Season Three

Episode Eight: Under My Skin

By SnSam

Part One

 

Miami, Florida
X-Austed Nightclub

It was another typical Friday night in the thriving beach city as people ducked in and out of the various clubs, shops, and restaurants lining the beach, going wherever the night took them. Perhaps no place was more alive and pumping than the X-Austed Nightclub, a small party joint nestled in the back of one of the alleys dotting the Miami streets. It was where anyone who was anyone hung out and its popularity was made obvious by the procession of people lining up at least two blocks, coming up with any excuse they could to get in.

Inside the club, Chloe Saunders glanced up from her drink as Kylie Minogue’s Can’t Get You Outta My Head blasted through the speakers to the delight of the clubbers. The young blonde had to admit the constant thumping of the bass was beginning to get on her nerves and she could feel a headache starting to blossom.

“Hey, Chloe—you okay?” Sophie Dawson yelled as she plopped in a seat next to her, two shots in her hands. The contents spilled over the rims, but the brunette paid them no mind.

Chloe took a long sip from her martini and shook her head. “I don’t think I’m feeling too well. I think I should head home!”

“We haven’t even been here for an hour! You’re seriously going to quit on me now?” She threw back one of her shots.

“We have an early casting with Stella in the morning. She’ll kill us if we’re late and she’ll kill you if you drag ass!”

“Crap! I forgot all about the casting call!”

“How could you forget? Stella’s been ramming it down our throats for the past week!”

Chloe and Sophie, not to mention a good portion of the patrons in the club, were models with the DeLisle Modeling Agency, a relatively small yet thriving agency run by Stella DeLisle. For the most part, Stella was a great agent to work with, pretty easygoing, except when it came to a major casting. Then she was a bitch along the lines of Janice Dickinson and Naomi Campbell, especially when it came to those she felt were her star models, which happened to include Chloe and Sophie.

Sophie slammed back her last shot and smiled at Chloe as a hiccup escaped her lips. “Chloe, since when do I remember anything that happened five minutes ago, much less the past week?”

Chloe smiled. “You’re impossible, you know that?”

Sophie flashed another smile. “Yeah, I know.” She reached over and grabbed her purse. “Okay, let’s get out of here.”

“I didn’t say you had to come with me,” Chloe said as she got up from the table just as Justin Timberlake’s Senorita emanated through the speakers.

“Two things,” Sophie said as they cut a path through the mass of partiers. “One, I’m not going to sit here and get wasted by myself and two, no way am I going to let you get cast over me. Gotta keep my A-game on, bitch.”

Chloe laughed as they finally pushed out of the door, Sophie stumbling onto the sidewalk. Luckily, Chloe was able to catch her before she face-planted onto the sidewalk. “So, this right here isn’t you wasted?”

Sophie shook her head and covered her mouth to keep the bile down. “I’m barely even buzzed, chick.”

Chloe rolled her eyes as she hailed a cab. No way in hell was she about to let Sophie walk the few blocks to their apartment complex. “Tell me that when you wake up in the morning.”

Opening the door as a cab finally came to a stop, Chloe pushed Sophie in and followed right behind her. Giving their destination to the cabbie, she sat back and glanced at her friend who was trying in vain not to get sick all over the interior.

“Hey, is she gonna puke in my cab?” the cabbie demanded, glancing at the two of them in his rearview mirror.

If you continue to drive like my dead grandmother. “No, she’ll be okay.”

“She better if you don’t wanna have to pay to have this car cleaned.”

I honestly don’t see how that would be an improvement, Chloe thought as she took in the torn upholstery, dirty floorboards, and grimy windows. Finally the cabbie pulled up at the Sunshine Apartments and Chloe pressed a twenty into his gloved hand. “Keep the change,” she muttered as she helped Sophie out of the car. Anything to stop your bitching.

Just as she closed the door, Sophie retched all over Chloe’s shoes. “Sorry, Chloe.”

This cannot possibly get any worse…“Don’t worry about it.” Chloe cringed as she walked Sophie up to her apartment. After making sure the sick girl was settled in, she went up one level to her own apartment. It wasn’t much to wink at, but it was still cozy in a way that made it hers. Not to mention the good deal she was able to get on it. Sure, it had its fair share of problems, what with the hot water being unpredictable and the air going out from time to time, but Evelyn, the landlady, was always quick to respond.

