"Did you like it", he asked with a little trepidation.
"It was wonderful", she told him. It was the most magical night of her life. He had been so gentle and so wonderful. It was like he knew exactly where to touch a woman to make her feel whatever he wanted. She didn't know that he was always gentle.
"I have to go to a meeting soon, but please stay as long as you like", he told her. He was standing at the doorway looking out over the Bahamian ocean front. He inhaled the salt air before turning around. This was so much better than where he was supposed to be. The man who now called himself Benjamin Harris was supposed to be in the Atlanta Federal Prison.
"I'd love to stay, but I better get back. You aren't mad are you?"
That question caught him off guard. There was a time when he wouldn't have let her leave. She was very pretty. She was so pretty, and she was so innocent. He hadn't been the one to deflower her, but almost. He had shown her what ecstasy was, and she had provided him with a release that he was rarely able to experience. In the past he would have killed this girl, but now he didn't have to.
He leaned down and touched her face one more time. "Have a safe trip. You can order anything you want before you leave." With that he stood up and headed towards the bathroom. He had an important meeting later with some of the most powerful men he had ever been around. It was a turn around for a man who had been facing life in prison just a few short months before. He had renamed himself Benjamin Harris recently, but he had been born Bernard Wilson. Still though, he asked everybody, including the young woman in his bed, to call him Benny.
An hour later, Benny was in the sitting room waiting. After a few minutes of waiting, Jean came in. "They have sent for you--- sir", Jean said. It hurt him to call Benny the boss, but if everything went to plan the surviving members of the Syndicate Commission would name Benny the head of American operations. Jason Mallster had been the head of the American arm of the Syndicate for more than a decade, but Caeda had killed him and several members of the commission. Jean hadn't been there. He had been sent on a meaningless errand by his former boss. He would rather have been there for the fight. He might have made the difference. Instead he had lived, but he had not taken any steps to gain control of the remnants of the Organization. Instead the man Jean had helped break out of prison had usurped him.
Benny had convinced the Commission that he was the man to lead the American arm. He was nothing but a rapist and a murderer of helpless women. What did he know about this? Jean had been at Jason Mallster's right hand when they had been on the cusp of complete success. He had warned him that the organization wasn't ready for that Caufield girl yet. Jean had feared that Jason was going for too much too soon, but in Jason's mind he had been waiting 10 years to find someone like Jan Caufield. She was the perfect soldier, even better than the ones that Jason was making. The Series 4 super soldiers had at one time been normal men, but through a series of procedures, they lost most of their free will and their emotions. Then they were made resistant to injuries, and finally they were made super humanly strong. They were strong enough to turn human bone to powder with just a squeeze from their hands, and they were trained in many different fighting styles. With all of that, Jan Caufield had gone through these super soldiers like a tornado through a tent city. These solders could take a full mag of bullets to the chest and still kill effectively, but that Caufield girl had broken them down. She was more dangerous than any person they had come in contact with, and yet Jason had brought her to the main research facility of his organization. As dangerous as that Caufield girl was, it wasn't the girl that had brought down the Organization. It was her friends, and then that damned assassin Caeda had finished the job.
Jason had trusted too much. That had been his downfall, but Jean wouldn't make the same mistake. He would have to play the loyal servant to Benny, but he was going to make sure Benny's reign as head of the American Syndicate would be a short one.
Benny walked into the casino on the ground floor of the hotel with Jean right behind him as security and as scenery. A powerful man needed to have lackeys around at all times.
"Pleasure to meet you in person, Mr. Harris", one of the Commissioners greeted him.
"Pleasure is mine, sir. And please, please call me, Benny." He reached out graciously and shook everybody's hand. Jean rolled his eyes. In private this man was creepy, but around a woman he was a Casanova, and around these men he was suddenly a statesman.
It worked though. By the time the meeting and the gambling ended, Benny was crowned the head of the American arm. Jean couldn't believe that the Commission had been fooled. Benny could fool most people, but he couldn't fool Jean. Benny was over his head, and Jean was going to put the pressure on him as soon as he got back to the hotel room.
Benny practically floated into the room. He was now the boss. There was little left of the far reaching organization that Mallster had built, but in Benny's mind there was enough.
Jean had other ideas. "Congratulations", he forced himself to say.
"Thanks!" Benny jumped down to the sofa and bounced like a little child even though he was 34.
They got to business. "Sir, you outlined the plan to the Commissioners, but we have no money to do any of these things. We barely have money to pay the staff that are still on the payroll. The budget was in the 9 figures last year, but this year, these hotel rooms are stretching the money we still have." He didn't have to add that Benny's gambling losses and the lavish gifts for his women didn't help either.
Benny was unfazed. He looked at Jean as he sat across from him and almost laughed. Jean thought he was stupid. He didn't know that Benny was the smartest man to ever come out his town. He had used his brain to catch and kill women before, but he no longer had to do that. Benny had gotten some plastic surgery to enhance his once pedestrian looks and to hide from the Feds, and now he had power. Men with power could always get more women, but there was one woman who Benny would always be after. He put that thought away and focused on Jean. He didn't say anything right away. He ran the plan out in his head before he spoke.
"We're going to rob banks in the short term. How many Series 4's do we have online right now?"
"Just over a dozen, and we don't have the resources to make any more."
Benny sighed. "Must you always attach problems to the answers I request from you? No one solves a problem by dwelling on it. You must dwell on solutions."
"But robbing banks?"
Benny shook his head and laughed. It wasn't a joyous laugh like before. This was the laugh of a man who was much smarter than the man he was laughing at, and he knew it. "That's where the money is, Jean." He laughed again. "We'll start in Miami and work our way north. Get ready." Benny stood up and headed to his bedroom. It was empty, but he didn't mind. He'd find another pretty young lady to share his bed when he felt the need. For now he had to plan a little more. He had a useless man around him. He had to get rid of him.
