"Walt started asking about the blown stakeouts, dates, times, operatives involved. He compiled the info and asked me to watch surveillance tapes from the various places we'd had stakeouts. They all showed the same thing. About half an hour after the operative had left the stakeout, Jake would walk in. He'd talk to the head of security, or the manager, or whomever was in charge, looking for us. Walt has their statements to that effect. They all identified Jake as the person who came looking for the operatives, by the way. After that, the security cameras would pick up Jake talking to someone and taking a bag or parcel from them, and leave."
I turned to Jake, then. "We were still in the Security Office when you came looking for us, Jake. We watched you talk to Airport Security and then meet Hilary on the Arrivals level."
"Paul, Hilary was wearing a company uniform with the shoulder flashes removed. A dark suit, Paul. The same description Airport Security got for us."
"And what about the red dress?" Jake asked, amused.
"That was just window dressing, Jake. To make sure that Sally and I would get picked up."
Sally spoke up then. "We confirmed that the bag Jake took from Hilary matched that of the one from the drug bust. We took the tapes downtown and the undercover officer on the bust identified Hilary as the 'dark suit' at the bust that went sour."
"We?" Jake smiled.
"We, Jake," Sally announced with a cold smile. "We, the RCMP. Walt Stormrunner is my partner."
Jake stared first at Sally, then at me. He began to laugh. "You're not going to take their word for all this, are you, Paul? Good Christ, I've been a cop! Why would I do something this stupid?"
Paul tipped his head thoughtfully. "Hilary's pretty expensive, from what I hear," he said mildly.
"Paul!" Jake stood up abruptly. Sally did, too.
"Jacob Daniel Simmons, I'm placing you under arrest for...."
Jake made a break for the door, but Walt, the six-foot-four, built like a barn, First Nations RCMP officer was already filling the doorway. No one had heard him open the door, much less enter the room.
"I think you and I are going to have a nice, long chat," he rumbled, catching Jake by the shoulders before Jake could cannon into him. He spun Jake around and neatly slipped handcuffs on my erstwhile boss. I could hear Sally's voice as the trio walked down the hallway outside, rattling off the charges and Jake's legal rights.
Paul and I sat there for a long moment, each buried in our own thoughts.
"But why?" he asked in bewilderment.
I shrugged. "As you say, Hilary's expensive."
"Easy money, I guess. And he did still have some contacts from his days as a cop," I offered.
"Are you a cop, too, Maggie?" Paul asked sadly.
I grinned, my first real smile since I'd gotten the call for this assignment. "You know the answer to that, Uncle Paul. I'm just a lowly operative who happens to be a shutterbug."
His smile was faint, but there nonetheless.
I bent over and undid my shoes. I happened to look up and caught the worried expression on my uncle's face. I grinned and answered his unspoken question. "My feet are killing me, Uncle Paul."
His smile was a bit stronger, but rather sad. Not that I blamed him. Finding out that the person you thought of as a friend and partner was rotten to the core, couldn't be fun. "Why didn't you tell me?"
I lifted one shoulder. "Uncle Paul, you're not a bad guy to work for, but I know you. You'd only have worried yourself sick. It was tough enough having to be part of this without worrying about you, too." I picked up my shoes and my purse. "You going to be okay?" I asked as I stood up.
He laughed, then. He always thought it silly that people worried about him. "Ah shorely will," he drawled deliberately.
I bent over and gave him a quick hug and dropped a light kiss on his bald spot. "Y'all jess do that," I teased, and headed for the door.
"You?" he asked as I reached the doorway.
"I'm going to soak this war paint off in a hot tub," I smirked, and gave him a bawdy wink. "And then Walt's taking me out for dinner when he gets off work. See ya!"
And I closed the door behind me.