Joined: 09 April 2010
Mission 13: Bittersweet Realities
Prem and Heer caught another auto rickshaw and went back into town. They got off a block away from their hotel and decided to enter through the back beach entrance. They bought a couple of sunglasses and ball caps for disguises even though they knew it was rather amateurish. They would most likely get caught but it was the best they could do with what little time they had to work with.
They cautiously walked through the back doors trying to maintain some sense of normalcy. They slipped into the stairwell and made the climb up to the second floor. Prem slowly opened the door and looked around to see if there were any officers on the floor. To his surprise and worry there was no one in sight. He walked out into the hallway and motioned that he was going to see if he could get into Jack's room while Heer went to her room. Heer nodded and they quietly parted ways. As Prem made his way towards Jack's room he found that the cleaning crew was still on their floor. He smiled knowing what he had to do. He went up to one of the cleaning ladies and explained that something was wrong with his keycard. He couldn't get it to work and he needed to get what was inside his room. Without much thinking the cleaning lady walked over to room 2080 and opened the door for Prem. He smiled and thanked the lady for her help and slipped inside of the room.
Prem immediately walked over to the laptop sitting on the desk. He turned it on and waited for the welcome screen to come on. His eyes stared at the little white box underneath an avatar of a dog and pondered what type of password Agent Jack Dupont would have. Prem decided to just hit the enter key and see if anything would happen. To his pleasant surprise the computer unlocked and loaded. Prem shook his head murmuring, "After all the hours of security training...tsk tsk...Agent Dupont you should have known better..."
Prem started to search through the files on the computer looking for any useful information he could find. As he scanned through various word documents he found one that made his chest tightened. It was an accusatory letter stating that Heer had double crossed the agency. She was now working for the enemy. There had been an initial plan for Heer to become acquaintances with Sergei Nemov through her work at the museum. She would pose as someone who was interested in some of the works that Dimitri Belova had collected. But Dimitri wasn't the type of business man to go around and meet everyone and everybody just like that. He usually sent his right hand man Sergei Nemov to take care of such business deals. Jack detailed his feelings on how Heer began to change as the meetings with Sergei became more frequent alluding to some illicit relationship. Prem gripped the side of the table tightly with his hands extremely angry at what Jack was suggesting. That Heer had betrayed her country and the agency for money and love. She had been seduced by the power that Sergei Nemov was offering her. And if something should happen to him then it was because she had found out that he knew and had killed him.
Prem moved his finger on the trackpad of the laptop and closed the document. He then proceeded to delete the file. Just as he was about to empty the recycle bin the hotel door opened and a swarm of uniformed and un-uniformed police officers stormed into the room shouting at him to put his hands up. Prem had no choice but to raise his hands and kneel down on the floor as they handcuffed him.
Heer typed furiously on her laptop sending an encrypted and confidential e-mail to her supervisor simply stating the mission had been compromised and there was a traitor in their midst. She hoped this would help clear whatever evidence Jack had gathered against her. She then proceeded to run the scrub application on her laptop to clean and clear off any and all confidential documents that had been stored on there. Heer knew it was a risk she was taking but she wanted to salvage what she could of the mission. She didn't want the confidential information to fall into the wrong hands because she was unsure of whom she could trust now that Jack had betrayed her. She didn't know who he had talked to and what he might have said to their mutual contacts. The whole situation was extremely unnerving and scary.
As the laptop continued to run the scrubbing program, Heer hurriedly pulled her suitcase out of the closet and dragged it over by the bed. She unzipped it and started searching for her flash drive. Her ears perked at the sound of her hotel door opening and she immediately hunched over and slid the flash drive into her bra. She was thankful that she found it in time before the officers came raiding into her room. She held her hands up and slowly turned around. Heer's eyes widen at the man standing in front of her. Everything about him was the same as she had remembered except for his hair. His jet black hair was now cut in a semi-short buzz cut style. His eyes carried the same expression of shock and surprise as hers as he continued to stand there in front of her. "Dev..." Heer softly murmured. None of the other officers had heard her say his name as they were distracted by another officer coming into the room to report that they had apprehended the other suspect.
"Agent Khanna, we have the other one in our custody. He's outside," the officer stated.
Dev shifted his head to the side and simply replied, "Good. Let's take them down to the precinct."
