I’ve gotten several emails and comments about whether or not I was going to “finish” last week’s story The Prank. (Um, I thought it was “finished,” LOL, it’s just a little flash fiction story that I wrote out of my meeting’s plot prompt, I won, by the way….) I’m so glad you all liked it, I really enjoy writing about Rory and her sundry neurosis (and how she likes to torture Frank, lol.) Feel free to leave me comments in the comment box—I will get back to you. (Can you “follow me” too? I’d love to have a few more pictures on my sidebar. Do I need to give away a tiara like I do on the Steamed! blog? I managed to find a few more.)
A few of you have also been worried about poor Jenna from the story The Folder. That’s actually a prologue from a manuscript in progress, where Jenna, and what happens to her, figures largely into the plot, but the story itself is actually about our girl Rory, who has to figure out what that info in the folder was so important and who wanted it sent to who and why…(yes, Frank and Bruce are in it. I know there are a few Frank and Bruce fans out there).
So, I’ll try to post more from that story later. Today, I’ve written the “rest” of The Prank but this part is from Frank’s POV. After all, we have to see if he is as impressed by Rory’s handiwork as Mac was…
Enjoy and have a great weekend!
The Prank-Part II (Frank’s POV)
© 2009 Suzanne Lazear
I drove my truck into the SAGE parking lot and sighed. Someone had parked their cherry-red Ducati Monster in my parking space. I was nearly certain it was that same someone who kept changing the ambient lighting in my truck to purple and re-parking it in odd places.
Rory was the most infuriating woman ever. Never had I encountered a woman who made me want to shout, tear my hair out, and kiss her—all at once. She was also intriguing; never acting or thinking the way I expected. Rory even refused to allow me to get close enough to her to figure her out, see what made her tick. To someone like me, both man and wolf took that as a personal challenge. After all, I never missed marked prey.
Of course, I’d been tracking this one for four and a half years since the day I laid my eyes on her—and those tight leather pants she liked, in the cafeteria when we both worked for the FBI. I tried to touch her, she tossed me on my ass in the middle of the cafeteria, and I’d been trying to break her shell ever since.
The space I found big enough for my truck was nowhere near my usual one. As I approached the door, someone waited for me, holding two cups of designer coffee. Bruce. He worked with Rory and I.
But Bruce I understood. We’d known each other since we were kids.
Unfortunately, the problem with old friends was that they had all the pictures. For some reason Bruce liked to show them to Rory.
“So what did you do to piss her off, today, Frank?” Bruce wore a shitty-ass grin as he jerked his head towards Rory’s bike. Nearly as tall as I, the blond Were looked like he should be surfing. Before he joined SAGE, the SuNat enforcement agency, he’d been a cop.
I’d wanted to be a cop...once.
I shrugged. “It’s Friday. She’s always pissed at me on Fridays.”
Just like she always wanted to blow things up on Wednesdays and her weird antics got worse towards the full of the moon.
He handed me one—a double mocha latté. I took a sip. Just what I needed this morning. “Thanks.”
“What department will she ask to be transferred to today?” Bruce and I walked into SAGE HQ.
“Arcane? The witches like her.” Every Friday Rory filled out a request to be transferred to a new department. For some reason she didn’t want to work with Weres. Every Friday, I told her that I refused to pass her transfer on to Mac. We needed her too much in our department. Mac, our boss, agreed.
Bruce shook his head, as we flashed our badges at Angelina, the receptionist. Bruce also winked. She giggled. “Arcane was two weeks ago. Last week she asked to be on the Bunco squad.”
Now I remembered. Last week I was ready to give her to the Bunco squad after she chased down some Vampires, on her motorcycle, through Pike’s Marketplace. Fortunately, no one was hurt.
We took the elevator up to the fourth floor. As we made our way through the sea of cubicles and offices, it was clear by the smiles, smirks, and snickers that something was up.
“What did I do to piss her off, Bruce?” He was a little more in tune with the intricacies of the female mind. Sure, I’d dated a lot of women, but Bruce had four sisters.
Bruce though a moment, taking another sip of his coffee. “She was pretty pissed about the stapler.”
That caused me to stop in my tracks and pause. That was not what I expected. “What?”