It was a sunny afternoon in Atlanta, and the bells hanging on the front door of Bradley's Music Corner jingled as Jan Caufield came inside her favorite music store in the city. It was like a musician's boutique. She didn't mind going to the big chain stores on occasion, but she preferred a family owned store like this. It helped that one of her friends was behind the counter.
"Hey, Jan", Michael Hu called out when Jan eased into the store. "What can I do for you?"
Michael and Jan had become friends in the last few months of their freshman year. On the surface, it didn't seem that they had much in common. Michael thought of himself as an ordinary looking guy, but Jan was extraordinary looking woman. She was four inches taller than he for starters. She was a little under 6'1", and she had a wonderful athletic body that made men's eyes turn wherever she went, especially her legs. She had long legs that were so perfectly shaped and so fit that it almost hurt just to look and not be able to touch. There were times that Michael just wanted to get down on his knees and wrap his arms around Jan's legs. She had a fabulous midriff too. Every once in a while, like now, Jan would wear something to show off her body. Most of the time Michael just had to use his imagination, but she couldn't cover her face. She was so confident and so beautiful. Sometimes he wondered if she knew just how beautiful she was.
Despite their differences in appearance, they had a few things in common. They both loved music, and they were both special piano players. Both of them had played in great concert halls all over the country and even around the world. Jan had told Michael that he was the best pianist around, but he didn't think so. While he would admit that he was good, Jan was more versatile. She could play classical not as well as he, but she had quit playing classical for the better part of a decade. She could also hold her own as a jazz player, then there was the blues. When she played the blues, people would come in off the streets just to see who was playing. Jan's playing always had a power and authority to it that Michael admitted he was slightly envious of. There was mutual envy and respect between them. It made them both work at their craft, and it was going to make them great duet partners.
Jan was wearing her little jogging shorts and a white lycra top that showed off her perfect lower abs and the swell of her breasts. The sleeveless top showed off her sculpted arms. Relaxed like this, Jan's arms looked like she worked hard at making them look perfect with the rest of her body. People wouldn't have believed how much her arms expanded when she flexed them, but there were several things about Jan that people wouldn't have believed.
She had to dodge the electric pianos and a couple of guitar displays to make it to the counter. She leaned forward onto the counter top, and looked up at Michael. "I need a metronome. My old one just broke. I dropped it for the last time", she informed him with a frown on her face.
"Had it for a while?", he asked and started down the shelves behind the counter.
"Since I was a little kid." She rested her elbows on the counter and lowered her face into her hands.
Michael chuckled when he turned around. "You look like someone kicked your dog."
She smiled. "No, its not that bad, but I've had it for a long time. Its all your fault. You convinced me to play this recital with you. Have to have a set tempo and all of that."
"Its going to be great, and don't blame me." He placed a box next to her. "I guessed you wanted another mechanical one."
"That'll be $207.45 with tax."
Jan leaned down to pull her little wallet clipped inside her sock. It took all of Michael's will power to not looked down over the counter. His eyes were front and center when Jan stood up again. "This is highway robbery, you know that." Jan handed him her VISA.
"Good quality cost", he told her and started ringing it up. As he was writing up the invoice, the front door opened again, and a little kid and his mother came in. She was tugging the little boy by the arm while his mind seemed to be elsewhere.
Jan looked at the little boy and then Michael. She had keep from laughing. They were both fairly sure that they were only moments away from some sort of awkward moment or an outright disaster. Most of the time, unruly kids and fine musical instruments didn't mix. The awkward moment came just a little while later. The mother and child bypassed the electric pianos and all the other instruments on the walls ending up in the back of the store where the real pianos were kept. Michael had to hurry with Jan's purchase. There were three concert grands back there including a brand new Yamaha and a gently used Steinway. Michael tried to act normal, but Jan could tell that he was wishing that he could see through walls about now.
"So far so good", Jan said.
Then they heard several boxes fall on the floor. "Dante!", the mother yelled. "If you don't act right, I'm taking you home!", the mother told her son.
Then there was another noise as something or someone bumped into one of the pianos. Michael knew he had to get back there. "Jan, can you watch the counter for a minute. Mr. Bradley will kill me if there is even a scratch on one of those pianos." He started from behind the counter and made it two steps before he stopped, and his mouth fell open. A delicate and perfectly timed swell of notes came from the back room.
Jan's eyes opened wide in surprise. "Did you hear that?"
Michael nodded. He was unable to talk as the music came from the back. Neither one of them could move as they listened to the cadenza of Rachmoniov's 3rd Concerto being played. Finally Michael started towards the back. Jan was supposed to watch the counter, but she couldn't make herself stay. When they came around the corner, they saw Dante behind the Steinway totally engrossed in the music.
"Oh, I'm so sorry", his mother exclaimed and pulled her son from the bench after looking at Michael and Jan. The little boy protested, but she pulled him close and started for the door. "I didn't mean to let him..."
"Ma'am, its ok", Michael began. "He's good. Really good."
"You think so?"
Michael frowned and looked down at the little boy before looking up at his mother. "Oh yes, Ma'am. Who's his teacher?"
"He doesn't have one."
"What!", Jan and Michael exclaimed at the same time. "Then who taught him how to play like that?", Jan asked.
Dante's mother, Pam, sighed before she spoke. "When we moved into our apartment there were a bunch of these old classical records laying around from the last tenant. Dante just started listening to him. My auntie gave us an old piano, and I let him play as much as he wanted. Keeps him out of trouble, but it messed up last week, and he hasn't been able to play. We had a man come out to look at it, but he said he'd need $500 to fix it. I'm sorry, but I just don't have that kind of money."
"But Ma'am, your son has a gift. He has some technical flaws in his playing, but for a raw talent and to be so young... How old are you, Dante?"
Jan and Michael were floored. "Ma'am, I don't know any other way to say it, but your son is a very rare talent. You'd agree wouldn't you, Jan?"
"Yeah!" Jan opened her mouth to say something else when the doorbells jingled again. Mr. Bradley storm inside.