Another officer came up to place handcuffs on Heer but Dev stretched out his arm blocking him from his task. "Unplug the laptop and take out the battery...take it to the tech guys to see if they can salvage whatever maybe left on the machine." The officer acknowledged his request did as instructed. Dev then looked at Heer and said, "I don't expect any trouble from you...right?"
"I would prefer if you treat me like everyone else," Heer replied.
Dev nodded as he placed his hand on her arm in a firm grip, "I am," and walked her out of the room. As they entered into the hallway Heer saw Prem handcuffed standing next to an officer. Their eyes gently locked as they exchanged concern looks to one another. Heer wanted to say something but knew it was better not to and she reluctantly broke her gaze away from Prem's eyes. The exchange had not gone unnoticed by Dev who tightened his grip on Heer's arm and made her move forward.
Prem sat in the interrogation room still in his handcuffs. He looked at the large mirror in front of him and smirked. He knew there were probably some Central Bureau of Investigation agents or Goan police officers on the other side discussing how they were going to go about interrogating him. Prem let out a deep sigh and turned his head to the side and laid his head down on the table. The cuffs were starting to hurt his wrists and his arms were becoming sore from the position they were forced to maintain. He heard the door knob turn and made no effort to greet the person walking into the room. He grinned when he felt the table rock and the loud sound of someone forcefully slapping the table top in an effort to get his attention. Prem calmly raised his head and said, "Oh, didn't hear you come in. Hey, by the way you have something to eat around here? Maybe some coffee or water? Bottled please...I'm not from here...my system won't be able to take it and then you'll have to deal with a large hospital bill...don't think the department would be very happy about that...after all I am a suspect in two murders."
The man stared at him not amused by his chatter and pulled out the chair on the other side of the table and sat down. Prem noted the way he was dressed; white dress shirt and black slacks. He wasn't sure if he was dealing with an office or a CBI agent and went about intently studying his behavior. The man opened the file folder in his hand and asked, "Your name?"
"Doesn't that piece of paper right there tell you?" Prem smartly replied. He saw the man narrow his eyes displaying his displeasure at his antics. "I would assume you would have my name there...or was I wrong?"
"Tell me Mr. Deshmukh how can you be this calm when there are two people dead? Aren't you worried that you may going to jail for the crime of murder?" the man asked.
"Well, now that you know my name...do I get an introduction?" Prem asked. The man arched his eyebrow at his remark baffled by his completely uncaring attitude. "I mean, I think when two people are having a conversation such as this...it would be nice to know who I'm talking to."
The man snorted and replied, "Ranveer Khan."
"Nice to meet you Mr. Ranveer Kahn," Prem smiled. "You think you could maybe take the handcuffs off?"
"No," he replied causing Prem to stop smiling. "This is extremely serious...do you know what kind of trouble you may be in if you are found guilty?"
"Death?" Prem replied.
Ranveer looked down at his piece of paper and inwardly sighed, "So, you going to tell me what happened?"
"I thought you knew what happened. Aren't you the investigator? What's your take?" Prem asked.
Ranveer rubbed his temples realizing this interrogation was going to be a lot tougher than he thought.
Heer looked through the window on the other side of the interrogation room with extreme concern. A part of her wanted to reach through and strangle Prem for his idiotic remarks. He was not helping his situation, being so uncooperative and acting like a smart alec.
"Your friend there is quite interesting," Dev said as he folded his arms and watched with gently amusement at what Prem was saying to the interrogator.
"I don't want any special treatment. Do what you have to do," Heer replied.
"I am Heer," Dev answered as he turned and looked at her. His heart sighed as his eyes took in the beautiful profile of the woman he was once engaged to and had loved; no, who he was still in love with. He mentally called out to her to turn and look at him. She had been avoiding his gaze since the moment they met. He wanted nothing more than to see her almond shaped eyes, her delicate nose, and her pink lips. To see them even for a second so he could memorize them and the way she looked in that second. It would be enough for him to live in that memory of what they use to mean to each other.
Heer could feel Dev looking at her but she purposely made sure to refrain from looking at him. She was scared to look at him; afraid of what she would find. She never wanted to hurt him even though she knew she did. She felt guilty for her past actions and also her current ones. Her eyes stared out into the interrogation room at the man sitting in handcuffs. Her heart was simply calling his name telling him not to do anything stupid. Then in an unexplainable instant she saw Prem shift his eyes towards the double sided mirror and stare directly at her. He was telling her with his eyes not to worry and that everything was going to be all right. Heer blinked and Prem's eyes shifted away concentrating on the investigator physically in front of him. Heer breathed deeply and turned her head to face Dev. "What evidence do you have?"
