Home > Graywulf > Bad Penny Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4
A short time later, Jim pulled up next to his truck at the loft. He turned the engine off, got out of the car and helped Cat out. Blair stopped behind the trunk, waiting for Jim to open it up so he could get his gear out. Cat stood observing the neighborhood while waiting for Blair and Jim to gather Blair's things from the trunk.
Jim stacked another piece of gear on top of Blair's stuff and his roommate grumbled. "I thought you were going to help here, Jim?"
"Sandburg, when you left yesterday morning, you handled everything yourself. How come you can't do it now?" asked Jim, a little exasperated. "If you ask me, it looks like you have more stuff coming back than you went with."
"Is there something I can help carry?"
"No, no," came the muffled reply as Blair tried to stop some of his gear from tumbling off the top by holding it with his chin. He was unsuccessful and tried to grab it, losing everything he had in his arms. He mumbled an expletive and Jim told him to watch his language.
Cat chuckled, and stooped to help pick up the fallen objects. "Now tell me again you don't need help."
Blair sighed and chuckled. "Okay, you win, Cat. Sorry about swearing."
"Blair, trust me, I've heard much worse." Then thinking to herself, 'I’ve even said it...'
"Okay, you two... can we go inside now?" asked Jim, holding the door open.
Jim led them into the loft and Blair started to drop his gear by the door. He immediately stopped when he saw the stern look from Jim.
As she followed them into the loft, Cat asked, "Where would you like these things put?"
Jim pointed to towards Blair's room. "In Sandburg's room. Just dump them on his bed, cause I know he will anyway."
Cat looked inquiringly at Blair, who shrugged his shoulders and led the way.
She looked around with interest as she entered Blair's room. "Hmm, eclectic, like the rest of the apartment."
"Well, mostly it's anthropology stuff I've collected during my study travels," explained Blair with a grin. He forgot what a mess his room was when he had left the day before.
'I know you've got to be just as tired as Jim and I are, did you want this put somewhere other than on the bed? Like in the corner or something," Cat offered.
"Um, yeah," Blair replied, as he was bending over to drop his stuff on the bed, stood straight, then moved the few steps it took him to reach the corner where he proceeded to dump his stuff with a satisfied grunt.
Cat followed suit, and turned to leave the room.
Blair raised his voice a little, for effect, and said, "Thanks a lot for your help, Cat. I really appreciate it." Jim walked in on the last sentence and scowled at Blair as the older man shoved a few items into Blair's hands and turned around and left.
Jim was in the kitchen where Blair and Cat joined him. He was putting the leftover pizza in the fridge and grabbed three beers. He offered one to Blair who took the bottle with a smile and a sigh. Jim offered one to Cat. She declined the offer of beer. "Wine?" asked Jim. She shook her head no.
"I think I've got just enough steam to get back to the hotel and fall face first into the bed for a few hours rest," she declared. "So I think I'll leave now, and let you two get some rest. We can talk later during the week about getting together to discuss what happened this weekend and other topics along those lines, if that's okay with you?"
"Did you want me to follow you to make sure you get back there okay? I can drive you back and take a cab back here if you want? Or you could even rest here before you head back to the hotel." Jim offered, putting down his untouched beer.
"No, that's okay. I don't want to impose."
"Who's imposing? You've got a three-hour time difference, a six-hour flight, and only about 2 hours sleep since yesterday morning working against you. I just wanted to make sure you get back to the hotel safely."
"Thanks, I was trying to forget that," she said sarcastically, "now I really feel tired."
"Guys, may I make a suggestion?" started Blair, as he collected the three unopened bottles of beer and returned them to the fridge. "Why doesn't Jim drive you back to the hotel in your car, and I follow you both?"
"This is not a good sign. It took three of us to come up with that simple a plan…" groaned Cat. "If you're up to it, then okay that sounds like a plan. I'm half expecting a phone call from a co-worker, so it might be better if I got back to the hotel. Thanks for offering."
Cat felt guilty as she entered the suite, as she noticed the blinking light on the phone indicating a message (or two) was waiting. Cat closed the door and dropped her purse on the chair beside the desk. Picking up the receiver, she checked her messages. Both were from Steve asking her to call. She dialed his number from memory and waited for him to answer.
"Hey Cat! Where have you been? Hiding out, afraid I was going to put you to work?" he kidded.
"Nah, just helping a couple of friends with something that came up suddenly. What's up?"
"Thought we could get together before Monday. What do you say to dinner tonight? Sevenish?"
Checking her watch, she was pleasantly surprised to still find it only 1:30 p.m. "Steve that sounds good. Where did you want to meet?"
"Well, we could always try Il Cavalleno, but you know they'll never serve us dinner rolls there again."
Cat blushed at the memory of the "go long" diner roll toss that occurred during her last visit to Cascade that had now become legend in both of their offices. "Are you even sure they'll even let us in the place after that?"
He laughed, "Cat, I'll meet you at the hotel, and surprise you, how does that sound?"
"You're on, Steve. I'll see you at seven," she replied.
"Great. I'll see ya then!"
Cat smiled as she hung up the receiver. That gave her about four and a half hours before she needed to be up - that should be enough of a nap to have her at least coherent when Steve showed up.
"Cat? Uh, Cat? What the heck are you doing going into a computer store today? This is supposed to be fun, not work," complained Steve as he followed her into the store.
