Episode Four: The New Partnership Affair
Nikolai stepped off the boat, his steel blue eyes alert for Guy. He crossed onto land with no Guy blemishing the scenery. Nikolai didn’t linger. With long strides, he carried a suitcase in one hand and a briefcase in the other, and he didn’t walk as if they threw off his balance.
He caught a bus and then a train. He read his Ian Fleming novel on both occasions. His mind stayed empty. He changed into his work clothes and tossed in his other clothes in his suitcase after removing his wallet. Time whizzed by quicker than the scenery.
He walked into an old-style tailor’s, the man behind the press giving him a nod, and he stepped into a change room. Once he pulled the hook in the proper, albeit simplistic, manner, he found himself back at home. Once checking in, he first stopped at their disposal center.
“Hey, Nikolai,” the woman behind the counter said. “Happy to be back?”
“Yes, Mags,” Nikolai responded, swallowing a sigh. “Terrible trip.”
“Do you like anything?”
Nikolai raised his eyes to look back at this woman, Mags. Mags was one of the exceptions Nikolai had mentioned to Guy. Nikolai never pursued it, of course, but he was attracted to her. He found himself quick to blush or smile around her, and generally he felt lighter in her presence, whether she directly spoke to him or not.
She only had one arm. It had been blown off on a job, but retirement didn’t suit her. She worked in disposal now, burning up or destroying whatever the active agents needed to be destroyed. Usually she destroyed clothing or things with fingerprints or dead skin on them.
Nikolai brought her a suitcase full of condoms. He didn’t know how to explain it.
Part of Mags’ face was burned. The burn stretched from around the ear to close to her cheekbone, her skin pinched a sharp red. She was deaf in that ear, and everyone suspected it, but somehow she kept passing the tests that claimed she was in fine shape. She had a lot of friends within their system. Mags always asked about how other people were doing and she never took the time to talk about herself or complain about her own problems. So people liked her. But work was her life. She didn’t have one outside of it.
So Nikolai liked her a lot.
“No,” Nikolai responded. “This needs to be destroyed immediately, and I’d like to see the process, if possible.”
“Of course,” Mags replied, shooting him toothy grin.
The explosion damaged her right side. Nikolai knew she had to relearn to write with her left hand. He found her dedication appealing. Her smile was nice too. He liked people that smiled a lot, even though he didn’t.
He never admitted to himself that he didn’t feel this warmth from her before the explosion.
She opened the barrier with her hand and waved him through. Nikolai stepped through. “Should this destruction be off the record?” Mags asked.
“It doesn’t matter,” Nikolai said. “It’s just some personal belongings.”
“Dirty clothes and the like.”
“That need to be destroyed immediately?” she rose a brow.
Mags laughed, but dropped the subject as she opened up a hole in the ground. Nikolai tossed his suitcase in it and Mags closed up the hole again. Nikolai stood with Mags behind a plate of glass. “Do you want to press the button?” Mags asked.
“I know you like pressing it,” Nikolai replied.
“I do like pressing the button,” Mags said, slamming her hand down on it.
They heard the small explosion, the door covering the hole shaking slightly. Black soot leaked from the edges of it. Mags dipped her hand into a glove. “I suppose you want to see the remains,” she said.
“Yes,” Nikolai replied.
He followed her back into the room. He often thought about what it would be like to hold her hand. He wondered what it felt like to hold someone’s only hand. It would mean dedication. It would mean that the hand she held was the only thing she wanted to hold. He liked that idea.
Mags opened the door, pulling it up. Nikolai watched the muscle in her arm quiver. “There it is,” she said.
Nikolai peered into the hole, kneeling down to see it clearly. All that was left was ash. He sifted through it with his fingers, but there was nothing solid left. His shoulders relaxed. As he stood up, Mags gave him a tissue to wipe off his hand. “Thank you,” Nikolai said.
“I know how you like to be neat,” Mags said, winking.
Was she coming onto him? Nikolai felt something sit in his throat. Was he supposed to ask her to dinner or to coffee after work?
“I do,” was all Nikolai could think of replying.
“Do you have to report in?”
“Yes,” Nikolai replied.
“Big talker today.”
Nikolai shrugged. “It was boring. I am glad to be back.”
They walked back to the entrance of the room. “Maybe they’ll give you a real job now, eh?” Mags asked. “Or maybe they think you’ll need more lessons in humility.”
“They said this was the last one,” Nikolai said.
“Well, let’s hope it is.”