He was quite taken back by the fierceness in her eyes and the intensity in her voice. "There are witnesses that place you at the scene. You were scheduled to have a meeting with Mr. Vivek Kundra and Jack Dupont was also to be in attendance. Your friend there..."
"Prem..." Heer simply stated.
"Uh...Prem...was with you...though he entered the museum a few minutes after you...he had the murder weapon on him...the gun and silencer. He has gun powder residue on his hands and his shirt...indicating he very well could have shot both men," Dev said.
Their conversation was interrupted when an officer knocked on the door and entered the room handing Dev a file folder. "Sir." Dev nodded and the officer left the room leaving them alone again. He scanned the report and sighed. "Agent Dupont states you're a double agent."
"Then arrest me," Heer said.
"Heer, stop this right now. You have any idea what kind of mess you are in? A national security agent is dead and he's left evidence pointing at you as his killer," Dev said with frustration. "I am an agent of the Central Bureau of Investigation...my boss is going to be in touch with your boss very soon..."
"You know what you have to do. It's your job...I know the difference...this is not some personal grudge."
Dev forcefully grabbed her arm and shook her. "This is not a game Heer. I know I've always put my job first...my career first...but don't punish me like this."
"This has absolutely nothing to do with our relationship," Heer replied as she looked into his eyes. She was finding it difficult to breath and feeling very uncomfortable at how close his face was to hers. She twisted her arm trying to force some distance between them.
"I know you and I know you could never have done this. Why are you so eager to take the blame?" Dev inquired.
They both turned their heads when they heard loud yelling coming from the open intercom in the room next door. "I did it...I told you I did it! What kind of idiot are you? And you call yourself an officer of the law? I'm confessing right now. Were you listening to a single thing I said? Or has the Goan sun baked your brain? I shot them. I hopped out of the window in the room and took off my black mask and changed my clothes and then came back into the museum to give myself the alibi. So case closed."
Heer jerked away from Dev and ran out of the room to go next door. Dev chased after her and motioned to his agents that it was all right. Agent Khan stood up the minute the door swung open and Heer entered. "What are you doing?" she yelled at Prem.
"You don't have to cover for me. I confess I shot and killed Vivek Kundra and Jack Dupont," he stated. "I planted evidence on Agent Dupont's computer stating that you were the double agent. But I'm the double agent." Heer stared at him in utter disbelief at what he was saying.
Dev motioned to Agent Khan and ordered, "Put him in the holding cell and charge him with the murders."
Heer turned and looked at him angrily. "That's it?! You're just going to arrest him and charge him for that crime just like that?"
"Well, he confessed didn't he?" Dev replied.
"All right let's go Mr. Deshmukh," Ranveer instructed as he grabbed Prem's arm and hauled him to his feet.
Heer felt her heart breaking as Prem silently walked out of the room refusing to look at her. She then turned and glared at Dev. "Why didn't you arrest me? Why is he being charged for a crime I committed?"
"I think you need to calm down and cool off," Dev replied and walked out of the room locking the door closed. He looked at one of his agents and commanded, "Don't let anyone in or out of this room. Call me if there is an emergency. Under no circumstances is anyone allowed in or out unless they are with me." The agent nodded and stood guard at the door.
Prem sat in his jail cell amused that such a large room was reserved only for him. He was thankful that he was finally free of the handcuffs and gently rubbed his wrists. He stared at the aluminum tray on the floor by the doorway and the half eaten contents it held. It was the most unappetizing food he had ever tasted. His stomach gurgled upset that it was still hungry. He sighed and patted it trying to sooth the discontent away. He ran his hands through his hair and leaned his head against the concrete wall. He estimated in his head that it was most likely eight or nine o'clock at night. He wondered to himself how he was going to make it through the night. He was completely bored out of his mind and he knew there was no way he was going to be able to sleep on the hard floor. He stared aimlessly at the wall on the opposite end of the jail cell letting his mind wander to Heer. He knew she was probably upset with him for doing what he did. But he had no choice. He didn't want her to be blamed for a crime she didn't commit. "I'm sorry..." he softly murmured.
