01 – Seasons GreetingsThe Naughty List
“Wolfe! Get your ass in here.” I had just settled in to read the latest cold case when the portly man across the office bellowed for my attention. I cock an eyebrow and steal a glance at the tempting pastry on my desk. Do I have enough time to enjoy breakfast? No, I decide. I pick up my coffee in resignation, and trudge into the captain’s office.
“Close the door and take a seat.” He then plops down with a grunt.
I comply without issue. It’s early, and the captain is always a grouch before his coffee. I hold my cup of coffee in my hand as he stares at me. Nothing good comes from him being quiet. I begin ticking through all the reasons he could be pissed right now. I hadn’t touched that beat cop in at least a week. No incidents in the gym. Kept to myself at my desk. I even held the door for that blow-hard in booking yesterday.
“Damn Feds want to horn in on the Santa case.”
“You mean the one where the rent-a-Santas are gettin’ jumped for their red buckets?” I lean forward. I had heard Hatchett and Cleaver talking about the case. Damn idiots were only half-ass interviewing the Santas and had gotten nowhere.
“Yeah. That’s the one. Seems like the idiot doing it decided to jump the river. Now it’s a ‘federal interstate crime spree’,” he barks at me, complete with hand waves and eye roll. “So, you know what I say? The feds want it? They can have it. Lets me put my boys back on real cases.”
“What’s that got to do with me, sir?”
“I’ll tell you what it’s got to do with you. You,” he points at me and smirks, “just got babysitting duty.”
“Did I stutter, Wolfe? They are bringing some greenhorn that needs their hand held for investigating in Kansas City. So that’s where you come in. It’s a nice, easy, do-nothing job.” He then starts bullet-pointing on his fingers. “That means no assaults. No complaints. No destruction of property. No illegal searches without warrants. No bullying. And most of all, Wolfe, no deaths.”
“Okay, sir.” I didn’t think my days as a beat cop were so violent to warrant this level of restrictions to my work. I chuckle at the captain.
“Don’t you laugh at this. This is serious, Wolfe. I saw how your uncle worked, and you are a chip off the old block. You keep your nose straight, and we’re good.”
“Awoo,” I bark as if I had just said Hoo-Ah. This wins me a dark look from the captain. I am sure he was about to grind my gears when the door opens and in walked trouble with a capital T. As my pop always says that rhymes with P and stands for pool. Yah, I know it’s from The Music Man. But it applies and I would shoot that any day of the week. She is a hot little brunette wearing slacks, a white dress shirt, and suit jacket. Her heals tick like a bomb about to go off as she makes her way to the desk. By the time my gaze trails up to her face, she is staring daggers at me. I cough a little and stand like Maman told me to do whenever a lady enters the room, albeit a little late. I was busy taking in the scenery.
“Where’s Harris, Frank? You said you’d bring your agent.” I hear the captain grumble behind me.
I caught the dark look behind her eyes before she smothered it with a dazzling smile. “Hi. I’m Agent Harris. Pleasure to meet you.” I hear Trouble say as she offers a hand to shake with the captain.
“You robbin’ nunneries now, Frank?” The captain shakes her hand briefly before motioning for them to sit.
“Charlie, she’s a damn good agent. Graduated top of her class. So, tell me about this liaison you have picked out for me. I hear he’s a real horn dog,” Frank says with a devious grin on his face. It is hard to not laugh out loud at the two men measuring their dicks in this room.
The captain snorts and cuts me a severe look as if to say he is adding ‘No fucking.’ to the laundry list of don’ts for this case. I reach out a hand to offer Agent Harris, “Joe Wolfe.”
She looks at my hand, then draws her gaze up to mine. There is that little dark look flashing in her eyes before she grasps my hand roughly to shake. “The pleasure is all yours, I’m sure.”
“Well, I mean, if you like me to share my pleasure…” I flash her my best Wolfe grin.