“Thanks again,” Nikolai said, walking away.
He checked in with the secretary who told him Cox waited for him in his office. Nikolai nodded, trying to figure out if he knew the secretary beforehand, and walked off. As he stepped into Cox’s office, he felt a tension in his neck.
Cox sat behind his desk, a clear smile showing through his white beard. However, Steele and Westermark stood on either side of him. Nikolai sat down staring only at Cox. Maybe if he stared long enough the other two would go away. He kept his face stony.
“Abraham’s dead,” Cox said. “Thirty minutes after you left the boat. Your replacement hadn’t even gotten to the scene.”
“An explosion,” Cox explained. “It tore open an entire section of his operation. We have agents there now doing what they can to clean up the mess and locate his other operations.”
“Did you see anyone get close to Abraham on the ship?” Steele asked.
“One man,” Nikolai said.
“Would you be able to identify him if we showed you a few pictures?” Westermark asked. Nikolai hated how he grinned at him.
“I do not think so,” Nikolai said. “If some of the faces looked similar, I would not be able to specifically pick one.”
“Did he remind you of anyone?” Steele asked.
“George Clooney,” Nikolai responded, shrugging.
“Guy Solo,” Cox said. “Which means it could have been anyone’s kill.”
Nikolai tried not to shrink. He didn’t think they’d find out so easy. He suppressed the concern tugging at his spine. Was Guy going to be forced in for questioning? Had Nikolai endangered him? He focussed on the memory of Guy telling him not to think about afterwards. His job came first, of course. His job was his life.
“Because you’ve been,” Steele searched for the words, “away, you wouldn’t know Solo by sight, only reputation. We should have prepared you more.”
“Cain brought him here a year ago,” Westermark said. “He used to be America’s problem.”
“I read the file,” Nikolai stiffly said.
He gave Westermark a cold stare, but the man offered Nikolai a bright smile in return. Before Nikolai could roll his eyes, someone knocked on Cox’s office door. “Step in,” Cox said.
Nikolai stood up, seeing a dark-skinned woman walk in. Her muscles seemed to bulge out of her tight pantsuit. Her black eyes locked onto Nikolai instantly, narrowing at him. Nikolai felt his hand instinctively clench into a fist. Her look told Nikolai she could kick his ass, and part of him didn’t doubt it.
“Mr. Kuryakin,” Cox said, “meet Ms. Grier. She’ll be your new partner.”
“You can’t be serious,” Grier replied. Nikolai couldn’t help but notice that she, like him, ignored Steele and Westermark. The only difference was she ignored Nikolai too. “What kind of last name is that? Have you hooked me up with a Russian?”
“Yes,” Nikolai responded. “Are you African? You don’t have an accent.”
“I am African-American,” Grier snapped, emphasizing the African part. “But I prefer to drop that last bit from the title.”
“You two will be working together because no one else can tolerate your company,” Cox explained, sighing. “If you two can’t make it work, then you can consider yourselves out of a job. And we definitely won’t be writing any glowing recommendations.”
Grier tensed, staring hard at Nikolai. Nikolai stared back at her, just as hard.
“Perhaps you two should get acquainted somewhere that’s not my office,” Cox said. “Unless you have more to report, Mr. Kuryakin?”
“I do not,” Nikolai responded.
“Then feel free to leave.”
Nikolai and Grier stepped out into the hallway. They began walking to their desks. “We haven’t been given another job,” Nikolai said, trying to hide the disappointment in his voice.
“I think our next job is tolerating each other,” Grier said, sharply. “Then after they know we won’t kill each other, they’ll give us an assignment. I would kill for an assignment right now.”
Nikolai offered Grier a soft smile. “Me too.”
Grier tilted her head to look at Nikolai. “Were you under probation?” Grier asked.
Grier whistled. “Three years. I was only one,” she said. “Three, that’s brutal.” She continued, “I’m not allowed to work in Africa or America anymore. I’m not sure why an American agency even wants me.”
“They only barred me from Russia,” Nikolai responded, “though I suspect I left a bad taste in America’s mouth.”
“We should have dinner,” Grier said. Nikolai noted that it wasn’t an offer. “Talk about it all over dinner. Are there bugs in your house?”
“Two,” Nikolai said.
“Are they easy to cover?”
“Then we’re going to your place,” Grier said. “I like Chinese food.”
“I like cooking.”
Grier stopped in her tracks, looking Nikolai up and down. “What?”
