In the months since Karen had left, Langly was more depressed than usual. The other guys were careful - walking on eggshells. Langly had even started drinking again. He was trying to keep it quiet, but the guys knew about it. He hardly ever spoke. One day Eve dropped by and gave Langly an envelope. His heart soared only to be dashed to the ground. It was a wedding announcement. Karen was getting married. He was an accountant. Settling down, picket fence, dogs, kids; things Langly knew that she wanted. Things that he was willing to give her, if she could have stayed. He got drunk.
**************************************************************** Elizabeth hurried to catch the bus. Her beat up VW was in the shop on its last legs. She cursed the timing. She had scads of errands to run all over town. Her braided locks flew in the breeze as she ran to catch the bus. She always drew looks from people with her braids (which were real- not extensions), her Les Miserables T-shirt, tight, ripped blue jeans and black high-tops. It was her style and she liked it. She was in the party planning business and was now running all over town to get ready for the Schwartz' Bar Mitzvah. She was on her cell phone trying to line up different entertainment. Chuckles the clown had backed out at the last minute. If worse came to worse, she would fill in herself. (Those juggling lessons had really come in handy). As she rode, she checked things off her lists. She suddenly put everything down. Her life was crap. If she didn't have her work, she would have no life at all. From the outside looking in, she had a wonderful life. Doing parties for rich people, doing singing gigs in between to make the money. She lived in New York, but traveled wherever the client needed wanted - expenses paid. She had a reputation as a perfectionist. She didn't need to advertise; her name was passed around. New clients were shocked when they saw her. "Deliveries are in the rear." she would often hear. Or, she could hear them running to lock up their jewelry when they saw her thinking that her and her gang were going to come back and clean them out. When she finally reached her apartment at the end of the day, she was dead tire. She feed her weird cat Domino and collapsed on the couch with a -bag of cheese puffs. She flicked on the tube and watched old Tom and Jerry cartoons. "My life is crap." she thought as she drifted off to sleep.
************************************************************** "Wake up, Langly. We have a lead for a story." Langly jumped up and pulled his jeans on and headed for the main room. "What do we have?" "There's going to be a kidnapping of a prominent politician's kid." Byers was at the computer tapping away. "How do you know that?" "Someone e-mailed us." Oh, an anonymous e-mail. How often has that happened? Only about a dozen time, Langly thought. "We need to go to New York."
************************************************************************ Saturday dawned bright and beautiful. Elizabeth rolled out of the bed at 6:00 a.m. to prepare for the day. She could not find a replacement for Chuckles, so it looked like she would be the entertainment. She had unbraided her hair and rolled it so that she had bouncy curls. Kind of a loose Shirley Temple do. She showered and put on the crisp, pink suit that she used for performing at kids' parties. "Boy are Mr. and Mrs. Schwartz going to be surprised to see me." She made coffee and settled down with the morning paper. The festivities were due to begin at 11:00 a.m., so she would have to be there by 10:00 a.m. to begin setting up. She had the caterer lined up, the menu set, and the entertainment (she rolled her eyes at this). Remembering the latter, she went to the piano bench and sifted through music. What would be appropriate. She decided on childhood tunes: "Pooh Corner". "Inchworm", "Turn Around". She was going to do a Brittany Spears deal, but the parents had wanted something more tasteful. Kind of wedding singer-ish for kids. They'd hate it. Oh, well, she just wanted to get paid. At 9:30, she was heading out of the door, making sure she had plenty of time to catch the bus. She arrived at Rep. Schwartz' house at 10:00 sharp. She supervised the caterers as they set up the serving tables and the chairs. There was also to be pony rides and a moon walk. After she saw that everything was running smoothly, she went to the piano to quickly go over her songs. This was how the gunmen found Elizabeth when they arrived. "Excuse me. Are you Elizabeth Mayfield?" She turned around to see the most unusual group of guys she had ever seen. "I'm Elizabeth Mayfield. May I help you?" Langly's first impression was that she was really hot! And her voice was really smooth. "We were told that you're in charge here." Elizabeth groaned inside Was it all starting again? She had so wanted everything to go off without a hitch. The gunmen went on to explain how they looking