Silver Star Hotel
Hermosa Beach, CA
It's a day like many others in California, warm and sunny. All
was quiet at the Silver Star Hotel. Chance and Margo are having
a work out in the gym, Benny Ray was polishing the Big Dog and Matt
was out shopping for dinner.
CJ was working on the computer, reading his e-mail he starts to
smile! "Yippee" he shouts! " Nick is coming!"
When he swings his chair around he sees the three slightly angry
faces of his co-workers. " Sorry, false alarm! Just that I
got great news! Nick is coming to L.A.!" As his three disgruntled
compatriots are leaving CJ was still grinning. "Finally she
A few days later, at L.A.X, two men stand in the waiting area thoroughly
enjoying them selves looking at the flight attendants as they walk
"Tell me again why we're here?" Chance asks Matt, who
is eyeing a tall blond.
" What was the question, " Matt asks as he turns to his
friend as Blondie walks away?
Chance shakes his head and repeats his question.
"We are here to help a friend in need. Look on the bright
side Chance, glance around and enjoy the view." The two friends
lean back and smile at every woman who dares to pass them.
After an hour the men return to the Silver Star. "No Nick Yates
on a plane from London"
"What did you do," CJ cries! "While Matt was chasing
some nice looking females, I stood there holding the sign up"
"Any luck Major?" Benny Ray asks'?
"Oooo yeah " Matt grins wickedly holding his hand up
with scraps of paper filled with telephone numbers.
"Hello, back to me please," CJ yells waving his hands
in the air.
"Look he's getting all red in his face" Margo says. Swiveling
their heads around they all stare at CJ.
"Now what? I'm off to the beach. You are all welcome to join
me is in a game of beach volleyball." Matt turns and walks
Later, as the gang is enjoying the beach, Trout's stretch limo drives
up to the Hotel parking lot. As Matt walks up to meet Trout, he
sees a young woman get out of the car. Trout follows and as he sees
Matt he waves, gets in the car and orders his driver to leave.
"Do all backpackers shop at the same store, " Margo asks?
The person who got out of the car walks up to the Hotel. Dressed
in jeans, t-shirt, a lumberjack shirt around her waist and wearing
a baseball cap, and carrying a large backpack. The backpack is huge
and is way too big to carry on a persons back.
A big smile on CJ's face starts to appear and he cries, "There's
The rest off the group looks at each other in Oooo, "A girl!"
Out of the blue CJ starts running. "Where have you been? I
was worried sick!"
As Matt reaches the girl he feels a push in his back as CJ pushes
"Hey Chris long time no see. You look great"
"Everybody meet Nick, Nick meet the gang!" CJ says.
"Hi gang," Nick says smiling
"So you are Nick" Margo shakes her hand and points to
the guys they were expecting a guy."
"Well sorry to let you down but I have been a female for 24
years now and I'm not bored yet! Can't stay long have to find a
hotel first. Trout said you were worried so he brought me here first."
"No problem you can stay here, with us. Right!" CJ says
turning to Matt.
"Sure no problem, no problem at all." Matt answers with
a strange look in his eyes.
"Are you sure?" Nick looks up at Matt with a smile as
she sees Margo getting upset. Aha! Nicole grins, watching,, she
wants Matt but he doesn't know it yet. Maybe just maybe I can use
Later as Nicole is getting unpacked upstairs, Matt takes CJ aside.
"Why is she called Nick and how does she know Xavier Trout?
"Well to answer question number one, she's always been called
Nick since I can remember, cause she was like a little boy and her
name is Nicole that turned to Nick. Q number two, I don't know!"
"You better ask her about it! And what do we do with her if
we get a job? " Matt is a little pissed off, as he looks at
Entering the kitchen a little while later, Nicole looks around
saying, "Feels almost like home, sharing a shower with a lot
of people." Across the room she can feel the tension between
Matt and CJ asking. "Is everything ok? I can leave if there's
"How do you know Trout?" Matt decided that if he wanted
to know something he just had to ask her about it.
"We met in Japan last year and I did him a small service.
He said then if I ever needed help in the States he would try and
help me, so when I didn't see you at the airport, I called him for
your address he picked me up with his limo and offered me a lift.
"You were in Japan last year? Your mother never told me!"
CJ is blown away by this news.
"That's because she didn't know." Nicole answers. "Why
don't you give me the grand tour and I will fill you in."
"Trouble boss?" Benny Ray asks as CJ and Nicole are leaving.
Looking at Matt's face he sees him frown.
"Maybe" Matt answers, "Maybe. It's probably nothing!"
" Did you get a look at her tattoo?" Matt asks Benny
"Negative boss, not yet."
"What is your suspicious mind working on Matt? " Margo
asks, thinking back to the time one of her friends came visiting
and Matt gave her the third degree.
"Let's start dinner and then we will see. Ok, Matt answers?"
Later that evening, CJ takes Nicole to a "real" English
pub. While everyone was busy doing other things, Matt decides to
check Nicole's luggage. "Nothing, not even in the seams of
her backpack!" he mumbles.
