Unforeseen Dives – 24a – Appearances

<< IVb – A Bump on the Head

I never enjoyed sitting in Aaron’s office, but today it was torture. My mother had been kidnapped; I didn’t have time for a scolding.
“You should kiss Lady Fortune’s ass that your mess wasn’t caught on camera!” Aaron bellowed, sending furious splutters toward Rebecca. She opened her mouth to retort. I squeezed her forearm. Suspension waited if she talked. I’d rather not lose my right-hand woman when I needed her most.
“She had an understandable reaction to a person feeding on her partner’s pain. Reprehensible? Yes, but there’s no need to be so rude about it.” Daniel cut in. He sat on the couch while Aaron emphasized his anger by pacing back-and-forth. He played moderators though logically he should be the one chiding and Aaron shouldn’t be involved. I was getting really tired of the FBI’s overbearing presence in our agency. It slowed everything down.
“Well, since they are so emotional about it, neither of them will be part of the investigation.” Aaron faced us squarely. He meant what he said. He was going to keep me from saving my mom.
“That’s not going to happen, sir.” I said. My voice held a harshness I wasn’t used to. “You can’t do it without Becky and me.”
“It’s a kidnapping, lady. The FBI deals with this quite often.”
“You’re wrong.” I stood from the couch and took a step toward him. “And you know it.”
Rebecca and Daniel’s looks weighed on my back. They never saw me like this, neither had I. They probably spied my thoughts, ready to intervene before I stepped out of line or lost control of my nerves. I would do neither.
“You think it’s a part of that omen, don’t you?” Aaron hammered. “We’ve got people on it. We don’t need two emotionally-driven time bombs.”
“Yes, it’s the omen. Watch the tape again if you need proof.” My voice rang calm and leveled as I took another step toward him. “Yes, you’ve got people on it. People who cannot enter the knot in the Ocean and dig half as deep as I can.” My feet continued to inch forward. “And yes, obviously, I’m emotionally-driven because my mom’s life is on the line. As for bombs, you never would have stopped the last one if it weren’t for me.” I stopped advancing when I hit the limit of his personal bubble. My goal wasn’t to threaten. “It’s not the time for ego-fuelled decisions. It’s certainly not the time to prove a non-reader agency can best its reader counterpart. It’s time to work together and keep a war at bay.”
“What kind of man do you want to be, Aaron?” Daniel said right behind me. His hand rested on my shoulder, softly urging me to pull back. I stepped next to him.
Silent, Aaron sat behind his desk. His shoulder slumped.
“It’ll take more than that for them to swallow this.” Aaron whispered.
“I know. I’ll help as best as I can.” Daniel rounded the desk to sit on the corner next to Aaron.
“I’m sure you will. I wish some of them had known you from before.”
“We’ll figure it out.” Daniel turned to me. “Plan the investigation. We’ll get you FBI partners as soon as possible.”
Rebecca and I didn’t need more to head toward our department. Something in the way Aaron said “known you from before” bugged me. Becky read me and answered before I asked.
“Aaron and Daniel were partners in the FBI before the Acknowledgment.”
“How long have you known?”
“Learned it just now. Daniel beamed it to me.”
“That sure explains a few things.”
I always wondered why Daniel got away with his relative rudeness to Aaron. This bit of their past changed my perception. It also made Aaron more likeable. I guessed he shouldered the pressure from the FBI and Daniel handled the one PSI pushed back. Their heated discussions were not about which of them would win but about finding equilibrium between both their realities so everyone would be comfortable.
I used to think Aaron had been forced in his assignment because of a mistake he made. Maybe he chose to follow his partner because he wanted to stand by the readers’ side. He just didn’t know how to do it nor how we worked.
“Quite an analysis you’ve got going on.” Rebecca commented on my thoughts.
“Just warming up for what’s coming.” I half-smirked. Any kind of smile was hard to pull off since this morning.
We entered our office to find two people waiting for us.
“He was at the reception.” Casey announced as Samuel rose from the couch.
Samuel hugged me though we didn’t know each other much.
“I probably shouldn’t be here.” Samuel echoed my thought. “I just… Maybe there’s something I can do.” I had to find him something to do. He looked so desperate to act he might crumble and I didn’t have the heart to let him fall.
“The FBI will want to talk to you.” I stated, disengaging slowly from his arms. “Something you think insignificant could point us in the right direction.”
“Yeah, sure! Or maybe I can dive with you guys or something. I’ve mostly just done financial stuff but…”
I gently pushed him back on the couch. His feelings showed intensity I hadn’t suspected. How long had my mom and him been together before I noticed?
“The FBI will be here soon. It’s safer for you not to dive. Trust me.”
Rebecca brought him a glass of water and sat by his side. Casey grabbed my elbow and led me away from them.
“Do I have permission to scour your thoughts and memories? Just in case? I’ll stay away from anything too intimate.” Rebecca asked Samuel with a gentle voice. He nodded and they both concentrated on each other.
“We’ll have to get you out there.” Casey murmured to reel my attention to him. “I know you want to investigate but you’ll have to address the press at least once.”
“They’re hungry?”
“Famished. And scared.”
I sighed. Feeding the buzzards and keeping up appearances shouldn’t be on my to-do list.

24b – Appearances >>

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About Aheïla

Somewhere in Quebec City, Aheïla works as a Game Design Director by day and writes by night. Known for her blue hair, unyielding dynamism and tasty cooking (quails, anyone?), she’s convinced “prose is the new crack”. She satisfies her addiction daily on The Writeaholic’s Blog and weekly on Games' Bustles View all posts by Aheïla

10 responses to “Unforeseen Dives – 24a – Appearances

  • Jenn

    Go Cass! Woot! I’m so glad that she is able to stand up for herself. And that past pertnership sure does explain a lot!

    • Aheïla

      Cassidy’s strenght surfaces in dire situations.
      I didn’t even know Daniel and Aaron were partners until Aaron’s line! I reacted just like you. 😉
      Ah! Characters…

  • Abby

    Wow. So much suspense! I really like it. Can’t wait to see what happens next.

  • Phil

    That Aaron is a son of a you know what! I agree with Jenn that the partnership (partnership!?) explains a lot. Go Cassidy! I like when she’s strong. It’s kinda sexy, lol.

  • Marsha

    I’m happy again. I just have to quickly read over the pain and suffering part real fast. I like the suspence and the butt kicking part.

  • Leaf

    I don’t know what’s most involved: my own empathy with your characters or you writing them so well I forget they are characters.

    Both at equal parts, I guess. I may know large bits of what’s coming next, I usually forget all of it when I read your chapters, and then I get overwhelmed by the amount of stress your suspense kicks in me.

    I guess you can take that as a compliment ^^

    • Aheïla

      If I take it as “Your stories are forgettable”, it’s not really a compliment. If I take it as “Your writing pulls me in so much I forget everything else while I read”, then it definitely is a compliment! 😛

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