Another day dawns over Las Vegas, with many people roaming the streets who haven’t been to bed yet.
Maria walks down the stairs, quickly followed by Fen. She pauses to give him a quick scratch behind his ear. “Good morning.” Maria says as she yawns.
Fen pants happily until Maria is done scratching. She heads off towards the kitchen, while Fen goes over to Pry.
Pry is stirred from her sleep by Fen trying to lift her crossed arms with his muzzle, so that he can snuggle up with her.
“Morning.” Pry says wearily.
Fen quietly whines, looking up at Pry with worried eyes.
“I’m fine.” She smiles back at him.
Fen yanks his head from Pry’s arms. His ears are up and alert.
An alarm on Dane’s laptop goes off.
Dane rolls off the sofa, landing on his hands and feet. He bolts over to his laptop. “We got company.”
Pry scrambles to her feet. She looks around and spots Maria. “Get upstairs! Keep Michael in your room, and lock the door!” Pry orders. She goes to her jacket and digs out her gun and tucks it into the back waistband of her pants.
Maria rushes up the stairs.
“How many?” Pry asks, heading for the penthouse elevators.
“Just one.” Dane responds as he maneuvers around the sofas and pool, keeping an eye on the laptop security information. He pauses and looks up at Pry. “One Human. Armed.”
Pry stops at the elevator, her mind working. She looks over at Dane. “Fed?”
“Maybe. Or maybe it’s Hyden.”
“Hyden wouldn’t come in person, or alone.” Pry comments, her mind working. “Stay out of sight, but be ready.”
Dane nods. He sets the laptop down, pulls out his own gun, and crouches down.
Pry turns her attention to the elevator. When it reaches the penthouse, she pushes up on her bustier to accentuate her cleavage.
When the doors open, Pry steps out, not noticing the doors are open. “Poopsie!” she cries out, sounding like an upset, spoiled princess. When she does notice the elevator doors are open, she gives an exaggerated expression of relief. “Finally! Hotel security! I’ve lost my little Poopsie!”
The straight-laced black man in the simple black suit and tie that screams federal agent just stands there, a very confused look on his young, rugged face. ‘I’m not hotel security ma’am.” he replies slowly.
Pry stamps her foot, like a spoiled kid. “This is no time for confusing Brittany! Poopsie has been missing since last night! I last saw her when I dozed off after putting her numb-numbs between my lady-lumps. Her licking always helps me sleep.”
The young man glances at Pry before stepping forward, looking past her, into the penthouse. “My name is Agent Taran Benson, I’m with the F.B.I., and I’m looking for Maria Torres.”
When Benson tries to step past Pry, she grabs his arm, twists it and drops him to one knee. She pulls his gun free from its shoulder holster, lets him go and aims his gun at him.
“You won’t mind some confirmation, right?” Pry says. “Dane!”
Dane steps into view and takes a picture of Benson. With a few twiddles of his fingers over his smartphone, he acquires the signal to the large flat screen TV and posts the picture he just took on the screen. “Maria, you know him?”
A door opens upstairs. “Yes.” Maria replies from the second floor railing. “He works for Special Agent Willis, the agent that I talked to. His name is Taran Benson.”
Pry lowers the gun she took from Benson. “You’ve been confirmed.” She hands the weapon, grip first, back to him.
Benson gets to his feet and take his weapon, slipping it back into his holster. He gives Pry the once over. But when he looks at Dane, his look lingers. “Who are these people Mrs. Torres?”
“Our bodyguards.” Maria says as she rushes down the stairs. She approaches Benson. “This is Andreas Pry, and those are her associates, Dane and Fen. I hired them after I discovered the others worked for Hyden.”
“Pry.” Benson repeats, remembering, his eyes not leaving Dane. “As in Pry Investigations? Aren’t you affiliated with Baker Bailbonds in Chicago?”
“Yeah.” Pry says. “We’re like a franchise.”
Benson turns his attention back to Pry. “I thought you were bounty hunters?”
Fen replies by quietly snarling. Dane pats his head to calm him.
“We like to multi-task.” Pry replies with a hint of irritation. “Did you come here for twenty questions, or to talk to Mrs. Torres?”
Maria gently grabs Benson’s arm and leads him away. “She’s right.” she tells Benson. “Do you have any news?”
Maria and Benson head upstairs to talk among themselves.
“Fen, keep Michael company, and in his room.” Pry orders as she watches Benson.
Fen barks and heads up the stairs.
Pry walks over and joins Dane.
“I don’t think he likes me.” Dane comments.
“That’s ok. I don’t like him.” Pry adds.
“Maybe he’s a cat person.” Dane quips.
The mid-day sun starts its slant towards afternoon. Pry walks down the stairs cleaned and refreshed. She notices the pool is gone. Dane lays on the couch, laptop open, but everything else packed up. “How did you get rid of the pool, and the water?” Pry asks as she approaches Dane.
“Did you know the bottom panes of the windows are removable?” Dane replies, smiling.
“Well, not really. I had to ”
“Nevermind.” Pry interrupts, raising her hands. “I don’t want to know.” when she lowers them, she looks up. “Have they come out since ” she begins to ask.
“Nope.” Dane finishes for her.