Unlocking her door, she quickly punched in her alarm code while kicking her ruined Jimmy Choos off at the same time. There goes the best three hundred dollars I’ve ever spent… Gathering her mail from the floor, she ignored the blinking light on her answering machine and made a beeline for the shower.

Emerging twenty minutes later, she slipped into her pajamas and turned in for the night.


****


The soft breeze didn’t carry so much as a whisper as the wispy figure slipped between the crack of the window and sill. It floated through the air, barely detectable, seeking out its prize in the form of a young woman sleeping peacefully in her bed, blissfully unaware of anything around her.

With luck, she would never even wake up as the figure set out to fulfill its desire.


****


“Thanks a lot for the help, jackass,” Sophie muttered to the retreating man’s back as he descended down the stairs and onto the sidewalk.

Precariously balancing the two lattes in her left hand, she used her other to push open the door to the lobby of the apartment complex. “I swear to God, this is the last time I go out of my way to be nice.”

Truth be told, she felt like crap after last night with the after-effects of the hangover ringing clear in her head. She wasn’t sure how she made it out of her apartment and to the local Starbuck’s without falling flat on her face, but she did. Sophie figured it was the least she could do after vomiting all over Chloe’s shoes. Of course, a four dollar coffee didn’t even come close to what she knew Chloe paid for the heels, but then again maybe it would teach her not to wear them when they went out to the clubs.

Oh well…let bygones be bygones and let’s go kick some ass in the casting today. Stepping out of the elevator at the third floor, Sophie walked to 312 and knocked while trying to balance the drinks again.

“Open up, Chloe, it’s me.”

No answer.

“Come on, I know you’re not asleep in there. Get your ass to the door.”

Still no answer.

Sophie pounded harder on the door. “Chloe!”

“Will you hold it down out here?” A woman with pink curlers in her silver hair holding a Yorkie opened the door across from Chloe’s apartment. “Some people are trying to sleep around here.”

Sophie turned around and flashed her million-watt smile. “Sure thing, Mrs. Turner.” The woman gave her a final hard stare before shutting the door. “Bitch.”

Sophie knocked on Chloe’s door again, but there was still no answer. Placing the frothy drinks on the floor, she dug her cell phone from her pocket and dialed her friend’s number. After three rings, it went straight to voicemail.

“Hey, this is Chloe…leave me a message.”

Sophie hung up the phone at the same time she remembered she had a key to Chloe’s apartment in her purse. Fishing it out, she unlocked the door and pushed it open, grabbing the coffees off the floor. She quickly darted in before Mrs. Turner could make another appearance.

“Chloe? You here?”

Not seeing any activity in the living room, Sophie walked towards the bedroom where a coppery, iron-like smell assailed her nostrils. “God, Chloe—what the hell are you doing in here?”

Slowing her gait, Sophie cautiously walked into the bedroom. She barely had to get into the room to see the carnage, the coffees dropping from her hands and spilling, adding to the bloody mess. She let out a bloodcurdling scream as she stumbled out of the door.

For the life of her, Sophie didn’t know if she would ever get the image of Chloe, sprawled out on the bed, her skin flayed from her body, her blood-tinged blonde hair framing her mutilated face, out of her head.


****


Two Days Later…


“Dude, I am telling you, this is so much better than the last time we were here,” Dean Winchester said as he flashed a smile at his brother.

Sam rolled his eyes as an amused grin lit up his own face. “Dean, we weren’t here all that long ago.”

“I know, but the last time there weren’t any hot women in some very revealing bikinis…” Dean’s voice trailed off and he held up his hand in a wave as a couple of said-clad beauties walked in front of the Impala, their eyes lingering on Dean and the car. “Besides, the weather sucked out loud.”

“Oh, dear God, shoot me now,” Sam muttered, taking in Dean’s reaction to the “sights” Miami had to offer. His mind immediately went to a cartoon wolf, howling and panting, all the while dressed in a zoot suit.

