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    The Assistant


    Posts : 95
    Age : 28
    Location : The Delta Quadrent

    The Assistant

    Post  Carolyn_Keene on Tue Dec 21, 2010 12:17 pm


    Part I

    I yawned, as I put yet more sugar in my coffee, I glanced over my shoulder half expecting Frank to be standing there to lecture me about putting so much sugar in my coffee…again. It wasn’t like I put that much in it, really I didn’t.

    I raised the cup to my lips, burning my tongue on the hot liquid, I gave an involuntary yelp, quickly putting the cup down and trying to run my tongue under the cold water from the sink nearby. When the burning finally seemed to die down I stood up again.

    “Ow.” I muttered with my tongue hanging out of my mouth like a dog, I must’ve sounded weird, mostly because I did even to myself. I glowered at my coffee, after all, it was to blame for scalding my tongue. From somewhere in the dark crevices of my brain I heard a small voice say,

    You shouldn’t have touched it yet. This was Mr. Reasonable. I ignored him often. He belonged in the corner of my mind alone. Quiet, he was supposed to be quiet. He never was. I went to grab my cup of coffee before deciding better grabbing four more packs of sugar and dumping them in, bringing my total to twelve, twelve was a good number. A lucky number.

    Somewhere in the world.

    I was sure of it.

    I stirred the new sugar packets into the coffee, picking up the cup and heading back for my office, I blinked as I stepped into my office, (Okay technically it was Frank’s office too, but that’s beside the point) there was a girl, standing in gray high heels, in the middle of my office. I cocked my head to the side watching her. She had blonde hair braided up in two buns on either side of her head, it looked like it took far too much time for anyone’s good.

    She wore a short pink strapless dress showing her long slender legs. I’m an ATAC detective. I’m trained to see these things, honest. She had a silver anklet that had charms hanging down around her heel, she reached for a file on Frank’s neatly organized desk, her bangles on her wrist clanging together, I noticed she was wearing a silver necklace, of course all I could see was a silver chain around the back of her neck, she also wore a bracelet that snaked around her upper arm. She picked up a piece of paper off Frank’s desk holding it up into the light, I noticed a ring that looked like a white rose on her finger.

    I grinned a little watching her, I had to respect anyone who could barge into anyone else’s office and snoop. Actually it kinda reminded me if Lil Sis. She’d come into my office and snoop. Scratch that. She probably had. Of course I didn’t have the fun of doing, well, this:

    “Find anything interesting?” I asked. I actually thought for a split second I’d given the girl a heart attack, she literally jumped an inch off the ground, giving a loud yelp as she spun around, her hand that was reaching to place the paper back into it’s neat stack jerked and sent the neatly stacked papers on Frank’s desk flying to the floor. The girl looked at me with wide brown eyes, she was breathing hard, her hand coming up to place over her necklace, which from what I could see looked like three or four strands that made an intricate design of flowers.

    “I-I-I,” the girl stammered, first she had paled then her cheeks flushed a deep crimson, suddenly finding her shoes extremely interesting, “I mean I-” she cut herself off again. I actually simi-felt bad, nah, actually I didn’t, I enjoyed scaring people far too much, of course it’s not like I ever got to, not with Frank and Nancy, both of them have this creepy sixth since that just knows when someone is near.

    I chuckled walking the rest of the way into the office, I set my coffee down on Frank’s desk as I walked to Frank’s desk.

    “Its fine,” I said, I started to kneel down to grab some of the papers that she’d knocked to the ground,

    “Oh! No!! Let me!!” I heard her say before I felt a splitting pain in my head that caused me to basically just sit down, fast. I put my hand on my forehead, feeling it throb. I could basically see stars floating around.

    “Ow.” I said blinking a few times, I looked up to see the girl basically in the same position as me, holding a hand to her head. Just when I thought there wasn’t any possible way for her cheeks to gain anymore red to them, they turned a darker crimson, as she looked at me.

    “I’m so sorry!!” she said finally pulling her hand from her head, she started to shove the papers into a messy pile, Frank would flip that someone messed up his neat papers. I was starting to like this girl.

    “It’s okay,” I said as I stood up, going to my desk and sitting down, I was so glad I’d sat down my coffee, I couldn’t imagine if I had been holding the scalding liquid when the girl had ran into me. The girl stood up putting the simi-neat papers on Frank’s desk, falling quiet, staring at the pile of papers, trying to tuck one small corner back inside the pile.

    “Don’t worry about that,” I said, “Frank’ll blow enough of a gasket that they’re out of order.”

    That sent the girl into pure panic mode.

    “It will?!” she finally spoke turning back to the papers, like she suddenly had to organize them.

    “No!” I said quickly, “I’m kidding,” I really wasn’t but I didn’t need to call the psych ward right now, and the girl looked one step away from losing everything.

    “Oh.” The girl said sighing, “Guess that’s what I get for snooping, huh?” she blushed again, looking down at her shoes again.

    “Probably, but I wouldn’t like you as much if you hadn’t,” I grinned a little as I looked at my desk, okay it was…cluttered. Not messy, cluttered. I walked back to my desk sitting down again, feeling another wave of dizziness, she really had done a number on my head. Of course I’d forgotten my coffee over on Frank’s desk. I glared at my coffee we were going to have words later Mr. Coffee.

    The girl seemed to pick up psychic waves ‘cause she instantly picked up my coffee bringing it to me. I blinked at the coffee then blinked at the girl.

    “Okay so nameplate gives away who I am, but exactly, who are you?” I asked. The girl blushed brightly again.

    “You’re Raylinn,” She stumbled over her words then her eyes widened, “I mean I’m Joe, I mean,” she groaned closing her eyes, hanging her head, opening her eyes to look at her shoes again. “Raylinn Chandler.” She said in a very quiet voice. I couldn’t help but wonder how this girl managed to get into ATAC. Let alone why would she want to get into ATAC?

    “Nice to meet you,” I extended my hand, but Raylinn didn’t seem to notice since she was still staring at her shoes like they were the most fascinating things in the world, I slowly dropped my hand, picking up my coffee again, this time I blew on it before taking a sip, I expected her to say something but she didn’t.

    “Sooo…” I said slowly, “Why’re you here?” Okay that was blunt, even for me, but it seemed to jolt Raylinn she looked back up at me.

    “Oh!” she said, “I’m your new assistant,” she nodded to a new desk I hadn’t noticed before, there was now a third desk in Frank and mine office, it was set up with a computer and a few files.

    “An assistant?” I asked, “Does that mean you’ll be doing field work with us?” I asked.

    “No!” Raylinn said quickly putting her hands up, looking up at me finally, “No I stay here, mostly I’m an advanced secretary.”

    “Oh, okay,” I nodded, “Sounds good,” Well this was awkward. Really awkward.

    “I guess if you just need anything lemme know, okay?” Raylinn asked, and then she scurried away to the desk, burring her face behind a weathered book of some sort, the brown leather wasn’t holding the title as well as it used to so the lettering was impossible to make out.

    I needed to talk to my boss, Hayes, about this. Now. ASAP. Probably sooner. I glanced at the door, Raylinn was gonna think I was a freak if I just ran off, I needed an excuse. Uhh… Why was it I could come up with things on the fly when I was out in the field but here in ATAC? I was like a fish out of water.

    “Well,” I announced, finally, “I need more sugar.” I grabbed my coffee cup walking out, I took a sip of the coffee, it wasn’t a complete lie, it could do with one or two, maybe three more packs.

    I walked down to Hayes’ office, technically his name was Noah Hayes, but no one called him that, everyone just called him Hayes. I reached up and rapped on the before going inside. My boss looked up at me with blue eyes from behind his thin glasses, he had salt and pepper hair that was always neatly trimmed.

    “Joe?” he asked, “Something wrong?”

    “An assistant?” I asked, “Really?”

    “She’s more of an assistant, besides, you need it, have you seen your desk?” Hayes asked me seriously. I blinked.

    “What does my desk have to do with anything?”

    “A small child could get lost for days.” Hayes said.

    Could not!

    “Well…that’s not exactly my fault,” I said, slowly, “But an assistant will help how?”

    “You and Frank are running with the big boys now,” Hayes said standing up, going to put a file away in his gray filing cabinet, “You’re getting more difficult assignments,”

    “Yeah…so?” I said slowly, not seeing the point.

    “So you two are going to be spending less time here, you two are going to need someone here, besides Raylinn specifically requested to be working with you and Frank,” Hayes said. I blinked.

    “Why?” I asked slowly, why would a girl like Raylinn want to work with people like me and Frank?

    “No clue,” Hayes said, “But I do want you to try to find out.”

    “So I have to try and probe my new non-wanted non-assistant?” I asked.

    “Basically,” Hayes said, “Listen you figure out what she wants, I’ll get rid of her, happy?”

    “Marginally,” I said. Hayes sighed.

    “Joe-” he started but I cut him off.

    “I need an assistant because I’m going to end up losing it one of these days, right?” I asked.

    “No.” Hayes said, “I was going to say, that you need the assistant so that you and Frank don’t have to do so much paperwork.” My eyebrows came up.

    “Less paperwork?” I asked.

    “Yes, she can take case notes and fill out the paperwork.” Hayes said.

    “Alright!” I said grinning.

    “Just don’t forget to get what her deal is,” Hayes said looking over his glasses at me, in the a-typical teacher glaring at student way.

    “I’m on it,” I said before walking out, taking another swig of my coffee, it was starting to get cold. I needed to add some more warmth to it, I was walking down the hall when I found Frank walking towards me.

    “Joe there’s a strange girl in our room.” Frank said, jerking his thumb over his shoulder in the direction of our office.

    “Yeah I know.” I said, “Raylinn Chandler.”

    “You know?” Frank asked, “And you’re okay with this?”

    “No.” I said, “Not at all, but Hayes says she requested to work with us,”

    “Why?” Frank asked.

    “Your guess is as good as mine at this point.” I said, shrugging “Of course, Hayes wants us to try and find out,”

    “Sounds fun,” Frank said sarcastically.

    “Yup,” I rolled my eyes, “But she does all the paperwork, so I’m in,” I grinned walking past Frank back towards our office.

    “Of course you are, I for one, don’t mind paperwork.” Frank said.

    “That’s because you’re the freak who likes paperwork,” I shuttered taking another long drawl from my coffee, bleh it really was cold.

    “And you’re the freak who likes that.” Frank pointed to my coffee, if Frank was ever captured by the enemy no amount of torture would get him to talk, but force him to drink coffee? He’d start singing like a bird.

    “Sugar.” I said, holding the cup up and wiggling it back and forth, “Makes it worthwhile,” I grinned at my brother.

    “Oh goodie. Expose the poor new assistant to that first day,” Frank said he rolled his eyes, “Just do me one favor,”

    “Anything for my dear loving brother,” I said smirking.