She'd warned him there'd be times like these, but he was still having a problem getting used to her making abrupt changes in direction without any warning. Most people would think she'd just changed her mind about something and was following up on that new thought. He wished at times, that was all it was. She'd been honest enough with him months ago to let him in what had happened during her first visit to Cascade. He'd been very relieved when she'd shown up to work safe, after hearing the news of Kalan's arrest.
He trailed after her through the aisles as she followed whatever it was that was guiding her. Cat stopped with a puzzled look on her face, as she picked up a jewel case that was in a small nondescript display. She turned, nearly running into Steve as she made her way up to the cashier to pay for it.
"What do you have there?" he asked.
A startled Cat looked at him, as though he'd suddenly materialized beside her. "Um, it's a game that's just been released. I think that a friend of mine needs see it, immediately, if not sooner."
Steve took the jewel case from her and looked at the game. 'The Sentry' was the name of the game, created by D. Banks and released by D. L. Witherspoon. The image on the cover was familiar, and that was when it dawned on him why she had been drawn to it.
'Of course,' he realized. The image on the cover art was that of Detective James Ellison, who had made the news earlier in the month. Something to do with having heightened senses according to the paper. But if he remembered correctly, the person who had originally written the research paper had come forward indicating it was falsified information.
Ellison had been the detective in charge of the investigation on the Kalan case in which Cat had gotten involved. He was also the person she'd spent part of the weekend with, working with him again to help with a missing person case, or so she'd told him over breakfast this morning. It didn't help that he was feeling more than just a little jealous at how easily Cat drop things to help this Detective Ellison. He also knew she wouldn't be happy until she'd dealt with this. Then he'd have her undivided attention.
"Cat, once we're out of here, why don't you call him and make arrangements to make sure he sees this. I can recommend a good lawyer for him if need be."
"Thanks Steve. I figured you'd understand. I just I don't understand why this has happened. It doesn’t make a lot of sense."
'Not to you, but it will to him,' Steve thought grimly as he remembered the media circus from a couple of weeks ago. "I wouldn’t worry too much about it making sense. We can talk about it later if you'd like. I take it he hasn't told you anything about it?"
"He hinted about some trouble a few of weeks go, something about Blair having to leave the University. I get the feeling that this stems from that incident but other than he needs to see it immediately, that's all I'm getting."
The cashier stood looking at them, waiting for them to make up their minds about what they were going to do, until Steve handed the jewel case back to her and Cat pulled out her wallet to pay for it.
Jim rose from the couch to answer the phone. Sandburg had gone out earlier to pick up a few things from the store for dinner that night so he was alone, enjoying a ballgame.
"Jim, it's Cat," she said hesitantly. This was not the kind of news anyone broke over the phone.
"Hi, I wasn't expecting to hear from you until later in the week? What's wrong?" he asked.
"Jim, I've found something I think you should see."
"Did you need me to come to where you are or did you want to bring it into the station and I'll meet you there?"
"Ah, no. It's not something you need to deal with in an official capacity. It's more… of a personal nature. You'll understand better when you see it," she replied.
"Okay…. Did you want to come over now or later this evening? Does Blair need to be here or…?"
"This afternoon is fine, say an hour or so?" Cat looked to Steve, who nodded, and whispered that he'd drop her off back at the hotel immediately.
"Sure. I'll see you then." Jim stared at the receiver, trying to figure out why Cat had called. He could tell by the background noise she hadn't been calling from her hotel suite. On top of that, he'd heard someone else, a male, talking to her quietly while she was on the line. What was up?
Jim heard Cat approach the door. He opened the door just as she was about to knock, catching her off guard.
"Oh, hi," she said still a little startled.
"Hi. Come in."
"Hey, Cat! How are you today? Hopefully a little better rested than when you left yesterday." Blair called from the kitchen, putting on the finishing touches to a casserole of some sort as far as Cat could tell.
"Better. Definitely, better. A nap and a good night's sleep have done wonders for me. I feel human again," she answered with a grin.
" Why don't you have a seat in the living room? Can I get you something to drink? Coffee, tea, beer?" Jim offered.
"No, I'm fine thanks," she replied as she crossed over to the couch facing the kitchen, so she wouldn't be excluding Blair from the conversation.
Jim took a couple of beers from the fridge and set one beside Blair who had just put the casserole in the oven and was washing his hands.
"Thanks, Jim. So Cat, Jim said you called saying you found something that he had to see?"
"You sounded so cryptic on the phone you had me worried."
"Sorry. I just didn't know what else to say. Just a sec. I'll show you," she said as she started to rummage through the large purse she was carrying. She pulled out a small plastic bag and removed the jewel case from it. Jim crossed the room and set the beer down on the coffee table. Cat offered the jewel case to him as he sat down. She studied his face, as he looked the cover over, watching the previous warm eyes turn cold, and his jaw go ridged. It was as bad as she feared.
"Where did you find this?" he asked. She could hear a controlled anger in his voice that would have terrified her had it been directed at her. She was thankful it wasn't. His attention was still focused on the jewel case.
"In a large shopping mall near the hotel. I'm sorry, I don’t remember the name of it, the receipt is in the bag, so you'll have the store's name and phone number on it. I was out with a friend when I was, uh, drawn to it. There isn't a huge display, and from what I gathered, it's just been released within the last week or so. Between what Steve has told me, and what you've alluded to, it didn't take them long to get this on the market did it?"
