The Dresden Files: Portland

Side Job: The Skip

Karkana Chronicles: Seventeen

May 30, 2013 (Thursday)

Loomis will be staying with Brianna and Joey when he comes down from Seattle to visit with Brianna for the weekend. Brianna decides to clean their apartment from top to bottom, attempting to maintain a calm façade to hide her nervousness over the upcoming visit. Joey notices her franticness, but makes no comment. Brianna also makes Saturday night reservations for her and Loomis at The Imperial, an impressive downtown restaurant.

Brianna and Joey’s apartment is relatively Spartan, with random sports equipment distributed here and there and very few personal photographs on the walls. There is an extensive first aid kit in the bathroom that is maintained, but other than that they don’t own a lot of household supplies. Both are “bachelors” and keep a relatively sparse lifestyle.

Over the next couple of days, Brianna maintains her contacts in the fighting circuit and keeps her ear to the ground in the underworld to see if the Red Court troubles in Seattle have spilled over into Portland. She just gets a sense that there are rumblings going on in Oregon in general, nothing specific to Portland.

Brianna gets a phone call from Philo Barcas. “You seem to check out. Mel Landry says that as a manager, you were a bit squirrelly.”

“I did have a lot of scheduling conflicts this year, I will say that,” Brianna says. “I enjoyed working for Mel, though.”

“So, when did you and your man want to get started?”

“What is the general schedule?”

“We got stuff going on every night. It’s at rolling locations.”

“I see. Well, I think we’ll start next week, but I’d like to check out one of the venues before we commit. Would it be possible to see one of the locations tonight?” Brianna asks.

“Yeah, alright.” Philo gives Brianna a wharf number to meet him at and the two work out the logistics.

That night, the two head to the wharf to see the pit fights. It is definitely a lower class of audience than the two are used to. It’s a call back to where they have come from. There’s an impromptu ring, very mobile. As they’re looking for Philo, a douche-baggy greaseball of a guy stops Brianna and asks, “What brings you to this neck of the woods, hot stuff?”

Brianna gives him an icy stare. “I’m looking for Philo Barcas.”

Joey gives him a dismissive look and says, “Move on.”

The greaseball persists, “Maybe I can help. I’m a helpful guy.”

Brianna keeps looking for Philo, but doesn’t see him. “You can help by pointing me in the direction where he is.” Right about that time, Philo appears in the crowd. Brianna and Joey bypass the greaseball in the crowd to head to Philo. The guy tries to grab Brianna’s arm, but Brianna dodges his hand.

“Don’t touch me,” she says.

“Hey, sweetheart…” the man begins.

“You may call me Ms. Karkana. I am nobody’s sweetheart,” she says heatedly.

The greaseball throws up his hands and starts muttering as he walks off.

Brianna and Joey approach Philo and shake his hand. Philo goes over the logistics of the matches and the schedule and introduces them to a few people. They discuss the law enforcement situation. Fortunately, they have been busted very few times due to their mobility. They stay and watch the fight as well. Nothing looks out of place and it looks well-organized. Nothing looks “hinkey”.

Two of the big names in this circuit are Nick Sams and Ben De Jesus. They are not fighting tonight. De Jesus is here, watching the fights. Philo points out a large Cuban gentleman for Brianna to watch. People are giving him a wide berth.

Brianna tries to sip as much rage as she can out of the evening before she and Joey head home. The two discuss what they observed on the way back to their apartment. They decide to try for a fight on Monday and continue their workout schedule.

May 31, 2013 (Friday)

Brianna maintains her contacts with the other fight club and the two continue their workout schedule at Sibley’s Gym. Other than that, the day passes peacefully.

June 1, 2013 (Saturday)

Loomis arrives around 9:00 am in his pickup. Brianna answers the door.

“Hi,” she says.

“Hello,” Loomis replies.

Brianna takes out an extra amulet and slips it over his head. “You’ll need that to get in.” She then invites him inside. “This is our home, such as it is.”

