drizzle @tyelperin
1 do you like noir? do you like absurd amounts of backstory? me too RATING CHOSEN FOR SOME THEMES AND LANGUAGE

Charlie doesn’t think that she has an affair.  

His client does, though, and that’s what matters. Charlie doesn’t like him one bit and there have been times when he has wanted to beat him to a pulp, but that’s out of the question. Until he gets paid, at least.  His wife’s in a pub, though, and not one Charlie’d recommend. It belongs to one Angus McGrath and it’s as filthy as it’s shoddy. 

Angus McGrath thinks that he’s a Westie and that his surname can certify the fact. The truth is that Angus is nothing but a mafia errand boy. At almost 50; he listens, watches, and keeps his mouth shut unless he’s bragging about having the purest Irish mobster blood running through his veins. The pub he runs was inherited and Charlie doesn’t fully understand how the business worked. Angus’ father could be trusted, at least. Angus is a viper trying to survive in a sea of sharks and that makes him dangerous most of the time.

On the other hand, Suzanne Lauder was the rich daughter of Diane Lauder. She married young and got her mother’s money younger. All in all, she has no business to do with Angus beyond buying that sordid hole of a pub and even that would be too absurd a notion. Charlie knows that her husband, Tommy Cox, isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed. He was lucky enough to get Suzanne’s attention and as far as Charlie knows, she wanted stability after her mother’s death and looked for a man innocuous enough for her to be able to do her own thing with a house to return to rising without raising too many eyebrows around the neighborhood.  She’s smart but apparently not smart enough to cover her own tracks and Tommy was desperate. Charlie grimaces and shakes his head. Tommy wants to have Suzanne under his wing and doesn’t seem to realize that he’s the one getting shielded. Somehow, he wants his manhood back. Charlie would have castrated Tommy himself for his attitude when he got the call, but he’s out there without a penny in his pocket and even Ángel laughs at his clothes now. 

There’s a knock at his car’s window and Charlie with a curse on the tip of his tongue. Engel’s frowning down at him from the other side of the glass and Charlie scoffs and lifts his hands before rolling down the window. Not much. He doesn’t want to risk a fist to the face.“What are you doing here?” Engel drawls. He looks sore and tired and like a drenched rat in a black suit.  

“What are you doing here?” Engel drawls. He looks sore and tired and like a drenched rat in a black suit.  

 “Do you always use that line when you’re trying to score?”  

 “Only with the special ones,” he offers a tight smirk and Charlie wonders how much teasing he can get until he snaps. Judging by the other times they’ve talked, not much. “Now, if you could please stop flirting for a second and listen. We’re working here, big job ahead, so what exactly is your business with McGrath?”

“None. I’m on a job. Nothing to do with McGrath and I didn’t think you guys would be involved. Isn’t he too…?” Charlie gestures with his index and thumb.  

Engel purses his lips and Charlie realizes that he’s been hunched over the car this whole time just so his face is level with the window.  

“Piranhas can be smaller than a thumb, Parker.”

He’s got a point, Charlie guesses.

“Are you going to stay there for long? Jump in if you want to. Can’t break the porcelain for you but at least you won’t split in half.” 

 Charlie half expects Engel to leave when he narrows his eyes at him and grimaces. He looks annoyed, even more than he usually does, but after an awkward and tense stare down Engel rounds the car, opens the door and drops on the passenger’s sit. If Engel’s there, his team must be there too if it’s not a covert operation. Engel stands out and is way too obviously on the field. Dare he put a foot in McGrath’s pub he’d get recognized as a cop not even five seconds later.  

“I was freezing my ass out there. Try not looking suspicious standing for an hour in this hell of a drizzle.” 

“You should try wearing something that doesn’t scream cop, Special Agent Robert Engel,” Engel clicks his tongue and refuses to look at him. The black suit fits and it’s elegant enough, but it’s also rigid and it doesn’t leave any doubt as to why a man like Engel would stay there freezing his ass off in the drizzle, as he so eloquently put it. In a neighborhood in which catching a taxi could end with stab wounds and an empty wallet an upright looking man in a suit was sure to turn some heads. 

“Could your job be related to the Lauder family?” he asks, and the twitch of Engel’s shoulder makes some pieces of the puzzle click.   

“Could be but I’m going need to ask why you’re asking.” 

“Suzanne Lauder’s been going around with not very high class people. Stayed a week at the Johnsons’, got photographed at the penthouse sharing a drink with Angelo. My people think that it’d be good to keep track on her,” Charlie snorts and Engel raises an eyebrow at him, lips closed in a thin and tense line. “So does his husband. He thinks that she has an affair but I don’t think that she’s interested in that. Way too much work to hide it and maintain her reputation having those.” 

“She may be related to the Starfeather case,” Engel’s voice is grave and Charlie hums while he stares at the entrance of the pub. There’s a teen with way too big pants trying to let McGrath let him in. The kid’s too skinny to even pretend to be intimidating and all in all he doesn’t look like he’s from anywhere near the neighborhood. A rich white boy looking for God knows what in a place where he doesn’t belong. He leaves, head hanging low. 

 “Are you listening to me, Parker? You were involved in the Starfeather case.” 

“Yeah, sorry. Just wondering what that kid’s doing here. Wasn’t that the one case where that mayor got involved in a huge scandal for getting involved with the mafia during underground parties? It was a disappearance thing for me.”  

