DISCLAIMER: This story is fiction and all references to celebrities are simply the way I wish they were, that does not mean any of this is true. This story also contains sexual acts between males. Please don't remove this from Nifty without first getting permission from the author.
This chapter is dedicated to a very good friend of mine who lately has lost his way. Remember it took Odysseus twenty years to find his way home.
Extra special thanks to Lincoln for supporting me and to Ryan who never forgets to email me. Thanks, cheers.
CHAPTER TWO: CAMPAIGN SMOKESCREEN
With no place to go now Little boy brave Wanders the streets Faithfully prays But his broken arrows Once filled with pride Aimed and miss At the dreams never lived Dreams never died Again and again again and again Haunted by the trust of a child
Without changing expressions, Gabriel asked, "What makes you think I want anything. Can't two army buddies meet for lunch once in a while?" As usual, Gabriel studied his friend closely. He noticed that the man must be getting sloppy, his clothes were old and frayed around the edges.
"No." Tom stated bluntly. "Cut the bullshit, I know you remember."
Sighing, Gabriel said, "Okay, no bullshit. Do you want the whole story or do you want the safe story?"
Taking a huge gulp of beer, Tom asked, "How much do I need to know and how much is safe for me to know?"
Gabriel studied his friend closely. No doubt he trusted the big man, during Desert Storm the man had saved his life more times than he could count on both hands. But he wasn't sure how much information he was willing to give him. After all trust was the fatal mistake in his profession.
On the same token, Tom was staring at his friend also. He wasn't sure what Gabriel did now after the war but he had a fairly good idea what it was. That line of work didn't bother him, he had briefly flirted with it during the eighties and he still slept like a baby at night. And he knew that it made a ton of money.
"Okay." Gabriel said breaking the silence. He had decided to tell him the truth or his version of it at least.
Glancing around to make sure no one was close by, he continued in a soft voice, "It's about Senator Hutchinson."
"The man who declared war on drugs in America." Tom whistled softly.
"Yep, the same one. But unlike others who have made that statement, he's actually gaining headway."
"It's come to my attention that there might be an attempt on his life during his stay here." Gabriel informed him, moving his beer to the side of the table.
"Jesus, how did you find out about that?" Tom asked, his face neutral. "I didn't even find out about that till two days ago. That's suppose to be top secret information."
"Trust me, I hear just about anything, especially if it happens in my town." Gabriel assured him quietly.
"We have to tell his people..."
"No." Gabriel interrupted harshly. "I'll take care of it. Let's just say its personal." Gabriel answered the unspoken question on Tom's lips.
"You think the hitter is going to try during the concert on Saturday." Tom asked, his eyes narrowing shrewdly.
"Either that or at the hotel later on that night." Gabriel guessed.
"What do you need me to do?" Tom asked with just a hint of excitement in his voice.
Smiling, Gabriel knew he had the big man exactly where he wanted him. Just the possibility of excitement was enough for the ex-marine to get involved. And if it meant that he would have to lie to his wife, all the better.
"I need you to hire me on your security team for that night." Gabriel explained his intentions. "I've never been to the new stadium and I need to look it over beforehand also."
Rubbing his hands together, Tom resembled a small child, "That's easy, we always hire extra guards during concerts so no one will notice one more."
They stopped talking as the waitress approached with their lunch. After making sure everything was perfect, she sauntered off to her other customers.
Gabriel picked at his salad absently, "What's the protocol with the Senator?"
Taking a huge bite, Tom answered his mouth still full of the burger he had ordered, "The Senator will be sitting in our VIP booth. It's directly across from the stage."
Frowning a bit from the lack of manners Tom displayed, Gabriel finished chewing before asking, "Is it an open box?"
"Yes. Unfortunately it's used mostly for hockey games. It's right in the open, a sitting duck from dozens of perfect hiding places." Tom described, still devouring his food noisily.
Gabriel rubbed his chin, "That will make it a bit tougher. I need to see the inside as soon as possible."
"Okay, I'll arrange a tour for you tomorrow with guest services. Just pretend that you're interested in renting out the box for Sunday's hockey game." Tom ordered, lost in the rush of excitement.
