Cajun Spice Ch. 03

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Once again, this story is complete fiction. Those of you looking forward to a repeat of part two will be disappointed. However, if you can be patient with me, I promise some really steamy scenes coming up in future installments. Enjoy.

*

April woke up slowly. As she pried her eyes open, she quickly shut them again, blinded by the morning light. Oh shit! She sprang upright to find the apartment awash with the morning sun. She twisted around to find the alarm clock. Ten o’clock. Shit!

“Jade. Jade. Wake up baby.” April gently shook Jade awake.

“Whaaaat?”

“Get up baby. We are so late.”

“Huh?”

“It’s ten o’clock Jade. You’re late for work.”

“Shit! Ten o’clock?”

“You were suppose to be at work an hour ago. I’ll bet John and your sister are freaking out, wondering where you are.”

Wide-awake now, Jade leaped out of bed. “Where’s my purse, cher?”

“Over by the door I think. Why?”

“I need my cell phone.” Jade rushed over to the front door, frantically searching for her purse. Finding it, she dug out her phone. “Damn! I left it on last night and now the battery’s dead.”

“Use my phone to call your cell. It’s on the wall near the couch.”

Finding the wall phone, Jade quickly punched in her cell number and started hitting keys to access her messages. “Oh man,” she groaned. “Jasmine’s left six messages this morning. Even Uncle John left one.

“You can have the bathroom first. It won’t take me long to get ready.”

With that, Jade raced across the apartment into the bathroom. Hearing the door slam shut, April sank back against the headboard. Last night was wonderful but, God, was she making a mess of things. Visions of getting to the office and John telling her she was fired, started playing through her mind. She let out a groan and thumped her head against the bed.

##

Forty-five minutes later, Jade and April rushed through the lobby of Dupree Enterprises and jumped into the first available elevator. April had the brief thought that this was getting a bit too familiar. She turned her attention to Jade. Ever since Jade had disappeared into the bathroom this morning, April had been debating what to do about this new relationship. She really liked Jade. She was fun, easy to be with, and the sex was great, but she was, after all, a client, and April knew she had crossed the line by spending the night with her. “Jade?”

“Yeah baby,” came Jade’s absent-minded reply as she watched the floors tick by on the screen.

“About last night…”

“Last night was great, cher. Meet me after work and maybe we can go to dinner. Or something,” she said with a wicked little grin.

“I’d really like that but….”

Jade turned, giving April her full attention now. She had a bad feeling she knew what was coming next.

April saw by the look on Jade’s face that she was waiting for the break up speech. Feeling like a complete heel, she stared at the floor, trying to figure out what to do.

Oh hell! “I’d love to have dinner. When do you think you’ll be done?”

A wide grin spread across Jade’s face. Suddenly the doors opened. Any further conversation was cut short as they both jumped out of the elevator and rushed down to Jade’s office.

They burst through the door, startling Jade’s secretary Sally. “Sorry, Sally. Where’s my spare suit? As you can see, I’m running a little late today,” Jade said with a smirk.

April and Jade walked into Jade’s office while Sally went looking for Jade’s suit. April plopped down in one of the two chairs in front of the desk, while Jade took her seat. Just then, the door flew open, revealing one very angry red headed Cajun.

“Where the hell have you two been!? Wait. Don’t answer that. I think I know, since you’re still wearing the same clothes from last night,” Jasmine fixed a furious stare on her sister. April hadn’t even turned around in her chair. Round two, she thought.

Jade glanced at her sister, her lips twitching with the smile she was trying to suppress, and made a show of checking her email.

“Well? One of you answer me, dammit!” April could feel Jasmine vibrating with anger. Pushing out of the chair, she walked over to face her new nemesis.

“Since you can obviously tell where we’ve been, and what we’ve been doing, I figured that was a rhetorical question.”

If looks could kill, April figured she’d drop like a stone right there. They stood glaring at each other, April refusing to say any more, when they both jumped at the sound of Jade’s scream.

April spun around to find Jade shaking in her chair, eyes riveted to the computer screen. She rushed around the desk and, taking one look at the computer, hauled Jade out of her seat and pushed her towards Jasmine. “Take care of her,” she barked.

The screen was filled with a digital picture of some very recent road kill. Slowly, the picture faded out and was replaced with one sentence that was positioned dead center on the page. “Back off bitch. Or you’re next.”