"You should be..."
Prem turned his head and saw Heer standing in front of his jail cell with her arms crossed. He got up from off the floor and walked towards her. "I was only doing it to protect you."
"By getting yourself arrested?" Heer asked.
"I can't see you go through something like this," Prem replied. "It's better if I take it."
Prem reached between the bars and grabbed her hand. "Don't worry about me."
"How can you ask me not to worry?" Heer replied her voice strained as she tried to fight back the tears forming behind her eyes. Prem shook his head and gripped her hand tighter. "You're so stupid."
"I'd do anything for you Pumpkin...anything," Prem said as he gently wiped the tears falling down her cheek.
Heer held his hand taking in his warmth and closed her eyes letting the rest of her tears spill out. "You're crazy."
"Isn't that one of the traits you like about me? I'm unpredictable. I take my chances," Prem joked.
Heer opened her eyes and gave him a look. She then tenderly reach into the cell and caressed his cheek. "What am I going to do without you?"
"You'll always have me," Prem replied. Heer gently kissed the palm of his hand and gaze into his eyes. He could feel all her emotions and see the care and love she had for him. He felt guilty that he was doing this but he knew it had to be done for her sake.
"Hey, are you finished?" Prem blinked and looked at the guard standing in front of his cell. He gave an amused chuckle as he realized he had been daydreaming about Heer. He rubbed his face with his hands trying to wake himself from the depressed mood he was in. "Yeah, I'm finished," he replied. The guard nodded and carefully opened the door to take the tray away. Prem sighed and leaned his head against the wall as he heard the click of the cell door locking.
Heer walked in circles around the interrogation room in a fidgety state. She had been locked in there for hours. Dev had come into the room only once to give her something to eat. He actually had the nerve to sit across from her and eat dinner with her. She knew it wasn't the same jail food that Prem was eating. It was far too appetizing for it to be but even still Heer could hardly eat and only picked at her food. Her mind was filled with worry over what was happening to Prem. She wanted so desperately to see him before he was transferred and taken away. She didn't understand why Dev was still keeping her in the interrogation room if he wasn't going to charge her with anything. Every time she would ask him a question about the case he would divert the conversation and start talking about something else. In the end she gave up and stopped talking. When Dev asked her anything else she refused to respond. She wasn't there to catch up on old times or to tell him about what she had been doing in her life since they broke up. This wasn't the time or place to do such things. She really couldn't figure out what Dev was up to. It was irritating her to no end that he was bringing their personal matter into this serious judicial situation.
Heer eventually sat down in the chair and laid her head on the table just like Prem had done. She placed her right hand on the table and gently curled her fingers as she closed her eyes. She could see Prem laying his head in the same position. She held onto that imagine trying to feel his presence. She wanted to feel the warmth and security she always felt when he held her in his arms. She wanted nothing more than to feel that unspeakable emotion that passed between them. As Heer laid there silent tears began to form and rolled down her face. The not knowing and agonizing wait to find out what was going to happen was putting a heavy toll on her. After some time she fell into an uneasy sleep.
Agent Dev Khanna tapped his fingers against his desk in thoughtful contemplation over what he should do. He had his orders and he knew the protocols of the Central Bureau of Investigation very well. He glanced at the clock on the wall and noted that it was just fifteen minutes passed midnight. He pulled his wallet out of his pocket and slid a picture out of its sleeve. It was a photo of him and Heer during happier times in their relationship. He gently brushed his finger around the curve of her face and smiled. How he wish he could have turned back time and stopped her from walking out of his life. Dev knew he had made a mistake when he had chosen his career over her. He really couldn't understand what he was thinking at that time. Two years had passed and he had moved up in rank and was on the pathway to becoming a senior supervisor and eventually director, but he paid a heavy cost. Dev sighed knowing it was his own fault for the situation he was in now. He could tell things had changed between them. They weren't the same two people but it was to be expected. They weren't in each other's lives anymore and the experiences they encountered apart affected them and matured them separately into the current avatars they held now.
Dev slipped the photo back into its sleeve and placed the worn leather wallet back into his right pocket. The time of reminiscing about the past was over. He had made his decision and he would take the consequences of his actions. He exited the makeshift office that the Goan police had allowed him and his CBI team to make and walked his way down the lone hallway of the precinct. There were only a handful of officers around as majority of them had gotten off work at six. The midnight shift was a lonesome one and most of the officers were busily chatting in the break room drinking coffee to help ward off the need to sleep. Dev nodded at the young agent stationed outside of interrogation room two as he stood at attention. "Go take a thirty minute break. Get some coffee and a snack or something. I'll take over from here."