The brothers had only arrived in Miami an hour before and Dean immediately set out for the beaches, even though they were supposed to be on a case. Sam was willing to give Dean some free time, figuring they both could use it considering the hard time Dean had had letting Mia go. He knew it was difficult for his brother to say good-bye to the girl but there just wasn’t any other way around it. She was only being put more at risk by accompanying them on hunts and it was hard for Dean to cope with that. He never liked to see an innocent get hurt so if it meant leaving her with Joe for a while, then it needed to be done.

Dean tried to hide the pain from him, but Sam could see it clear as day. It was a shame Dean had to leave her behind just as their relationship was beginning to blossom. Sam couldn’t blame Dean for how he felt, considering how hard it was for him to get close to a woman in the first place. And then have to let her go…

“Should you really be checking out these women considering you left Mia with Bearwalker? I thought you two were still an item.”

Dean slowed to a stop at a streetlight and looked at Sam. “Dude, it’s not like I pinned her or anything. I am free to do some sight-seeing.”

“As long as Mia doesn’t know about it, right?”

Dean sighed. “You know what? I’m not having this conversation with you right now.” He nodded at Sam’s messenger bag on the floorboard. “Fill me in on the hunt again.”

“Would it kill you to pay attention the first time I tell you?”

Dean smiled. “It’s called selective hearing, Sammy. I only tune in when I want.”

“Yeah, I’ve noticed that.” Sam dug into his bag, pulling out a few printed sheets he’d gotten from the Internet before they headed down to Florida. “So far there have been five murders within the past two weeks.”

“What are the cops saying?”

“They’re blaming it on a serial killer, but they don’t have the evidence to back it up, besides the fact all of the victims were found in their beds, their skin gone.”

“Could it be a shapeshifter?”

“Nah—or at least, I don’t think so.”

“The vics—do they have anything in common besides, you know, the flaying?”

“Uh…” Sam shuffled through his papers until he came to one with a few notes written in his hasty scribble. “Looks like they were all models from the DeLisle Modeling Agency.”

Dean quirked a brow at Sam. “Seriously?”

“Yeah, why?”

“Dude, do you know what this means?’

Sam frowned as he tried to come up with an answer. Knowing Dean, it would be something completely ridiculous. “No, what?”

“My God, you really didn’t get into the whole college experience when you were at Stanford, did you?” Dean shook his head. “This means we’ll have to get into the agency to talk to them, seeing as they may know something. That means we’ll be up close and personal with some very hot chicks.”

Oh, yeah…completely ridiculous. “Does your mind ever stay out of the gutter?”

“Nope, it’s in permanent residence down there twenty-four seven.” Dean smiled. “You should drop in sometime.”

“And risk drowning?” Sam asked. “I think I’ll take a raincheck, thanks.”

“I’m telling you, Sammy, this is the kind of hunt we should always be on the lookout for.”

“If we did that, you’d never get anything finished, Dean. You’d be too busy gawking and drooling like a dog in heat.” He looked over to see Dean’s attention was no longer on him, instead focused on a busty blonde rollerblading down the sidewalk. “Point proven.”

“What?” Dean asked distractedly.

“We need to—Dean, are you listening?”

“Yeah, I’m listening…”

“Dean, I’m sitting in here, not out there.”

Dean finally turned his head back to Sam. “What were you saying?”

Sam let out an irritated sigh. “I was saying we need to decide how we’re going to go about this. We have a couple of options.”

“Which are what?”

“We can either go to the police station or go to DeLisle and see what they know.”

“Well, you know what I’m going to suggest.”

“Yeah, and I think we should talk to the police.” He let out another sigh as he returned the papers to his bag. “First, we need to see if we can find a motel.”

“You read my mind, Sammy.” Dean focused his attention once more on the beach.

“It’s gotta be out of town, Dean, unless you’ve all of a sudden come into some money I don’t know about.”

Dean pouted. “You mean we can’t have a beachfront view?”

“The only view we’re going to get is of the distant city lights if we’re lucky.”

“Man…” Dean grumbled as he drove the Impala out of the city limits. “Now the only view I’ll get is looking at your freakishly tall ass.”

“Dude, if you’re checking out my ass, you’ve got some serious problems.”

“Ha friggin’ ha,” Dean growled. “Bitch.”


