Here is this week’s version of Renee and Frei. I hope that you enjoy it and you enjoy doing the accents while you read again.
As always, please excuse any typos.
A row of cars lined the suburban street each one with a Georgian style front with a stone pillared entrance and the mock-wooden doors with a window inset. It was a quiet street where neighbours zoned out in front of oversized televisions and put the garbage out in their slippers.
Renee strolled along the sidewalk and nodded to one elderly gentleman who stopped to wave at her.
‘Your car have a problem?’ he asked tucking his hands in his dressing gown. ‘My boys are good with fixing cars if you need a hand?’
Renee smiled. Yes, who would walk voluntarily? ‘Could have done with them a few hours ago.’ She blew out a breath. ‘I had to take a cab.’ She grimaced as if being in a taxi cab was below her. ‘Guy wanted to take me on a scenic tour so I figured walking would save me needing to sell my TV for the fare.’
He shook his head. ‘You get cab drivers like that. They see a pretty woman and they think they can just do as they please.’ He pursed his lips. ‘I hope you got his number. My daughter is an attorney.’
Said with complete parental pride.
‘I didn’t,’ she said in her best dense voice. ‘But, if I have to take another cab, I’ll ask for your daughter’s card and take his number.’
The elderly guy laughed. ‘You live far? You need me to get one of my boys to walk you?’
Renee smiled. She got the feeling he was hoping one of his sons would catch her eye. ‘My husband wouldn’t be too pleased if he saw me in this state with a handsome guy escorting me.’
The elderly guy laughed. ‘Then tell him he should have picked you up.’
‘He should have but he’s working away… somewhere. I guess I should have listened more.’ Renee shrugged then sighed then trudged on down the street as if she’d been dealing with car issues.
‘You get hitched, Blondie?’ Nan said from beside her as she trundled by a large house with two large cars, a ‘mom-mover’ as Bess called the bubble-like vans mom’s used to transport half a little league team in, and one shiny new ‘pocket car’ another Bess term for cars with a small chassis size and smaller engine.
‘Only if I can find her and she is talking to me when she removes the bullets,’ Renee mumbled hoping none of the other neighbors along the street could hear her talking to herself.
Nan chuckled. ‘You more likely cwtch her and bake her pie.’
‘She wouldn’t know that though, would she?’ Renee stepped around a clump of grass that some animal had dug up from one of the gardens and thrown onto the sidewalk. ‘Although the smell of pie might give it away.’
Nan swooshed to her other side. ‘So why you looking all fancy heading to some ladies’ house?’
Renee stopped and raised her eyebrow at Nan. ‘You probably already know but I’m not planning an affair if that helps?’
One teenage boy hurried out to another ‘pocket car’ in front of Renee wearing de-grained white socks. He didn’t so much as notice her but pulled open his door and dug inside his glove compartment.
‘Then why you got them meds in your ladies undercarriage?’ Nan peered at her then tutted at the boy who was showing off his butt while focusing on his task. She yanked up his pants, the boy shrieked, spun around then shrieked again when he saw Renee a sidewalk’s distance away.
‘You need something?’ Renee managed trying to hide her snigger. Kid looked like she did… and Eli did… when Nan made them jump.
‘Er…’ the boy looked around, then shrugged, grabbed a textbook from the glove compartment and ran off into his house.
Renee let free her chuckle then chuckled again as Nan swooshed to stand in front of her, white hair bobbing, eyes peering but full of warmth.
‘They’re vials… it’s my job.’ Renee tottered on, not sure why she’d felt it was necessary to park a block away but she’d learned from Aeron, Bess, Lilia and Nan that it was just best to go with it when she felt that way.
‘Shorty wouldn’t like it,’ Nan said and wagged her finger. ‘You know she wouldn’t like it an’ you’re blushing ‘cause you know.’
‘I have to get Alanna on board and I need a blood sample… you have any idea how hard it is to take ten vials from someone without them knowing unless they are sedated?’ Renee wasn’t sure why Susan needed ten but she wasn’t going anywhere near her to ask. She’d had enough crockery thrown at her by ex-POIs and exes.
‘Shorty didn’t go making herself all exposed and kissin’ you for you to go kissin’ other folks.’ Nan put her hands on her hips and looked so much like Aeron did when heckling.
Renee put her hands on her hips back with a smile and blush that she could feel right through her ears. ‘She did kiss me… a few times… so if you tell me where she is, we can get her to tell us what Alanna’s deal is and then I can kiss her instead?’