“I just spent a week eating cruise food that they left out all day,” Nikolai said, “and I like to cook. If you have no issue with it, I would like to cook something.”
“Sure,” Grier said, closing her mouth. “I’m a tad on the lactose intolerant side, so avoid too many creams and shit.”
“I will,” Nikolai responded, looking at his desk.
He noticed Grier sit down at the one across from his, their desks facing each other. “Why is someone sitting under my desk?” Nikolai asked.
Grier shrugged and began looking through her paperwork. “I thought they gave me your address here somewhere.”
“They gave you my file?” Nikolai asked, leaning over to look at the man under his desk. A redhead with a hint of a beard on his chin looked up at him with brown eyes. “Oh, hi Rennison.”
Rennison stared at him.
“No, they just gave me your address,” Grier said. “If Rennison is under a desk he’s doing tech support shit.”
“Hoffman sent me to set up your computer,” Rennison huffed, his British accent heavy. “He says you’re incompetent around computers.”
Nikolai narrowed his eyes, but flopped down in his chair. “I suppose I am.”
“I heard you put your foot through the last one,” Grier said.
“It deserved it, I assure you,” Nikolai replied.
He noticed Rennison staring at his foot. He hadn’t changed out of his cruise ankle-socks, and his pant leg rose up when he had sat down. Rennison eyes ran all over it. Nikolai cleared his throat and pulled down his pant leg just as Westermark approached. He offered Nikolai a leer. “We’ve got Guy Solo in a holding cell,” he kicked the side of the desk, “Rennison you’re supposed to be up there for interrogation.”
Rennison stood up from under Nikolai’s desk and dusted himself off as he walked away without a word. Nikolai and Grier exchanged glances. Westermark lingered. “Do you need something else?” Grier asked.
Nikolai felt a smile twitch onto his lips as he realized Jackie disliked Westermark and Steele just as much as he did.
“Yeah, Cox wants Kuryakin up there as well to identify Solo,” he replied. “I figured I’d escort him in case he forgot his way around the office.”
“All right,” Nikolai replied, standing up. He turned to Grier as he asked, “See you tonight?”
“Yep,” Grier replied. “I’ll find your address somewhere. I’ll probably be 6ish.”
Nikolai nodded and began to walk with Westermark. “So you’ve got a date with your new partner,” he said.
Nikolai knew better than to reply.
They stepped into the elevator together. Nikolai let his eyes skim the mirrors that lined the sides of the elevator, and he clearly saw Westermark check him out. The man offered Nikolai a smile in the mirror when he saw Nikolai looking. Nikolai let his eyes move away and stood stiffly in the middle of the elevator. Westermark pressed the button that led to the floor with the holding cells before turning back to Nikolai.
“You never struck me as the type to go for someone like Grier,” he started.
Nikolai let his eyes watch the light atop the elevator door. Only eleven floors and he’d be out of this situation.
He approached Nikolai, leaning in close without touching him. Nikolai noted his own few inch superiority in height, and he felt his chest puff out slightly in pride. Westermark continued, “You always struck me as someone that walked lightly on their loafers.”
He ran a hand along the side of Nikolai’s leg, his green eyes watching Nikolai’s face to try to spot a change in expression. Nikolai quickly grabbed Westermark’s hand and squeezed. He felt the other man’s fingers press against each other, the bones moving beneath the thin skin. “Please refrain from touching me,” Nikolai said between clenched teeth.
Westermark slid his hand out, his eyebrows knitting together in frustration. Nikolai watched his eyes calculate what to do next. Nikolai prepared himself to break the man’s nose if he touched him again, rubbing his thumb against his palm.
Westermark smirked again. “You’ll take that back,” he said, running his eyes along Nikolai’s body. “And I’ve always liked a challenge.”
Nikolai stared hard at him, thoughts of Guy suddenly clouding his mind. Guy saw Nikolai as a challenge too, and Nikolai succumbed quite quickly. He wondered if Westermark knew the buttons he had to push to get a heat through him.
The elevator door opened, and Westermark motioned for him to go first. Nikolai stepped out, but still had to wait for Westermark to lead the way. He led Nikolai into a room where Cox and Steele stood, staring at Guy Solo through the window.
Westermark closed the door behind Nikolai. Rennison sat with Guy calmly and coldly asking questions. Rennisson’s interrogation didn’t surprised Nikolai, Rennison spoke that way with everyone. Nikolai noted how amused Guy looked, even though he sat in the cell. “Has he said anything important?” Westermark asked.