****


Dean figured he either had to be very stupid or off his rocker to agree to allow his brother to drive the Impala unsupervised. It wasn’t that Dean didn’t trust Sam with the car—well, not entirely anyway—it was the fear of being separated from his baby. An entirely irrational reaction, yes, but one he could live with.

Of course, he found solace in the fact he would be surrounded by hot models within a few minutes.

“Dean, you will remember to get something accomplished while you’re here, right?” Sam asked as he pulled up to the entrance of the DeLisle Modeling Agency. The bright white stucco building stood out in contrast to all of the other red brick ones surrounding it.

“Sam, I’m a professional. I think I know how to do my job.”

Sam smirked. “Exactly. You think you know how.” He ducked when Dean tried to slap his head. “I’ll check in with you later.”

“Oh, please, take your time.” Dean pushed out of the car and leaned inside the window to glare at his brother. “If I see one scratch on this car, I will brain you.”

“You worry way too much, Dean.” Sam pulled away with a squeal of tires, leaving Dean behind to seethe at the horrible treatment of his cherished baby.

“I swear, I’m going to end up killing that kid…” Dean muttered, closing his eyes. Taking a deep, calming breath, he regained his composure enough before turning and striding into the looming building.

The inside of the agency was tastefully decorated in a modern décor. The stark white walls stood out in contrast against the bright, lime-colored sofas and chairs which were set off by the dark mahogany furniture. Chrome glinted brightly in the fluorescent lighting, its dazzling glare almost blinding as Dean walked in through the double doors.

Sauntering up to the large reception desk, Dean put his best smile forward for the snobbish-looking woman wearing a telephone headset. “Excuse me, I—”

“DeLisle Modeling Agency…please hold.” She pressed a button on the switchboard.

Dean smiled and arched a brow. “Hi, I—”

The woman didn’t fall for his charm as she held up a finger as the phone rang again. “DeLisle Modeling Agency…please hold.”

“Busy day, huh?”

Again, the phone rang and she repeated her earlier gesture.

Okay, this is getting old really fast. “Excuse me, I just—”

The phone rang yet again and before the receptionist could finish her greeting, Dean reached across the desk and disconnected the headset. “Do you mind?” she demanded, icy blue eyes blazing.

“Actually, I don’t.” Dean smiled, but it was now full of displeasure.

She rolled her eyes. “I swear to God, you models behave the same way, thinking you’re a gift to us all.”

She thinks I’m a model…awesome! Wait till Sammy hears this one… “Actually, I was wondering if you could point me in the direction of Stella DeLisle.” Thank God Sammy told me her name on the way here…

“So, if you’re not a model, then you must be here for the assistant’s job?” she asked impatiently.

Dean frowned. “The assistant’s job?”

The receptionist let out an irritated sigh, her stance clearly stating she didn’t have the time or patience for this.

“Yeah, the assistant’s job.” Dean’s smile became bigger. “Right—I am Stella DeLisle’s new assistant.”

The bottle blonde looked him up and down, causing Dean to do the same. Okay, so he didn’t look like the typical assistant with his torn jeans, black t-shirt, green button-down, and CAT boots, but if it got him in, then he would go with it.

The receptionist held out her well-manicured hand for her headset connection and nodded towards the bank of elevators. “Ms. DeLisle’s been expecting you—fourth floor. It opens right into her office.”

Dean handed the connection back with an impish grin. “Thank you so much for your time. I’ll be sure to let Stella know what an incredible help you’ve been.”

The receptionist glared at him before connecting her headset and returning her attention to the ringing phone. “DeLisle Modeling Agency…”

Whistling, Dean walked over and stood with a group waiting for one of the elevator cars to come down and take them to their destination. As he waited, he caught the eye of a cute redhead and smiled to himself as she blushed when he raised a suggestive brow. I definitely haven’t lost my touch…

Finally, the doors opened and Dean followed to group inside. He pressed the button for the fourth floor and stood back, exchanging pleasantries with the redhead.

“Going to the fourth floor, huh?” she asked, slightly impressed.

“Yeah, I have a meeting with Ms. DeLisle.” Dean smiled at her. “I’m Dean.”

