Read Second Chances Online

Authors: A.B. Gayle,Andrea Speed,Jessie Blackwood,Katisha Moreish,J.J. Levesque

Second Chances (9 page)

It amused Lyle to find himself stripping parts out of sex toys in order to conceal the bits and pieces he needed. Eidolon might wonder at his collection, but they were unlikely to know the difference between one set of electronics and another, at first glance anyway. There’d be an element of luck involved too, but he couldn’t control that. If all else failed he figured he could encourage one of the dogs to provide a distraction if needs be.

@—}–—}——

 

Breslaw was still sleeping by the time Lyle had collected everything he felt he’d need. He put coffee on and then went to shower and dress. The shower felt good, waking him a bit more. Sandalwood and chypre scents wrapped round him as the water turned to steam, and for a few minutes he managed to feel more relaxed and in control of his life than he had since Henry Vale’s death.

He couldn’t really think of it as murder. Lyle still didn’t understand what the problem had been between Vale and Archer, but despite having reservations about Flynn Archer he was pretty certain that compared to Henry Vale he was on the side of the angels, albeit probably fallen ones.

Yesterday he’d managed to ignore all his savagely nagging doubts, but this morning Lyle was worried. Most of all he was worried about his supply of medications. He very much doubted there was a pharmacy where they were headed. He’d made good progress in transitioning thus far; discontinuing his T-shots wasn’t an option.

Stepping out of the shower, Lyle grabbed a towel and then headed for his bedroom. He took his shot of testosterone and then bound his chest flesh. This whole tropical island thing was going to make his life hell. Here he could bind, pack and wear suits and other structured clothes that helped disguise his body shape. In a hot and steamy climate he was going to swelter or be exposed very quickly as a transman.

How much did Breslaw really know about him? How much did Eidolon truly know? Would they really look after his sex change for him like they’d promised? He was filled with doubts where they were concerned. It was a fact that he’d actually trusted Agent Tyler more than he trusted his new ‘protectors’.

@—}–—}——

 

Adam Breslaw was a bit disoriented when he woke. His neck was aching and his feet were cold. He remembered then that he had slept on Lyle Tate’s couch. Judging by the scents of food and coffee circulating he figured Tate was already up and about.

Taking a change of clothes from his case, Breslaw headed for the shower. Not knowing how long they might get before Eidolon started owning their lives again he hurried. There was stuff he wanted to tell Lyle whilst they were out from under them.

On cue, Lyle made his entrance. He was carrying two cups, one of which he passed across. Lyle set his own cup down and returned to the kitchen. When he came back he put two plates loaded with what Breslaw had learned was called ‘a full English’ on the dining table and sat down without waiting for the agent to join him.

“You’ve been a good host, thanks.” Breslaw slid into the seat opposite and sipped his hot coffee appreciatively before tucking into the entirely unhealthy mass of fried foods on his plate.

“You’ve looked after me; a decent breakfast is only fair return.”

“Mr.Tate, I wanted to say a few things yesterday. I need you to know that Eidolon have a very good picture of your situation, and everyone else’s.”

“Right. They’ve promised me… surgery and so on. Will they deliver, do you think?”

“They will. So long as you and your friends co-operate, anyway… These are people not to be messed with, Mr.Tate.They are more than capable of protecting you all, as long as you comply with their instructions. They are humanitarians, they look after people, in many ways…”

“Forgive me if I seem sceptical, but that Ms.Pierce of theirs didn’t seem anything like a humanitarian, not really like a human either.”

“Ms Pierce is a…spokesperson,” Breslaw offered by way of explanation. He didn’t want to malign his…what? Colleague? Not exactly. ‘Associate’, that would do. He didn’t want to malign his associate but Pierce was not an easy woman to be around, never mind work with. She gave the impression she was more important that she looked, or acted, but then, he had never been one for underestimating people. It didn’t pay in his line of work. “She represents Eidolon, but she isn’t Eidolon, she’s just a figurehead”. Breslaw lapsed into silence and shovelled eggs and bacon into his mouth. He tried not to bolt the food but time was getting on and he was aware of their schedule.

