137 Q Street
by sarAdora ~~~~~~~~~~
Neysa walked beside the agent, wondering what they were going to do to her, but visibly relaxed when she was pushed into the bathroom. She felt funny having an audience, but was grateful she wasn't alone in the room with a man. She nodded to the woman when she was given a cup of water and almost thanked her before remembering that it was in her best interest to remain mute. If they knew she could hear their words, there would be no end to their badgering. She had no idea who Amanda Labeau was, only that they had mistakenly assumed it was her. She had a feeling that denying it wasn't going to do her a lot of good. She also wondered who the other man was. She hadn't seen his face and only heard a soft rumble out of him when he first arrived.
They handcuffed her again, locking her hands in front of her body in the mistaken idea that she'd be more cooperative. She wasn't. She remained silent, in deaf mode, listening to their questions, their threats and their barbs. Her initial fear had passed and she knew she had to learn more about her precarious situation. She could always go to her "safe place" if they became physically abusive. She had tasted true freedom twenty-four years earlier; she wondered if she'd ever be free again.
Her sisters were stunned when Neysa came home with her clothes torn, the bodice ripped from her body. They were alarmed when she showed them the knife and repeated the constable's words. They bathed her, held her till she slept and when she did, they packed their household goods and prepared to leave their homeland. Several weeks later, their paperwork was in order and they made their way to Sweden. From there, they sailed to America. Halfway across the ocean, Ausma wrapped the knife Neysa had brought home and threw it overboard. One week later, all three sisters stood at the ship's railing, relieved to see the Statue of Liberty as they made their way into port.
"We're not getting anywhere, sir," the agent in charge conceded to his boss. "Short of pumping her with a pentathol agent..."
"Give her some water and let her sit a while. I have an agent on the way over who knows American Sign Language. Let's see what he can do."
Neysa slid down in her straight backed chair and leaned her head back. She now knew who Amanda Labeau was and could only assume she bore a strong resemblance to the woman. Must be my green eyes, she mused. Probably more brunettes than blondes in America. She opened those eyes when she felt a light tap on her shoulder and maintained her neutral expression when the handsome man smiled at her.
He signed hello and from the rapid movements of his fingers, she knew he had signed his name - Sam Meadows. She ignored him. Her knowledge of sign language was minimal at best; there was no sense trying to look interested. When Neysa and her sisters settled in New York and enrolled her in school, they thought it would be good for her to learn the language of the deaf. Neysa was eager to do so, her childhood experiences had left their mark. She thought sign language would be another protective shield against those who would harm her. Unfortunately, she was not good at it and soon dropped all pretense of signing. Although her English was passable at the time, she was shy among her peers and when life got out of hand, she still pretended to be deaf.
The agent tried to keep her attention by cupping her chin, but Neysa simply closed her eyes. He was getting frustrated and without thinking, pinched her arm. Neysa opened her eyes and pinched him back, making the other agents chuckle. She closed her eyes again. He was frustrated she wouldn't look at him and lightly slapped her face. He got her attention; Neysa was at the end of her patience, and before anyone could stop her, quickly stood, fisting her handcuffed hands, and socked him in the eye. A strong arm immediately hauled her back into her chair and held her there. She heard a low growl in her ear and felt warm breath on her neck. Instead of alarming her, she turned her head toward his voice.
Morris drew back before she could see him and left the room as other agents recuffed Neysa's hands behind her back. He hadn't purposely growled at her; it had been pure reflex. The moment he touched her... He had to get some fresh air... He had to...
"What the hell is wrong with me?" he muttered as he stepped onto the wooden deck facing the back yard. She's a bank robber, for Chrissakes! he shook his head, his thoughts in turmoil.
A beautiful bank robber, one you're very much attracted to, the thought flashed unbidden through his mind.
"Hmmm," he hummed, taking a deep breath and looking out at the expanse of the wooded area behind the house. Even though he couldn't see the electric chain link fencing, he knew it was there, hidden by the thick canopy of trees. No one had access to this house unless they were supposed to be there. She'll be safe here for the time being, he decided.
Safe? Is she in danger?
I don't know, he thought. And I don't know why I used that word. It just sort of came out of the blue like...
Alex put his disturbing thoughts on the back burner and went back into the house, hoping the Labeau woman had talked or at the very least, that none of the agents had threatened her again.
"Anything?" he asked when he came in.
"Nothing, sir," the female agent replied.
"Handcuff her to the bed, leave her alone for a few hours. We all need a break."
"Uh, sir?" the agent paused, "about her civil rights?"
"This is Q Street, Agent. Do you have a problem with that?"
They grilled her constantly over a four-day period and got nowhere. Alex *was* mindful of her civil rights and discovered he was unwilling to cause her undue hardship, though he didn't know why. He made sure she was fed three meals a day and had access to a daily shower and other personal hygiene. A female agent accompanied her everywhere and he was surprised that the woman didn't complain. Then again, she hadn't said a word. She kept her eyes down, and ignored everything she heard. There was only one more altercation. The agent she had socked came back for another crack at her and when she wouldn't respond to his signs, he got ugly, signing a crude phrase to her and insulting her on a personal level.
The thing about sign language and languages foreign to a native speaker is that one generally learns the vulgar expressions first. So it was with Neysa. She immediately recognized the vulgar signs and spit in his face. Again, she felt that same strong arm haul her back in her chair and hold her there.
He smells good, she thought. A clean smell, very manly. Wonder what he looks like?
Alex almost shivered. Touching her again had an overpowering effect on him. He wanted to haul her over his shoulder, lock her in a room, rip her clothes off and fuck her into next week.
Over your shoulder? Caveman style?
Christ! I'm a basket case, he groaned, quickly leaving the room, unable to justify or explain why that thought had sprung to his mind.
After four days, they stopped grilling her. Alex decided they'd hold onto her for the time being but he was loath to put her into the local pokey. He'd keep her here in Q Street.
"What are you going to do with her?" the Director asked when he met with Alex for an update on the bank robberies.
"Put her to work around the house," Alex answered, an idea forming in his head.
"Dusting and cleaning?" the Director gave him a dubious look.
"I was thinking more around the lines of working in the yard. There's a large portion of the wooded area that needs to be cleared of weeds, rocks, debris. What do you think?"
"We hired a landscape architect to do that, Mr. Morris," the Director reminded him. "She's overdue," he mused. "Okay, let her do the surface stuff. Maybe, she'll decide talking is better than working outside in all the elements. You're at "137," aren't you? The one with the big yard? Okay, Inform the agents patrolling the grounds that she'll have a few gardening tools. They shouldn't be alarmed. Chances are she's never seen a pair of pruning shears or a rake. Might take her a while to get the hang of it. Update me on her progress in two weeks."
Neysa heard them talking about the FBI's plan to keep her in custody and that she would be forced to work in the yard to fill the hours. She could hardly keep her glee in check.
"You have a choice," the female agent spoke to her as if Neysa could hear. "You can sit in this bedroom and do nothing - no books, no TV - no nothing, or you can be outdoors and keep yourself busy. It's your choice and from my point of view, it's a good one. The alternative is to lock you up - behind bars - with a bunch of... other females." She gently cupped Neysa's chin. "Trust me, lady. This is a good deal."
Neysa didn't respond, but knew she would gladly do their yard work. If she had to remain incarcerated, at least she'd be happily incarcerated. She was a landscape architect and a damn good one.