for the person in charge of the party. "Uh yeah, that's me. What can I do for you?" "We received some information that said that Rep. Schwartz' kid was going to be kidnapped today at the party." Elizabeth tried not to react. Don't let them know you've been through this before. "Are you guys police?" That's right. Keep them off-guard by asking a question. "Not exactly." But, Elizabeth knew who they were. She had sent for them. "Well, you're welcome to pretend to be caterers if you want to watch things." They decided that this would be a good idea and Elizabeth went back to rehearsing. As it got closer to the time that the whole thing was to start, the boys kept an eye on the people arriving. Elizabeth kept looking at a white van that was parked in the driveway. Everyone assumed that it belonged to the caterers. But, Elizabeth noticed that it didn't have the name Davenport's written on the side. Well, maybe its a new van and they haven't painted it yet. Elizabeth went on with her final checks. Everything was going well. The pony rides and moonwalk were a success even though Elizabeth thought that the kids were too old for them. The boys stopped setting out glasses to watch Elizabeth perform. They thought that she did great. Langly thought, not my style, but good. When they reached the end of the festivities, the guys looked at each other and they all had the same thought: someone was playing a joke on them. Elizabeth thought the same thing about her three 'unusual' caterers. She hadn't seen anyone that looked suspicious or out of place, besides, it was almost over and she could go home and put up her feet. They were cleaning up and waiting for the rest of the little tikes to be picked up, when Mrs. Schwartz came running out of the house screaming. "Patrick, where is he. Patrick, Oh, he's gone." Things started happening all at once. The guys headed for Mrs. Schwartz. Elizabeth didn't know what it was that made her immediately look for the white van. It was no longer there, but the caterers were. There was no doubt that little Patrick was gone. All they had to do now was figure out who took him. They all gathered in the sitting room. Mrs. Schwartz was still crying hysterically while Rep. Schwartz was stoic. "Why didn't you tell us that you suspected this?" The question was directed at Elizabeth. Frohike stepped in to save her. "She didn't know anything about it until we told her." Schwartz looked puzzled. "The caterers told her about the kidnapping?" The guys were still wearing their catering outfits which explained the confusion. "We're not caterers. We work for a newspaper. We received an anonymous e-mail that told us about the kidnapping." Byers was running his mouth now. Langly couldn't believe it. "Okay, so I'll ask again. Why didn't you tell us about this?" Langly decided to join in sarcastically. "Well, statistics show that when there's a kidnapping or murder they always suspect the family first. Haven't you heard of Jon Benet?" Frohike and Byers shot him a look and mumbled something about don't try to help. Elizabeth's mouth just hung open. "I see. Well, the police have some questions that they want to ask." Oh, no. None of them wanted that. They spent the next three hours being grilled by the police. In the meantime, they were waiting for a ransom call. When they finally finished with her and gave her the 'don't leave town' bit, Elizabeth could finally dream of putting her feet up. "She wasn't that hard to follow." The plan was to break in and look for incriminating evidence because they were certain that "Miss Thang" was hiding something. Elizabeth had just gotten ready for bed in her Superman T-shirt that stopped just above her knees. She was about to get into to bed, when she heard noises at the front door. Elizabeth grabbed her trusty baseball bat and her hockey mask that she kept by her bed for just these emergencies. "Come on danger kitty. You got my back?" Domino just yawned and went back to sleep. Elizabeth approached the door and turned off the light. Frohike was picking the lock. When he finally got in, the three looked like the three stooges around the door. The felt the breeze as Elizabeth started swinging her bat. She ended up knocking over a lamp, but luckily not hitting the guys. Byers found the light switch and there was Elizabeth with the bat and the hockey mask on. "Kinda mixing your sports aren't you?" Frohike commented. "Watch it, she's a switch hitter." Langly said. "Hey, I know how to use this bat." Elizabeth retorted. "Yeah, look at how you killed that lamp." Byers said as he picked it up and put it back on the table. Domino, the attack cat came out just to amuse them with silent meows. "What are you guys doing here?" By now, Elizabeth had taken off the hockey mask and her braids were springing wildly all over her head. She threw herself down on the couch. They were all staring at her hair until Frohike spoke up. "We were checking you out." Elizabeth