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Part 8 in the ‘A Beautiful Lie Series’ with Face and Amy.
Summary: Amy’s determined to prove Al Massey was murdered.
Set after episode ‘Water, Water, Everywhere.’ Before and after episode ‘Steel.’ Sequel to “A Covered Lie.”
Warnings: Suggestions of child prostitution – but nothing graphic.
Disclaimer: I don’t own the A-Team and I’ve not made a penny from this; I just do it for the jazz!
© August 2009
Once they’d finished their job - sending Crazy Tommy T on his way to being behind bars for a very long time for burying his ex-partner - Face’s thoughts had turned to Amy. Well, initially his thoughts had been on Randy. She was his latest fling – the client’s niece. The next woman to be his... distraction. But Hannibal had made him take Murdock back to the VA.
“Felt kinda weird Amy not being with us, don’t you think?” Murdock had said as Face pulled his car up outside the VA.
“Wonder if she’s found anything on Massey’s death?”
Face had remained quiet, just nodding to Murdock’s chatter, guiltily reminded he had another job to do. So he’d cancelled on Randy.
While helping Stern - and nearly being buried in concrete himself by Tommy - he’d put Amy’s own crazy crusade in the back of his mind. He knew, watching her work with the team, she felt the same kind of ‘jazz’. Damn stuff was addictive. But she just didn’t have the same training and skills as the rest of the team. Obviously, hanging around with them so much had taught her some tricks, given her some confidence. But could she be overconfident? And they were a team; if one was in trouble, the others came along and bailed you out. Look at his little run in with Crazy Tommy. He loosened his collar.
Okay, he’d gotten out of that limo on his own, but with the rest of team watching his back; it had made his escape easier.
Amy needed someone watching her back, and right now, no one was. Hadn’t been for a few days.
Hell, she could be into all sorts of trouble.
Damn it, he was kicking himself for dismissing it, thinking Amy was just going to do some research, talk to the police. But knowing Amy, too independent for her own good and stubborn as she was.... If Massey had found something bad enough to get him killed, then so could Amy.
He’d thought about discussing it with Hannibal, but Hannibal didn’t know about the night Amy had turned up on Face’s doorstep distraught over Massey’s death. Face had thought it best to keep that private, worried that something might slip.
However, Face wasn’t leaving it another day. Amy hadn’t answered her messages, and hadn’t been at her apartment for the last two days – he’d called around often enough, probably more than necessary. On his last visit, he’d broken in to check things out – she’d kill him when she found out. But her place looked like she hadn’t been there a few days; her mailbox in the lobby had been full, so he’d emptied it and brought it up to her apartment, (another federal offence to add to the list) and when he checked the fridge, he screwed up his face at the smell - there was stuff growing mould.
So he decided he’d get the information from the horse’s mouth. Dressed as an electrical repairman, baseball cap tucked low over his eyes to disguise his face, he found himself talking his way through the LA Courier Express offices to find Amy’s desk. He knew Amy’s friend and colleague, Zachary, would be close by. Risky, he knew. Practically the whole damn building could recognise his face, considering the coverage Amy had given the team, but he couldn’t think of another option.
He headed up to Amy’s office and made himself look busy, all the while searching for his man. He knew him by name, but not by face.
“Zack!” A young woman called across the office.
Bingo. Face looked across the office to the guy who answered and cautiously made his way to Zack’s desk. While the young man had a discussion with the woman, Face knelt down and pretended to work, pulling up one of the electrical panels nearest Zack’s desk. Finally, Zack sat down with a huge sigh, and Face made his move.
Keeping inconspicuous, Face peered up at the young man. Voice low, he said, “Hey, Zachary, isn’t it?”
“Yes, that’s me...” Zack looked down, puzzled expression, meeting Face’s eye. “Oh my God!” Zack said. “Templeton Peck-”
“Shush....” Face placed a finger over his lips. “I need to know where Amy is.”
“You don’t know?” Zack whispered. Face shook his head. “But I thought -”
“Look, can we go some place more private? I need to know what she’s working on.”
Zack nodded. “There’s a coffee shop across the street from here. We could go there.”
“Okay, fine.” Face nodded and watched Zack go to another desk and come back with a file.
“Hey, Tawnia, take my calls will you?” Zack called, walking out of the office.
