I hope that you are enjoying the scenes so far. It’s a lot of fun exploring Frei and Renee’s friendship because their interactions tend to make me smile. I hope they make you smile too.
As always please excuse the typos.
Renee and Frei
A New Assignment
Act 2, Scene 2
Renee checked her hair in the window and rang the doorbell. It felt strange ringing the doorbell of the apartment where she’d lived with Abby near Abby’s office but it was better than ringing the doorbell of the house they’d lived in, half an hour’s drive away, even if she’d have enjoyed catching up with the huskies… but the house was now filled with Abby’s husband and kids.
Abby Fleming with her flawless pale skin, dark hair and big beautiful eyes peered through the window back at her then sighed, then opened the door and walked back towards their old kitchen.
“Hi, it’s nice to see you too,” Renee muttered to the potted plant she’d bought Abby when they actually liked each other.
“Renee, you travelled here to see me so Frei must think I need to be worked.” Abby turned and leaned against the breakfast counter and folded her arms. “So, what do you want?”
“Friendly as always,” Renee said, strolled around her and yanked open the fridge. Diet food, takeout cartons and low fat chocolate. “You get that the takeout isn’t healthy, right?”
“Bite me.” Abby fiddled with her wedding rings then tapped them to the counter. “I’m not in the mood for re-establishing bonds or reminiscing or whatever psychological strategy you have in mind.”
Renee leaned onto the door. “You sure because I had a whole thought process about making you proper dinner and sweet talking you.”
“I’m married.” Abby tapped her ring to the counter again.
“Funny, ‘cause he doesn’t seem to have been here much.” Renee strode over to the picture of her and Abby at a function. “And… um… he wouldn’t appreciate how much better I look in uniform.”
“Renee, you have an incredible eye for detail. I could have removed every evidence that I kept this place but you know full well from just looking at me how I feel.” Abby folded her arms more tightly. “But, I’m still married, you’re in love with Aeron, and I don’t want this to be any more painful than it is.”
Renee sighed. She could argue that Abby was the one who’d had an affair; that Abby had been seeing her husband before Renee was MIA but the affair was really with her job. Renee had been the same. They’d loved their jobs more than each other.
“Okay, I need you to look through the paper files on Owens. Urs wants the investigation thorough and we have reason to believe that Lavelle was involved in how she wound up at a slave academy.” Renee shut the fridge and opened one of the cupboards where she’d kept coffee. “Do you think Gould would get involved?”
“Gould would jump at being involved. I’d just need to mention you asked.” Abby rolled her eyes but there was an affection for Gould, like Gould was a great officer.
“Huh, so I could have just worked her instead?” Renee smirked and turned back to the cupboard. Abby even had her favorite brand of coffee. “I don’t get why you bothered with the guy if you were so into me.”
“Because I needed a promotion and you preferred being on assignment.” Abby walked over to the sofa and perched on it. “I knew you weren’t in love with me. It hurt.”
“I was in love with you. I was engaged to you. I even took you home to meet my mom.” Renee waved her mug at her. “But I know I didn’t give you enough evidence of that from inside.” She shrugged at the shocked look on Abby’s face. “We hurt each other but it doesn’t remove how much I did love you and still do in here.”
Abby sank back into the sofa and thunked her head to the cushions. “That’s really not going to help me dislike you.”
“I don’t want you to and I don’t want to work you… I kinda want to ask why you don’t have a wedding photo but at least the huskies and the girls got pictures.” Renee waved her mug at the picture frames. “But… you’ll get mad and I don’t want to fight.”
“We don’t like each other,” Abby muttered then sighed then slammed her fist to the sofa. “We don’t talk, we can barely communicate for the girls. I really don’t like my husband, okay?”
Renee smiled. “You liked him enough to have kids with him.”
“I liked my job enough to have kids with him.” Abby hugged herself. “I’m not targeting Lavelle, he’s one of Hewitt’s favorites.”
“And you still use your maiden name.” Renee handed over a coffee and curled into the corner of the sofa she always used to. “You need to target Lavelle because he’s been implicated in Owens showing up on Black Ridge Mountain.”
“Williams got her fired.” Abby sipped at her coffee and cradled the cup in her hands. “Lavelle is in the middle of investigating an agent who isn’t protecting witnesses.”
“Lavelle is more likely to be setting the agent up so he can get to the witnesses.” Renee drank her coffee. It wasn’t Frei’s brand of coffee because Frei had a locksmith’s ability with coffee but it still tasted good. “We need your help.”
“I can’t investigate Lavelle. I said I’ll give you information but I can’t get too involved. Hewitt will get suspicious.” Abby shook her head then fiddled with her wedding rings. “I might not like my husband but I love my kids and Hewitt is their grandfather.”
“Which is why you’ll let Gould investigate and you’ll send us what we need.” Renee smiled around her cup. “I don’t need to work you. I know you. Father-in-law or not, you know the guy is a chump.”
Abby got up, went to the bookcase, pulled a file down and handed it over. “I know you too and you are working me.” She shrugged. “But… you’re cute when you’re working someone.”
Renee took the file. “You dislike your husband but I’m cute?”
“Yes, but then I need you to get this witness to Frei and her family so she can give you information on Lavelle.” Abby smiled a sweet, calm smile. “And she could probably tell you if the agent Lavelle is investigating is a chump or if he is being set up.”
Renee nodded. “You working me too, huh?”
“I learned a lot from you,” Abby said and walked back to the breakfast bar. “Your POI, as Frei calls them, is being held in a local police station… should make a nice challenge for Commander Renee Black, hmmm?”
Renee narrowed her eyes then smiled. “You did learn a lot from me.” She headed over then pulled Abby to her and gave her a hug. “Quit protesting, I know you’re married. Hugging is allowed.”
Abby leaned onto her shoulder and hugged her back. “It’s a mean tactic to get me to help you.”
“It’s not a tactic. I just want you to know I care.” Renee pulled back and met her eyes. “And you really need more pictures of the huskies.”
Abby chuckled and Renee let go and headed out of the apartment and to her car.
She got in and pressed her finger to her ear. “I have the file you wanted. Tell Stosur to meet me outside the station.”
“You are slower than I would expect,” Frei muttered back at her. “My mother needs to attend her wedding dress fitting,”
“Abby needed a hug,” Renee said as she drove away trying to figure out why Abby liked her so much and disliked the guy who married her and gave her kids.
“Did you need vials?” Frei shot and the amusement in her tone was clear.
“Nope, Lorelei was heckling my heart the whole conversation.” Renee breathed out a long breath. “Abby said she’d learned from me but how did Lorelei make me so soft?”
Frei laughed. “She has made me as soft.” She cleared her throat. “And Aunt Bess has made Grimes as soft. She has pulled him in to help her run an ‘old fashioned investigation’ of Owens… which I think means paperwork.”
“Good. Abby gave me a file on paper so we’ll provide Aunt Bess with something light to read.” Renee turned the corner, dug an FBI badge out of her glove compartment and slid on her sunglasses. “I need to show off to Abby how Commander Black can work a POI extraction.”
Frei cut the line and Renee smiled to herself. Yes, POI extractions were something she’d learned from the best… her dad.