Matt jumped as a voice breaks into his thoughts. "Whatever
you're looking for, she might be carrying it around with her,"
Margo say's from the door." Perhaps Trout knows something about
"Are you suggesting I phone Trout?" What would I tell
him? I don't trust CJ's former next-door girlfriend story - why.
It sounds a little paranoid, doesn't it?"
"Just let her stay for a while and see what comes of it. OK?
If you don't like what you see, ask her to leave."
Shrugging, Matt takes a deep breath and walks away
Aware of the tension she is causing Nicole shrugs it off enjoying
her time with CJ as they tour Los Angeles. Disneyland, Universal
Studios and the Chinese Theater, they saw it all. As they sit down
to lunch, CJ's beeper goes off. As he reaches for his cell phone
to call Matt, Nicole screws up her face and laughs at him across
Still laughing CJ makes contact. Matt temper is barely in check
and his comments are short - his message - "Come in soon!"
Thinking about Matt's call , CJ drives back to the Silver Star.
As he looks at the woman sitting besides him, his mind wanders back
Nicole looks across at him and smiles. "Great fun today, too
bad Matt had to spoil it for us!"
"He had a good reason for doing that, I think! If not I'll
give him one "mumbles CJ.
As they arrive at the Silver Star Hotel, they see a limo leave.
"Isn't that Trout's limo?"
"I believe it is." replies CJ.
The whole team is in the ops room, looking at each other in a daze.
"What's the job?" CJ asks Matt.
"Believe it or not, we are invited to a grand ball."
Benny Ray answers. "Black tie, the works!"
"Just the excuse I was waiting for " Margo glows at the
prospect of dancing with Matt. "I saw the perfect evening gown
in the window at Armani's."
"Please tell me I don't have to go with you " Chance moans.
"That girl is a shop-a-holic never to leave the changing-room!"
He ducks but not quickly enough as Margo tosses a pillow at him
along with a dirty look.
"Don't worry, I'd love to go shopping, Nicole say's. That
is, if you'd like me to come along!"
"Sounds perfect," Margo answers ignoring the relieved
sounds of her teammates.
Sighing four male voice whisper, "Yes!"
"What are we doing there and what to do with our guest?"
asks Benny Ray.
"All taken care off, she's invited as well!" answers
Matt. "Nicole is added to the guest list. Chance and CJ are
going in as waiters, Margo and I as a couple as well as Nicole and
Benny Ray!" CJ is clearly surprised by these events and wants
to protest. However everyone is looking at Matt and Benny Ray he
The next day, plans are getting in shape. The assignment becomes
clear the Team will be guarding a Minister of Verweggiestan and
his wife who are Trout's guests. The Minister has been threatened
by rebel troops. To protect the couple, Trout asked for assistance
from Matt and his team. They all agreed, it would be a nice change
from their normal work scene.
Nicole and Margo were off to Armani's to shop for the perfect dress.
They both agreed that money was no object in this case. And the
gold cards are drawn on more then once.
Off course they needed everything, lingerie included and then a
visit to the beauty salon for a facial and a full body massage.
After choosing make-up to compliment their new outfits, Margo and
Nicole were set.
The guy's also went to Armani's for new tuxedos. Chance and CJ went
to the Bell Air Hotel for their uniform fitting. Matt and Benny
Ray had a meeting with hotel security and they made a full security
sweep for listening devices and anything that might be out of the
ordinary. So far all was clear. The crew checked into the hotel,
to be close to the festivities and keep an eye on things. The only
thing that worried Matt was Nicole's disappearing every now and
then. Even CJ didn't seem to know where she had gone. What was she
doing and where was she going?
Nicole hoped that her outings hadn't been noticed. She made sure
that she was around when she was needed and slipped out whenever
she could! Chance taking notice, decided to follow her. Better safe
than sorry was his motto in life! To his great surprise she stopped
in front of a dance-school. Slipping inside just in time to see
her running up the stairs. He could hear people talking and laughing.
"What the hell was going on," Chance thought?
From the room above a sudden blaring of music comes down the corridor
and he hears a voice counting. "1, 2, 3 and turn! I said turn
not torn!!" a male voice commanded. "Sorry," a female
"Is that who I think it is? " Chance didn't know what
to do! Sneaking up to the door he opens it slightly, peeked through.
Standing together he sees dance instructor and Nicole standing together
as her tries to teach her the tango.
"Can I help you with something," a voice beside him asks?
They are not the greatest dance couple in the world but if anyone
can teach her to dance its Jaime!"
As Chance turns around he sees a tiny young lady with beautiful
dark eyes looking up at him. "Is Jaime the instructor, "he
"Duh," she replies. "I'm his little sister Anna.
Are you a friend of Nicole's?" Anna asks?
"Yes, I'm here to pick her up!" Chance answered quickly.
"Will they be finished anytime soon? "
"Probably not, she is a handful for Jaime. He say's she has
trouble giving him the lead!"
"You can wait if you want" Anna looks at Chance and likes
what she sees. Chance turns to the dance floor and decides he'd
better sticks around. "I think I'll do that! Is there a place
were I can get a cup of coffee, " he asks Anna?