rolled her eyes. "You know, you could have knocked. "They realized their mistake now. "Well, now that we have you here, what do you know about this afternoon that you didn't tell the cops?" "I told them everything." She wasn't a very good liar; that was a good sign. "We were wondering if you left something out?" Frohike pressed. "Is this the first time that something like this has ever happened?" there was silence. Because Frohike asked the question, she assumed that they knew the answer. "No. I had a party last weekend Manhattan where some paintings were stolen. I'm Nubiangeek. I'm the one that e-mailed you. I thought that you could help me." Nubiangeek. they should have put two and two together. They eyed her carefully. Langly had sprawled on a chair - his long legs dangling over the side. Byers was snooping, but trying to look like he wasn't while Frohike remained an immovable force in front of her. "Why didn't you tell that to the cops?" Elizabeth gave Frohike a 'well, duh?' look and went over and snatched a picture out of Byers' hands. "That's private property. If you want to see something, ask nicely." This last part was quite suggestive. She challenged Byers with her eyes and won. Langly was just having a good time looking at her legs. He kept thinking that any minute that T-shirt would rise up just a little further.... "Is this your family?" Byers said after getting on her last remark. "My mommie and poppie, yes." When she said this, they noticed the hint of an accent that wasn't there before. She gave the photograph back to Byers as sort of a peace offering. "I am from the 'Islands - Jamaica, mon." She winked at Byers. "So, back to the paintings. Did the police take statements?" She walked back over to the couch. Langly observed that her walk wasn't exactly like Yves, but there was definitely runway model somewhere in her past. "Yes, I made a statement then, too. Look there's just me in my business. I was in plain sight of everyone the whole time." Again, there was silence. Oh, I get it. You think I hooked up with my homies, cased the joint, and cracked it."
************************************************************************ "Okay, here's a crazy question. Do you think Elizabeth likes me?'' Both Frohike and Byers start laughing at the same time. "She was insulting you the whole evening." At one point in the evening, Langly had his feet on the coffee table. Elizabeth came over and pushed them off. "What is it? Were you raised in a barn of something?" Langly looked at her, deadpan. "Yeah, what about it?" "Well, maybe that's just her way." Frohike and Byers thought that he was crazy. "Why would she like you?" The painful truth slammed into Langly like a freight train. Byers saw the look and quickly tried to make up for it. "I didn't mean that. I just meant that I don't think that she's your - uh - type." "What, exactly is my type?" Langly asked knowing that he didn't want to find out the answer. "You mean that it doesn't have anything to do with the fact that she's black." None of them had been willing to say it. Byers hadn't meant that way, but he guessed that he did. "You mean because I'm so white?" Frohike snickered at this. "She looks like she wants someone more cool - uh- hip." Frohike was almost rolling on the floor. Langly was still confused. "Okay, if you're really serious about this.....You're going to have to connect with her. Find something to talk about - uh - BET. Drop a line like, 'I saw on BET last night...'" Langly looked at him like he was crazy. "I don't watch BET, heck, I don't watch anything. they all agreed on this. "Look, I'm just going to be myself." Byers and Frohike laughed again. Elizabeth called later that day. She had received a request to do a posh party for a very wealthy client. "Do you guys want to be there?" They decided that they would follow it through. "Look, if you really want to watch, why don't you split up." They agreed that this would be a good idea. "Langly, why don't you work the party?" Byers encouraged. "Why would I want to dress up in a monkey suit and have to schmoose and dance and stuff." Frohike rolled his eyes and said under his breath so that Elizabeth wouldn't hear. "Because, the lady will be schmoosing and dancing." wink! wink! It finally dawned on Langly. "Okay, okay, but I don't know how to dance." He said this part out loud and Elizabeth heard him over the phone. "I'll teach you." There it was. It was just hanging there in the air. So many possibilities. "Uh, sure that'd be great. Langly stumbled. "Great, come on over to my studio." Elizabeth's studio turned out to be the roof of her building. She had brought her boom box and was dressed in a dance dress that was tight and cling and stopped well above her knees. "Stop staring, wolf." Langly immediately made eye contact instead of looking at her body. Okay, put one hand here and the other ON MY WAIST." She emphasized this last part to dissuade him