"Michael!", he called out before seeing the group in the back. Everyone could tell by his steps that he was upset. "Michael, why aren't you at the counter!", he called before he came around the corner.
Michael was already nervous. He was trying to come up with a way to explain. He was silent as Mr. Bradley's rather portly form filled the doorway. Dante saw this as his chance. He eased from his mother's grasp and went to the bench.
"Michael, why are you back--" Mr. Bradley stopped when little Dante started playing again. This time he started into a minuet. "Oh my", Mr. Bradley exclaimed with the same look on his face that Jan and Michael had had on theirs earlier. Michael explained the situation to his boss while Dante continued to play.
"We should go", Pam said. "You are all so nice to compliment my son, but I just can't afford the lessons-"
"I'll pay for the lessons!", Mr. Bradley interrupted. "Michael, how soon can you start?"
"Right away", he answered.
"You can!", little Dante exclaimed.
"And I'll pay to have the piano fixed", Jan said. "Just add it to my bill. You're going to be a great one if you work at it, Dante. You can be as good as you want to be."
Dante's face was all teeth his smile was so big. Pam didn't really know how to react. Deep down she had felt shame. She had known that her son had a talent, that's why she kept taking him to music stores so he could be able to play just for a little while, but she had never dreamed that this would happen. As it turned out, Dante got his first lesson from Michael and Jan on the spot. For the first time they gave names to the techniques he had learned himself. The lesson lasted for only half an hour, and then Michael and Jan saw them out. Dante and Pam got into their Corsica and started down the road. They halted at a traffic light next to an armored car.
"That was totally random", Michael began. "I can't treat Dante like most of my students. He's going to be my first really serious student."
"I know you'll do a great job", Jan told Michael as she started for her car with her brand new metronome tucked under her arm. She had her car top down, so she set the box down on the passenger seat and started around the car. Jan looked up to tell Michael that she would see him later, when they both heard the unmistakable sound of a gunning engine. They looked up in time to see a driverless F-150 racing down the wrong side of the street.
"Oh no", Jan breathed an instant before the impact. The crash was so hard that Jan and Michael could feel the impact from a half mile away. The pickup had slammed into the armored car. The front of the pick up had totally crumpled right next to Dante and Pam. The rear of the pickup was blocking their path, but she was pretty good under pressure. She had seen the truck coming, but she hadn't see where it had come from. It didn't matter. She threw her Corsica in reverse.
Jan's head turned when three more cars came roaring past her. The guys in the armored car were shaken up, but they too were gathering themselves. The impact of the pickup had made the engine stall, but the driver had turned the key and the diesel cranked back to life. He started to reverse, but he saw the three vehicles coming from behind. The driver of the armored car had done two tours in Iraq, and he knew an ambush when he was in one. He put the vehicle in first gear and hit the gas. The Corsica started moving too, and because the car was at an angle the rear of the armored car caught the back of the car knocking it sideways.
Jan started moving towards the scene. "Call 911", she called out to Michael as she sprinted down the side of the road.
The first vehicle coming from behind turned and skidded to a stop right behind the armored car and the Corsica. Dante and Pam were trapped. The mother put her hand on her son's head and pushed him to the floor. Four men with automatic rifles jumped out and wasted no time firing them at the armored car. The bullets wouldn't penetrate, but the men inside flinched and ducked anyway. They had weapons and they had gun ports, but most of the men had never been shot at. A fifth robber approached the rear door of the armored car and rolled out a plastic explosive that adhered to the seam between the two doors. Jan was almost there, but then the worst thing happened. The men inside the armored car started firing back. They stuck the barrels of their guns through the gun ports and fired blindly. The robbers raised their rifles and returned fire. Bullets flew in all directions. A few had already hit the Corsica. Jan just hoped Dante and Pam were safe.
Jan was only 50 yards away when the plastic explosive detonated. Sparks and shards of metal flew, and the heavy armored door flew open and banged against the side of the Corsica breaking the rear window. Pam couldn't see any way out. All she could do was shield her son with her own body. She had no idea that the tall young lady they had met in the music store was more dangerous than all of the robbers combined. The guards in the armored car turned their rifles and started firing out the door. The robbers had more firepower and they were overwhelming the guards inside. One of the robbers had already climbed underneath the armored car and put two home made satchel charges underneath. They stopped shooting and started to back up.
Jan made it to one of the heist vehicles and leapt into the air. She jumped over the car. She had jumped high in the air, and she was coming down hard. She extended her long arms and brought two robbers to the ground with her when she came down. She slammed them to the pavement hitting their heads against the asphalt. She didn't have time to do more. She stood up quickly and brought the two men up with her. Her deltoids flexed as she tossed the two grown men up and over her head. They landed twenty feet away.
The three robbers were still moving back, but now they were faced with confusion. This woman had come from nowhere and she was throwing grown men around like dolls. They could only rely on their plan. One of the robbers pulled out the detonator. Jan couldn't let him push that button. She reached down and picked up one of the assault rifles. She brought it her shoulder and fired. She didn't really have time to aim. The robbers took cover behind their cars, but Jan kept firing.
She looked over her shoulder at the men still in the armored car. "Get out of there!", she yelled above the noise of the shutout. The men didn't want to abandon their post, but they knew that if they stayed in that armored car, that was where they were going to die. The jumped out. One of them was wounded, but his legs worked.
The robbers didn't even notice the guards getting out. It didn't matter. This girl was slowing them down. The head robber readied the detonator again just as Jan's rifle ran out of bullets. She threw down the rifle and ran towards the back of the armored car. The robbers saw their chance. Jan could see the top of Pam's head. She knew what would happen to that Corsica if those satchel charges went off. She didn't have time to get them out of the car, so it was time for plan B. Jan ran to the open rear door. She took a good hold of it, grit her teeth, and pulled.
