On the Beat
After the chat with her mother, Xandra needed to think. Not
wanting to intrude on Logan's kindness again, she made her
way to Kurt's, and settled down at the bar.
"Xandra! How are you!" Jean sat on the stool next to Xandra,
who managed a weak smile. "Are you okay?"
Xandra leaned forward, and sighed. "Ah've just had a rough
Jean placed the tray she was holding on the bar, and glanced
up at Kurt, who wandered over.
"Is something wrong, Maedchen?" ::note,
Maedchen = girl, your German expert Kaze ^___^::
In spite of herself, Det. Thorne grinned. "Wow, Ah never
knew Ah had so many friends!" The she got serious. "Well,
if ya really wanna know... Ah dumped Cody. There ain't any
other word fer it, Ah dumped him. But Ah guess that's a good
thing. Hoever, the harrassment Ah'm getting from him ain't."
Jean hugged Xandra. "I'm so proud of you! Kurt and I saw
how unhappy you were with him. We're so glad you finally plucked
up the courage to get rid of him."
Xandra stared at the two of them. Was she really that readable?
Then she remembered that Jean was a telepath, and shrugged.
She jumped in fright as Kurt slammed down a drink in front
"Southern Comfort, on the house ... As long as you tell us
what else is the matter."
Xandra grinned at the two of them. "Ah know what you two
are up ta, ya just want gossip!"
Jean rolled her eyes. "Oh no, Kurt! Our secrets been found
"Ya can quit wi' tha melodrama, hon. Ah'll tell ya, already!"
She settled into a more comfortable position. "Plus there's
a case ah'm workin' on - confidential, ya understand. It ain't
goin' well. Ah've just talked to mah mom about it, ah gotta
think things over..."
"We had better leave you be, for now, then, Alexandra. But
you must tell us when you have more gossip, ja?"
Xandra laughed and nodded. "You bet ya, Kurt. 'Specially
if it gets me free drinks!" Xandra turned to look at Jean
and was surprised to see a look of wistfulness on her face.
She twirled a lock of hair around her finger as she spoke.
"I ... I haven't seen Logan in here for a while. Is he well?"
Xandra blinked in astonishment. She had never once considered
that the beautiful redhead would return Logan's tender feelings
toward her. It seemed that Jean was sensittive enough to see
the tender interior inside Logan's rough and hardened exterior
mask. Well, Xandra wished them all happiness. Maybe she'd
even do a little matchmaking!
"He's fine, Jean. Ah'll tell him ya asked next tahm ah see
him, get him ta pop in."
Jean expression instantly lit up. "Really? Thank you, Xandra.
We miss him in here..." Kurt flashed at amused glance back
at Jean, who blushed. "Anyway, I'd better get on with doing
my job and leave you to your thoughts!" She picked up the
tray and wandered off, leaving Xandra alone. She sighed, and
settled her head down to rest on her chin, to think over her
He couldn't take his eyes from her. The young woman - the
Detective, he reminded himself - sat at the bar, staring into
her drink. She had this air of innocence, maybe even naiveté,
that made her seem vulnerable, made him want to protect her
from all the evil in the world that she was apparently oblivious
to. He observed her, her every movement, the way she tapped
her feet to an unknown rhythm, the way she sat on the barstool,
like a child, her knees pressed together timidly, oblivious
to her own attractiveness and the glances she drew from the
other men around.
His eyes wandered over her well-shaped body, her slender
arms, her chin, that rested in her hand, while she was deep
in thoughts, entangled in her own world, where she lived in
childish innocence. Eventually, his gaze was drawn to her
eyes, and behind those deep green seas he could see a harsh
reality. Like his, hers were eyes that had seen too much and
he realized that her own world was neither one of naiveté
nor innocence, but one of hurt and pain. And though he could
see determination there, he wanted nothing else but take away
every burden she was carrying, take her in his arms and hold
her tight forever.
She was the most intriguing person he had ever met, full
of contradictions, of conflicts. She was his soulmate. She
was the ultimate challenge. She was ... the enemy, he reminded
The mask of Ra was being touted as one of the most precious,
priceless things on earth. Made of pure gold with inlaid Lapiz
Lazuli and studded with diamonds, and a trim made of a substance
the scientists had not yet identified, the Egyptian treasure
was a wonder to behold.
Xandra's eyes narrowed as she gazed, not at the mask but
around it, at the security devices. They were impressive enough.
