45 ~ Ryan

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Ryan couldn't keep his mind off Felix, but he wasn't trying that hard. He enjoyed reminiscing about her body and how it had responded to him in the library bathroom. There appeared to be no end to the surprises when he was around her. Unlike her childhood self, Felix didn't hide her feelings, giving in to her passion without hesitation. Did she know how much he craved her company? How her eyes derailed him from all coherent thought? He wanted to explore her, pleasure her, taste her. There were still a few borders they hadn't crossed, and he desperately wanted to cross them before...

"Agent Clark, are you listening to me?" Harris' voice broke through Ryan's mental masturbation, and he blinked into the face of his irritable boss. "Focus, man. I have a pissed off wife waiting to kick my ass when I get home."

That's right. They were discussing Dr. Florence, the lousy stoolie. The doctor's initial statement had been taken while Ryan and Felix were at dinner, but the results were less than helpful. "I'm listening, Harris." Ryan straightened in his chair, making it appear as if he wasn't still thinking about Felix's lips, both sets.

"As expected, Dr. Florence refuses to help us until he's been counseled by his lawyer, who is apparently vacationing in Tahiti, the lucky bastard. The only pertinent information we've gained is the date he started seeing Miss Taylor as a patient, which corroborates her story. While he won't admit to planting subliminal commands in her head under hypnosis, we have enough evidence to make an educated guess this is true. His pupils dilated when I told him we had a recording of this morning's hypnotherapy session."

"What about the others? Did you have a chance to talk to her ex, Andy?"

"They're bringing him in now. I thought you'd want to ask the questions. I'm done for the day." Harris handed Ryan a file with the name Andrew Massimino on it. "If you get confirmation that Miss Taylor was under the influence of hypnotic suggestion around the time of the crimes, you can take her home with you on the condition you bring her back before Fulton gets here in the morning. I'm not interested in refereeing another battle between you two." Harris bolted out the door before Ryan could get a word in edgewise.

Ryan sat across from Andy as he glanced over Andy's file, maintaining the demeanor of a federal agent who was not emotionally attached to the case. Andy wore the face of a privileged punk, and the wire-framed glasses did nothing to hide the shifty eyes behind them. Felix may have seen Andy as her valiant rescuer when he saved her from the scumbag who attacked her, but all Ryan saw was a selfish bastard with a chip on his shoulder.

"My name is Agent Clark," he said, locking Andy in a no-bullshit gaze, the one he'd learned as a defensive lineman and then perfected as a cop. "I'm sure you have prepared your speech about waiting for legal counsel before you answer questions for the feds. So, I'm going to make this easy on both of us and ask only one."

Andy looked at him with a mixture of surprise and confusion, which was just the way Ryan liked it. A surprised and confused enemy was easier to subdue.

"We have Felicity Taylor in custody for the murder of two individuals, one Jenny Mason and one Joshua Alexander. At the moment, this is based solely on fingerprint evidence. She will likely spend most of her young adult life in prison as punishment for her crimes, which is a shame. She appears to be an intelligent woman who had a bright future before she allowed herself to become involved with you and your associates. I have taken her statement and she claims to have no recollection of the crimes. Further testimony and recent fingerprint evidence now implicates you and your colleague, Shane Bullard, in these crimes as well.

"Felicity's hypnotherapist, Dr. Florence, has given his testimony, which has brought some interesting facts to light. In particular, it appears he has been injecting Felicity with a drug that allows him to use coercion and suggestion while she is under the effects. We will be taking samples of her blood to perform toxicology tests, and once we prove these substances are indeed in her system, she can start building a case in her defense. But that doesn't help her now. Right now she is waiting to find out if she'll be spending the night on a cot next to a real murderer or in the protection of a safe house. Felicity may look tough, but I'm thinking a few days at the women's prison and she'll be sporting bruises to go along with those pretty tattoos."

Andy's shoulders slumped forward as Ryan laid out the harsh truth. Hopefully, the guy was feeling the sting of guilt - how dragging Felix into his little coding experiment had fucked up her life. Even Ryan had a hard time keeping his face impassive as he pictured Felix on the receiving end of a bitch-slap just because she made eye contact with the wrong person. Some of those women were hard as nails.

"What do you want from me? A confession?" Andy said, finally. "I'm not taking the fall for someone else."

"Even your girlfriend of three years? Even when you'll still be implicated as an accessory to the crimes. Your semen was found on Jenny Mason's body, and your prints were on her shoes. You are likely going to prison whether we get a confession from you tonight or not. You don't have to tell me if Felicity is responsible for the murders. What I'm asking is for you to man-up and tell me whether she was under the influence of drug-induced hypnosis at the time."

Andy stared at his hands, clenching and unclenching them on the table while Ryan waited for him to decide whether he was a man or a dickhead. Ryan was already convinced of the latter, but even dickheads had their moments of clarity.

"Yes. Felix...um, Felicity was under drug-induced hypnosis...both times."

Ryan allowed himself a brief moment of internal celebration, occupying his hands with shoving forms back into Andy's folder as he stood up. "Thank you, Mr. Massimino. I'm sure Felicity will be relieved to know she won't be suiting up in orange prison garb tonight."

"She was helping you, wasn't she?" Andy said as he caught Ryan in a man to man stare. Ryan was surprised the guy had it in him. "It feels like too much of a coincidence that we were discovered the morning after she agreed to come back."

"I am not at liberty to discuss federal matters with you." Ryan offered his sterile response as he walked to the door and opened it. In the hallway, he made brief eye contact with a fellow agent, acknowledging he was finished with Andy. Ryan was tempted to drop his hardass demeanor and fist pump the air, but he managed to restrain himself as he headed back to the office. It had never been difficult for him to switch in and out of cold, detached mode when the situation required it, but Felix's case was definitely testing his limits.

PLAYLIST SONG: Gimme Shelter by The Rolling Stones

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