Nan pursed her lips. ‘Blondie, we talked ‘bout this.’
‘We did but I’m still heckling.’ Renee let out a heavy sigh. ‘Just knowing she’s alright would be helpful?’
Nan folded her arms.
‘Then don’t heckle me about kissing,’ Renee snapped then scowled then wagged her finger. ‘I’m not mad at you so please don’t ice my ribs.’
‘I know you ain’t and it’s nice to see you getting fiery. I was starting to think you’d mellowed.’ Nan smiled then pecked her on the cheek. ‘But, Shorty won’t like you kissin’ other folks and neither will that heart of yours.’ She nodded a curt nod then winked. ‘You might not have told her out loud how you feel but your heart’s been hollering it at her since you met.’
‘How am I supposed to get sample vials without using a vial?’ Renee threw her hands in the air.
‘You got more than just vials in your ladies’ undercarriage, Blondie and more between those ears.’ Nan pecked her on the cheek, chuckled, winked and faded.
‘Ladies’ undercarriage?’ Renee mumbled then turned and shrugged as a woman stood staring at her amidst garbage sorting. Renee pointed to her ear. ‘Grandmother,’ she mouthed.
The woman smiled with raised eyebrows, nodded and carried on her sorting.
Renee carried on around the corner then perched on the nearest wall, glanced around then slipped her skirt up to double check her dart gun. ‘Ladies undercarriage.’
She glanced up at the house where Derek and Alanna lived. Upstairs bedroom light was on. She sighed, flicked off her heels and stashed them behind the wall then hurried across the street and over the pristine fence. The grass was wet and cold but her feet tingled like static shocks were firing through her toes.
‘Some POIs are hostile. It’s important you understand that some people don’t want to be helped and they are ready to counteract you trying.’ Renee motioned to her napkin which she’d rolled up. ‘So, you have two options: you need to maneuver them to either get them to accept help which means well manipulating them.’
Aeron leaned on her fist. ‘I don’t like that way.’
‘I know but some POIs are a pain in the butt.’ Renee chewed on her lip. How to explain. ‘I once had a POI who was an officer. He was arrogant and inexperienced. He’d just rolled out of the academy and thought he knew better.’
Aeron smiled a dreamy smile.
‘Quit smiling, dimwit.’ She tried to ignore the twinkling brown eyes. Martha’s food had clearly helped Aeron relax. She’d been shy since they’d travelled from the Eis estate… and Aeron had kissed her. ‘He was a jock.’
‘Uh huh?’ Aeron chewed on her favorite pie, the twinkle growing in her eyes.
‘What’s the use in me telling you if you already got it from me?’ Renee folded her arms not sure how to break eye contact. The little café in St. Jude’s was bustling around them, friends and people as close to family were nearby, but yet she couldn’t so much as glance their way with Aeron gazing at her.
‘’Cause I like it when you share,’ Aeron whispered, then shrugged then smiled a shy smile. ‘I like hearing you talk, I guess.’
Renee’s heart thudded hard enough she needed to catch her breath. ‘You don’t want me to stick on an accent instead?’
Aeron flexed her brow. ‘Nuh uh.’
‘Sure, ‘cause you seem to like me more in Urs’ place?’ Renee said it carefully hoping Aeron would open up.
Instead she snapped her gaze to Martha, mouth wrinkled, blush covering her cheeks enough she looked like she’d been running with Frei.
‘So, the guy was all arrogant and you told him he needed to be extracted but he wanted to hold his position when there were a load of hostiles.’ Aeron fired the information out, soldier-like.
‘Yeah, so I told him that he needed to help his senior officer hold a position a few miles away.’ Renee looked down at her napkin which she’d soaked with her clammy hand. ‘It got him to move. He wasn’t happy when I got him back to base or when he realized I was his senior.’ She rolled her eyes.
‘He kinda forgot how angry he was when he saw you in dress though.’ Aeron snorted then shrugged then rubbed the back of her neck. ‘And when you kicked his butt on the assault course.’
‘And that was just a normal military assault course.’ Renee sat back trying not to feel too smug that Aeron sounded impressed. ‘I run faster around the C.I.G version.’
‘You look kinda nice in your dress uniform,’ Aeron mumbled then muttered under her breath about being dumb then focused so hard on Martha that Martha looked up and brought another slice of pie before hurrying off to serve someone else.
