Here is this week’s episode of Renee and Frei which I hope you enjoy. I’m still ill so I hope you enjoy doing the accents in your head again.
I also wanted to say that I really appreciate you saying that you’re enjoying the episodes and liking them.
And, I wanted to again send a smile because I know a few of you have asked for the books to be on Audiobook. I love that you want to hear them as well as read them. Thank you. 😊 The decision isn’t really mine but my publisher’s however heckling them if you want to have Aeron’s story on Audiobook is a great way to let them know you’re Team Aeron!
Thank you again for making me smile and I hope you enjoy. Please excuse the typos, as always.
Renee And Frei
“A New Assignment”
Frei strode from the bathroom with Renee and Stosur in tow. She felt uneasy and agitated being in Gem’s house. She was glad to have Renee with her. She hated to admit it and wouldn’t out loud but she needed her. Renee would tell her it was okay to need people you loved. Frei glanced back at Renee and Stosur who both nodded with complete faith and encouragement in their eyes. Yes, they’d beaten bullies together before.
She lifted her chin in defiance and headed over to where Gem was showing off some collection of jewels.
“This is a collection worth enough to make your skills feel itchy,” Gem said to her in an arrogant and dismissive tone. “I acquired them for three of my favorites.”
“They’re very pretty,” Alanna Lavelle whispered from beside her husband. “But I wouldn’t know one precious stone from the next.”
Derek Lavelle kissed her on the forehead and wrapped his arm around her waist. “I’m sure pleased you don’t, honey.”
Gem gave Lavelle an appeasing smile and Frei moved onto the balls of her feet. Why would a slave owner care what his friendly neighbor thought?
“I think they’d look perfect on you,” Gem said with a leery smile and flicked back his blond hair. “I’m sure we could work out a way for you to loan them.”
Lavelle chuckled. “Alanna doesn’t need anything to make her more pretty. She’s like a glittering sparkler herself.” He slapped Alanna’s butt and she giggled.
Renee muttered under her breath to Frei’s left and she fought not to smile. It helped calm her. Helped her focus as Stosur slowly moved around to Huber’s side behind Gem, her dismissive look at the jewels telegraphed enough even Alanna double-took at her.
“She’s more valuable than these,” Frei said as calm eased into confidence. “They wouldn’t get much at a street market.” She turned and nodded to Renee. “We’re leaving.”
Renee moved to her side, signaled to Stosur with a flick of her finger and escorted Frei away from the shocked Gem and his cronies.
“They’re not real gems?” Renee asked as they headed to the waiting chopper. Hartmann had once been impressed by their fast extractions. With C.I.G and Locksmith talent combined, efficiency was expected.
“No, they are fakes. Gem is not a complete fool so I do not know why he would show off something so badly made in front of a locksmith… two locksmiths.” Frei climbed into the back of the chopper and smiled at Bess who winked back.
“I guess you preferred my cooking, huh?” She asked in her jolly tone as Stosur climbed into the co-pilot’s seat.
“Your cooking is even more elite than your flying,” Stosur said with a warm tone then glanced back at Frei as Renee shut the doors and Huber took his seat. “I agree that Gem’s tactic is strange.”
Renee sat opposite Frei as the chopper lifted free of the ground. “But we got a location on Bison… Wondered where that cretin had crawled off to.”
Frei stared down at the estate below. “Yes, which explains why Nan wanted us to get Susan involved.”
“That’s if she will stop throwing the crockery at you long enough to listen,” Bess said then chuckled. “Reminds me of when I was first married.”
Huber pursed his lips. “Waste of a good plate if you ask me.”
Stosur peered back at him. “You would rather I throw something sharp that won’t break?”
Huber picked fluff off his trousers, his grey hair neat and respectable, his eyes steely but twinkling. “I would prefer not to anger you to that degree.”
Stosur’s eyes, as steely as his, twinkled as much in response. “Which is why I look forward to marriage.”
Stosur glanced at her. “You disagree?”
“I been married three times and plate throwing was kinda a feature… I think…” She sighed then pulled her mouth to the side. “I get tooth ache when I try to remember.”
“Maybe they threw plates back?” Renee asked then reached over and squeezed Frei’s knee. “Baby steps, Urs… If we’re on a detour, like Aeron says, it’s to help… and I know she’d be more than happy to sort out a guy who hurt anyone close to Jessie.”
Frei looked away but Renee’s words eased the conflict in her heart. She, like Renee, wanted to concentrate on finding Aeron and it felt like they weren’t trying hard enough; it felt like they weren’t getting any further even if Bison needed pickle juice, as Aeron would say.
The chopper touched down without her noticing much of the conversation but she tuned in enough to know that Bess had needed Stosur to fish her sweets out of her sock and Huber was beyond delighted that Stosur wanted to marry him so much.
“You need me to cover and provide darts?” Renee shot at her as they headed into the house they were using as a base.
“Susan will only be more annoyed if she is darted. They have little effect on her.” Frei shrugged then glanced at the water feature Renee had stood in. “I might need to ice my wounds next to the plastic fish.”
“Was that humor?” Renee bumped her hip as they headed into the reception hall. “Did I dart you?”
“You may have to,” Frei said as she took a deep breath before opening the door to the study that Susan had taken over.
“I’ll get whiskey ready instead,” Renee gave her shoulder a squeeze and Frei headed into the room.
Susan was pouring over notes, delicate rimmed silver glasses perched down her nose. her hair was dyed a golden blonde with red undertones since they’d needed to pull her away from Serenity Hills and her eyes, which were green were framed by dark eyelashes. When they’d met, Susan had been pristinely presented as was expected from an elite doctor but now she was in sweat pants with one of Frei’s white tees on.
