Drew wasn’t quite sure how he was supposed to behave. It shouldn’t be like this. He’d picked Vin up from the airport many times in their long history together. It should be routine. If it weren’t for the odd way the crowd seemed to mob him when he knew in reality they were merely walking past, then it probably would be routine.
Drew looked down at the pseudo-granite linoleum between his feet as he hunched over in his seat. He’d found a perch in the area between the big sliding doors entering the airport and the security check in front of the terminals. The problem with looking at the floor was that every little fleck became entirely too interesting to him.
He wondered in a dissociated way if these new and unpleasant workings of his mind really came from his repeated exposure to China Black, or if the drug had merely uncovered a part of himself he’d always kept buried. Just how much had he changed in the months since he’d come to Albuquerque to work on the case?
A fresh wave of passengers exited the terminal. Vin came out in the flow like a twig jettisoned from a pipe. He looked good, his wavy brown hair the same shaggy length as always and his eyes clear and sharp, an overnight case tugging along behind him like he was an average businessman. He looked more like and FBI agent now than Drew did.
“Vin.” Drew’s voice came out as a croak. He stood up, feeling a little unsteady on his feet, but not like a complete derelict.
Vin walked right past.
“Vin!” Drew spoke more sharply, and took a step toward his old friend.
Vin glanced behind him, then glanced again. “Drew?”
“Yeah. It’s me.” Drew smiled though he felt ashamed. He hadn’t bothered to look in the mirror before coming here, but he could see his reflection in Vin’s eyes, and it wasn’t pretty.
At least he didn’t stink, Drew told himself. His jeans might have some suspicious stains and worn holes, and his T-shirt was stretched out, and he didn’t even want to think about the state of his hair or beard, but he’d showered this morning. At least he think he did.
“Sorry about the duds.” Drew pinched at the sides of the T-shirt. “Undercover, you know.”
“Yeah. Sure.” Vin turned full-on toward him, but didn’t offer a hug or even a handshake. “You look… not good, my friend.”
“They aren’t that dirty,” Drew muttered.
“It’s not the clothes, Drew. It’s the eyes.”
What could he say to that? Drew hadn’t had the nerve to look his reflection in the eye in quite some time.
“Well, come on. Maria’s waiting.” Drew headed for the parking lot. “You’ll be staying with us.”
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