for the story so far
Sam practiced some deep breathing. He hadn’t had to use the techniques since dealing with his father. Damn Indy and her independent streak. She was ahead of him and her pace was not slow. It would have been so much easier if she had allowed him to walk with her. But no, she’d had a tantrum. This was exactly why getting involved was too hard. It was so much easier just to do the isolation; friends and mutual acquaintances, to meet any needs, an understanding of no complications. Now he’d gotten involved and to let Indy walk, that was just not an option. Damn woman.
He could see her crossing the road and heading to the local strip mall. Indy entered the 24-hour Target. Samuel hassled to keep up with her so as to not lose her in the store. Indy wandered around the shop browsing through the clothing. She pulled out some clothes and headed to the change rooms.
Sam wandered through the ladies underwear, trying to not look like he was stalking her. Tailing someone with four or five team members was easy. You just had people positioned in a range of potential pathways and then, as the target passed, the waiting person would pick up the tail and the person tailing would drop back. A change of hat and a new jacket, a quick car ride to a new potential pathway and you had the person again. One person following another was much harder. In this case, Sam was more interested in hiding his tail from anyone else who may be observing Indy. With this in mind, he picked out a couple of underwear sets that he wouldn’t mind seeing Indy in and then headed over to another section of the store, keeping the change room in sight at all time. His stake out location had good visibility so he picked up a random box to have something to study. Damn, a baby monitor. Maybe he should get a gift for Sammy whilst he was there.
Indy exited the change rooms, placing a couple of items of clothing on a rack to be re-shelved. She selected a couple more clothes and some underwear. Someone was approaching her.
“Excuse me.” Sam reluctantly took his eyes off Indy to see a heavily pregnant woman. “If you’re done looking at the baby monitor, I’d like to buy it. It’s the only one left on the shelf.”
“Sure,” Sam all but pushed the monitor towards her. He glanced at Indy, but she had gone. “Fuck,” he swore softly, scanning the store.
“There is no need to say that. I haven’t done anything to you. You’re the one that stood there hogging the baby monitor.” The woman’s voice rose.
He dragged his eyes back to the woman.
“I am very sorry, Ma’am. I was swearing at me. I just remembered my friends have a baby monitor. I’ll get them something else.”
“Wet wipes are always good. You can never have enough wet wipes.” She said mollified.
“Thanks,” Sam backed out down the aisle as he couldn’t get past the woman and her large baby bump and headed rapidly down the main thorough fair, hoping to catch a glance of Indy. His body tensed more with every moment that past.
He did not relax when he saw her. She was talking to someone. Someone he did not know and had never seen. A man, about his height and weight, dark-haired, stood with her. He alarmed Sam. His stance was rigid and alert, military. Sam pulled out his phone and speed dialed Beth.
“Did you call Ghost,” he asked abruptly.
“No, why,” Beth answered.
“Someone who’s been in the military approached Indy, just thought I would eliminate likely friendlies first.” Sam hung up and skirted around a few clothing racks to get in a better position.
From where he was now, he could see Indy’s face. She was chatting pleasantly like he was an old friend. Sam felt a moment’s doubt. His gut had been screaming at him the moment he lost sight of her and it was still screaming at him now.
Something about the man seemed familiar. He got out his phone and rigged it to record before placing it in his shirt pocket, with the camera peaking out. Sam approached.
“You got everything you need Indy,” he asked her, placing a peck on her cheek. When he got Indy home he would view the footage to see the man’s reaction.
“I’m fine,” Indy did not sound impressed to Sam but he ignored her tone.
“Who’s your friend,” Sam asked her.
“This is Jay. He was at the party the night of the storm, he’s the one who stopped to check if I was alright.” I replied sweetly. Sam was going to pay for being an overprotective so and so.
“Pleased to meet you, Jay, I’m Indy’s boyfriend, Samuel,” Sam stated, reaching his hand out to shake Jay’s.
Jay did not take Sam up on the offer.
“We need to get going Indy,” Sam insisted.
“I don’t have everything I need,” I stated stubbornly. Military men needed to learn how to not order me around.
“I can drop Indy over later if you need to get going,” Jay offered.
Sam gave him a glance that should have withered him, but Jay did not flinch a face muscle.
“It’s fine. We’ve got some time up our sleeves. Come on Indy, there are some baby clothes we can look at.” Sam took my arm and guided me away. I glared at him but he ignored me doing something to his phone.
“You said you would only follow.” I was so annoyed by the interruption to my shopping.
“And you said you wouldn’t do anything stupid.”
“Stupid, how is talking to someone stupid.”
“Do you even know him, Indy, I mean aside from the party.”
“Never seen him before in my life.”
“He had the opportunity to drain your fuel tank and he left the party not long after you because he pulled up beside you. He could be your stalker.”
“Except,” I insisted as a pulled a cute little sleep thing off the clothing rack for babies, “I have never seen him before.” I stormed away to pay at the counter. I had enough clothes for a couple of days and what I did not have work wise, I could borrow from Beth. It’s not like I wore much fancy clothing to work.
Sam stormed silently behind me. Damn, he was annoying sometimes. Why the hell didn’t he just leave me alone? Everyone else left me. I spotted a crowd and a gap and slipped through it, leaving Sam on the other side.
“Hi Jay,” I called to the man who had greeted me earlier.
“Indy,” he said surprised and pleased. A little niggling voice whispered in my ear, he had been at the party and he had approached me multiple times in the couple of hours I had been there. I pushed the thoughts out of my head. Rom had jacked up my phone so it was surveillance on steroids, Sam was just the other side of the group of people, Beth had a tracking device in my bra, I really couldn’t get much safer.
“What happened to your friend,” he asked.
“He’s just checking out something, I don’t know what. He’ll be along in a minute. Did you enjoy the party the other night.” I asked.
“I left just after you. No one else caught my eye. We could go get coffee,” he suggested.
I was about to answer when Sam came up.
“We have to go, I just got a call, Indy.” He commanded me and I was about to balk but I looked at his face. Sam was worried. Others might not notice it, but I could tell in the set of his jaw and the intensity of his eyes.
I nodded. “Catch you later Jay,” I dismissed myself and led Sam to the payment desk.
“What’s up,” I asked him as soon as we were away from Jay.
Beth needs rest and she’s refusing to go to sleep until you return, Alastair’s getting calls from the Colonel and Mum and Jay gives me the creeps. Just think about how he stopped that night, Indy.”
Sam did have a point. Pulling up beside the driver’s door had been odd. I paid for my shopping and Sam paid for his.
“For you,” he said as he shoved the underwear my way, a little red-faced.