The girl smiled back. “Gabby.” The doors closed, leaving Dean alone with another man as the car continued its ascent. The doors finally opened to the fourth floor and Dean got out, a little caught off-guard by the circus before him.

Chaos was the only way to describe it, plain and simple. People rushed to and fro like chickens with their heads cut off and it made Dean laugh a little. He wasn’t used to this fast-paced activity and he began to wonder if he had been a little stupid saying he was the new assistant.

Well, you wanted to get up close and personal, Winchester. It’s a little too late to tuck tail and run now so suck it up.

Stopping one of the “chickens,” Dean asked for Stella’s office and was pointed to a large room tucked in the middle of the chaos. Passing a cluster of models, he offered them a flirtatious smile as he strode for the open doorway.

Knocking softly, he startled the woman bustling around inside. “I didn’t mean to scare you. Are you Stella DeLisle, by any chance?” As she turned to look at him, he was instantly taken with her beauty—with long, raven hair and piercing green eyes that stood out in stark contrast to the ivory skin of her face.

She frowned in confusion. “Who are you? A new model?”

Dean chuckled. “Uh, no, but you’re the second person to ask me that.” He cleared his throat. “I’m here about the assistant’s job.”

“Oh.” She sounded surprised. “I’m sorry, but…you’re supposed to be a woman. At least, I think that’s what the hiring agency told me.”

Dean shrugged casually, silently hoping the actual hire wasn’t about to walk through the door. “I guess they made a mistake.” He hitched a thumb over his shoulder. “I can show myself out if you’d rather have a woman in here.”

Stella waved him away, offering him an apologetic smile. “No, please stay. I’m sorry—I just have a lot going on right now.” She pointed at a plush seat. “Please, sit down.”

Dean took the offered seat and she took one behind her large Plexiglas desk. “It seems pretty crazy out there.”

Stella barked out a laugh. “That’s actually par for the course around here.” Then she frowned. “But, yeah, it’s a little crazier than normal.”

“Why is that?”

Stella looked up at him narrowing her eyes.

“I’m sorry,” Dean said quickly. “I was just curious.”

Stella shook her head. “No, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t be trying to scare you off…Um, I didn’t manage to catch your name.”

“Dean Walsh.” He held out his hand and she shook it.

“Dean—that’s a nice, strong name.” She smiled. “Well, like I said, things are a little weird around here. In fact, you may want to get out while you still can.”

“I don’t scare easily.”

“That’s good because in this business, they will chew you up and spit you out if they even sense weakness. Not to mention scrape you off their fancy shoes like you’re dog crap.” She glanced out her door and became thoughtful. “I’ve just lost a few models recently and it’s been a little hard.”

“I’m sorry to hear that. What happened, if you don’t mind me asking?”

“I don’t mind. Hell, it’s been in all the papers and gossip rags around here.” She returned her gaze to Dean. “They were murdered.”

“That’s terrible.”

“Tell me about it.” She reached into her desk and palmed a couple of pills into her hand. Popping them in her mouth, she chased them down with some water. “I’ve got the police here constantly because they somehow think I’m involved, so business has been a little strained.”

“I would imagine so.” Dean frowned. “Why would the police think you’re involved?”

“Hell if I know. I guess because all of the victims came from here.”

“How many have you lost?”

“Five.”

“Wow, I’m really sorry to hear that. I hope it gets better for you.”

“Thanks.” She fingered the chain around her neck and Dean took notice of the charm hanging from it. It was a simple heart design, alternating between white and pink diamonds in a white gold setting. She stood up from her desk. “Well, let’s see about getting you to work.”

Dean followed her out of the office to another part of the floor where a photo shoot was underway. Oh, this day just keeps getting better and better, he thought as he found himself in the midst of a lingerie shoot. Two women were dressed scantily in lace underwear and bras, posing for the photographer.

“Excellent, ladies! Keep up the energy for me!” He snapped another shot. “Excellent work—it’s beautiful!”

“Marco!”

The photographer stopped at the mention of his name and let out a long sigh as he turned to look at her. He was a man of average height with close-cropped dark hair with black rimmed glasses framing hazel eyes. “I told you about interrupting my photo shoots, Stella.”