As Loomis enters, Joey says, “Hey.” Loomis returns the greeting. He’s dressed in jeans and a flannel shirt and is carrying a duffel and a garment bag. Brianna offers to let him put his bags in her room and leads him inside to put his things away and even clears a bit a closet space for him. She then gives him a mini-tour of the place, as it is not a large apartment.

“Have you already eaten breakfast?” she asks.

“I had a little something on the road,” he replies.

“I just thought we’d hang out for a bit,” Brianna says. “Is there something you wanted to see? We can catch lunch out.”

“I put myself in your hands,” Loomis tells her.

“Hmmm,” Brianna says. “I don’t know if that’s a smart thing, but we’ll go with that.”

“Okay.”

Brianna looks at Joey. “We’re going out. We have plans for tonight, but we’ll possibly see you around,”

“Okay,” Joey says.

Brianna and Loomis head out to his truck and go downtown to a series of sites Brianna had prepared ahead of time: Powells, Lan Su Chinese Gardens, Deschuttes Brewery, the Saturday Market, laughing at hipsters, etc.

As they spend the day together, Brianna asks about Ezekiel and the new Warden, not bothering to keep the ice out of her voice when asking about the new Warden.

“Actually, the new Warden has been trying to keep Ezekiel in the loop,” Loomis says.

“And you’ve met her just the once.”

“I’ve met her a couple of times more since then,” Loomis says.

“What do you think about her?” Brianna asks.

“I think she walked into a shitty situation and she’s trying to make the best of it,” Loomis says. “I think she’s a hard-ass.”

“That goes with the job,” Brianna says.

“Exactly. I can’t say I like her, but I think I can respect her,” Loomis says.

“Does she know all the details of what went down with the Margrave?” Brianna asks.

“Not all,” Loomis says.

“Alright.”

“She doesn’t know about you,” Loomis says. “As far as she knows, it was just the pack and Ezekiel and I.”

“How did she get that impression?” Brianna asks.

“Ezekiel thought it best.”

“Alright. Well, the only reason I ask is that in certain circles it has been well-noted that I was involved,” Brianna says.

“What do you mean?” Loomis asks.

“Family stuff, mostly. Whether or not that will make it back to the Warden, I don’t know,” Brianna says.

Loomis shrugs. “Ezekiel just thought it best that he didn’t mention you.”

“Okay.”

“I think he thought he was doing you a favor.”

“I don’t necessarily want the new Warden having her eye on me. I get along with Ezekiel, but I don’t know if I would have that relationship with every Warden that comes along,” Brianna agrees.

Over the course of the day’s conversation, Brianna asks him about his previous marriage. The two did not have children. He says that they are “not unfriendly, but not friendly.” They don’t talk to each other, although they still bump into each other now and again. She works in bail bonds and is occasionally at the police station. Did she “know” about him? Yes.

In turn, Loomis asks her what business she is in. Brianna smiles slightly and says that she does “a little bit of this and a little bit of that, I suppose. You know those conversations we’ve had where plausible deniability is a good thing?”

“Is this a case of if I don’t want to know the answer to the question, don’t ask the question?”

“It’s a little bit of that, yes,” Brianna says.

Loomis is quiet after that.

“There’s some things I just don’t think you want to know because you’re a cop. And there’s some things I don’t want to tell you,” Brianna continues.

“Well I appreciate you being honest up to that point with me,” Loomis says.

“I don’t want to lie to you. I could try to feed you bullshit, but that’s not going to work for you or for me.”

“I appreciate that.”

“I don’t know if my job means that we stop this.” She gestures between the two of them. “If Portland, this weekend, kind of ends it. I just don’t know,” Brianna says, her voice tighter than usual.

“If you had bullshitted me, yeah. But you didn’t. So, we’ll see,” Loomis says.

“Okay,” Brianna says, breathing a sigh of relief.

After the day’s activities, the two go back to the apartment and change for dinner. Brianna is dressed in her red New Year’s Eve dress. Loomis is in slacks, a dress shirt, and sports jacket. The two say goodbye to Joey and head out to The Imperial.