“That would require there actually being something important to hear,” Steele said. “He said it was Cain who hired him. Cain doesn’t like child prostitution and wanted to shut him down.”
Cox scratched his beard. “It makes sense,” he replied. “Abraham just extended a portion into Cain’s territory, and perhaps that motivated Cain to act.”
“The real question is why Solo would lie,” Steele replied. “I mean, who cares why Cain did it, we know he did it. So unless Solo’s trying to veil an operation for Cain-“
“Who’s known to hate pedophiles,” Cox said, “and Solo’s known for talking under pressure.”
“Do we need to put Kuryakin in there?” Westermark asked.
“No, no, this is just observation for Kuryakin,” Cox said, smiling at Kuryakin and patting his back. “This is definitely the man you saw on the ship, correct?”
“Correct,” Nikolai replied.
“We shall keep our big guns hidden until they’re needed,” Cox replied. “There’s nothing overly suspicious about this activity. And I don’t think this is worth threatening Cain over.”
Both Steele and Westermark watched Cox. Nikolai wondered if they disagreed. Guy suddenly shouted, “Hey, I’m getting bored in here!”
He stood up from his seat at the desk and walked over to the two-way mirror. “Who else is in there? I know my buddy Georg is in there, isn’t he?”
Westermark cleared his throat. Steele leaned on the button to communicate with Guy. Guy quickly said, “And that’s Steele about to tell me off, isn’t it?”
“Let’s focus on the problem at hand, Mr. Solo,” Steele said.
Nikolai suddenly realized just how long he’d been gone. Guy knew the people he once knew and worked with.
“Who else is in there?” Guy asked. “Grier?”
Nikolai watched as Guy stared hard into the glass. He then noticed Guy’s face slowly soften, and his eyes drifted off the mirror. Nikolai swallowed, wondering if Guy thought about him. “Get him out of here,” Cox said. “Steele and Westermark. Kuryakin you wait here.”
Steele and Westermark left quickly. Nikolai and Cox watched them escort Guy out of the room. Cox leaned on the communicator to tell Rennison he was free to go back to work. Cox said to Nikolai, “We’ll wait a few minutes for Guy to get into the elevator. Knowing him he’s chatting up the others.”
Nikolai nodded, but refrained from speaking. Cox unsettled him. He heard his fall angered Cox the most. If it wasn’t for Cox, his probation would only have been a year.
“So how do you find Grier?”
“I think we will work well together,” Nikolai said. “We plan to meet tonight to start building up our relationship.”
Cox smiled, responding, “I’m glad to see that you’re making an effort.”
Nikolai didn’t reply. Cox told him he could go home to prepare for Grier, and he slipped back out of the building to head home.
Once there, he paced around it once, checking for new bugs. The company bugged agents’ homes when they were on probation to make sure they didn’t go rogue. But Nikolai found his easy to cover.
He tossed his briefcase onto the couch and walked into the bathroom. He always found his bathroom felt most like home. Other bathrooms couldn’t compare. The showerhead was always perfected arranged to shoot water directly onto his head. He always found hotel showers too short for him, and he hated that the hotel towels were so small. He had large towels at home, and the shampoos he liked. He had his toothbrush and dental floss all lined up, arranged neatly for aesthetics and for easy access.
He felt his love for his bathroom wash over him as he looked at his painting of a forest hanging above his towel rack. He originally hung it in the living room, but he liked the painting too much to leave it in a room he didn’t spend much time in.
But there were benefits to going on long trips. He remembered Guy pinning him against the grungy hotel carpet, his five o’clock shadow scratching against his back. He felt the heat rush through him as if Guy wrapped around him, breathing against his ear.
He lifted the toilet seat and opened the cupboard under the sink. He pulled out a jar of petroleum jelly. He put his hand into the jar and thought of Guy’s breath behind him as he ran his slick fingers along his cock. He thought about Guy kissing his neck and under his chin. He remembered the feeling of his rough hands along his chest and waist, outlining his body. Nikolai felt himself stiffening in his hand as he remembered Guy’s moist mouth around his cock.
Nikolai began to gently jerk himself off to the fading memories of Guy against him. Nikolai felt his hand start to clam up as he increased his speed, thinking about Guy’s tongue circling his shaft. Nikolai’s free hand gripped the toilet tank as he pressed his thumb against the head of his erection, thinking about Guy’s lips there. Then he recalled Guy’s rough thrusts inside of him.
