Cerulean Blue“You’re a rare bird.” He laced his left boot, tying a knot.
“Like that bird identification from a year ago?” She pulled on her black jacket.
He pulled on his other boot. “Oh dammit, you won’t forget that will you? It was a shard of a brown freckled eggshell.”
“You were mostly occupied at the time.” She checked herself in the mirror. “Alder flycatcher? Come on, that’s the wrong coast.”
“Willow flycatcher… I hate thee.” He stalked to her side.
“At least you or should I say I found out that we were on the West Coast.”
“Bloody hell, I though that concussion was a little harder.”
“Tough head. Next time make sure we don’t get jumped like that. Those accommodations were atrocious.” She flipped back her long dark hair.
“Non-existent, dear.” He ran a hand through his short dark locks as his other arm wrapped around her, pulling her close.
“A freckled egg.” His chin pointed to the monitor.” Bloody hell, it’s the twin Mario Batalis in orange sneakers instead of orange clogs.”
She whispered, “Bad product placement.”
He nodded as his hand reached her flat stomach. He splayed them protectively against her, his chin on her right shoulder.
“Maybe last night.”
“Maybe this morning.”
“Maybe in the shower.”
“Why don’t we make sure?” He nuzzled her neck. “We can try the bed. Looks very inviting.”
“We’ll never get anything done at this rate.” She placed her hands on his, her head on his chest, sighing in his warm safety.
“Just like that broken clock over there. You’re right twice a day.”
“You weren’t saying that earlier. Think everything’s broken in here.”
“A shame. We still didn’t do the deck.”
She twisted around, her arms around his neck. “Hell no. I’m not an exhibitionist and like hell will I share that part with anyone else.”
“Where’s your sense of adventure?” A mischievous smile and that glint in his eye always egged her.
“Not going to work.” She pushed his left shoulder then immediately regretted it when he gritted his teeth, his hands grabbing hers.
He closed his eyes and took several deep breaths. “I’ll be okay.” He dropped his hands.
Her eyes then hands went to his left forearm. “You scared me to death. Let me look.”
“You just saw it ten minutes ago. It’s okay.”
She pushed him in the chest over his heart. “Don’t patronize me!” She forced the tears from falling as she crossed her arms across her chest.
“Come here. Take a look. Baby, I’m sorry.” He held out his right hand.
She still scowled when hers was in his grip and the other went to his shoulder.
“No more HALO jumps for a while.”
“That includes you too.”
She held her brown eyes on his brown ones. “I’ll never forgive myself for hurting you. Looks okay.”
He pulled her close. “The emergency parachute got tangled. You cut it away. I don’t care about this scratch.”
“Well then, I’m bleeding love.”
“Don’t laugh about this. This is serious.”
“I’m alive because of you. No regrets. No matter what. I want you to die as an old woman.”
“Promise me. What happens happens. Live like there’s no tomorrow.”
“I hate this.”
“Thought you loved adventure.”
“Only if you’re with me.”
He placed his right hand over her heart. “I’m always here. Always and forever.”
“Steve… uh… Jake, I can’t live like that.”
“Trust me you will.”
She saw the twinkle in his eyes. “What?”
“Dammit.” She pouted, annoyed with herself.
“You’re so damn cute when you’re like that.”
“Shut up.” She turned away.
He grabbed her arm before she walked off.
“Okay. I’m sorry, Steph. Let’s get it together.”
“Paris.” She spun on her heel and faced him.
“What the hell Kat �" oh freckled egg.”
“Let’s get this show on the road. We’re running out of time.”
“Sassy Serena became silent Serena sinking into the serene sea.”
“Change on blue.”
“Think the heavy rain and thick fog are going to stay away for an hour?”
Jake turned Kat around and pointed to the monitor. “Dear, this has been FUBAR since the beginning.”
She checked her watch on her left wrist. “Bloody SNAFU… our window is closing. If everything goes as it has the last few days, we’ve got an hour window starting now.”
“Shall we synchronize our watches?” He placed his left wrist above her left wrist, aligning their watches.
“Honey, they’re atomic timekeeping watches. Trust me they’re synchronized down to the second.”
His read ‘0230.’ Hers read ‘2:30 AM.’
“A freckled egg…” She stabbed a sequence of buttons. “This always goes back to the 12 hour setting.”
“You know if that lab goes to hell, we’ll have to do this the hard way.”