The Imperial is an impressive eatery in downtown Portland near the Crystal Ballroom. The two have a wonderful dinner in the restaurant. Loomis seems a little subdued, but the discussion from earlier has not killed the conversation. Brianna tries to casually touch him during the course of the dinner and he responds positively, much to Brianna’s relief.

After dinner, Brianna brings up the fact that they are near the Crystal Ballroom and asks if he would like to go dancing. Loomis says he’s game, but that he is a terrible dancer. She counters that she learned to dance in a mosh pit, so she’s not much better. She takes his hand and the two head out.

Brianna remarks that it is still strange to be holding hands with someone again. “Yeah, I suppose so,” Loomis says.

“Touch has become something different for me, generally speaking,” Brianna says, and looks away.

As the two walk toward the Crystal Ballroom. Loomis suddenly pulls Brianna out of the way as a man comes barreling out of the alleyway they are walking by and hits a parked car. A woman comes running out of the same alleyway, chasing the guy, and bangs him against the parked car. Brianna stares in stunned silence.

The woman says, “Where can I find him, Eddie? I’m not leaving until you tell me!”

“Get off me, Grace!” the man yells. “I don’t know!”

“You’re lying, Eddie!” WHAM! The woman slams the man into the car.

Loomis says incredulously, “Gracie?”

Brianna looks at Loomis.

The woman, Grace, looks over at Loomis. “Shawn?” She then absently slams the man, Eddie, against the car again. WHAM!

“Ow! My nose! Goddammit!” Eddie says in a muffled voice, holding his face.

Grace turns back to Eddie and says, “Where’s Deke?”

“Look, I don’t know, but I know who might! I know who might!”

Grace hauls Eddie up. “Alright Eddie, who might?”

“Carl! Carl Penske! He’ll know!”

Brianna recognizes Carl’s name—it’s her informant she’s hired to look in on Barnabas Gould’s operation.

Eddie continues, “He usually hooks up with Carl when he gets into town!”

“Alright. Where do I find Carl?” Grace asks.

“He’s working in a warehouse. North Portland.” Eddie says.

Brianna turns to Loomis and says somewhat dryly, “I take it you know this woman?”

Loomis whispers, “That’s my ex.”

Brianna turns and gives the woman, Grace, a look-over. She’s a pretty Native American woman with dark hair and eyes. Strong features. Athletic. She’s dressed in jeans, denim jacket, t-shirt, and running shoes.

Eddie continues to hold his nose. “Ask around, you’ll find him, I swear.”

“Carl Penske?” Grace asks.

“Yeah, Carl Penske. That’s the guy.”

“Alright, Eddie, get out of here.” She gives the guy a kick in the pants and sends him on his way. Eddie leaves as fast as he can.

Loomis shakes his head. “Still riding the line on assault, huh?”

Grace looks between Loomis and Brianna, clearly assessing the situation. Brianna raises an eyebrow at her. Grace shrugs and says. “Whatever gets the job done.”

Loomis clears his throat and says “Grace Nuñez, this is, uh, Brianna Karkana.”

Brianna smiles a bit too broadly, but offers Grace her hand, which Grace takes.

“Who’s Deke?” Brianna asks.

“Deke’s a skip,” Grace says.

“From Seattle?” Brianna asks.

“From Seattle,” Grace says.

“And your job is to track him down and take him back?” Brianna asks.

“Yep,” Grace says.

Loomis interrupts, “And, Grace is pretty good at her job.”

Brianna looks darkly amused and says, “I see where you get respect for strong women.”

After an awkward silence, Grace says, “Well, I have a skip to chase. It was good seeing you, Shawn. It was nice meeting you, Brianna.”

“Are you planning to find Carl Penske and question him exactly the same way you did Eddie?” Brianna asks flatly.

“I’ve had to question Eddie before. He’s usually reluctant. We’ll see if Carl is…less reluctant. I don’t know Carl,” Grace says.

“Well, I do know Carl Penske and I will take it very amiss if you question him in the exact same way as that asshole,” Brianna says, a threatening edge of steel in her voice.