"Steve was the friend you were with when you found this?" asked Blair for clarification.
"Yes, Steve is a friend from the Cascade office. We were strolling through the mall when the game sort of, caught my attention. He knew that I know you both. He put two and two together when he saw the artwork. He filled me in on what happened." Cat turned to Blair, "I'm sorry things worked out the way they did for you. It takes someone pretty special to have done what you did to protect Jim."
Both of them looked at her with concern. "I knew enough, after seeing the game, hearing what Steve had to say, and what my own guides had told me. I knew it had to be true. Don't panic, he doesn't know about you, Jim. And to be perfectly honest, he's having trouble enough getting used having me around. Especially, when I start taking off on him when he least expects it, like this afternoon. Sort of like when I visited the campus last time, if you catch my drift," she admitted, trying to suppress the smile that was threatening.
"You mean, he knows about you," supplied Blair. "How did he take it when you told him?"
"Well, he actually knew about it before we met. He'd heard some wild stories from co-workers at my previous workplace. Mainly about that robbery I told you about the other night," she said as she met Jim's gaze. "He didn't know what to think at first. We began working together, and then I came to Cascade in April. He knew something was wrong the moment I came into the office the morning after I first met you two. He pulled me aside and we talked. That's when I found out that he knew, and when he started to find out what I knew. He also helped cover for me while I was away from the office last time."
"So you feel you can trust him?" Jim asked uneasily.
"Yes. He hasn't given me any reason to doubt him. And, he gave me this for you," she said as she fished around in her purse again. This time she drew out a business card and handed it to Jim. "He says this lawyer comes highly recommended."
"Hold it. Back up a bit. Did you say guides earlier?" asked Blair.
"I was wondering when you'd catch that. Yes, I said guides. How be we leave that for another conversation, say later this week, when we've got more time to talk about the weirdness that abounds in the universe?"
"Could I bribe you with dinner tonight? Nothing spectacular, just tuna casserole," Blair said looking to Jim for agreement.
"Tuna casserole, huh? Gee, wish I could, but I think Steve and I are going to push our luck and try to get banned from Il Cavalleno tonight…" Cat said with tongue firmly in cheek. When she saw two pairs of raised eyebrows she responded, "Long story, I'll save it for another time. Promise. And on that note, I should go. I'm sorry to drop bombshells and run, but…"
Blair was reading the back of the jewel case as Jim closed the door behind Cat.
"Wow. Is this ever bad news, I don't know how they put this together so quickly." Blair quickly removed the wrapping and opened the jewel case to read the rest of the notes for the game. "From what I've seen so far it's definitely based on what was released by Syd from my dissertation. And the artwork, well, that's a little too obvious. Are you going to call the lawyer Cat's friend recommended?"
"I'm not sure - I might do a little investigation first before I do call a lawyer. I need to make sure this is on the up and up. After everything that's happened, I believe I can trust Cat. But I don't know anything about this Steve she knows, or even why he'd recommend a lawyer for this. I don't trust either the lawyer or Steve at this point."
"You don't seem to mind that Cat knows about everything."
"I'm not 100% happy about it. But she's willing to put a spin on things to misdirect attention, and willing to bear the brunt of it herself. She was willing to let Simon believe she came forward on her own to help me find you, instead of me telling Simon what had actually happened. And actually, there's something else we need to discuss. Something she discovered that we're going to have to learn to deal with."
"Like what?" asked Blair, curious and concerned because of the tone in Jim's voice. Whatever it was, Jim wasn't happy about it. Which more than likely meant he wasn't going to have a pleasant time working with whatever Cat had discovered…."
"While she was working on getting me out of the zone the other night, she did something that, uh, left me more than a little bit concerned."
Blair's eyes widened with alarm, wondering what Cat could have done to unsettle his friend this way. "Okay, what did she do?"
"She suggested I remember everything from the moment we had entered her suite. She also suggested that I would remember the images from the vision clearly. And that I wouldn't have to focus as hard to remember in the future."
Blair continued to stare at Jim, trying to fathom what he was saying. "You mean, you remember everything that happened from the time you entered her suite to when you came out of the zone? Everything?"
"Yes," replied Jim tersely.
"And the images?"
"Clear as a bell. The next time we tried the exercise, I didn't zone. And several hours later, after trying to sleep, the whole thing fell into place. I don't think it would have worked that easily if she hadn't made the suggestions she did," Jim admitted grimly. "What it does tell me though, is zoning can be a lot more dangerous than we ever thought."
"Ah, yeah. Good thing she didn't make any other suggestions…." Blair started, but stopped when he saw Jim's eyes flash. "Uh, don't worry. I don't intend to take advantage of that little quirk myself…."
"That's good to hear Chief, because according to Cat, it more than likely wouldn't work. It would have to be something I'd be willing to do."
'Oh well', thought Blair, 'there goes never having to clean the bathroom or do laundry again….'
Jim checked the address on the business card. He was surprised when his calls inquiring about lawyers that dealt with this kind of matter indicated that D. M. Capp was exactly the person he should be seeing. So far, Cat's friend Steve's intentions were as good as Cat had said. Maybe he didn't have anything to worry about.