    “Don’t scare her off,” Frank said. I rolled my eyes.

    “So funny,” I said sarcastically. Frank grinned at me.

    “Someone has to keep you grounded,” Frank said before walking off. I rolled my eyes, going to warm up my coffee before going back into the office

    Raylinn was organizing files in the filing cabinet Frank and I never used, well, okay I never used it, I don’t know if Frank did. He probably did. The freak.

    “Hey,” I said as I walked in. Raylinn looked over her shoulder.

    “Your brother was here,” she said, simply before turning back to her filing work.

    “Yeah, I ran into him in the hall,” I turned to look at my desk and blinked, it was…clean.

    “What happened to my desk?!” I burst out. Raylinn spun around.

    “I was told to organize your office,” Raylinn said her hands fluttering around her necklace, “I thought I was doing what I was supposed to!” her words started to mush together as she said them.

    “It was organized!” I pouted. Raylinn looked from the desk to me, she gave a grin before hiding her it behind her hand.

    “What?” I asked looking at Raylinn, narrowing my eyes, but more as a joke, I mean I wasn’t like furious that my desk was clean, I’d have room to work now, but, I had a system, she messed with the system!

    “Nothing,” Raylinn turned back to her filing, I rolled my eyes going to sit back down behind my desk, I pulled out my laptop powering it on, I leaned back while it booted, things fell into an odd silence.

    I logged onto my computer, ignoring my work and logging onto Facebook, okay yes, I’ll admit it, I play FarmVille. Deal.

    The silence got louder over the next half hour, I tried to start some conversations but each one Raylinn said as little as possible letting it lapse back into quiet it was creepy, Raylinn didn’t talk she didn’t say anything she just silently filed the papers. It was like having a ghost in my office, this girl never spoke.

    Remind me again why she signed up for ATAC?

    Finally I spun around in my chair balling up a piece of paper tossing it into the basketball hoop over the trash bin, the basket made a cheering sound. At least it was noise. Then I heard surprising sound. A giggle.

    I looked up. Raylinn was hiding her smile behind her fingers, again, but she was still facing the filing cabinet, trying to do her work one-handed. I grinned grabbing another ball and tossing it for the trashcan, this one rimmed and fell out.

    “Drat,” I said. Raylinn giggled again, glancing over from her work.

    “You try,” I said, Raylinn turned around to face me and I held out a balled up piece of paper to her.

    “No thanks,” Raylinn’s giggling instantly stopped, and her grin faded.

    “C’mon,” I said wagging the ball back and forth. Raylinn paused I could see her brown eyes looking from the paper ball to me, like she was weighing her options. Finally she slowly stepped forward taking the ball, she tossed it for the can, but it bounced off the side landing halfway back to her.

    “I’m not the best at anything like that,” Raylinn gave a small grin, but she also was blushing. I chuckled a little. She was really shy, shy but really cute, the light pink blush made her all the cuter.

    “That’s okay, you got time to get better,” I said, I grabbed my notepad that I used to make paper balls from, holding it out to Raylinn.

    “I have work to do,” Raylinn said, still blushing lightly.

    “So do I,” I countered, “C’mon, at least be a little fun.” I winked at Raylinn, she gave a giggle and blushed brighter, but she tentatively took the notepad, ripping off a piece of paper, she balled it before tossing it for the basket, this time it sunk through the basket, with the crowd cheering.

    “Beginners luck,” I chuckled, I pushed out of my chair to go stand beside Raylinn.

    “I’ve always been lucky,” she said.

    “Then let’s see you do it again,” I said.

    “Nu-uh, it’s your turn,” Raylinn told me, her blush was slowly subsiding, leaving just the lightest pink hue on her cheeks. I took the paper wadding it up and throwing it for the basket, it landed in the trash can without going through the hoop.

    “I think that counts,” I said grinning at Raylinn.

    “Nope,” Raylinn said reaching for the notepad, but she yelped losing her balance in her high heels, I quickly steadied her.

    “Those things are officially dangerous,” I told Raylinn, who just blushed a deep, deep red in return, she muttered something before quickly going for the filing cabinet again.

    “Hey it’s okay,” I said, but I didn’t get a response from Raylinn, I walked over to her, “Raylinn?”

    “No, no I’m fine,” Raylinn said, “I need to get this work done,” she was a deep red.

    “Okay,” I said slowly, going back to my desk, sitting down, actually opening my work.[font]

    Posts : 95
    Age : 28
    Location : The Delta Quadrent

    Re: The Assistant

    Post  Carolyn_Keene on Tue Dec 21, 2010 12:18 pm

    Part II

    Two Weeks Later

    “Oh…my god…” Frank froze as he was walking into our office, causing me to run right smack dab into his back.

    “Hey what the heck?” I asked.

    “Look,” Frank said stepping aside, I looked inside our office, well, I thought it was our office, I leaned back out to look at the nameplate. Yup. It was ours.

    “Okay…” I said slowly, I looked back inside the office, our office, I reminded myself. The window was strung with Christmas lights, and ribbon, and…sparkles. The corner off the office had a small fat Christmas tree decorated with lights and beads and lots of ornaments, all three desks in our office were covered with a red cloth and had lights and ribbon running around each one.

    “Who…” Frank trailed off.

    “I have a feeling,” I said slowly, I walked away from the door to my office, leaving Frank standing in the doorway, debating about going inside or not. I walked down to the small break room, the smell of coffee was strong from the new pot that was still brewing.

    Raylinn was in the refrigerator, pulling out a small bottle of apple juice, she was dressed in a red dress today, all of her dresses seemed more suiting for a formal event than a daily work event, and golden shoes, but she had a bright red bow holding her hair up in a ponytail instead of her usual braids, since her hair was out of the braids it was curling in waves.

    “Ray?” I asked walking over to her, she looked up at me from trying to get the top off her juice, I heard the sound of jingling bells and quickly realized she had golden bells hanging from her ears.

    “Yes?” she asked.

    “What did you do to our office?” I asked. Raylinn grinned, brightly. Over the past time each time she did that to me, it felt like a small beam of sunshine, and got to me every time.

    “It’s Christmas time,” she said, brightly, as if that solved all of the answers in the world.

    “Thanksgiving was just last week,” I said, chuckling.

    “Hence the fact that now it’s Christmas time,” Raylinn grinned. I shook my head.

    “I shouldn’t be surprised,” I said.

    “About?” Raylinn asked cocking her head to the side, I reached over flicking the bells hanging at Raylinn’s ears.

    “You,” I said, “Being the obsessed Christmas type,”

    “Oh,” Raylinn blushed looking down at her juice, she had glitter mixed into her eye shadow. I shook my head, I really shouldn’t have been surprised, but somehow Raylinn always seemed to surprise me, the only way I might die of shock is if she wound up in a pair of jeans, then I’d die of shock. In the few weeks she’d been working her never once had I seen her in anything but a dress.

    “You just had to explode it all over Frank and my office, didn’t you?” I asked.

    “You don’t like it?” Raylinn asked glancing up at me through her lashes, I didn’t even get how this girl could be this…adorable.

    “Of course I do,” I said instantly, how could I tell her that it was a little overkill with her looking at me like that, “It’s just…More,” I finally said.

    “Oh,” Raylinn said, “Well, I had an extra tree and extra stuff, and my new house, it’s really small, I mean really small, it’s great and all just dinky, I didn’t have room for another tree, and I couldn’t leave him in his box,”

    “Him?” I asked, a grin forming on my lips.

    “Him,” Raylinn said, “There’s nothing wrong with calling my tree a him,” she said, she grinned at me. A few weeks, or even days prior she would’ve blushed a deep red and run, but over the past couple of days she’d slowly been getting used to my teasing, sometimes she’d even get back at me with a quip of her own.

    “Of course,” I said with a grin, “Well I think Frank is scared of him,”

    “Oh…Well I can take him down and figure out somewhere else to put him,” Raylinn said, starting to reach for a piece of hair that usually hung in her face, undoubtedly it was to put it in her mouth to chew on it but it was pulled back in her ribbon instead of hanging in her face, she blinked when her fingers only met air then dropped her hand quickly.

    “No, no, it’s fine,” I said chuckling a little, I hadn’t said anything about the hair chewing, she probably would’ve just run away from me anyway. No matter how brave she was starting to get, I still felt like I was treading on thin ice with her.

    “Are you sure?” Raylinn asked me softly.

    “Positive,” I grinned at her, “I’ll tell Frank,”

    “Really?” Raylinn grinned at me.

    “Sure,” I said.

    “Thanks,” Raylinn giggled at me. I grinned back, my knees felt weak.

    “Of course,” I said, making a quick exit out the door, I took a deep breath. What was going on with me? I mean sure, I’d had girls that got to me, because they were amazingly pretty, but Raylinn? She was different. I’d had girlfriends, I’d even had girlfriends I thought I loved, but Raylinn? No, I mean I hadn’t even asked Raylinn out on a date, aside from the couple of times her clumsy-ness had caused her to fall and I’d caught her I’d never even touched the girl.

    But a part of me, a part that was growing too, yearned to touch her, to reach out and hold her hand, or run my fingers over her cheek. Or to kiss her, I closed my eyes, pinching my brow. But if I even thought about asking her out? All she’d probably do is run away anyway, the thought of us getting together would probably never happen. But still, the way she would look at me, she’d kill me every time.

    I shook my head taking a deep breath, trying to clear my head. I tried to remind myself I’d barely known her for two weeks, and yet I couldn’t help but imagine what it’d be like to be with her.

    I shoved away from the wall, walking back down to our office, Frank was sitting at his Christmas-fied desk he looked up at me.

    “So?” he asked, “You ran off…”

    “Raylinn did it,” I chuckled sitting at my own desk, looking at the bright red covering on my desk.

    “Somehow I’m not surprised,” Frank said looking at the tree.

    “He was sad,” I said. Frank quickly turned to look back at me with a puzzled look.

    “The tree,” I clarified, “The tree was sad in his box,”

    “Our assistant is mental,” Frank said. I chuckled.

    “Yeah, she is,” I said, grinning. Frank looked up from his paperwork at me raising an eyebrow at me.

    “Do I hear something in your voice little brother?” Frank asked. I looked at Frank shaking my head.

    “Doubt it,” I said.

    “Y’know, in a couple weeks Ned and Nancy’re coming over, for a Christmas dinner, we could invite a couple people from work,” Frank said.

    “Ha. Ha.” I said with a glare.

    “What?” Frank grinned at me.

    “We don’t need to invite Raylinn,” I said.

    “I never said Raylinn,” Frank smirked, “You jumped to her, I knew it.”

    “Knew what?” I asked.

    “Crush.” Frank said.

    “So not true,” I said.