Grace raises her hands and says, “Whoa, look, I don’t know you. And I don’t know Carl. I’m just going to ask him some questions, that’s all. Shawn, you better corral your date.”

Loomis shakes his head, “I’m not corralling anybody.”

“I tell you what, why don’t we go together if you’re that worried,” Grace says.

“There’s no need to approach him at the warehouse. I know what bar he usually hangs out in,” Brianna tells her.

“Okay,” Grace says, smiling.

Brianna turns to Loomis. “You mind if we make a detour?”

“No.”

“Lovely. We may as well go in one vehicle,” Brianna says.

So the three of them walk over to Loomis’ truck. As they walk, Brianna asks Grace, “What did Deke do?”

“Assault. This time.”

When they get to the truck, they all pile into the extended cab and Loomis drives, with Brianna giving directions, to Barry’s Drafthouse in Hawthorne. The ride is silent.

“So he hangs out here?” Grace asks when they arrive.

“Yep.”

The three find a booth and settle in to wait. Brianna orders everyone something. Loomis takes a dark beer, Grace an IPA, and Brianna takes whiskey, straight. Brianna settles in closely next to Loomis, her body touching his.

“So how long have you been seeing Shawn?” Grace asks, her eyes staring into Brianna’s.

“Not for long,” Brianna says, shrugging, and deliberately sets her hand on his leg. “I’ve seen him in Seattle few times. I thought it’d be nice for him to come see me in Portland.”

Grace is showing a lot of teeth. So is Brianna. Brianna can feel Loomis’ tension in his stance. There is a long silence.

“Well, he must like you if you got him out of his beloved Seattle,” Grace says. She seems sincere to Brianna in her comment.

“Well, it’s an interesting city,” Brianna says.

“I usually only see it on its business side,” Grace says.

“Are you in Portland often?” Brianna asks.

“It’s often the first place skips run to.”

“Well, there’s weird stuff here, easy to hide,” Brianna says.

Brianna gets a supernatural vibe off of the woman—and Grace seems to size her up in the same way as well.

“Seattle sees her share of oddness as well,” Brianna continues.

The three wait for about an hour, and Carl doesn’t show.

“I’ll be right back,” Brianna says. She squeezes Loomis’ legs, rises, pulls out her phone, and heads for the door.

Once outside, she calls Carl’s number. After a few rings, a very sleep-voiced Carl answers.

“Oh, hi.”

“I was hoping to see you tonight,” Brianna says.

“I don’t think that’s going to happen,” Carl says, groggily.

“What’s going on?” Brianna asks.

“Oh. I’m in the hospital,” Carl says.

“You’re in the hospital? What happened?” Brianna demands.

“I’m not really sure. I got tagged by some kind of animal or something,” Carl says.

“What hospital are you in, Carl?” Brianna asks.

“Legacy Good Samaritan,” Carl says.

“I’m going to be right there,” Brianna says and hangs up. “Fuck.”

She goes slamming back into the bar and heads to the table. “Carl’s in the fucking hospital. He was attacked by some kind of animal he says. Loomis, I need you to drive me there.”

Loomis says, “Yeah, sure.”

“You mind if I tag along?” Grace asks.

“As long as you behave yourself,” Brianna says.

Grace smirks and says, “I’ll be on my best behavior.”

“That’s not exactly the same thing,” Brianna replies, but they all leave the bar.

Everyone loads up into Loomis’ extended cab truck and heads to Legacy Good Samaritan Medical Center. Brianna stalks in and asks around until she finds Carl Penske.

They are directed to his hospital room where they find him covered in various bandages and hooked up to an IV. He’s awake but a bit out of it.

“Oh Carl,” Brianna says upon seeing him in this state. “What happened?”

“Well, I was at my place and I was getting ready to head to the bar and I locked my door and out of an alley came a big shadow and some snarls and bites and next thing I knew I was here.”

“Did they say how you were found? Did someone call an ambulance?” Brianna asks.

Carl shrugs. “Well, apparently somebody found me and called an ambulance.”