He looked up at the board displaying all the building occupants. He found the name he was looking for and walked over to the elevator. He rode the lift to the 5th floor and found the office he was looking for. He greeted the receptionist, told her his name, and who he was supposed to meeting with. He was immediately shown into an office. He walked in, expecting to find some hotshot young lawyer just out of law school, willing to help him out. Instead, as the secretary knocked and opened the door to the office, Jim was startled to see a very petite, young woman with a glint in her eye come forward, arm extended to shake his hand. He quickly noted her features, perfume, chestnut hair pulled back into a neat chignon, light blue business suit with matching heels, and a glint in her eye. She smiled easily, friendly, and sincerely at Jim as he gently took her hand in his for a shake. He was surprised at the strength of her grip.
The lawyer had an easy manner about her, and when she looked at Jim, it was as a person, not as a dollar sign. Her voice was melodious, sort of sexy in a way that got noticed. He wondered how she would do in a courtroom. Probably mesmerized the jury and judge....
She invited him to sit down, then took a seat next to him. He was surprised with that, he had expected he to go back behind her desk, to try to impose her authority. However, she sat back, relaxed, and asked Jim how she could help him. She listened attentively to what he was saying, never once scoffing at his information, as he had expected. This was a lawyer, and if they
If they couldn't make money off the case, then they weren't interested. He mentally added up what it was costing him per minute just to be sitting in the chair and groaned inwardly. "Well, he thought, "whatever it takes to get this game off the market, and to keep my anonymity, or what was left of it, was worth whatever it will cost me."
She asked to see the game CD, which he brought out of his pocket. She scanned the picture, looked at Jim, then back to the picture. She proceeded to open the jewel case, took out the jacket liner and read through it quickly. She asked if she could pop it into her computer to take a look at it.
Jim reluctantly agreed. She noted his reticence as she booted up the game. Jungle music came out of the speakers and her eyebrows raised slightly. Ms. Capp continued to install the game, and read the instructions for playing it. Following those instructions, she printed them off.
A voice came over the speakers describing the character of the game. Jim winced as the words were spoken. D. M. Capp peripherally watched his reaction to the music and the voice. She played a quick game to get the idea of it, then shut it down.
Excusing herself for a minute, she stepped out into the reception area to have her secretary make a copy of the jacket so she could keep a copy of the artwork on file. When the jacket was returned she handed the CD back to Jim, who slipped it back into his pocket.
"It hits a little to close to home, eh?" she surmised.
"Excuse me?" asked Jim, trying to pretend that he didn't understand her question.
"You are Detective James Ellison, Cascade P. D., recently embroiled in a scandal with his partner, one Blair Sandburg. Mr. Sandburg's Ph.D. dissertation was published, without permission. Said dissertation was about you. Mr. Sandburg recanted. Lost his position at the University. How much more information would you like me to give you?" she queried. She had a glint in her eyes as she watched Jim squirm mentally and physically.
"If this is how she makes me feel when she’s on my side, I almost feel sorry for the other guys?" thought Jim.
"I see you've done your homework, Ms. Capp," replied Jim, desperately trying to think of a way to negate the dissertation information. She was too perceptive.
"Of course, Detective Ellison. That's why I'm a good lawyer. I can also be discreet. I won't divulge your secret, if that's what you're worried about with this lawsuit. If we're going to work together, I need your complete cooperation and honesty. In return, I'll give you my honest opinion on how to best win this case. Deal?"
"Off the record?" asked Jim.
"Strictly off the record, Detective, unless I say otherwise. I'll give you complete final authority on how we approach this case. Good enough?" she asked with a smile that went all the way to her eyes, making them light up with a sparkle. "I can tell you what options I see - you can choose the direction."
Jim answered slowly, "Strictly off the record...I guess I can live with that. Thank you."
'This is still too many people knowing who I am and what I can do. I'm not comfortable with this!' Jim thought in frustration. 'First Cat, now this lawyer!'
"Well, I definitely think you have a solid case here on the likeness issue. Now, the actual game itself could be brought under a separate lawsuit, however, in order to keep your abilities a secret, or rather, out of the public's eye, I'd say you probably don't want to proceed in that direction, right?"
"I think that would be a fair assessment of the situation," he replied with a nod. Jim didn't like what had happened. His preference would have been to just make it all disappear without a fuss. If he let this slide, the situation could be uncomfortable for a bit longer and it might die down. But what if it didn't? Did he really want to take that risk?
"Do you want me to pursue them to stop making the game altogether, issuing a cease and desist order, recall all the products out in the stores as of now, or just use a different image, with your approval first?"
"I'd rather everything stop. But, I know that unless I want to bring more attention to myself, we're going to have to play this one close to the chest. I would like to see the name of the game changed, though. Is that possible?"
Ms. Capp stood up, offered her hand to Jim, who also stood up. He took her pro-offered hand, again surprised by the strength of her grip. "Detective Ellison, I'll call you on Friday with an update of everything. With any luck, the product should be off the store shelves by Wednesday afternoon."
"Thank you. I appreciate your help and your discretion," he replied, relieved at her thoroughness and promises of quick results. "We haven't discussed your fee."
"That's all right. Just check with Maria at the front desk and sign a contract for my services. All the fees are listed there. And, no, you won't have a heart attack at my fees."
Jim went out the door, and heard a soft comment, meant for him only. "Oh, Detective Ellison, send your friend, Mr. Sandburg to see me. I may be able to help him on the attempted publishing of his dissertation."