“At least this job will be done.” Pry grumbles as she goes to the kitchen.
Dane gets up off the sofa and follows her to the kitchen. “We’ve done bodyguard jobs before, why does this one irk you?”
Pry shakes her head, not wanting to answer, but finds the words coming out, haltingly. “Because. It brings up, personal stuff.”
Dane gently turns Pry to face him. “Fen and I know there’s a lot of stuff inside you, tearing you up. You think you have to keep it in there. But you don’t.”
Pry nods, her eyes closed. “I know.” she whispers.
“We both love you. Even if you only have the two teats and a terrible sense of smell.”
Pry looks up at Dane as she processes what he said, then bursts out laughing. She jokingly hits Dane in the chest. “I hate when you do that!”
“What?” Dane looks down at her, in mock puzzlement.
She looks up at him, wiping the wetness from her eyes. “Making me laugh.” she says quietly. But she means more than just that.
Dane pulls her close and hugs her tight.
Pry puts her arms around him.
When they part, Dane looks down at Pry. “When your ready. We’ll be there.”
Pry nods, feeling a warmth within her, reminding her of why their friendship has endured. She knows they’ll be there for her. She just doesn’t know if she’ll ever be ready.
One of the bedroom doors open. Maria and Benson walk down the stairs. They head towards the kitchen where Pry and Dane stand.
Benson smiles, putting on his best, professional and authoritative persona. “I want to thank you for your assistance in protecting Mrs. Torres and her son. A group of agents will be arriving shortly. This evening, we will escort Mrs.Torres and her son to the airport. From there, we’ll fly to a Federal safe house, just outside Washington D.C. They’ll be kept safe until her testimony can be taken.” he glances at Dane before finishing. “You services will no longer be required. Mrs. Torres has already forwarded funds to your account for your work.” he extends his hand to Pry. “Thank you for your time.”
Pry looks from Benson to Maria. “I’d like to hear that from our employer, Maria. Not some Quantico robot.”
Benson cracks a smile of disbelief. “I apologize if my professionalism and courtesy have offended you and your associate.”
“You weren’t too professional when you were looking at my cleavage.” Pry comments.
“Or when she easily disabled you.” Dane adds.
Benson glares at Dane. “Mrs. Torres, if you’ll excuse me, I have some calls to make for tonight.”
“If looks could kill…” Dane begins to say.
“My boobs would be dead.” Pry quips.
Benson storms off, taking out his cell phone.
“Thank you for staying with us.” Maria says, sincerely. “It was the first time I felt safe in a while.” she looks over towards the stairs as Michael shuffles down them, still sleepy. Fen quietly follows. She smiles and turns back to them. “And I know Michael enjoyed meeting all of you.”
Pry steps close to Maria. “Do you trust Benson? Do you feel safe?”
Maria pauses before answering. “Yes. He promised nothing would happen.”
“Those are the promises that can’t be kept.”
“Excuse me?” Maria asks, startled.
Dane gently grabs Pry’s shoulder and pulls her back. “We got our walking papers, Andy. Time to go.”
“Do you remember what I told you last night?” Pry asks Maria.
Maria nods, but she puts on a brave face, for Michael as he joins them. She smiles, putting her arm around Michael. “We are in good hands. We’ll be fine.”
Pry nods. She and Dane go to collect their things.
Fen looks at Pry, then gently licks Michael’s face.
Michael giggles, his eyes still weary. “What? You’re leaving?”
Fen looks at Michael intently.
Michael’s sleepiness vanishes. He looks back at Fen with growing intensity.
Then Fen licks Michael’s face and walks off to join Pry.
Dane walks by Benson, carrying his briefcase, his laptop in the satchel over his shoulder. “Hey Tara, what’s the kid’s name?”
Benson, still on the phone, turns around, anger flaring in his eyes at the reminder of an old school-yard taunt. “What?”
“The Torres’ kid. What’s his name?” Dane asks again, stopping at the elevator.
Benson’s anger turns to confusion. He doesn’t answer right away. He finally blurts out. “Michael.”
“You sure?” Pry asks as she and Fen join Dane by the elevator.
Maria joins Pry and the others by the elevator, listening to their exchange.
Benson pauses, as if unsure. “It’s Michael. What does–” he begins to argue.
“You should know who you’re protecting.” Pry cuts him off.
Maria’s confidence isn’t as strong as it was earlier. But she puts on a brave face. “Thank you again.”
“Take care.” Pry says, shaking Maria’s hand.
“Goodbye.” Dane says, shaking her hand after Pry.
“Fen!” Michael yells. He runs over and hugs Fen.
Fen sits and puts one of his paws around Michael. When they part, Fen utters a quiet, drawn out yowl.
“I will. I remember.” Michael replies, smiling.
The elevator arrives. Pry, Dane, and Fen get in. They look out at Maria and Michael as the doors close.
“We’re not done yet, are we.” Dane comments.
“Nope.” Pry replies.
Fen gives a supportive bark.
Pry: Rabbit-Sitting Blues Copyrighted © 2013 Mark James MacKinnon. Any use of these characters, without permission, is strictly prohibited. Any similarities to individuals, living or dead, is purely coincidental.