from putting his hand elsewhere. They started out with a waltz, but Langly had trouble keeping up with the counting. they moved next to the Fox Trot and then to the Mambo. Nothing was working, so Elizabeth went over to change the music. She put on a soft, sexy, jazzy number. "Ok, now just hold me." Langly almost had a heart attack! She took him in her arms to demonstrate what she wanted him to do. Ok, now just sway in time with the music." He did as he was told. He was dancing, but neither of them realized it. Langly bent down and kissed her, slow and easy, just like the music. When the song was over, they were still kissing and swaying. Finally, Elizabeth let him go. "Who, I'm going to have to pay you for that lesson." It was as if Langly had just been brought back to reality. His eyes focused and then he remembered what had happened. Suddenly, he began to feel self-conscious and remembered what Byers had said. "Why would she want me?" he thought. Elizabeth saw his eyes cloud over and wondered what he was thinking. He broke away and started wondering aimlessly around the roof. "Uh, oh. the dreaded 'We come from different worlds' speech." At this, Langly whipped around to look at her. "But, I'm not cool - hip enough." he blurted out. Elizabeth would have laughed if she hadn't seen that he was completely serious. "Where did you hear that? I mean , about not being hip." "Well Byers said..." he didn't have to finish. Elizabeth was laughing. "Listen, the thought of Byers trying to teach anyone to be hip... I mean, I wish I could be a fly on the wall." She was still laughing as she made her way over to him. "I'm sorry. It's just so silly." She had calmed down by now. "Look, I like you Langly. And by the way, cool or hip can mean different things to different people. I think that you guys are pretty cool, in an odd sorta way. You with your 'Don't mess with me, I'm the computer god.' Byers with his cute little suit looking like a JFK wannabe. And Frohike - Frohike just drips cool. You don't care what other people think of you. that's cool." She was checking out his face as she said this. He still wasn't convinced. "Come on. I never thought Id date anyone with hair as long as mine. And the Ramones, who the heck are they?" Langly was smirking at this, and by this time, she was right up in his face. She closed her eyes and let her lips slide slowly, erotically over his. Langly was shaking as he put his arms around her and settled into the kiss.
************************************************************************ They had everything set for the posh party. The police were also there, supposedly out of sight. "That guy could probably spot them a mile away." Frohike said. "Well, if he's looking at the cops, he won't be looking at us." Langly said. He was dressed in a tuxedo that Elizabeth had tailored for him so that it fit just right. His hair was held back with elastic; he was looking good. When Elizabeth came out, all eyes were on her. In the past couple of days, the guys had seen her with braids, baseball caps, ripped jeans, weird T-shirts and the inevitable black high tops. But now, she had on a tight fitting, backless red dress that flared at the bottom with tiny sparkles. She was precariously trying to strap on a silver, spiked sandal while balancing on the other one. For tonight's festivities, she had poufed her hair and added dangly rhinestone earrings. The thing that was most fantastic was that she was acting as if she had on overalls. "Whoa!" "Hi Chi Wa wa!" "Uh......" Elizabeth looked up with annoyance. ""All right gentlemen, put your eyes back in your heads. Its not like I don't ever dress like this. You look like my parents." Langly and Byers still couldn't speak. Frohike said, "You kissed her?" When they arrived at Mrs. Paul Hampton's elegant home, everyone was moving around busily. Byers was going to be the assistant parking valet. "Why can't I be the head parking valet?" He asked Frohike. "You ever been a parking valet?" Byers shook his head. "That's why you're the assistant." Frohike was going to be a waiter. (We can't let the kids near the sauce. , he said referring to Langly) Langly, of course, was going to be the guest. "You can pretend that you're my gigolo." Elizabeth whispered in his ear and winked. Langly blushed profusely. The crowd started arriving and everyone was keeping watch until.... "Hey, someone might be watching." Langly had pulled Elizabeth into the pantry and was busily kissing her. "Remember, I said, Hands on the waist.'" He continued kissing her softly and smoothly. "Hey you two. If I saw you come in here, someone else might have, too." It was Frohike. He had bad timing. "Okay, let's get back to work." "Wait a minute..." Elizabeth took a towel and wiped the lipstick from his face. When they returned to the party, nothing had changed. Everything looked quiet. Frohike checked in with Byers. "Nothing unusual here. Just a lot of rich people." Elizabeth