When Jan exerted herself, her muscles really expanded. Her entire upper body grew as she strained against the special strengthened hinges of the armored car door. Her triceps, back muscles, and shoulders flexed hard. The hinges were tough, but Jan's muscles were up to the task. She just pulled harder. Her muscles defined even more. Her body vibrated as her muscles poured our massive amounts power. Finally the hinges could take no more. She ripped the heavy door off the rear of the car. She turned the 400 pound door long ways. She held the door out in front of her body as she ran up next to driver side door of the Corsica just as the bomb exploded.
Jan was only a couple of feet away. The blast was enormous. It lifted the entire armored car from the ground, broke tree limbs, and it broke the windows of the buildings around it. The door in Jan's hands caught the full brunt of the concussion wave. If pushed her back like she had been shot out of a gun. The blast was so powerful that the thick armored door buckled. Her front was mostly protected by the door, but her back was exposed. She was off her feet when her back slammed into the side of the Corsica. It was like a collision of two autos. The side of the Chevy bent around Jan Caufield's back, but no metal touched Pam or her son.
After all the noise of the last couple of minutes, for a for moments everything was quiet. They could hear the crackling of fires burning and the sizzling of hot steel touching cooler liquids. The robbers looked up from behind their cover. They saw the broken armored car with no guards anywhere in sight. They looked around for that crazy girl. She was nowhere to be found either. That was a relief. She was a wild card in their plan, but more than that, something wasn't quite normal with that girl. They started towards the rear of the truck to collect their prize. This wasn't a normal armored car load. This armored car wasn't carrying cash. It was carrying a fortune in bonds. These robbers were working for someone else, but their 5% take from this heist was going to net them $2.5 million. That was more money than any of them taken from one job ever.
The human brain doesn't like chaos. It has to make order of it even if the events don't fit reality as the brain knows it to exist. That was going on in Pam and Dante's brains. They had felt the explosion and they felt something hit their car. Pam thought that she was going to die. The impact against the car had been so hard that it had knocked the entire car sideways. Pam had been praying when everything calmed down. She slowly opened her eyes then looked around frantically.
"Are you ok, baby?", she asked her son. Dante was too scared to say anything. He just clung to his mother and hoped that she never let him go. Pam turned to look towards the armored car. She gasped. She saw the girl from the music store lying against the side of her car holding an thick door in her hand hands. There was no way that could be real, but her eyes kept telling her that it was. To break her out of her trance, the girl started moving.
The explosion had done internal damage. Jan could feel it, but it wasn't so bad. She could have gotten right up, but she was having another problem. That calm had come over her again and the rage was gone. It was a strange feeling and an uncomfortable one. It was even more uncomfortable than the fact that she had a 400 pound door lying against her and at the moment she was unable to move it. She turned her head as far as she could and tried to get a look at Pam and Dante.
"Everybody all right?", she asked.
"I think so."
Jan sighed in relief. At least she hadn't gone through all that trouble for nothing.. "Good. Stay down. This might get worse before it gets better."
Jan's strength was still not there. That was like the bad old days when her strength had been random. That opened all sorts of questions in her head, but she didn't have time for all that. She had to focus. She could hear the robbers moving to secure their ill gotten wealth. That made her mad all over again. She felt the strength flow into her muscles again. For once in her life, the feeling of that anger was a relief.
The robbers had turned their getaway cars so that the trunks were facing the rear of the destroyed armored car. The satchel explosions had broken the special cage that held the bonds. Two men jumped inside and started pulling out the steel boxes that held the bonds. There were muted cheers from the robber and even a couple of high fives as they thought that they were about to all be rich, but Jan wasn't finished with them yet. They heard Jan toss the misshapen door to the pavement. She put her hands against the side of the wrecked Corsica and pushed herself up.
"What the fuck?!?", the head robber yelled louder than he wished he had. That explosion had been powerful enough to blow a person into pieces, but there she was. They didn't know what to do. They started to raise their rifles, but the first police car started coming down the street. They should have been gone by now. The whole heist was going to hell. They still weren't ready to let that much money go. They all turned and brought their guns up to take out this girl, whoever she was. Then the guards opened fire from behind a concrete retaining wall. One robber fell immediately. The cops were getting closer too. The two men remaining knew that it was over. They jumped into their getaway car, hit the gas and took off the way they had come It wasn't over for Jan. She started after them.
The car sped down the street for a block. No one would have believed that this girl was staying up with a car for this distance, but Jan was mad and her anger was raging unchecked. Jan usually held back just a little to keep herself for losing control. It was like riding a horse. Even in a race the jockey had to keep some control, Jan had mentally let go of her reigns. She was as strong right now as she ever was, and her long legs were covering ground extraordinarily quickly.
The men in the car looked over their shoulders and saw this same tall girl behind them. The car was continuing to accelerate, but just as they got to the top of a hill they saw a line of police cars coming down the next hill. The men took a quick right. They broke through the little barrier of a parking garage. Jan followed them inside. They were still going fast, but they had to slow down inside the tight garage.
The tires squealed on the concrete and the engine alternated between coasting and being pushed to the red line. Jan followed the car up the first ramp. She didn't pay any attention to the cars on either side of the driveway, or to the parking attendant who was yelling something behind her. Her eyes were focused on the car. She followed the car around the first corner. The getaway driver was forced to slow a little around the curve, that was more than enough. Jan reached out and grabbed the trunk lid of the car. The muscles on her forearms flexed as she dug her fingers into the steel of the lid. The car accelerated once he was once again on the straightaway. Jan was pulled off her feet. She held on tight and even pulled herself up so that she could grab hold of the bumper with her left hand. The skin on her legs was behind ground off, but she didn't care in the least.
The men in the car thought that they had lost the girl. Both of them wondered who the hell she was, or what the hell she was? No human should have been able to run that fast. They slowed a little when they saw a little bridge on the third level of the garage. The bridge led across a street to the other half of the parking garage. The men figured correctly that that other half of the garage would have another exit. It would be their best chance for escape. When they slowed, Jan was finally able to get her feet to the ground. Blood ran down her legs as she climbed up the back of the car.