“And yet, I refuse to listen.” She smirked. “Imagine that.”

Marco turned and addressed his staff. “Everyone take five!” Handing his camera off to a passing girl, he focused on Stella. “What do you want, Stella?”

Stella pointed at Dean. “This is Dean Walsh—he’s my new assistant.”

Marco looked Dean up and down. “Am I supposed to be impressed?”

Dean frowned. What the hell was it with these people? To say that Stella and Marco didn’t get along with each other would be a major understatement. There was definitely something going on between the two of them.

“I’d like you to give him some things to do,” Stella said, clearly irritated.

“I thought he was your assistant?”

“He is, but I have to step out of the office for a bit.”

“That sounds like your problem, not mine.” He waved a hand around the room. “In case you failed to notice, I’m in the middle of a shoot.”

“Look, will you just do this or not?”

“Fine.” He took a bottle of water from the girl who’d taken his camera earlier. “But I don’t get paid to baby-sit.”

“Now, you wait just—” Dean began but Stella cut him off.

“I’ll be back as soon as I can.”

“Whatever,” Marco muttered.

Dean watched her go and for a fleeting moment, he was tempted to chase her down. Instead, he cleared his throat and looked at Marco. “So, what do you need me to do?”

Marco rolled his eyes. “Just stay out of my way, pretty boy.”

* * * *


Miami Police Department


Pulling up to the police station, Sam still couldn’t believe the audacity of his brother. Give Dean a group of hot women, especially if they happened to tie into a hunt, and he was a happy camper. Dean acted as if he’d never seen a woman before, knowing full well he had one waiting for him back at Joe’s. Maybe it was Dean’s way of coping with the loss, Sam couldn’t be sure.

Reaching into the glove compartment, he pulled out the small box containing their trove of aliases. Choosing one, he was about to put the box back when a sudden, weird thought told him to grab another one. He wasn’t sure what made him do it, but he’d learned long ago to go with his feelings. Placing the box back, he got out of the Impala and made his away across the busy street to the steps of police headquarters.

Pushing through the double doors, he was instantly bombarded with pandemonium. Officers darted this way and that, taking statements, booking criminals and dealing with hysterical citizens. Quite a few sat at theirs desks, filling out paperwork and answering phones while others tried in vain to keep the mess organized.

Sam tried his best to appear as if he belonged there and attempted to flag down a couple of officers for help. They either didn’t notice him or chose to act as if he wasn’t there.

“Do you need some help, sir?”

Sam had to look down to see a short, pudgy man with thinning brown hair who was peering up at him through black rimmed glasses. “I was wondering if I could speak to someone in charge of the DeLisle murders?”

“Then you’re looking for Lieutenant Mason.” He nodded to an open doorway nestled behind the myriad of desks. “If you’re lucky, she’s in her office.”

Sorry, Officer, but luck has never been on my side. “Thanks,” Sam said smiling.

The little officer returned the gesture. “No problem, kid. Just don’t come looking for me if she tears you a new one.”

Frowning, but not having the chance to ask the officer what he meant before he scurried away, Sam walked through the maze of desks towards the lieutenant’s office. Coming to the open door, he rapped softly on the frame.

Turning in her chair, a very attractive woman with long, wavy brown hair and brown eyes held up a waiting finger to Sam as she continued to talk on the phone.

“Janet, I told you I would give you the story as soon as I get it…No, I am not BS’ing you…You think you could do any better? I didn’t think so…I’ll call a press conference as soon as I find out anything new…Yes, you’ll be the first one I call.” Slamming down the phone, she put her head on her desk. “Damn reporters—I swear they were vultures in another life.”

Sam swallowed nervously and cleared his throat to remind her he was standing there. Her head shot up instantly and she narrowed her eyes. “Who the hell are you?”

“Um…my name is Sam Walsh.”

“You’re not a reporter, are you? Because if you are, I swear to God I will toss you out on your ass so hard you won’t be able to sit on it for weeks.”

Thank God I grabbed that other badge before coming in here. I guess maybe my luck is changing for once. “No, actually I’m a behaviorist with the FBI.” He pulled out his phony badge and flashed it at her. “May I sit down?”

“That depends—are you here to take my case from me?”

