28 ~ Felix

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Felix had never been inside the federal building, and she had certainly never passed through the doors of the FBI. Ryan ushered her to a sterile white-washed room with a shiny metal table and padded seats, telling her to sit tight while he rounded up Agent Harris. Sitting alone in what was clearly an interrogation room did nothing to settle her anxious stomach, which had traveled with her from Ryan's place. Felix stared at a wall-length mirror, picturing men in black suits on the other side, arms folded, looking for guilt in her eyes.

Ryan returned with a man wearing a severe expression and a stiff-collared shirt, but no black suit, thankfully. He was older than Ryan by about two decades, not bad to look at, but his blond hair had been coated with a flammable amount of gel.

"Hello, Miss Taylor," he said as he noisily pulled up a seat across from her. "I'm Agent Harris. Agent Clark tells me you're willing to help us catch some criminals."

"Yes, sir." Felix started picking at her fingernails under the table, a habit she was still trying to break.

"I understand you've been involved with these men approximately three years, and you're willing to expose them in exchange for immunity, am I right?"

"Right."

Ryan dragged his chair to the end of the table, sitting next to Felix rather than across from her. It wasn't the first time she'd noticed him behaving protectively with her, and she watched his expression darken as his colleague interrogated her.

"I've just spoken with Agent Clark, and we discussed the possibility of getting our hands on the man controlling these criminals and their activities, a man by the name of Rafael Donovan. We suspect he won't be involved in this covert meeting you've agreed to. Donovan lets his associates do most of the work for him. Our hope is to apprehend as many of his associates as possible, using their testimonies to lead us to him. However, another option has been advanced." Harris looked at Ryan, whose head was already shaking. "Agent Clark is opposed to the new plan, but I want to give you a chance to agree before he tries to talk you out of it."

"What's the plan?" Felix felt the skin rip on one of her cuticles. That was going to sting later.

"We'd like to fit you with a transmitter that takes the form of a tooth crown. It only provides one-way communication, but it's less conspicuous than an ear transmitter. Basically, the transmitter allows you to communicate with us, but we can't respond back. We're considering risk versus reward, here. The plan is this, when our subjects arrive at the meeting place, you will give yourself up and return to Donovan's home base, keeping us informed via the transmitter."

"Wait. I'm giving myself up? I thought I was going to lead you to the bad guys and you were going to arrest them."

"That was Agent Clark's plan, but we think you have a good chance of leading us to Donovan."

"Good chance!" Felix hadn't meant to yell, but that's how it came out. "How long will I have to stay with them?"

"As long as it takes to track Donovan's position," Harris answered. "The more information you pass to us through your transmitter, the faster we can get to you. Donovan moves around constantly, which has made it difficult for us to corner him."

"So, I'm going to pretend I haven't gone to the cops, which means no bullet proof vest or armed backup. I'll be a sitting duck."

"You don't have to do it that way, Felix," Ryan said matter-of-factly. "You don't even have to show up."

Harris scowled at Ryan. "Whose side are you on, man?"

"We don't risk civilian's lives to catch criminals, Harris. It's not what the FBI does. We're lucky Felix is willing to help us on this case. Her only involvement should be to testify against them." Ryan's expression had turned fierce as he clenched his hands on the table.

"Well, we have to catch them, don't we," Harris shot back. "And we can save a lot more civilians by taking this man out of play. Do I have to remind you Donovan is linked to eight deaths, and we are no closer to apprehending him?"

Felix waited until her better judgment stepped out of the room before speaking up. "I'll help you catch him."

Harris turned sharply toward Felix and acknowledged her with a curt nod. "Thank you, Miss Taylor. You're required to go through a few standard procedures. Agent Clark will do the honors."

Harris stood and hustled out the door like his hair had spontaneously combusted. The guy was strung tighter than vector space. Ryan, on the other hand, was trying to stare a hole into the table.

"I know you're worried about me, Ryan, but I've been dealing with these assholes over two years. I think I can handle a couple more days."

He lifted his head, turning his intense stare on her. "You asked me to protect you from them, and now I'm sending you right back to them."

"You're not sending me. I'm choosing to go. It would be selfish and cowardly of me to run when I can help. Donovan is the one I want caught. He's the biggest threat to my family. They mean everything to me, and I want them around when my life is normal again."

Ryan nodded, probably because he couldn't argue with her. He would do the same for his family. "Okay, Felix. Let's take care of these standard procedures so I can get you back home. There's something we need to do before you and Precious take off."


PLAYLIST SONG: Cracks In The Wall by Marjorie Fair

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