headed for the makeshift stage. She was providing entertainment for this shindig, too. She started singing a soft, sultry number by Billie Holliday. She had donned some long gloves, and was hugging the mike, just like Billie. Everyone had stopped what they were doing to watch. Boy was she doing a number on Langly. He was ready to explode. "I - uh - have to go...." he stammered to Frohike. "Yeah, I bet you do." At the end of the evening, an evening where they saw absolutely nothing, Mrs. Hampton came running downstairs screaming that someone had stolen her jewelry. They couldn't believe it. They were smart this time; they had set up video equipment. "We can watch the tape and see if there's anyone suspicious looking on it." So, after submitting to three more hours of grilling by the police, who weren't' exactly convinced that they didn't have some thing to do with everything, they went back to Elizabeth's apartment to watch the tape. Elizabeth had gone in to change and when she returned, she was dressed again in her strange 'uniform'. Elizabeth got sodas for everyone and they settled down to watch the video tape. After a few minutes, they realized how futile this was going to be. Everyone looked as if they belonged there. No one seemed to be out of place. All of a sudden, Elizabeth said, "Wait a minute....go back." Byers, who was working the remote, hit the rewind button. "Oh my g....." Elizabeth stood up and looked as if she had seen a ghost. "What's wrong?" Langly asked. She said nothing. She just ran from the room. The guys looked at each other and then Langly went after her. She was standing by the window, crying. Langly didn't think that he would ever see this. He didn't want to ever see it again. "Elizabeth...." He reached for her. But she jumped when he touched her as if she couldn't bear his touch. She had never done that before. "What's wrong? Talk to me, please..." He asked desperately. She was trembling now, although the crying had stopped. He took her into his arms and held her as she shook. She started crying again. The sobs racked her small frame. "Who was that guy? Where do you know him from?" She was working up the courage to speak. He sat her down on the bed and waited for her to speak. I was in college. I was really naive back then. I had never been on a date; never been kissed." At this, she looked into his eyes. Now he was trembling. I was boy crazy as all get out though." She tried to lighten the moment by laughing. "Ben Wallingford. That's the guy on the tape. He was smooth, you know. Rico Suave. I didn't know what hit me. But, then he went too far. One night after a date he tried to...." She couldn't bring herself to say it. "Anyway, that was before the whole date-rape thing. Back when everybody thought that it was the girl's fault. I took him to court. His rich daddy's lawyer made me look like a hoochie mama. The case was dismissed, my friends and I started a campaign. We ran his butt outa school." Langly could tell that this was hard for her to talk about, but that she was relieved to have it said. He kissed her and put her to bed. He then went out to inform the guys of what Elizabeth had told him. "That's some serious revenge. But, how do we know he wasn't just there as a guest. She did say that his daddy was loaded." They talked some more about it and then Langly said that he was going to stay with Elizabeth. Langly watched her sleep. He stroked her face. And then, for some reason, he thought about Karen. He thought about what she would say. She would want him to go on and to find someone else. He was beginning to have serious feeling for Elizabeth, but he felt guilty. He then thought about the fact that Karen was now married. The next morning, Elizabeth woke to the smell of coffee, bacon and eggs. She opened her eyes and there was Langly looking sheepishly. "I don't know how good it tastes. I'm not that good of a cook." She liked Langly. He made her laugh and...he had a nice butt. That evening, they were back out in the living room trying to decide on how to trap Ben. Just then, the phone rang. Elizabeth went over to answer it. "Hey baby...its been a long time...heh heh heh." She dropped the phone. Langly immediately went to her side and picked up the phone. "Who the hell is this? " Langly yelled in to the phone. "Who the hell is this? Does Lizzie have herself a new boy toy? Well tell Lizzie I'm on my way and I'm gonna hurt her real bad." Langly slammed the phone and took Elizabeth into his arms. "So he's coming after me now" She said stoically. "We should call the police. " Byers said. "I've got a better idea. Let's call Scully and Mulder." Frohike said. When they arrived at the headquarters, Langly took Elizabeth and her suitcase into his room. She hadn't said anything the whole way there. "You can sleep here." Langly said. But what about you?" Elizabeth asked. "I'll crash in the Nexus, the other room." He had often slept on a cot there