“Do they know what bit you?” Brianna asks.

“Whatever it was it was big. Maybe some kind of animal that got out of Forest Park,” Carl says.

“So it was big like a mountain lion kind of big?” Brianna asks. Out of the corner of her eye, she sees Grace give her a “what are you talking about?” look.

“I don’t know, something big out of Forest Park is the only explanation they got,” Carl says. “There have been some sightings of some animals running around out there.”

Grace speaks up for the first time. “Has Deke Cisco been around to see you today?”

Carl turns to look at her and says, “I don’t know. Who’s asking?”

“I’m his bail bondsman. It’s important that I find him,” Grace says.

“Yeah, Deke came by. We had a chat shortly before this happened,” Carl says.

“Do you know where Deke is now?” Grace asks.

“My bet is that he’s going to talk to Harley Fingersmith,” Carl says.

“Who’s that?” Grace asks.

“He’s who we talked about,” Carl says.“He’s an old acquaintance of ours who he was looking for.”

Grace nods and asks, “Where can I find this Harley Fingersmith?”

“Why?” Carl asks.

“So I can find Deke. It’s important that I find him,” Grace says.

“If Deke finds out that I put you on his trail, he’s not going to be too happy with me,” Carl tells her.

Grace shrugs and says, “Deke has responsibilities that he has to take care of. It’s my job to make sure that he takes care of them. I need to find him. I’m not going to rough you up—you look like you’ve been roughed up enough. But I need to find him.”

Carl gives her an address. “But you didn’t get it from me.”

“As far as Deke’s concerned, we never spoke,” Grace says.

“Alright,” Carl says.

“How long until they let you out?” Brianna asks Carl.

“At least a couple of days,” Carl says.

“Will you be able to go back to work soon?” Brianna asks.

“No, I’m sorry.”

“Don’t worry about that. That’ll take time. Soon you’ll be back on your feet,” Brianna says. “Let me know when. Just give me a call if you have trouble finding work while you’re recovering.”

“Are we done?” Brianna turns and asks the room.

“We’re done,” Grace says.

They start heading out. Once they get out of the room, Grace says, “Harley Fingersmith was the mastermind of a heist that Deke was the wheelman for a few years back. Fingersmith was the dropman for the heist as well. I think Deke is trying to get his share of the money.”

“I guess that would be a motivator to come back to Portland. I’m just concerned about who’s attacking my friend,” Brianna says. She stares at Grace—who’s looking at Loomis as if asking a silent question. Loomis nods ever so slightly.

“If there’s something you’re not fucking telling me, now would be a good time,” Brianna says to Grace, with some heat.

“I think it may have been Deke that attacked your friend,” Grace says.

At this point, the three have made it into the hospital parking lot.

“And what is Deke, exactly?” Brianna asks.

“A werewolf,” Grace replies.

“Why would Deke attack Carl?”

“Because Deke’s a right bastard,” Grace says.

“Have you heard if Fingersmith is anything in the supernatural community?” Brianna asks.

“Fingersmith? No.”

Brianna’s expression is unpleasant as she says, “I guess Deke has some explaining to do.”

“Well I need to get Deke back to Seattle,” Grace says.

“You can take him back,” Brianna says. “But I would like to be the one who nabs him.”

Grace stares at her. “I usually like to nab my own skips.”

“I understand. You don’t like to share. I don’t like to share either,” Brianna says.

“So why on earth would I want to make an exception in this case?” Grace asks.

“One, I think you can understand bloody-minded determination to lay hands on someone. Two, I have to wonder if you as curious about me as I am about you,” Brianna returns her stare.

“So what’s your next move?” Grace asks after a pause.

“We have an address for Fingersmith. That seems like an interesting thing to go poking around in,” Brianna says. Brianna recognizes the neighborhood as St. Johns—a not-particularly good neighborhood, the fact of which she shares with the group. “If we’re going to investiage, I should change clothes. Then we can check it out.”

“Alright,” Grace says.

