Right on time, our third installment of Curtain Call, in which Chuck almost swallows his tongue. Several times.
mxpw and Frea
Despite her hesitance to start, once Sarah did, most of her reluctance disappeared.
The words came out in fits and spurts, spinning a pretty basic tale. Sarah had been on her way to the makeup trailer. She’d been attacked, grabbed from behind. Using some of the hand to hand combat techniques she’d picked up working with fight coordinators, she’d wiggled free and gotten away. All in all, it was kind of an impressive tale...or Sarah had gotten very lucky. She sat on the other end of the couch in her too-small trailer, wearing her bathrobe, and looked far more more impressive than even Sydney Dunham had after she’d saved Beijing’s subway system from a string of pipe bombs set up by the mad Dr. Laszlo.
Chuck, on the other hand, was just grateful he had seen enough cop shows to know it was a good idea to record everything when interviewing somebody. If he hadn’t hurriedly fished his iPhone out of his pocket, who knows how much he would have missed. As it was, he knew he was going to have to listen to it multiple times before sending his report to Bullworth.
Still, he could recall enough off the top of his head to have a good idea of where to start.
“How tall was he again?”
“He was a couple of inches shorter than you, I think.” He watched as her eyes moved up and down his body. He couldn’t help feeling a little self-conscious. Sarah Walker was giving him the once over, would his life get any stranger?
He hummed contemplatively and tried to remember other details. Lean body, she had said, and a faded scar on his right cheek. Brown hair, kind of short, possibly like a gladiator’s. She hadn’t had a good look at his eyes, thanks to sunglasses.
“When we’re done here, I’ll talk to Security about checking their surveillance for any sign of your attacker, Miss Walker.” That sounded like something a bodyguard would say, right? God, he was in way over his head. He knew Bullworth liked the hands-off managerial style, but this was ridiculous. What was he even doing here?
Sarah sighed and leaned back on the couch. She stared up at the ceiling, her incredible blonde hair tumbling backwards like a cascading waterfall. Chuck had to shake himself a bit to knock his concentration back into place.
“I don’t even know what the big deal is,” Sarah said. She folded her arms across her chest. “It was probably just some psycho fan that snuck onto the lot. It happens.”
Chuck was leaning that way himself.
“It was just a crazy fan,” Sarah repeated. “Sometimes they see me and they snap.” Chuck wasn’t sure if she was trying to convince him or herself.
Chuck had his own doubts. After all, he’d probably consider himself one of her oldest fans, and while he was sure he’d drooled on himself like an idiot and probably a dozen other embarrassing things, he’d never thought about hurting her.
And if it was a stalker or just a delusional, albeit violent, fan, he wasn’t sure what Bullworth expected from him. He was a tech geek. He worked with machines, data, other socially maladjusted individuals every day. He’d put in the transfer request for field agent status a million times and he’d had all the training, but since he’d never actually been in the field, he had no practical experience with anything like protecting somebody.
Too valuable where he was, Bullworth would always say. Normally he felt a little bitter about that fact, but now that he was actually in the middle of a field assignment, all he could think about was the safety of his cubicle. He wasn’t sure he was ready to pull off his best Kevin Costner impression.
Clearly Bullworth only meant for all this to be temporary. Chuck figured that this Neil guy must be golfing buddies with some pretty important people, as it was the only reason he could think of for Bullworth needing somebody immediately. As far as he knew, studios had their own security for this sort of thing, didn’t they? Of course, studio security had ended with them in this predicament, so maybe that wasn’t something to be relieved about. Either way, Bullworth probably had a plan. Maybe. That thought comforted him, as it meant he wouldn’t actually be responsible for the long-term safety of the Sarah Walker. He was just a stopgap.
God, she was so pretty.
He blinked and realized he’d been drifting. Sarah was even looking at him pointedly; he flushed. What was wrong with him? Could he embarrass himself in front of her even more? First he’d been a babbling idiot and now this? She’d probably rejoice when Bullworth eventually sent somebody to take over for him.