"Fuck me!", the driver yelled and hit the gas hard. Instead of going to the bridge he turned the other way. He was starting to lose it. The passenger started shooting. The first shot shattered the tempered rear window. The next couple of shots went over Jan's head. While the passenger was shooting, the driver was weaving. He was slamming against other cars in an effort to knock her from his car. Car alarms all over the place were going off, but still she held on. They kept going up and up until they saw the daylight of the top floor coming up. Jan smiled. She would let go now. They would have to pass her to get back down, or make a run for an elevator. Either way she could get them.
The robbers were both looking the other way as the car came up to the top level going nearly 40 mph. No one saw Gloria in her champagne colored Honda coming the other way. Gloria had heard some commotion down below, she had thought it was some of the never ceasing construction in the area. Gloria couldn't worry about that; she was in a hurry. She had to pick her nephew up from work, and he was always so sad when she was late. Gloria looked down when her cell phone rang. She worried that it was Simon, but then she smiled. It was her daughter. "Hello", Gloria said happily. Gloria put the phone to her ear and then looked up. "Oh my God!", Gloria yelled and jerked her wheel to the right. The front of her Honda had been only a couple of feet from the speeding getaway car. Gloria's foot slipped off her brake pedal in the heat of the moment, and it hit the accelerator instead. The car sped towards the steel cables strung across the opening. Those cables should have stopped her car without incident, but working with the lowest bidder had consequences. The anchor pulled free from the concrete, and Gloria's car started over the edge with a 7 story drop to follow.
This all happened in slow motion in Jan's mind. She could see the horror on the woman's face, and then she heard the whipping snap of the cable anchor. The front wheels of the car started over the edge and momentum of the car was taking it over. Jan let go of the robbers' car and slid along the rough concrete before she got to her hands and knees. She scrambled as quickly as she could towards the rear of the woman's car. She didn't have time to get to her feet, she just had to keep crawling. The car reached the tipping point. It started down. The bottom of the car scrapped the concrete, and the woman screamed for her life. She tried to get the door open, but there was no time. It was too late.
Jan hands and feet scraped across the cement. The car started slipping out of sight. At the last moment, Jan jumped forward and reached out her arm. The tips of her fingers touched the rear axle. Jan stretched out as far as she could, letting out a yell of her own. She couldn't let the car get away from her. She was able to put the toe of her sneaker against the concrete and push herself forward. She had it. The momentum of the car dragged her to the edge, but then she stopped. It was a surreal and satisfying moment. Gloria's car was suspended seventy feet from certain death by a girl's arm.
Jan's fingers burned from squeezing so tightly. The muscles and tendons of her forearms jockeyed for position in her expanding forearms. She knew she couldn't hang like this for long, but she couldn't put her other hand over the edge to reach for the car either. She was afraid that she would be taken over the edge. As strong as she was, she only weighed 167 pounds versus a car that weighed more than 2000. If she made a wrong move, the weight of the car would take her over. Jan wasn't too worried about a 70 foot fall, but she had a life to save. Jan looked into the beautiful clear sky, took a deep breath, and then strained with every muscle in her body.
Her back, her shoulders, and her biceps all jumped to action as she pulled. Jan had lifted a ton before, but never using the smaller muscle groups like this. Her upper back was already burning before the car even started rising. The definition in her back was beyond incredible. The individual muscles fibers were visible under her tanned skin. They fired faster and faster until the car started rising. She bent her elbow and started bringing the car up. Jan's held her breath and her face had gone past red to purple as she pulled. Jan had lifted more weight than this many times, but never like this. Once the car was up enough, Jan put her left hand flat on the deck and pushed. Her triceps muscle was hard and big and powerful. That's what she needed. The car moved faster with the added leverage. The rear wheels were above the level of the deck when Jan's already hard and sharp muscles suddenly got even harder. Jan jerked up on the car with her right arm then quickly grabbed the rear with her left hand. That allowed Jan to get to her feet. Gloria could feel herself being pulled up, but had no idea what was moving her against the pull of gravity.
Jan relaxed a little now. The hard part was over for her. Unless the car broke in half, it would only be a matter of seconds until the car was on the deck. With two hands on the car, Jan curled both her arms and brought the bumper closer to chest level. The bottom of the Honda scrapped against the concrete, as Jan's biceps flexed to their full glory. The veins that usually ran over and across her peaks were joined by hundreds of smaller veins that brought fresh blood to Jan's expanding muscles.
Jan put one foot in front of the other and leaned back until the front wheel was touching the side of the deck. Then she took a step back and her wonderful thighs started working. All of Jan's muscles were pumped so her quads and hamstrings were already defined, but when she pulled back, they flexed fully. Her little running shorts hid none of Jan's legs as the muscle fibers flexed and relaxed super humanly quickly. Jan's always beautiful and sculpted calves put on a show of their own as she stood to her full height with the car still in her hands. Jan pulled the car away from the edge then set it down.
Jan put her bloody hands on her bloody knees to catch her breath. She looked up when she heard sirens down below. She went to the other side of the garage that faced the main street and saw a line of police cars heading in. That was a relief. Those guys would be caught, but then she remembered the bridge. She ran to the side of the garage where Gloria's car had almost fallen. She looked over the edge in time to see the getaway car five stories below, going across the bridge to the other parking garage. There were no cops over there, and the helicopter hadn't gotten on the scene yet. Jan resigned herself to the fact that these guys were going to get away, and then she saw the woman in the car remove her seat belt and start to open the door. Her anger flared again. These guys had no regard for people's lives. She couldn't let them get away. Jan took a long look at the second parking garage. It was two stories tall, but it was at the bottom of the hill, so Jan guessed that it was at least 60 feet below her, and it was across a narrow street. She guessed that she could make it. At the very least she would try.
