Flash Fiction Friday: Chapter 2
Every Friday I’m posting free fiction! Last week was Chapter 1 of my new series: The Unspoken Game. Today, you get Chapter 2. Both are unedited works in progress, so please forgive my imperfections. Enjoy and please let me know what you think! If you missed Chapter 1 last week, get it here: TUG: Chapter 1.
Donovan followed Dr. Antonia Warren to her motel room and stood quietly by the door while she threw her things into a brown leather bag. The room was a mess. Her clothes were…everywhere. Over the backs of chairs, across the table, on the bathroom counter, and a pile in the middle of the second bed. She didn’t seem to care about any of it. She just jammed item after item into the bag before suddenly stopping and looking down at herself.
“Wait, are we going to Atlanta?” Her brown eyes were wide and she was standing completely still in the middle of the room.
Donovan nodded slowly, “Yes, we felt it would be logical to start at the beginning.”
“Crap I need to change,” she groaned and started pulling clothes back out of the bag. “I just worked a full field day. You and everyone else on earth are going to thank me.”
“I’ll wait here,” he said dryly. It was kind of fun to watch her scrambling. Dr. Warren was fun to watch period. Her jeans were tight as was her t-shirt which he finally got a glimpse of when she took off her jacket. The long brown ponytail that hung down her back wasn’t too bad either.
He’d definitely had worse assignments.
She cocked an eyebrow and rolled her eyes. “I’ll be three minutes.”
The moment he heard the shower turn on, Donovan started to snoop. Not because he was being rude, but because it was smart. He needed to know everything he could about the sexy lady in the bathroom—especially the things he couldn’t find on paper. He’d studied every piece of information on the good doctor on the way out, even the classified documents, but nothing was as informative as a peek through her belongings.
Five pairs of jeans, all the same brand. Seven t-shirts, all the same brand. Seven pairs of identical white socks. A belt, a jacket, three gray sports bras, two lacey racer-back bra’s, and a pile of delicate, lacey underwear. Odd that she had such standard clothes, but such beautiful underwear.
Donovan turned toward the bathroom counter. Dr. Warren’s boots were carefully tucked under the open counter and Donovan realized it was the only pair of shoes he’d seen. Her toiletries were all drug store travel sizes, face wash, toothbrush, the standard. No makeup and only a couple of hair ties and bobby pins. Talk about seriously low-maintenance.
Or someone with nothing tying her down.
The shower turned off and Donovan resumed his post at the door. A minute later she emerged fully clothed in a fresh pair of identical jeans and a black t-shirt. “Have fun snooping through my stuff?” she asked with a devilish grin.
“I did nothing of the sort,” he smiled back. They both knew full well he’d snooped.
Dr. Warren sat down on the corner of the bed and pulled on her boots. “Is there anything we know yet?”
“Dr. Green was abducted at seven fifty-two last night. It was a team of four, all wearing ski masks. They grabbed him and the mummy in less than three minutes, leaving in a white unmarked van—all very standard.”
“And how do you know all this?”
“Cameras,” he replied.
“Of course. How silly of me. You do realize most archaeology labs don’t have surveillance cameras, right?” She stood up and resumed shoving things in her bag.
“Labs with extremely valuable mummies funded by a technology billionaire do.”
“Touché,” she said with a smile, zipping up her bag and throwing it over her shoulder. At the table she shoved a laptop and cords into a red backpack and slung it over the other shoulder. “Ready when you are.”
“Aren’t you taking your toiletries?”
She cocked her head to the side and smiled, “Don’t they have drug stores in Atlanta?”
“Touché,” he replied, pulling the door open. She really was low maintenance.
Donovan’s rental car was a pretty standard blue Ford Focus. The sight of it, however, made him cringe for one very important reason.
He popped the trunk and waited while Dr. Warren put her bag inside, then slid behind the steering wheel, crossing his fingers the stupid thing started. It purred right to life.
“You ok over there, cowboy? You look like you’re afraid the car is gonna bite you…”
“Forget about it,” he grumbled and backed out of the parking space.
