I reluctantly drag my ass over to JC and Wendy’s house for their Hawaiian party, dressed in the coolest floral-print camp shirt I could find, flip-flops, and cargo shorts. If it weren’t for my superhuman physiology, I’m sure I’d be freezing my ass off. Judging from the looks of the other guests as they arrive in tropical garb, teeth chattering with cold, I’m not the only person who thinks that having a Hawaiian theme party in February is sort of a lame idea. Really, the whole thing is a framing device for JC and Wendy’s slideshow about their honeymoon in Maui.
Having said that, I have a good time. They crank the heat and the Don Ho music up and ply their guests with food and blended drinks. I follow my modus operandi for parties and hang out in the kitchen near the booze, and end up getting drafted for blender duty.
I begin sampling the wares: one drink for you, one drink for me. Soon I’ve got a nice buzz going and I’m Chatty Guy, the Frickin’ Life of the Party.
“You making margaritas?” a familiar woman’s voice says. “’Cause I could use a margarita.”
Wendy’s cousin Emma the hot brunette cop stands in the kitchen, wearing a short spaghetti strap dress in a blue and white floral print that clings nicely to her cocked hips. She arches her eyebrow like The Rock and smiles at me – like a cat smiles at a mouse it’s about to eviscerate. Yeah, I know cats don’t smile. It’s a lame metaphor, sue me.
“Hey. It’s Emma,” I say weakly. She scares me. “I, uh, I don’t think I have any mix…” I make a big show of looking in the liquor cabinet. “Nope. Just tequila.”
She taps the counter. “Well, set me up with a shot, barkeep.”
She doesn’t seem hostile, so I relax a little. “Yes, ma’am.” I produce two shot glasses and fill them with Cuervo.
Some background: JC and I were roommates in college and one weekend I treated Emma rather shabbily when she and Wendy came down to visit. In my defense, I think I was drunk at the time, but still, I was mean to her, and the last time I saw Emma she raked me over the coals a little. (see post A birth, a wedding, and a hot cop, 1/19/05 for gory details)
Reasonably assured that she’s not going to knee me in the nuts, I hand her a shot glass. We salute each other, then down our drinks. Mmm, tequila.
“So you’re not going to kick my ass?” I ask.
“Haven’t decided yet,” she says. “I could, you know.” I believe her. Her shoulders and arms are smooth and sculpted.
“And I would deserve it. No jury would convict you. For what it’s worth, I’ve grown a little since college.” And she’s grown a lot since college.
“So Wendy tells me. She stopped referring to you as ‘JC’s asshole friend’ years ago.”
“Gosh, that makes me feel warm inside,” I say.
“I think it’s the tequila. Another shot?”
“Are you trying to get me drunk?” I ask.
“No, I’m trying to get me drunk before JC’s slideshow.”
We laugh and down a couple more shots.
Wendy checks in on us. “You guys playing nice? Em, you have permission to beat him up if he gets lippy. She could, too, Connor.”
“We’ve established that,” I say.
Wendy pats me affectionately on the cheek. “Careful,” Wendy says. “Em hunts supervillains for a living, you know.”
What? I almost cough up my tequila. What?!
Emma rolls her eyes as Wendy leaves the kitchen. “Wendy never misses an opportunity to mention that.”
Holy shit, I can’t believe I didn’t put this together.
“Panda 6 calling Panda 4, come back.”
No wonder Emma’s voice sounds familiar. She’s Panda 6, she’s on the fucking Paracrime Unit!
“Umm, what do you do at the police department, anyway, Emma?”
“Oh, I’m in the Paracrime Unit,” she says. “Used to be SWAT. Sharpshooter.”
“Damn…” I say.
“You okay?” She’s looking at me funny.
“Yeah, yeah, fine. It’s just a little hot in here. Another shot?”
Emma smiles. “You’re speaking my language.”
I should have seen that coming. I should have pieced that together. Wendy’s cousin is a Paracrime trooper. Of course. The relief I feel knowing Emma doesn’t want to knee Connor Mackenzie in the balls is sort of overshadowed by the dread I feel knowing that she wants to shoot The Velvet Marauder in the head.
A sharpshooter. That is so hot.