Deaq had a feeling about his partner.
Van was nowhere to be found. With his cell shut off, the man was virtually unreachable, so Deaq had to “go fetch him.” Which pissed him off to no ends. As an officer at the Candystore, you just didn’t shut off your phone. Not even on a day off, and especially not, if nobody knew your whereabouts. Furthermore, as Deaq’s partner, you didn’t leave him alone with the boss to figure out how to work the latest case and then have him play hide-and-seek with you to fill you in on what kind of criminal you would pose as this day. No, as an officer assigned to the Candystore, you had your cell phone on, had it charged, and had paid your bills. As Deaq’s friend, you answered by the second ring at the latest.
Van knew all this. He knew about the phone, the dressing code, the ‘we never flash the badge’ thing, knew when and when not to ask Billie for one of the cars. Yet he had simply taken the spare keys for the Viper, turned off his cell, and hadn’t told a soul where he’d be found in case of emergency.
Deaq had the feeling that Van really wanted to be left alone.
Too bad that Emanuel Arroyo Garcia, ranking fifth in the largest Mexican drug cartel, had chosen this weekend to risk visiting the states. Too bad that Van and Deaq where the only chance the LAPD had to get close.
Too bad that Deaq had that feeling about his partner, and knew exactly where Van went when he wanted to be by himself.
The road was narrow, almost too much so to allow two cars to pass each other. But there was sand on both sides of the street; only a thin stretch on the left now, during high tide.
The bank was deserted, as Van could have only wished for. Perhaps his foul mood had scared away the last beach-goers, Deaq thought with a grin. It made spotting the newly acquired Viper easy though. Not that one was able to miss this beauty; it certainly was an eye-catcher. The orange paint gleamed yellow where it stood facing the afternoon sun. It looked placed there for a photo shoot, some commercial for the brand or the setting of a glossy porno.
While Deaq parked his low-key silver Celica (which Billie had forced him to take, lecturing him on how much less gas it needed and that he wasn’t undercover just yet, was he?) left to the Viper, he definitely believed the porno option. Deaq got out of his car, rounded it to sit on the front fender, and even specified his impression further: It was as if stepping into the wanking scene of some gay flick.
Van had his eyes closed against the bright light as he sat on the Viper’s hood, his back resting against the windshield. He soaked up the sun, darkening the barely existing tan he had due to their nightly working hours of late. Deaq couldn’t remember the last time they had had the opportunity to go surfing.
Van was wearing those brown leather pants again, skin-tight, but to all appearances he did not think them to be too warm for the weather. He also wore no shoes, toes sticking up in the air and wriggling at the sand which still had to be stuck between them. It did look like a little nervous habit.
The blue shirt was wide open, its sides fluttering in the breeze which made the summer’s heat bearable. It struck Deaq as funny how Van could make colors work which were such at odds with each other. He should have been blinded by the combination of yellow-orange and brown, however all Deaq could see was the smooth chest, still carrying the mark of a slowly healing knife wound.
Van’s hands were stroking his lower stomach as well as the car’s hood, petting the V10-beast. The fingers of his right hand started to dip lower, scratching at the waistband of the pants, and suddenly Deaq wasn’t so sure anymore that Van was aware of his audience.
He was almost entranced enough to let his partner simply continue. Almost.
He cleared his throat.
Van’s hand abandoned its way south and came up to shield his eyes from the sun as he turned his head to look at Deaq. “Hey.”
There was no blush, no embarrassed fidgeting. Deaq wondered if he had such a one-tracked mind that he’d think Van would try to get off on the hood of a Viper on an empty beach. Not so empty, since he must’ve been aware of Deaq’s arrival.
Van liked people to look, okay, but he wasn’t an exhibitionist.
“Sorry,” Deaq said, suddenly realizing that all his anger at being forced to drive all the way up to the beach had evaporated. Sorry was not the word he’d thought he’d start with.
Van groaned, already guessing Deaq’s reason to show up.
“Is she so mad that I took the Viper that she sent you here? Must be a new record even for her.”
Or maybe not. Deaq shook his head and grinned. “She’s going to make you pay for it, sure. But that’s not why I’m here. Emanuel Arroyo Garcia is in town, and we need to plan our strategy.”
“Oh.” Van turned his face back into the sun. “Shit.”
“Yeah.” Deaq definitely seconded that feeling. “At the Candystore, in an hour.”
Deaq went back to the driver’s door of the Celica, casting a long appreciative look at the beast and its tamer. Van’s Viper. Deaq smiled to himself as he got in. He put in the reverse and was about to speed away, but let the passenger’s window down first.
“And Van,” he said and waited for his friend to squint at him. “Turn on your phone and call her when you’re late because of the heavy traffic, baby. Alright?”