Face waited, pretending to pack up his tool box. He smiled, hearing the woman answer back, “Hey, just because I’m new here...” Then Face left the office too.
Inside the coffee shop, Face removed his baseball cap and combed a hand through his hair, joining Zack at a table. The waitress was already placing two cups of coffee down and Zack handed one of them to Face.
“Thanks,” Face said. “So, Zack, didn’t take you long to figure out who I am.”
“Are you kidding? I was the one that handed Amy the file on the A-Team,” Zack said, eagerly, pushing his glasses up. Again, Face wished Zack would keep his excitement under wraps, and waved at him to quiet down. “I always knew she was working with you guys.”
“Uh, well,” Face said, shrugging. “We throw some stories her way. I wouldn’t say she’s -”
“Hey, her secret’s safe with me.” Zack played with his coffee cup. “I can’t believe I’m actually sitting here with a member of the A-Team – The Faceman!”
“Zack, please....” Face glanced around the coffee shop. Luckily it was pretty quiet. The lunchtime rush was long gone. Zack was acting like he’d just met some celebrity and it could draw attention. “So, where is Amy?” Face asked impatiently, not wanting to get into a discussion as to whether Amy rode along with the team or not.
“Uh... I don’t really know. She didn’t tell me much. Just that she’s working out of town.”
“Where?” It sounded like Amy was being as vague about this story as Massey had been.
“All I know is, she’s staying in a motel near San Diego -”
Zack nodded. “Yeah, but I brought the information she asked me to look up.” Zack handed Face the file. “There’s some stuff on some young girls that have gone missing. She wanted to know if they were still missing, family background, that sort of thing. I don’t think I came up with anything she didn’t already know. And then she asked me to get some information on a club. Hard to get into, that one.” Zack flicked through the paperwork, showing Face the relevant pages. “But that’s all I can really tell you.”
“Can I keep this?” Face asked, turning the folder around to look through the few papers.
“Uh...” Face smiled at him, the sort of smile that said Zack didn’t really have an option. “Yeah, sure.” Zack shrugged.
“Um... Mr Peck -”
“Face.” Zack grinned. “Uh... If you need anything else, you can always call me.” Zack pulled a pen out of his top pocket of his shirt and wrote his number inside the file.
“Have you got a number where I could reach you, in case Amy calls?”
“Uh... I don’t think that’s a good idea, do you?” Face could see Zack was about to argue, so he shook his head. “Thanks for all your help.” Face held out his hand.
“So, uh... Do you think Amy’s okay?” Zack asked, looking Face in the eye. “Just, I haven’t heard from her in a couple of days. And with Massey and everything....”
Face, seeing Zack’s anxiety, thought it best to keep him happy. “Yeah, I’m sure she’s fine. I just want to make sure she hasn’t gotten into something a little deeper than she should.”
“Don’t let her hear you say that!”
Face chuckled. “Okay, well get out of here. Don’t want to keep you from your job any longer.”
“Uh... Yeah, yeah.” Zack stood up to leave, fumbling about, pushing his chair under the table.
“Oh and Zack, it’s better for everyone if you don’t mention you saw me.”
“Damn shame though. Would’ve loved to tell the guys I had coffee with a member of the A-Team.” Zack beamed. He shook Face’s hand and headed out of the coffee shop. Face gently shook his head, watching him cross the street and head back into the office.
Face finished his coffee while flicking back through the paperwork. It wasn’t a lot, but it was something. Face could find the club, and he could definitely find the motel. But it was at least a three-hour drive.
It had taken Face longer than intended to leave LA. He wanted to make sure he’d gotten hold of Hannibal, to let him know where he was heading. Amy might have been vague but he certainly wasn’t going to be. Hannibal had offered to come along, and that had taken a little longer to talk Hannibal out of coming. Face wasn’t sure how Amy was going to like him showing up, let alone the whole team. There must have been a reason she’d wanted to do this job on her own. Still, Hannibal had giving him a warning – as if he needed it.
“Face, don’t get in over your head.”
“I mean it. If Amy has found something, give us a call, and we’ll be there.”
“I know. Don’t worry, I’ll keep you informed,” Face had said, hanging up the phone.
With the light fading to darkness, Face decided to head for the motel first. It had been easy to find, on the outskirts of the city. It was cosy, clean three-star accommodation. Probably as far as her expense account would stretch.
