FBI Agents Frank Swann and Charlene Forrester investigate three connected cases of strangling. This story is set in Montrose in Houston, Texas, USA.
A romance slowly develops between Frank and Charlene.
FBI Special Agent Frank Swann was a well built, stocky and broad shouldered man of 36. He lived in a bungalow located on the side of a tree lined boulevard in Montrose, Houston. It was a Friday evening and he had just finished his dinner and washed up when he heard the doorbell ring.
Frank walked over and answered it. Outside was Charlene Forrester, one of his work colleagues, looking a bit drunk.
"Hiya" she slurred. "This is so embarrassing but I accidentally left my house keys in my locker at work and now I'm locked out of my house." She giggled a bit tipsily.
Frank opened his door and stood back. "Come in" he said graciously.
Charlene stepped in, wobbling slightly.
"Girl's night out was it?" he asked, reaching out for her coat as she took it off.
"Yeah, it was as a matter of fact. Jenny, Maria and I...oh I'm sorry..."
A cloud had passed over Frank's face at the mention of Maria's name. Maria and Frank had once been in a relationship. They had even hoped to marry and settle down but she had ended things the night before the wedding, saying she didn't love Frank. Frank had found it very difficult to deal with the breakup, even turning to alcohol to numb the pain, but he had with difficulty agreed to remain friends with Maria, and tried to stay on a profesional basis with her at work. Luckily his boss and close friend Peter Edwards had never put Maria and Frank on a case together, knowing they both needed time to adjust to the new situation.
"It's okay." He hung her coat up and pointed her in the direction of his sitting room. "I'm afraid I just finished my dinner so..."
"It's okay, I'm not fishing. I had a bite to eat at Jenny's."
Charlene took off her shoes and, leaving them in the hall, walked barefoot into Frank's living room and slumped down on his sofa.
"How are things with you?" she asked.
"Same as usual really." Frank walked in with a glass and handed it to her. "Don't get excited. It's only water."
"Mmm very wise. Thanks." She sipped at the cold water.
Charlene was a woman of about 34, with chocolate brown eyes and thick, glossy, soft black hair that reached right down her back. She now swung one leg over the other and leaned back. Frank sat beside her.
"Did you manage to solve your last case?"
"Ooh, yeah I did actually. Jenny and I cracked it together, finally. It turned out to be Steve Lewis."
"Steve Lewis? Really?"
"Yeah. He's been conning elderly women out of their savings for years now."
"What about your case?"
"The computer hacker? Yeah I cracked that two days ago. It was a man called Clive Donovan. I must admit it's harder to work out a case on your own but since neither you nor Jenny were teamed up with me..."
Charlene put her water glass down on the coffee table. She then put her head on Frank's shoulder and shut her eyes. Frank sat for a while, letting her sleep. Then, he gently eased her head from his shoulder. He fetched a thick pillow and positioned her head comfortably on it, lifted her crossed legs onto the couch and covered her with a duvet. Frank then kissed her on the head before leaving the sitting room.