Frank and captain share a look before they turn to stare at me. She retracts her hand and turns to face Frank, “I told you. I don’t need a babysitter. I got this. Why not let him go chase some meter maid’s skirt while we work?”
I sit back down in my chair and cock an eyebrow to the captain, who is grinning like a fox in the henhouse. I’m interested in seeing where this goes from here.
“Well, missy. Since you haven’t been on the case, you don’t know all the history. And Wolfe here, is probably the best at gettin’ you acclimated to how we do things in Kansas City.”
I know this to be complete and utter bullshit, as Hatchett and Cleaver were the ones in charge of this case. This asshole didn’t think I was detective material. Good to know.
“Listen, captain,” I hear Trouble say as she draws out his title as an insult. “I’m sure you boys think you know how to run this show, but this is a federal case. We’re just letting you play along so you might learn something other than chest bumping and howling your awoos to the moon.” I cannot help but grin at the balls on this woman.
“Harris. That’s enough.” Frank points to both of us, “You two are now partners. It is a joint effort to get it solved quickly. We can’t have people afraid on Christmas. I expect this case to be wrapped up nice and tight before I head home for the holidays.”
Trouble rolls her eyes, but nods. I nod as well. “Yes, sir.”
“Great. Where are the files?” Agent Harris snipes at the room as she stands. I stand with her and motion with my head. I can’t help but grin as I lead her across the bullpen to where Hatchett and Cleaver sit. I take immense pleasure in rifling through the stack of papers on their desks for the files I need.
“Hey! Get your hands off my shit, Wolfe,” Cleaver says with a menacing tone.
“Cap’n said I’m on this case,” I waggle the file at him as I back away. “Merry Christmas! You can go back to your doughnuts and beer.”
When I finally turn, Trouble is standing there with a pole-axed look on her face. That alone makes this little scene all worth it.
“Wait. You weren’t even on this case?” Anger flashes across her pretty face, and I get a weird sense of déjà vu.
“I am now,” as I lead her back to my humble abode in the far corner of the bullpen.
“Please tell me you are at least a detective,” she grumbles.
“Yup! Earned my badge last month,” I smirk.
“Of course, you did,” she says. She then looks around for a place to sit down other than the perp chair and sighs when it is the only one available. I find it adorable how she sulks in the chair, but her interest is piqued, and her temper gone as I read aloud the details of the case. It only takes about twenty minutes to read through all the files we have and go over the statements we have gotten. As we are talking, I get the strange feeling I should know her. The pert little nose, cute pouty lips, and the way she keeps giving me side-eye suggests I have, in fact, fucked her. There goes that rule. I would remember had we had sex. She’s too hot to forget. She isn’t my usual. But I’d unwrap that present if I found it under the tree.
“Would you pay attention, Wolfe?” Her voice is full of irritation as she snaps her fingers in front of my face.
“Here I thought I was paying attention,” I grin.
“My tits have nothing to do with this case, eyes up, mister.” She motions up to her face from her tits.
“Yes, ma’am,” I say with my charming drawl. I notice a sweet blush on her cheeks as I take my time staring into her eyes.
About that time, I get beaned in the head with a wad of paper, forcing me to tear away the smolder from Trouble to see the culprit of my assault.
“Stop seducing the new girl, Wolfe.” I hear Peters whine from his desk. “Some of us have to remember we are happily married, after all. Quit showin’ off and do your job.”
By the time my eyes get back to Trouble, the most delicious blush has blossomed into a righteous fury blazing on her face. Holy terror is about to befall my head.
“Rest assured, detective, if Joe Wolfe were the last man on Earth, we would be extinct.”
“Oh! Burn! Shot down in flames,” Peters laughs. This draws the rest of the bullpen into jovial shaming of me and my failed attempt at seduction. Agent Harris is not amused. While we’re laughing and jabbing each other, she snatches the file and storms out. It’s then I noticed my beloved pastry is gone as well. That I cannot let stand. I snatch my gun out of the drawer, grab the jacket off the back of my chair, and give chase.