She answers with great big smile and says, "Of course I know
a great place follow me." Chance chuckles as he watches her
dance her way down the stairs in to a big open dance parlor. Mirrors
on the wall shine softly in the dimmed light of the chandeliers.
Soft music plays from a hidden sound system. Chance hears Celine
Dion. "Not the type of music I expected to hear in a dance
school," he says.
"Why not? " Anna asks. "You can learn to dance with
any music Jaime says and I believe that's true."
"Sorry, I didn't mean it like that" Chance smiles at
Anna. Her skin goes all tingly at the way he smiles. Blinking she
turns away to start making the coffee she promised him upstairs.
"How long has Nicole been coming here, " he casually asks
"O I believe she came last week, Anna says as she reaches
for the coffee mugs. She came in and asked about private lessons.
She said she had to go to this charity dance and she needed lessons
to get back in the swing off things. Jaime thinks she had lessons
from a door."
So it's a hard job for Jaime," Chance asks?
"A very hard one, but she pays well, that helps!" Anna
replies. "Here is the best coffee in town," she says as
she puts two cups on the counter. Chance smells the coffee as he
reaches for his cup. "Mmmmm Brazilian! My favorite!" Anna
glows under the compliment and takes a sip off her coffee.
They start to chat when all off a sudden a door slams upstairs.
Chance jumps up and Anna looks at the door. Jaime barges in and
looks fit to be tied. He starts to rant and rave at Anna, , "She
is impossible! Who does she think she is, Ginger Rogers? No way,
she's driving me nuts! I don't care how much she's paying I'm not
going back up there again!" Spewing a few Spanish invectives
Jamie throws up his arms in despair.
Anna tries to calm him down and points out to him that there is
another person in the room. As Jaime sees Chance he calms down again.
" Sorry, I have a student who drives me nuts! I'm Jaime Sulfentes
and I believe you met my sister Anna." He shakes hands with
Chance as the door opens again and a red-faced Nicole enters.
"Please Jaime, stay and help me get through this," she
begs. Then she sees Chance and her face turns even redder. "O
boy, I'm busted!" " What are you doing here?" she
asks angrily. Chance is looking surprised at her hair.
"This morning you had short hair," he states. At that
moment his cell phone goes off.
"Saved by the bell!" Nicole whispers and turns towards
"Wait up, we both have to go!" Chance walks right behind
Nicole turns again and say's goodbye to Jaime and Anna.
"Chance will you call me?" Anna asks looking strangely
at the couple as they walk away, but she's too late, the door closes
"Where are we going anyway?" she asks looking beside her
as he drags her across the street towards his car.
"That was Matt, there was an incident at the hotel we have
go and check it out."
The silence in the car is deafening as the two head for the rendezvous
"You won't tell anyone will you?" Nicole asks pleadingly
as she waits for his answer.
"I have to tell Matt about this!"
At the Beverly Hills Hotel, Benny Ray and Margo are waiting for
Matt and Trout. They are talking to hotel security about the incident.
One off the maids saw a man leaving a room, which was vacant. The
man she saw pushed her aside in the hall as he ran for the stairs
used only by the staff. Matt agrees to a thorough search of the
entire hotel again, with only two days to go they were cutting it
CJ and Nicole would track the visitors of the hotel down, Benny
Ray and Chance start with checking out the rooms and Matt and Margo
are supervising the arrival off flowers and the caterers. During
the long time they spent behind the computers, Nicole and CJ didn't
having too much time to talk. In brief moments when tea was served,
they had a few moments to share.
"What did you do for Trout in Japan?" CJ wanted to know.
"Nothing spectacular, I helped him with picking a present
for his wife."
"Why were you in Japan in the first place?"
"What is this, the third degree? If you must know, I was there
to protect the wife of a client!"
"What does that mean? Do you work for Trout or somebody else?"
CJ held on.
"That means I work for an organization who helps people for
"Sort of like a bodyguard thing?"
"Something like that yeah. Can we get back to work now? I'd
like to get to sleep some time tonight."
"One day left and we still didn't find anything." Matt
grumbles looking around all he can see is the tired faces of his
"Benny Ray, anything?"
"Negative boss, nothing. Nothing that I can dig up on staff
or guests, we looked all over the place, even in the garbage and
laundry shoots, everywhere - nada."
Chance makes a face when he thinks about the garbage they had to
go through. " I still smell like spaghetti Bolognese."
"You better make sure everything is washed out because we
go to the hotel." Matt grins rising from his chair, "Go
pack whatever you need. We leave in 30 minutes. He looks at the
girls across the table. "Or do you both perchance need more
"What does that mean, I always travel light!" Margo squeaks
looking surprised at Mat.
"Have you ever had to wait for me?" she asks. "No,
only when you're actually doing the shopping," he grins.
"Well." She pushes the chair back and walks angry to
Nicole is still sitting down at the table and looks at Matt. As
he turns towards her, she smiles and says "Men and women, the
battle of the sexes."
Matt is left wondering at her statement as Nicole goes up to her
room to get her things together. This could get interesting tonight,
Nicole grins thinking about the coming evening.
