ATF Alternate Universe
Part 4 of The Physical
That was not just a word for him but a way of life. Even though he pledged his life to the men he worked with in Team 7, he knew he guarded his past selfishly to himself because there were aspects to his life to which he wanted no one to know. Tiny little secrets that meant more to him than those he would hide them from were the cornerstones of his existence and Vin had lived his life this way for so long that he no longer knew how to be anything else. That basic philosophy had created in him a need to respect other people�s privacy, to understand that they may have reasons for secrecy almost as compelling as his own.
He sat behind JD Dunne who was presently seated at his terminal, staring at the screen while inside the confines of the empty ATF offices that were normally occupied by Team 7, waiting for JD to find the information that he needed for his dastardly plan of vengeance. Normally, he was above such pranks, but Alexandra Styles had properly inspired his outrage and he was determined to get his own back for the embarrassing incident that had made him the laughing stock of the office for the past three days. Not to mention, every woman in the building seem to be undressing him with their eyes each time he happened along one of them in the halls. While it was flattering to begin with, Vin was now very grateful that he was armed when he alone.
"You know tapping into her records like this is not exactly legal," JD pointed out as he let his fingers fly across the keyboard while seeking the information that Vin sought.
"Don�t worry," Vin drawled, watching the details of Alex�s life appeared in digitised format before him. "If it comes to a conviction, I�ll take the rap."
"I�m not exactly sure what you want this for," JD replied, unable to fathom how Vin would be exacting his revenge with the information before him. He had tapped into Alex�s records on file at the hospital where she did her residency and what was listed was fairly generic, hardly the stuff to inspire some colourful prank.
Vin had a pad ready and scribbled down the data he was particularly interested in, being that of Alex�s home address, her phone number (for the day when he actually dared to call her) and most importantly, the licence of her beloved red convertible T-Bird. He had overheard from some of the women in the medical wing of the ATF building declare that the vintage 1956 automobile to be Alex�s pride and joy. "Leave that to me," Vin said with a faint smile, the evil machinations of his mind having already concocted a most audacious plan that would avenge himself upon Alexandra Styles for her embarrassing trick on him. "I know what I�m doing."
"You know," JD sighed, suddenly feeling older than Vin, who was displaying all the characteristics of a ten-year-old by these actions,"it would be simpler if you just told Alex you liked her."
"I don�t like her!" Vin growled and knew as well as JD that it was a lie. He liked her a hell of a lot. In fact, it had gone just a little further than that and he knew it. Vin was very near falling in love with her if he was not already up to his neck in the emotion. With a sixth sense he could not explain but knew with complete empathy to be true, Vin was certain she felt the same way. He had no idea where their relationship would eventually end up, but at the moment, he owed her one and he owed her big.
"Sure Vin," JD said with complete disbelief. "Is that all you need?" he asked, looking over his shoulder at the older man. He had plans to meet Casey some time this evening and had to make a move on if he did not want to be late.
"Yeah," Vin replied, jotting down the last of the information on his note pad. "I�m done."
"Okay," JD shook his head, deciding Vin was not about to let him in on what his plans for Alex were going to be and in honest truth, JD would liked to be surprised like everyone else when the news finally went public. It was going to have to be a good prank though, because there was not going to be much that could top what she had done to him. JD switched off the machine and gathered his things to leave. "You staying?" JD inquired as he stuffed his keys in his pocket and looked over his desk to ensure he had not forgotten anything.
"Yeah," Vin nodded with a slight smile. "I got a few phone calls to make."
JD wondered what was behind that enigmatic smile and decided that he would just have to wait until Vin had done his diabolical worst because he did not have time to coax the truth out of the man when he had an appointment to keep. "See you tomorrow," JD said as he departed the room, leaving Vin alone in the office.
Once JD had left, Vin picked up the phone and dialed himself an outside line. Glancing at the card he retrieved from his pocket, the ATF agent pushed the phone�s keypad following the sequence of numbers displayed and was soon rewarded with the ringing tone emanating from the receiver. It rang a couple of times before someone picked it.
"Wally�s Auto Shop," a deep throated voice announced.
"Hey Cruz," Vin greeted, knowing he had whom he wanted to reach on the line. One could never mistake�s Cruz�s deeply resonating voice for anyone else.