Gloria was rubbing her head when she climbed from her car. She looked around to see what had saved her life. What had pulled her entire car back onto the deck? The only thing she saw was a strikingly beautiful young woman standing a few feet from her. Gloria wanted to say something, but she couldn't find her voice. The young woman had cuts and scrapes all over her, but she stood there very tall and proud. She had a great physique. Gloria could see the muscles in the young woman's legs from a distance. Gloria's own legs were too shaky to move. She was lucky to be standing. The young woman started backing up. She passed Gloria without so much as a look. Her eyes were focused out over the edge of the parking garage. Then the young woman did something that defied Gloria's reasoning. She started running towards the edge. The young woman took long gazelle like strides. She moved with equal parts grace and strength. Gloria screamed out as the young woman reached the edge and jumped out into the air with one powerful thrust.
Jan couldn't see anything as she flew. She couldn't see the ground and she couldn't see her target. She just hoped that she had gauged it correctly. The wind whistled in her ears and the air felt good against the still open cuts on her body. Jan couldn't see it, but she was getting over the top of the second parking garage. She looked down. She saw the car turning off the bridge, and she could see the ground coming up. She tucked her arms and legs. She tried to prepare for the impact, but it was harder than she thought it was going to be. She hit hard and her momentum carried her into the middle of the driveway.
The two robbers were preparing to make it to freedom when the looked up and saw that same tall girl getting to her feet. "NO FUCKING WAY! She's a ghost or something!", the driver yelled. The passenger didn't believe it for a minute.
"Run the bitch over! Do it now!"
The driver put his foot on the gas and pressed the pedal down to the floor. The roaring of the big engine made Jan look up. Her legs, her shoulder, and side hurt, but she had to stand up. She got to her feet. The car was bearing down on her. She put out her hands. The car hit her hands and then hit her body. It kept accelerating. The big sedan pushed her down the drive. The driver thought about taking the turn, but he'd had enough of this girl. He kept his foot on the gas. Jan couldn't see behind her, but she knew that she was running out of room. Then she did.
There was a horrible crash. The front of the sedan crumbled against a solid concrete wall just like the pickup had done against the front of the armored car. Except this time, Jan Caufield's body had been in between. All that force had crushed Jan between the wall and the ruined car. When the steam and smoke cleared a little, the passenger gave a shout of triumph. "See! I told you!", he yelled at his partner. Jan was slumped forward over the hood. A few drops of blood fell from her mouth to the hood of the car. One of her arms was pinned between the car and the wall while her other arm laid limply on the bent hood.
"Now let's get another fucking car and get out of here." The two men started to open their doors.
Jan could hear them talking through the busted windshield, but once again she was having that inner struggle. Her strength was gone. She wasn't even hurt badly, by her own standards, but this calm wouldn't go away. Finally though, Jan managed to get past it. As soon as she felt her super strength, she raised her head. She look directly at the two men. For the first time they were really afraid. They were scared and too stunned to move right away. They could only stare as they watched this young woman's body start to work. Jan's left arm flexed beyond their belief. At first her biceps started flexing. It was big and thick with a vein running across her growing muscle. Then the striations appeared. At first it was just at the base and then the entire biceps turned into a double headed striated mass of muscle.
The car creaked and popped as Jan forced the car back with just one arm. As soon as she had pulled it off of her a little, she slipped her other hand to the unrecognizable front of the car and pushed. She lifted the front end of the car and shoved it back. The anger was out at full force again. Jan quickly went around to the driver side of the car. Jan put her hand on the door handle, but in the heat of the moment, she pulled up too hard and ripped the handle right off the car door. She inhaled and grit her teeth in frustration. She stuck both her hands through the broken window and took the petrified driver by the shoulders. She pulled, but noticed that he was still strapped into his seat belt. Her first thought had been to pull him out anyway, but she didn't want to pull him in half, so she reached past him and took a good grip on the belt. She put her knee against the side of the car door for support, and then she yanked back as hard as she could. The braided nylon belt tore from the buckle. She then snatched the driver out. His eyes were wide in his skinny face. In that moment, Jan could have ground his head into the cement, but she didn't. She just left him and stood up. He was too scared to run, and even if he did run, he wouldn't get very far.
The passenger was making a run for it. He was on the ramp going down when Jan casually went after him and picked him up by the back of his pants. He hung from her arm still trying to run. Even though she was still mad, Jan had to laugh. This tough guy was so scared he didn't realize that his feet weren't even touching the ground. Jan lowered him a little, and wrapped her hand around his throat. Her long fingers almost went all the way around his neck before she started squeezing. The robber made choking noises as Jan choked him with one hand until he passed out. She let him drop to the ground. She sank down to the ground. Her work was over. The whole thing had only lasted a few short minutes, but Jan was dead tired. Then that calm came over her again, but this time Jan didn't try to fight it off. It made her feel so much better. She just let it stay. There was no one left to fight. She didn't need her rage right now anyway.
A moment later two police cars came up the ramp. It stopped just a few feet away from Jan. She wearily looked up at the officers as they rushed out with guns drawn. She was so tired that she couldn't even come up with a convincing story to tell them when they asked what had happened.
They put her in the police car and took her to the street. Paramedics looked her over. Jan didn't say anything while they examined her. There were streaks of blood all over her body, but they couldn't find a single cut. A confused medic pronounced her okay after five minutes. They gave her a cold bottle of water. She sat down on a low wall and tried to look as inconspicuous as she could. She didn't have a story yet, but it was hard for her to go unnoticed. A police sergeant came over to her after a few minutes.
He stuck out his hand. "Young lady, I'm Sergeant Burnett. I'd like to ask you some questions if that's all right?" It wasn't really all right, but Jan didn't know what to do. She looked up at the police man and nodded.
"What's your name?", he asked her to start his report.
"Janet Caufield", was her weary reply. Jan's mind was humming with ideas, but she had no idea what the other people would say. She had done all of this stuff in the open where people could see. It was better than the alternative, but it made her vulnerable, and she no longer had the feds as cover whenever she needed them. She was getting desperate when she heard a familiar and welcomed voice.