"Perfect, I'll call you later and confirm it." Gabriel said, a smile breaking his face.
"Hey, anything I can do to help." Tom said sincerely. "I don't want this to happen during my watch. I still think we should inform his people."
Shaking his head in disagreement, Gabriel reiterated, "We can't. I can't prove my information. And I don't want to be questioned about how I got it either."
"Yea, I can see where that might be difficult." Tom mused. "So what happened, did you turn down the job?"
Smiling, Gabriel stated, "Let's just say that I love the life I have here and I don't want anything to happen to mess up my peaceful existence."
Burping loudly, Tom stood up, "Well, I have to get back, the Senator's people are arriving soon to go over the plan." Holding up his hand he said, "Don't worry, I'll fill you in on it."
"Perfect, thanks Tom. I really appreciate this." Gabriel replied seriously.
Tom started walking away from the table, stopping suddenly he turned around and asked, "Are you sure you turned down the offer?"
Gabriel stood up and closed the distance between them. Peering directly in the bigger man's eyes, he stated fiercely, "I don't fuck my friends Tom."
"Good enough for me." Tom said as he shook his head. "Call me tonight."
Gabriel watched his friend leave his face a mask of differing emotions. Reaching into his pocket, he threw a few bills down on the table without bothering to see what they were. Quickly he left the restaurant and headed towards the Hershey Hotel. He had one more favor to cash in before the day was done.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Justin spent the rest of the morning zoning out in front of the TV. Around noon, he ordered up a Caesar salad from room service. After polishing off the salad and the rolls that came with it, he decided to check out the extensive garden's that the hotel maintains on the property.
Getting dressed in a pair of cargo shorts with a plain black pullover, he informed his bodyguard that he would like to take a walk. Lonnie, one of his personal bodyguards, nodded and once outside, he followed Justin from a safe distance. Far enough behind him to give the young man an illusion of privacy but close enough to interfere if there was any problems.
Justin had hid his curls under a baby blue cap and donned sunglasses as a deterrent while he took in the sight of the lavish hanging gardens.
The scent of flowers hung in the air like a refreshing supplement that soothed his weary soul. The varied colors and fragrances eased the young star as he walked lazily down the winding path through the multitude of hanging flowers that covered the area.
Lonnie was always twenty paces behind him, constantly peering around for signs of trouble. Every time Justin passed someone, he would tense until the stranger moved on. With his single-minded approach, he never really saw the beauty that threatened to overwhelm his young charge.
Finding a particularly beautiful spot, Justin sat down on a bench, breathing deeply the aroma of summer. Lonnie tried to remain obtrusive by a clump of trees, motionless except for his eyes.
Justin looked around the spacious hotel grounds. The hotel was six stories high, like a white knight defending the green countryside from invaders. In the distance he could just make out the tops of some of the roller-coaster rides from Hershey Park a half mile away. And for a moment, he wished that he had accompanied his friends there. But that longing passed as he looked around at the best example of Mother Nature's beauty that he had ever seen.
As he cooled off in the shade of the gardens, he noticed a man taking pictures of upper floors of the hotel. This went on for several minutes as the man systematically took shot after shot of the roof and balcony's of the hotel.
He found it strange that a man would be so interested in the architecture of the rather normal looking building. But knowing some of his own weird hobbies, he really couldn't find any fault with it.
Instead he caught himself staring at the man. It was a rather warm day and the man was wearing blue jeans and a leather jacket. Knowing how hot he was, he figured that the man was roasting in that outfit.
The man showed no signs of fatigue as he continued taking the pictures. Every so often, he would brush the loose strains of hair from his eyes, tucking the long hair behind his ears only to have it fall back in his face moments later.
Justin watched in amusement for a while, wishing that he could get a good look at this handsome stranger. Lonnie had noticed Justin staring and after he had checked it out, he fell back into his normal routine of peering around. Which involved a lot of head turning and body shifting, a quirk that Justin also found amusing.
Turning back towards the stranger, Justin frowned, as he could no longer see the man. Guessing that the man had probably turned the corner to capture the rest of the building, he started to get up when something out of the corner of his eye caught his attention.
