A Desert Storm Personified

2 Sahara II

Officer Benjamin Tarren was taking night classes at a satellite college on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. He lived alone, away from family and was single. How do I know? I'm sitting in the back of his squad car, trying to get some sleep. Being handcuffed and in the small auto was only a small problem. The main issue was the ridiculously cute but extremely short dress I was wearing. Technically, you could argue that I wasn't cuffed, I was plastic zipper tied and didn't have uncomfortable metal poking me in the back. But pull ties give you less hand movement. God I want hand movement.

"Hey Ben? I know I'm not supposed to talk and whatnot to further incriminate myself and what not but let me give you a hint." I was taking a risk, dispensing advice while under arrest and if I'd been home in SF I wouldn't have spoken. Then again, very few cops in SF would arrest me. Why did we have to move? Ohhhh, duh, Sierra and that white wedding crap. "Listen, when he gets here, don't say anything. Let your boss take the fall." Ben was ignoring me pretty well for a young local cop. "And don't mention anything about me getting hit or who hit me. Christ, he's gonna be so mad." The last part was more to myself than Ben Tarren. Finally we pulled up to the station and he helped me out of the back, it's really hard to get out with your hands tied behind you in a mini dress. I tried a last ditch attempt to let Ben not get in trouble. He's really kinda hot.

"I'm serious, don't draw attention to yourself, simply be in the room." Then I gave up.

The boss was an annoying balding man who seemed convinced I was a hooligan. He's kinda correct. The fun part was where I asked for an ice pack for my forming black eye and I was yelled at. When that got boring, I demanded my phone call. My fingers plinked out the number I had memorized and I hummed while I waited for Shelly to answer. Officer Ben tried to hide a grin. I was just happy 'cause Sergeant Jerk-off had disappeared into an office and he would be in trouble soon.

"Hi Shelly, can you get me Markson and put my sister on three way?"

"Sure Sahara. Aren't you gonna drop by and pick up the rest of your stuff?"

"Mmmhmm, I'll drop by your desk to say goodbye."

"Sure thing sweetie, here's Mr. Markson."

"Sahara,"

"Hi Mark. So, um, I'm kinda in a little bit of a situation…"

"What kind of situation?" I jumped at the sound of my sister's voice, Shelly must have patched in the three way.

"Well, I was kinda arrested."

"Again?"

"Why Mark, you make it sound like I have some sort of criminal record."

"You do. Mark, if you pick her up and drop by for dinner, we could show you the new place."

"I'd love to, Sierra. Where exactly are you, Sahara?" I turned to the kindly Benjamin Tarren who still had a confused look on his face from listening to my side of the conversation.

"Where exactly are we?"

Sergeant Jerk-off had decided to start interrogating me before my guardian or legal representation showed up. He was trying to force information out of me, and that wasn't going so well. Facts like who ran the fierce girl gang, Coyotes, which had hit the club tonight. There was no point in answering truthfully because the truth was I don't know. My flippant answers made him madder but I thought I saw a hint of a smile on Tarren's lips so it was definitely worth it. Almost an hour had passed and Markson was a no show so I decided to give.

"This is ridiculous; can you take the band off me?" I hadn't protested to arrest or acted dangerous or spontaneously violent in custody but my circulation was getting sketchy.

"Young lady, we do not comfort criminals. We are in a police station!"

I sighed. "Sir, I realize that, the crappy lighting and bad coffee smell kinda give it away. As much as it pleases me to know that you are quite vigilant in your persecution of criminals, I would appreciate fair treatment. If you won't take off my zip tie, stop interrogating me until my representation arrives." The older man backed up and paced around a bit.

"Do you know what you are, girl?" The instant he spun to get in my face, Markson burst through the door, livid. He always did have impeccable timing. I looked the sergeant in the eye, happy and calm to see my boss worked up.

"Yes sir, I am San Francisco's youngest private investigator and infiltration specialist on teen gangs on California's pay role."

"Sahara, you aren't supposed to talk until your representation is present." Markson chided me. Tarren smiled at my eye rolling.

"With that entrance, I can fully say that you are in the room. 'Sides, it's not my fault you drive like an old lady." The sergeant stood stunned on the other side of the table while Mark and I talked. Mark set down several boxes of paperwork and other junk that looked like the rest of my office.

"The nice chief out front had a quick talk with me. You'll have some desk space and a nice patrol buddy soon." He frowned as he cut the zip tie and took in my mini dress. I let my hair drift in front of my right eye while his attention was focused on my outrageous clothing and began to paw through my stuff.

"Mark, I knew I could count on you. Hey, did you see Bubbles in the station?" I asked, looking for the special case.

"It's in there. Sheila says it's fine and the hammer's fixed. See, there it is." I anxiously pulled out the padded briefcase that held my precious .45. "Sheila also requests that I tell you once more how weird it is to name your firearm." The sergeant regained his speech (he'd been stuttering throughout our exchange) and demanded an explanation. Markson pulled out all the boring paperwork that gave me really cool privileges.

"If you had done an actual background search, you would've known."

"She said her name was Sahara Storm," the older man protested. "No one names their kid that."

"My parents did." I pulled my ID and Driver's license from my thigh holster, Markson frowned as I flashed a lot of leg but who cares? They had already patted me down for a weapon. "Mark, didn't they just put me in classified though?"

"In a rural area like this, that should just tell officers to look harder when your name pops up…and don't call me Mark." The sergeant stormed out and my boss turned to me, full on Markson interrogation mode. I sat back in my chair and looked up at him. It's proven psychology that if you appear smaller and vulnerable, you get off easier. "What were you doing at the club anyway? You're supposed to be moving in."

"I got a tip that the Coyotes would be there. I wanna get 'em. 'Sides, Sean's still over." Mark sighed, he knows me well enough to know that it was a good thing I wasn't with Sean all day. "But Colin's moving in tomorrow so I'll be safe at home then."

