Lily was grateful when they finally reached what she assumed was their destination. Finally Rock disembarked and she wasn't subject to the feel of him pressed against her. Her legs were vibrating and pinging like the pipes of the bike as she dismounted. Smacking her thighs created a small dust cloud and she coughed on the dryness it added to her already parched throat. She was sun burnt, tired, hungry, thirsty and still pissed off. It was hard to feel his hands gripping her waist or her hips as they had ridden. She kept imagining his eyes looking into hers so intently, his lips parting as they came toward hers, his smile, showing his fang like canines. Damn it! She was mad at him! Why was she tormented with these sexual thoughts? Too much proximity, she dismissed it in her mind. I need a Diet Coke and a ciggie, now, she thought. Suddenly, she was flying through the air backward, her feet clear of the floor, stars in her eyes. When it cleared she was looking into a black giant's twisted, snarling face. Hulk, she recalled Rock called him. John, that was his real name. Did everyone in this profession need a stupid nickname? she thought petulantly. He had threatened her the last time they had met. Something about being careful about Rock or he'd get her. Oh yeah. That. Those were the thoughts spinning in her mind as she sat up to gain her bearings or at least to shoo away those birds chirping. Rock's firm, denim clad buttocks were suddenly in her range of vision as he stepped between them and commanded sharply,

"Hulk, NO!" The massive black man stopped his assault on her and stood back, breathing heavily, fists clenched, an evil glare in his eye. He looked around Rock at Lily, still sitting on the ground where he had thrown her.

"Didn't I tell you, little thief?? I warned you the last time I saw you!"

The man was frothing at the mouth, literally. Rock interceded on her behalf yet again.

"John, this is bigger than you know. She can be very valuable to us."

It ticked her off yet again to hear herself discussed like cargo. She knew rationally that Rock would say what he needed to to keep things on an even keel, and that she wasn't really in danger, which is probably what loosened up her tongue.

"Chill out King Kong! I haven't hurt your beloved spy. I am the injured party! If I'd had my way, I'd have never remembered your stupid organization or your stupid boss man!" This seemed to enrage the black giant and he growled predatorily and lunged at her. It was all Rock could do to keep him from her.

He looked over his shoulder at her, almost pleafully,

"Can't we all just get along?" That did it. Lily rolled in hysterical laughter on the floor. Even John's roarings couldn't stop her. Finally Rock and John both just stood there and watched her in convulsions on the floor. Rock looked at John and mumbled

"I think you gave her brain damage."

Lily laughed all the harder. She thought she might die right now and it made her laugh all the more. Tears came to her eyes, she doubled up on the pavement. Finally she slowed to a few giggles interspersed with deep, gulping breaths. Rock and John had moved off to a small, enclosed room within what appeared to be a garage. She could see them both yelling, red faced and with wild gestures. She regained herself as she lay there on her side, just taking in her surroundings. There were several vehicles along the walls. Jeeps, cars, bikes, her own now in the inventory. Hayu was going to kill her for losing the sport bike and now the Rose Harley. She knew she wasn't going to get that one back. Shame too. It was a keeper. Damn. She closed her eyes and took a few deep breaths. What now? She decided that it wasn't her account, and she would simply wait for whatever was going to happen next. Not like she had lots of choices. Finally a slamming door startled her out of her thoughts, it was John, slamming his way out of the office, he came toward her and Lily fought the urge to cringe like a coward and instead stood to her full, banty height, poised and ready to release her training in Tae Kwon Do on him to the best of her ability. He tread near and waved a thick finger under her nose, speaking slowly as if she would hardly understand.

"I don't like you little thief. You are nothing but bad news. You mess up his mind bad, and he's worthless when you are around. I am going to allow you to live for now, but watch yourself. He wont always be around and someday, someday, it will be just you and me little thief, just you, and me!" This said, he stalked away and opened a door in the rock wall that she hadn't previously noticed. For a half a moment, she felt guilty of something. Then she got mad. Screw him! She didn't want to be here the first time, and she didn't want to be here now. It made her crazy to think that she had made an enemy simply by existing, since none of this was her choice or making. She was but a pawn for Rock. Thinking his name seemed to bring him out of the office also.

"Lily?" he called across the space. It echoed in the high ceilinged chamber. She turned to look at him as he approached. He was wearing black leather pants, a standard black t-shirt that clung to his pecs and abs like it was painted on, his hair was tousled and dusty. She stared with slack jaws at him approaching. For whatever reason, she was intensely turned on. Maybe it was the danger.

"yeah?" She hoped the stuporous, slack jawed way she felt didn't show.

"Come on, we've got to go see Janet."

"Who the hell is Janet?"

"My boss."

"Oh." He led her to the door she had seen John use and once past it, she was amazed. The halls were thickly padded and their footsteps made no noise as they walked along . It smelled of eucalyptus like a bookstore and there was no hint of the door from this side. It was tastefully done in shades of burgundy and green. Vacuum cleaner tracks were evident on the rug and she wondered crazily what it paid to clean house for the scariest organization on earth. She saw in her mind a quiet crew of hispanic women that minded their own business. They knew the kind of the dirt the system had in it's rug, not on it's desks. Soon Rock was leading her down a corridor to their left, she noted. If only I had breadcrumbs...she thought and again wished her brain would hush for a moment. Another left and then a right, five doors down, into what appeared to be an office. It was huge. The wall opposite the door was really a window. It was floor to ceiling and wall to wall. You got a good look at the setting sun over the desert hills. All pinks and purples. Smoldering ashy gray mixed with orange. So beautiful. Especially in the climate controlled complex. It was probably 76 degrees without a touch of humidity. Lily noted there was also no sand on the rug, indicating that this room was very far from the outside. There was an overly large desk in the room in front of the window. Probably at least 9 feet long by 6 feet wide. Modern in construction. A large, arm less, oversized chair sat behind this desk like a monolith. The carpets were white. So white. The sofa grouping to the right of the desk was a beige color. Most of the room was a stark, blank slate. The bar on the opposite wall was colorful, and the one painting in the room that dominated the space above the sofa was done entirely in a splattery red design and gave the illusion that the room was wide but not deep, when just the opposite was true. Rock motioned to the sofa and strode to the bar.