“Crazy fan or not, I’ll do what I can to help find the man responsible.” There, he hoped that sounded suitably confident and professional. “Though from what you’ve told me, your conclusion is probably the most likely reason.”
“At least somebody here listens to me.” Sarah shook her head, clearly frustrated. “I tried telling Neil that, but he never listens.”
“Well, you’re Sarah Walker,” Chuck said, and despite his best efforts, a little bit of awe still slipped into his tone. “I’m sure he just wants to keep you safe.”
Sarah rolled her eyes. “I’ve got a whole platoon of guys standing around my trailer. It’s not like whoever it was is going to get through them.” Then she set her jaw and passion filled her eyes and he suddenly felt a little warm because damn, it was an attractive look on her. He’d seen that look more than once on the silver screen. It had always been one of his favorite things about her. “I don’t need a bodyguard. I’m sure you’re very qualified, but I’ve never needed a bodyguard before and I don’t see any reason to start now.”
“To be honest I’m a little confused about why the police aren’t handling things.”
“Again, Neil. I’m sure of it.”
Chuck nodded his head, not really sure what that was supposed to mean. “Alright, well, um, I guess I’ll see if I can’t get out of your, um, hair. I’m sure you have important stuff to do.”
“Vanessa put us on house arrest, remember?” She arched an eyebrow.
He flushed slightly and gestured with his hand toward the door of her trailer. “Like you said, your trailer is surrounded. I can’t protect you if I’m stuck in here.”
Truthfully, he just needed some time away from Sarah so he could actually think rationally about everything she had told him.
She only shrugged, so he smiled at her and turned around to leave. “Oh!”
He spun around a little too fast and almost toppled over. Oh yeah, he was great bodyguard material. “What? What’s wrong?” He scanned the trailer for signs of any attacker. There was nobody there.
“I just remembered something!”
“Yeah. He called me the Cat for some reason. I forgot about it till just now.” She frowned and bit her bottom lip. “I know he was crazy, but I’m not even up for Catwoman. You’d think a stalker would be a little more on the ball about something like that.”
As soon as Chuck heard Sarah say “the Cat,” he blocked out everything else. What the hell? That didn’t make any sense. He knew that name. Hell, everybody knew of the Cat. What was some run-of-the-mill stalker doing calling Sarah Walker the code name of one of the CIA’s most infamous agents?
It was probably just a coincidence. Right? It had to be.
“What’s that look?”
Chuck startled and realized that Sarah was staring at him. He immediately tried to cover. “What look?”
“I don’t have a look!”
“Yeah? Because it looks like you recognized the name. What does it mean?”
Chuck backed away from Sarah, suddenly feeling a strong desire to run. “Uh...Selina Kyle?”
“Right.” Her tone stated she clearly didn’t believe him, though he couldn’t help but be impressed she even knew the name. As if he weren’t enough of a friggin’ fanboy already.
He tried another tactic. “It was nothing, I swear. I was just thinking how lucky you were that you took your training so seriously when you were preparing to be Sydney Dunham.”
“Oh.” She peered at him closely. “You’re not a very good liar, you know that? Never go into acting.”
The trailer door opened, killing any need for a response to that. Chuck spun, Coke bottle raised high. Vanessa stepped inside, took one look at him, and just raised an eyebrow. Chuck sheepishly lowered his improvised weapon. “Sorry.”
Vanessa shook her head, but evidently decided to let it go. “Bad news, Sarah. I talked to Neil and he says Mr. Bartowski has gotta stay with you 24/7 for the time being.”
“What?” both of them blurted out at the same time. Sarah continued: “This is ridiculous!”
“I’m sorry,” Chuck added. “I just hallucinated again. What?”
“Neil said you’d say that,” Vanessa said, once again ignoring Chuck. “He also said you didn’t have a choice. It’s part of your contract.”
“It’s what?” Sarah looked genuinely surprised.
“Yeah. Insurance purposes, apparently,” Vanessa said. She shrugged. “For the time being, wherever you go, he’s gotta follow.”