“You could’ve killed someone!”

Now that Frank’s peaked adrenaline was finally beginning to drop, he stormed across the small hallway and shoved the man against the closed door. “She could’ve killed you, you idiot!” But seconds later, Frank slung his arms around the same man.

“What the hell is going on?” Angela’s hands were still clamped around her pistol, but it was aimed at the floor now.

“You shot a hole in the ceiling,” said the man, poking his head over Frank’s shoulder.

“Matt, this is Special Agent Angela Davis.” The looks from Angela’s cold, gray eyes grew icier with each passing moment. “Ang, this is Special Agent Matt Jones.” When her cold stare didn’t warm, Frank sighed. “Ang, relax. Please.”

“It could’ve been a trap!” Angela marched back into the room, dialing the manager of the hotel no doubt. Frank heard her murmuring things like CIA and badge number.

“Pleasant one there,” said Matt. “Lucky you’re on the top floor or she might’ve upset someone’s vacation.”

Frank waved his arm. “Ignore her. Need a drink?”

“Can’t.”

“Can’t?” Frank repeated. He’d never known Matt to turn down a free drink before.

“I’m here on business, actually.”

That caught Frank’s attention. How was it that every CIA agent he knew was suddenly showing up not just in Hawaii, but in his hotel room? Frank extracted a glass from the cupboard.

“Saw on Facebook that you were headed to Hawaii. Figured you’d be here by now.” When Frank didn’t say anything, Matt went on. “The girl at the front desk couldn’t resist my charm, so naturally she spilled your room number. And gave me her number.”

“Sounds like life is about the same for you, then.”

Matt grinned. Seven years ago, when they’d both been brand  new agents, they’d been part of the same team. And Walsh their boss. But Matt had requested an international assignment after a nasty divorce. Last Frank knew, Matt had ended up in Japan.

“Hope you don’t mind if I have a drink?” Frank opened the freezer and grabbed a couple ice cubes. “I’m supposed to be on vacation. Off duty.”

“No you’re not,” huffed Angela, marching up to the counter and snatching the glass away from Frank. She emptied the contents into the sink. Luckily, there’d only been ice cubes. Angela grabbed for the bottle of rum before Frank could stop her. “Whether you like it or not, Dalavanna, you’re on assignment.” Angela disappeared into the bathroom, no doubt draining his precious rum.

Matt propped himself on a barstool at the edge of the kitchen counter. “I’ll cut to the chase. We need your help. Both of you.”

“Our help?” repeated Frank.

“And you need mine.”

“Unless you’re here to help me forget about my almost wedding—“

“I’m really sorry about that, man. I am. But sulk later, when this is all over. We don’t have much time to stop this.”

“Who sent you?” Angela’s voice startled Frank. She’d slipped back into the room without either of them noticing. Of course, it was among the traits that made her the best agent. She was cunning, sneaky. She could move across a room full of broken glass without making a sound.

“People are dying. Rapidly.”

“How many?” Frank asked, assuming the flu outbreak was now CIA common knowledge.

“Three,” answered Angela, only to be talked over by Matt. “Twelve.”

“Twelve?” repeated Frank and Angela together.

“My report is from two hours ago,” said Angela.

“Mine’s ten minutes old.” Matt stood up. “Probably more than twelve now.”

“Did you get the vaccine?” asked Angela.

Matt nodded. “You both?”

When rapping echoed in the room, all three froze. Angela’s hand went instantly to her hip, as did Matt’s. Frank snatched his flimsy steak knife from the counter.

Another knock. “Room service.”

The three released a collective sigh. “No one knows we’re here on assignment,” said Frank. “Except for Matt, apparently. So try not to get trigger happy and shoot the bellboy.”

The tension broke when Angela stormed off down the hall.

“You sure she’s not the runaway bride?” asked Matt, his eyes following Angela.

Frank grunted a laugh. When Matt left, Angela was the replacement that took his spot. They’d never met each other. Frank had put up with Special Agent Davis for three years before she transferred six months ago. Frank didn’t think he’d run into her again. But fate had decided to play a very cruel joke on him.

“Let’s hurry up and eat,” said Angela, setting two plates of food on the counter. “Then we’re going to headquarters.”

~*~

“Why didn’t you tell me you were reassigned to Hawaii!” Frank shouted as they three waited for the valet to deliver Angela’s car. “I might’ve planned my honeymoon anywhere else to avoid running into you.”

Angela shot Frank an icy glare. “You think I’m thrilled to be paired with you? I’d rather Agent Prick had been on his almost honeymoon.”

That stung. Frank had been doing a great job of blocking out Maggie’s memory. A deadly flu epidemic helped him forget the agony he’d been through just two days ago. Until Angela had to shove the knife in a little further and twist it.

“You two lovebirds about done arguing?” Matt wore a dumb smile on his face, like he was enjoying the free entertainment.

“How is it you’re in Hawaii, Jones?” Angela was back to her old, pain-in-the-ass self. No smile. Just pointed questions and suspicious glares. “You certainly showed up out of nowhere.”

“Walsh sent me. I was in California on a dead-end assignment. When Walsh heard I was close, he asked me to get down here immediately.”

“Was that before or after the airport shutdown all flights?”

Frank felt a small ping of relief. With Angela around to ask the accusatory questions, Frank didn’t have to. It had seemed like a lucky coincidence that his old friend just happened to be in Hawaii at the same time. One he hadn’t seen in years. He hadn’t wanted to overanalyze the luck.

“I was on the last military plane they allowed to land.”

“What kind of car do you drive?” asked Frank, hoping to divert the conversation now that Matt had proven his innocence.

“A blue BMW.”

Frank’s eyes grew wide as saucers. “You’re serious?”

Angela shrugged. “Of course I am. What did you expect me to drive?”

Frank didn’t know how to answer that question anymore. Certainly made sense that one of the best agents in the CIA could afford a luxury car. One that Frank had only dreamed of owning for years.

“Ah, there’s our ride now,” pointed Matt.

“You hear that?” A faint beeping echoed. When the two shook their heads, Frank reached into his pocket expecting to see his phone lit up with text notifications. But the screen was blank. Not even a missed call from the rueful ex-fiancé. The beeping continued, like a ringing in Frank’s ear.

“I’ve only had one drink today,” mumbled Frank. “It can’t be that.”

As the blue BMW rolled along the stretched driveway, approaching the front of the hotel, Frank’s heart pounded against his chest. “It’s a bomb.”

“You sure it’s just been one drink?” Matt asked.

But Frank wasn’t listening. He was yelling to the sauntering tourists in Hawaiian printed dresses and shirts. “Everyone move! There’s a bomb!” He continued yelling, even after Angela yanked hard enough on his arm to pull it out of its socket.

“You’re sure? Frank, you’re causing mass panic.” Angela hissed her words more than spoke them. “If this is some sick joke—“

Before Angela could finish her sentence, Frank tackled her to the ground. Seconds before her BMW exploded.

 

To be continued…

 Tropical Fever – Part 4