If everything went well, when they landed in Atlanta there would be three more members of their team ready and waiting. But that was only if things went well, which Donovan had a feeling wasn’t going to happen. The crew The Old Man had selected was ragtag at best. All of them were loose cannons and none of them were the type to follow orders. Donovan hated when his orders weren’t followed. Getting this foursome to work together was going to take finesse and a lot of patience on his part.
“There is a file,” he fumbled around with his bag behind the seat, finally feeling the right file slide between his fingers, “that should bring you up to speed on what we know. When we get to the plane we will get an update.”
He drove in silence for several minutes while Dr. Warren flipped through the file. “How well do you know Dr. Green?”
She sighed and slammed the folder shut, looking out the window. “Simon is like family. Well, more like an uncle you talk to a couple of times a year.”
“So you haven’t spoken in how long?”
She shrugged her shoulders, “Probably not in the last six months.”
“Since your fall-out with your mother?”
Donovan had seen a lot in his life and had the displeasure of relieving many people of their lives, but he had never felt fear like he did right then. The anger rolling off the doctor was palpable. “I don’t talk about my mother. But yes. Right around then.” She crossed her arms over her chest and slumped down in the seat. “What do you know about my mother anyway?”
“She is the lead archaeologist for the Smithsonian and considered to be one of the preeminent minds in theories about early man. And… she publicly called you a disgrace to the profession for agreeing to work with several black market dealers.”
There was a lot of silence after that. Antonia sat there with her arms crossed not moving a muscle. Donovan was actually afraid he might lose her before they even got to the airport, contract or no contract. “Dr. Warren, I didn’t mean to upset you. I was merely talking about facts, not feelings.”
She sniffed and adjusted. “You can call me Antonia. Dr. Warren gets to be a mouthful.”
“And you think Antonia is better?” Except that it was. It was so much better. Not only was it less formal, but it rolled off the tongue. Antonia was soft and sexy and Donovan had a very good feeling that under the hardened exterior of Dr. Warren lay another layer. The Antonia layer.
“Call me whatever you want, I don’t care.”
Oh, he was definitely calling her Antonia—there was no doubt about that. “What I meant before was that I was simply going over the details, I wasn’t judging you.”
She smiled a little. It was beautiful. “You don’t think it’s immoral for an archaeologist to deal with the very people stealing our artifacts? How very odd of you.”
He laughed. She had a funny way with words. “I think the black market isn’t going away, so if you feel there is merit there, then there must be something to it.”
“You trust someone you barely know?”
“I have good instincts,” he replied a split second before the engine sputtered and died.
He had good instincts for people… not so much for cars.
“You have got to be kidding me,” he swore under his breath.
“I am!” he spat back, wrenching the wheel and letting the car glide onto the grassy side of the road.
“Sheesh, you don’t have to get so bent out shape. Cars break down. They’re machines, you know?”
He simply shook his head, threw the car into park, and popped the hood. “You have no idea, Antonia. You have no idea.”
How was it possible to have that much bad luck? Every rental car he’d ever been given had broken down, been dinged, or ended up in a fiery ball of flames. Ok, so the last one only happened that one time, but the rest… it was a thing with him. He had the touch of death for rental cars.
She hopped out and sauntered around the hood with her hands on her hips, looking very serious as she stared at the engine. “What do you think is wrong?”
Donovan shook his head. “Never mind.”
“Can we fix it?”
“I have no idea. The thing looks fine to me.” They didn’t have time to play around with rental cars. Donovan took out his cell phone. “Scott? I need a pickup.”
“Seriously?” Scott replied. “Where are you?”
Donovan flicked on the GPS tracking device. “Follow the flashing light.”
“You have the worst luck, man.”
“Don’t start with me…” Donovan warned.
“I’ll be there in ten. Hold tight.”
He flicked off his phone and tucked it away inside his pocket. “Let’s get our things ready, our ride is on the way.”
“Whatever you say, boss.” Antonia skipped around to the trunk of the car like she didn’t have a care in the world.
He was about to change all of that and for the first time in a long time, Donovan wasn’t entirely sure how he felt about that.
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