It Happened One Wedding Page 67

Vaughn stared at the window for a moment.

Very aware that his brother’s eyes were on him, he looked over and shrugged. “See? Told you there was nothing to worry about.”

Twenty-five

MONDAY AFTERNOON, VAUGHN stormed into the FBI office with an ax to grind.

While out grabbing a quick sandwich for lunch, he’d received an e-mail from Cade who, apparently, had dropped by the FBI building for a witness interview in another case and wanted to “talk” to Vaughn while there.

After getting off the elevator, Vaughn strode through the hallway and rounded the corner where his cubicle was located. He spotted Cade, chatting with Huxley at the cubicle across from Vaughn’s.

“Hey, we were just talking about you,” Cade said.

Vaughn folded his arms across his chest, getting right down to it. “Entrapment? We really need to have a conversation about this?”

Cade looked him over, as if sensing his mood. “You’re pissed about my e-mail? I just said I wanted to talk.”

“Pritchett approached Batista,” Vaughn emphasized. “He told Batista about his group of cops who can transport anything into the city without getting busted. He asked Batista if he could hook him up with anyone who might be interested. How is that entrapment?”

“I didn’t say it was,” Cade answered calmly. “What I said was that in a case where the FBI is acting undercover as both the buyer and the seller of the illegal goods, we need to make sure that we have strong evidence of predisposition.”

Vaughn scoffed. Generally, he liked working with the prosecutors at the U.S. Attorney’s Office. He really did. And on a personal note, he and Cade had been good friends for years and he respected the hell out of the guy. But sometimes, occasionally, the prosecutors got so wrapped up in being lawyers and worrying about the big picture that they forgot that it was the agents working in the field everyday, putting their asses on the line to get the prosecutors the evidence they needed to do their jobs. “And how is Batista’s testimony not strong firsthand evidence of that?”

“I’m just looking at this through my trial lens,” Cade said. “Batista is a convicted felon. I’d rather not hang my entire rebuttal to any possible entrapment defense solely on his testimony. So, the more we can get Pritchett talking on the record about the other jobs they’ve done, the better.”

Huxley jumped in here. “Which, as I was just explaining to Cade, I believe we have covered,” he said to Vaughn. “I told him how chatty Pritchett’s been and how much you’ve been able to draw out of him during your meetings.”

“That’s all I needed to hear,” Cade said. “I’m just making sure we have our i’s dotted and our t’s crossed at this point so that we don’t have a bigger problem later.”

Well . . . fine. Vaughn supposed that didn’t sound entirely irrational. “Good. Glad we got that straight,” he said grumpily.

Now that the dust had settled, Cade looked him over. “Sounds like somebody skipped his skinny vanilla latte this afternoon. Everything okay?”

Vaughn shrugged this off. “Sure, everything’s fine.” He took a seat in his desk chair.

“So I shared with Addison the intel Sidney gave us about this charming, Mayberry-like small town you’re from,” Huxley said. “She was as shocked as Cade and I.”

On Saturday night, when they’d all been buzzed, Sidney had entertained the group with stories about Apple Canyon—even getting several oohs and ahhs when she’d produced photographic evidence of the actual key she’d been given at the bed-and-breakfast. Though his memory was a little fuzzy about a few things, Vaughn distinctly remembered how much they’d all laughed that night. And also how some warm, unfamiliar feeling had settled deep in his chest, seeing her getting along so well with his friends.

“I told Brooke the same story,” Cade said. “She suggested that the six of us get together for dinner some t—”

Vaughn held up his hand, cutting him off. “I think we all need to slow down. Sidney and I aren’t doing a couples dinner or whatever with you guys. For starters, we’re not a couple.”

Huxley looked surprised by this. “You two sure seemed pretty friendly on Saturday night.”

Vaughn shrugged. “I’m not saying I don’t like her. She’s great. We have a lot of fun together. But this is just a short-term deal between us—and believe me, if she were here right now, she would tell you the exact same thing.”

Having nothing else to say about that, he turned around to face his computer and got back to work.

 • • •

TUESDAY MORNING, SIDNEY had just finished a conference call with the consulting firm, wrapping up a few last-minute details regarding the compensation package she planned to offer Karen if the interview went well, when her secretary buzzed her.

“Your father called while you were on the other line,” Darnell said.

Ah, good—Sidney had been waiting for him to call her back. She’d left him a message yesterday, saying that she’d like to drop by the house to go through her mother’s wedding dress and accessories, which her father had been keeping in the attic. She wanted to do something special for Isabelle’s “something old,” and thought that incorporating something their mother had worn on her wedding day would be perfect.

She quickly called him back on his cell phone, wanting to check this item off her to-do list before her interview with Karen.

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