"Hey, Sergeant! I need to talk to this witness right quick", Detective Marcus Jennings called out. The sergeant handed the report sheet to Det. Jennings and walked away. Marcus sat down next to Jan on the wall and put the sheet down. He had no intentions of using it.
"Thank you", Jan began. She told Detective Jennings the entire story from beginning to end. He already knew Jan's secret. A year earlier the city had been terrorized by a rash of brutal rapes and murders. Det. Jennings had been on the case, and he thought he had found a break. He had followed Jan into the woods only see her get stabbed through the guts with a metal pole by one of the rapist. She had ended up saving his life. He had watched her body heal while he had driven her back to her dorm room at Emory. It had been amazing to see, and also unsettling. Now though, he had his eyes open. He knew that there were a bunch of people living in his city who could do things people would have thought impossible.
After Jan finished her story, Marcus leaned over and hugged her across her dirty shoulders. "You did a great job. That mother and her child would be dead if it wasn't for you, and those armored car guys too."
"I'm just glad you showed up. I don't know what I was going to tell that sergeant."
"You let me worry about that. I'll take care of this police report. Once I get finished editing your story I'll give you a copy, so you'll know what to say if you ever get asked again."
"What if I have to take a lie detector test?", Jan mused.
Marcus laughed. "You'd better bring Sara with you then. Oh, that reminds me. How the hell is Sara, and Alisha too."
"They're both great. Alisha started an outreach program at Mays Community Center, and Sara's working at Cherry Glen."
"The nursing home?"
"Yep. She works there part time after school."
Detective Jennings nodded with a smile. "That's great." Then his face screwed up a little. "Where's that boyfriend of hers... Chris? I'd wring that boy's neck if I could that is."
Jan looked down. "He's good, but they aren't going together anymore. They broke up just before school started. Chris is studying abroad this semester."
"Sorry to hear that. They looked like a nice little couple, but hey, that's young love for you right? What the hell would you know, you're still young yourself."
Jan and Marcus were still talking when a man in a sports coat approached. The man looked to be in his late twenties. He had a hawkish, but quite handsome face, and a very confident no nonsense demeanor.
"FBI", Jan and Marcus said at the same time.
The man stopped in front of the pair. "I'm Agent Aaron Miles, FBI. Miss Caufield, I'd like to ask you some questions."
"I'm already questioning this witness", Det. Jennings informed the g-man.
Agent Miles reached between them and pulled out the incident sheet. He looked it over and put it back down. "Very thorough, Detective." If Marcus Jennings' face could have turned red, it would have been crimson.
"Look here" Detective Jennings began as he got to his feet. "Are you questioning my abilities as a cop?"
Agent Miles smirked. "If I am, then I'd be the only one doing any questioning at all." He didn't give Marcus time to respond. "Look, Detective. No disrespect, but we have jurisdiction on this. We'll be working with Atlanta PD, but I need to talk to this witness."
Jan looked at Marcus who gave her a small shrug. He could protect her from an Atlanta Police sergeant, but not from a fed. He backed away, but not too far.
"So, Miss Caufield, how did you get involved with this heist?", Agent Miles asked.
Jan's mouth had gone dry. "I don't understand. I'm not involved."
Agent Miles chuckled, and forced a smile. "I'm sorry. That must have come out wrong."
'Bullshit', Detective Jennings thought. That question had come out the way he wanted it to.
"I spoke with a Mrs. Pamela Newbury. She said that you saved her
life and her son's, but could not explain what you had done to save her
life. Can you fill in the gaps?" Agent Miles stood with his pen
and paper ready.
"Everything happened so fast. I'm not sure I can recall."
Agent Miles looked at her eyes. He was a little taller than Jan, and he seemed to be taking stock of her every facial expression and movement. "Take your time, Miss Caufield. I'm in no hurry. Just tell me what you remember."
"It might not be much", she stalled while she looked for a way out of this. Her way out found her.
Agent Miles felt a tap on his shoulder. He turned to see Special Agent Wills standing behind him. "This might be the key witness, Aaron. I'll talk to her personally."
"She's having a hard time recalling the events, sir. I was trying to help her remember."
Special Agent Wills annoyed easily. "Thank you, Mr. Miles, but I'll take it from here. Go see if you can get a clear statement from either of those two bad guys we got from the top of the parking garage." Agent Miles tried not to huff as he turned and walked off. Agent Wills and Jan shared a small smile, and then Agent Wills looked at Detective Jennings. "Thank you too, Detective, but I'll take it from here."
"He's okay", Jan said. "He knows about me."
Agent Wills face lit up with a smile. He extended a hand. "So you know about our little super hero here?"
Marcus laughed. "Found out last year about this time. The city's better for her-- Sara and Alisha too."
"Damn right. I find myself cleaning up her little messes quite often, but if she does stuff like this, we don't mind." He paused and looked at Jan before going turned back to Marcus. "I'm Harry Wills, FBI."
"Marcus Jennings, APD. Between me and you, I think your Agent Miles is an ass."
Agent Wills looked over his shoulder. "He wants to be director or something. The man has great plans for himself."
FBI Special Agent Wills, Detective Jennings, and former Treasury agent Jan Caufield sat on the low wall and came up with a convincing if heavily edited official story. Some of the explanations were a little thin, but it would pass mustard if no one tried too hard to poke holes in the story. Besides those robbers were going to get some of their memories wiped before this was over.
Jan finally had the story down, and they released her. She was almost to her car when Gloria came towards her. "Jan!", she called out. "Jan Caufield?"
Jan had already been dreaming of a shower. She didn't want to talk to anybody else. Besides this woman was going to get her memory wiped even if she didn't know it. Jan didn't want to reinforce any of this woman's memories. "Yes, ma'am. I'm Jan", she answered reluctantly.
Gloria went up to the tall teenager and hugged her tightly. "You saved my life", she said into Jan's ear. "I thought I was going to meet my Maker." Gloria finally let go and stepped back.