She didn't expect him to pop his head back in, but was gratified to see that he really had heard her comment.
"I'll send Sandburg over to see you, soon," grinned Jim. He wondered if he should warn her about Sandburg and table legs.
"I’ll talk to you, soon," promised Ms. Capp with a smile.
D. M. Capp was true to her word. By Wednesday afternoon all the copies of "The Sentry" with the exception of two that Jim knew about were out of circulation. He decided that that news, however small a victory, deserved a celebration. That afternoon when Blair joined him after his training session at the academy, they decided to invite Cat to join them for dinner the next evening.
"Cat Alexander speaking," she answered.
"Hi Cat," replied Jim.
"Hi, yourself. What's up?"
"Well, I saw the lawyer your friend recommended on Monday, and as of this afternoon, all the copies have been pulled from the store shelves."
"That's wonderful news. I’m so glad to hear it!"
"I wanted to thank you for your help, and ask if you could pass on my thanks to your friend…."
"Just a sec, he's here right now, I'll put him on," she replied with a grin, handing the phone to Steve who was staring at her wondering what was going on. On the other end of the line Jim had closed his eyes and shook his head in disbelief. Timing was everything, and his was definitely off.
"Hello?" Steve answered, and then nodded as Cat whispered "Jim" to him.
"Hi… Steve? I just wanted to thank you both for your help with the game. Cat for finding it and for your recommendation for the lawyer. She definitely doesn't mess around, does she?"
"D. M. Capp is aptly named "pitbull" by people I know. A fair number of computer people I know do freelance consulting outside of their day job, and when things go sour, we call Ms. Capp…."
Jim grinned. He was starting to like Cat's choice in friends. "I was calling to invite you both to join my friend Blair and I for a dinner in celebration of the pulling of the game. Would tomorrow night be good for you, and for Cat if she has no other plans?"
"I think, I can guarantee neither of us will have any problems getting out of work on time to join you for dinner tomorrow,' Steve said with a grin that went from ear to ear. 'However, I think you're going to have to talk to her about whether or not she's got other plans. I'll pass you back to her."
Cat stared at Steve, wondering what that was all about as she accepted the receiver back from Steve. "What are you two up to?" she asked suspiciously.
"Just wondering if you're available for dinner tomorrow evening," said Jim. "Blair and I are going to go out to celebrate the game being pulled, and I'd like you and Steve to join us, as a thank you for your help."
"Okay," she laughed. "For that, I'm available. By the way, is Blair there?"
"Yes, just a minute," Jim said as he motioned Blair to join him and then handed him the receiver.
"Hi, Cat. You wanted to talk to me?"
"Yes, we were supposed to get together to talk, and do a meditation or something this week weren't we? If we're doing dinner tomorrow night, and I'm going to a Mariner's game in Seattle on Friday, I guess tonight would have to be it. Is that okay, or did you want to reschedule for sometime next week?"
"Tonight would be great. Did you want to join us for dinner tonight before hand? I think we were going to order in, but we can always do something else instead."
"Okay, dinner tonight as well, but how about something light? Something like fish and salad, or a stir- if you don't mind? I've always found a meditation goes better on either an empty stomach or after a light meal. I can pick up a few things on my way over if you'd like. Just let me know what you need."
"That's okay, I think we can handle it on the way home. See you about 6:30? Anything else you need?"
"I'll stop by the hotel on the way over for a couple of CD's I use for mediation if you don't mind. Other than that, nothing I can think of. I'll see you later."
As she hung up the phone, she looked up at Steve. "I hope you don't mind?" she said with eyebrows raised questioningly. He shook his head in response. She knew he wasn't thrilled, but he wasn't about to argue either.
"Okay Blair, now face me," Cat instructed. They were both on the floor sitting cross-legged. Blair followed her instructions, curious as to what she was trying to show him. Jim watched the two of them, just shaking his head in disbelief.
"Okay, now I need you to hold your hands out like this," she showed him. "One palm up, one down, with your forearm parallel to your legs. Relax a little, don't hold yourself quite so stiff," she remarked. "Okay, now close your eyes."
Cat mirrored his position, reversing the hands so her palms faced his with a few inches between them. "Now what do you feel?"
"Besides silly?" commented Jim.
"Hush, no comments from the peanut gallery," she told him. "This is similar to what I did to you back in the restaurant in the hotel Friday night."
Cat turned back to Blair, closed her eyes and concentrated. "Blair, what do you feel?"
"Weird. It's warm, and there's almost like a shape to it. Round."
Cat smiled. "Okay, now, what colour is it?" Behind her she heard a snicker, but she ignored it.
"Colour? I can't see it Cat, it's not visible."
"Blair, close your eyes again. Picture it in your mind. Describe it to me, its shape, size, feel and colour, " she finished.
"Cool!" he said. "It's round, definitely round. I can't guess at the size. The weird thing is, it tickles and burns at the same time. Now colour. Would I be right in saying blue?"
Jim's mouth dropped open as Cat answered in the affirmative.
"Your turn Jim?" Cat challenged.
"You've got to try this!" Blair encouraged as he got to his feet.
Jim looked at the pair of them as though they'd both just gone crazy.
"Come on." Cat said and motioned him to join her on the floor in the spot Blair had just vacated. Reluctantly Jim sat across from her, feeling very silly.