    “Then why’d you jump to Raylinn when I just mentioned people from work?” Frank asked.

    “Because we were talking about Raylinn before you mentioned Christmas,” I said.

    “So I changed topics,” Frank said.

    “You never jump from topic to topic,” I countered, “I jump from topic to topic.”

    “This is true,” Frank agreed with me. I chuckled shaking my head.

    “C’mon, you wanna invite her though?” Frank asked.

    “I might?” I said slowly.

    “Might what?” Raylinn asked as she came into the room, well more of pranced, she always moved gracefully.

    “Mom’s decided to have a friend of ours, and her boyfriend over for a Christmas dinner thing, I was wondering if you wanted to come to save Nancy from being the only girl,” Frank said.

    “Not that she’d mind being the only girl,” I said, shooting Frank a glare, but he just grinned at me then back to Raylinn.

    “So will you come?” he asked.

    “Oh, I,” Raylinn stuttered a little, “I mean, I’d…” she trailed off like she was trying to talk herself into something, “Sure.” She finally said grinning. I couldn’t help but grin. Raylinn had said ‘sure’ she was actually gonna come over to my house.

    This so was gonna wind up with me in so much trouble.

    “I’m sorry about the Christmas stuff,” Raylinn spoke up again.

    “It’s fine,” Frank chuckled, “Honest, I think it’s actually kinda nice, cheerful,”

    “Not overkill?” Raylinn asked.

    “Maybe just a squish,” Frank said, chuckling.

    “Oh, sorry,” Raylinn giggled a little.

    “It’s fine,” Frank said, “But I have to ask, when did you do all this?”

    “Saturday,” Raylinn said shrugging.

    “You came to work, on a Saturday, to decorate?” Frank asked. Raylinn shrugged but grinned going to sit at her desk, smoothing the red cloth.

    “I figured you’d be decorating your place,” I said.

    “I finished that Thursday and Friday,” Raylinn said simply.

    “Thursday was Thanksgiving, you really give Thanksgiving no time at all,” Frank chuckled.

    “No I did, I went to dinner, I just got home at four and decided to start decorating,” Raylinn said. I grinned a little shaking my head.

    “Wow, okay then,” Frank said he pulling out his laptop, starting to boot it. I chuckled opening my own drawer with my laptop everything was neatly organized I quickly looked up at Raylinn who was grinning sheepishly at me.

    “What did I say about organizing my desk?” I asked her. Raylinn sighed reciting back,

    “That it’s perfectly organized, just not how I would organize it,” she said.

    “Then why is it OCD organized?” I asked.

    “Because she’s OCD,” Frank quipped from his own desk not looking up from his laptop.

    “I am not,” Raylinn blushed. I raised an eyebrow at her, not even saying anything.

    “I might be a little OCD,” Raylinn said, holding her fingers up barely a centimeter apart. I shook my head holding my thumb and index finger as far apart as they would go.

    “No way!” Raylinn shook her head.

    “So way,” I said smirking at her. Raylinn rolled her eyes.

    “You should be doing your work,” she said.

    “Last I checked you were hired as an assistant, not a mother,” I said rolling my eyes, but I pulled out my laptop anyway, leaning back in my chair, letting it boot, I glanced over at Raylinn, she was concentrating on her work in front of her, probably trying to decipher my handwriting, I didn’t have bad handwriting, but for some reason everyone complains they can’t read it.
    Raylinn had this habit of wrinkling her nose when she concentrated on things, it was adorable, I took a deep breath, looking back to my computer, I typed in the password quickly pulling up my files for work. I kept trying to remind myself, it wasn’t like I stalked Raylinn, I didn’t follow her home at night with that creepy glimmer in my eye. I just, found myself watching her…a lot.

    I didn’t even get it, usually when I dated girls they were…well…hot. I mean it’s not that Raylinn wasn’t cute, she just wasn’t hot, she wasn’t what I usually dated, I normally went for girls with brown hair, or black hair even, blondes just weren’t what I usually dated. But for whatever reason Raylinn just wouldn’t leave me alone, she followed me through my thoughts, no matter how hard I tried to focus on other things.

    Like work.

    I pulled my eyes away from Raylinn and back to my screen, I quickly pulled up my work files, getting back to my actual work.

    I flopped on my day bed that night closing my eyes, I was sore, and worn out, and dead tired. I’d hit the gym that afternoon, probably pushed myself far too hard, but it was always worth it, I felt great, later. I closed my eyes, fully planning on catching a few z’s when my phone chirped.

    I whined pulling my phone out of my pocket the screen was illuminated with,

    ‘1 New Text’

    I slid the unlock across the screen pulling the text up.

    “Can you talk?” from Nancy Drew. I couldn’t help but grin, Nancy had the be the only person in the world who always texted in full sentences. I hit answer, turning my phone sideways to quickly type back.

    “Always for you, Sis,” I hit send before closing my eyes, sitting my phone on my chest, trying to sink into my mattress, hoping it’d pull me under completely letting me get some rest. But right before I could feel myself dozing off my phone chirped again. I picked it up pulling the new text up.

    “Call you in five,” Nancy’s text read, I grinned. Five minutes to sleep. Sounded like a plan to me. I closed my eyes again, the next thing I knew my phone was vibrating and a high-pitched child’s voice was saying,

    “That’s my sissy over there! I see you! Hi Sissypoo!” I grinned, I really couldn’t wait for Nancy’s reaction to her ringtone, one of these days I’d have to show it to her. She was probably gonna kill me.

    “Hey Nan,” I answered, as I pressed the phone to my ear.

    “Hey,” Nancy’s voice said in my ear, “Whatcha up to?” she asked. I blinked.

    “Whatcha up to?” I asked. Nancy laughed.

    “Sorry,” she said, “I thought I’d try to be more, well, Bess,” she said.

    “It’s not working,” I said, “Besides you don’t need to change,”

    “Awww,” Nancy said, giggling, in the background I could hear music playing.

    “What’re you listening to?” I asked.

    “Hm? Oh, Within Temptation,” Nancy answered.

    “Gotcha,” I said, even though I didn’t, Nancy and I didn’t exactly listen to the same set of music, “So was there something you needed?”

    “Nah, I just was wondering how your Thanksgiving was,” Nancy said.

    “Oh, yeah, it was fun,” I said, “Basic, normal stuff, but fun,” I shrugged.

    “You’re so descriptive,” Nancy laughed, I could see her rolling her eyes at me.

    “Okay, fine,” I said, “We had the family over, we ate dinner, watched football, I slept.”

    “Wow Joe,” Nancy said, “You seriously need a girlfriend,” she said, without permitting it to my brain went to Raylinn, I shook my head clearing my thoughts. I was seriously starting to lose it.

    “Joe?” Nancy asked after a moment, “Oh my gosh, who is she?” she asked.

    “What?” I asked, “There’s no girl,”

    “Oh well if that’s the case, then just never mind,” Nancy said.

    “Exactly,” I said.

    “I was kidding,” Nancy said, “Spill or I’ll just be forced to call Frank,”

    “Nancy, it’s not gonna work,” I said, “Drop it.” I sounded harsher than I meant, but I didn’t really care.

    “Okay…Sorry…” Nancy said slowly, “Listen, you know I’m always here if you need to talk to me, right?”

    “Of course I know that,” I said grinning a little, “Listen, it’s really no big deal,”

    “Of course,” Nancy said, “Honestly? No dating really is worth the hype, call me a greeting card if you want, but it’s true, whoever you’re supposed to be with forever you’ll find eventually,”

    “Wow, who knew my little sister was so…What’s the word I’m looking for?” I paused.

    “Mind reader, genius, brilliant, epic.” Nancy said.

    “No, none of those,” I said. Nancy giggled.

    “Seriously though,” Nancy said.

    “I know,” I sighed and nodded, “I know you’re right, and besides, aside from you, the freak, who actually finds their wife at our age?”

    “A large percentage,” Nancy said.

    “Not helping,” I said.

    “Sorry,” Nancy laughed, “Seriously though, it’s no big deal,”

    “Then why aren’t you dropping it?” I asked.

    “’Cause I’m a pain and I want to know her name,” Nancy said, “Detective, you know that,”

    “You’re more curious than a cat,” I said.

    “Precisely,” Nancy said, I could hear the grin in her voice.

    “Listen, when, or if, anything happens, you will be the first to know,” I said.

    “No I won’t,” Nancy said.

    “Sure you will,” I said slowly.

    “Please, Frank’ll know before I do,” Nancy said.

    “Probably true,” I chuckled.

    “It’s fine,” Nancy said.

    “Good,” I said, “So did you call for a reason?”

    “Not really,” Nancy said in that tone clearly said it was a lie.

    “What would that reason be?” I asked.

    “You suck,” Nancy said, “You know that?”

    “I’ve been told it a few times,” I nodded.

    “Anyway,” Nancy said, “I was wondering when you wanted Ned and I to drive out?” I knew that wasn’t the actual reason that she had called me, but obviously she’d decided to veto that whole conversation.

    “Whenever,” I said, I started thinking of Frank inviting Raylinn out but I didn’t say anything, “Maybe like the eleventh?” I asked, “I’m busy the tenth,”

    “Eleventh sounds like a perfect date,” Nancy said, “At least to me, I’m sure Ned can clear up whatever he did have on his schedule, if he had anything that is,” she laughed.

    “Alright perfect,” I said, “I’ll let Frank know we set a date,” I grabbed a koosh ball off the floor tossing it up in the air catching it again easily.

    “Perfect,” Nancy said, she paused then said, “I’ll see you then,”

    “Of course you will, but I’m always just a text away,” I said.

    “I know,” Nancy said nodding, “I always know,”

    “Good,” I said, “Talk to you later then?”

    “Of course,” Nancy said, “Bye,”

    “Bye,” I said before hanging up pocketing my phone again tossing the koosh ball up into the air and catching it.

    Posts : 95
    Age : 28
    Location : The Delta Quadrent

    Re: The Assistant

    Post  Carolyn_Keene on Tue Dec 21, 2010 12:19 pm

    Part III

    Two Days Later

    I shook my head as I walked into the break room, starting my first cup of coffee when I heard a voice behind me. I had some crazy dream the night before, I was trying to recall the details, but they were all fuzzy, something about a Farris Wheel, and a carnival, and…The Polar Express?

    “Hey Joe,” I was pulled from my thoughts hearing the voice as I looked over my shoulder to see the tall slender form of Peyton, she worked at ATAC, pretty good agent actually, we’d worked a few cases together, not to mention we’d dated a few times. She was pretty, she had short brown hair and bright green eyes, like normal she was wearing skinny jeans and a tight halter top.

    “Hey,” I said, going back to pouring sugar into my coffee, “What’s up?”

