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3:00 AM

Nick threw his gun and duffle bag onto the bed in the hotel room and scratched his ass. "I'm gonna go get these damn suitpants off," he muttered, and walked into the bathroom, slamming the door behind him. I turned to Lucy.

"Tell me the truth," she demanded.

I swallowed.

"You aren't really FBI agents," she said. I nodded. I felt like that wasn't really giving away any confidence, I mean that much was painfully obvious, wasn't it? "And you weren't really at that place for me."

I shook my head.

"Why then?" she asked.

Nick suddenly came up behind me. He stared at Lucy. "It's not your business," he said, frowning. No - scowling. He wandered by the bed. "Kyle, she'll give away our disguises."

I rolled my eyes.

"Look I already know enough to get you guys into deep shit," Lucy pointed out, "It doesn't matter who you really are, all it takes is one call to the real FBI and you two are toast for those two fake badges."

I glanced nervously at Nick.

"We'd be gone long before those slowpoke bastards caught up to us," Nick answered, "As I demonstrated today. Yesterday. Whenever the fuck it was."

"Not if you didn't know I called," Lucy pointed out.

"Nick," I said, pleading.

Lucy looked at him. "Nick?" she paused. She glanced at me. Mental pieces were falling together. "Wait a second."

"Now you friggin did it," Nick said, turning to me.

"I did it?" I demanded.

"Are you guys --" Lucy squinted. "Are you the guys in NSYNC?"


"NSYNC? NSYNC? Did you just seriously ask us if we were the guys from NSYNC?" Lucy's lips curved into a smile. "Yeah?"

"NO! We're Backstreet Boys!"

Shit. I threw my good arm in the air and let it slam back down against my thigh with a large 'WHACK.' Brian was grinning.

"Ain't she the cutest thing since sliced bread?"

Lucy's smile turned into a grin about as big as Brian's. "Hunh, my psychology courses did work."

My nostrils flared. Sure, the sight wasn't as impressive as when Brian did it, but I could feel them expand. "You can't tell anyone."

"Yes, no, maybe sooooo," she sang.

"How old are you?" I growled. "Twelve?"


I paused. I looked at her again. "You don't look twenty-seven."

She shrugged. "That's what everyone tells me. I figure when if this keeps up, I'll make forty look good."

I wasn't about ready to agree with her. That would have been a compliment. I ran a hand down my face and eyed the bed.

"I don't have time for this right now. I need to regroup." I turned and crawled into one of the two Queen-sized beds in the room. I clicked off the light.

Silence. Then...


I clicked the light back on. "What?"

Bri lifted the handcuffs. Lucy's hand lifted with it. "You have the keys."

It was my turn to act like a little kid. I smirked. "Yup, I do. Goodnight."



I pretended to snore.



A fist slammed into my back. Brian's head lowered to my ear.

"You can't do this. I have to sleep with you."

I flipped the pillow over. I found the coolest section and snuggled, even though my back was starting to throb. "Well, after hitting me, I don't think I'm going to let you touch me tonight, Husband," I said in my best mock-Leighanne voice.

The pillow was yanked from underneath my head.


"I can't be handcuffed to her anymore!"

I flipped on the light. Lucy's face almost made me laugh. "Gee, I didn't know I was that bad," she quipped.

Brian was caught between a rock and a hard place. He looked at her apologetically. "No! I didn't mean it that way! I did, but..."

As angry as I was at him, I decided he had suffered enough. I dug the key out of my shirt pocket, stood up, and unhooked them.

"There. Happy?"

The look on Brian's face said 'not so much.'

"Thank God. I've gotta pee."

There was some girly leg crossing and then Lucy flew into the bathroom. The door shut and Brian started again.

"So what are we going to do here?"

I shrugged. "I said I needed to regroup."

"I don't think we have time for that."

"Well, the good news is that this was one of the places we were going to scope out anyhow. AJ had this really crazy girlfriend one time. Her rich daddy spends most of his time down here."

Bri frowned. "Was that the one during the Black & Blue time? While he was still dating--"

"Jugs?" Jugs was my nickname for Sarah, AJ's ex-fiance.


"Yup. He came down here on the weekends to get hot and heavy with Marisol. He knocked her up and daddy made her get that abortion. Daddy said if he ever saw AJ again he'd cut off his--" I grabbed my balls for emphasis.

"Don't do that."


"Grab your---yourself. Lucy could walk out any minute."

"Well she can look, but she ain't getting these. She's not my type."

"I thought anyone breathing was your type."

I scowled. "No. I like them...taller. She kinda reminds me of Smurfette. She's trying to play with the big boys. We need to ditch her."

"We're not going to ditch her."

"Why not?"


"Because, dipshit. Remember? I can tell on you in a second." She held up my phone. I had left it in the bathroom. "You're Nick Carter. And you," she turned to Brian and got those puppy eyes again.

"He's Officer Sheppard," I snapped. "We'll keep you around if you remember that."

"Brian Sheppard?" she asked. I knew she was playing dumb.

"Kyle," Brian corrected.

My head was beginning to throb. My arm had been throbbing for hours. I had patched myself up in the plane bathroom with antiseptic and gauze, but it didn't stop the discomfort of the healing process. I crawled back into bed.

"Just get some sleep."

Brian crawled into bed beside me. I heard the other bed creak. Brian turned off the light.

All was quiet.

Sometime a couple hours later, I sat bolt upright as if someone had just tased me. I stared out into the darkness.


Brian shrieked. "WHAT?"

"What's going on?!" a muffled girly voice cried from the other bed.

"I know what we can do to talk to Marisol," I said in a rush.


"It involves a masquerade."

I couldn't see Brian, but that didn't stop me from hearing his groan. "Please, don't start talking in song titles again."

"I'm not!" I said.

I paused. Now I couldn't resist.

"But I will warn ya..."

"This might involve some PDA."