Los Angeles CA 1945hrs
At the Hotel, the team met one final time. Everything is double-checked
and all they can do now is wait for things to come! Margo and Nicole
are sharing a room, so are Matt and Benny Ray. Chance and CJ are
getting ready in the staff 's changing room.
Just before eight o'clock, the girls get a knock on the door. "Come
in the doors open." Margo is standing in the bathroom, putting
on her earrings. As Matt enters the room, she looks at him in surprise.
Nicole watches from her side of the room. "Oh my, you are
way too dangerous for the female heart." Matt flushes slightly
uncomfortable with the comment and he doesn't know what to say.
Margo steps out of the bathroom and turns in front of Matt. "Good
enough?" she asks.
Amazed at the sight of the beautiful woman standing in front of
him he mumbles gruffly, "Yes very nice."
Margo dress is pure silk in midnight blue with spaghetti straps
and back bared to her waist it looks like the dress been crafted
for her alone.
"Are you ready? We should be getting down now." Matt
offers his arm and Margo looks at Nicole. "Shouldn't you be
getting ready? Benny Ray should be here any minute now!"
"He's waiting downstairs," Matt say's.
"I know I'll be down in a sec." Nicole waves at the good-looking
pair "Go please." Nicole walks across the room and picks
her dress up and walks towards the bathroom. She laughs as she hears
Matt ask Margo were she'd put her gun.
In the lobby off the Hotel, Benny Ray is looking at the guests as
Trout walks up to him and asks "Find anything?" At the
negative shake of Benny Ray head, Trout continues, "Don't worry
to much try to enjoy yourself a little."
"I don't think so sir, this is work!" Benny Ray answers
as he looks at Trout. "Is there something you're not telling
me?" he asks Trout.
"Nope nothing!" Trout answers surprised. "What gave
you that idea?"
"You did, just now." The sniper looks at the man as he
laughs and walks away. "Remember to enjoy yourself!"
"Strange man" Benny Ray mumbles as Matt and Margo walk
up stopping by his side.
"You look like a million bucks sweet pea" Benny Rays
says as he sees Margo.
"What," she answers laughing? "Did you peek at the
"No darlin, but I know how you shop, save me a dance."
Benny Ray says looking around. "Where's my date for the evening?"
"She'll be right down," Matt answers. "Margo and
I will be in the ballroom.
"Do we have comms," Matt asks as he tries to capture
"Roger that major," Benny Ray answers.
Margo looks at her partner. "Shall we go in?"
Benny Ray looks at his watch again grumbling, "She's late."
"Sorry, I know I'm late but I hope it was worth the wait,"
Nicole walks up to him.
"I should think so! You look - beautiful!!" Benny Ray
looks surprised as his eyes wander the length of Nicole's body.
I'll be fighting off men all evening!"
The floor length strapless emerald green dress was gorgeous and
hugged her body like a glove!
Chance walks by and stops taking a second look.
Nicole is pleased with the effect she's having and smiles softly
"Close your trap compadre, you're starting to drool!"
Benny Ray chuckles as he offers Nicole his arm. Together they walk
down the stairs, to the ballroom. Benny Ray looks at the woman beside
him, "Where do you keep your gun?"
Nicole breaks into laughter, "For me to know for you to find
out!" Benny Ray checks her out and than shakes his head. "I
wouldn't have a clue!"
"Don't mess the hair honey!" She laughs again at his
surprised face as he looks up at her head! "No gun tonight."
All he sees are hairpins sticking out of her hair.
CJ just walks in with a tray filled with shrimp. He almost drops
it on the floor. "Hello gorgeous, this is a nice change from
your eternal jeans!"
"Yes, do you like it?" Nicole looks happy at her old
"I was not sure about the back" and as she turns his
eyes begin to pop!
"Did you carry that dress in your backpack?" Benny Ray
wants to know.
"Better safe than sorry" Nicole laughs and turns to her
partner. "Shall we go in, we are holding up traffic."
As Benny Ray turn, he sees a small line building behind them, and
smiles, "Sorry folk's."
A man in line pipes in saying, "We had a great view!"
"Nicole! What a nice surprise! Where have you been all this
time?" A lady in a lacy peach colored dress, her every movement
graceful and elegant as she walks up to greet them. "It's been
a long time!" Her whole being radiated soft sophistication
from the top of her silvery blonde head to the tip of her matching
"Hello Isabel" Nicole smiles warmly, "This is Benny
Ray Riddle, my knight for the evening."
Isabel takes a long look at Benny Ray raising her eyebrow. Turning
back to Nicole she gives her a kiss on the cheek "You, my dear,
are a lucky girl with such a handsome partner."
Xavier Trout steps in and gives Benny Ray a firm handshake, "Mr.
Riddle, nice meeting you! I don't think you've met my wife, Isabel."
"Pleased to meet you Ma'am, "Benny Ray replies in his
silky southern drawl, as he lifts her hand to kiss it.
Isabel sucks in her breath, fluttering her eyelashes as she says
mesmerized by a riveting pair of sapphire blue eyes. "My, my.