when he worked late on the computer. "I couldn't do that to you. Besides, I need you." Her eyes locked with his. "Elizabeth. I don't know if I can. I want you so bad..... I don't think that I can control myself..." She looked as if she were going to cry. "Okay , I'll try. Its okay." The next morning they all woke to a tapping sound. Frohike hit the deck thinking that it was gunfire. They all came out to find Elizabeth dressed in dance pants, tap shoes and an Annie Get Your Gun T-shirt. She had on head phones and she was tap dancing up and down the hallway. All Langly could do was stand there and laugh. "Alright, so we have to plan how we're going to trap him. Do you have any parties scheduled?" He asked Elizabeth. "Well, I asked by the priest at St. Michael's school to do a concert. I went to school there." They all thought about this. "Well, we don't have to worry about anybody getting ripped off because he's after you." Byers had a look like he had just put his foot in his mouth. "Sorry." They let Father Turner in on what they were planning. "The children won't be in any danger, will they?" They told them about the Federal agents that were there. After all, he was after Elizabeth. Elizabeth had decided to do her Brittney Spears type act, but singing Rachel Lampa songs. Langly found her stretching back stage. "Hey, are you okay?" he asked. Elizabeth stopped stretching and kissed him o the cheek. Langly took her face into his hands and kissed her deeply on the lips. "Ah, Ah, none of that here." Father Turner jokingly said. "Why can't we find a place to be alone?" Langly asked. "Don't worry. After all of this is over, I really want to be alone with you." She made eye contact and made him blush. "Boy, you white boys sure do blush a lot." While the concert was going on, the guys watched the crowd. It was easier now that they knew what he looked like; however, he knew that they knew what he looked like. The hard part would be to actually wait until he did something before they could knab him. They were coming to the fifteen minute intermission when suddenly: "Guys, he's been spotted near the entrance." They all ran to the entrance of the building. In the meantime, Elizabeth was in her dressing room wondering where Langly was. Then, there was a knock on the door. "I was wondering where you were." Elizabeth said which told Ben that Langly was not there. Ben kicked the door in and grabbed Elizabeth and put a knife to her throat. "You're mine and you're going to die." When the others arrived, they found that a man had told one of the faculty that the man they were all looking for had been spotted at the entrance. He then relied on the faculty member to spread the word. Langly took off towards Elizabeth's dressing room. "Oh, God please..." he said as he ran. Mulder and Scully were on his heels. "Wait, Langly. If he's in there, you're putting her in danger." Langly slowed when he heard this. Then, he heard the scream. "Now that wasn't nice, Lizzie." He slapped her, hard and she fell to the floor. Hearing the slap and the thud that followed, Mulder kicked in the door with his weapon drawn. "Freeze. Drop the knife." Mulder held his gun on Ben while Langly ran past him to get to Elizabeth. "Elizabeth, please..." he said as he held her in his arms. She had an ugly bruise forming on her cheek. "Langly..." she was waking up. "You're okay. Its over."
*********************************************************************** *Epilogue* The boy that had been kidnapped had been returned to his parents unharmed. Ben had only wanted to kill Elizabeth. After he had been kicked out of college, his rich daddy had disowned him for bringing disgrace to the family. That was why he wanted revenge on Elizabeth so badly. As soon as the police were finished with them, once again, Elizabeth and Langly returned to her apartment, Immediately upon entering, Elizabeth started kissing Langly. "I want you." Langly looked at her eyes, questioning. "Make love to me." He still didn't believe her, but she took his hand and headed for the bedroom. "I thought maybe we could watch some BET." She fake punched him in the arm as she continued leading him to the bedroom.
Author's notes: I was going to add a song reference in the story, but I forgot. So, I decided to put it here. Because of all the music references in this piece, I thought that it would be appropriate to add a song that reminds me of it. The song is by Rachel Lampa who is is a Christian singer and it is called "Hide Me"
Here beside the water
The wind to kiss my face
Oh, you find me, find me, find me in your heart
I feel your hand upon me
You rescue me, again
Oh, you hide me, hide me, hide me in your love
Falling into Heaven
Where I am safe and I am free
Oh you find me here
Fill me with your peace
Hide me in the shelter of your love
The sky it holds your beauty
Your blanket covers me
My heart is what I bring you
Oh, hold me, hold me, hold me in your arms.