"You're welcome. Did you already talk to the police?", Jan asked.
Gloria looked around before leaning in again. "I didn't tell them how you saved me", she whispered. "Those guys wouldn't have believed it anyway. My daughter's been telling me about you, but I didn't think we'd meet this way. I blame her. We should have been properly introduced. I'm Gloria Sanchez."
Jan was confused now. "Your daughter?"
"Lisa, Lisa Sanchez she's my daughter. She talks about you all the time."
"You're Lisa's mother?!?" A fresh wave of relief washed over Jan. She leaned down and hugged Gloria tenderly.
Gloria patted Jan on the shoulder. "We should have met before now, but I guess I was supposed to see you in action. Lisa thinks the world of you young lady."
Jan had to wipe the tears from her face. "I can't believe what almost happened."
Gloria smiled up at Jan and patted her arm. "It didn't happen. It wasn't my time."
Gloria and Jan spoke for a few more minutes, and then a very happy, and recently weepy Lisa called Jan's cell phone. Jan had never heard Lisa cry, well she had to admit that Lisa was no longer crying. This was just the aftermath of tears. So Jan had to admit that she was still the biggest cry baby around. She told Lisa as much, and they both shared a laugh. After the conversation ended, Jan put in a call to Agent Wills. Mrs. Gloria Sanchez didn't need her memory clouded over. She would be just fine.
An hour later, Jan was in her shower. It felt so good to wash all that dirt and grime from her body. It had made her look injured, but once the blood and dirt had gone down the drain, she looked normal again. Jan had a warm feeling inside about what she had been able to do, but there was a lingering problem. Her strength had come and gone. That was far from normal. Usually Jan's power was like a raging flood that she had to hold back at all times. It was more than a little unsettling when the power that she had grown up with suddenly went away. When it did, she felt like a lost child searching for it. As Jan stood in the shower lathering her legs, she decided that she had to find out what was happening to her.
Jan pulled open the door, reached out one of her long arms, and grabbed her razor. She had just bought this pack of razors, but this one was going to have a higher purpose. Jan took the cutesy blue Gillette Venus and crushed it. She crushed the plastic with one hand and caught the fragments with her other. Then she had one of the small razor blades in her right hand. It had been a long time since she had done anything like this, but she had to know. Jan turned her back to the water and then quickly pulled the corner of the razor down her unblemished arm. Blood mixed with water and ran down her arm following the trail of the blade. Jan cut all the way to her elbow before she stopped. With that done, she waited. That calm came again, and as Jan watched, the cut closed. It hadn't been a deep cut, but still it had healed very quickly even for her. This test had been a little inconclusive though. There was only one way to really test this out.
Jan had to ready her self before she took the razor blade and dragged it down the same arm, but this time much deeper. She even had to saw back and forth a few times to make the blade go through her flesh. She made a slice eight inches long, and deep enough for half the length of the razor to go inside before she stopped. Then Jan closed her eyes and fought the calm. She felt it coming on, but she fought it back like she had back when she had been fighting her rage. When she was satisfied, she opened her eyes and looked at the bloody mess she had made of her arm. She looked at the red water at her toes and realized that she had done a good job of making a cut, and on top of that it hurt. Jan looked at the cut for a couple of minutes. Her body was healing at its normal rate. A cut like this would take a while to heal, at least a couple of hours. It was time to find out about this weird calm feeling. Jan closed her eyes again and tilted her head back. Now, she could feel her rage and this calm inside her right next to each other, but they didn't mix. She could clearly feel where one started and the other stopped. Jan chose the calm. She let it loose from the wall she had built around it. She let it wash through her before she opened her eyes.
"Oh my!", Jan exclaimed as she looked down at her own arm. The gash on her arm was scabbing over and closing while Jan watched. It was like watching the healing process on fast forward. Jan watched the wound close completely in a couple of minutes, and then the scab was gone and her arm was completely healed. Jan felt along her arm and rubbed the normal looking skin.
With that feeling of calm still flowing through her, Jan put the razor to her skin again and started slicing. This time it was different. As the blade cut her flesh, the skin started to heal. Only a few drops of blood trailed behind the blade this time because her arm was healing almost as quickly as she was slicing. When she finished slicing, there was blood and tissue on the edge of the razor blade, but her arm looked completely normal. It wasn't even irritated. Jan had to wash again because she had made a mess, but she rushed from the shower. She had to tell Alisha and Sara what she had just found out. They probably wouldn't like the cutting part though.
Jean had to suppress the smile on his face as he walked into the hotel room. He knocked on the door with urgency. If Benny was disturbed in the least by Jean's presence, it didn't show on his face when he opened the door. Jean didn't know it, but in Benny's mind Jean was just a walking dead man.
"Sir", Jean began, trying to sound upset at the news he had. "The armored car job was foiled in Atlanta. That's $50 million that we won't be able to spend on our operations."
Benny laughed and patted Jean on the back. "I figured out the latter just after you informed me of the former. Don't look so sad, Jean. This just means one thing."
Jean frowned. "What does it mean, boss?"
"It means we go to Atlanta. It doesn't have a beach, but I've heard that Atlanta has lots of pretty women, and it has something that Miami doesn't have... A branch of the Federal Reserve."
The look on Jean's face didn't change. That disappointed Benny. This was a game of wits and his adversary didn't seem to have any. It was like playing baseball with a guy who didn't own a mitt. It didn't matter. Jean would die in Atlanta if Benny had anything to do with it.
"Get us some rooms in Atlanta. We'll leave tomorrow."
"But why don't we leave immediately?", Jean asked.
Benny laughed and poked Jean in the belly. "Because I have a buxom blond and a ravishing brunette in my bed as we speak. The three of us have already set out an itinerary. It'd be a crime to disappoint those two young ladies." Benny's grin spread across his face like the Cheshire cat. He started to close the door. "I hope there's enough of me to last the night."
more coming very very soon!!
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