The man was now on his knees taking a picture of a lone flower that had somehow managed to survive during the lawn mowing. He found that quite peculiar, how do you go from roofs to flowers in the same instant. Justin wrote off the man as idiosyncratic and maybe just a bit odd. Even though the man was gorgeous in a rugged way.
By now Lonnie had picked up on the proximity of the man and was watching him intently while still trying to cover the large area where Justin was relaxing in the shade.
This made Justin laugh loudly, seeing the man on his knees, the camera inches away from the ground then back at Lonnie who was trying to watch everywhere without looking conspicuous. They made for an interesting view, each at opposite ends of the spectrum.
Still chuckling, his eyes widened as he realized the man was taking a picture of him while sitting on the bench. Blushing slightly for some reason, Justin pretended to rub his nose, thus covering up his face without seeming too.
That didn't stop the man from moving from point to point, the whole time snapping pictures like a madman. Finally even walking between Lonnie and Justin, the whole time his camera clicking away.
Seeing a potential threat, Lonnie started to move rapidly but was stunned when the man spoke without turning around, "No need to move big guy, I'm only taking pictures here."
His voice was crisp, but yet subtle, and Justin had to convince his ears that he really did hear it. Of course, that did not stop Lonnie from walking past the man and standing just off one side from the singer.
"Damn, now the shot's ruined." The man said with a grin. "Luckily I just took my last picture."
Lonnie peered at him looking menacing, his great arms across his expansive chest. Justin chuckled at the man's comment, feeling a bit flattered by the compliment.
Walking easy towards them, the man started rewinding the film in the camera. Smiling easily, he said to Lonnie, "I didn't mean to startle you, but I couldn't help myself."
Lonnie only grunted at him, still looking for any signs of trouble. Shrugging, he turned his attention on Justin, taking in every detail rapidly. "I hope I didn't bother you." He said, holding up his camera. "But if you could see what I saw you would understand."
Justin followed the man's hand and looked behind him. Behind him was a huge backdrop of flowers, crawling up the small hill in a multitude of colors. The sun was peaking over the hill flooding the flowers and Justin in a hundred different lights. Justin started blushing when he realized that the man wasn't taking a picture of him but of the flowers behind him.
"Wow, that's beautiful." Justin commented while he took in the wondrous sight.
Stepping unconsciously closer to the man to get a better look, Lonnie lightly grabbed him by the arm and gave him a warning look.
Justin brushed him off, and moved next to the slightly taller man. Glancing over at Lonnie, the man smiled and said, "Don't worry. I'm harmless."
Reaching out a hand to Lonnie, he introduced himself with a grin, "I'm Gabriel."
Lonnie took the offered hand reluctantly, still keeping an eye on the man and trying his best to see behind him without turning his head.
"Hi." Lonnie stated weakly. "I hope you understand, it's nothing personal."
Gabriel gave him a huge smile, his face lighting up like a hundred candles. Turning his attention back to Justin, he said, "Is he always that uptight?"
Shrugging, Justin replied, "Well, it is his job you know. He's not paid to be nice."
Justin shot Lonnie an amused look, loving the reaction he got from the mammoth man. "But really he's a teddy bear."
Laughing a deep laugh, Gabriel stated, "I don't think you should be telling strangers that your bodyguard is a teddy bear. It's bad for his image you know."
"Who'd believe me anyway?" Justin grinned. "Look at that grimace he's giving me now."
"You might get a spanking after I leave you know." Gabriel mused, his blue eyes sparkling in the sunlight.
Lonnie did not look amused nor did he relax around the man. He thought the man was going out of his way to be friendly and his instincts were sounding off in his head to keep an eye on him.
Justin watched the man change film in his camera. Noticing that it was an old manual type, he asked, "Why don't you get an automatic camera?"
"Cause this one I can control everything." He stated, holding up the 16mm with pride. "The newer ones are for amateurs. This one takes kick ass pictures."
Looking at Justin, he said, "I'm going to develop these right now, if your staying in the hotel I would love to give you a copy." He motioned to the wall of flowers. "Since you were kind enough to let me shoot you're picture and all."