    “Well,” Peyton leaned against the wall beside me, “I’m getting dragged to this family thing,” she said rolling her eyes, “My Grandma constantly goes on and on about me not having a boyfriend, so I was wondering if you’d be willing to fill the spot?”

    I chuckled, this was the kind of relationship Peyton and I had, random dates here and there, nothing serious, just one of those neither one of us were doing anything on a Friday so we’d go get something to eat, or catch the newest movie. We were friends, not super close friends like Nancy and I were, but friends.

    I chuckled shaking my head.

    “I know how that goes,” I said, “My family does the same thing,” I rolled my eyes.

    “I know, it’s so stupid,” Peyton said. I nodded.

    “It is!” I said, over Peyton’s shoulder I saw Raylinn walk into the break room, she looked between Peyton and then me, for a moment, she looked…hurt…

    “So, uh, when is it?” I suddenly felt awkward, looking back to Peyton, I saw out of the corner of my eye that Raylinn went to the refrigerator pulling out a juice, finding the lid fascinating.

    “The tenth,” Peyton said.

    “Yeah, sure why not,” I grinned. Peyton laughed

    “Just be ready for the ‘when’re you gonna propose’ questions,” Peyton said.

    “Duh, it’s your Christmas gift,” I said smirking. I noticed Raylinn quickly disappeared from the room with her juice. I glanced up watching her go.

    “Friend of yours?” Peyton asked, turning to follow my gaze

    “She’s our new assistant,” I said.

    “Ah, little bit of a crush,” Peyton giggled, “Not that I can blame her,” she smirked at me, “So, I’ll see you around, I’ll shoot you an e-mail with the address,”

    “Perfect,” I said grinning.

    “Great,” Peyton said grinning at me, she leaned up and pressed her lips to my cheek in a quick peck, “Have fun with the newbie,” she said. I rolled my eyes.

    “You stay out of trouble,” I said smirking.

    “Who me?” Peyton asked with a fake look of shock. I rolled my eyes causing her to laugh, “See ya,” she said with a wave as she walked out of the break room. I went back to pouring sugar in my coffee. I walked back to our office Raylinn was sitting at her desk scribbling in a notebook quickly.

    “Morning,” I said, Raylinn jumped a mile in the air, slamming the notebook shut.

    “Oh, morning,” she said a little breathless a she quickly shoved the notebook into a drawer on her desk.

    “You okay?” I asked.

    “I’m fine,” Raylinn said.

    “Okay…” I said slowly, I sat down at my desk, sitting my coffee down on a new Santa coaster, I didn’t even ask about it, Raylinn kept bringing more Christmas stuff into our office, it was gonna explode one of these days.

    “So I saw you talking to…” Raylinn trailed off, giving me a quizzical look.

    “Peyton,” I said, “Peyton Yates,”

    “I haven’t met her before,” Raylinn said.

    “She’s worked here for a while,” I said.

    “You two are obviously close,” Raylinn said, but I could hear something else in her voice.

    “Yeah, we are,” I shrugged, “I mean we’re friends,” this conversation was growing awkward. Fast.

    “Oh, okay,” Raylinn said, she fell quiet after that and I didn’t know what else to say, so the awkward conversation turned into awkward silence.

    I glanced around a little before grabbing my headphones and cranking up my iPod, making things officially less awkward in the room. Well at least for me things became less awkward. Raylinn seemed to still be living in awkward land, she kept looking to me to her computer to her notebook shoved in a drawer.

    I however, seemed incapable of doing anything outside of glancing at her every five seconds, I tried to keep my gaze on my work but it’d drift back over to her as she moved, she just captured my eyes. I swallowed hard taking a gulp of my coffee.

    Raylinn suddenly seemed unable to take it anymore, she stood up, she said something to me, but I couldn’t hear her over the music blaring in my ears, before I even had time to pull one of my ear buds out and ask her what she had said, she’d disappeared out the door. I looked back down at my work, I sighed.

    “Smooth.” I said to myself as I grabbed my stack of paperwork starting to fill in the blanks, thankfully it made me think hard enough that I wasn’t able to think about anything else.

    Or anyone else.

    Raylinn still wasn’t back by the time I’d finished my paperwork. I was starting to worry about her, I tapped my pencil against my desk, I quickly put my iPod to sleep, pulling my headphones out.

    I’d barely had time to wrap my headphones around my iPod before I heard a yelp and a thump, I quickly stood up, the sound had come from just outside my office door. I stood up, walking to the door, I looked out, sitting on the floor beside our office door was Raylinn, she was leaning against the wall a look of pain on her face, she was holding her ankle in her hands tightly, wincing.

    “What happened?” I asked quickly kneeling beside her.

    “I fell off my heel, I’ve just been having the worst week ever.” Raylinn mumbled.

    “It’s only Wednesday, there’s time for it to get better,” I said, with a small grin. Raylinn looked up at me, our eyes met, my green with her brown. I felt the floor fall away from me, all that was there was her.

    “Y-Yeah,” Raylinn whispered, she sounded breathless like she was having a hard time speaking.

    “Is your ankle okay?” I asked finally tearing my gaze from hers to look at her ankle.

    “No,” Raylinn said, “It hurts, really, really bad,” she said. I looked at my watch, little before three o’clock.

    “C’mon you’re going home early,” I said, “Where’s your car?”

    “My truck isn’t working,” Raylinn said, “I took the bus, it won’t be back around until four,” she said, her voice was quiet.

    “I’ll drive you,” I said, “Stay put,” I told her standing up.

    “I don’t think I could get up anyway.” Raylinn muttered. I shot her a reassuring grin before going back into our office, I quickly scribbled a note to Frank:

    ‘Raylinn needed a lift home, be back soon to go home.’

    I went over to Frank’s desk pulling out Dad’s keys.

    “I need my purse!” Raylinn called to me.

    “Where’s that?” I called back.

    “First desk drawer!” Raylinn called, I walked to her desk, quickly grabbing the pink purse. I glanced back at my note to Frank, he was gonna tease me about ditching work to go on a date with Raylinn…I trailed off I couldn’t let my mind go down that ally, the thoughts of being with her as more than a friend would plague me for hours.

    I quickly picked up the pen and wrote.

    ‘Any excuse to get out of work, y’know how it goes’ at the end of the note, I even drew a winking smiley face. I like smiles.

    I walked back out to where Raylinn was trying to stand up, she’d taken her heels off, but her ankle still didn’t want to support her weight.

    “Hey watch it or you’ll f-” my words were cut off as Raylinn’s knee buckled under her, wither she’d hurt it or the pain in her ankle had simply caused it to stop working, I wasn’t sure. I wasn’t even sure how I’d closed the gap between us so fast.

    All I was sure of is that I was now holding Raylinn against me, one of my arms was grasping her forearm, the other one was around her back. My breath caught as I looked down at Raylinn, I was wrong before, she wasn’t cute.

    She was gorgeous.

    Raylinn was leaning against me, keeping the weight off her bad foot, she blinked a couple times at me, I could see her breath starting to come in quicker succession as she looked up at me, her expression caught between surprise and something I couldn’t quite put my finger on.

    “Are…Are you okay?” I whispered, I was shocked to find my voice barely above a whisper.

    “M’fine,” Raylinn whispered, she suddenly seemed to realize how close we were because she tried to push away from me, leaning against the wall, I dropped my hands to my side, the heat from her body already dissipating. I felt like I’d just lost the grasp on something precious.

    “You can’t walk,” I said, mentally shaking myself. What was I doing? Raylinn was my assistant. Sure there wasn’t a rule against dating within ATAC, I think basically everyone knew it was impossible to keep it under control. Dating…That word struck with me. I took a deep breath, trying to clear my head.

    “I can walk,” Raylinn said, not looking at me, but when she tried to take a step on her ankle she instantly pulled it back, sucking in a breath.

    “You can’t walk,” I said, I picked Raylinn up, she gave a startled squeak, her body tensing.

    “Joe put me down!” she said, her face going deep red.

    “You can’t walk, Ray,” I said. Raylinn instantly looked up at me, a look of shock on her face.

    “Wh-What did you call me?” she whispered.

    “Ray,” I said, starting for the doors, “I’m sorry, if you don’t like it I’ll stop,”

    “No, I mean…” Raylinn looked away from me, “Someone close to me used to call me that,” she looked down at her hands.

    “I’ll stop,” I said quickly.

    “No, it’s okay,” Raylinn whispered, she slowly laid her head on my shoulder. I grinned a little walking out to the parking garage.

    “Think you can stand long enough I could get my keys out?” I asked.

    “I could, if you hadn’t left my shoes behind,” Raylinn said with a small grin.

    “Oh,” I said, “Sorry, I can go get them,”

    “I’ll get them tomorrow, I probably can’t wear heels for a while anyway,” Raylinn sighed, “I’ll just have to be short,”

    “That’s okay though,” I said, “But that still leaves us with the problem with my keys are in my hand,” Raylinn giggled a little.

    “Here,” she grabbed the keys off my finger, she paused to look at the key chains, “What are all these?” she asked. As I walked up to a silver sports car, it was my Dad’s car, but Frank and I technically didn’t have our own car as of yet. I had plans to fix that soon.

    “I get key chains from all of the states Frank and I go to,” I shrugged. Raylinn grinned.

    “That’s cute,” she said, pulling up the only car key, she clicked the lock, unlocking the car, I lowered her awkwardly so she could pull the car door open, I set Raylinn down in the seat slowly.

    “You okay?” I asked.

    “Fine,” Raylinn said she looked up at me for a moment.

    “What?” I asked cocking my head, causing my blonde hair fell into my eyes. Raylinn instinctively reached up to brush it away but stopped with her hand in midair.

    “Thank you,” Raylinn said putting her hand back down, “For the ride home I mean,”

    “Anytime,” I said grinning at her, I closed the car door getting in the driver’s seat, I held out my hand, “Key’s please,” I said, “Well that and directions to your house,”

    “My house?” Raylinn paused.

    “I assumed I was taking you home, since you have no shoes,” I said.

    “O-Oh…” Raylinn whispered, “Yeah, no, home,” she grinned weakly at me, placing my keys in my hand.

    “So where to m’lady?” I asked. Raylinn grinned a little at me.

    “Four-two-three Arrowood,” Raylinn said quietly.

    “Yeah I don’t know where that is, but we’ll go with it,” I said pulling out. Raylinn shook her head.

    “Your brother normally drives, doesn’t he?” she asked.

    “Normally,” I said, “But for other reasons,”

    “Gotcha,” Raylinn said, “Just take a right at the stoplight,”

    “Can do,” I grinned, I clicked the radio on before flooring it. Raylinn squealed, grabbing onto the seat.

    “What?” I asked, looking over at her.

    “Eyes on the road!!” she said. I laughed.

    “I like driving fast,” I smirked.