Her name was Jennifer, she was barely 18 and she got abducted from her dorm room at campus on the other side of town two months prior. He found her scared to death at a club where one of the parties had taken place.

“That’s the one. We think that she didn’t know that the girl was involved, maybe she thought that it was a drug deal, and may’ve been the anonymous informer that led us to the docks.” 

“What a coincidence,” Engel’s wry smile prompts Charlie to draw a small taut smile of his own. “We do know a bit more, though. The García kid turned against Angus and told us that he’s pretty fond of using those weapons, too.” 

“What a coincidence,” Engel’s wry smile prompts Charlie to draw a small taut smile of his own. “We do know a bit more, though. The García kid turned against Angus and told us that he’s pretty fond of using those weapons, too.” 

That’s a whole different story. If Angus is using the weapons that the others leave in his care, he could get in a mess not only with the FBI but with the big guys. He’s playing a dangerous game. 

“Maybe he’s a goon.” 

Engel shakes his head and taps his finger on the glove box.  

“Nah. He’s way too clumsy for them to trust him. You’re surprisingly well informed, Parker.” 

There’s no time to feel flattered. Just as Engel’s done talking Suzanne Lauder walks out of Angus’ pub. She’s dressed to the nines, looks calm, and even spares a second to nod in their direction when she passes the car. There’s nothing suspicious about her, having just walked out of Angus’ pub aside, and Charlie stares at her as she gets into her own car and leaves. 

“There she goes, off to a hot date. Aren’t you planning on following her, Parker?”  

“I’m already in the middle of a hot date of my own, thanks,” he says and Engel snorts before covering it up with a scowl. “Nah. She’s going back home, won’t be long until Tommy Cox calls.” 

Charlie stretches. He’s been in that car for way too long but he’s going to wait until Tommy calls to leave. He’s comfortable enough, too, and it’s too cold outside to go for a walk once he gets home. He’s got way too much time to lose.  

“By the way, I managed to get your trigger lucky friends out of trouble. And you, too. Stop putting tracking devices on things and we might even be able to close your file once and for all as long as you keep your nose out of our way.” 

Charlie stares at Engel and wonders how and why. He remembers Engel saying that they’re more alike than he thinks and he may be right. Just a little. Not much, though, cause he’s never going to get his ass in one of those fancy official looking suits if he can avoid it. 

“Thanks. I owe you one.”  

“You owe me three,” Engel  raises three fingers and Charlie swats at them with a huff. “Defending you isn’t good for my social standing and I’m here doing a field agent’s job to pay for it so don’t you get stingy.” 

That makes more sense than sending an agent like Engel alone to Angus McGrath’s pub, no matter how small piranhas can be. It’s a punishment that he’s enduring for making sure that Ángel and Louis can keep on with their lives. Charlie knows that he’d be out of trouble anyway, but those two are so deep in the mud that sometimes he wonders at how clean Louis’ suits look. 

“That’s very nice of you. Sweet, even. Who would have guessed with that grumpy face of yours.” 

Engel opens his mouth when Charlie’s phone rings.   

Tommy. Right. 

Tommy says that Suzanne's home and asks for news, news that Charlie’s not ready to share yet. He evades Tommy’s questions as best as he can and leaves every door open. There’s a lot of information that he doesn’t want in Tommy’s hands and even more that not even he, or Engel, have. If his client wants results, he’ll have to wait. He doesn’t tell him that Suzanne isn’t having an affair, either. Better let that dickhead suffer for a while. 

The call is short but Charlie’s tired and buzzing with energy at the same time and that’s not a good combination. There’s a lot to discover about Suzanne Lauder and it’s exciting but he needs to get his strength back, catch some sleep. 

“Does Tommy have any information that you know of?” Engel asks and Charlie rummages through his brain an answer and, eventually, shrugs and bites his thumb lightly. 

“He’s hiding something but it may have more to do with him sleeping around than Suzanne’s link to the Johnsons or McGrath. I should get going now to see if Suzanne is planning any other visits to honorable residents of the city.” 

“That sounds about right. He doesn’t look like the kind of man that’d have the guts to get in this kind of world. Looks more like an afternoon TV guy to me.”  

“Judgy, huh.”  

Engel shrugs and for a second Charlie’s confused because he doesn’t look about dock him in the chin. He looks, in fact, kind of pleased. His lips are, for once, not pulled into a thin and tense grimace. 

“I suppose I am.”

He yawns and Engel raises an eyebrow at him, then leans in and kisses him and Charlie’s very lost. His lips are chapped and he smells a bit like a wet dog and a bit like smoke and Charlie doesn’t know what to do with himself. It’s nice, that he knows at least. Engel tries to lean back and Charlie grabs his neck and pecks his mouth before letting him go. It feels like the right thing to do. “It’s been a nice little chat, Parker.” 

“It’s been a nice little chat, Parker.”  

“Charlie.” Engel opens the door and steps out, takes a deep breath. 

“Try not to get in any shootings following Lauder, Charlie.” 

“Can’t promise shit, Rob.”

“Special Agent Robert Engel, please,” Engel offers as his parting words, kicking one of the wheels as he rounds the car to return to the corner where he was standing before.

originally written in 2014, i rewrote some stuff but it mostly remained the same. softened some of the themes and here it is
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