Jasmine afyon escort held onto Jade, trying to comfort her, but her eyes never left April’s face. She watched in awe as anger leaped into April’s eyes and then, just as quickly, was squashed down, eyes going flat. She marveled at how quickly April tapped down her anger; at the iron clad control this woman had on her emotions. If someone were to walk in right now, they probably wouldn’t realize that April was mad enough to spit nails. Unless, of course, they noticed her hands clenching and unclenching, every so slightly, as she held them to her side.

Jasmine started to let go of Jade and come around the desk, but April held up a hand, stopping her.

“Have you checked your email yet today,” April asked.

“No. I was waiting for Jade. When she didn’t show up by 9:15, I started looking around the office and calling her cell. I haven’t even turned my computer on yet.”

“Good. Don’t. Take Jade somewhere else and settle her down. Better yet, go to John’s office. Both of you should just stay and work there today.”

Jasmine started to protest, but April cut her off with a glare.

“Don’t argue. Just go. I’m going to stay here and try to trace this email.” With that, April sat down and tucked in behind the desk. She began working away on the keyboard.

Sensing she had just been dismissed, Jasmine wrapped her arms around a still shaking Jade and led her out, closing the door behind her.

April couldn’t remember the last time she was this furious. She was all but shaking with anger. She started pounding away at the keyboard, determined to find an IP address she could trace. April knew the embezzler had sent this email, probably hearing that the Dupree’s had hired a P.I., and started getting nervous. She wanted this bastard in the worse way.

##

April hung up the phone and sank back in the chair. Throughout the day, as she had found each IP address, she had called a friend of hers back in Pittsburgh who was an ace at translating IP’s into to a person and an address. So far though, Mike had come up empty. Each call had turned up nothing more than either a fake address and name, or the address of one of many public internet cafes that were scattered all over the city. Obviously, whoever had sent the email knew their electronics. They had set the email up so that it bounced all over the place before actually reaching its intended receiver.

She ran her hands over her face in exhaustion. Glancing up at the wall clock she saw that it was after 9 p.m. The office had emptied out hours ago. April stood up and stretched. She hadn’t left the chair since this morning, except for a few quick trips to the ladies room. She had buzzed John’s office and talked to all three members of the Dupree family. Jade was pretty shaken up and had gone home with Jasmine shortly after lunch.

April let out a sigh, racking her brain for a new idea. Noticing the pictures on Jade’s desk, she leaned over for a closer look. Spying one of Jade and Jasmine, she picked it up and sank back into the chair. Holding the frame in her lap, she studied the two women. At first glance, most people would probably never suspect they were sisters. Jade was 5′ 8″ with long, straight, raven black hair and blue eyes. Jasmine stood about 5′ 6″, her bright red hair spilling down her back in a cascade of curls, her eyes an emerald green. Staring at the picture, April began to pick out the small details that, when noticed, spoke to the reality of both women being sisters. They shared the same complexion, creamy, rose tinged skin. The delicate cheekbones and petite noses made April think of a porcelain doll. She sighed, her thoughts turning to their different personalities. Where Jade was relaxed and fun loving, Jasmine was wound tighter than a top, always defensive. April thought back to last night, in the parking lot, when Jade had told her that Jasmine was vastly different than what April was seeing. I wish I could get a glimpse of that, she thought.

Looking up, April stared at the email message she’d been dissecting all day. Jasmine may hate her but, for some reason, April realized she cared very much about her safety, Jasmine’s and Jade’s. It wasn’t just a case anymore. Hell, maybe it never was. Never the less, somewhere along the way things had taken a personal bent. Now the sisters’ safety was a lot more than just a basic security issue. Reaching for the phone, April placed a call, hoping to cash in a few favors that were owed her.

Ten minutes later, she placed the handset back in its cradle. Satisfied that she had gotten the ball rolling on a very necessary step, she refocused on the computer. A fresh idea sprang to mind. There was one more trace she hadn’t tried yet. She started the run and, knowing that it would take a while, headed over to Jasmine’s office. She needed to verify that Jasmine had received the same email and run the same tests on her computer. That way, she would have two sets of results to compare. afyon escort bayan She strode towards Jasmine’s office, the whole floor quite as a tomb. Somewhere in this pile of IP addresses was her embezzler. He had to be. April didn’t want to consider the alternative.