"Okay, now do as I told Blair, relax, and hold your hands out like so," she showed him. Jim did as instructed, with an expression on his face that all but shouted, "I'll humour you."
"Now close your eyes." After he closed his eyes, she put her hands over his the same way she had over Blair's.
"Okay, we're going to do something a little different. Instead of you just trying to see the ball, I want you to see it as something fluid, like water, flowing from your hand into mine through me then my hand into yours and through you to complete the circuit," she instructed softly.
She felt nothing for a few moments, and then slowly, she could felt he change. She smiled as the feeling got stronger. Opening her eyes, she could see a slight shocked expression on Jim's face.
"Now Jim, what colour is it?"
"It's not blue, it's red, isn't it."
Cat could feel the warmth slow and then stop. She opened her eyes, and saw Jim staring back at her, slowly dropping his hands to his knees.
A slow smile spread across Cat's face, and another mirrored hers. "You've done something this before, haven't you? Maybe without realizing what it was?"
"This is so, cool, Jim!" declared Blair. "When did you go through something like this before?"
Jim's face clouded. "Near the fountain, outside Hargrove Hall," Jim whispered as he looked up to meet Blair's questioning gaze.
Jim swallowed, hard, and nodded. Cat followed the exchange, not understanding what they were talking about, but realizing that it was important to both of them. "I think this is my cue to leave to give you both the time you need to talk about this," she stated.
"You don't mind?" asked Blair, feeling a little unsure after what he'd just found out.
"Not at all," she said. The tension in the room was thick enough to cut with a knife, and she knew better than to stay. Both men were paler than they had been a few minutes earlier, before the discovery had been made.
Jim stood up and offered his hand to help her to her feet. Cat quickly gathered her CD's, said her goodnights and left.
"So Jim, why didn't you say anything earlier about what happened at the fountain that day?" Blair asked. "It's been months."
"When would it have been a good time? While you were in the hospital? While we were down in Sierra Verde? After that, the timing just seemed wrong, somehow." Jim stopped and looked away, unsure how to continue. "What could I explain? I didn't even know what I was doing at the time. All I knew was - I damn well wasn't going to let you go without doing something."
"Go? You mean leave you like everyone else? Your mother? Your team members in Peru? Your wife? Incacha?" Blair regretted his words as soon as they were uttered. However true they were, he knew that they were said to hurt. To his dismay, he realized they hurt him just as deep. "Jim, I…."
"Don't. Just don't say anything more," pleaded Jim.
Blair's heart was breaking. 'I can't believe I said that.'
Jim walked over to the balcony window, and stared blindly out.
From behind him, came Blair's voice. "I'm sorry, Jim. That was unfair."
"You weren't wrong. Your timing could be better Sandburg, but you weren't wrong."
"So tell me, what exactly happened? I remember the image of the wolf and the jaguar colliding. We both had that vision. You said at the time, Incacha guided you to bring me back. What did you do?"
Jim turned. Blair was now sitting on the loveseat facing him, his eyes full of questions he wanted to ask, but needed Jim's permission to go further. Jim closed his eyes and lowered his head. 'Where do I start?'
"Incacha instructed me to use the power of my animal spirit. In the vision, he raised his hand and I saw the jaguar leaping from the center of his palm." Jim stopped, hesitant about continuing, "I know I'm not explaining this well, but it is so hard to try to describe." Jim looked up at Blair.
"That's okay, keep going. This is important," encouraged his guide at the sight of the confusion and frustration in his face.
"I guess I knew then, like Cat showed us today, that the power of my animal spirit could flow through my hands to you to help bring you back. I didn't understand what I was doing, only that, …I had to do it. "
The last part of the sentence trailed off so Blair could hardly hear it. He watched as Jim's eyes roamed the apartment, looking anywhere but in his direction. Jim started to pace back and forth in front of the windows like the animal spirit he'd been talking about.
"I could feel something flowing from me into you, when the jaguar and wolf collided. With the flash of light, I could hear your heart beating again," Jim continued so quietly Blair had to strain to hear it. Blair watched him as he stopped, raised his hands and was stared at them as though he was just seeing them for the first time.
"Jim?" he started. Blair stopped when Jim turned to face him. The combined look of wonder, fear and a startled realization in Jim's eyes had Blair on his feet and beside his friend immediately. "Jim, it's okay," he reassured.
"What kind of a freak, am I, Chief?" he questioned as echoes of the past shouted back at him. His eyes searched for the answer in Blair's reaction.
Blair smiled, and shook his head, raising his hand to Jim's shoulder. "No freak. A friend definitely, but not a freak." Blair chuckled, "Hell, maybe Cat's right. She figures we all have the same potential, it's just whether or not it's realized. For you," Blair gestured wide with his hand, "you're just ahead of the rest of us in a couple of areas. Just give me a chance to catch up, will ya?" Blair gave him a grin.
"What, you don't care about anyone else catching up with us?" he replied with a small grin.
"Nah, we need the edge to keep the rest of Major Crime on their toes. Especially Simon…."
"Hey, Blair. It's Cat," she said tentatively. "Are you okay to talk? I just called to see if dinner was still on tonight…"
Blair grinned. "Yes. I'm okay to talk." Seeing Jim look at him from across the desk, Blair mouthed 'Cat.' To which Jim nodded. "Every thing is fine," replied reading between the lines. "I think though, I have a lot of questions for you after last night."