To the untrained eye, it was merely surrounded by a glass
cabinet. But Xandra knew that the cabinet was extremely touch-sensitive,
and was surrounded by camera's, motion detectors, lazers and
countless other mechanisms. And she knew they wouldn't be
enough. At her mothers behest, she had gone away and thought
about where Mr. X might strike next, and since Mystique had
hinted that it wouldn't be obvious, she had thought hard.
The Mask of Ra, though priceless, was not an obvious candidate.
It had arrived in New York only yesterday, unannounced. It
had been flown straight in from Cairo, and the museum curators
were so excited, that they had sent the crown jewels that
had previously found their home in the glass case home to
their obscure European country. Since the mask was staying
for only two days, it left virtually no time for planning,
the security was tight, and it was a pinch worth having. Tempting
bait indeed, for the Gambit.
Xandra sighed and sat down on the veiwing bench. So many
things to think about, and right now, the main thing on her
mind was not related to the case. It was Cody. Not remorse
for having left him, but utter fury at the way he had treated
her since. As though she was a prize to be won back. A trophy
to stand by his side to make him look good. But she was no
prize and she wasn't going back to Cody. She-
"It's beautiful, no?" The strangely accented voice came from
beside her. She glanced at the man who had joined her on the
seat, and her eyes widened.
Ah could say th' same ahbout you, hon, she thought.
The man was exquisitely handsome, and she decided right there
that if she were to have a relationship 'on the rebound',
it would be with him.
"The mask ... such an un'spected treaure t' grace our city.
"Ya're French?" Xandra asked. The man smiled and shook his
head, red-on-black eyes gleaming mischeivously at something
Xandra couldn't fathom.
"Non, I from N'Awlins. A Cajun." That was where the ultra-sexy
accent came from, then!
"Oh, Ah'm from Down South mahself. Caldecott County in Mississippi.
One o' th' dullest places on earth, so Ah won't be insulted
if ya ain't heard o' it."
"Strange how such a beautiful rose bloomed in such a dull
place," he grinned and kissed her hand. To her horror, Xandra
couldn't stop the blush that rose to her cheeks.
"Ha ha," she forced herself to laugh weakly, and sat there
in miserable silence for a few seconds, trying to think of
something so witty and utterly adorable to say that the man
would ask her out to dinner and maybe back to his place afterwards.
She failed miserably, and the man rose, kissing her hand again.
"I mus' go now, but I t'ink we'll meet 'gain, Ms. Thorne."
The man walked away, and she enjoyed the view. The next few
minutes were taken up with thinking about how gorgeous the
guy was, then frowning. She was sure she hadn't told him her
name... She cursed loudly, making the other inhabitants of
the room start violently. Red-on-black eyes marked him as
a mutant. Auburn hair was tied back and probably jaw-length.
He was young and gorgeous enough that he must be horny. Add
to that the delicious smell of Farenheit that still hung in
the air, a silent, graceful walk and a New Orleans accent
to back up her Theives Guild theory, and she was almost certain
she had her guy.
Xandra leapt up and sprinted out of the room, skidding to
a halt in the corridor. The guy was nowhere to be seen. Picking
the path that led to the way out, she ran, checking every
room and finding nothing. Standing still and defeated in the
last room, home to a complete dinosaur skeleton, she swore
and put her hands on her hips in frustration. It was then
that she noticed something fluttering down from the sky. A
feather? A petal? She caught it and found it to be a note.
"It seems I'm winning the game so far. Let's see who wins
this round. "
She stared at it. It was the exact same writing as the note
she'd found on her desk. So it was him! She looked up quickly.
Where could the note have come from, in this one level room?
Not the air-conditioning system, surely? Then it hit her.
The sky light.
She bolted out of the room, and up the stairs. When a security
officer tried to stop her getting onto the roof, she flashed
her police badge and pushed him out of the way.
When she got there, the man was stood, waiting for her, hands
in his pockets. She stared at him incredulously, and reached
for her gun.
"Freeze!" She yelled, and pointed it at him, suspicious of
some sort of trap.
He put his hands up, a gentle, teasing look on his face.
"O' course, ma cheri. I jus' wanted ta warn ya dat dere be
more dang'rous criminals dan m'self 'bout. Y' should ask y'
friend Kitty about it ... An' me." With that last, he launched
himself off the roof.
"No!!!" Screamed Xandra, and dove to grab his hand. She blinked,
leaning over the roof top. No street pizza. He wasn't grabbing
onto a window below. Where the hell was he!?! She sat down
in frustration, knowing that she'd only been allowed to see
him for a reason - to make the 'game' fair, and for him to
pass on his message. But what on earth did it mean? At least
she knew where to start. She set off for Kitty's house.
Continued in Chapter
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