"Jeez, this kid really gets around," Pete says over Myka's shoulder as they study the print out of their current suspect’s most recent credit card statement. There's more than a little respect in Pete's voice, and Myka can't shake the feeling that Pete is planning on giving Michael Raymond a big manly fist-bump when they track him down.
"Though, man." Pete grabs the sheet out of her hand and brings it closer to his face, which is scrunched up in some weird combination of confusion and consideration. "Shooters, the Happy Birthday Bar and Shooters II? You'd think if you had Don Juan's magic pimp hat you'd at least step up your game a little. Maybe graduate from undergrad bars to strip clubs or something."
"Strip clubs are hardly a 'step up' from dive bars." Myka rolls her eyes and snatches the sheet back from Pete. "And besides, I'm sure the hat is all the game Michael needs - it is the inspiration for 400 years of Don Juan mythos after all."
“What did do you think they called the thing back in the day? The Lady Lover? Magical Dude Hat of Awesomeness? Best Hat Ever?” Pete says, brain planted firmly in its own universe.
“Let’s just get this done with, so we can get back to the hotel at something like a reasonable hour.” Myka rolls her eyes at him and rips the list in half, handing the lower part to Pete, “Do you want a copy of his student I.D. photo?”
“No, it’s cool – I’ll just look for the kid in the doofy hat with all of the hot lay-dees.” Pete singing songs as he scans through the addresses on his half of the list, before rolling the paper up and pointing it at her. “You just be sure and remember to stay away from the vodka tonics, alright?”
Myka fights down the urge to stick her tongue out at him, and reminds him, “Call if you find anything,” before turning down the street towards the first bar on her list.
Two hours and three bars later, Myka is starting to reconsider her opinion on dive bars verses strip clubs. She pretty sure anything would be a step up from the grungy, too-dark and too-loud cesspool of undergraduate, and probably mostly underaged, humanity she’s just spent the last 20 minutes wading through.
She snags the first empty spot at the bar she spots and pulls her badge out in preparation of flagging down the bartender.
“Hello there, Agent Bering.”
Myka glances over her shoulder, her right hand going instinctively to the butt of her gun. She’s not surprised, exactly, just a little disappointed that she didn’t see this coming.
“H.G.,” Myka says and turns her body toward the source of the greeting, giving the other woman enough room to slide in against the bar. "What are you doing here?"
"I just stopped in to enjoy a drink,” H.G. says and shrugs, as if after work drinks in a dive bar in Corpus Christi, Texas is an everyday occurrence for either of them.
Myka doesn’t buy it of course, but she doubts very much that H.G. actually expects her to. She sighs and settles onto the bar stool so that she can get a better look at the woman next to her. "Don't tell me you're tracking Michael Raymond, too?"
Myka doesn't want to know why exactly H.G. would be interested in Don Juan's hat, or at least that's what she tells herself as H.G. lets the flow of the crowd around them press her in closer to the bar and Myka.
"Hardly," H.G. says, and her smile is bright and airy, with just the tiniest glint of something predatory. She reaches out and tugs at the lapel of Myka’s blazer, pressing the fabric down flat with the tips of her fingers. “I was tracking you.”
The admission catches Myka off guard and she barely notices as H.G. moves her hand away. Surprise is exactly what H.G. was aiming for, Myka realizes a second later as H.G. quirks her lips in pleasure.
Myka’s instinct as an agent is to go on the defensive, to find some high ground and head for the exit. But there’s another, calmer, instinct that tells her to take a breath and see where this is going. It feels a lot like the way Pete’s vibes felt inside her head last week in Colorado Springs, and Myka wonders idly if it’s some sort of remnant from their Artifact encounter.
She decides to compromise between the two and play a little offense instead. “You know, stalking a member of the Secret Service is a federal crime.”
“Indeed?” H.G. asks, eyes widening and voice deepening in mock sincerity. She lifts her arms from her sides, offering them up to Myka with her palms turned upwards and her wrists together. “Then by all means, you should cuff me and take me away.”
Myka laughs and smiles, pointedly ignoring H.G.’s outstretched arms. “I’m sure Artie would love that. He might even forgive me for not bringing you in last time.”
“I’m sure he would.” H.G. laughs, too, though Myka worries about the edge of bitterness to the sound. H.G. is smiling right at her, though, and Myka finds herself leaning in closer as the other woman lowers her voice. “But I’m sure you could come up with your own ways of bringing me to justice.”
H.G. drops her arms, and Myka uses the distraction of watching H.G.’s hands come to rest against the tops of her thighs as an excuse to hide the blush she is sure is rushing its way across her cheeks.
The pressure of H.G.’s palms against her legs is firm but not intrusive and there’s something about it, about the steady, relaxed way H.G. is watching her that draws Myka in, that pushes her to engage.
Myka opens her mouth to respond, with what exactly she’s not sure, but she’s interrupted by the telltale beeping of her Farnsworth. It takes her a moment to place the sound, but once she does she can’t help but let out a light laugh.
“If I didn’t know any better, I’d think you had planned that.” H.G. laughs as she speaks, and her smile is bright as ever, and it’s not until Myka scoots forward on the bar stool and slides her hand into her pocket that H.G. raises her hands.
Myka glances down at the Farnsworth, and in the moment it takes her to flip it open she feels H.G. move away from her. Myka shakes her head and accepts Pete’s call, and when she looks up H.G. is already headed out the door.
“Got it!” Pete crows. Myka glances at the bar. There’s a business card there, totally out of place. Pete goes on, not noticing when Myka’s attention shifts from him to the card. On the front is the name of a nearby hotel, and on the back is a room number, written in what Myka is beginning to recognize as H.G.’s handwriting.
Myka notices her own hand shake as she considers the card.
“Myka.” Pete’s whine is impossible to ignore, and Myka shifts her gaze back to the Farnsworth. “I get the feeling you’re not hanging on my every word.”
“I’m sorry, I’m just—” Myka says, but Pete cuts her off before she even needs to make up an excuse.
“It’s okay, Myka. You’re discovering the charms of the dive bar.” He leans in too close to his Farnsworth and suddenly Myka is being treated to an up close and personal view up Pete’s nose. “And maybe the strapping young lads who frequent them?”
Myka snorts and rolls her eyes at him. “Hardly.”
“Whatever you say, champ.” Pete laughs and winks, and Myka is pretty sure she’d be punching him in the arm right now if they were actually face-to-face. “I have a date with a big, fluffy bed back at the hotel. With Kelly around, I don’t exactly get a lot of sleep—”
“Gross, Pete. Really gross. Thanks.” Myka glances at the door, considering.
“Later,” Pete says and the screen flashes to black. Myka snaps the Farnsworth shut and leans back on the stool.
When the bartender leans across the bar and asks, “What can I get you?” Myka has already made up her mind.
“No thanks,” Myka says, and slides off of the bar stool. She glances down at the business card in her hand, even though she’s already memorized the room number on it. She looks out over the bustling crowd and maps out her path toward the exit. She says, more to herself than anyone else, “I’ve got somewhere to be.”