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Warning and Disclaimer in Part 1

CHAPTER 13

        Hillary peered out the window of the cab. "Excuse me... are you sure this is the way to the Department of Health and Human Services?"

        Ean half-turned. "You asked for Department of Fish and Game."

        Hillary looked down at the paper. "Oh. Well, the man we're looking for USED to work for F&G. Take us to Health and Human Services."

        Ean sighed. "That's way on the other side o' town."

        Amy looked at her watch. "We're burning daylight, Hill."

        Hillary sighed. "Fine. Just... make it quick."

---

        Upon entering the house, Claire had led Alex to the couch and laid on top of her, kissing her softly.

        Alex's fingers began working on the buttons of Claire's blouse, eager to get beneath to the pink skin she loved.

        The blouse was off of Claire's shoulders and the bra was almost gone when the doorbell rang.

        Claire muttered into Alex's hair, "Maybe we should ignore it..."

        Alex chuckled. "Go on, hon... I'll be waiting when you get back."

        Claire pulled herself up and rearranged her clothes. By the time she reached the door, she looked the picture of perfection. She opened the door to find...

        "EBERTS!"

        The hacker jumped, frowning at Claire's shreik. "Um... yes. Agent Monroe has asked that you assist in her current case, but the Keep was locked when I attempted to drop off the files." He started to step inside.

        "Oh," Claire said, "Why don't you COME IN, EBERTS! COME right on IN!!"

        Eberts frowned at her. "Is there something wrong with your voice?"

        Claire tapped her foot. "No. No. Would you like something to drink?"

        "No, thank you. I won't be here that long."

        "Thank God," Claire whispered.

        "Pardon?"

        "Nothing."

        "Well," Eberts said, laying the files on the hall table. "I suppose that will be all."

        Claire put a hand on Eberts' shoulder and began to lead him to the door. "Well, it's been wonderful chatting with you. Don't be a stranger."

        Eberts was shoved onto the porch and, by the time he had turned to say good-bye, the door was slammed shut.

        "Hmm. Odd." He adjusted his suit jacket and headed down the walk to his car.

---

        Hillary tapped the seat, glaring at the sea of cars that surrounded the cab. "Is there ANY way around this?"

        Ean shrugged. "Look lady, we're completely locked in. The only way out is waiting for the light to change and all these losers to decide where they're goin'. It could take a couple hours."

        Hillary rolled her eyes. "Great."

---

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