Eliot dried his hands on the sage checked towel that Sophie had stocked into Nate's kitchen. Parker put the last of the glasses into the cabinet. It closed with a solid thunk. "I'll see you later," Alec said. He put his laptop case over his shoulder. Parker crossed the floor in a quick cartwheel. "You changed your mind?"
"Yep." Parker nodded with the sharp bird-like movement she usually had. It was only when she was being herself that she fully let that awkwardness show.
Eliot hovered between the kitchen and the door. Nate sat at the dinner table staring at the newspaper. "Leftovers in the fridge, Nate. Night." God, he missed Sophie on nights like this. He felt like he was abandoning the man. Nate looked up from the newspaper.
"Leaving so early? Hot date?"
The door shut behind the Hardison and Parker. "How about a game of chess?"
"Yeah. That sounds good. I'll set up the board." Finally, there was a shadow of a smile on Nate's face.
Parker dropped onto Eliot's lap. "Time travel isn't possible."
"That's right, Darlin'." The hitter looked up at Alec. The hacker's brows rose. He looked around the room for any sign of Nate.
"Prince Charming asleep?"
"Yeah. Only one nightmare last night and no drinking."
"You get any sleep?"
"I don't need much." Eliot shrugged. "Come on. You can help me make donuts."
"No, man. I've got this one. There's a deli just down the street. Best donuts in town."
"You ain't lived 'til you have fresh ones."
"Just start the coffee and I'll be back in no time."
Eliot shook his head and toyed with the idea of making a pot of decaf. His cell-phone rang and he frowned. Only one person was supposed to be set up with that ring. Alec promised. "Hello?"
"Um, hi, this is SAM. This is going to sound really weird, but one time, I was a package and I need you to hire you to do the same for someone else."
Eliot thought for a moment. "Photojournalist?"
"That's me. My father, he, he went after a package. He got the package out, but he got stuck."
"Your father. Anyone I know?"
"Sweet Jesus, boy. I want three prints from that spread you did in Croatia, framed. Where can I meet you?"
SAM laughed. "See, I'm at this bar in Boston, and while there's this really gorgeous red-headed bartender here, I don't feel much like drinking."
Eliot couldn't help but smile. "Yeah. I'll be down in a minute."
"Hey, wait a minute." Parker frowned. "You haven't even had coffee yet."
"Will you people be quiet!" Nate bellowed down the stairs.
"Got a side-job, Nate."
"I'll be down for the meet. Give me five."
"I'll bring him up."
"No, no clients in the house!" The former insurance agent's voice was lighter than it'd been in a long while. Maybe it'd be a good day for once.
Parker's eyes were wide. Eliot rarely directly challenged Nate's authority after all.
"Don't worry, girl. I'll be back in time for coffee. Set up another cup. Not sure if he takes it black by choice though."
Nate looked like a rumpled crow. "I thought I said no clients in the house."
"Don't worry. He's house-trained. His father's got caught. I'm going to retrieve him. Simple. Just here to say I'll see y'all in a few."
Three pairs of eyes trained on Eliot. SAM simply inhaled his cup of coffee. Parker refilled it. "Hi, I'm SAM."
Hardison's eyes narrowed. "Wait a minute. How do you know Eliot?"
"He saved my life."
"Nah. I just wanted what was in your camera bag. SAM's a photojournalist. I was hired to get him out of a scrape in a former soviet state." Eliot shrugged. "You got something to ride, or are you in a rental?"
"Got my bike downstairs."
"That'll do. Just need to swing by my place for supplies."
"Wait just a minute," Nate snapped. "We're a team remember. You're not going anywhere without us. Sell it to me."
Eliot restrained his smile. "Our client, Sean Angus Malloy, called SAM, is the son of MacGyver. Yes, Parker, that MacGyver. Mac has gotten himself caught somewhere while getting his package out. I'm going to get him out."
Nate blinked. Then, he sighed. "Jesus. He's still getting me in trouble. Parker, make another pot. We're going to need more coffee."
SAM slugged a fist into Eliot's arm. "So who are these people?"
"Nate Ford, Alec Hardison, and Parker."
"Huh. Alec Hardison. Wait a minute. You're a hacker right? Man, Dad traced you everywhere, but kept getting routed to Iceland." Hardison polished his nails on his shirt. "He said that he'd had to change the security on the Phoenix computers every few weeks because of you."
"Wait. Wait. Your father is Dexter Filmore?"
"Ah, yeah, I guess so."
"Seriously?" Hardison's expressive face was pensive. "Come here and give me details so I can start the background."
"Eliot, do I have food in my kitchen?"
"Don't know, Nate. Your legs broken?" Nate blinked up at him from the kitchen table. "Yes, fine, I'll make breakfast. You eat yet, kiddo?"
"I'm older than you are. I think." SAM narrowed his eyes at the retrieval specialist.
"I knew your dad first. Makes you the kid."
TBC Return to the Library