##

Jasmine strolled down the hall towards her office. Jade had stayed home, still unnerved from yesterday’s email. They hadn’t heard a word from April since yesterday afternoon, right before Jasmine had taken her sister home. She had called her uncle before leaving the house this morning, to see if he knew anything new. He hadn’t heard anything either, but insisted that April had come highly recommended, and that Jasmine needed to leave her be and let her do her job.

All night last night, Jasmine had mulled over what she knew about April. Gathering all of her impressions, Jasmine had to admit that the woman was a bit of a puzzle. When she had questioned Jade about their budding relationship, Jade had flatly refused to hear a single bad word. She told Jasmine she should try talking to April instead of biting her head off and then form an opinion.

Still mulling over thoughts of the infuriating P.I., Jasmine opened her office door, surprised to find April asleep in her chair. Quietly, Jasmine closed the door and leaned against the wall, studying the woman in front of her. God, she slept here, didn’t she? April was still wearing the same clothes from yesterday morning. There was no sign of food, or food wrappers, anywhere, so Jasmine wondered if she had eaten at all last night. Deciding to take Jade’s advice and call a truce, she pushed off from the wall and headed back out to get some breakfast.

##

April was vaguely aware of food. The smell of it anyway. For a moment, she thought it was just a dream, seeing as all she ate last night were a few candy bars from the vending machine she found. She eased her eyes open and began to sit up, groaning when she felt the muscles in her neck protesting any movement.

“Morning, cher. How about some breakfast?”

Wiping the sleep dust away, April felt her eyes come into focus. She rolled her head slowly, trying to work the kinks out, and heard her stomach growl. She glanced up at Jasmine, watching as she unwrapped a breakfast sandwich and laid it on the desk, along with a coffee cup.

“I didn’t know how you liked your coffee, so I just got it black. I brought some cream and sugar if you want it.”

“Orange juice,” April croaked. Clearing her throat she looked back up at Jasmine. “Thank you, but I’m not a coffee drinker. I usually have a glass of orange juice in the morning.”

“You don’t drink coffee? God, but you’re an odd one. I would think someone in your line of work would drink caffeine like it was going out of style.”

“I live for caffeine. I just prefer it cold. After my orange juice, I switch to soda.”

“I see. You like to kill two birds with one stone; caffeine and a sugar buzz.”

“You got it,” April answered, smiling. “But thanks for the sandwich. Oh man, that smells good.”

“Wait here. I’ll go raid the company icebox. I’m sure someone keeps orange juice around here.” With that, Jasmine disappeared out the door. April just sat there for a minute, wondering if she was really awake or not. Jasmine had just been really nice to her. She pinched herself and, feeling the sting, realized that the Jasmine who had just brought her breakfast was, indeed, the real thing. Smiling, she picked up her sandwich and dug in.

A few minutes later, Jasmine reappeared with a bottle of orange juice, which she set down in front of April. Then she sat down in the chair opposite the desk and started to dig another sandwich out of the bag for herself. She sat there nibbling on it, watching as the last few crumbs of April’s food disappeared.

“You can have half of mine if you’re still hungry. You didn’t eat last night, did you?”

“I snagged a couple of candy bars.”

“High cuisine indeed,” Jasmine said, laughing.

April smiled, enjoying the sound of Jasmine’s sexy laugh. “My job usually means odd hours so, I eat what I can, when I can.” April’s stomach let out another growl and Jasmine peeled with laughter. After she settled down, she found a plastic knife in the bag and cut off half of her sandwich, handing it to April.

April accepted it with a sheepish grin. “Again, thank you. How’d you know I hadn’t eaten?”

“No food wrappers.”

April smiled. This woman didn’t miss a trick. “How’s Jade?”

“Still shaky. She decided to work from home today. You should call her later. I’ll give you the number.”

April scowled at the idea that Jade was so spooked by that email, that she felt safer at home than her office. “Thanks. I’ll call her in a little bit.”

“Did you find anything?”

“Not yet. I ran one last test on your computer and Jade’s. I need to get the results off of Jade’s computer so I can compare them. I’ve got a guy on standby that can trace escort afyon the IP addresses. Hopefully, we’ll get a hit.” Polishing off the rest of her food, April sat back and considered Jasmine for a minute, watching her finish her half of the sandwich. This is nice, she thought, having breakfast together. Just as quickly, she shook off the thought. Remembering the favors she called in last night, she decided it was past time to follow up with a few things.

