In the beginning there’d been noise like the only way they were going to keep Cornucopia Ltd out of trouble was if Thea agreed to help them. Like they’d turn a blind eye if she helped stitch up their actual money launderers and bad guys. That’d shifted, over the months of working this case. Long ago Erika had reached a stage where she trusted Thea. At least nominally trusted her, enough with what they were doing at the moment. Enough to know if Cornucopia was dirty, it wasn’t dirty like that.
-----------: Make sure you ask her this time.
DeLuca: I sent her information to the appropriate place.
-----------: But she knows you, and this is a personal connection ask, so you should ask her.
DeLuca: I doubt she’d like to be asked by the hired help.
-----------: I’ve read her messages. At least extend the invitation.
Thea dropped her head back against the chair, and sighed. Kay probably had a point. It was fairly unlikely Erika actually thought Thea was the hired help. Or was only the hired help. While Thea had absolutely never loosened up on her standards, or her behavior over the months they’d ostensibly worked together, Erika was very good at her job. As a consequence, she was very good at reading people.
Exactly the sort of person DG DeLuca did her best not to spend extra time with.
----------: I can make that an order, and at this precise moment you do take orders from me.
DeLuca: Msg received.
-----------: Thank you. Keep to your check in, and good luck.
It was a smooth, uneventful flight, but she didn’t sleep. Dottie got to sleep on planes. Got to settle in and let her guard down. That was maybe the part she missed the most, of being a normal, uncomplicated person.
It wasn’t as if she’d never considered quitting. Maybe she hadn’t been dividing herself between Dottie and DG DeLuca as long as Kay had been playing that secret agent tap-dance, but she knew from watching Kay, and all the things Kay didn’t say about the people she worked with, that it took its toll on different people in different ways.
But jobs like this were the good ones. Where the times she was going to go do something good. Most of her jobs as a fixer were some level of being the good guy, even if the people she worked with at the time didn’t see it that way.
She showed up and helped someone get a loved one back. She helped break up a money laundering outfit. She shined light on a broken charity or exposed a scam. Didn’t that make the world a better place?
Maybe there was always another scam to take its place, another potential kidnapper, another crook. She’d carried Detective Stone’s card around with her, since they’d crossed paths. He’d worked a whole life as a detective, and he was still working.
Thea leaned back and looked up at the roof of the plane. After James had died the potential of walking away had left a bad taste in her mouth. She’d almost done it anyway, because she thought she needed to for Seb.
In the end she’d found her feet again and turned back into the wind.
She wasn’t at escape velocity yet. She was going to have to find her feet again.
Come back tomorrow for W: Westward!