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2:00 AM

Nick pulled the same stunt as he'd done in Japan, claiming that Lucy was a prisoner that we, FBI agents, were transporting. We were boarded onto the plane and never asked for more than our badges for paperwork, and within what seemed like moments we were on an airplane on the way to London.

Nick sat in the middle between Lucy and I. Lucy stared out the window, her ankle cuffed to the seat and her hand cuffed to Nick. I held my head in my hands, the stitches scratching my palm. "I'm gonna end up with a scar," I complained, "I'm gonna be maimed and Leigh-Leigh is gonna ask where I got the scar from and I'm going to tell her and she's going to think of me kissing another woman every time she looks at my face, and we're going to end up divorced and --"

"Shut up already," Nick whined through gritted teeth.

I looked at Nick, "You're only pissed off because you have to listen to me whine for once."

Nick scowled.

"I can't even imagine the unholy racket you would be making if it was your face that got blasted apart by dynamite that I threw!" I said.

"I do not whine!" Nick whined.

Lucy sighed.

"Oh Brian, Brian, my face Brian, my beautiful, pretty boy face," I was doing my best impression of Nick's whiney-12-year-old voice. "Now what will I do?" I waved my hands around all fruity.

"Stooooop ittttt," Nick wailed.

"My beautiful pretty face, oh woe is me, woe is meeee!"

Nick leaped at me, whipping his wrist around and almost pulling poor Lucy's arm out of it's socket. "OW!" she yelled. And within seconds a short, stout flight attendant -- I thought there was a height requirement to get into one of those gigs? -- had arrived. "Troubles?" she demanded, glowering down at us.


"Troubles?" Brian repeated.

"There's no trouble," I said quickly.

"Police brutality," Lucy muttered. "Fake--"

The stewardess leaned over closer and squinted. "You look so familiar," she said. She had a British accent, the kind that always remindd me of tea and scones and lace doilies.

"I have one of those faces," I said.

The stewardess smirked. She studied Brian. He looked up at her.

"I cheated on my wife!" he blurted out.

If I could have slapped both hands to my face, I would have. Unfortunately, that would have meant pulling Lucy's arm almost out of her socket again. I was about ready to slam my foot down on Bri's - hard - when our not-so-friendly helper of the sky smiled.

"Want to do it a second time?"

I couldn't help it. I laughed. Bri was staring up at her crushed, like he had confessed to a priest and gotten propositioned. He grew pale. Before he barfed or gave the whole thing up, I jumped back in.

"Excuse my partner," I said. "He's just coming off a concussion."

The stewardess shook her head. I felt her eyes burning through me. They began to register recognition. "Wait--"

"Miss! Can I get a Sprite?"

I heard the rattle of ice cubes in a near-empty cup. She broke contact and took a step away. "Coming!"

I didn't relax until she had floated back down the aisle.

"I've got to pee."

So much for relaxing. I looked over at Lucy. She glared back at me.

"Really? Can't you hold it?"

"The whole flight? Are you kidding me?"

I turned around and judged the distance to the restroom. If she did a squat-and-run we'd be oka.

"Alright," I said. I unlocked the cuffs. "Go for it."

She didn't move. "Aren't you coming?"


She rolled her eyes. "I'm a prisoner. Don't you think you should at least wait outside the door?"

"She's kinky. Oh crap, I not only kissed another girl, but a kinky one at that."

My temple began to throb. I couldn't take it anymore. I whipped out my phone.

"What are you doing?" Lucy and Brian demanded in unison.

Brian. Concussion. Kissed another girl. Thought it was you. Bringing him home soon. Nick.

I stood up and put my phone back in my pocket.

"I sent a text to Leighanne. The hardest part of any problem is admitting it," I said. I crooked my finger Lucy's way. "C'mon."

Lucy jumped up and climbed over Brian. He kinda looked like the killer from Scream. His mouth was hanging down that low.


I pressed my hand against his shoulder and stepped around him.

"What are partners for?" I smirked.

"So why'd you kiss a married man?"

Bri's cheek was on my shoulder. He was snoring softly. It was the middle of the night. Most of the passengers were asleep. Lucy turned to me, her eyes thoughtful.

"My moral compass isn't all that great," she admitted. "And besides, he did kiss me."

"How? He was upside down."

Lucy waved our cuffed hands in the air. "He begged for a kiss. Said he hadn't stopped thinking about me since he met me.""

I snorted. "You fell for that?"

"Why wouldn't I?" she scowled. "Y'know if he hadn't picked my room, I'd still be there. You would have just sat back and let me do---that."

I frowned. "No, I wouldn't have."

"What were you having your girl do?" she snapped back.

I didn't answer.

"I like married guys because they've at least done something right up until that point. Losers can't get married."

"No, there's tons of reasons why people don't get married," I argued.

"Like what?"

"Like---like---most marriages end in divorce. And girls like you don't help lower those statistics."

"Girls like me?"

"Rich girls. Daddy girls. You think the world revolves around you. You think this," I waved my hand in the air. "is just fun and adventure. But it's not. It's about finding out what happened to our friend. There's real lives involved."

I struck a nerve. Her eyes opened wide and I could see the fire getting ready to explode within.

"You don't know a damn thing about me."

"I know it should have been me you kissed."

I hadn't meant for the words to come out. They hung in the air, close enough to touch, but not close enough to actually grab and take back. I panicked. My elbow connected with sleeping Brian. His whole body jerked.

"W-what?!" he spluttered. He pulled out his phone. "LeighLeigh?"

A thick-set fog was creeping in around our windows. We were almost in London. I could feel Lucy's eyes on me. Brian tapped out a quick text and turned to me too.

"Nick--" he started to whine.

"Nick Carter! That's it!"

Our stewardess was staring at me with new-found fervor. And lust. And a million other things that made me want to stick my head in the sand like a llama. Or is that the ostrich that does that? Either way--

"You're not cops! I know who you two are!"

"Blimey, you're Backstreet Boys!"