Releasing himself, Nikolai took a few deep breaths. He felt his cock still throbbing with desire. Nikolai lowered his pants, grabbing a bit of lubricant from his countertop and rubbed it along his finger. Nikolai was used to being alone. He was used to having to do everything himself. And he was ready to go back to being alone.
Leaning forward, he dipped his finger quickly in and out of his ass, thinking of Guy’s cock ripping into him. He grabbed his own erection again, jerking himself off at the same quick pace and his finger pressing in and out of him. He thought of Guy fucking him from behind, grabbing his hair to pull his head back and still finding a hand to give him the reach around.
It was fine being alone, but it was nice to have the memories. He thought of Guy’s teeth against his shoulders. He thought of Guy throbbing inside of him. He thought of Guy demanding him to say his name – either his own or Guy’s.
Nikolai squeezed another finger into his ass gently, feeling himself begin to spill across his hand. He forced into himself harder, feeling his knees begin to quiver. He moaned Guy’s name as he came into the toilet. And he was relieved no one was around to hear him.
The bug was in the bedroom, he reminded himself.
The bug was in the living room, he reminded himself.
The bathroom was his own, his sanctuary.
Breathing heavily, Nikolai pulled off his shirt, wiping his hands off on it. Out of habit, he stuck his hands in his pants pockets before taking them off to wash. He found his wallet and checked the money inside of it to see if it needed a refill. A piece of paper sat in his wallet with the bills. He felt the crinkled paper before pulling it out.
“Mr. Wetsuit. If you care to fuck me again…”
It listed an address and a time. Nikolai crinkled the paper in his hand, but before he could throw it out, his hand tightened around it. How had Guy managed to slide it into his wallet? Nikolai thought Guy must have slid it in when he found out he was leaving, but when? And Nikolai thought Guy made it very clear he didn’t want to see Nikolai off the cruise. He thought of the way Guy looked on the other side of the mirror, how soft he looked when Nikolai thought Guy thought of him. Nikolai’s mind went blank when he tried to come up with a reason.
Nikolai unfolded the note and set it on his bathroom counter. He stared at Guy’s printing. Grier and him hadn’t been given an assignment yet. He could easily make it there and back without anyone noticing.
His heart beat faster thinking about it. Guy would pull him into the hotel room by his tie – he’d have to remember to wear a tie – and then he’d push him onto the bed. Maybe Guy’d climb on top of him and ride him senseless, Nikolai running his hand along his spine. He throbbed again at the thought of it, and he stepped into the shower to help suppress his thoughts about Guy.
Grier came about an hour early, and she turned on the stereo to cover the bug in the living room before stretching out on his couch. The kitchen spread out into the living room, so she could lounge while he cooked. “This is a nice place,” she shouted.
“Thank you,” Nikolai said. “I bought it when I ran out of things to buy.”
Grier snorted. “I haven’t had that problem yet.”
“I liked the idea of a home base, but after I decorated it nothing seemed to change,” Nikolai said. “I tend not to entertain.”
“You can’t tell,” Grier said, offering him a smile. Nikolai missed it by staring at the meal. She continued, “Do you keep a lot here?”
“No,” Nikolai replied. “I am not sentimental.” He felt Guy’s note burn in his pocket. He would throw that out in Mona’s burner later. He added, “And yourself?”
“Not much,” Grier replied. “My mom and dad hamster everything, so if I want to keep anything, I generally give it to them.”
“Do you get along with your parents?”
“Sometimes,” Grier laughed. “I miss them more with the routine things. I haven’t been cooked for in a while, and let me tell you, I liked being cooked for,” Grier admitted. “You know, I’m on my feet all day and then some asshole wants me to cook for him. I say, ‘When was the last time you cooked me something, bitch?’ and then the relationship ends for some reason. People say I’m too aggressive, but if I wasn’t aggressive people would walk all over me.”
“I agree,” Nikolai said.
“About being aggressive,” Nikolai said. “It is particularly important for a woman to be aggressive to get what she wants out of life. It is important for a man too, but more so for women. They have it hard.”
“Did you talk to Mags?”
“Earlier,” Nikolai asked. “About what?”
“I did not know you earlier.”
“Buddy, you keep saying what I like to hear,” she said, laughing. “Cooking for me and talking about women’s rights. You’re not trying to get into my pants, are you?”
“I do not believe they have enough room for the both of us,” Nikolai said.
She laughed again in return.
“So what was your punishment?” she asked.
