Parker chuckled to hide her sarcasm.
"Absolutely. The things that come out of his mouth just make me want to scream...in laughter," Parker replied.
Garrett felt like he was missing something.
"I think it's very important for a couple to have some time alone after they are married to discover one another, as man and wife. You can't really do that in your own home with day to day interruptions.
Even Parker was confused at this point, having no idea where Fernandez was going with this.
"I would like you and your lovely wife to come back here tomorrow evening. You can spend the night in the guest quarters on the second floor where my staff will cater to your every need."
Parker and Garrett's confused expressions equaled one another.
"Mr. President, that's incredibly generous but..."
Fernandez interrupted Garrett.
"Nonsense, I insist. The two of you have a passion that deserves to be unbound in celebration of your love. It would make me very happy to offer up my palace as a place for you to consummate your marriage in luxury. The following evening after you are well rested, we'll meet over dinner and conduct that interview you're so anxious about."
Fernandez said goodnight to Garrett and Parker and told them he would send a car to their hotel tomorrow evening. He left them waiting for the elevator while he went back to the rest of his guests.
Garrett and Parker didn't speak until the elevator doors opened and they stepped inside.
"Did the President of the Dominican just tell us he'd give us the interview if we stayed at his palace and had sex?" Parker asked, the shock clearly evident in her voice.
Garrett, equally amazed, nodded his head.
"Yep, I'm pretty sure that's what just happened."
Garrett and Parker pretended the kiss from the previous night never happened, on the outside at least. Internally, they were both thinking about it, constantly replaying it over and over in their minds. Parker didn't want to talk about it because she was still hurt Garrett so cavalierly brushed it off as no big deal, and Garrett, like a typical man, figured if he just ignored the problem, it would go away.
If he ignored how much he wanted Parker, if he ignored how much he ached to feel the touch of her breath on his face and the taste of her lips on his tongue, eventually it wouldn't be a problem anymore.
At four in the morning, when he still hadn't fallen asleep because listening to Parker's gentle breathing and quiet moans every time she rolled over had made him hard enough to cut glass, he knew this was a problem that had no intention of ever leaving him.
They both got out of bed exhausted, neither one in much of a talking mood.
They met for breakfast in Austin's room since he had already ordered enough food to feed a small army and sat down at the table in the corner of the room and dug into the food. Austin gave them a breakdown of what they found when they scouted the locations from the list Parker had given them the night before. Brady was late for breakfast and Austin informed them he was printing something off in his room and would be there soon.
Austin explained that the three men went to each of the eleven businesses on the list. Every building was closed for the night and locked tight, but that didn't stop them from finding a way inside to search the files kept on-site. They found no mention of Fernandez or anyone working for him.
Garrett wanted to bang his head against a wall as they continued to hit dead ends. No one was this perfect. People made mistakes all the time. They just had to find one of Fernandez's and then everything would unravel.
Brady walked into the room at that point and handed Garrett the print out that made him late. It was an address and directions.
"Is this it? Is this for The Target Agency?" Garrett questioned.
Parker leaned towards Garrett to see what was on the paper while Brady poured himself a cup of coffee and sat on the end of the bed.
"Well, we don't know exactly what that address is for," Cole answered from his seat across from Parker. "The last business we went to was the insurance company. I found a few pieces of forwarded mail in one of the trash cans under the receptionist's desk. Mail from that address..." Cole pointed to the paper Garrett held "...was forwarded to the insurance company."
Just barely reaching six feet, Cole was the shortest on the team, and he never failed to overcompensate for that fact by eating, sleeping, and breathing his job. With his short blonde hair and chocolate colored eyes, he was easily forgotten about in a crowd which made him the perfect candidate for undercover work. Much to his parent's dismay, as soon as Cole turned eighteen he ripped the silver spoon from his mouth, threw it as far away as possible and did the exact opposite of what they wanted. Their constant nagging about him getting a real job as a doctor or a lawyer gave Cole all the incentive he needed to do every single job to the absolute best of his ability. He didn't need anyone or anything but his SEAL brothers, and he would always make sure they came first.
"I just got off the phone with the post office, which is a huge clusterfuck by the way, and according to them, the forwarding order was a typo in their system," Brady jumped in to explain. "It turns out they are updating all of their software and it reset a bunch of forwarding requests from years ago. The request to have mail from the address I printed sent to the insurance company was from eight years ago."
Garrett and Parker glanced at one another. Eight years ago was when The Target Agency first opened-and when Parker became CIA. Neither one of them understood why everything was starting with correlate to that point in time. It left them feeling more than a little unsettled.
"The forwards lasted for two days before the post office caught the error and stopped them," Brady finished, forcing Parker and Garrett's attention back to him.
"I'm assuming whatever was in the envelopes wasn't anything important?" Garrett asked.
Cole shook his head.
"Nope, just some junk mail. We figured the two of you would want to check out the address yourselves."
Everyone finished up breakfast, then Garrett and Parker headed out to the parking lot to get one of the rental SUVs while the guys stayed at the resort in case they needed something looked up on the computer quickly.
On the drive, the big fat elephant in the car, the sleepover they were supposed to have at the palace that night, was shoved into the trunk and never brought up. Instead, they discussed possibilities of what they might find once they got to the address.
After a few wrong turns, Garrett drove down a long dirt road for about three miles until they came to an old abandoned warehouse in the middle of a field.
Garrett parked the car and they both got out. Parker turned in a circle, looking every which way.
"There is absolutely no sign of life anywhere around here."
Garrett glanced around and nodded his head in agreement.