    “I can tell!” Raylinn squealed again, but she was grinning brightly. I looked over at her.

    “I wouldn’t have put you as a dare devil,” I said, Raylinn looked at me.

    “Maybe I am,” she said, grinning.

    “Then let’s go.” I said, pressing the accelerator harder to the ground. I was so glad Frank and I had brought my Dad’s sports car instead of Mom’s silly little SUV, not that I couldn’t get the SUV rolling, but not like the sports car.

    “You’re gonna get us killed!!” Raylinn squealed, but she was laughing brightly. I pulled the corner to hard slamming on the gas again.

    “I see why your brother drives!” Raylinn said. I laughed.

    “I don’t do it with rental cars, or on cases, but here at home?” I shrugged, “But you need the full experience, I reached over cranking the music up to nearly an uncomfortable level, I cranked the heat up all the way before rolling the windows down.

    Raylinn was laughing shaking her head, but anything she said was lost to the wind or the music. At least I was taking her mind off the pain of her leg.

    I finally had to slow down as we entered a small neighborhood, the houses were all small, one or two bedroom. I couldn’t imagine Raylinn living here, she couldn’t be any older than I was, or Nancy was, I mean if she lived someplace like here, that’d mean she was living on her own.

    I mean sure ATAC paid us, but not enough to cover more than an allowance would normally cover. There’s no way Raylinn could live on her own. I glanced at her out of the corner of my eye, she seemed uncomfortable, the grin she’d been wearing proudly before had disappeared as we neared, I turned down the music.

    “You okay?” I asked. Raylinn nodded.

    “Turn here,” she said. I turned on the street, the houses got smaller again, ones that barely looked large enough for her.

    “Right there,” Raylinn pointed to a small house, there was a tree in the front yard and along the side an orange truck was parked, but the truck looked like it had seen better days…fifteen years ago.

    “Raylinn…”I whispered.

    “Please.” Raylinn held up her hand, “Please don’t.” she looked at me with a pleading look.

    “Okay,” I said. Raylinn paused.

    “Seriously?” she asked, “No more than that?”

    “No more than that,” I said, I gave her a small grin as I pulled the car against the curb, I climbed out of the car coming around, Raylinn was already trying to stand, clutching her purse in her hand.

    “You’re barefoot,” I said.

    “I’m fine,” Raylinn said. I shook my head picking her up again, kicking the door shut, I carried Raylinn to the small gravel pathway leading up to her house, I quickly went up the couple steps to the front door.

    Raylinn pulled her keys out, I lowered her to unlock the door, she shoved the door open and I walked inside. I wasn’t sure what I expected, but it wasn’t this. Raylinn’s ‘house’ was basically one large, narrow, room. She had a love seat against the wall by the door, and it basically took up the whole wall.

    I lightly sat Raylinn down on the love seat, she sighed.

    “Just say it,” she mumbled miserably.

    “Say what?” I asked.

    “Everything you’re thinking right now,” Raylinn whispered. I looked around the room again, there was a small TV, with a Christmas tree wedged between the TV and the bookcase behind it, the bookcase was the largest thing in the room and it was stuffed with books. I walked over to the bookcase looking at the covers, some were classics some were modern.

    “You’re a book nerd,” I said, “That’s what I’m thinking.” I looked at Raylinn to see her grinning a little.

    “That’s not what I meant,” Raylinn said.

    “I know,” I said, right beside the bookcase started the small kitchen, it barely had two cabinets before the corner and one more cabinet, the door to the back yard broke up the kitchen, leaving just the refrigerator and stove on the opposite wall, there wasn’t even a dishwasher in the kitchen. Right beside the stove was a small door that led, somewhere, and then a dining room table that looked like it’d be a challenge to even let two people eat at, after that was another door and then right back to the door that went outside.

    “The first door goes to my bedroom, the second to the bathroom.” Raylinn said noticing my not so subtle looking around the room, “Neither are any bigger,” she continued.

    “Raylinn why’re you here?” I asked.

    “I live here,” Raylinn said.

    “You know what I mean, where’s your family?” I asked.

    “They…” Raylinn trailed off then shrugged, “I ditched them as soon as I could,” That didn’t sound like Raylinn, but I let the topic go.

    “Gotcha,” I said, coming over sitting on the love seat beside Raylinn, I couldn’t help but feel how close she was, I could feel the heat off her arms against my bare arms.

    “It’s…It’s just how things go,” Raylinn whispered.

    “I understand,” I said, “Listen if you ever n-”

    “No!” Raylinn cut me off, “I’m fine. I don’t need your charity.” She pushed herself to standing, wincing, grabbing onto the window seal, which was covered with Christmas decorations, to keep from falling. I was instantly on my feet.

    “Stop pushing yourself,” I said, my hand was extended to reach for her but she shoved it away.

    “I’m home,” Raylinn said, “Thanks for helping me home, you can go now,” she said.

    “Listen, I don’t care,” I said, “I don’t care that you don’t live in a five story mansion, why would I?”

    “Because you want to offer me help,” Raylinn said.

    “Normally people would take that to mean that I was a nice person,” I said.

    “You might be a nice person, but I don’t need your help.” Raylinn said, “I’m fine.”

    “Okay,” I said putting my hands up, “Okay.” Raylinn looked at me for a moment before finally just going for the second door, the one closer to the front door, she opened it and I glimpsed a dark green bathroom with red and green tiles on the wall, along with a white sink, Raylinn could be heard digging through something. I walked to the door to see her digging through organized baskets along one wall, she quickly pulled out a brown wrap she looked up to see me standing there.

    “You don’t have to stay,” she said quietly.

    “I know,” I said. Raylinn looked at me for a moment before grinning a little.

    “Okay,” she said, watching her slowly work her way back to the love seat to sit down.

    “I’m sure I’ll be fine tomorrow,” she said.

    “But if not, you can take the day off, okay?” I said.

    “You’re not technically my boss,” Raylinn said grinning at me a little.

    “I’m close enough,” I winked at Raylinn, causing her to blush.

    “We’ll see,” Raylinn said grinning a little at me.

    “Good,” I said, watching her try to wrap her ankle, “Here let me help you,” I said, I reached out grasping her wrist, I watched her look at me for a moment before she slowly let go of the wrap, letting me wrap it around her ankle and foot.

    Raylinn sucked in a breath suddenly. My hands froze.

    “What?” I looked up at her.

    “It hurts that’s all,” Raylinn said, looking at me again.

    “Sorry,” I said, I tried to be gentler as I finished wrapping her ankle before going to sit beside Raylinn.

    “You don’t have to st…” Raylinn said, before looking up at me, her voice trailed off as we both realized how close we were, I could feel her warm breath against my face, I couldn’t even find words as I looked at her, she was so amazingly beautiful.

    I slowly reached up, brushing a strand of hair away from her face, lightly letting my fingers graze her cheek. I could feel my heart hammering in my chest. My breathing wasn’t right either, it was ragged, sharp. My brain functioning like it should have, I couldn’t form a coherent sentence.

    I found myself leaning towards Raylinn, closing the distance between us, Raylinn suddenly seemed to jolt back to reality, because she put her hands on my shoulders and pushed me back.

    “You should go,” she said sternly. I felt like I’d been hit by electricity, I blinked a few times, reality slowly coming back into my grasp

    “Raylinn I…” I trailed off, “I’m sorry, I’m…” I couldn’t think of anything to say, I couldn’t think at all, “I was stupid…”

    “You should go, Joe.” Raylinn said again, looking away from me. I blinked a couple of times nodding slowly. I felt like an icy hand had slapped me.

    “I’ll go,” I whispered standing up, “Take care of your ankle,” I told her going for the door. I opened it walking outside, the crisp air taking away what little breath I had left. I walked to the sports car, unlocking it and sitting in the driver seat. I looked back to the small house.

    I felt sick to my stomach, like I was gonna throw up. I couldn’t clear my head, I couldn’t think straight. I suddenly slammed my fist into the steering wheel. The stinging gave me something else to think about, I turned the key in the engine, letting it roar to life, I slammed on the gas, not for enjoyment. But to try and get away.

    I had to get away from all of this. I swerved around the corner dangerously close to another car, I slammed on the gas again, weaving between the cars, not even caring where I drove to.

    Posts : 95
    Age : 28
    Location : The Delta Quadrent

    Re: The Assistant

    Post  Carolyn_Keene on Tue Apr 05, 2011 12:29 pm

    Part IV

    Four Days Later

    I really hate Mondays. Really. Strongly dislike Mondays. Mondays were the bane of my existence. I yawned as I walked into my office sitting down on my chair, mornings came to early on Mondays. I closed my eyes, laying my head on my arms, but instantly opened them again, sitting up. Something was wrong. I glanced around the room quickly seeing it, the Christmas Tree wasn’t plugged in, neither were the lights over the windows.

    That was always the first thing Raylinn did when she got here in the morning, something that hadn’t happened Thursday or Friday. I hadn’t seen her since I left her house Wednesday afternoon.

    I leaned back in my seat closing my eyes. I knew I needed to do something about Raylinn, but I was tired, to tired to think about it, and besdies sleep was always important on Mondays, well, actually it was important all the time, but Mondays were the best. Monday sleep felt different from other sleep. Monday sleep was so much better.

    “Oh wake up you,” I opened one eye to see my brother walking into the office then he paused, “Raylinn’s still not here?”

    “No,” I said sitting up, “I’m starting to worry,”

    “You did say she messed her ankle up pretty bad,” Frank said.

    “But it’s been four days,” I said sitting up, looking at the brown heels that were still sitting on Raylinn’s desk, waiting for her arrival. Which wasn’t happening, I had figured she’d be back today. Why wasn’t she back now?

    Because of you.

    A voice said in the back of my head. I closed my eyes. I couldn’t shut up Mr. Reasonable today. He was right…like he usually was. Only this time it stuck a cord with me. That same cord that vibrated whenever I thought about Raylinn. Especially the expression on her face when she’d told me I had to go.

    “I’m not sure what you two did, but one of you two screwed up,” Hayes’ voice announced his arrival before he walked into our office, his cold blue eyes fixed on me before sliding to look at Frank.

    “What do you mean?” Frank asked, raising an eyebrow.

    “I asked you two to find out what Raylinn’s problem was, not to scare her away,” Hayes said.

    “Scare her away?” Frank echoed, before he looked to me, but I wasn’t able to say anything. I felt that cold icy hand slap me again. She’d quit? I’d upset her so much she had quit ATAC?

    “She called me and said she wasn’t coming back,” Hayes said. I slowly shook my head. I couldn’t believe this. Raylinn couldn’t just quit ATAC, sure she was shy and quiet, but I knew she had the possibility to be an agent one day.