We won't be seeing much of you this evening I suppose?" Isabel
says smiling at Nicole.
"I sincerely hope not!" she turns to Trout asking, "Any
"No not yet and I hope that it stay's that way to. But don't
worry too much and try to enjoy yourselves! Have a drink or a bite
to eat!" Her eyes twinkling, Isabel takes Trout by the arm
as they walk away to greet other guests.
Isabel turns back saying to Nicole "Call me, soon!"
"Nice couple, don't you think?" she asks looking at Benny
"I would never have thought that Trout had a wife like her!"
he answers, slightly amazed looking at the couple as they greeted
"Well they are right for each other, they have been married
for over 30 years. Let's get in place and start the surveillance."
The ballroom was slowly filling with guests. There were beautiful
ladies in brilliant flowing gowns all sparkling with diamonds and
handsome men in tuxedos with golden watches and rings.
"So this is how the rich and famous throw a party!" Benny
Ray says as he looks around, looking for Matt and Margo.
"Yes, it seems that way" Nicole looks around as well.
All off a sudden a voice asks " Would you like a drink Mr.?
You look like you could use it."
"Chance my man, you read my mind!" But as Benny Ray looks
at the tray, "No beer?"
"No. They hide the good stuff in the staff room," Chance
smiles at Benny Ray's frown.
"What kind of party is this, no beer," Benny Ray mumbles.
"The high society kind!" Nicole chuckles taking a glass
of champagne off Chance's tray. " Here, try it!" As she
takes a sip a smile starts to show, "Mmmmm a grand cru!"
Benny Ray takes a glass as they walk to a spot-overlooking ballroom.
As they arrive, they see Matt and Margo across the room, also in
The two couples nod at each other. "I wonder what Benny Ray
is thinking," Matt says to Margo.
"The same thing as we are, what are we doing here?" Margo
smiles at Matt and scans the area behind him.
"Could you please pretend like you are enjoying yourself,"
Nicole whispers trough her teeth?
"How can I when every man in here wants to gets his hands
on you!" He sends a dirty look at a young man on his way to
ask Nicole for a dance. The young man quickly does an about face,
when he sees the fire flashing at him from Benny Ray's eyes.
"Please lighten up! It's a party! Enjoy it!" Nicole grumbles
giving Benny Ray an angry look. "It's not like I'm your wife.
Stop doing that!" as Benny Ray glares as another would be dance
partner try's to approach. This time she gets up and walks toward
the man, "Hello Bob! Where is your beautiful wife?" he
hears her asking. He grinds his teeth and empties his glass in the
nearby potted plant. "After tonight, the plant will be drunk
or dead!" CJ comes from behind a pillar handing Benny Ray a
huge glass off beer. "I heard you could use this!" Benny
Ray looks at the man dressed as a waiter, "Nice suit"
"Not my cup o' tea mate!" And CJ returns to his job for
the evening at the bar.
In the mean time, Nicole has been invited on to the dance floor
and Benny Ray sees she is reluctant to dance. He nods as she turns
to Bob gliding into his arms for a waltz.
He hears Matt's voice asking, "What is she doing? Who is that
Benny Ray lifts his arm talking into the comlink in his cuff link,
answering, "Somebody she knows I guess called him Bob."
"Keep an eye on them!" Matt orders.
"You didn't have to say that, he's watching her like a hawk!"
Margo remarks grinning.
"You never know who the bad guy out here," Matt replies.
"After all we don't know that much about her."
"What is it that you want to know? I've had a look at her
profile in the computer." Margo goes on, "She is called
Yates because she married CJ's brother Danny two weeks before he
was killed in Libya. She lived next door for a few years and CJ
knows her very well. Isn't that enough?" Margo asks.
" I know it should but be, it's not! There is something about
I don't know! Why is he here, why now? All to mysterious
for me!" Matt says frowning
"Matt, why aren't you dancing with Margo?" Trout whispers
popping up from the right?
"He's working." Margo replies. "Then you won't mind
if I take her for a spin do you," as he offers his arm to Margo.
"Milady would you care to dance?"
"Oooo yes I'd love too!" Margo laughs at a joke as Trout
takes her to the floor.
Matt resumes his surveillance. The ear peace makes a noise Matt
"Anything to report?" "Negative boss Benny Ray mumbles,"
as the ear peace goes dead again.
"That was fun Bob, thank you." Nicole curtsies to her
partner before sitting beside Benny Ray again.
"I sure could use a drink right about now!" "You
rang my dear" a butlers voice asks.
She looks up laughing as CJ extends his tray loaded with several
wine glasses. "The one on the left is for you." CJ smiles
and turns to Benny Ray. "And you sir?"
"Thanks I'm good."
Nicole tastes her wine and smiles looking at CJ. "Great taste
no alcohol!" He grins and walks away.
"What does that mean?" Benny Ray looks at Nicole and
waits. "He knows I don't drink any alcohol" Nicole stares
into her glass before saying, "My mother was an alcoholic that's
how come I spent most of my time at CJ's house. She would pass out
on the floor before I got home from school. So I did my homework
at the Yates's. I felt safe there until dad would come home, he'd
take her to bed and than come for me." As she looks up Benny
Ray sees the small scared little girl reflected in her eyes as Nicole
shakes off the memory a sound goes over the earpiece. " Look
alive 9 O'clock!