“Are you going to present a stethoscope or are you planning on listening to my heartbeat with your eyes?” Susan said with an amused tone.
Frei closed her eyes with relief. She must not remember Frei telling her about Theo at the moment. “I’m deliberating whether I need to use the chair to fend off plates.”
“I’ve thrown enough crockery at you.” Susan’s eyebrows flicked like she might decide otherwise. “What can I help you with?”
Frei leaned against the door. “I feel guilty.”
“Then stop cheating on me,” Susan said with an edge to her voice. “Might help.”
Frei turned around. She couldn’t go through this conversation again. She shouldn’t have entertained any thought of Theo when they met; she should have told him she was with someone else, but she’d liked him… she’d loved him. She loved them both for completely different reasons.
“You weren’t talking about us then?” Susan asked but her voice was small, tired, hurt.
Frei stared up at the coving. “Yes and no… I made contact with the man who murdered Jessie’s adopted parents and sold her to Jäger.” She placed her hand to the doorjamb not sure if she wanted to steady herself or grip it and shake it. “I am supposed to be able to help Aeron, to help Renee… but I can’t find Aeron.”
“She’s hard to lose at her height,” Susan said in a distracted voice. “Fascinating how genetics work.” She tapped something to the desk. “I believe she’s usually in the gym.”
Frei smiled. “Since she left Serenity, she’s normally wherever Renee is.”
“You talk about Renee a lot. I’ve never met her. Is she nice?” Susan’s tone was now that happy disconnected tone she had when her memory faltered.
“Yes,” Frei said half wanting to force Renee to stop hiding or avoiding Susan—in case she remembered Renee had been Doctor Serena Llys—and introduce them.
“I think you feel helpless not guilty although my father would probably come up with a good diagnosis for you.” Susan tapped something to her desk again. “Personally, I would say that it means you’re a wonderful mother and friend… but you know that.”
Frei dared to turn around but she could only focus on the floor. “And a terrible girlfriend?”
“Yes.” Susan tapped her pen to the desk. “But oddly, I still love you.”
Frei’s heart lifted and she folded her arms not sure if she wished to hug herself. “I…” She wasn’t good at expressing emotion. She needed Renee. “You are wonderful too.”
Susan beamed and her eyes glimmered and she patted the chair beside her. “Don’t expect me not to remove parts if I meet him.”
Frei sat beside her. “Noted.”
“I know you’ve braved being assaulted with my tea cup for Aeron so what do you need?” Susan placed her warm hand on Frei’s and linked their fingers.
Frei met her eyes.
“I love you. I said that. I’m not happy, Ursula, but you’re in here with me and I haven’t seen him about.” Susan stroked over her thumb. “So…?”
“The POI… Alanna Lavelle… she said that Doctor Bison is the one giving her medication.” Frei lifted Susan’s hand to her mouth and kissed it then rested her head to it. “I feel guilty mostly because that means you will need to help when I would rather you not deal with your memories.”
Susan slid her other hand through Frei’s hair and eased her head onto her shoulder. “Bison… I need my files…” She reached around Frei then pulled open her drawer and extracted her files. Frei never enjoyed reading them but she’d forced herself to. Of course, when Susan had published the files blowing the whistle on the experiments her father had undertaken on the inmates of Serenity Hills, she’d redacted all the personal information about their relationship. Another reason to feel guilty.
“I was a young man, of course, when your father was in charge.” Bison smiled like that was a fond memory but it was an odd smile. Then again he was peculiar looking too: His hair still red even though he was at least late sixties; Freckles covered his pale skin. Ruddy complexion, patchwork almost; he was too thin but with a swollen stomach. A drinker then. Spirits most likely. “Learned a lot from him.”
“He abused the patients,” Susan said like the file prompted her. “I’ll need to work through my notes to understand whether Alanna was subject to similar experiments… I’ll need a few vials from her.”
Frei shut the file. “I will get you what you need.”
“I’ll need to research,” Susan said moving to open the file again.
“I agree this will be useful.” She stilled Susan’s hand.
“Well, I need to read then.” Susan went to move her hand but Frei held the file closed. Susan sighed, but it was wistful. “I need to work.” She tried to move her hand away but then chuckled as Frei held on. “I’m not talking to you, remember?”
“No,” Frei pulled Susan’s hand to her hair and threaded Susan’s fingers through it. “I am conveniently forgetting.”
“I’m the one who has memory issues.” Susan sighed again and her shoulders sagged and she stroked through Frei’s hair and kissed over the back of her neck like she’d done before Frei had told her about Theo. “You’re not being fair.”
“No.” Frei took Susan’s hand and kissed it again. “Feel free to throw kisses at me.”
“Kisses don’t really get my point across.” Susan was still stroking through her hair though.
Frei met her warm green eyes then removed her glasses then leaned in to brush her lips to Susan’s. “They do.”
Susan gripped her by the collar. “In that case—”
The door swung open.
“Urs, get your butt in the kitchen,” Renee hollered into her earpiece. “Bess has dished out.”
Susan jumped then stared at the hall through the doorway. “It just fell open?”
“No,” Frei muttered then narrowed her eyes, took Susan by the hand and led her toward the kitchen. “Bess has made dinner.”
Susan grinned. “I love her dinners.” She let go of Frei’s hand and hurried through into the kitchen.
Frei stopped and turned to the utility room where Renee was standing with two whiskeys and a smug grin on her face.
“I suspect you did that on purpose, Black,” she muttered and took the whiskey.
“Yup.” Renee nodded with satisfaction in her eyes. “Irritating, isn’t it?”
Frei burst into laughter then downed her whiskey. “I cannot really argue with that.”
Yes, having Renee around was always what she needed.