Justin's face lit up, "Yea, that would be cool. I'm in..."
"Justin." Lonnie warned.
"That's right." Justin said, smacking his forehead. "I'm not allowed to give you that information. You know." He shook his head towards Lonnie.
"Perfectly." Gabriel smiled again. "How `bout I tell you what room I'm in and you can send someone to get them later on tonight."
Looking over at Lonnie for permission, the black man nodded slightly. "Sounds good. I have things to do but I should be back around 8:00. Will that be too late?"
"Perfect. I'm in room 538. I'll make sure to have them ready." Gabriel promised. Tilting his head slightly at Lonnie, he walked down the path and disappeared around the bend.
Lonnie breathed heavily, "He makes me nervous."
"Really." Justin said in amazement. "I thought he was rather nice."
"Something's weird." Lonnie said, struggling with the words.
Justin patted the man on the shoulder and said, "Your suspicious of everyone. He was normal."
"Maybe." Lonnie replied his voice filled with doubt. "But what about that thing he did. He didn't even look at me once while he was taking those pictures and then the moment I move he talks to me."
Justin waved off the argument; "He had to have seen you by the trees. And you know you're not the quietest guy in the world. He probably heard you moving."
They started heading back to the hotel, Lonnie still talking, "Something is weird. Did you notice how I didn't intimidate him at all? Come on, I frightened everyone at first."
Justin thought about it. Gabriel did seem perfectly at ease, taking no more notice of Lonnie than he did the bench Justin was sitting on. Justin mused, "Maybe he's use to seeing big black bodyguards. Who knows, maybe he has one of his own lurking around somewhere."
"I doubt it. He's his own bodyguard. His eyes looked around more than mine did." Lonnie stated. "I think I'm going to check up on our Mr. Gabriel."
Justin stopped the big man, and faced him. His face serious as he said, "Check up on him fine. But don't hassle him I mean it."
"You know I wouldn't hassle him." Lonnie said reassuringly. "I just want to know a bit more about him."
Justin let it drop as they walked inside the luxurious hotel.
Noticing the time, Justin headed for the conference room that the group appropriated for their central meeting area while staying in the hotel. For the first time in months, he was going to be on time and Lance had nothing to do with it either.
After seeing Justin walk into the private room, Lonnie made a beeline for his fellow bodyguards. Between the six of them, they could find out anything about the man staying in room 538.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
As soon as Gabriel got to his car, he dialed Scott's mobile number. Taking off his jacket, he breathed a sigh of relief. His white shirt was damp from sweat and he turned on the air-conditioning immediately.
"What's up Gabe?"
"Hey Scott, how's it going?" Gabriel asked, leaving the parking lot hurriedly.
"Good, the office is completely neutralized." Scott stated than adding through laughter. "I'm sorry to tell you Mr. Foster that your offices had a bit of trouble today. It seems an arsonist burned your office to the ground, there is nothing left. Not even a piece of wood."
Grinning at the thoroughness of his only employee, Gabriel said, "Thank you. I trust that you covered your tracks."
"Please boss." Scott intoned. "I'm a professional just like you."
"Alright. Where are you now?"
"Sitting down on your comfortable leather couch drinking your expensive single malt scotch." Scott said with satisfaction.
"How bout you get your ass off my couch and look up anything you can on a boy band called Nsync." Gabriel asked, his voice hinting with laughter. He knew what Scott would say.
"Gee boss, I never figured you for that type of fag." Scott replied evenly.
"Yea yea yea. Just do it. I'm about fifteen minutes out, do you have the blueprints?"
"Sitting on the table. I'll get what I can about the boy band."
"And one more thing." Gabriel added. "I need a complete bio of a Gabriel Cain."
Gabriel could see the nervous man scribbling wildly on a notebook as he asked, "Okay, anything special about Mr. Cain?"
"Not really, I need an average sized bank account, a steady job, maybe a hobby as a photographer. Definitely need him to be squeaky clean."
"Give me two hours and you'll be cleaner than Martha Stewart." Scott promised boldly.