"Yes sir," the agent thankfully replied and then scampered off.
Dev opened the door to the room and saw Heer with her head down on the table. He could tell that she was quietly sleeping. He gently closed the door and cleared his throat trying to make his presence known. Heer lifted her head and stared at him in groggy confusion wondering what he wanted. "We don't have much time. You want to see him?" The very mention of the word "him" caused her to awake from her sleepy state. She got up from the table and walked towards the door. "I'm sorry but..." Dev hesitantly said as he pulled out a pair of handcuffs from his pocket. Heer nodded and turned around so he could cuff her hands behind her back. She winched when she felt the cold metal squeeze close around her wrists. "Let's go," Dev commanded.
They walked in silence through the police station and into the back where the jail cells where placed. The night guard was nowhere in sight as they entered the section where Prem was being held. Dev felt his chest tighten as he noted the way Heer's face reacted at seeing Prem hunched over with his knees apart and his arms resting against them as his head bobbed up and down in a restless sleep. "Agent Deshmukh you have a visitor," Dev announced. Heer turned to him surprised that she knew who Prem really was.
Prem lifted his head and blinked several times making sure he wasn't dreaming. He cautiously walked towards the front of the cell and rubbed the back of his neck trying to sooth the muscle strain he had. His face molded with concern as his eyes looked longingly at Heer. She blinked slowly letting him know she was all right. Prem exhaled and then saw that she was handcuffed. "Why did you put handcuffs on her?" he asked sternly. "I told you I did it."
"Prem, please..." Heer protested.
"Why are you taking this crime on your shoulders Agent Deshmukh?" Dev asked.
"I told you already...go ask Officer Khan," Prem stubbornly replied. "What is it with you police officers?"
"You are speaking with an Indian intelligence agent from the Central Bureau of Investigation...CBI...I know you are CIA...so let's cut the pretenses shall we?" Dev answered. "There is more than enough evidence to convict Agent Maan here and you are running around playing games?"
"She didn't do it," Prem firmly replied.
"Whether she did or didn't is not up to me to decide. Your own intelligence agency will handle this situation," Dev said.
"Then let him go Dev," Heer pleaded. "Arrest me...I told you already...stop trying to protect me. Don't confuse your duty with what happened in our past relationship."
Prem's eyes widen at the mention of his name. He couldn't believe that the man who had arrested him was none other than Heer's ex-fiance. Dev looked at Prem and asked again, "Why?"
"You know there is no way this is going to down smoothly. If they have to let someone go to salvage a mission they will. I'm not about to see Agent Maan be accused of a crime she didn't commit and to be charged with treason...the political fallout of having one of the CIA Director's daughter charged for such a crime...the family shame...it's unimaginable...I won't allow that to happen," Prem explained.
"What about your family agent?"
"I have no family...I'm an orphan...it doesn't matter what happens to me," Prem said.
"What about Kiran? He's your family...you don't think he won't be affected by this?" Heer rebuked.
"He's not my biological father...I was adopted...they will be lenient on him," Prem replied.
Dev nodded his head. "You make a strong point. The exact things I was thinking. There was no way I can let this happen to someone who is innocent but I can't change the evidence to accuse an innocent man either...things look very bleak. If I let them take you back...she will be railroaded through the system."
Heer stared at the two men baffled at what they were discussing. "I'm glad my input doesn't mean a thing to either of you."
"Heer listen to me...Prem is right...I've seen far too many cases that have gone down this way. Governments are not about to let everyone know what they are doing especially in the intelligence game. They will find ways to make examples and scapegoat people...you only have one option..." Dev replied and then softly whispered. "Solve the case yourself and do what needs to be done. You have fifteen minutes to get out of here...I can maybe prolong the search to twenty five...your best bet is to get on one of the cargo ships leaving the harbor. Knock me down and search my pockets for a motorcycle key. It's the black one parked outside. There is a stash of cash inside the saddlebags on the side of the bike. It's not much but it was all I could arrange without drawing suspicion. Go out the backdoor it's just outside of this hallway."
