Test anxiety is no ones friend.
Anyway, here is C on the day D should be happening. I'll get caught up by the weekend (presumably).
Go back to A here.
She could have been ready and probably even at Jacqueline Corbet’s house before they arrived.
But reasonably she didn’t need to be, and Jacqueline Corbet had a more than satisfactory security system. They’d agreed the job didn’t start until she appeared at the Corbet mansion and took possession of the client.
She got her stuff together, and introduced herself to his building security, and did an external pass of the University, and went and sat at some seedy bar she found and had her last drink for three weeks. Then she pulled up at the security gate in front of the mansion and pressed the intercom button.
“Commander Jennings.” She pressed her ID up to the camera. “I’m expected.”
“They told us,” a gruff voice answered. “Come on in. Mr. Liam says you’re to use the front door.”
“Does he,” JJ muttered. “Thank you.”
She pulled up the immaculate drive, and into the wide circle in front of the house. There was a secondary entrance around the side—the tradesmen’s—and normally she’d have rather used it. It was less visible, had better cover.
Liam Corbet was sitting, lit up like a goddamn beacon, in the middle of the front stairs.
JJ rolled the passenger window down. “You realize an even halfway descent shot could make all this academic from outside the perimeter, you sitting in plain sight.”
He blinked at her. “If I aggravate a military grade sniper I’ll remember that.”
JJ rolled her eyes, and leaned across her car and popped the door open. “I promise if you do you won’t get the chance.”
“See.” He stepped up and slid into the car. “Then there’s no point in worrying about it. Why aren’t we just taking your car?”
“I’m security, not your chauffeur, this is a one-time ride.”
“Ah.” He looked out the window, easy expression on his face.
JJ tensed her hands on the steering, and started out of the house gate. She checked her mirrors, and elected to take the round about route from the mansion to his apartment.
“If you’d like to get where you’re going alive, never distract your detail,” JJ snapped. She didn’t need the concentration, probably, but she wasn’t in the mood to sit and listen to him prattle at her about how unfair it was they were making him do this. Or about Maman’s dinner party. Or anything else.
Corbet watched her for a minute, and then went back to silently staring out the window.
Even taking the long way, and changing plans mid-stream, they pulled up to his building in less than twenty minutes. JJ signaled to the support officer she’d told to meet them there—there was no way she was leaving her car in a lot around here somewhere. If they needed it in an emergency she’d deal with the logistics of that then. In the lot controlled by Joint Security was much safer. She left the car on, and put it in park. She’d barely slid out of the seat, and stepped away when they were in the car and Corbet was staring in shock as it pulled away from them.
“I’m assuming your car wasn’t just stolen?”
JJ took him by the elbow, and headed for the door. “It wasn’t.”
The doorman was the same gentleman she’d met earlier. Chuck—they were always named Chuck it seemed—was about twice her age, and going slightly to seed, but he’d worked as personal security, and a bouncer, and a couple of other jobs that meant he knew how to handle himself when he needed to. He swept the door open before them and closed it directly behind them, greeting Corbet warmly.
“Grandmother insisted,” Corbet was explaining.
Chuck hit the elevator button for them. “Well, insisted she might, but Joint Security wouldn’t take the job if it wasn’t worth taking, man.”
Corbet sighed. “I’m coming to terms with that.”
Chuck smiled at her and saluted. “Let me know if you need anything.”
JJ nodded once and shut the elevator door. She just needed him to do his job, and they’d already discussed that earlier in the afternoon.
The one plus to how hard his elevator was trying to be one of the mirrored Art Deco numbers was the chance to surreptitiously watch the mark. Corbet was standing next to her, staring at the gradually ascending numbers on the elevator, like the lights were on and nobody was home.
When the final paperwork had come through there’d been a personal file on Corbet attached. It might have been all theoretical and…academic, but he had an actual job. Never married. Only went to required social functions—he had about a million cousins and there seemed to be one getting married all the time. He didn’t have any known associates, just the people he tangentially worked with.
Her earpiece crackled to life then. “Brown, reporting.”
She pressed the speaker button. “Eta one minute.”
There was a sigh. “Roger. You realize this job wasn’t supposed to start until at least tomorrow.”
JJ scanned the hall when the elevator opened, hand pressed to Corbet’s chest to keep him in the elevator carriage until she was sure it was clear.
“It’s clear,” Brown groused.
“Roger,” JJ replied, and waved Corbet at his door. “And the job starts once we’re responsible for the client.”
Corbet opened his door, his door security was biometric and coded, and the packet said nobody had the code but she was going to make him change it anyway.
“This dude has the most boring apartment in the building, you realize that?” Brown muttered.
JJ knew the layout, but she hadn’t actually seen the inside before. It was…tasteful and expensive, but not as flashy as she might have expected.
Corbet kicked his shoes off underneath the console table in the hall. “The room on the end is my office, the one in the middle is the room you can use. Is there anything you need me to do?”
JJ watched the fatigue in his eyes, and the way he was digging his toes into the high pile carpet. “I’ll need you to reset your door code once I get the system rigged. And stay away from the windows.”
He waved them around. “They’ll all covered in blackout blinds anyway.” He turned and headed for the kitchen. “I’m going to eat something normal, do you want anything.”
“I ate before.” She started fishing her systems out. It was going to be a long night for her, but she was sincerely hoping he decided to go to bed. Everything would be easier without him under foot.