"And Sierra was fine with you skipping out tonight?" I rolled my eyes.

"You heard her on the phone- stressed. She's just happy I didn't strangle Sean."

"Yes, well, we all are. But you start school tomorrow, Sahara." Markson is great as far as bosses go. Lord knows he's put up with my junk. He is a bit old fashioned and unused to the family structure Sierra and I have. But I'll admit, he's gotten much nicer to Colin over the years and might accept this whole 'living together before marriage' thing. Mark was the one who defended me when I wanted to train and join the business. He supported me even when Sierra didn't. I was like his only precious daughter but also his colleague.

"I'll be fine, Mark." In a slip, my head tipped back in exasperation and my hair fell away from my face. oh. Shit.

"Sahara, who hit you?"

"I got hit? Oh cool, it's yellow." I pointed to my reflection in the two way mirror.

"Don't be stupid. Who. Hit. You?"

"Honestly, I dunno. I think it was just some random hit at the club. Fists flyin' everywhere, y'know?" Mark turned to Benjamin Tarren, the only other soul in the room.

"Since my agent refuses to tell me who assaulted her, maybe you can help."

"Sir, she was not harmed in my possession. I believe she was fighting a Coyote when apprehended."

"Fighting? You were fighting, Sara?"

"I believe the correct term is 'kicking ass,' Sir. The only reason I arrested her was for disturbing the peace."

"She does that just standing there in that dress." I don't think it was a compliment but I smiled anyway.

"She didn't resist or protest arrest and I wouldn't have interrogated her if it wasn't for sergeant." What an idiot sergeant he was, too. I thought, praying that Mark would just drop the subject.

"So a Coyote hit her?" I crossed my fingers and hoped the guy would just say yes. He didn't.

"Sir, the other girl was much worse. Ms. Storm was wailing on her." Markson glared at the young man.

"Tell your chief we'll be here tomorrow to get Sara set up. He better find her a partner too." I tugged at my friend's shirt.

"I have school in the morning." I reminded, "And then you wanted me at home, unpacking while Colin is there." Markson sighed in def eat but knew I was right.

"Tomorrow, you can go to school then come here to set up; I can't be here but give me a call if you have any problems." Mark glared menacingly at Tarren as we left the interrogation room. We bypassed the front desk for a side door.

The ride to the house was quiet but familiar. I was glad Markson hadn't probed further. He would be upset that I was fighting a blonde little tramp…again. Granted, they weren't blonde but more of a peroxide and black. I've never understood the black under layers, looks like skunk hair, but now it makes me go crazy. I tried to reason with myself that it's just some girl's (crap) fashion statement. The Psych 101 in me protested saying it was the memories ties to the skunk hair that set me off. I pulled on my own hair, naturally brown with a russet red glare in the light. It was mom's hair. It's all just hair.

"You know, not every girl who dyes her hair like that messed around with Nick…" Markson knows me too well sometimes. "At least she was a Coyote this time."

Sierra wasn't too upset about my jail time; it would be erased anyway. She was concerned about my black eye but bought my 'fray of the fight' explanation better than Mark. Colin was happy to see me too…for a different reason. He has the same aversion to Sean that I do…happy bugger…but Colin can get away with insults because of his delicious accent. Yep, my sister hooked a hottie. After supper, Colin went to help Mark get the rest of my junk out of the car while Sierra gave me the 'official' once over.

"You look like hell."

I rolled my eyes. "Thanks, sis."

"I'm serious Rah rah, you need some sleep. Two all-nighters and three fights…God, I'm such a bad parent." My eyes shot off the floor, the last thing I need is for Sierra to have a breakdown.

"No, you're a good sister. Remind me again why I wanted to start school on a Thursday?"

"Because you couldn't handle a full week but needed two days to learn the schedule." I mock glared at her.

"It was rhetorical, Si!"

"Mmm, can you do me a favor?"

"Sure." My sister is not a demanding person. Favors for her are simple and sometimes fun.

"Batty Mrs. Donovan has set me up on another blind date." I laughed; old ladies love to set up Sierra with their grandsons, nephews and all sorts of dashing young men. Usually, she sends me on the dates to play it up so they don't get stood up but so she doesn't give them false hope.

"Didn't you show her your engagement ring?" I asked as I put plates in the cabinet.

"Yep, but Mrs. Donovan refuses to believe that I could be happy with a foreign boy." I laughed again at the casual tone she used. She is such a good natured person; I'd be pissed if people didn't accept my boyfriend.

"Oh, ok. So where am I meeting this Prince Charming?" Sierra sighed, relieved that I agreed to go. As if I wouldn't.

"It's at some club nearby. I'll even take you shopping tomorrow. We have to meet Colin's family this weekend. .. Thanks." I looked at my sister, this obviously meant more to her than it meant to me. It seemed like just another blind date that she was cornered into.

"Si? You ok?"

"Yeah, it's just…" She looked away, letting her hair cover her face much like I was doing earlier this evening. "I know how hard it was for you to leave the city and all the stuff with Nick…"

"Where are you going with this Sierra?" Her pretty blue eyes dropped from the counter to the floor then flashed up to me.

"I know Markson offered to house you senior year so you wouldn't have to leave the city."

I snorted. "We both know that a weekend alone would throw Mark off the deep end. Besides, I can't mess with home routine." I flashed her my best 'winning smile'. "Family dynamics and all." Sierra sniffed and pulled me in for a hug.

"Try not to get too beat up out there. Colin doesn't approve of me tricking Narcotics or IRS to get you out of hospitals." I hugged her back; glad that my emotional sister could initiate feelings I wasn't supposed to show.

"I love you Si. Wake me up in the morning."