Something is going on at your left!"
Immediately Benny Ray and Nicole get up to check it out, but turned
out to be a couple looking for a little privacy.
"Would you like to dance with me?" Benny Ray asks Nicole.
She looks up with big eyes, "would you take that chance with
me?" she asks back.
"Yes Ma'am, I would!" Benny Ray offers her an arm and
together they walk to the dance floor.
Nicole thought, what is going on - be still my heart!
She felt like she was walking on air! Her head was strangely light
as he takes her into his arms. WHY ME! WHY NOW! I'm supposed to
be working here!
"Don't think, just look around for anybody who is likely to
make trouble!" Benny's voice whispers in her ear.
Yes, that is exactly what I need to do! Nicole thought trying to
get her feet back on the ground.
Benny Ray had no trouble gliding her across the dance floor.
Standing on the balcony Isabel looks down at the dance floor, winking
at Nicole as she swirls by. Beside her Trout takes his wife by the
hand saying" Its been a long time since she looked that happy?"
His wife smiles and answers, "She deserver's it!"
Across the room Matt looks at Margo grinning, "shall I go and
With narrowed eyes and raised eyebrows Margo asks, "Why?"
Confused by the look Matt changes direction saying, "Here
comes Chance, maybe he has news!" Crossing the room toward
them Chance is carrying a tray filled with champagne glasses. Matt
looks at him an asks, "What no beer?"
"O man you are a hard man to please Major," Chance grimaces.
"But I have the phone numbers of a few woman looking for a
date with a blue collar man. But nope no beer."
Margo laughs at the pained expression on Matt's face.
Matt trying to ignore Margo! "Sorry Major, no beer,"
he grumbles. How come Benny Ray got beer?" Matt shoots back.
"He got that from CJ it was behind the bar!" and nods
across the ballroom hall. CJ is waving as they all look up. CJ had
heard them over the comlink, ducking down behind the bar he comes
back up holding a beer bottle in his hand. "Come and get it
Major I've been saving this one just for you!" Matt's puppy
dog looks at Margo gets a laughing shrug as she say's, Go."
Like a shot Matt is off heading for the bar.
"He doesn't know it yet, but that will cost him at least two
dances!" Margo grins at Chance and takes a glass from his tray.
"That's cold, Margo!" Chance smiles as he turns away.
"O Yeah I am" Margo takes a sip savoring the taste as
a young man approaches. "May I have this dance?" he asks.
Her eyes search his face before saying, "Yes you may. I'm
Margo." as she takes his arm.
"I'm Richard Beauregard the third," he says "But
my friends call me Shorty!" Margo looks up into his face and
laughs. "Why do they call you Shorty, your certainly not the
shortest guy in the room!"
He laughs replying, "I was pretty much the runt of the litter
in high school, until my senior year. But I kinda liked it"
Matt leans his elbow on the bar watching the milling, dancing people
in the ballroom. A cold shiver courses through him, something wasn't
right he could feel it as he takes a sip of his cold beer.
"Everything still looks all right Major!" CJ takes a
look at his friend as Matt jumps up and looks across the ballroom
floor. "What is she doing?"
CJ looks in the direction Matt indicated seeing Margo twirling
around the floor with a good-looking guy. " Having a ball I
think Sir?" CJ is talking to himself as Matt heads across the
floor toward the smiling Margo.
Chance walks up to the bar and points to Matt, "Were is he
going is such fuss, Tango's?"
"A different sort off Tango mate, Margo dancing with a blond
Adonis!" Chance and CJ laugh as the pained expression on Matt's
face as rushes toward his target.
"Man when is this party going to rock," Chance mumbled,"
I'm getting tired of dodging bored wives."
"I think you got the best of this deal, two guys tried to
pick me up! " CJ grimaces.
Shuddering, Chance says, "I'll stick to woman!" Turning
away he picks up his tray filled with champagne glasses.
Benny Ray sees Matt his face masked with anger standing at the edge
of the floor and points him out to Nicole. "The Major is looking
fit to be tied, like he's going to kill somebody! We 'd better get
back to our seats"
Before Nicole can answer Matt rushes their way cutting in on Benny
Ray. "Dance, Nicole, he says without waiting for a reply. Before
she can say anything she's being hauled out onto the dance floor.
But Matt wasn't looking at her his attention was riveted Margo and
her dance partner.
"Would you rather dance with Margo?" Nicole looks up
at Matt as he realizes what he's done!
"Sorry I didn't mean it like this!" He stops and looks
down at Nicole. "Are you mad?" he asks.
"No but most women would like their partner to pay a little
bit of attention to them and not someone else," Nicole responds.
"Why don't you lead us over there so you can cut in!"
" You don't mind?" Matt asks. "Nope" she answers.
"I have to get back to Benny Ray anyhow." She turns and
starts walking back to the table where Benny Ray is sitting. He
gets up as she approaches the table and helps her to her chair.