"Tanner, is that you?" Cruz said, genuinely pleased to hear his voice. It was hardly a surprise since Cruz was one of his acquaintances from the old days before he had reached the lofty heights of the ATF Bureau.
"Sure is," he answered. "How�s things?"
"Same old, same old." They continued that way for a few seconds, catching up from the last time they had seen each other, which was only a month or two ago. Cruz and Vin had known each other for years and the ATF agent often took time to visit with his old friend, calling in for dinner with the family when time permitted. They talked for about ten minutes before Vin got around to the reason for his call.
"So what can I do for you?" Cruz inquired after awhile.
"I need a little favour." Vin replied and explained what he needed done.
"Oh man," Cruz started to laugh at the other end of the line. "You must really like this girl."
"Its nothing like that at all," Vin protested weakly, but knew that it was starting to be a losing argument as far as everyone was concerned. Even Ezra had backed off, knowing now that there was more going on between himself and Alex Styles than Vin was willing to admit to anyone, no matter how obvious it seemed.
"Sure it isn�t," Cruz said with the same skepticism that JD had displayed earlier. "This ain�t going to make her any happier," he pointed out, hoping Vin knew what he was doing with this little piece of intrigue of his.
"I�m not doing this to make her happy," Vin retorted impatiently, feeling a little guilty now that Cruz was holding him to account at what he was planning to do. "It's revenge."
"Revenge huh?" Cruz chuckled, deciding that he was not about to argue with a drowning man. "Whatever you say man. Where does she live again?"
Vin told him and then added just for clarification. "Now remember, it�s a 1956 red T-Bird convertible."
"The lady has good taste in cars," Cruz remarked, whistling slightly as he pictured the automobile in question. "That must be one hell of a ride."
Vin had to agree, having seen the car himself when it was parked in the lot. Not only had Alex taken great pains to ensure everything about the vehicle remain exactly as the day it rolled off the showroom floor, every part on the car was the make of an original T-bird. "It is, that�s why you�re only going to use water-based stuff. When it�s all said or done, I want it to wash off. I want to play a joke on her, not have her kill me, which she�s likely to do if it it's permanent."
"Got you," his old friend answered. "Don�t worry, it will be ready for you when you ask. Just let me know where to send the flowers for the funeral..."
+ + + + + + +
Alexandra Styles lived in an apartment block on the outskirts of town in what she considered to be a relatively safe neighbourhood. It was one of the places you could leave your car parked out on the street all night and not be afraid of finding it on blocks the next day. She especially liked it because she could take walks in the evening with her dog Gizmo, a young and somewhat energetic border collie that was little more than a year old and bought on the insistence of her father.
Alex climbed out of bed this morning, half asleep from the late night at the hospital and knowing with weary frustration that she had an early morning call despite the hours spent there the night before. While she had something of a private practice brewing with the ATF bureau, she looked forward to the day when she could set up a clinic somewhere and never be dragged into the hospital at strange hours. While thinking all this, she staggered to the bathroom and went through the morning rituals; perfectly aware that she would change her mind by the time she downed her first cup of coffee. However, she might feel when she first woke up would soon fade away because the high pace of the hospital was exactly what she dreamed of when she had been languishing in medical school.
It did not take her long to get dressed because she was most comfortable in jeans and a T-shirt much to the annoyance of her father who still believed that doctoring had to be conduced with a shirt and tie. Doctor William Styles was of the belief that doctors ought to look somewhat professional, not as if they were going down to the video store to rent Mall Rats. Pulling on her sneakers, Alex drank down a full cup of coffee before grabbing her purse and everything else she would need to start the day at the hospital.
"Okay Giz," Alex told her dog who was happily turning her rug into pieces of shredded hessian. "No long distance phone calls and no having any strange girls over." Only after she shut the door behind her and started down the stairway, Alex decided she seriously needed a life because Gizmo had more dates than she did.
Alex emerged through the front of the apartment block and noticed some of her neighbours standing around tittering at what was her normal space for a car. For a minute, Alex had this horrifying idea that her car had been stolen but that would not explain why her neighbours found it so amusing unless humour had changed significantly since last night.
"What�s going on?" She hurried forward, praying that it was nothing serious.
