>Lockdown

>While the here is away, the secondary characters will play.

***

Carlos drags up a stool at Hussongs’ bar and eyes that darling waitress he comes in here to see. One look at Vanessa and his day is made.

“Hola, quierda,” she says with a hand on his shoulder and that smile that could melt steel. “What can I get you?”

He wraps her fingers in his and lifts her hand to his mouth. “Are we talking personally or professionally here?”

Her black eyes spark. She laughs, soft and a little shy, then darts a look at the back door. “Your friend, he’s coming, no?”

Carlos’s shoulders sink. Yeah. Rio is on his way. Dammit, Carlos isn’t even the frigging hero in this story, yet he gives up just as much as Rio, but doesn’t get the billing of hero.

She better give him his own book, that’s all he could say.

“Si,” Carlos breathed against her hand. “He’ll be here soon.”

Her fingers slip from his and skim his jaw, caress the edge of his ear. Shivers tickle his neck, his head tips into her touch.

His cell vibrates. “Goddammit.”

He snaps it off his belt as Vanessa grins, lifts a shoulder in an oh-well gesture and sashays toward the other end of the bar.

Carlos looks at the screen. “This had better be good.”

Tick Calvert here. I’m texting on behalf of Rio. Seems he has no cell connection through cinder block walls. That’s what happens when you use substandard service like Altel. Save a few bucks, lose service. I’m sure that’s the best ICE could afford, Homeland Security being under public scrutiny and all. Y’all come over to the Feds and get Verizon and a Blackberry. Now thems digs. Anyway, he says to tell you to get your sorry ass over here and get him out. I second the motion. He’s a wet blanket.

Carlos frowns. Reads the message again. A tingle stirs in his chest, and with it a low chuckle. Within seconds, Carlos is slapping his knee, howling with laughter.

That is one part of being a hero I’m not missing.” When he catches his breath, he finds Vanessa looking at him with wide eyes, confused. He stuffs his phone away and waves her over. “Come here, quierda. the way She works, we’ve got lots of time together.”