Face parked the Corvette around the back and with a little investigating and flirting with the receptionist; he got Amy’s room number.
He’d picked up a large bouquet of flowers en-route to the motel, to aid in his little scam to gain the room number, and thought they might help with softening up Amy as well. She’d probably think he was checking up on her - which he was. Bouquet in hand, he knocked at the door.
He glanced at his watch. It was just past nine o’clock. Could she be out having dinner? He tried peering through the window, but couldn’t make out anything with the drapes closed. The room was quiet, no lights on inside. She wouldn’t already be in bed, would she? He knocked again, a little harder, but still there was no answer.
After a momentary internal tussle as to whether to break into her room or not, Face walked back to his car, placing the bouquet on the passenger seat as he got in. He got the file out from the glove box, looking for the name of the club. He sighed heavily, tired from a long day. He’d really hoped to find Amy at the motel. But he’d go check this place out; to see if it would put any more of the puzzle together.
It took Face nearly an hour to find the club. He pulled up in a narrow dead-end street, cars parked on either side. He didn’t like the look of the area - not a place to be leaving his Vette. He’d spotted Amy’s car parked on another side street, too. But she wasn’t in it.
Two large men, dressed in black suits, stood at a doorway at the end of the alley, confirming there was a club. Its secluded, low key location confirmed to Face what type of club it was. Would Amy really be inside a strip club? Well, he had to check it out. He quietly chuckled. Maybe she’d donned one of Hannibal’s disguises.
He wondered if he should wear some sort of disguise. He checked his hair in the mirror and then adjusted his tie. No – why would he need a disguise? He was wearing a three-piece beige suit – he was glad he hadn’t changed now.
“Evening, gentlemen,” Face said, approaching the bouncers. He could hear the music thumping from inside the club. A discreet sign – Harpers – hung above the door. He was at the right place.
“Ain’t seen you before,” the bouncer said, nodding at Face.
“Ah... no, no, but I’ve heard good things about this place. Thought I’d give it a try.”
“We don’t trust new faces. Who told you?” the other bouncer asked.
“A colleague of mine – Smith - that I work with at the bank told me about it. So I thought I’d come take a look.” Face winked. “He said it wasn’t cheap.” Face, remembering Zack had said this place was hard to get into, flashed his wallet to show it was full of cash. They wouldn’t turn away cash.
The two bouncers stared at one another, and the one who seemed to be in charge nodded to Face.
“Okay,” the bouncer said, holding out his hand. “You can go in.” Relieved, Face palmed the bouncer a couple of bills and walked into a small dark entry. He paid the cover charge through a small slot; on the other side a pretty – and scantily dressed – woman was sitting. She chewed her lip and smiled at him. He returned the smile before walking down a short dark corridor and into the club itself.
The minute he entered the club, the bass of the music vibrating through his body, he started his surveillance. At the back was the bar. Pretty waitresses, wearing clothes that didn’t leave much to the imagination, walked around the various tables and booths taking orders. In the middle stood the stage; the latest routine in full flow. A couple of cages with naked female dancers hung on either side of the stage.
Face sat at an empty table off to the side, giving him the best vantage point. It was too dark to find Amy in here, especially if she was in any of the booths down the side; those would be her best option if she wanted to be hidden. Could Amy really be in here? This club was no place for Amy. But who was she looking for? It was filled with mostly men in suits; they could be anybody. The only name the file gave was the club owner, Laurence Harper. But would she really find him in here? There was a door at the back marked ‘Private’, heavily guarded – that’s where Harper would be.
Speaking of guards, there were plenty of bouncers standing around, each with ear pieces, communicating with one another. He’d spotted the head of security, a tall black guy, standing at the back near the bar. He looked the oldest of the security men, probably late fifties but it was hard to tell in the light. He seemed to be issuing orders to the other men and talking to the waitresses the most.
Well, he’d stick it out for one drink, see if anything obvious presented itself, then he’d check out Amy’s car again.
He watched the scantily dressed waitresses move around the tables. If a guy got a little too close for comfort with them, or a dancer, a bouncer quickly put him in his place.
“Hey, sugar,” a waitress said, her voice purring. She walked around him, flicking her small notepad open to a new page, not making eye contact. “Sorry about the wait. What can I get you?”
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