“You gave her back her supply list and told her she couldn’t have the stuff she wanted. Then you gave her supplies from the cabinet, including a black stapler.”
Yeah, where she organized everything in pairs, by alphabetical order. Rory had this thing about the alphabet. “The stuff on her list was weird. First of all, why does she need all those anti-bacterial wipes anyway? And star-shaped paperclips? Silver markers? Green pens? It was a crazy list.” I threw up my hands in despair remembering her irrational reaction. “Why should it matter what color her stapler is? I found her a Swingline. It was a nice stapler.”
“Why do girls need three pairs of red pumps or six black dresses? You’re the one with the psych degrees.” Bruce shrugged.
The door to my office was wide open when I got there—and the light was on. Not normal.
My jaw dropped open as the interior came into view. Now I understood.
My entire office had been attacked by plastic wrap. It covered the chair, desk, and computer. Everything on my desk had been neatly and individually wrapped as well—even the diplomas on the wall.
Bruce picked up my pencil cup—also plastic wrapped. “This is going to take forever to undo. How long do you think it took her to do this? Hours?”
“Probably.” What had set this off? Usually she just glued the caps on my pens, put my files in reverse alphabetical order, cleaned my office, or reparked my truck.
I found my answer. My desk had also been wrapped in red crepe paper. In the center was the black Swingline I’d given her, which now had my name on it in silver sharpie, complete with little flowers.
“I don’t understand, Bruce.” Even the trashcan had been wrapped in plastic wrap. “But she’s going to clean this up.”
“This is something though. We should take a picture first. She’s got great prank ideas.”
That was another thing they did—exchange prank ideas.
Bruce shook his head. “Are you going to get her the red stapler?”
“Holy shit, no.” We had work to do. What was she thiking?
“I already did.” The Scottish Brogue behind us made us turn. Mac.
I knitted my eyebrows. “Why would you do that? She’s a grown woman. Rory has to learn that she can’t get everything she wants—even if she beats people up and pulls stunts.”
For some reason this made Bruce snort. I shot him a dark look.
“Sweet Jesus, it’s a stapler, Frank. Not a country. Rory’s one of our best agents. If she wants a red stapler, let her have one.” Mac shrugged. “I already introduced her to Janice, she’ll handle her own office supplies—and she’ll stop reorganizing the supply cabinet.”
“That’s a plus,” I muttered darkly.
“I kind of like they way she reorganized the cabinets.” Bruce took another sip of coffee.
I was tempted to pour the rest of my latté on him. Anger simmered within me. It was a stapler. “She is going to clean this up, right? I have work to do.”
Grinning, Mac handed me a pair of scissors. “You asked for it. I never told you that you guys couldn’t order non-standard supplies.”
I just stood there, dumbfounded looking at the scissors. He wanted me to what?
Bruce took the scissors. “I’ll help you.”
“Besides, she’s out. Arcane wanted to borrow her. Some school kid needed scared straight or something.” Rory was good at scaring people straight—or was it just scaring people.
The Scottish giant turned to leave, then stopped. “Oh, she wanted me to give this to you.”
Mac reached into his pocket and pulled out a yellow form, the kind with the pink and white copies, and handed it to me. It had been filled out in neat printing—in green pen.
I took in and read it over. “Today is Friday.”
Bruce peered over my shoulder. “What department does she want to go to this week?”
Skimming the form, I chuckled. What would she do if I actually let her transfer—as a joke? “Research.”
“Research?” Bruce laughed so hard he nearly snorted coffee. “Does she understand what they do in research? They sit at their desks and read--no running, no shooting, no explosions.”
“She’d be bored out of her mind.” For her a good day started with gunfire and ended with an explosion. “Rory would last a day.”
Taking the scissors, Bruce started cutting through the plastic wrap on the chair. “A day?” He laughed. “I’d give her an hour.”
“Wait. Should we take that picture first?” I whipped out my phone. “After all, it is a rather nice piece of handiwork.” Part of me was angery, but part of me would like to think that she did all these things to me because she cared. The frat boy in me did appriciate the beauty of the prank--not that I'd ever tell her that.
“Sure.” We took the picture and started to clean up the mess.
“So, Bruce, know how to hotwire a Ducati?” If she could prank me...
Bruce shook his head. “Sorry, Frank, but I value my life far too much.”