Gabriel turned off the phone and redialed Tom's number. Waiting for an answer, Gabriel thought back to his encounter with Justin. He couldn't believe that the young star was so sexy and it made wonder what he was like in bed.
The deep voice bringing him back to reality. "Tom, its Gabriel. What did you find out?"
"Ten minutes before the show starts, the Senator along with six guests will be escorted up the back stairs and along the service corridor to the VIP booth. Guards will be posted at the end of each hall and at the door." Tom explained in hushed tones.
"How many guards in the room with him?" Gabriel asked, writing down the information on his handy dashboard notebook.
"Two at all times." Tom answered. "The only way I can see is for the hitter to make a long shot from somewhere in the stadium. The booth looks pretty good."
"Good, that narrows the search. Thanks, I've got to run. Oh what about that tour?"
"Tomorrow, ten am, ask for Tiffany Barns. She'll treat you right." Tom informed him.
"Bye." Gabriel ended the signal. Everything was coming together quite nicely. If he only knew who the hitter was, this job would be a piece of cake.
Finally pulling outside his building, he gave his keys to the valet. Nodding at the doorman, this one different than Bobby and he could never remember his name, he walked into the elevator whistling.
Ringing the doorbell to his apartment, he than knocked on the door. Scott opened it cautiously, a cocked 45 in his hand.
"Hey what's up." He grinned. Even though Gabriel had mounted cameras in the hall, Scott was too much of a professional to rely solely on the cameras.
"We've got work to do." Gabriel stated as he brushed past the smaller man.
Scott was short, like a woman. Brown hair that was always a mess, and thick glasses that hid his blue eyes. Like most computer geeks, he was a bit on the chubby side without being grotesque.
Gabriel had caught him hacking into his computer three years earlier and decided to hire him after he scared the little man half to death. Their partnership had grown into friendship and Gabriel trusted the man with his life.
"First I want to say you have no idea how much shit is on the web about Nsync." Scott muttered loudly as Gabriel looked over the blueprints to the stadium.
Looking at him with a questioning look he asked, "What do you mean?"
"There's over three thousand web sites about them, not including small references that make the total over ten thousand." Scott explained as he sipped from a glass.
"Really." Gabriel said, his eyes widening. "What did you find out?"
Scott consulted a notebook and started rattling off statistics about the band. When they were formed, they're current status, their ages and family history. Where they called home when not on tour, their interests outside of the band and so on.
After about five minutes, Gabriel stopped him, "Is there anything important?"
Shaking his head, "Not really. For the most part they're clean. A few hidden charges like drunk in public, a few traffic violations, and Joey had a DUI last year but the charges were dropped."
"Check with the Orlando police department, try to find out everything you can about Justin Timberlake." Gabriel ordered. "I want to know what his favorite food is what he likes to drink and what kind of underwear he wears to bed who the last person he fucked. And I need to know before eight o-clock."
"Damn you don't ask for much." Scott blurted out sarcastically. Than smiling he said, "I'm already doing most of that, but now that I know who your target is I can narrow the search. By the way, why the sudden interest in Justin Timberlake?"
"While I was at the hotel this afternoon. I ran into Mr. Timberlake in the gardens. Once I recognized him I got an idea. Nsync is staying on the same floor as the Senator. Since I can't get close to the Senator, I figured I could use Justin to gain access to the floor. But I told him that I was a photographer so I need some of your pictures to make it believable."
"Good plan. He is the cute one after all." Scott said with a grin. "Anything else?"
"Yea, I need you to develop these pictures for me." Gabriel said, giving the man two rolls of film. "Make them as clear as you can, I need you to make me a photographer. Also before eight o-clock."
Looking at his watch, Scott started pounding away on his laptop. Satisfied that he had the search engines set up, he walked into the darkroom in the back of the house.
Gabriel spent his time peering over the blueprints, noting every detail on a small notebook. After feeling confident that he had memorized every access panel and every service passageway he poured himself a glass of scotch and waited for Scott to return from his house with the pictures. He also packed a few bags with enough clothes to last him till Saturday.
Scott was a great photographer in his own right. His first dream was to become a famous photographer. When he realized how cutthroat the business was, he settled for a career in computer espionage. Which is where Gabriel recruited him for his now current job.