Nikolai rubbed his temples. “One year retraining, one year exile, another eight months retraining, and then four months probation. But the real punishment was watching assholes like Steele and Westermark rise above me. They used to be my equals, and now they get to boss me around and leer at me from their offices.”
“Shit that blows,” Grier said. “I’m glad I don’t have to work with my old colleagues, you know? They’re long gone and I like it that way. I’m glad I got transferred to another division of A.B.E.L., I’d hate to be in your shoes. Did they give you an assignment to see if you functioned again in the field?”
“I had to sit on a boat and observe a man named Abraham.”
“Abraham was a man in the child slave trade,” Nikolai replied. “It is my understanding that it was sexual in nature.”
“No shit,” Grier responded. “Did they honestly tell you that? Usually they tell us as little information as possible so we don’t get swayed one way or the other.”
Nikolai set out the food on the coffee table, pulling up a sofa so he could sit across from Grier. “Do you want to be partners, Grier?” Nikolai asked.
“Are you asking if I want a relationship?” Grier asked.
“No, I mean in a professional sense,” Nikolai said. “If the choice wasn’t between me or nothing. If you had other choices along with me, do you think you would still want me as a partner?”
“Kuryakin, you’ve got things going for you that I like,” Grier said. “You cook for me. You think the same way about women as I do. You haven’t hit on me. And everyone hates you just as much as they hate me. Plus, you smell nice. Did you shower before I came?”
“This place is pretty tidy too,” Grier said. “I bet you’re one of those tight-asses that like to keep things all straight and organized.”
“Kuryakin, I don’t know why they didn’t put us together before,” Grier replied, laughing and hitting his back. “Yeah, I want this to work. Why, are you telling me a secret or something? Because I’m all for secrets. It’s the best part of bonding.”
“Yes,” Nikolai said.
“I’m all ears.”
“Abraham was killed,” Nikolai said. “I searched through the assassin’s room and found a file on Abraham. Once I found out what the man did, I realized he was better off dead. So I told the hitman when he would have a window.”
Grier nodded. “I respect that,” she said. “Truly, I do. You’ve gotta put your own values ahead of the companies. That’s why I got kicked out of Africa.”
Nikolai nodded. He wasn’t sure if she was going to continue her story or not, and he didn’t want to hinder it.
“Why were you observing Abraham anyway?”
“I think they were more interested in who wanted to kill Abraham,” Nikolai said.
“Did you tell them who the hitman was?”
“It was Guy Solo, right?” Grier asked, shovelling food into her mouth. “I remember Westermark saying something about bringing him in.”
“The man’s sloppy. He gets pulled in all the time. He’s not going to care that you accidentally ratted him out, if you’re worried about him.”
Nikolai responded nothing, but the relief must have shown on his face. Or maybe Grier already learned how to read him well.
“He likes killing bad guys the most,” Grier said. “Did you spend any time talking to him at all?”
“Some time,” Nikolai admitted. “I did not want to blow my own cover. I told him nothing about myself.”
“I bet he wanted to blow a lot more than your cover,” Grier laughed. “You won’t have to worry about him. He can take care of himself, and he’ll hardly see it as a betrayal. They just pull him in for questions and he talks like he always does.”
“Have you met him before?”
“In a manner similar to yours,” Grier said. “I might have paid him to kill a leader that A.B.E.L. put in place.”
Nikolai almost choked on his food. “Did they find out?”
“No, and they didn’t find out it was Guy either. But I know if they drag him in on it, he’ll talk if enough force is used on him. So you’ve been gone so long you never met Guy before?”
“I guess so,” Nikolai responded.
“Then you’ll probably see more of him around here,” Grier responded. “Did you see the interrogation today?”
“Yes,” Nikolai replied. “He said nothing about the window I gave him, but I am under the impression that they did not ask him.”
“That’s handy,” Grier said. “They must not have cared about it. At least you weren’t the one questioning him, right?”
“I actually did a lot of questioning before all this happening,” Nikolai admitted. “They usually pull me in as the ‘bad cop’ in the cliché routine.”
Grier looked at him. “And are you a bad cop?”
“I get people to talk,” Nikolai responded.
“Well go easy on Guy,” Grier said. “Especially if they’re questioning him about something I’m involved with.”
“Just let me know beforehand,” Nikolai said, “and I will go easy.”
Grier smiled at Nikolai and held out her hand. “Jackie Grier.”
He shook her hand. “Nikolai Kuryakin.”