She stifled a giggle unsuccessfully.
“What’s so funny?”
She turned around and placed her head in the hollow between his head and neck. She laughed uncontrollably, her arms around his waist.
“Seriously, what’s funny?”
The rumbling vibrations through his chest stopped her. She looked up. “Damn you make me want to purr. Say that again.”
“Seriously, what’s funny?”
She purred and rubbed against him. “The last two words you said previously.”
“Woman, can you stop that? I can’t think.”
“Now with that head, huh?” She smothered another round of giggling against his chest.
“Stop it or else I’ll start too.”
She pushed away and took several deep breaths.
“Just don’t repeat what you said.” She made circles in the air with her index finger. “Keep on going.”
He crooked his finger at her. “Come here then.”
She made a beeline to him, snuggling against his right side, her left arm around his waist. He placed his right arm around her left shoulder, holding her to his side.
Together they left the Cerulean Blue Sea and stepped onto the dock leading to the warehouse, their objective. They scanned the area as they walked in the growing foggy darkness, white tendrils closing in on them. They spotted their targets rounding the corner of the warehouse.
“They’re the Big Bird twins wearing those ridiculous orange shoes this morning.”
“Change on blue.”
As they reached a set of wooden crates across from the warehouse, Jake pushed Kat against the nearest one. His mouth crushed hers as his hands reached inside her jacket then under the front of her shirt.
“A heads up next time,” she whispered as his mouth moved down her neck. “Security cameras at eight and two.”
She pulled his head up and smiled. “Hey, boys, care to show how to get to home? He’s stuck on second base. Reminds me of a boyfriend when I was fifteen… ready to blow.”
In a voice loud enough for her to hear, he said, “Damn that’s low.”
She looked at the men. A smile and a wink. “Come on, you got something better to do?”
The two men gave each other a thoughtful look then looked in their direction. Undecided.
He smiled at her taunt. His hands went down to her waist, pulling her flush against him. “Guys, I got stuck with the uptight sister. Triplets, gentlemen. I left her two sisters this morning. They won’t be walking for a week.”
He wasn’t fast enough to catch her fist. “Ow… damn woman.” He took a step away and held his jaw, opening and closing it. “Rough just like her sisters.”
“This one can’t tame me. Think you boys can?” She raised her hands above her head as she pirouetted. “I’m a gymnast too.”
The two men were on them before she finished her third spin.
“Hey guys, she’s mine.” Jake stepped closer to her.
She pushed him away. “Hell no, I’m not.”
“Listen to the lady.” The shorter one went to her right side. “I know how to woo a woman like you.” He smiled as he put his arms around her waist.
“Fine. I’ll take your two sisters.” Jake smirked as he took out his cell phone. “Hey man, you want to see them?”
The taller man laughed. “Before or after?”
“How about during?”
“Oh hell yeah.” He stood close to Jake, rubbing his hands together in excitement.
“Neanderthal.” She turned her attention to her man. “So you going to woo me or what?”
“Well…” He leaned close and whispered. He pulled back, seeing a blush creep up her face. “So how’s that?”
The man next to Jake dropped to the ground. Out for the count.
“Hey… ow… let go!”
Kat had the man’s right arm behind his back then kicked the back of his knees. He went down hard. Zip-tied two seconds later.
Jake crouched down. “You’re an unlucky bastard. You’ll need a higher dose than what I’ve got left.”
The man whimpered, trying to move away. Unsuccessful.
Jake’s KA-BAR hit air. Double tapped by a millisecond.
“A crying redhead no more.” She stuck the Glock in her jacket pocket.
He sheathed his knife as he stood. “What the hell? That wasn’t in the plan.”
“One shot. My kill.” She pulled the man around to the side of the crate. Out of sight for a while.
He pulled the unconscious one to her position. “You still pissed about that? That was ten years ago.”
“I had the shot and you took it.” She scanned the area. Clear.
“Correction. You were told to stand down.”
She nodded. “Yeah.”
They reached for each other, interlacing his right hand with her left one. Hand in hand, side by side, they ran away from the warehouse. The second they hit the perimeter, midafternoon sunlight beat down. White whispers vanquished.
They slowed at a table, dropping their weapons in a box. A clapboard went flying. Shattering into two pieces as it hit the ground.
Their destination a short distance away. Their home away from home. A trailer filled with amenities. Frecking the rest of the afternoon into the night.