"Did you see anything?" she asks as she sat down.
"No, I'm beginning to think this is all a Hokes!" Benny
On the dance floor Matt is looking for a good time to cut in. Margo
had seen him standing on the side but was patently ignoring him.
She laughs gaily at Shorty's jokes. Matt's look was lethal but Margo
partner was totally unaware of the feeling he was invoking.
"Women!" Matt mumbles turning he walks away.
Margo watches disappointed as turns away. Turning back to her partner
she gives him a big smile once more. When the dance is over, she
returns to the table. "That was fun!" she laughs as she
sees his face. "Was the beer not to your liking," she
asks in a sweet voice before breaking into laughter?
Nicole stands up across the room and Margo see her and starts heading
in the same direction.
"I think they are headed for the Powder Room Major,"
Benny Ray frowns.
Margo is right behind Nicole as she enters the ladies room. The
girls are talking to each other when a woman approaches Margo. "
You are lucky tonight!" "What do you mean by that?"
Margo looks surprised at the woman. "I mean you are going to
get the royal treatment from Shorty that is what I mean." The
woman turns and walks away, "He always takes the first woman
he dances with to heaven, the woman sighs heavily as she turns away!"
As the door closes Margo and Nicole look at each other and start
laughing. " He is going to be disappointed tonight. I would
like to see his face when you knock him out cold!" Still laughing
Margo returns to Matt and tells him what happened in the ladies
room. He is not amused.
Nicole is coming out of the ladies room and stops as a voice tells
her to come over.
She sees a red headed man leaning against one of the pillars in
the hall. " What are you doing do you want to blow my cover?"
Nicole looks around to see if CJ or Chance is around.
"Don't worry he mumbles they are still inside. What are you
doing with that hick anyway?" the mystery man wants to know.
"That hick as you call him, is somebody you will never be.
Daddy's money can't buy you the integrity, loyalty and manners that
man has!" Her voice sounds mad as Benny Ray silently moved
up from behind.
He didn't want to miss this. She sounded really upset and Benny
Ray reached into his jacket feeling for the two Glocks resting in
the holster. "Stop following me and leave now, she whispered
angrily." Nicole looks at her former colleague and wishes him
on the other side of the moon.
The man smiles and lights a cigar, blowing the smoke upward and
laughs at her cost. "What are you going to do now?" he
wants to know.
"If I get have a chance, kick your ass and prove to the company
that you submitted payment for a false claim!" The man stands
upright at her words glaring angrily at Nicole.
"Don't think you can get a way with it, I will have to stop
"Are you threatening me, Jack?" Nicole asks sending a
hard look back into the man's cold eyes.
"Just you wait!" and the man mumbles as he walks away.
Benny Ray moves backwards as Nicole say's, "Come out Benny
Ray I know you're there!"
Grinning and a little surprised Benny Ray steps out and walks calmly
towards Nicole. She looks up at him and asks, "What did you
hear?" Benny Ray shrugs his shoulders and answers "From
"O boy I'm in trouble now ha?" Nicole says.
"So I take it is wasn't a happy reunion then?" Benny
"Nope" Nicole replies, "Not at all!"
"Lets talk to Matt just tell him what you know. He'll take
it from there!" Benny Ray takes Nicole by the arm as they head
towards the entrance off the ballroom. Talking to Matt through the
comlink, he tries to explain the situation.
Margo meets up and leaves with Benny Ray as Nicole looks at Matt
and starts to walk towards him, across the room. The musicians are
playing a foxtrot and everybody is on the floor.
Before Nicole reaches Matt a cry fills the dance floor
"Put your hands up to the sky and start praying!!" The
crowd panics as people and bodies start running looking for a safe
place to hide.
The music stops as the musicians reach down for their weapons.
The elegantly dressed people begin to realize how serious the situation
is and stop as the angry insistent voice tells them to stand still.
Matt looks over at Chance and CJ, but sees only Chance, CJ had
taken cover behind the bar and is collecting his arsenal. Margo
and Benny Ray are in the middle of the crowd and are not able to
assist Matt in any way. Benny Ray looks at the man who started all
the mayhem and recognizes the man from the hallway.
Nicole and Benny Ray look at each other across the room and she
realize Benny Ray knows the man
In the mean time Matt is on
the comlink busy getting information.
Nicole freezes as the man calls her up, "Nicole
are you?" he says playfully. "Nicky come out come out
wherever you are
." His voice gets angrier as he says,
"Nicole this is no time to play hide and seek."
Nicole looks at Matt and sees him nod. Looking beside her she can
see Isabel with tears in her eyes holding tightly to Xavier. He
tries to calm her but it doesn't seem to get through to her.
"I'm over here" She stands up and walks towards Jack,
"What do you want Jack?
"What I want is for you to keep your mouth shut!" he
cries out. Stepping up he smacks her hard across her left cheek!
Benny Ray sees red and moves in while CJ gets ready to take Jack
out, but Matt's nod NO stays his hand!
Chance is looking at Margo and she signals, on Matt's mark no sooner!