The ringing of the bell shook him from his thoughts. Looking at the screen, he saw Scott holding a box. The man looked like he was breathing heavy and he had rested the box against the door jam. Grabbing his gun, he approached the door. Making sure to stand clear of the opening, he waited for the appropriate knock. Hearing it, he opened the door cautiously.
Scott walked in carrying a box of pictures; some framed some loose separate by sheets of paper. Setting down the heavy box, he wiped the sweat from his eyes.
"That's a lot of pictures." Gabriel stated, looking into the box curiously.
"The rest are in your car already." Scott explained.
"I didn't know what type of picture you wanted so I brought many different kinds." Scott stated, going towards the kitchen in search of a bottle of water.
"The one I brought in are my favorites. Those stay with me here."
"Okay." Gabriel said as he motioned Scott to sit down across from him. "I brought the portable fax with me. When you get the profile finished, send it over."
Scott reached into his bag and pulled out a thick folder and handed it to his employer with a smile. "Here is Mr. Gabriel Cain, wannabe photographer and currently on vacation from a minor successful career in a consulting firm."
"Perfect." Gabriel praised, flipping through the heavy volume. "Okay, I need you to do a few things for me."
Scott grabbed his notebook, taking notes on everything Gabriel instructed.
"I need you to empty out the Foster Acquisitions accounts. Transfer the money to Switzerland immediately. Than I need you to hack into the bank and destroy all paper trails dealing with Foster Acquisitions."
Looking at Gabriel over the rim of his glasses, Scott asked, "Are you planing on doing a Houdini on me?"
"I'm just covering my tracks." Gabriel assured him. "I don't think I could really hide from you if you wanted to find me."
"That's true." Scott said modestly.
"Than I need you to transfer about a million dollars into this dummy account." Gabriel said while he handed the man a slip of paper with all the information on it.
Nodding, Scott looked over the paper briefly before scratching more in his notebook. "Anything else?"
"Don't forget about the insurance money for the offices." Gabriel said, snapping his fingers as he remembered. "Whatever it is you can keep it."
Blushing, Scott admitted, "I'm already taking care of it. And since everything was in my name I was planning on keeping it anyway but thanks for giving it to me."
"Your welcome. Consider it as your last bonus." Gabriel said offhandedly. "Okay, before I go on, I need to ask you something."
Scott put down his notebook, and stared at him with an expectant look on his chubby face.
"You don't have to continue in this with me." Gabriel raised his hand before the man could speak. "Hear me out. I've decided to change professions. That in its self makes more than a few people nervous. Add the fact that I'm going to stop a contract from being fulfilled makes me more than an irritant. After Saturday, I could end up being the mark."
Scott's face was brimming with curiosity. "Who's the mark and why are you going to stop it?"
Gabriel said, getting up to pour another glass of scotch. "Senator Hutchinson."
Handing Scott a glass, he sat down again. "As for why I'm stopping it. Let's just say that I'm tired of living like this."
"Understandable." Scott agreed. "Okay is that it? Cause I haven't heard anything that would make me walk away from you yet. Especially now when it might get interesting."
"As long as you know how dangerous it might get." Gabriel warned. "Okay, check around discreetly and see what heavy players are in town or arriving within the next three days. Check everything, hotels, buses, planes, trains, and check to see who rented cars in the last day or so in Philly and Pittsburgh."
Scratching furiously on his notebook, Scott asked with a grin, "Anything else?"
"Not now. Call me if anything stands out." Gabriel instructed. "If you can, stay inside for the next couple of days. Let's just see who starts checking into Fosters Acquisitions."
"Alright." Scott smiled as Gabriel headed for the door. Before the door slammed shut, he called out, "Have fun with Justin."
Giggling loudly, he opened his laptop and started working. It was going to be a long night he thought as he started going over the mounds of paper that he had already printed off.
NOTES: As always you may contact me for any reason. All emails will be answered promptly.Wolfflyer26@Yahoo.com Let me know if you like the story-line. It's a real departure from what I normally write.
Copyright©2002 Glacier Boy