Breslaw watched Lyle mop at his egg yolk with some toast. His charge had poached his own eggs rather than frying them. Breslaw wasn’t sure their breakfast would do them any favours when they got to travelling, but he was enjoying it. It was only made better by sharing it with Lyle. He liked the man, had done from the moment they’d met.

“They have plans for you, Mr.Tate.” Breslaw had hoped to be on first name terms with his charge by now, but the invitation to address him thus had never been offered. “Big plans.” He forked up the last of the food and washed it down with the dregs of his coffee. “That was good, thank you.” Breslaw started to move away from the table, but Lyle grabbed his wrist.

“So tell me about their big plans. What’s really going on, Adam?”

Breslaw’s jacket slipped open as Lyle snatched at him and he was treated to an expression that told him the Englishman was still unused to guns. It seemed odd, given how long Lyle had been living in the States., but then he remembered that his husband had been shot dead. There was bound to be some discomfort there.

Breslaw was just processing all this when his phone rang. He listened a few moments, then snapped the handset shut. “I’m sorry, Lyle, we have to go—plane time has moved up by an hour and we need to collect Mr. Parker on the way.”

7: Rude Awakening
Carter (Gil) Gillespie, Miles Sutherland, Tony Alessi, George Jones
introducing Lance Peabody
 

___________________________________________________

 

Early Sunday morning, 23rd January, Miles Sutherland’s house

 

Gil reached out and hit the alarm, expecting the thumping noise to stop. When it didn’t, his groggy mind registered that alarm clocks didn’t usually make thumping noises. He sat up, realising that the noise was coming from downstairs. Someone was hammering on the door, an urgent banging. He glanced at the clock. The display said 0550.

What the—? He’d set it for 7am giving them an hour to pack. They were not due to be collected until 8am. He looked down. Miles was stirring, his long limbs half-tangled in the top sheet. Sweat glistened on his pale skin. Miles, in his bed. Who would have believed it? More banging intruded on Gil’s pleasant recollections of the previous evening.

Yawning and scratching his head—it felt as if he had barely had any sleep—Gil rolled out of bed and stumbled downstairs, cautiously maneuvering around a large rucksack Miles had left in the hallway.

“Who is it?” he called through the door.

“Alessi,” came the urgent reply. “Gil? Def con 3 went to def con 2 about ten minutes ago. Everything has been pushed forward an hour.”

Gil opened the door. He knew it was Alessi from that phrase. He had been joking with the agent on the way over about def con 1. “We need to move,” the man said simply.

“Sorry, late night…”

The agent moved past him into the hall and Gil shut the door behind him, dimly registering the presence of another agent in a large SUV at the roadside beyond.

“We’ve been told to take you to the airport asap.” A small smile played across the agent’s mouth. “I’ll…er…leave you to get dressed.”

Gil realised in his haste he had not stopped to put his shorts on. He grinned, only slightly embarrassed. “Sorry,” he murmured. Alessi raised an eyebrow. His grin widened.

“No apologies necessary, sir. I’ll see you outside.” He consulted his watch. “Best make it no later than twenty, if you can, otherwise the boss will rip me a new one.”

“Before you go…”

“Yes?”

“If you were me, what would you take with you?” Alessi regarded him for a moment before replying.

“I would advise you to pack what you need, travel light; clothes, washbag, paperback or two. Do not try to take the kitchen sink. You won’t need it. Pack as if you were off on holiday. The house will be safe. Anything else, you don’t need to know.”

Somehow, Gil did not find that reassuring. He watched the agent leave and then took the stairs two at a time.

Miles scrambled out of bed and headed for the shower as soon as Gil disappeared downstairs. Shit. Agreeing to the bitch’s demands had been the worst of a whole swagger of bad decisions he’d made last night. Towelling down and dressing in record time, he grimaced as he grabbed the empty backpack and dumped it on his own bed. Difficult to rank his actions afterwards in order of merit. Or order of disasters-waiting-to-happen might be a better description.