"Dev..." Heer softly uttered surprised by his instructions.
"Just do it...quick before the guards come back from break," Dev ordered. "I promise I won't take offense."
Heer swiped her leg around the back of Dev's knee causing him to buckle down to the floor. She then kneed him in the chin sending him falling to his side. She then carefully picked up the keys that dropped from his hands and passed it to Prem. Prem uncuffed Heer's hands and then handed the keys back to her so she could open the jail cell. Prem went down onto the floor and searched through Dev's pockets looking for the motorcycle keys. Dev pretended to fight back causing Prem to deck him in the face. His head hit the bars and he groaned in pain. "Sorry, but thanks man," Prem whispered as he dragged him into the jail cell.
"Go...good luck," Dev managed to mumble.
Heer locked the jail cell and said, "Thank you Dev."
"Hurry...you don't have much time. Send me an invitation to your wedding..." Heer momentarily paused and stared at him completely cut off guard by his remark.
"Heer?!" Prem hissed. "We need to go." Heer looked at Dev one final time and then turned and ran out of the room.
Prem stared at the man standing in front of him with a half smoked cigarette hanging carelessly between his lips. It looked as if the thing would fall any second if the man wasn't careful while he spoke. "You're serious? I never thought I would ever see you again but I guess trouble just seems to follow me...or you as it seems to always be..."
"Johnnie, you owe me a favor. I need to get on one of the cargo ships. I don't care where it goes...just out of India," Prem asked. "I don't have much time."
"You never have much time," Johnnie sarcastically replied. Prem glared at him causing him to swallow uncomfortably. "All right...I'll see what I can do." He then rubbed his fingers together in front of him indicating he needed money.
"You owe me the favor," Prem replied unamused by his antics.
"You still have to pay," Johnnie explained.
"Find a ship that will take us and I'll pay him directly," Prem smartly answered.
Johnnie's face soured. "Getting too smart for his own good...I owe you the favor...never again am I doing anything for you...you'll come crying to me...and I won't care...nope...I, Johnnie...swear I won't help you ever again..." he grumbled as he walked away.
"Prem, can we trust him?" Heer asked with some concern.
"Oh, Johnnie is always like that. He's really harmless...everything to him has a price but he's still loyal...if that makes sense. He won't betray us. He does this to me all the time," Prem explained.
A few minutes later Johnnie was ushering them to a large ship and introducing them to the captain that had agreed to take them aboard. "This is Captain X..." Johnnie introduced.
"Captain X?" Prem repeated.
"I prefer it if I don't know you and you don't know me," the captain simply stated. "I think it makes these types of transactions easier? We are set to depart in the next few minutes. You are required to get off on the first stop. I'll show you to your quarters."
Prem turned and looked at Johnnie, "Thanks. I owe you."
"I know," he replied with a rather weasel like smile. "Oh, here you go some groceries to accommodate your trip. Some aloo parathas, mango pickles, and a large high quality bottle of water...it isn't much but it was all I could find on such notice."
"Thank you," Heer smiled as Johnnie handed the plastic sack over to her.
"You better go," he ordered and then quickly left the ship.
Prem and Heer followed the captain into the ship and down and around the bottom corridors near the storage compartments to where they were staying. It was a small room with one bed, a small sink, and a tiny mirror hanging on the wall. Prem turned towards the captain and handed half the payment over to him. "You'll get the second half once we arrive at the first stop." He then purposely lifted the bottom edge of his shirt up to show him the handgun tucked in his shorts. He had taken it from the night guard's desk when they were escaping from the police station.
"I assure you...sir, you will get to your destination. No need to brandish such a weapon. I wouldn't be in the business of such things if people didn't trust me to take them where they need to go. You do have a toilet in this room. It's behind this steel closet looking door. I'll see if I can find a couple of cups and a thermos of coffee for you in the morning. Oh, it wouldn't be wise to roam around the ship. The crew doesn't take too kindly to snoopers or people who eat from the food stock. It is more for your safety that I am telling you this. I hope you have a sound rest. Goodnight," the captain said and then left.
Dev sat in the passenger seat of the jeep with an icepack nestled against the back of his head. His head was pounding from the police siren that was blaring above their heads as they made their way to the harbor. Things had worked out the way he had planned. He inwardly smiled that Prem had enough foresight to take his copy of the jail keys and the night guard's keys that had been stored in the desk and thrown them somewhere. The resulting pandemonium at the police station was almost laughable as they worked to get him out of the cell. It gave Prem and Heer a few more precious minutes of escape time.
