Hard Boiled – Episode Two: The Roof is on Fire 1.54

Bluewolf was nearly home when his com-link chirped. He checked, noting it was a voice message from Kardiac: Rant and Rave. He had more than enough background on the duo to know that the evening wasn’t going to be a cakewalk. Still, he would have backup in Kaye. They wouldn’t be expecting him, and definitely wouldn’t be expecting her.

He was about five blocks from his brownstone when he slipped into one of his secluded spots and changed into street clothes. More accurately, he slipped into a jogging suit and tossed the extras of his costume into a small backpack. Back on the streets, he was simply returning from an early morning jog. As he neared his home, Aaron caught a familiar scent in the air. He couldn’t quite recall why it was familiar, and that bothered him. What bothered him even more was the fact that the scent grew stronger as he drew closer to home and was nearly overpowering as he reached the front door. Aaron’s keen hearing also picked up the sound of voices inside. Nothing seemed out of sorts and his instincts weren’t in overdrive, so that served to lessen the minor mental anxiety.

“In the kitchen, dear…” Kaye called as he stepped through the door.

If Aaron had walked into a brick wall, he could not have been more stunned. Seated at the breakfast bar, enjoying a cup of coffee, and looking directly at him with an arched brow was Vivian Green. “Surprise, surprise.”

It was at that moment his com-link chirped.

After a moment, it chirped again.

“You might want to get that. I seem to recall that when one of those things goes off, it’s usually important.” Vivian said, after the third chirp.

Aaron retrieved the device from his bag. “Hey,” was all that he could muster at that moment.

Hey. I talked to Melody, it was Ryu.

“And?” He’d finally managed to at least engage part of his brain back in reality.

Well, I wouldn’t say she’s happy about it, but she’s in.

“We’re none of us happy about any of it, but good nonetheless.” Aaron fell quiet again.

So?

“So what?”

So did you call her?

Aaron paused a beat. The opportunity was almost too good to pass up, “Call who?”

Vivian.

“Vivian?” He’d finally managed to take full control of his senses. Vivian and Kaye both mouthed, ‘Who is it?’ to which Aaron mouthed back, ‘Roo.’

The exasperation finally broke on the other end, For chrissake, I feel like I’m stuck in an issue of Powers. Yes, Vivian.

The ladies rolled their eyes, while Aaron could hardly keep the smile from his face, “Oh, yeah. She’s right here; you want to talk to her?” The sound of a car horn could be heard clearly over the line. “Hey, since you’re busy directing traffic, let me get back with you.” Aaron said, keying off the link.

Aaron and Kaye both took seats, “So what brings you back to town?” Vivian’s eyes cut to Aaron, and Kaye followed her gaze. She sighed, “What have you done now?”

Aaron managed to look innocent for about three seconds before the corner of his mouth started to creep up. “Well, you know how I’ve become a patron of the arts, right?” Kaye’s eyes narrowed. She knew he had ‘anonymously’ picked up a few of Eddy’s pieces, and generally didn’t mind. “There was this new piece in the gallery that I figured Vivian would like, so, with the information I’d manage to wheedle out of Jenna on our wayward friend here, I had it crated up and shipped off.”

“Hrm. Another person I need to talk to, apparently.” Vivian said.

Kaye checked her watch, “Shoot, I’m going to be late for my lecture.” She jumped up, and kissed Aaron, “I’m sorry I can’t stay longer, but if you want me to make him sleep on the couch…”

“Hey!”

“Thanks Kaye, I’ll let you know after I hear his explanation.”

“You’re still on for backup tonight, right?” Aaron asked over his shoulder.

“Like you really need to ask?” Kaye yelled as she bolted out the front door.

Vivian’s eyebrows arched up in a look of curiosity. “Tonight?”

Aaron did not immediately answer; he wanted to feel Vivian out, to see how transient her return to Garrison may or may not be. “Just a little get-together with some friends,” he lied.

“Sounds like a formal affair. Something Kaye might be attending in fur?” She let the question hang, but the implication was clear. Vivian was, by no means gullible; she knew Aaron was baiting her. Her innate curiosity, however, was winning the battle against her common sense, which was telling her to forget what she’d heard and get down to the reason Aaron had been trying to get in contact with her. Unless of course, his reasons for contacting her and his play-date were somehow related.

“So why all the effort and tax-payers money to track me down?”

She was getting directly to the point, but that did mean she hadn’t at least swallowed some of the bait. “I need you to pull a job for me.” At this point, honesty would have to be the best policy, Aaron thought. His abrupt change of tack caught her off guard momentarily, but Vivian recovered quickly and faced him down with a look that read, ‘no shit.’ “That and we’ve all been worried about you.”

All of you?”

The emphasis was hard to miss. “Have you been by his place yet?”

“I wasn’t… I mean, I haven’t…” she floundered. “No,” she said finally.

“Good. I think. What’s going down tonight involves him as well and regardless of my personal thoughts about the two of you, it could be too much of a distraction for him.” He paused a moment before continuing, “There will be time after.”

He was right. It was a trait in Aaron that she’d come to trust and hate in the time they’d known each other. “So what’s this job?

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