FBI Criminal Investigation Specialist Christina Bryson didn't want to answer the phone.
"Doesn't Mother Nature call us, like, every three minutes? I don't think she actually has a plan," Christina said to Hubert, wondering how unprofessional it would look to take another long belt from the whiskey bottle in the bottom drawer of her desk.
The more that Christina learned, the less she understood. She had never heard of any kind of Kwanzaa or Channukah fairies, or an actual April Fool. The presidents of Presidents' Day were real historical figures. Were these really the Holiday Heroes? Were there other Holiday Heroes? Hubert seemed to know them, but if Mother Nature couldn't be trusted, could Hubert?
Oh, my child, things are not as they appear.
The fine hair on the back of Christina's neck stood on end as she recalled the way that that shrill cackle had rung in her ears. Who was she to believe?
"Hey, are you going to get that, or what?" Dane Cook's voice shattered her reverie. His tone grew increasingly eager. "You need me to give Mother Nature the superfinger? 'Cause you know I can do it."
She paused for a moment, slowly surveying the motley crew filling her office. They were looking at her expectantly, with the exception of Abe Lincoln, who seemed to be in a kind of trance, slowly twirling his nunchunks while painstakingly moving through what appeared to be a series of tai chi positions.
"No," Christina said slowly, almost disbelieving her own refusal. Was she putting Nick's life in further danger? She briefly wondered if she could actually ad-lib an entire plan to the team. Well, she was about to find out.
"You guys are going to take the call and set up the meeting. Hubert, Shlomo, and Dane will be the primary response team. They'll bring the bananas and orchestrate the exchange. T and Lincoln will be the second line of defense, ready to pounce with their gold chains and their sense of justice, respectively."
"I pity da foo' who stands between me an' Nick Noel," Mr. T intoned solemnly.
"And I am going to try to find where she's calling from, where she's holding Nick. The eye of the storm, as it were," she said flippantly, not noticing everyone but Dane Cook cringe at the bad pun. "Maybe I can head this meeting off before it has to happen."
Christina remembered Nick telling her of the loft apartment he had bought as an investment property during the first year of their partnership. In the years since, she had often walked past his desk to find him shopping online for all kinds of tools and carpentry supplies, which ostensibly he and some of his friends used to renovate the place in order to flip it. The events of this morning, though, had shed new light on this hobby.
It's his workshop, Christina thought. It's got to be his workshop. And what with Mother Nature's love for drama and bold display, it would make sense for her to hide Nick in plain sight, somewhere with significance. She wouldn't want her strength and her cleverness to go unnoticed.
The phone continued to ring, on and on, the elapsing time making Hubert's perfect eyebrows knit with agitation. Damn if he didn't look lovely sporting just a fine trace of worry.
"Hubert will call me when you establish the meeting place. I'll be there with some FBI tricks up my sleeve," she finished vaguely, hoping she sounded appropriately confident and blase.
Without waiting for anyone's approval,Christina slipped her gun into her holster and began rummaging through her desk. She filled a bag with sunglasses, scarf, hat, mittens, umbrella, and poncho, until she was prepared for most any kind of weather. Grabbing her car keys, she headed for the door, not looking back to see their reactions. She heard Hubert's low, silky voice answer the call as she headed for the parking lot, wondering for a split second whether her desire to save Nick was only professional. She hoped Cupid was on their side.
I'll trust them when trusting them becomes imperative, she thought to herself. Until then, I'm going rogue.