    Or maybe it was the fact I couldn’t be faced with the fact that I’d never see her again. I couldn’t just never see her again. I had to make things right between us. No matter what happened, I had to make things right.

    “Frank I need the car keys,” I said, standing up quickly.

    “Where are you going?” Frank asked.

    “You’re not going anywhere,” Hayes said, “I’m still talking to you,” he looked over his glasses at me.

    “I’m going to get Raylinn,” I said, “Or at least talk to her.” Frank paused but he opened the drawer in his desk, pulling out the keys, he held them out to me. I snatched them out of his hand.

    “You find out why she quit,” Hayes said. I didn’t have the guts to tell him he was looking at the reason why she quit. So instead I just nodded.

    “I will,” I said quickly, before walking out of the office. I shoved a hand through my hair. I couldn’t believe this. I couldn’t believe she’d just run away like this.

    Actually I could believe she would give up like this, Raylinn was the type of girl to run away from her problems, instead of face them head on. I couldn’t let her do this, I had to stop her, somehow I had to convince her that just because I had pulled some idiotic move while I was…I didn’t even know what. To be honest I still didn’t know.

    All I did know was that I had to convince Raylinn to come back to work, no matter how I felt about her personally. No matter if I was falling for her.

    I shook my head trying to clear my thoughts, especially from that train of thought. I walked out of ATAC, into the parking garage, kept pushing the lock button on the key of the car, hoping to hear a sound. I couldn’t remember where Frank parked for the life of me.

    Some ATAC agent I was.


    My head shot up, hearing the sound of Mom’s SUV locking, I pushed the button again following the sound until the gray SUV came into view, I quickly unlocked it climbing inside the car. I shut the door behind me and paused taking a deep breath.

    “Just don’t let her effect you,” I said aloud, a small laugh escaping my lips without even thinking about it. It was like telling my brain not to think. Raylinn did things to me.

    I pulled out of the parking garage focusing on one thing only: how to try to get back to Raylinn’s house without getting lost.

    I was sitting out front of Raylinn’s house, it wasn’t as hard to remember how to get there as I thought it might be. I wasn’t graced with the memory my brother was, he could remember everything. I looked up at Raylinn’s house, despite the entire drive over trying to rehearse what I was going to say, trying to figure out what I should say to her. But nothing was coming to me.

    Nothing was sounding right, I wanted to tell her I was sorry for the way I’d acted it was just a rush of emotions. I really was convinced it was nothing, after all we had just barely met, just over three weeks ago. We weren’t gonna ride off into the sunset together. It was a crush, she didn’t share the crush, then no big deal. We could still work together as professionals, in a professional setting.

    I just had to explain all of this to her, really it wasn’t that big of deal, I just had to make sure she understood that we both were adults, or mostly adults, and then we’d get along just fine. I’d just have to explain it to her. That was it.

    I nodded to myself as I opened the car door, jumping to the ground. I slammed the door behind me as I followed the dirt path up to Raylinn’s door, I paused taking a deep breath. Calm. Rational. Adults. I nodded again to myself reaching up and knocking on the door.

    There was a long pause. Just my luck. She wasn’t in. I sighed, shaking my head starting back for my car when I heard the door open, I quickly spun around Raylinn was standing there, she was wearing gray sweat pants and an oversized sweater, her hair was a mess not up in its usual braids, she wasn’t wearing make-up, and she looked tired.

    All of those things about a calm rational relationship went out the window. I she looked so gorgeous. I took a deep breath and gave a small grin.

    “Hey…” I said my words coming out softer than I meant, “Can we talk?”

    “Joe…” Raylinn whispered, “Joe I dunno,” she whispered.

    “Please,” I asked her, “Please. Let me talk.” Raylinn grasped her hair to chew on it.

    “O-Okay,” Raylinn said finally stepping away from the door so that I could step into the room, I took a deep breath. She had to think I was a freak, I was trying so hard to not let this bother me. To let, her bother me. It was a crush. I’d been around girls that I’d had crushes on before.

    This was so different though…

    “Thank you,” I said turning around to face Raylinn, “Listen, I heard you quit,”

    “I…I felt like I had to,” Raylinn whispered.

    “You didn’t have to,” I said, “C’mon, did I really upset you that bad?”

    “Joe it’s just I can’t get distracted…” Raylinn said.

    “Distracted?” I blinked at Raylinn, “Distracted from what?” Raylinn’s eyes widened.

    “Nothing!” Raylinn said instantly, “Honestly, it’s nothing.”

    “Raylinn…if something’s wrong…” I trailed off.

    “No, nothing,” Raylinn said shaking her head, “Listen I just have stuff I need to do, with my life and all, I thought ATAC could help me with that, but now I’m thinking they can’t…or at least I can’t afford to be distracted by all of this.”

    “Listen, I drove over here to tell you, we’re two rational adults, we can work through this,” I said, “Whatever this,” I waved my hand between her and I, “Is.”

    “I don’t know if I can just work through it,” Raylinn said slowly.

    “Ignoring it all sounds good to me,” I said.

    “Ignoring it?” Raylinn asked, “Really?”

    “Not really, ignoring it, ignoring it,” I said, “Just we don’t have to let it go anywhere,”

    “It can’t go anywhere.” Raylinn said.

    “Then that’s it,” I said, “We don’t have to let all of this mess your job up,”

    “Are you serious?” Raylinn asked looking up at me, she had such a hopeful look in her eyes. It nearly killed me. I swallowed hard but I nodded.

    “Of course I’m serious,” I said, I forced a grin, I’d just have to ignore her until the crush went away, which it would go away. Crushes went away right?

    “Thank you,” Raylinn whispered.

    “So, uh,” I paused clearing my throat, it was suddenly tight, “So you’ll come back to work tomorrow?”

    “I… I guess so,” Raylinn whispered.

    “I want you to know you don’t have to come to the Christmas party,” I said.

    “No, no,” Raylinn said, “I’d be fine…It’d be fun to be there,”

    “Great,” I grinned a little, at least things weren’t gonna be cold between us, “We’ll be friends, that’s all,”

    “Yeah, yeah that’d be great,” Raylinn whispered.

    “Sounds like a plan,” I said, I reached out and tugged on a piece of Raylinn’s hair causing her to giggle a little.

    “See you tomorrow Joe,” Raylinn grinned at me.

    “See you tomorrow,” I said grinning a little at her, I turned to head out, I even had my hand on the door when I heard.

    “Joe?” I instantly turned around to face Raylinn.


    “Thank you,” Raylinn whispered, “I just can’t…do…this.” She whispered. I nodded.

    “I get that,” I said, “I’m sorry I pushed like I did, it was really stupid of me,”

    “Yeah…” Raylinn whispered, looking down at her bare feet. I swallowed hard, turning back to the door.

    “Joe!” Raylinn said quickly. I paused looking over my shoulder.

    “When…When I am…” Raylinn trailed off opening and closing her mouth trying to figure out what to say.

    “Don’t push yourself,” I said, I grinned a little at Raylinn, “Don’t do anything, you don’t have to do anything until you are completely ready,”

    “Really?” Raylinn whispered.

    “Really,” I said.

    “Thank you,” Raylinn said, “Thank you so much,”

    “Anything,” For you. My brain finished off, thankfully my mouth didn’t complete the sentence.

    “You’re far too sweet,” Raylinn whispered

    “I know,” I said grinning a little. Raylinn giggled shaking her head, “Oh, and Raylinn?”

    “Hm?” Raylinn blinked.

    “You might wanna take a shower,” I smirked quickly going out the door, Raylinn’s giggles ringing in my ears. I shut the door behind me, taking deep breaths of the clean air. I felt like I was missing something already.

    I didn’t know how I was going to walk into work tomorrow morning, I didn’t know how I was going to face her again and just be friends, I couldn’t just shut off all of these emotions I was feeling. I needed to figure out something to do to keep myself from losing it every single time I saw her.

    I climbed back in the SUV sighing, I didn’t even know what I was feeling anymore. This felt like more than a crush, I didn’t have a crush on Raylinn, crushes were so different than this. I’d never had a girlfriend I was serious with, but if I had to take a guess on what love might feel like? This would be it.

    I sighed twisting the key in the ignition, letting the SUV roar to life, I pulled away from Raylinn’s house sliding my phone out of my pocket, I dialed Frank’s number from memory.

    “Hello?” Frank answered.

    “Hey, it’s me,” I said, “I’m not feeling so hot,” it wasn’t a complete lie, I was feeling like crap, but no amount of sleep or medication could make me feel better.

    “I told you not to eat all those burritos last night,” Frank smirked.

    “Yeah, yeah, yeah,” I said, “I know, but I’m going home to sleep,”

    “Okay,” Frank said, “Did you talk to Raylinn?”

    “Oh, yeah, I did,” I said, boy did I talk to Raylinn, I sure talked to Raylinn, “She’s coming back to work,”

    “Miracle worker, how did you do that?” Frank asked.

    “What can I say? I’m a charmer,” I laughed.

    “Yeah I guess you are,” Frank said I could all but hear him roll his eyes.

    “It was just a misunderstanding that’s all,” I said.

    “Well that’s good,” Frank said, “What over?”

    “Nothing I said something, just upset her,” I forced a laugh.

    “Okay…” Frank said slowly, he didn’t believe me, but I fell silent, I wasn’t going into details. No one needed to know the problems I was having with Raylinn. Especially my brother.

    “I’m just tired,” I said.

    “Okay, okay,” Frank said, “Go home get some rest, let Aunt Trudy hover,”

    “Exactly,” I said, grimacing, my Aunt was a great lady, but boy did she have a habit of hovering to the excessive, “So can you get home if I take the SUV home?”

    “Yeah, I can hitch a ride with someone,” Frank said, “No big deal,”

    “Great,” I said, “So I’ll talk to you later,”

    “Of course,” Frank said, “See ya,”

    “See ya,” I said, I hung up my phone tossing it across to the passenger seat. I floored the SUV, hearing the engine roar up in response as I swerved between cars heading home.

    I parked in the garage getting out and slamming the car door behind me, I jumped out of the SUV running a hand through my hair. I needed to figure out some way to stop letting all of this bother me so much, well not all of this, I needed to figure out how to let her stop bothering me. I sighed slamming the car door shut, I walked up to the front door, I tried the handle, finding it locked.

    “Thank god,” I muttered, I didn’t want to deal with Mom or Aunt Trudy today, I just wanted to go up to my room, figure out a game plan, that was all I needed, I needed a game plan. I pulled my keys out of my pocket, sliding the key into the white door, I quickly unlocked it going inside, I locked the door behind me out of habit.

    I found myself in the entry way of the house, one of my favorite rooms, I’d spend hours sitting on the white chairs, staring out the floor to ceiling windows, I’d solved many, many cases staring out at the cars passing on the street. But today I didn’t even feel comfort in the unusually warm room.