“Listen. Why don’t you go on down to John’s office. I’m going to finish up here, make a few calls. I should have some information in about half an hour. I’ll meet you down at John’s.”

“Ok.” With a quick shrug, Jasmine stood up, gathered the remains of their breakfast, tossed it into the wastebasket, and headed out the door.

God, that was too easy, April thought. Well, I’ll take what I can get because she certainly won’t like the rest. April made her calls, confirming that arrangements were in place and that the people she requested were coming in. Then she headed off to Jade’s office, hoping she’d soon have a name.

##

Jasmine was working away at the conference table in John’s office when April walked in. Looking up, she found April standing just inside the doorway, watching her. She could tell by her face she wasn’t going to like what came next.

“Nothing. This guy knows his computers, or he found someone who does. Everything came back as fake names and addresses.” April crossed the room, bracing her hands on the back of the chair opposite Jasmine. “I’ve called your uncle and Jade and updated them. The four of us are going to meet here in a couple of hours. I’m going to introduce you and Jade to your bodyguards.”

Jasmine jumped up, slamming a hand on the table. “Damn it, April. I told you I wouldn’t agree to a bodyguard.”

“We’re past the point where you get a choice, Jasmine. This guy’s stolen way too much money to back off now. He’ll want to tie up any loose ends before skipping town, now that he knows your family is on to his scheme. You and Jade are loose ends. I saw the emails, Jasmine. This guy means business and right now, I’m chasing a ghost. You’re both getting guards. End of discussion.”

Jasmine stood there, realizing that the situation was much worse than she had originally thought. She hadn’t seen the emails, but they must have been pretty bad, judging from April’s reaction. April was worried. She could tell by the look in her eyes. Then it dawned on her. April was taking their safety personally.

“Then I want you.”

“Excuse me?”

“I want you to be my bodyguard.”

“I can’t. There’s no way I can watch you 24/7 and still smoke this guy out.”

“You’re my bodyguard, April. I’ll just ditch anyone else.”

The two women April had hired were pros at security, but April knew that if anyone could shake them, it would probably be Jasmine. Suddenly she was desperate for a cigarette. “I’m going out. I’ll be right back, so don’t go anywhere.” Stewing, she left the office and took the elevator to the lobby. Stepping outside, she crossed the plaza to the street corner and looked around for a convenience store. Spying a drug store across the street, she jogged over, dodging traffic. Entering the store, she made a beeline for the counter and bought a pack of cigarettes and a lighter. Back outside, she promptly sat down on the curb and lit up. After taking a drag, she sank her head into her hand, her elbow propped on her knee. She was dog tired and in a jam. There was no way she could be Jasmine’s bodyguard. Aside from logistics, she had just slept with Jade, but her attraction to Jasmine hadn’t cooled any either. Her head jerked up as she felt someone sit down beside her. Looking over, she found herself face to face with Jasmine.

“Can’t you do anything you’re told?” April snapped out.

“Since when do you smoke?”

“Since I’ve got an embezzler sending threatening emails, two sisters who are too damn stubborn to realize they’re up to their necks in hot water and I haven’t had a whole night of sleep in almost three days.” April realized she was shouting, hung her head and ran a hand through her hair in frustration.

Suddenly Jasmine reached out and cupped April’s cheek in her hand. “You’re maxed out, aren’t you, cher?”

The softness of Jasmine’s voice undid her and she pressed her cheek into Jasmine’s hand, feeling tired clean down to her bones. She felt Jasmine inch closer and wrap an arm around her shoulders.

“I’m sorry, cher, but if you insist on me having a bodyguard, I want you.”

“Why?”

“I trust you. Something tells me that if this guy comes near me, you’ll tear him apart.”

April turned her head to face Jasmine. “I would.”

Jasmine saw the look of sheer determination in April’s eyes. “April…,” her name came out in a silky whisper.

April studied Jasmine. Finding those green eyes locked on hers, she found nothing more than sympathy and understanding. Within seconds, though, she could also feel that spark of electricity that was always there between them.

“Jasmine, I ….,” April stopped herself, aware that she was about to make a confession she shouldn’t make. Tossing her cigarette into the street, she jumped up and headed down the sidewalk, desperate to put some space between herself and Jasmine.

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