"My lady?" His hand rode expectantly over the ice bucket. Lily thought for a moment and decided finally,

"Tequila. Straight up, triple shot, no salt, no lime." She smiled at him ingratiatingly. He raised an eyebrow at her but poured the drink all the same and brought it to her. She waited until he poured his usual scotch on the rocks and saluted him with her glass. He returned the gesture and she downed the whole glass. Her eyes burned and bulged, she gasped for breath, her nose ran and dripped. And in walked Janet.

Janet Powers was an imposing figure of a woman. She appeared to be about six feet tall, long, lean legs, flat belly, huge breasts, and long, long dark hair. She wore all black. On top she wore a black bustier, patent leather it seemed. This melted seamlessly with a pair of black straight legged leather pants into ultra high heeled platform boots of the same black patent leather. None of this looked wrong on her. It was the woman those clothes were made to fit. She strode into the office as if she were walking onto a yacht. Cool and detached, hardly able to be bothered, except Lily could tell that Janet was thrilled to meet her. She could feel the expectation in the air. Lily was still staring up at her, nose dripping, eyes watering when Janet leaned over and flicked a droplet from her nose, knocking Lily backward onto the couch in surprise. Janet smiled a smug smile of superiority and went over to Rock with arms akimbo.

"Rock, darling boy." And kissed him a little too long for Lily's taste. Or Rock's to be honest, but he tolerated it. He had used and been used so many times it was easy. She turned away from him slowly toward the desk.

"Pour me a drink darling? You know what I like." This she said with a quick, bitchy smile and nose squinch to Lily, almost an aside. She purred and batted her eyes, making little moues with her lips as though it were some sort of nervous twitch. Lily felt the little jab intended in her words, but decided that she was not going to let anyone's feelings get in the way of the business at hand, and she could give as good as she got. Lily smiled a cheshire smile and said suddenly,

"Yes, it almost seems that Rock knows what the ladies want before they do, doesn't it Rock?" Batting her own eyes. Rock gave her a little frown and she cooled it, but he got the message. Janet was looking through her with her cool green eyes now as she sat slowly, regally in the huge chair that seemed to frame her. Rock deposited her drink in front of her and sat down on the edge of the desk.

"Janet Powers, meet Lily Hightower, ..."

Janet reached her hand across the table toward Lily and they shook as Janet told her

"I have been very interested in your work, Miss Hightower." Beginning to feel the glow of the tequila, Lily couldn' quite hold back the sneer as she said,

"Let's cut the shit, okay? I'm not here because I want to be, or because I'm the representative of some damn bible group, I'm a prisoner. You have ruined my entire life and kidnapped my best friend to get me here. Now I am. What the hell do you people want with me? And where is K? I want to see her, now! I will not help you one bit without that demand being met. You can just go ahead and kill me now, or die trying." Lily was breathing hard now, standing and looking fairly threatening. Janet at least had the decency to look nervous. Rising and coming slowly around the desk to face Lily, Janet spoke quietly to her.

"I am sorry for the circumstances of our meeting. I would have liked for this to be different, however, that wasn't possible. Imagine getting a letter from us, Dear Thief, an secret assassin society organisation would like to invite you... not practical." Janet looked amused. "But, now that you ask, we want access to the secret military base in Minnesota, that's all." Lily looked at her as if she had lost her mind.

"I have no idea what you are talking about." Lily was totally surprized. She thought somehow this would have something to do with Rock. Janet looked upset, but as if she were hiding her irritation.

"Of course you don't." Janet pushed a button under the desk and suddenly four burly men rushed into the room. Seeing no immediate threat, they looked at Lily, then Rock, then at Janet who motioned toward Lily.

"Take her to the hole. Maybe that will jog her memory."

This was done before Rock could stop them. Lily screamed his name as they dragged her away... He could hear her going down the hall....


Until Janet shut the door, effectively blocking out all the noise from outside the room. He spun her around by her shoulder,

"Was that really necessary? You know, I don't think she knows. I really don't. She has no clue. She thinks you are all after her because of me. Because of her history with us. She has no idea about the restructuring, the government, none of it. She isn't even aware of his involvement. She thinks he's on the level." Despite the haughty look on her face, Janet was giving this some serious thought. She could suppose that Lily didn't have a clue. It was possible. After all, most women didn't know what their men were doing. Perhaps she had acted rashly. She had really upset Rock. He was red in the face. She gave a snort.

"All right. Maybe she doesn't. Go ahead. get her out of the hole. Get her ready for a briefing. Even though she doesn't know, she will still be helpful in accomplishing our goal. Yes, it may be better to try to bring her over to our side, and I don't suppose the hole goes a long way toward that. Besides, you're so cute when you're angry." Janets lips twitched into a moue again and Rock could see her hormones were thinking for her. Was she this easy for everyone? Or just him? It really didn't matter. Rock smiled as he pushed the button under the desk again. Janet was looking at him, taking inventory of his appearance. He puffed up a little and came around to embrace her and place a gentle kiss on her lips.

"I just knew you'd see it my way." His eyes held a seductive promise and she quickly gave orders to the guard and excused herself and Rock giving orders not to disturb her until further notice.

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