    I really was screwed.

    I chuckled slightly to myself as I slid my keys back into my pocket, walking through the narrow hallway into the main hallway, I barely noticed the open entryway into the dining room, I wasn’t even hungry, which was extremely unusual for me. I was always hungry. Frank teased me about it constantly.

    I rounded the corner into what Mom called the ‘formal’ living room, really it was just a room that didn’t have the TV, and so the parents could talk while everyone else just hung out in the room with the big screen. So I guess if parents wanted to call themselves formal, they could, it was kinda their own problems though.

    I quickly went up the first few stairs rounding the small corner and heading up the rest of the stairs. This was all getting really stupid though, I mean in reality? She was a girl I was friends with. So what if I had a crush? She didn’t. Big woop. We’d be friends and move on from there. I’m friend with girls, I’m best friends with a girl. No big deal.

    “Yeah right,” I muttered to myself as I entered the upstairs, which basically was a large room, with nothing in it aside from numerous doors and a spiral staircase that led to Aunt Trudy’s semi-apartment. Frank and I were still waiting for the day when she said that she said that she didn’t wanna do so many stairs, we were gonna have the arm wrestle of all arm wrestles to figure out who got the apartment. Probably me. After all he currently had the bigger room anyway. By like, two feet, but still it was bigger than mine.

    I opened the first door on my left going inside my room, I kicked aside various clothes that I’d just left on the floor, kicking them closer to my closet doors, not all of them were extremely dirty. Just a few of them were un-wearable, I’d just need to get them washed, no big deal. Laundry was out in the garage, I just had to remember to carry them down with me.

    And seriously? I did not feel like doing clothes today. I walked through my bedroom to the far wall where my simple wooden daybed was, I flopped across it, laying my head on my pillow. My blankets were a mess, I probably hadn’t made my bed since I was six. But no one complained to much, well Aunt Trudy complained a lot, but that’s another story.

    I sighed closing my eyes. Maybe I could just fall asleep. That’d be nice. Sleep would be very nice.

    But every time I closed my eyes they popped back open. Not just because I wanted to, but because in my mind’s eye all I could see was Raylinn’s face.

    “Joe Hardy, I don’t know if you know this, but you are so screwed,” I muttered to myself.

    I sighed closing my eyes again, this time I forced my mind away from Raylinn…I could think about other things…

    I was standing in ATAC, the break room had been painted a bright blue, but it didn’t really strike me as odd, I was mixing up some tea to drink, I wasn’t usually a big fan of tea, but it was a new kind of tea, tasted like strawberries. I liked strawberries.

    “Hey,” Raylinn’s voice reached me, I turned around to see Raylinn walking into the break room.

    “Hey,” I said, I sat my tea down on the counter turning to face Raylinn, walking over to her. She was wearing a bright pink dress, that was floofy, I liked floofy things.

    “I needed to talk to you,” Raylinn said walking over to me.

    “You did?” I asked blinking. Raylinn nodded, she leaned up, kissing me, her lips against mine were soft at first. I slowly wrapped my arms around the small of her back, pulling her against me, kissing her in return. I heard a strange noise but I quickly dismissed it, I couldn’t focus on anything except for her lips against mine.

    Suddenly a tornado ripped through the edge of the ATAC break room. I jerked away from Raylinn as the tornado neared us, Raylinn gave a scream as she was sucked backwards into the whirl wind of air and debris.

    My eyes opened with a snap as I set up, I looked around quickly, I was still in my room, my pile of clothes against the closet door, my desk across the room with my chair and the empty spot where my laptop could sit if I brought it home from work. A wry smile crept across my face.

    “Even in my dreams,” I muttered, falling backwards against my bed, “Figures.” I clasped my hands behind my head.

    Posts : 95
    Age : 28
    Location : The Delta Quadrent

    Re: The Assistant

    Post  Carolyn_Keene on Tue Apr 05, 2011 12:32 pm

    The Next Morning

    I came into work the next morning sitting down at my desk, I pulled my laptop out, then I paused. I looked over at the Christmas tree, it was glowing brightly. I grinned, looking to Raylinn’s desk, the shoes were gone off the counter, and a bottle of half drank juice was sitting in their place. I grinned. Raylinn was back.

    Now we just had to figure out how to get along.

    Raylinn came back into the office at that time she paused seeing me then she grinned. Her hair was back up in its braids, and she was wearing her short pink dress again, she looked so cute. My heart started to race all on its own, I tried to stop it but it was next to impossible.

    “Hey,” Raylinn said, she grinned a little at me.

    “Hey,” I said, “I’m glad you’re back,” I said shaking my head, “Really glad you’re back,”

    “Really?” Raylinn paused, she licked her lips slowly, clearly thinking.

    “Of course, did you not see my desk?” I waved to the pile of papers. Raylinn giggled.

    “Oh,” Raylinn said, I could see relief in her face, “Oh right,” she giggled.

    “I meant what I said Raylinn,” I said, looking back to my laptop which had booted completely now, “Friends, no more silly stunts,”

    “Thanks,” Raylinn said, she came over and picked up the pile of papers off my desk.

    “I am curious though,” I said, looking over my laptop screen, “What made you sign up for ATAC?” Raylinn froze looking over at me.

    “Why do you want to know?” she asked quietly.

    “Well Hayes said that you specifically asked to work with Frank and I,” I said, “I was curious as to why,”

    “No real reason,” Raylinn said, quickly turning to the filing cabinet, putting stuff inside, “I’d heard about ATAC and I wanted to join,”

    “ATAC isn’t exactly like summer camp,” I pointed out.

    “I know that.” Raylinn said, there was an edge to her voice though.

    “So why did you join?” I asked.

    “Just because I wanted to isn’t that good enough?” Raylinn asked, her voice hardening.

    “Okay, okay, sorry I asked,” I held my hands up, “I wave the white flag, cease fire,”

    “It’s just not something I want to talk about,” Raylinn said.

    “I got that message loud and clear,” I said, I looked back to my computer. Maybe Hayes was right, something really was off about Raylinn. She wasn’t telling us the full story. That was for sure, what the full story was though? I didn’t know yet. But I sure had plans to find out.

    I pulled up Google, typing in Raylinn Chandler on a whim, hitting search, I was inundated with numerous links to long lost princesses, facebooks, yada yada, until I came along a different result, a story from some news in a little town not far from Bayport.

    Tragedy has stuck our small town, as two of the pivotal members of our society have been found dead in their car, David and Kayla Chandler were apparently murdered late last night. Both suffered large amounts of bruising and show signs of torture before being shot in the back of the head, execution style. Questions surround this turn of events, what were David and Kayla exactly involved in? No one we’ve spoken to has any clues that could lead to what might have ever caused these two to have been brutally murdered in such a way.

    Neither David nor Kayla were ever known to be involved with gangs, or any other sort of problematic societies since moving to our small town two years ago, unfortunately the only true way of finding out the answers died with David and Kayla. One of the largest questions that still hangs in the air is what is to become of David and Kayla’s children. Elliot, Raylinn, and Amelia now find themselves orphans trying to survive.

    When interviewed Elliot, who is now eighteen and legally an adult, said that he wasn’t going to allow his siblings to go into foster care so long as he could help it, he plans on taking his two younger sisters into his care.

    I closed the window. I couldn’t read anymore. Poor Raylinn, she’d lost so much, but I couldn’t help but wonder why she lived alone? Why didn’t she live with her brother and sister? What happened to her brother and sister… I looked up at Raylinn where she was still filing paperwork away silently.

    That had to be why she was in ATAC though. She was in the ATAC to solve her parents murders. I shook my head again leaning backwards in my chair sighing.

    “Something wrong Joe?” Raylinn spoke up. I jumped in my chair looking to her.

    “No…” I whispered shaking my head slowly, “No I’m fine,” I said my voice getting stronger, “I was just, dozing off,” I forced a chuckle. Raylinn blinked at me.

    “Joe…” then she trailed off, “Just friends, friends that’ll drop things, just like you dropped…” she trailed off.

    “Exactly,” I said grinning a little at her.

    “Did I tell you thank you for that?” Raylinn asked.

    “I think so, yes,” I grinned a little, “But it’s fine Ray,”

    “You called me Ray again…” Raylinn said slowly.

    “Sorry I forgot, no calling you Ray,” I said.

    “No…no…” Raylinn trailed off, “I mean…it’s fine,”

    “Are you sure?” I asked.

    “I’m positive…he’d…he’d like it,” Raylinn said. I blinked.

    “Raylinn?” I asked standing up walking over to her, “Raylinn what’s going on?”

    “Nothing,” Raylinn said, “I’m tired, and stressed,” she ran a hand through her hair.

    “I’m sorry,” I said, “I’m trying to be nice,”

    “I know,” Raylinn said nodding, sighing, “I know… I’m just…”

    “Tired and stressed,” I said. Raylinn grinned a little and nodded.

    “I am,” she said softly.

    “I’m sorry,” I said, “I wish I could help, maybe if you told me…”

    “No.” Raylinn said instantly, “No you can’t, I’m sorry.”

    “Okay, okay,” I grinned a little, “Don’t worry,”

    “Thank you Joe, you don’t know what that means to me,” Raylinn whispered. I grinned a little.

    “Hey Joe?” Frank leaned into the office, I looked over at him quickly.

    “What’s up?” I asked.

    “Nancy just called, she had some kind of a hang up with something,” Frank said, “She can’t do the seventeenth, she wants to know if we can reschedule to the tenth,” he held up his phone to clarify that he was talking to her right then.

    “Oh, yeah, I mean that good?” I looked to Raylinn who shrugged a little.

    “It’s fine with me,” she said.

    “Yeah, sure,” I told Frank, “I’ll just have to call off my date with Peyton.”

    “Oh you sure about that?” Frank asked me, “I don’t want you to miss the fun,” he smirked.

    “I’m positive,” I laughed, “Peyton’s family is a nightmare,”

    “Okay,” Frank put the phone back to his ear, “We’re on,” he said walking off.

    “You’d call your date off like that?” Raylinn asked quietly, “It seemed to

    “It’s really not a date,” I shrugged, “Peyton’s a friend, I go with her to some events, nothing huge,”

    “Really?” Raylinn asked slowly, “You two were acting like…” she trailed off.

    “Peyton’s a friend that sometimes we cover each other as dating, or sometimes we grab dinner when neither one of us have anything going on,” I said, “I never have, and never will date Peyton, to many issues,” I twirled my finger beside my head, “Why?”

    “No…No reason,” Raylinn said reaching to chew on her hair, she was clearly thinking something over.

    “C’mon, what’re you thinking?” I asked, cocking my head to the side.

    “It’s nothing,” Raylinn said, “I need to get to work,” she grinned a little.