As the jeep rounded the bend and entered the harbor Dev saw a large cargo ship sailing off the docks. He wondered if Prem and Heer were possibly on that very ship. He got out along with the rest of the agents and officers and began searching the harbor. They rounded up some harbor workers and asked a few questions. Everyone had the same story; they hadn't seen anyone fitting the description of Prem or Heer.
"Sir," Ranveer called. "One of the Goan police officers says there is a person of interest we might want to speak with. He's a runner in the shipping business...knows the legal's and the illegal's...nothing gets by him. There is a high chance he has some information." Dev nodded his head and followed Agent Khan to see who this person was.
Johnnie had a displeased look on his face as a Goan officer held his arm tightly trying to persuade him to talk. "I told you I don't know anything."
"Cut the crap we know you know something," the officer replied.
"Maybe I do maybe I don't...you have something to jog my memory?" Johnnie asked. The officer scowled and raised his hand like he was going to smack him across the face.
"We'll take it from here officer. Thank you," Dev ordered as he intervened in the near assault. The officer let go and quietly walked away. "What's your name?"
"People call me Johnnie."
"Well, Johnnie have you seen a man and a woman down here requesting for passage on one of these cargo ships?" Dev asked.
"You know anyone can just hop onto these ships...not like I'm their security guard," Johnnie replied. Dev chuckled and then started describing Prem and Heer. Johnnie nodded as if he knew what he was talking about and when Dev had finished talking he simply stated, "Nope, I haven't seen anyone fitting those descriptions around here." Ranveer looked at Dev and sighed realizing what Johnnie probably wanted.
"I suppose you need something to jog your memory?" Dev inquired as he pulled out some cash from his wallet.
"Ah, yes...let's see..." Johnnie's eyes went wide as he saw Dev count the money in his hands. "I think...there were two people...a man and a woman...who were roaming around. They were asking for passage on a cargo ship, but they didn't have enough money. So they left. I think they decided to try their chances at getting on a train."
"Thank you," Dev replied as he handed him the money. He then looked a Ranveer. "Let's go."
Ranveer nodded and then commanded to the other officers and agents, "All right...everyone...we're going to the train station."
Johnnie watched as the police cars drove away and gently smirked at the wad of cash in his hands. "I'm no rat...I'm loyal to those who are loyal to me."
Prem hunched over the sink and let the water gently fill his cupped hands. He carefully brought it up and splashed it against his face. He then wiped some residual water around the front and back of his neck. He and Heer were surprised to find two toothbrushes, a small tube of toothpaste, and a bar of soap in the plastic bag that Johnnie had given them. He was thankful for it and knew there was always a reason why he went to him for help. Prem cautiously sniffed his raised arm and grimaced at the odor. It would be awhile before they would be able to take a shower and he didn't want to stink up their small room. Without much thought he stripped his blue shirt off his torso and hanged it on a little hook by the sink. He took off the white undertank he had been wearing under his shirt and proceeded to soaked it in the running facet. He rubbed the bar of soap across the cloth and started to give himself a light wash.
Heer had been inspecting the food items that Johnnie had gotten them and was finding a place to put them. She was glad that the room was actually well air-conditioned. She touched the top of a metal vent not quite sure what it was for but was happy that it was relatively cool. She placed the parathas that were wrapped in aluminum foil on the flat top of the vent and then wrapped the pickle container in the plastic bag and placed it next to the parathas. As she turned around to find a place to put the water bottle she saw Prem standing over the sink washing himself with his white undertank. She couldn't help but watch him run the cloth along the front of his chest noting the way the streaks of water gently rolled down his firm muscles and soaked into the waistband of his shorts. She could see the waistband of his boxers peeking out along his back when he bent over to soak his makeshift wash cloth with more water. As Prem twisted to his left moving the damp cloth along the side of his body she could see his beautiful cutlines; the area that separates the torso from the hips. She felt slightly ashamed that she was ogling him so badly but she couldn't help it. He was giving her a free show after all, since he decided to start washing himself while she was still in the room. Her eyes sparked in alarm when he suddenly lifted his head and caught her staring at him. They both swallowed uncomfortably and turned their heads away.
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