"Questions? Me? What did I do?" she asked feeling almost guilty over the can of worms she'd opened the previous night without knowing it. Cat rolled her eyes skyward, fearing the barrage of questions Blair would have for her from the sounds of it.
"Don't worry. I won't put you on the spot tonight. But we were both hoping that you'd have the time to work with us again before you head back to Toronto. Last night was, …interesting to say the least."
Jim looked up and quietly said, "We? Speak for yourself Sandburg."
"You're sure about that? I did a quick search last night on the net for a book that I used a long time ago to help me with some of the exercises I was using last night. It's out of print, but apparently still available. I was going to email the information to you. I can print it off and bring it to dinner tonight if you'd prefer. I figured it would allow you to work at your own pace, and learn the basics."
"What book? I might already have it."
"I doubt it's in your collection. It's called Innersource: Channeling your Unlimited Self by Katherine Keift. I'll bring along the info tonight then," she offered as she sent the page to the printer. Thank goodness she'd bookmarked the search at www.amazon.com.
Jim shook his head as he listened in. This was going to be interesting. "Sure Cat, we'll see you later," responded Blair.
"By the way, where and what time is dinner tonight?"
"Tonight? We figured 7:00 p.m. reservations for four at Il Cavalleno. That isn't a problem, is it?" He replied innocently.
"No, not at all. Just don't expect them to serve us any dinner rolls…." Cat replied with a laugh. "We're not banned there… yet."
"You do realize you're going to be required to explain that statement tonight," Blair warned.
"Be careful what you ask for, you might end up with an re-enactment instead of just an explanation…."
"Maybe I should change the reservation?" said Jim loud enough that Cat could hear, as Blair chuckled.
"Depends on whether or not you ever want to go into that restaurant again…."
Il Cavalleno was the type of restaurant to which you would take someone you wanted to impress. A place you'd go to for a special occasion like an anniversary or a celebration. Dimly lit accompanied by candlelight on each table, rose coloured tablecloths and linen napkins on the table, and soft music in the background.
Tonight was a celebration, but Jim had started to have second thoughts about having the celebration here. Cat had twice alluded to something that had happened previously, that might prove to be a problem for the evening. He was hoping that she was just joking, but he wasn't willing to bet on it.
Blair was looking forward to seeing Cat again, and trying to pin her down as to when they could get together again. After last night, he had more questions than she would have time to answer, considering she was only in town for the next week. Hopefully, she'd be willing to spend some time with him to help with his research as she'd promised. Given enough time, this could turn out to be a very interesting friendship.
Both Blair and Jim had been seated as they had arrived just a little early. Jim noted that as they waited for their dinner guests to arrive, rolls had been provided. 'Well Cat, you were wrong on that call.' Jim grinned at Blair as they each took a roll.
Over the music in the restaurant Jim heard a male voice say, "Ellison, party of four. Part of our party may already have been seated."
He smiled and looked at Blair, "They've just arrived." Both stood as Cat and her friend approached.
"Hey, guys!" called Cat. "Jim, Blair, I'd like to introduce Steve McAdam. Steve, this is Jim Ellison, and Blair Sandburg."
"It's nice to finally meet you. Cat speaks highly about you both," offered Steve as he shook their hands.
Cat giggled as both Jim and Steve moved to pull the chair out for her. 'This was going to be an interesting evening,' she thought as sat down, and Steve pushed the chair in. As the three men started to seat themselves at the table, Jim noticed the waiter surreptitiously reach for the basket of dinner rolls.
"Excuse me. We're not finished with those," he told the waiter.
Cat and Steve looked at one another guiltily, and tried valiantly to stifle their laughter. Blair watched in amusement, knowing there had to be quite a story behind this.
"I'm sorry sir, I've been instructed to remove the rolls from this table by the captain," replied the waiter nervously. This gentleman did not look like someone to be challenged. 'From now on, the captain could do his own dirty work. '
"Then my suggestion to you would be, bring the captain and the manager over, immediately. Leave the rolls here until this has been settled." Jim said in a tone that offered no alternatives. The waiter left he rolls, and almost ran out of the room.
Jim shot a glance at Cat and Steve, who by this time were a brilliant shade of red. He doubted it was from embarrassment, it was more likely to have been caused by holding back the laughter he could read in their eyes.
The anxious waiter returned, with the captain and the manager. The captain was not happy and had apparently been called on the carpet for his decision. The manager was a little leery of getting a customer upset over the lack of dinner rolls. The manager apologized and offered a bottle of wine on the house to make amends for the captain's error in judgment. The manager glared at the captain as he offered the bottle of wine.
"That's very nice, but not necessary," replied Jim.
"No, I insist," replied the captain under the watchful glare of the manger. The captain signaled the sommelier and gave instructions that he was to provide the table with a bottle of wine on the house. The waiter, captain, manager and sommelier left the table, to allow their guests time to consider their order.
"Oh my god!" gasped Cat as she clamped a hand over her mouth to smother the giggles that were threatening to bubble up.
"What have you two been up to, and when was the last time you were here? I know Cat mentioned the possibility of coming here Sunday night." Jim gave a bemused look to their two guests.
Steve turned to Cat and asked "Do you want to tell them or shall I?"
"Why don’t we order first," she suggested.