“No, nothing like that,” Sam assured her. “We’ve been giving it a gander and they thought I might be able to help you out and give you some idea of what kind of killer you could be dealing with.”

“Oh.” Mason’s face finally softened and she pointed at the chair across from her desk. “Have a seat then.”

“Thanks.” Sam sat down and pulled a small notepad and pen from his pocket. “I’m sorry about not calling first.”

“No, it’s okay. I’m afraid I’ve been a little uptight lately, what with the murders and the fact my higher-ups are just looking for a reason to demote me.”

“I’m sorry to hear that.”

Mason shrugged. “It’s not your fault. It’s just the way it is being a woman in a power position on the police force. But you didn’t come to hear me complain, did you, Agent Walsh?”

“It’s Sam, and believe me, the last thing I want to do is get you canned,” Sam said and found himself meaning it. He didn’t know what it was about the lieutenant, but he found himself liking her, not to mention being attracted to her.

“I appreciate that, Agent Walsh.” As Sam opened his mouth to protest his name, she cut him off. “Sorry, but I’ve got to keep some professional decorum. So, what did you need to know?”

“What exactly can you tell me about the murders?”

Mason sighed. “I’m afraid there’s not much—there’s no sign of forced entry, no witnesses, no evidence of any kind left behind.”

“So, you’re pretty much at a loss?”

Mason nodded. “It looks like it. The only thing we know for sure is that there’s been five murders already and I don’t see any signs of it slowing down.”

“What about the victims?”

“What about them?”

“Have you found any connection between them?”

Mason arched a brow. “You mean, besides the fact they were all models with the DeLisle Modeling Agency?”

Sam nodded.

“No, there’s nothing else to connect them. We figure this wacko just has it in for models.”

Sam frowned. “You don’t seem too surprised by that motive.”

Mason shrugged a shoulder. “Miami is a city full of beautiful people. Someone’s bound to resent that. I’ve seen far more people around here kill for less.”

“Can’t argue with you there. The world is full of crazy people.”

“You’re telling me.” She leaned forward in her chair. “So, what do you think we’re dealing with here?”

Something supernatural… “Uh, well, it could be like you said—someone killing because they’re jealous. It’s hard to live in a place like this and feel like you don’t fit in. This offender’s M.O., it’s brutal, like he wants to punish his victims. It’s like he’s working out some kind of frustration and taking it out on the vics.”

Mason nodded. “I’ll agree with you there.”

“Do you have the autopsy report on the latest victim…” He consulted his pad. “Chloe Saunders?”

Mason stood up and grabbed her suit jacket from the back of her chair. “I was actually on my way to get it. Come with me and you can talk to the doc yourself.”

* * * *

DeLisle Modeling Agency


Dean really hated the feeling of being used. Never mind he did it to the female population on a regular basis; it wasn’t the same as being someone’s “go-fer,” completing mundane tasks he was more than sure they could handle themselves. Yet another reason Dean was thankful for hunting and the simple life it gave him.

After doing pretty much nothing but sitting around as Marco ignored him, he was now carting around lunch and delivering it to the appropriate people. As the aromas wafted through the air, teasing his nostrils, he wanted nothing more than to find a closet and pig-out on the food, healthy or not. Why the hell did I talk myself into this?

As two models sauntered by, waving flirtatiously, he knew exactly why he was doing this. The tiny voice in the back of his head wouldn’t stop chiding him about Mia, that essentially what he was doing was cheating on her. Then again, it was like he told Sammy earlier: He wasn’t pinned to her or anything—he was only sticking his toes in the water while he was down here.

Delivering the too-healthy food to everyone—God, have these people ever heard of grease?—he walked towards Stella’s office to drop off her grilled chicken salad. The door was standing slightly ajar and as he lifted his hand to knock, he heard her angry voice.

“I don’t care what you think you’re doing! No, I will not sit here and continue to be made a fool of…No, I don’t think you’re listening to me…”

Dean thought about stepping away, allowing Stella to have her privacy, but what she said next had him reconsidering that.

“I’m not going to let my business—my life—be run into the ground and I don’t care what it takes, I’m putting a stop to this once and for all!”

 

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The Winchester Chronicles

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