They stepped aside for her; unable to say much else although their expressions did add to her confusion because they were not upset merely amused, with some of them laughing out loud. When she neared the vehicle, Alex froze in mid step and stared. It was the only thing she could do really because there were no words to describe what was before her.
Her beautiful, 1956 red T-Bird convertible was pink.
Alex could only gape in horror as she spied her beloved car painted hot pink with bright orange polka dots across its once polished fire engine red surface. Not only did it look like the car of choice for the Banana Splits, scrawled across the side in stylised white lettering which stood out most prolifically, were the words;
"For a good time, call Alex"
This charming piece of advice was also provided with her home phone number. Only one thought came to mind during all this.
I am going to kill him.
+ + + + + + +
Vin did not have long to wait to see how the fruits of labour had fared because he had been expecting her for most of the morning. He had almost been tempted to stake out her place and see for himself her first reaction to the little piece of poetic licence he had taken with her car but decided that it was hardly necessary. If he knew Alex and by now, and he knew her pretty well, Vin had some idea of how she would behave upon making the discovery. He also knew just how quickly she would come to the conclusion at who was responsible for her car, to be aware that she would come calling soon enough.
In fact he should have laid bets with Ezra on how long it would take her to reach the ATF building following her discovery of the car because it was a gamble he would have won without question. Unfortunately, the gambler had taken advantage of his injured rear end (thanks to Vin) and was spending a few days at home convalescing, so he told everyone. However, the rest of Team 7 was present in the office when Vin arrived and waited patiently for the hurricane named Alex to come calling.
It was approximately 9:25 am when she reached the offices of Team 7, with nothing less than a storm cloud brewing over her face.
"Hi there Alex," Buck Wilmington greeted as she entered the front door.
"Whatever," Alex snapped and Buck decided he was done talking to her because he could practically see the smoke exuding from her ears when she walked into the room.
"Hi there Alex." Vin turned around in his chair from his computer screen and faced her with perfect innocence in his face.
"You low life, scum sucking, pig!" Alex fairly roared and captured the undivided attention of everyone in the room, even Chris Larabee, who was in his office had stood up to see what was happening. "What did you do to my car?" She demanded, pausing only inches from his face, her eyes blazing in nothing less than fury.
"It�s�called�..spray paint," Vin said slowly, wearing that same triumphant smile on his face that she had presented to him when she had played her trick of giving him an enema during the physical.
"You creep!" Alex shouted in indignant rage. "Do you know what I�ve been through this morning? I�ve been getting calls from sick perverts called Lubefist on the account of you!"
"So I�m guessing that your dry spell for dates is over," he replied with absolutely no remorse whatsoever.
Alex straightened up and glared at him through narrowed eyes. "I suppose you think that�s very funny! You wait until you get the spray painting bill for my car!" She declared impotently.
"Relax," he grinned, enjoying her reaction immensely and unable to believe that so much satisfaction could be achieved by such a devious prank. "It's water based," he said, deciding to give her that much because he did not want her to go get the car repainted when it was a completely unnecessary gesture. "It will wash off under the hose."
"Wash...off?" Alex stared at him with wide eyes. "Are you telling me that I drove that monstrosity half way across town with my phone number displayed for everyone to see when I could washed the damn thing off?"
"Yep," he said smiling even wider.
"Ooooh!" she cried out in frustration before throwing her fist square in his jaw.
Vin toppled off the chair as Alex spun on her heels, not even bothering to see if he was all right as she walked out of the room. Not trusting herself to say anything more because at this point she was ready to kill him and that was not figurative, Alex decided to make a wise departure.
"So I guess that still means 'no' for dinner?" he called out as she disappeared out the door, her footsteps stamping so loud against the floor, he could still hear her when she slammed the doors of the staircase shut on her way off the level.
Vin picked himself off the floor, grinning when he noticed his friends around him, wearing a mixture of amused expressions on their faces.
"Gee Vin," Chris said peeking his head out through his office door and finding himself unable to resist admitting. "What�s next? Dipping her pig tails in ink wells?"
Vin did not respond as he rubbed his chin from the effects of her blow and forcing to admit that she had a great right hook. Still, the reaction was everything he had hoped to engender and decided that at last, they were even.
Now, if he could just work out how to get her to go to dinner with him...
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Continued in The Fund Raiser