The three of them load up in Loomis’ truck and head back to Brianna and Joey’s place. They leave Grace in the vehicle and go inside. They greet Joey, who is still at the apartment.

“Someone attacked Carl Penske,” Brianna reports.

“Oh!” Joey exclaims.

“Long story short, it was probably a were,” Brianna continues. “Probably the same were Loomis’ ex-wife is after this very evening.”

“Sounds like your evening’s been interesting,” Joey shakes his head.

“My evenings are always interesting, Joey,” Brianna says, frustrated. “I’m going back out. This guy is getting out of our city. He attacked Carl. I owe him a punch to the face.”

“You need me to do anything?” Joey asks.

“No, this situation is odd enough as it is,” Brianna tells him.

Loomis and Brianna head into her bedroom. Brianna sits on the bed and says, “This evening isn’t going as planned.”

“Nor for me,” Loomis agrees wryly.

“I’m sorry. I’m sure this is more awkward for you than it is for me. But he attacked somebody that I protect. I can’t let that go,” Brianna says.

“What are you planning to do?”

“I’m planning to let him go with your ex-wife.” Suddenly, Brianna stops and asks, “Wait a minute—Is this some kind of were-thing going on that I’m not aware of?”

“No, she’s a legit bail bondsman.”

“So he’s going back to jail, not something strange.” She looks Loomis in the eyes. “I want him out of Portland. I just want him gone.”

“Okay. Then I’ll help,” Loomis tells her.

“Alright. But I do want to punch him in the face,” Brianna smiles when she says this. Loomis returns the smile.

The two quickly change clothes in the room together. It’s not awkward—it’s more like a locker room situation. Loomis also pulls out a shoulder-holster and a handgun from his bag, checks the magazine, and loads it. He puts on a light jacket over it and they head out of the room together.

They go back to the truck and Loomis starts driving. Brianna asks Grace if she has a picture of Deke. She produces one from her jacket pocket. They then head to the address that Carl gave them.

Driving by, they can see that the lights are on in the bottom story of the two-story narrow, shotgun house. There are homes to either side. There is also a 1980s model Lincoln parked out front with Oregon plates. Loomis drives slowly past and parks about a block away. It is now getting close to midnight.

Grace says, “We can sneak up there.”

“What is the possibility of him turning were and attacking Fingersmith?” Brianna asks.

“He wants his answers,” Grace says.

“How long has it been since this job with Fingersmith?” Brianna asks.

“Five years.”

“And Deke was the only one who got caught?”

“No, the Marquez brothers also went down for it but they’re still behind bars,” Grace clarifies. “Deke got a lighter sentence because he was just the wheelman.”

“So the job fell through then because they got caught?” Brianna asks.

“Yeah, but the money was never found.”

“Five years and a botched job later, I don’t know Fingersmith, but I don’t think he’d be willing to pay up for something like that,” Brianna says.

Brianna slides out of the car. Everyone else follows and starts stealthing their way toward the house.

They all sneak up and look into the cheaply decorated living room. Lying on the floor of the room they see a guy in his late thirties, balding, in a wife-beater and slacks. He has a large wolf sitting on top of his chest snarling at him. The man looks absolutely terrified. The wolf suddenly turns and looks straight at Loomis. Then it bounds for the front door.

Using her supernatural speed, Brianna bolts for the front door to intercept the wolf. She gets there just as it opens, revealing a naked Deke Cisco. “Where the fuck do you think you’re going?” she demands, steel at the edge of her voice. He seems shaken for a second, but then Deke morphs into a large wolf.

“Don’t you try that shit with me. You. Don’t. Scare. Me.” Brianna spits out each word. “But you should be fucking terrified of me.” The steel in her voice is sharp and the look in her eyes is hollow. The wolf doesn’t move, but makes whimpering noises.

“Get out of that form and change back. I’ve got some words for you.” She pauses briefly, then demands loudly, “Change back. Now!”

Deke morphs back into his human form.

“Step back,” she commands.

And Deke obediently steps back into the house.