His brain refused to drop images of last night’s sex-fest. How do they counsel people who’ve been deprived of food and water for a long period?
Sip it slowly.
After his long stint of celibacy, he’d crammed a veritable feast into his mouth all at once. He smiled for a second as he dropped a pile of undies into a side pocket. Gil’s cock was a feast literally and figuratively. Shit, he needed to get his mind off the subject and back onto practicalities or he’d be up shit creek without a paddle or in this case a stitch to wear. The experience of living and working in hot environments finally surfaced. Light weight pants… check; long sleeve shirts… check; baggy green cricket hat… check. He’d probably look a dork wearing it, but red hair and pale skin were a bad combination. Better to cover up than smear up.

What the blazes would this place have? Was there really a disaster there? If there was, he’d need goodies.
Was Darren’s medical kit still tucked away at the back of the cupboard?
He hauled out a battered canvas hold-all that contained as many memories as it did items. Darren had always been the organized one. The one who made sure Miles survived. He sank back on the bed, clasping the bag to his chest. A feeling of guilt and regret threatened to engulf him. Could he cope with all this without Darren’s protective presence?

A loud bark sounded outside as he heard the quiet voices downstairs cease and the door close: Roofie. No way was he leaving his dog behind.

He threw a few more things on top of all the things he’d colected from his bedroom and bathroom and ran down the stairs, passing Gil on the way up. “Roofie,” he said as if the word alone would convey everything he needed to say. He avoided meeting Gil’s eyes. Oh shit.

Gil stood to the side as Miles passed him, allowing him unimpeded passage. It was no surprise that Miles was giving him the silent “let’s not talk about what happened” shit. Whatever the doctor was thinking, judging by the activity, at least he wasn’t considering staying behind. As far as Gil knew, anyway. On the way back to his own room, Gil grabbed a quick shower, barely doing more than dipping under the hot jets, wondering at the way fate was taking hold of his life. He felt massively out of control and yet, his pragmatic deal-with-it-as-it-comes attitude was kicking in. In terms of disaster management, he knew how to handle all this.

He towelled off quickly, then rummaged for clothes. He needed his lightweight stuff, specially if they were going somewhere hot and humid. Gil packed his rucksack carefully, as he had been taught. Gear lasts longer that way, and where they were going, he had no idea if his kit would end up being a precious commodity. Gil doubted that there would be a camping supplies outlet anywhere within a thousand miles. He hunted out his trainers, sandals and his tracksuit bottoms and added them. Equipped with this kit, Gil felt ready to meet the challenge. While he might lament his lack of experience in a tropical situation, Gil had plenty of skills where hiking, camping and survival were concerned. A two-man bothy, a sleeping bag and camping mat were still packed into the base of the army surplus bergen and the side compartments still contained his microfiber towels, mosquito net, emergency blanket and travel wash kit. The other pockets were packed with plenty of useful bits and pieces which he didn’t intend to leave behind.

Miles grabbed some food and filled Roofie’s dish. Who knew when he’d get a chance to feed him again. The dog seemed surprised but didn’t need an invitation to scoff up the proffered biscuits. He was still little more than a puppy and growing fast. He never knocked back tucker.

The kitchen cupboards yielded a few packets of dog biscuits and Miles grabbed other things his dog needed, shoving them all in a plastic shopping bag. He didn’t have any sort of carry cage for him. Hopefully Eidolon would have one, or his dog could just sit on the seat beside him. His mutt’s legs were quivering.
Had he caught a whiff of the tension that seemed to echo back and forth?
It was a wonder the sudden arrival on the scene of a bunch of strangers whose appearance screamed Feds hadn’t alerted the whole town.

Miles took Roofie outside and checked the windows of the neighboring house. Sure as eggs, the blind on the house next door twitched: Mrs Danvers checking up on what was going on. Pity she couldn’t have seen into Gil’s bedroom last night, then she would have really copped an eyeful. Just as well they were all leaving. It was a wonder she hadn’t filed a complaint about the noise they’d made last night. Gil said he’d been loud. Miles hadn’t been aware of anything except a roaring in his ears as his body seemed to take over his brain.

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