‘I haven’t got to see you in yours,’ Renee said then smiled as gently and non-flirty as she could. ‘But the other way to get a POI to be helped unwillingly?’
‘Darts.’ Aeron met her gaze then rolled her eyes. ‘It’s better than making them love you when they don’t know you, I guess.’
‘Who said I make POIs love me?’ Renee threw the napkin at her. ‘I doubt any of them love me.’
‘Hartmann loves you… an’ Fleming loves you… and I’m pretty sure that officer did and that guy who you were friends with who you saved does—’ Aeron wagged her finger.
‘Spokes?’ Renee chuckled. ‘It doesn’t take a lot for him to like a girl.’
Aeron’s unimpressed look was so cute Renee couldn’t help but smile.
‘Some POIs might be accused of doing the same to me,’ Renee said holding Aeron’s gaze and hoping she got it.
‘You got engaged to her so figures,’ Aeron muttered then chomped on her pie with hurt in her eyes.
‘I wasn’t talking about Abby, dimwit,’ Renee leaned onto the table and dipped her gaze until Aeron met her eyes. ‘Some POIs get to you in a way that shocks you.’ She winked.
Aeron snorted, a twinkle filled her eyes again, then she focused on her food. ‘That’s just the static.’
Renee picked up her glass of water and sipped at it. ‘Uh huh, Lorelei.’
Renee hung off the flat roof over the porch and lifted herself up. She didn’t get how Aeron could flirt with her so much without realizing, or telling her that she didn’t like Renee using vials, or telling her she needed Renee beside her to sleep, or telling Renee she didn’t like other people flirting with her… but even if Frei and everyone else around them was in a hurry for Aeron to find her feelings… Renee liked it. It was so painful at times but she’d got to see Aeron feel her way into being in love… with her.
She perched on the flat roof and closed her eyes. Aeron loved her. Loved her so much that when she’d kissed her on Black Ridge Mountain to heal her and tell her how she felt, Renee had been so pumped with love that it had taken until Frei had driven them away from the ranch for her pass out. She touched her lips and her feet tingled again—and She was still getting crackles of feeling from it.
‘Darts it is,’ she mumbled to herself, pulled out her gun and climbed into the second floor window where Alanna was reading a magazine on interior decorating.
Alanna flicked over the page to floor coverings.
Alanna slumped onto the sofa. Renee scurried to the door and closed it then pulled out the vials. She rolled up Alanna’s sleeve and inserted the needle—all Frei modified equipment so it took seconds.
Renee winced. Probably best that Alanna was out or she might have passed out anyway.
She pocketed the vials, climbed back out of the window, closed it, dropped from the porch roof, and landed on the lawn mid-sprint.
‘Status?’ Frei said into her earpiece.
‘Vials collected, I’m picking up my heels and heading back to the car,’ Renee said hanging over the wall to locate her shoes.
‘Black, that is… efficient… Alanna was happy to be seduced?’ Frei asked in a confused tone.
‘No, I darted her. What’s the fun in kissing a woman who can’t knock you out with it, give you static shock with it, and fix your wounds?’ Renee strolled back down the street with a grin on her face.
‘I am relieved. Aeron would have removed my hair gel for allowing you to kiss someone else,’ Frei said, her tone filled with a chuckle. Aeron had that way with her. ‘Susan likes my hair. Susan also likes specimens to test. I will go and inform her.’
Frei cut the line.
Renee smirked then waved at the elderly man locking up his garage.
‘You forgot where you live?’ he asked in a teasing tone.
‘Nope, I just told my husband he can come and pick me up and take me for dinner.’ Renee winked at him. ‘I said I had a number of a good attorney if he didn’t.’
The elderly man laughed. ‘My wife would like you.’ He nodded and headed indoors.
‘But Aeron loves me.’ Renee whistled to herself as she headed to her car. She flicked off her heels, threw them in the trunk. ‘And she loves it when I’m me.’
She shoved her hair up with a tie, stripped off her dress, shoved on her tee, some jeans and her sneakers. An icy breeze pecked her on the cheek with a chuckle and Renee slid into the driver’s seat and sped off.
‘Darts.’ Renee said to herself then grinned even wider. ‘Saved making small talk.’
The faint strains of Aeron’s soft chuckle filled her memory and her heart thudded in that particular way once more. An Aeron-Flutter, yes, that was the perfect way to describe the feeling. Her Aeron-Flutter.