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Surveillance – Ch. 3

“We’ve got a visitor,” Reese said, his voice low in Finch’s ear. Fingers stilled on his keyboard, Finch looked up from the monitors, staring into the distance as he gave Reese his undivided attention. “Taxi just dropped off a woman. Looks like a pro.”

“And right on time,” Finch said, glancing at his watch. The most recent text that Reese had intercepted had consisted of nothing more than a time, sent to a disposable cell phone. Not much to go on. Leaning back in his chair, Finch absently rubbed the back of his aching neck, feeling the hard, knotted ridge of scar tissue under his fingers.

Reese had been tailing the mysterious Mr. James Allen for two days, but had turned up nothing more interesting than the utter banality of this man’s life. He had no family, no friends, and no job – he spent his time eating in diners and taking walks in Central Park, browsing in bookstores and listening to street performers. Finch hadn’t had much better luck. Mr. Allen appeared to be living off the dividends from a wide range of investments, negating his need for employment, but that was the bulk of the information Finch had managed to dig up. He had no criminal record, wasn’t involved with any of the wrong people, had no influence, and as far as either of them could tell, was completely unimportant. Except for the fact that the Machine had come up with his number.

“He’s letting her inside,” Reese reported.

“Maybe he intends to kill her,” Finch said. It didn’t seem likely, but he needed to do something, to try to puzzle it out. He enjoyed working a good puzzle, but not when he didn’t have any of the pieces.

“I doubt it,” Reese said. “They’re being very…friendly. I don’t think this is the first time.”

“Maybe she’s tired of being the girlfriend-for-hire.” Finch knew he was shooting in the dark, but time was running out. Not knowing how much time he had was frustrating, the only sure thing that it was always slipping by. “Do you have a name?”

“They’re not talking much,” Reese said. “He’s taking her into the bedroom…” There was a pause, then Reese made a strange sound in his throat.

“Mr. Reese?”

“They left the blinds open,” Reese said, his soft voice suddenly husky, a smoky whisper that made Finch shift uncomfortably in his chair. “She’s giving him a blowjob.”

Finch closed his eyes, trying to conjure up some dry remark, but he could think of nothing to say. He considered telling Reese to get back to him when they were finished; he thought about asking for a play-by-play – he wound up saying nothing. After a moment, Reese continued.

“Her dark lipstick is smeared across his skin. He’s got his fingers tangled in her hair…He’s fucking her mouth- What a pity.”

“Pardon?” Finch said, his voice hoarse.

“He’s obviously never had a good blowjob. It’s a pity.”

“And I suppose you’re an expert on the subject?” Finch asked, trying not to imagine the research involved in becoming a fellatio expert.

Reese chuckled. “No, but I was fortunate enough to know someone who was.” He paused, as though waiting for Finch to ask, and when Finch didn’t, Reese elaborated anyway. “In the mid-nineties, I was on assignment in the Bahamas-”

“The Agency sent you on all the lousy assignments, didn’t they?”

“Quite a few,” Reese replied and Finch could almost see his crooked grin. “I was assigned to watch a professor at the College of the Bahamas in Nassau and I kept crossing paths with this college student…” Reese fell silent, perhaps lost in memory, perhaps distracted by the view through the window. Finch waited. Finally, Reese sighed. “It was the best six weeks of my life.”

“Nice to see where your priorities lie, Mr. Reese.”

“I’m not just talking about the sex,” Reese said, “although it was pretty damn fantastic. Have you ever met someone who made you feel…truly alive, like the world was a different place when you were with them?”

Finch shifted uncomfortably in his chair; he’d promised Reese he would never lie to him, but that was too personal. He deflected the question with one of his own. “What was her name?” Reese was silent for so long, Finch began to wonder how memorable a month and a half could be if he couldn’t remember her name twenty years later.

“His name was Jade,” Reese said finally.

Finch reached up and adjusted his earpiece – he couldn’t have heard that right. “I’m sorry, did you say his name?”


Now it was Finch’s turn to sit in silence, digesting and analyzing this new information. Finally, he sat forward in his chair, his hands finding the keyboard as he returned to what he’d been doing. “Unless you have something to say that’s pertinent to this case, Mr. Reese, I’d appreciate radio silence from now on.”

“Acknowledged,” Reese said shortly. “They’re still fucking.” A long, tense silence filled the distance between them, broken only by the staccato sound of Finch’s typing. “You know, Finch,” Reese said suddenly, “I never would have taken you for a homophobe.”

“I beg your pardon?” Finch said, his brows knitting. “What the hell-”

“You didn’t have a problem with me talking until I mentioned that I once had a male lover-”

“I didn’t have a problem,” Finch said through tight lips, “until I realized that you were pulling another asinine prank, like that stunt in the alley. You forget, Mr. Reese, that I’ve read your file from cover to cover. I know everything about you, and I know you aren’t gay.”

“No, I’m not,” Reese said, “but with Jade it didn’t matter-”

“Effeminate? Transvestite?”

“Not hardly,” Reese said. “He was six three and worked on a sugar cane plantation to pay his tuition. Finch, you’re not listening. He was the most amazing person I had ever met and it didn’t matter whether he had tits or a dick, I fell in love with him.” Finch didn’t know how to respond. This confession was not something he had ever expected. After a moment, Reese continued, his voice softer. “He was quiet and thoughtful and brilliant, and he had this way of looking at you that could make you feel like he was first person to really see you.

“I remember one morning, about a week before I had to leave, he woke me up early and we went outside to watch the sun rise. The sea was calm and dark, and then the sky began to silver, and the water turned to pewter. The clouds turned so many shades of pink and lavender and gold – it was beautiful. I turned to say something to him, and he had his eyes closed. I asked what he was doing – he was missing the sunrise – and he told me that when we look with our eyes, we see through the filter of our mind, but when we look with our hearts, only then can we see clearly. So we stood and watched the sunrise with our eyes closed.”

“Why did you leave?” Finch asked after a moment.

“I was reassigned.”

“Did you ever go back?”



“And he’d been killed,” Reese said, his quiet voice taking on that lost, empty quality it had had when they’d first met. “They said it was an accident in the sugar cane fields, that he wasn’t paying attention and he took a machete to the neck.”

“I’m sorry, Reese,” Finch said.

Reese grunted acknowledgement and they lapsed into silence.

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