Something About You Page 15

“Agent Pallas! Agent Pallas!” The reporters shouted over each other, trying to get to him.

Jack ignored them and headed toward the front door. The female reporter from the local NBC affiliate, whose interest in him lately seemed to go beyond a mere professional level, fell into stride alongside him with her cameraman in tow.

“Agent Pallas—we just got word about the Martino case. As the FBI agent in charge of the investigation, what do you think about the fact that Roberto Martino will continue to walk the streets of Chicago as a free man?” She shoved her microphone in Jack’s face.

Maybe it was due to extreme sleep-deprivation. Or maybe it was because of the fact that (according to the psychologist he had been ordered to see every week) he had some lingering “rage” issues related to his undercover work and capture. Or maybe, possibly, it had something to do with the fact that he’d been tortured for two days by the guy. But before he realized what he was doing, Jack fired back a reply to the reporter’s question.

“I think the assistant U.S. attorney has her head up her ass, that’s what I think. They should’ve assigned the case to somebody with some f**king balls.”

Every television station in Chicago led off their six o’clock evening news with his tirade.

And then they re-aired it again, on the ten o’clock news. Of course by that point, word had spread to the national correspondents that a Chicago FBI special agent had verbally bitch-slapped an assistant U.S. attorney on live camera, and then his comments were everywhere: CNN, MSNBC, the Today show, Nightline, Larry King Live, and everything in between. Not to mention that the footage earned the dubious distinction of being the most downloaded video on YouTube for the entire week.

Needless to say, Jack’s boss was not pleased.

“Are you out of your f**king mind?” Davis demanded to know when he hauled Jack into his office the following morning. “You’re the one with your head up your goddamn ass, Pallas, making a comment like that on national television!”

Things pretty much went downhill from there. Some feminist group began making noise in the media, claiming that Jack’s comment about assigning the case to somebody with “balls” was—taken literally—a sexist statement that only a male prosecutor could’ve handled such a tough case.

Which is when the Department of Justice stepped in.

Despite his initial outburst over the situation, Davis worked for two days to appease the DOJ. He emphasized that Jack was Chicago’s most talented and dedicated agent and suggested, in terms of a disciplinary action, that Jack issue a formal apology to Ms. Lynde and the U.S. attorney’s office and be put on six months’ probation. The lawyers at the DOJ said they would take Davis’s recommendation under advisement.

That Monday morning, Jack got into the office early to start working on his apology. He knew he’d been out of line, both with the comments he’d made to the reporter and the things he’d said to Cameron before that. Admittedly, he’d handled the situation poorly. Very poorly. On top of the shock and frustration he’d felt when hearing her news, the fact that he’d come to trust her had only increased his anger. But at this point, he hoped that they could somehow figure out a way to get past the situation and move on.

He had left the door to his office open while he worked, and after a few minutes of staring at a blank computer screen—apologies didn’t exactly come easy to him—he was surprised to hear voices coming from Davis’s office. He’d thought he was the only person in that early.

Davis sounded angry. From across the hall, Jack couldn’t pick up much of the conversation, other than to hear his boss say the words “bullshit” and “overreacting.” Since Jack didn’t hear anyone else speak, he wondered if Davis was on the phone. But regardless of whomever Davis was talking to, Jack had a pretty good idea who he was talking about. He got up from his desk and headed to his door when—

Davis’s office door flew open and Cameron Lynde stepped out.

Catching sight of Jack, she stopped in her tracks. A look crossed her face, one that Jack knew well. Over the years, he’d seen that expression many times when someone saw him approaching.

Caught.

Cameron covered the look quickly, and coolly met his gaze across the hallway. She turned and left, saying nothing.

When Davis stepped out of his office next, he also saw Jack. He shook his head somberly.

That afternoon, the Department of Justice issued an order that Special Agent Jack Pallas be transferred out of Chicago immediately.

Jack had a feeling he knew just who he could thank for that.

“WHATEVER YOU’RE THINKING about, you’d probably be better off leaving it in the past.”

Jack glanced over and saw Wilkins staring at him. “I wasn’t thinking about anything.”

“Really? ’Cause the car stopped three minutes ago and we’ve just been sitting here in front of this house.”

Jack looked around to get his bearings—shit, they were just sitting there. Nice to see his exceptionally fine-tuned special agent powers of observation were intact. He blamed their witness in the backseat for this. She distracted him. It was time to put an end to that.

He called over his shoulder. “You’re free to go, Ms. Lynde.”

No response.

He turned around.

“She’s out like a light,” Wilkins told him.

“So do something about it.”

Wilkins peered into the rearview mirror. “Yoo-hoo, Cameron—”

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