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E.B.S.

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Red wine never tasted sweet enough to Amy-- give her a peach smoothie any day-- and always gave her the weirdest buzz. But with major events, you had to celebrate with a glass of wine. It was tradition. And no matter what her mother said, he didn't go out of her way to break tradition.

"To firsts," she said, raising a glass to the beautiful woman across the table.

"I'm pretty sure our first was about fifteen years ago." Lucy smiled and lifted her own glass. "But congratulations on selling a painting or whatever."

"Does a first count if it's two girls?" Janet asked through a mouthful of cheeseburger (how she'd managed to find a cheeseburger in Spain was kind of beyond Amy, but if anyone could do it, Janet could). "Only my college roommate always told me it didn't count if it was a girl but Scud got mad at me anyway and it totally wasn't my fault."

Amy was strongly torn between glaring at Janet or washing her mind out with bleach. She decided on option three: "Thanks for coming to celebrate with me, by the way," she said. "I know the Barcelona Bureau Branch has you on call, and Hotel Gaudí is kind of out of the way-- Scud couldn't even make it."

"Of course I came, don't be stupid. It's not like they need a field medic right now, there totally haven't been any terrorist attacks for like a week. And I wanted to catch up! It's been six years!" Janet grinned, a sesame seed falling from her lip. "Also, I don't know why you guys are staying in a hotel, you like live here, but whatever."

"It's Gaudí," Amy protested.

"Special treat," Lucy translated.

"Anyway, dish." Janet leaned forward. "I know now you're a rich and famous artist or whatever, but what about Lucy? Aren't you, like, running boat tours? I don't see any boats."

"Seriously, Amy told you about that? It was renting sailboats," Lucy corrected. "And it--"

"Didn't work," Amy said, and nobly refrained from pointing out that she'd told Lucy that 'Diamond in the Rough' made people think of shipwrecks.

"Anyway, someone needed to pay Amy's way through art school, so I found another job. I'm a consultant. Sometimes a PI." Amy tried not to think depending on whether the person who's hiring her is on the side of good or evil. "Turns out people want to hire people who're really good at breaking into stuff and setting traps and threatening Australia. It's kind of weird."

Amy couldn't resist. "Not as weird as the people you have to deal with and can't tell me about."

Lucy shot her an exasperated we've-been-over-this look. Which they had, but that didn't make her right. "When you make enough money painting I can totally quit but in the meanwhile I thought you wanted me to follow the law."

"You're not supposed to protect people when they're in imminent danger of hurting other people--"

"For the last time, that's in America. Spain doesn't have mandated reporter laws. But they do have confidentiality law. If I broke it I'd lose all my business and then we couldn't go to hotels like this." Lucy looked down. "You know I hate keeping this stuff from you. It won't be forever."

"So I guess that means we can't go on a boat tour." Janet pouted.

Amy and Lucy exchanged looks. "Well," Amy said, "we could rent a paddle boat--"

"A sailboat," Lucy said. "And a parachute."

"We are not going parasailing agai--" The portable communicator chimed. "What?" Amy snapped, a little louder than she intended, because this was supposed to be fun for everyone and she really did not want an adventure right now. She grabbed the communicator and punched in a few buttons.

Urgent communcation from D.E.B.S. Headquarters, read the viewscreen. Despite herself, Amy felt her heart lurch a few feet and stagger back down.

Janet, of course, was peering over her shoulder already. "Didn't you, like, settle out of court with them? I think I remember reading that in the alumni newsletter."

"Last month," Lucy said, moving around the table and frowning at the viewscreen along with her.

"We had wine then too," Amy said, briefly distracted by Lucy being that much closer. "They shouldn't be calling anymore."

"Well. Maybe it's Max," Janet settled back in her chair. "You invited her too, right? Maybe they let her go early from Macedonia. You selling a painting is totally worth celebrating."

"Couldn't be," Amy said, and hated herself briefly for the way her voice rose like a question. "I haven't even heard from her for about six months. I sent her letters, but they keep getting sent back with burn marks all over them."

"Oooo, security clearance," Janet said jealously. "Anyway, what else could it be?"

"Telemarketers," Lucy said.

And, of course, that had to be it. "I told them... it must be a million times I didn't want to contribute to the astronaut training program," Amy said, exasperation rising in her chess, "especially since they made me give back the money from the Perfect Score Scholarship. But they kept calling. I blocked the Giving Phone Tree number: they must've figured out a way around that. I wish they'd just listen to me and leave me alone!"

"We could hire Anoshka to make them listen," said Lucy. "I've probably still got her number."

"Isn't Anoshka the crazy lady who kills people? That's so totally not funny," Janet said.

"It's a little funny," Amy said. Lucy smiled at her proudly, like look at what I did. " Anyway, maybe they'll believe me the millionth and one time." She sighed, pushed the Speak button, and put on her best Disinterested But Quietly Angry Leader face. "For the last time," she said without looking at the viewscreen, because that always seemed to encourage the telemarketers "we don't want to contribute--"

"I'm terribly sorry to interrupt."

Amy snapped her eyes to the screen, because she knew that voice.

It was Mrs. Petrie. And she did not look happy.

"But we seem to be in need of a private investigator."