By this time, Loomis and Grace are both behind her. “Someone needs to go check on that guy,” Brianna points.

Loomis comes forward and checks on the man lying on the floor, presumably Harley Fingersmith. “Yeah, he’s alright. He’s pissed himself, but he’s okay.” Loomis helps him up and onto the couch.

Grace comes in and joins the others, closing the front door behind her.

“We’ve been looking for you, Deke,” Brianna says.

“Who are you?” Deke asks.

“You don’t need to know that. All you need to know is that you need to get the fuck out of Portland,” Brianna says. “And, luckily, there’s someone here who wants to help you with that problem.”

Grace salutes and says “Remember me? Grace Nuñez, Ace Bail Bonds? You skipped out. Time to go back. Why do you put some pants on?”

“It’s not impressive,” Brianna chimes in, looking at his crotch.

Deke gathers up clothes that have been discarded in a corner. Brianna monitors him closely as he dresses.

“Do you have cuffs?” Brianna asks Grace.

“Yeah, I have cuffs.”

After Deke gets dressed, Grace approaches him, with Brianna still keeping a close watch, then cuffs him. Loomis is also paying close attention, his gun close at hand, unbeknownst to the two women. The man on the couch sits and watches as well.

Brianna then turns to the man on the couch and smiles brightly. “Sorry to have disturbed your evening, sir.”

“T-t-that’s quite alright,” the man manages to say.

“We’ll get this one off your hands,”

“T-t-thank you.”

Brianna goes to the door and opens it, allowing Loomis to go first, then Grace leading Deke, and then she follows last. They all load up into Loomis’ truck and then head back downtown to find Grace’s car.

Once they get to Grace’s car, they unload and reconfigure once again. As Deke is being loaded into Grace’s car, Brianna leans down and whispers to him, “I don’t want to see you in this town again. You stay where you’re put.”

Grace turns to Brianna and extends her hand. Brianna takes it. “I don’t know what you did, but you put the fear of something into him.” Grace says.

“I have a strong personality,” Brianna says matter-of-factly.

“You’ll get no argument from me.” Grace adds, “Keep Shawn in line.”

“I’ll look out for him. I’ll watch his back,” Brianna replies. She steps back to let the two of them say their goodbyes and gets into the truck.

Loomis and Grace stand apart and speak briefly to one another for a moment and then give each other an awkward hug. Loomis returns to the truck. They wait for Grace’s car to pull away before speaking.

“Well, that went better than anticipated. Strangely anti-climatic,” Brianna comments.

“Yeah,” Loomis says. “I guess they can’t all end in blood.”

“No, I wasn’t going down that path. That not how I resolve all issues. Well, not blood and death. But punching things, that is sort of what I do.” Brianna decides to stop babbling.

“Want to get some coffee or something?” Brianna changes the topic completely.

“Sure,” Loomis says.

“I take it from my impressions about your ex-wife that she’s also intimate with the supernatural community,” Brianna says.

“Yeah.”

“I don’t know if that makes it easier or not.”

“It is what it is,” Loomis says simply.

The two go to an all-night diner for coffee and chat for awhile. Nothing heavy, just chatting about odds and ends.

Eventually they head back to Brianna’s apartment for the night. “Weirdness aside, I did have a good time tonight,” Loomis says, settling down on the couch which is set up for him to sleep on.

Brianna sits on the edge next to him. “Weirdness is what I think it is going to be for us. But I had a good time as well. I know that there are things that will have to be worked out between us if we decide to let this go on. Like my job and aspects of my nature and what I am. It may take awhile, but I’m still wanting to move forward with this.”

“Me too,” Loomis says.

Brianna leans forward and gives him a kiss. He returns it. After a moment, Brianna rises, smiles at him, then heads to her room.

June 2, 2013 (Sunday)

Loomis and Brianna go for an early-morning run in Forest Park along the trials, then they have breakfast together. After breakfast, Loomis gathers up his things and heads back to Seattle. He promises to give her a call when another time opens up. She takes back the amulet and gives him a kiss goodbye.

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typhoid_mary

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