Jack is standing in front of Nicole and starts to tell her what
it is he wants.
He tells her that he wants the ladies to collect their "shiny
toys" and the men have to give him their watches and wallets.
"So now you're a common thief" Nicole taunts him. "At
headquarters they were getting suspicious about you! They sent me
to check you out, but a thief Jack."
"This is all your fault Nicole, you told them you didn't trust
me so they kicked my butt back to sale's! You little bitch!"
Jack's anger is palpable!! His eyes are rolling strangely in his
head. Walking back toward Nicole he raises his hand to hit her again,
but instead he sees a knife flashing toward him.
"What the h
!" he cries out and jumps back away
from the knife.
"I'm just full off surprises!!" Nicole smiles and steps
toward Jack, reaching for his gun he's surprised to find it missing.
"Are you looking for this?" Nicole asks sweetly holding
out her left hand. Jack goes nuts and grabs a woman from the floor
pulling the scared woman in front off him as a shield.
One of the musicians steps onto the floor as he starts to collect
jewelry, watches and wallets from the people on the floor. "We
have enough," he yells, "let's go!" The man approaches
Matt, who's poised for action, jumping up he takes the guy out with
one punch to the jaw!
Chance takes a gun from CJ as they start to shoot at the rest of
the band. Benny Ray leaps' forward placing himself behind Jack and
the lady wrapped in his arm, taking out one off the Glocks he hold
it above his head.
Jack could feel the danger behind him but is slow to react.
Swinging the butt of the Glock he strikes Jack on the side of the
head, catching the woman as Jack slowly sinks to the ground. Setting
the trembling woman on her feet he steadies her before turning to
Nicole. "You ok?" Benny Ray asked look at Nicole pale
face. You look like you're going to pass out"
Nicole turns looking to see if Isabel is all right before she turns
back to Benny Ray. "I never pass out!" she say's hoping
he'll believe her little fib - she felt weak and shaky all over
as she throws him a wan little smile.
As the guests start to leave, the police arrive and the thieves
are arrested and taken away.
Across the room the team sits comfortably at a large table. "Can
I have my beer now?" Matt asks as he looks at CJ.
"Sorry, bar is closed Major!" CJ says with a happy smile!
Everybody laughs as the questions start to fly. Nicole smiles, and
takes a sip from her orange juice and starts to talk.
"I work for an insurance firm as a investigator, I check on
false claims. Recently we got some very large claims, made by several
clients. No problem so far. But it got a bit fishy after we found
out that Jack recently visited those clients!" She stops for
a second sip and than starts again. "Some off those clients
said that Jack told them he wanted a small amount of the insurance
money in exchange for his help! We also found out he had been blackmailing
some of our clients. I knew we were in big trouble and decided to
call my old pal, Trout, he came up with you guy's." She looks
up at Trout. "Is Isabel all right?"
Trout walks closer to the table and laces his fingers together.
"She's a bit shaken but she'll be fine!"
"What are you going to do now?"
Matt stands up and looks Trout straight in eyes. "So there
was no minister to protect?"
"No Matt, there wasn't, just my family and they are just as
"Don't worry Matt, you and your team will get paid!"
Nicole says sighing.
"That is not the point" Matt say angrily. "He should
have trusted us!"
"Matt I do," Trout says fiercely, "but in this case
I wasn't calling the shots!"
"That was my fault, I'm sorry!" Nicole apologizes as
she gets up and starts to walk towards the door.
"It's been fun" CJ says following her..
Later that night, in the garden a small cigar gets lit. The person
inhales deeply and let's the smoke out in a heavy sigh
well that ends well, don't you agree Benny Ray?"
Nicole leaves the shadow and looks at Benny Ray. His tie is loose
and the top three buttons on his shirt are opened.
"What are you doing here?" he asks.
"I could ask you the same thing!" Nicole answers with
"I came for some fresh air and a drink!" He says showing
her the bottle.
"Me," Nicole whispers, "I just came for the fresh
air and to smoke my ritual cigar!"
Benny Ray puts his beer down and steps toward Nicole taking the
cigar from her hand he put it out. Taking her in his arms he asks
in a deep husky voice " Would you like to dance pretty lady?"
"As a matter of fact I would like that very much!" Her
voice is soft and trembling
as they sway together to music
only they can hear
The next day Nicole wakes up to find herself back at the Silver
Star Hotel. Getting up she begins her day by packing her bags and
preparing to leave.
Downstairs, all is quiet. The team is on the beach. Checking her
watch she makes a phone call.
Ten minutes later, a cab arrives handing her bag to the driver she
gets ready to step inside as she looks out across the sand toward
the volleyball courts.
"Hey there goes Nicole," Margo cries. "Isn't she
coming to say goodbye?"
They all look at CJ and then at Benny Ray as he says, "She'll
Nicole stops and smiles wagging her finger she yells. "I heard
that!" Waving she gets in the cab.
Five arms wave in salute as they watch her drive away before thoughtfully
going back to the volleyball match
"We were winning," CJ yelled!
"I don't think so," Benny Ray answers grabbing for the
Author's Page (Kato)