The four browsed the menu, trying to decide what they were going to have. They shared two orders of the stuffed clam appetizer. Blair ordered Eggplant Parmesan, Jim ordered Lasagna, Steve ordered Veal Picata and Cat ordered Pasta Primavera.
"This story I’ve got to hear. Come on, spill," encouraged Blair once their order had been taken and the waiter was out of earshot.
Steve cleared his throat, glanced at Cat, and then began, "About two months ago, when Cat was in town last, we had a team dinner here. There were about twenty of us, sitting over there, in that corner." Steve gestured to an area past Jim and Blair.
"Everything was going nice and quiet until I asked for the rolls to be passed. Cat seemed to be hoarding all the baskets of rolls," Steve shot her a defiant look.
"I wasn’t hoarding them! The baskets just seemed to naturally gravitate to my end of the table – like the butter and cream did to your end of the table," she argued. "So when I heard him ask that we pass the rolls, I did what came natural, I told him to go long…." Cat continued innocently.
Blair shot Jim a huge grin after seeing Jim’s raised eyebrows and smirk. These two seemed to be quite the pair. He could guess what was coming next.
"So I did. I went deep, Cat tossed the roll, and I caught it," Steve finished, or so he thought.
"What Steve failed to tell you is, he ran into the captain and a waiter, knocking both of them over as well as a tray. Thank goodness there were no spilled dishes of food, broken dishes or bones," Cat reminded Steve.
"Just a little bit of injured pride…." Steve retorted as he watched the reactions of Jim and Blair.
"My only regret out of all of this is, the captain got into trouble this time, because of our horseplay the last time we were here," sighed Cat.
"Do you two always act like that when you get together?" asked Blair.
"No, not really. I have to admit, I was encouraging Cat that night. I think she needed to cut loose a little and I was willing to help her do it. I think you would have understood had you been there, you see, that was the day you arrested Kalan," Steve told them.
"I don't react well to certain types of stress. I have tendency to overcompensate with humour," Cat admitted as she blushed furiously.
Blair, realizing Cat's discomfort with the topic, decided to try to change the subject. "So Steve, you and Cat met when she came to Cascade for the first time?"
"No, actually, I met Cat earlier than that. During a business trip to Toronto back in early March, shortly after she was assigned to the project we've just launched. She had only just joined the company about three or four weeks earlier."
"So Cat's work here is finished?" asked Jim. He knew she'd be back, how he wasn't about to question.
"Yes and no," Cat answered. "Basically, that particular project is finished, but there is another I'm working on with Steve's team, in addition to a couple of others elsewhere. I'm normally working on three to four different projects at a time."
"But if I have my way, Cat will be joining our team permanently," added Steve, causing Cat to roll her eyes.
"Does that mean she'll be moving to Cascade?" prompted Blair.
"I'm hoping so," replied Steve as he looked to Cat.
"You're talking out of turn." Cat admonished. She then explained, "We've discussed the possibility. I know he's talked with my boss back in Toronto about the possibility as well. Nothing has been decided." She looked pointedly back at Steve. "Besides, this is supposed to be a victory celebration, isn't it? Jim, what's the scoop? I know you went to see the lawyer that Steve recommended, so what happened?"
Jim smiled at Cat's redirection. "Yes. I saw D. M. Capp Monday morning. She wasn't exactly what I expected." He watched as Steve grinned. He gathered that was the reaction most people had to Ms D. M. Capp Esq. "After a brief interview, it was decided that the best thing to do in the situation was to have the game removed from the shelves as soon as possible. By yesterday, with the exception of two copies I know of, every copy that was in the stores have been pulled."
"Two copies? Okay, I assume that one of them is the one I brought to you on Sunday? The other is…?" queried Cat.
"Right here," supplied Jim, as he brought out the jewel case from under the table. "I figured that the one you brought me should be kept in case the lawyer needed it. However, I wanted you to have this one as a sort of, thank you."
"Are you sure you want this out there? I mean…" Cat started, amazed that he would give her a copy of the game.
"It will more than likely be back on the shelves with a new jacket shortly. Or so Ms. Capp suspects," Jim told them. "I'm happy that the game is off the shelves and I don't have to worry about seeing my face staring back at me from a number of CD's in a computer store. It was unnerving enough when I went into the store where you bought the other one to pick up this copy."
"Did the clerk notice the, uh, resemblance to the jacket when you presented it to them for payment?" teased Cat.
"I wish I'd had a camera, it was priceless," chuckled Blair. "You should have seen Jim looking at the startled clerk after the clerk had recognized him…. The infamous Ellison stare." Blair found himself the recipient of that same stare. "Yup that's the one…."
Blair started to laugh, followed closely by Steve and Cat. Jim couldn't help but join in.
Dinner finally arrived and they enjoyed their meal, talking, laughing and trading stories. At the end of the evening, Steve invited Blair and Jim to join their group at the Mariners game the next night, as there were a couple of extra tickets because of people who couldn’t make it to the game.
"Nice of him to invite us along tomorrow night," remarked Blair as they watched Cat and Steve leave together.
"Yeah. By the way, she is moving to Cascade, Chief."
"You think so?" asked Blair.
"I know so," stated Jim quietly.
"What?" exclaimed Blair, looking to his friend for clarification. A quiet confidence was all Blair saw when he realized just how Jim knew Cat would eventually be staying in Cascade. "Uh, could you do me a favour next time you know something that way? Warn me?"
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