The only sounds that could be heard were the rustling of trees when a breeze blew and the cry of a bird every so often
. They were so far off the main road you wouldn't even be able to hear cars driving past. Not that the building was located on a busy road, though. Garrett and Parker hadn't seen any other vehicle on the main road the entire fifteen minutes they drove on it.
"Nice. Secluded place where no one would hear a thing," he said as he stepped away from the car and slammed his door closed. "I do not have a good feeling about this."
Parker agreed as she shut the passenger door and began walking towards the building. It looked like it could have been a factory at one point, but the busted windows, overgrown weeds, and chipping paint indicated it hadn't been used as such in quite a long time.
Garrett walked a few feet behind Parker and watched her navigate the weeds, downed trees, and rocks littering the way. When they got to the door of the building, Parker reached behind her with one hand and lifted up the bottom of her shirt a few inches until Garrett could clearly see the Glock stuck into the waist of her jeans in the middle of her back and enough of her creamy skin to make his mouth water. He stopped in his tracks and watched her use the opposite hand to pull the gun out and get into the Weaver stance, a defensive shooting position.
Parker twisted her neck to look behind her as she held her gun and aimed at the door.
"You ready?" she asked Garrett quietly.
He stood there staring at the gun in her hands, not moving.
"Yo, McCarthy, wake up!" she whispered loudly.
Garrett jerked out of his trance and put a halt the internal scolding he was giving his body about settling down.
He quickly reached down to grab the Beretta out of his ankle holster. When he stood, Parker was still looking at him with her eyebrows raised.
"Sorry, you holding a fucking gun is still messing with my mind," Garrett said irritably as he motioned for her to proceed.
It took everything in him not to turn into a caveman, shove her out of the way, and go in ahead of her so she'd be kept out of harm's way. Garrett knew without a doubt that if he did that, she'd knock him flat on his ass...and maybe even shoot him just for the hell of it. He had to show her that he trusted her and had faith in her abilities.
Parker finally turned away from Garrett and his weird behavior. She walked up to the door and tried the handle, finding it locked. She shook it a little and pushed on it with her shoulder. It didn't budge.
"Here, let me," Garrett said as he came around Parker's side and tried his hand at slamming his shoulder into the door.
"Problems, McCarthy?" Parker asked as the door remained firmly closed.
"Not at all, Parker," Garrett replied without turning around.
Garrett lifted up his knee and projected all of his power through his leg as he kicked his foot out and connected with the locked door. It flung open and banged against the inside wall.
It was Parker's turn to stand there with a stunned expression on her face. She'd seen him train, she'd seen him at the shooting range, she'd imagined him in every different type of dangerous scenario over the years, but nothing compared to standing next to him and watching him put his skill to the test in a real life situation while he was gripping a gun.
Everything about Garrett made Parker's body' stand up and take notice from the way he trusted her to take the lead up to the building to the way he barreled his foot through the door like a battering ram. She knew he was strong; she'd seen him work out and had been a witness to his six pack abs on more than one mouth-watering occasion. But seeing him right that moment in a pair of jeans that hugged him perfectly and a t-shirt that showed off his sculpted arms, she felt the power of his strength pouring off of him in waves. He stood calm and sure next to the door, and she had never felt safer in her entire life. She had always been the one in charge during missions, always the one who rushed in head first and ensured the safety of everyone on her team. She was at the top of her game in a man's profession, which meant she had to work twice as hard and be just as ballsy to earn the respect of her teammates. It was unnatural for her to hand the reins over to someone else.
Garrett didn't mock her because she wasn't able to open the door herself, even though she'd practically rubbed her abilities in his face a handful of times in the past few days. He just took charge and got the job done.
And now he was standing next to the open door waiting for her to go in first. Everyone knew the first entrant was always the one that faced the most danger. Parker could see how at war he was with himself as the emotions played across his face: fear, worry and finally, acceptance. She knew it was killing him to let her take the lead because he feared for her safety. But he was doing it because he trusted her. Parker knew it was time to give a little of that trust back to him.
"You go first," Parker told him as she motioned towards the door with her gun.
Garrett looked at her in confusion for a moment before quickly taking action. Parker watched as he crouched down and extended his arms out in front of him with the gun secured in both his hands. She had to remind herself that they could be entering into an extremely dangerous situation, and it was not appropriate for her to be fantasizing about one little bad guy jumping out from behind the door just so she could watch the muscles in Garrett's arms constrict as he threw a punch straight to the man's face.
As Garrett walked through the doorway, he cleared either side of the entrance, sweeping the gun in front of him from floor to ceiling on both sides.
Parker knew that in all her life she would never see anything sexier than Garrett walking into a building with his gun drawn prepared to do whatever it took to protect her.
Garrett took a few more steps into the building, the gun following wherever his eyes darted, looking for trouble. With all of the windows the building had, the sun shined through them and lit up every corner of the place, making the search for trouble much easier.
Parker followed behind Garrett, mirroring his motions as she double checked for enemies with weapons pointed at their heads. When they'd cleared the room, she came to a stop beside Garrett and lowered her gun, staring in confusion at the same thing he was.
"Why are there bunk beds in the middle of a vacant building?" she asked
"I have no idea," Garrett replied as they both began walking towards the fifteen or so bunks clustered in the middle of the expansive room. They stepped over trash littering the floor and looked at graffiti covered the walls. There was scaffolding handing from the ceiling that looked like it would come crashing down with the loss of just a few more screws, and the place smelled like death.
"Who in the hell would want to live in this shithole?" Garrett asked as they stopped next to the beds.