I couldn't help it. I burst out laughing. "Hi, Paul. Jake's just been giving us a dressing down for the way we handled the airport case. You may as well come in and help. He's starting to repeat himself."
"Margaret?" Paul asked, shocked. I swung my feet off the desk and turned to face the normally unflappable Texan. I was starting to get a bit miffed at all the reaction. First Walt, then Jake, and now Paul! Didn't these clowns have eyes in their heads?
"Yes, Paul, it's me. Don't call me Margaret and pull up a stump," I sighed. Sally's mouth twitched at my tone of voice, and I shot her a dirty look.
Paul murmured something about there not being enough material to my outfit to "dress, never mind dress down." He pulled up a chair between Sally and I. "What happened?" he asked.
"Our instructions," I began. I pulled my notepad from my purse and flipped to the latest entries. I was grateful for Paul's business-like tone. "Our instructions were to pair off. Ron and Stacy covered the bus depot. Pete and Lori took Union Station." I looked at Jake, then Paul. "After Mark came unglued last time, I figured Terry would be the better partner. Terry wouldn't take any guff from Mark, and he's big enough to sit on Mark, if necessary. They took Terminal 2, while Sally and I took the International flights out of Terminal 1."
Jake glared at me. My talent for mimicry was well known, especially for American and British accents. "Cooee, mate! Y'dint 'spect me to leave Mark with a new sheila loik Sally, didja? 'N Ah'da strung him up for shore, ef'n Ah hadda baby-sit him agin," I observed, switching accents in mid-complaint.
Jake closed his eyes once, then stared straight at me.
I raised an eyebrow at his expression, and wisely continued. "One member was to be dressed as if for business travel, the other for pleasure," I recited. "We decided that I would do the pleasure travel thing,..." Jake looked skeptical.
"That's right," Paul interrupted. "You and Roy took a tail there last month, didn't you? From the race track as I remember." He looked me over quickly. "Yup, that's a change of outfit."
I nodded, relieved at having Paul's support. Jake was acting strangely about all this, that's for sure. "Sally has the details of what we discovered." I nodded to Sally, who, a bit shaky at first, then with greater confidence, reported our activities of the morning, complete with facts and figures pulled from her briefcase. We'd gotten most of the information we needed to wrap up the case.
"Photos?" Paul whispered, under cover of Sally's recital. I nodded, not looking at him.
As Sally finished up, Jake looked squarely at me. "And now, you're going to explain why the RCMP are on my case about sending whores out, disguised as P.I.'s." His voice was quiet and dangerous.
A calm stole over me. It had begun. "Mr. Simmons," I said clearly, "Your instructions were to 'dress up for pleasure travel'. According to the store clerk, this is appropriate wear for a pleasure trip."
"Yeah, if you work nights on Yonge Street," he snarled.
I smiled, thinking homicidal thoughts. "Jeans and a sweatshirt are perfectly acceptable for grubbing about with a camera, getting porno shots of cheating husbands," I warned. "Now, if you're through with the cheap shots, I'll continue." I held his gaze.
His eyes widened and he paled slightly as it dawned on him that, not only did I know about his mistress, I knew who she was. He oh-so-casually leaned back in his chair and folded his arms across his chest. I took that as permission to continue. "According to Walt..." I began.
"Walt?" Paul interrupted.
"Sorry. Walter Stormrunner was the attending RCMP officer," I explained.
"And it's a good thing, too, Jake," Sally interrupted. "If he wasn't such a good friend of Maggie's, we'd be in cells by now."
Jake paled again and I wished devoutly that Sally had kept her mouth shut about that. Explaining some things to Jake was one thing, but to Paul? Let's just say that some days he was too much of a gentleman.
I shrugged. "I've got friends in low places. What can I say?"
Paul cleared his throat before more could be said. "According to Walt,..." he prompted.
I addressed the rest of my report to Paul. It was safer. "I should start at the beginning. Sally and I arrived at the Terminal around nine. We took a look at the first departures and then split up, Sally taking the west end of Departures and I went east. We completed a round of our respective ends and met in the coffee shop. That's when we first noticed Airport Security. I'm not sure of the time. We made some notes, paid for our coffee and left, heading in the opposite direction. Swapping ends, as it were."
"By this time, there were three other security guards watching the coffee shop. We knew something was up, so we headed for the Arrivals level instead. The guards followed us." I chuckled, "There were six more guards waiting for us on the Arrivals level. So much fuss for just the two of us."
Paul huffed but said nothing.
"We figured we'd force a confrontation with them in a quieter area. We didn't know what was going on, but we thought it was the wiser move. That way, maybe our cover could be saved."
I shook my head, ignoring Jake. "You know that cul-de-sac behind the Gift Shop?"
I curled my lip in disgust at the memory. "Yeah, well, spur of the moment, we headed there. Walt and his partner were waiting for us."
"You told them everything?" Jake asked.
I nodded. "Didn't think I had much of a choice. A dozen Airport Security and two cops?"
"So what did Walt tell you?" Jake's voice was calmly curious by now, but his body language screamed tension, to me, at least. I looked at Sally.
"Well," she began.
"I want to hear it from her," Jake suddenly boomed.