“What?” a sharp voice demanded over the phone. It was a voice used to being obeyed no matter what and never worked on Mandy.
“Well it’s nice to talk with you too,” Mandy said. “Are you always so pleasant at three in the morning or is this a special occasion?”
“Mandy?” the voice softened as it did only when addressing her. “What’s wrong, princess?”
“I need a favor, John,” she said. “It’s not big but it’s also not something I can do with my somewhat limited resources here.”
“Talk to me, what do you need?”
“My mother, of all people, just showed up at my lab,” Mandy said. “You know as well as anyone in the communities that I’ve made it a point to keep my location a secret ever since I left for university and met you all for the first time. I need to know how the hell she found me. I haven’t been in the media recently, at least nothing stating my location or lab.”
He snorted as only a dragon could. “Does she need to vanish?”
“As much as I’d like that, not now; it would raise too many questions,” Mandy sighed. She opened the door to let Alex and Charlie into the room. “I’ve been contemplating a move back to one of the communities, most likely Miami, at the end of the year anyway but I still have to convince Michael it’s a good idea.”
“You guys need a community,” Johnny said. “Especially with him being newly Changed. I know exactly how exposed Adam and I were when I Changed for the first time. I am not happy you guys are all alone out there like you are. You talk to Michael and I’ll dig into what’s going on with your so-called mother. Does Chris know she’s come around?”
“No, and I’m not planning to tell him until I’m sure of what’s going on,” Mandy said. “Thanks for the help, Johnny; I knew I could count on you. Tell the others I said hello, please, oh, and let Cindy know that her training is coming in very handy.”
“Do I even want to know what the hell she taught you this time around?”
“Probably not,” Mandy laughed. “Its better right the way along if you don’t know.”
“Then I’m definitely not going to ask; love you, princess.”
“Love you too.” Mandy closed her phone with a sigh. “Johnny’s going to take care of it.”
Alex folded his large frame down onto one of the lab stools. “She told the taxi driver to take her to the airport,” he said. “How the hell did she even find you, Ama?”
“I don’t know, I really don’t,” Mandy said. She glanced up at the knock on the door. “Come in.”
“Mandy, I was wondering if you…Oh, I’m sorry.”
“No, George, please come in,” Mandy smiled. “These are friends of mine taking notes for a novel. What can I do for you?”
George was an amiable man with silvering blond hair, brown eyes and fairly tan skin for the Pacific Northwest. He wasn’t overly tall, about average and in good shape for his age. That night he was wearing a brown work shirt, black slacks, boots and looked furious. “Have you found anything?”
“I’m still digging,” Mandy replied. “Alicia’s computer is full of games and typing tools whilst the office computer appears to be all business records and various housekeeping items. I have yet to look at their web history and I won’t get to AJ’s until tomorrow night. Now, what about you? Are you all right?”
“I just can’t stand working with Lise,” he said. “I was actually on my way to talk with Michael about it and saw your light on.”
“I can sympathize,” Mandy said. “I do promise to call the moment anything pops on these machines that might be useful to you.”
“Thanks, Mandy, I really appreciate it.” He nodded to the others and left, shutting the door behind him.
“What was that all about?” Charlie asked.
“I’d like to say it was just plain curiosity about a case I’m helping him out on but I know better,” Mandy said. “One of our CSIs is a fruitcake who also happens to be the director’s daughter. I don’t know exactly what Michael can do or how much power he actually has to deal with her.”
“Politics,” Alex snorted. “Let me take a guess; small blond chick that has no clue how to dress or walk?”
“That’s her,” Mandy said. “Did she hit on you?”
She was a little concerned when Charlie started laughing and Alex turned red. “She started to,” Alex said.
“Until I smacked his ass and called him cupcake,” Charlie finished. “No one goes near what’s mine.”