I finally found my voice and spoke up, "I have an appointment, I'm sure. Just ask Agent Dickens."
His phone buzzed. "Just a minute." Placing it to his ear, he arched an eyebrow.
"Are you sure, Boss? All right. If you say so."
When he clicked off, he said, "I guess you weren't lying after all."
Relief washed over me as I sighed. But my stomach was tied up into more nervous knots. I didn't realize I'd be talking to someone this important.
"Um...where is his office?" I asked.
He snorted at me. "You're not allowed to go traipsing through the building. You'll need a badge to open the locked doors."
Pointing at a guy who walked over, he said, "Agent Williams will take you to the director's office."
The young guy smiled and said, "You're Mr. Day? The director is waiting for you. Just follow me."
As we ambled toward the double doors, a buzz rang out and they opened automatically.
My eyes drank in all the sights of a real live FBI building. It was so cool to me. In these windowed offices, agents were solving the most important crimes of our country: terrorism, corruption, cybercrime, organized crime, espionage, drug trafficking.
As we neared Agent Dickens' office, my heart hammered in my chest. I spotted him working on his computer.
"Hey, boss, here he is."
"Thank, Williams." He didn't look up from his screen. "Have a seat, Mr. Day."
Skin feeling like it was being pricked by needles, I sank into the seat in front of his desk.
Agent Williams asked, "Can I get you something? Coffee? A soda? Water?"
I didn't get a good look at him before, but Agent Williams was very attractive. I tried not to stare at him.
"No thanks. I'm good." I waved him off even though my mouth felt like the Sahara Desert.
After he left, Agent Dickens' said, "I was very glad you contacted our office, Mr. Day, and I wanted to talk with you personally about what you know. The Fortner family has been on our radar for quite sometime."
This shocked me. "They have?"
"Yes, they are connected to a famous crime family in Italy--the Corleonesi's. Have you heard of them?"
I shook my head.
"We just don't have enough evidence to pin them to any crimes. Unfortunately, we followed up with Briar Blackwell and she told us no harm befell her at the hands of the Fortners."
"She's lying to you. She told me herself that Daniel Fortner beat her."
"Unfortunately, that's not enough for us to get involved. We believe they are a part of a larger network of underground money laundering, extortion, sex trafficking, blackmail, and political corruption, just to name a few crimes. But the hard evidence has been difficult for us to obtain. We like to work from the inside of these families but haven't found a leak. They are a tight group. That's why I was pleased you contacted us and was able to come meet us in San Myshuno. Tell me all you know about this family."
"I don't know much, just that people are scared of them. They say the Fortners own the police."
He cocked his head. "Have you seen coercion of a police officer? Bribery?"
I shook my head. "I've only heard stuff about them. That's why I didn't go to the police. Brindleton Bay seems to be owned by the Fortners."
He nodded. "You did the right thing in coming to us. I was hoping you had more information for us to go on, though. Without overt evidence, we can't charge them with anything. Are you sure you don't know more?"
I shrugged, feeling helpless. "I-I don't. I just thought you guys should know about the problems with people being scared of them."
Agent Dickens' rose from his desk and came around. "I appreciate you taking the time to come speak with me about it, Mr. Day. Although it may seem like nothing is happening, I want to assure you, we are taking measures to follow up."
I stood as he gave me a strong handshake. The meeting was already coming to an end? But nothing was accomplished and I came so far out of my way.
"I hope you can do something about it," I said, weakly. "I don't think people should be scared of them. If I can help you, I will."
"You should't involve yourself. These people are considered very dangerous. Just know we are investigating. If you see something, by all means call me. You have my phone number."
And just like that, I was escorted by Agent Williams out of the building.
Was the FBI investigating? Or was this a huge scam by Agent Dickens in keeping me out of the Fortner's way? Maybe Dickens' was corrupt. My God, I was so confused by the whole thing. Why would the director himself want to speak with me? Wouldn't the agents in charge of investigating the Fortners be the ones to talk to me?
None of it sat right in my gut.
Once I got home, I went straight to work on my own investigation. And if the feds couldn't do anything, I'd send a message directly to Daniel Fortner not to mess with Briar.
I looked up where his office was in downtown Brindleton Bay. The Fortner's owned a bunch of hotels and restaurants plus a company called Knight Industries which had branches in Newcrest, San Myshuno, Bridgeport, and their most recent, Brindleton Bay.
I knew Daniel worked at that office during the day, so I'd decided to tail Daniel and see where I could move against him. If he was going to beat up Briar and scare her into silence, I'd pummel his ass to the ground on my own.
Waiting at his office around 5 PM, he was escorted to his limousine by his bodyguards. I tailed them until they stopped at a palacial hotel.
I spotted the bastard getting out.
But he always had those goons with him. How could I get to him with them around?
And then my eyes widened. "What the fuck is she doing here?"
Next chapter will be posted Monday, 12/18
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