, and they were each kissing her on the cheek and had their arms wrapped around her waist. She ran her fingers over the words on the bottom of the frame.
Elizabeth’s two favorite Indians.
“I thought Indian wasn’t a word Elizabeth liked you both to be called,” she asked, remembering how she corrected people when they used it around Whitefox and Blackhawk.
She’d heard it plenty growing up from her grand-mère.
He thought about how to explain it. “I think it depends on how it’s used. When Elizabeth calls us ‘Indian’, it’s never derogatory. For her it’s more just pointing out the obvious
and being funny and showing propriety. From her it’s a term of endearment. When others call us that, or when the deputy did, it was the way he said it that was offensive.”
Desdemona wondered if she’d ever be so
integral to his life that he’d have a chair in her home and be allowed to use the word as freely as Elizabeth.
took the picture from her hand. He loved it with all his heart; he had the same one on his nightstand, and he looked at it every night. Thanksgiving was their first one together as a family. “We never celebrated Thanksgiving in our entire lives. The whole white man stealing our land thing, but we call it Elizabeth’s Turkey Bash. She isn't Native, and who are we to take her holidays away, even though she’s incredibly understanding about it? We don’t do it on Thanksgiving Day; we do it on the first weekend of November. There was turkey on one day, and then my grandfather cooked our traditional foods the next day.”