47 ~ Ryan

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Ryan refused the pain killers. He didn't deserve them, and narcotics would only cloud his judgment, which had abandoned him the moment Felix walked through his door. The doctors wanted to keep him under observation for twenty-four hours, something about post-trauma infection, but Ryan didn't have time for that. It was already nine in the damn morning and Felix could be anywhere. She could be fucking dead. No. Felix was too clever to get herself killed. She had been clever enough to drop the hint about the transmitter, and her poetry was just sappy enough to keep Jordy out of the loop. At least that was Ryan's hope.

Grudgingly, Ryan agreed to use a cane, but his limp didn't slow him down as he made his way to Harris' desk before slumping into a chair. Harris looked up from the form he was working on and shook his head, like a father chastising his son for missing a tackle.

"Save it, Harris," Ryan growled. The searing pain in his leg had not made his mood any better. "Tell me you have good news. Anything on the car this Jordy asshole was driving?"

"Actually, yes. A rental. They found it parked at the county airport, but Donovan's plane never left Toronto, so we have to assume they commandeered something else. A helicopter was seen arriving and leaving at around four AM. They tracked it to South Dakota and then all radio communication stopped."

"What about the evidence we found at Donovan's Toronto home? Any activity at the New Orleans' address?"

"No."

"Fuck!" Ryan slammed his hand on the desk, disrupting the framed photo of Harris posing stiffly with his wife and daughter.

Harris scowled but didn't bother to straighten the frame. A long nasally sigh escaped him as he stared across the desk. "What happened to you, Ryan? You used to be such a hardass. You're in love with this girl, aren't you?"

Ryan scowled, wishing Harris wasn't right. Yes, he did. Fuck. "My feelings for Felix have not hindered my ability to do my job."

"Except for the little mishap at your apartment where your weapon was taken and she was kidnapped right under your nose."

"You try doing your job with a fucking gun pointed between your eyes."

"Hey, Ryan," Agent Bronson called across the room, and Ryan maneuvered in his chair, biting back the pain with a grimace that he directed at the rookie. Bronson had taken the rookie title from Ryan a few months ago, and Ryan enjoyed putting the fledgling agent through his paces. It wasn't that he didn't like Bronson, it was just the way things were done. "I got your girlfriend on the receiver."

Ryan jumped out of his seat, causing his leg to spasm. He ignored it as he snatched the cane, limping to Bronson's desk. He chose to let Bronson's jab about Felix go. He wasn't going to waste time reminding Bronson how to hold his tongue with his superiors, and frankly, he didn't care who referred to Felix as his girlfriend. She was smart, and hot, and they could all suck it.

"I haven't had one second of privacy, Jordy. The least you can do is let me take a shit in peace."

Felix's curse echoed through the speaker, and while Bronson laughed at her smartass remark, Ryan took a moment to relish the sound of her voice. She was alive and well enough to mouth off to her kidnapper.

"You have plenty of privacy. There's a door between us," came a muffled reply.

"Asshole," Felix breathed.

After a whoosh and a click, more conversation ensued.

"Hurry up. We still have a long way to go." That would be Jordy.

"If you continue feeding me fast food crap, we'll be making a lot more bathroom stops. Aren't there any decent restaurants in Forsyth, Montana?"

Ryan looked at Bronson, who immediately pulled up Forsyth, Montana on his computer.

"You complain a lot for someone with a gun pointed at her."

"Do you really want to kill me? My guess is Donovan told you to bring me in alive so he could do the honors."

"Shut up and get in the car."

"Fine, but you could have chosen a nicer car than a Ford Taurus from the nineties. And gray is such a dull color. If I'm riding to my death, I'd rather..."

"Shut the fuck up!"

Ryan couldn't help smiling at the clever way Felix fed them information, although her smart mouth was putting her abductor in a nasty mood. As Ryan checked his phone for flights into Billings, Felix continued antagonizing Jordy.

"Do you want to play a game to pass the time?"

"No."

"But you look bored. Don't you remember the fun we had playing trivia? Back when we used to be friends."

"That was only fun for you."

"Bullshit. We used to sit around getting drunk trying to stump each other with random facts."

"Maybe I looked like I was having fun because I was drunk."

"How about this. I'll ask you a question, and if you get it right, I'll stop harassing you."

Silence followed Felix's request, and Ryan pictured Jordy pulling a face.

"All right, Jordy, listen carefully, because I'm not going to make this easy on you. Fourteen, twenty-eight, forty-one, A. What does that stand for?"

Ryan grabbed a pen and wrote the numbers down on Bronson's desk calendar.

"Did you get that, Jordy? Fourteen, twenty-eight, forty-one, A. Think about it. There are six numbers and one letter. What do they stand for?"

Felix started humming the tune to Jeopardy and Jordy growled. "Stop!"

After a bit more silence, Felix sighed. "You're not even trying, are you?"

"No."

"Do you want me to tell you the answer?"

"No."

"Too bad. It's the license plate number of this car. Maybe that was too difficult for you. Should I think of another one?"

"No!"

"Geez, fine. Ooh, look, only one hundred and five miles to Helena. What's in Helena? Anything good?"

The distinctive click of a gun prepping for use had the hair on Ryan's nape standing up.

"Okay, Jordy. You don't have to kill me to shut me up."

Ryan glanced across the desk at Bronson, feeling slightly smug. In a matter of a few minutes, Felix had provided them with her location, the make, model and color of the car she was in, as well as the license plate number. The woman wasn't just smart – she was a genius.


PLAYLIST SONG: Amerika by Young The Giant

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