    “No problem,” I said, I returned Raylinn’s grin. Raylinn giggled a little turning back to her work.

    “Raylinn,” Hayes came into the room, he gave a nod to me, his way of a hello. I nodded back then sitting down behind my desk.

    “Mr. Hayes,” Raylinn grinned at him.

    “Listen I need your help on something, just for this week, is that okay?” Hayes looked to me. I blinked and nodded.

    “Uh, yes?” I said slowly.

    “That’s fine,” Raylinn grinned a little, “What do you need?” she asked.

    “Follow me I’ll explain,” Hayes said walking out of my office.

    “Bye Joe,” Raylinn grinned a little, she gave a small finger wiggle at me before walking out. I waved back leaning back in my chair sighing. That girl was gonna be the death of me.

    Three Days Later

    I was laying on the couch at home, I was flipping through channels on the big screen TV. The house was decked out in Christmas stuff, Mom and Aunt Trudy had completely enjoyed decorating the entire house from top to bottom.

    It was almost like Raylinn had attacked the house. I couldn’t help but grin a little thinking about it. Raylinn was so addicted to Christmas, I’d almost missed seeing her around the office the past week, no I take that back. I had missed seeing her. I hadn’t really seen her since Hayes had taken her off to some secret mission. Of course I’d seen her run through now and then, she’d run in to turn the Christmas tree on, give me a small smile and run off again.

    Tonight would be the first time we’d really get to talk since the whole problem at ATAC, one thing was certainly for sure, the tension between us had actually lessened, she didn’t seem so stiff and awkward whenever she saw me. I didn’t know what had happened, but I wasn’t’ necessarily minding it. Even if our friendship didn’t become more than friendship, I still wanted to become friends with her.

    I still hadn’t told Frank about the article I’d found on Raylinn, something told me she wouldn’t want me to tell anyone, she was so private about things, she didn’t like people finding out things about her, let alone me Googling to find out about her.


    I quickly stood up, pausing the Christmas special that I didn’t even care about out of habit. I ran into Frank in the hallway he chuckled.

    “Excited?” he teased.

    “Shut up,” I said going to the front door, I pulled the white door open to find Nancy and Ned standing there.

    “Merry Christmas!” Nancy grinned brightly hugging me. I chuckled.

    “Hey Lil Sis,” I said, returning the hug before stepping out of the way so Ned could come in out of the cold.

    “A two hour drive, just for a hug?” he asked Nancy.

    “Of course,” Nancy grinned.

    “Frank’s making food,” I said.

    “Oh then there you go, two hour drive for food. I’m good now,” Ned said. Nancy laughed.

    “See? Told you,” she kissed Ned’s cheek, before pulling off her coat, hanging it up on the coat rack beside the door.

    “Yes I suppose you did,” Ned said, “You’re always right,”

    “I know,” Nancy said, heading off down the hallway towards the kitchen. Ned grinned pulling off his coat to hang it up before following Nancy. I shook my head, those two. I looked out the window beside the door, I don’t know what I was hoping for, that Raylinn would suddenly show up out of the snow? Probably. I rolled my eyes, walking way from the door and back through the formal living room to the breakfast nook, I leaned against the wall, looking into the simple kitchen, there was a pass through to the dining room.

    “Gimme,” Nancy said trying to reach around Frank to grab the Chex Mix.

    “No!” Frank said turning to keep Nancy away from the bowl.

    “Now, now Nancy,” I said childing her.

    “Your brother is a meanie-face,” Nancy said.

    “A meanie-face?” I started laughing.

    “He is! I want a couple!” Nancy said, “I had a long drive,”

    “You didn’t even drive,” Ned said, “You mind if I get a coke?” he nodded to the refrigerator.

    “You don’t have to ask,” I said, but I nodded anyway.

    “Thanks,” Ned said going to open the refrigerator, he pulled a can of coke out before going back to lean against the counter again. Nancy finally came over to lean against him, sighing dramatically.

    “So is it just the four of us tonight?” she asked.

    “Actually, no,” Frank said, “Raylinn, new girl at ATAC,” he clarified quickly, “Over just to help her get more involved,” I noticed him glance at me, I rolled my eyes.

    “She cute?” Nancy said, instantly honing in on the glance.

    “No,” I said simply. She wasn’t cute, Raylinn was beautiful.

    “She wouldn’t have shown up, oh I don’t know…maybe a month ago?” Nancy asked.

    “Yeah actually,” Frank said. Nancy grinned, she was like a Cheshire Cat when she grinned, the grin easily conveyed the message ‘I got you.’

    “Interesting,” Nancy said slowly.

    “Oh no, I know that one,” Ned said.

    “It’s nothing,” I said, rubbing the back of my neck.

    “Uh-huh,” Nancy said smirking at me, at that time the doorbell rang again.

    “I got it!!” Nancy squealed ducking past me and running down the hall. I groaned.

    “Can someone knock me unconscious until after she leaves?” I asked. Ned chuckled.

    “Nancy can be a little…excitable,” he said.

    “That’s putting it lightly.” I said, “At times I can’t believe how well she does undercover work,”

    “No kidding,” Ned chuckled, “She’s Nancy though.” He grinned. I nodded.

    “That she is,” I said, I fell quiet for a minute “I’m gonna go save Raylinn,” I said quickly going around the corner. I walked to the hallway.

    “So you work with ATAC I assume?” Nancy asked.

    “I didn’t realize we were allowed to talk about that,” Raylinn said softly.

    “Well, I know about it so technically you can tell me,” Nancy said, “Don’t you think Joe is cute?” she asked. Raylinn went deep red.

    “Nancy behave!” I said walking in. Raylinn looked up at me and her blush deepened, pressing her hands to her cheeks to cover how red they were.

    “C’mon in Raylinn, just ignore my friend here,” I glared at Nancy who grinned sweetly at me, and giggled.

    “Talk to you later Raylinn,” she said before taking off back towards the kitchen.

    “She’s a great friend, just a pain in the butt,” I rolled my eyes.

    “I can tell,” Raylinn said quietly, she looked up at me with a small grin. I grinned back.

    “C’mon,” I said, before turning and walking down the hall back to the kitchen, I heard the soft click of Raylinn’s heels behind me.

    Nancy was standing by Ned, she was grinning wickedly again. That worried me. That always worried me. I blinked at her but she shrugged a little. Not reassuring Nancy. If there was one thing I knew about Nancy Drew, it was that she could be as sneaky as they come. Of course that sneaky-ness is what kept her alive when she was working, but still.

    I walked back over to my spot leaning against the wall again.

    “Things’re quiet out here,” I said.

    “That’s because your brother and I jinxed,” Nancy said, “He can’t talk until I say…oh darn… I can’t remember your brother’s name. Huh, guess he’ll just never be able to talk again.” I looked over at Frank, his shoulders were shaking with suppressed laughs. Oh no.

    “Oh lookie!” Nancy said suddenly as Raylinn slowly came to stand beside me, “You two are under the mistletoe.” I froze. She wouldn’t do that to me. I looked up, sure enough, Nancy Drew had moved the mistletoe from the middle of the dining room to hang directly above this spot.

    “I hate you,” I told Nancy.

    “Tradition,” Nancy sang grinning wildly.

    “You two knew about this?” I looked from Ned to Frank.

    “In on it? No, stood back and watched Nancy work? Yes.” Ned said chuckling a little. I shook my head looking to Raylinn.

    “Just forget he-” but my words were cut off as she leaned up on her toes and lightly kissed me. Just the lightest brush of her lips against mine, but still a kiss none the less. I froze looking at her, barely aware of the fact that Nancy was squealing and clapping like a retarded seal.

    “You didn’t have to do that,” I whispered, Raylinn was still close to me, I could feel the heat from her body on my skin.

    “I know,” Raylinn whispered back. I glanced up looking to the other three in the kitchen who were watching me so intently waiting to watch whatever drama unfold in front of them.

    “C’mon,” I said, lightly grasping Raylinn’s wrist, pulling her from the room and up the stairs, “You didn’t have to do that,” I said again.

    “I know,” Raylinn nodded, her cheeks were still flushed red, “I wouldn’t have if I didn’t want to,” she grinned at me.

    “But I thought…I mean after I left your house…and then you tried to quit ATAC…” I said, my words weren’t quit making since, of course nothing really was in my brain at the moment, I could still feel the soft brush of her lips against mine, I was resisting the urge to reach and touch my lips to make sure they were still the same.

    I mean yeah, sure, I’d kissed other girls, lots of other girls, but…dang.

    “I thought you were trying to sneak around behind your girlfriend’s back,” Raylinn said with a small smile.

    “I don’t have a…Peyton,” I said, grinning a little, “You thought I was seriously dating Peyton,”

    “You make a joke about proposing, of course I did,” Raylinn said.

    “Yeah I guess I did,” I said, “Trust me I wasn’t serious,”

    “Yeah, I kinda got that, I felt like an idiot,” Raylinn said softly, looking down at her shoes, “The truth is…is…that I…” her voice kept getting quieter, it was adorable. She was adorable, she was stammering over words, I couldn’t make out a single one.

    I slowly reached out tilting Raylinn’s head up, before leaning down and kissing her lightly. I heard her sigh a little as she slowly moved to wrap her arms around my neck, the kiss deepening, my arms twined around Raylinn’s waist, pulling her against me.

    “We should go back downstairs before your friends wonder,” Raylinn whispered. My mind was in a haze. I couldn’t form a coherent thought, so instead I just nodded. Raylinn grinned at me, lightly running her fingers through my hair, before backing away from me.

    “Right,” I finally managed to say, that was right, Nancy, Ned, and Frank were all downstairs, probably trying to listen in, well, at least Nancy was. No one would’ve pegged her for it but she was a huge hopeless romantic, she’d read nearly any romance book she could get her hands on.

    Raylinn grinned a little at me, starting for the stairs, but I stopped her.

    “So, being serious now, would you like to maybe get some dinner sometime?” I asked her. Raylinn lit up as she grinned at me nodding.

    “I’d like that very much,” she whispered, I let her slip past me and go down the stairs. I watched her go, shaking my head. I didn’t know much about the blonde girl, in fact most of what I did know was that she was lying about to many things.

    But I also knew I was falling head over heels for her and there was no way to stop that… I shook my head a little walking back down the stairs, back to the party to deal with Nancy’s squealing and bouncing because of her magical powers of matchmaking. Ned just letting her bounce around, and doting on her just like normal. Frank’s laughing and then probably turning up Christmas to loud. Lastly, Raylinn trying to awkwardly fit in with the rest of them, eventually she’d be able to hang out with us, leaving Frank as the inevitable third wheel until he found some girlfriend for himself.

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    Re: The Assistant

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      Current date/time is Sun Jan 20, 2019 1:54 pm