Magnus followed Kurt into his office and slouched himself into the chair in front of the desk. He watched his boss walk around and take the chair opposite him, waiting for the lecture he knew he deserved. True, Kurt didn’t know everything that had occurred, but that had never stopped him from ripping up at Magnus before. And he was aware that Magnus had let Lanie far enough away from him for the picture to be taken.
”Good lord, Martinsson,” Kurt said testily once they were both seated, “I would have thought you’d prove a better actor.”
”What do you mean?” Magnus’ eyes shot up quickly. Did he know about his unsanctioned interest in Lanie? He prayed his eyes hadn’t given away his feelings, or, god forbid, his over enthusiastic member that tended to bulge at the merest thought of her.
“You’re supposed to be head over heels for the girl, remember?” Kurt replied, glaring at him. “No one is going to believe that if you can’t even look at each other! I don’t care if you don’t find her attractive, I don’t care if you can’t stand her. Man up and act like you want her or this whole thing is going to fall apart!”
It took all of Magnus’ willpower not to laugh. For such a brilliant detective Wallander was absolute bollocks with relationships and basic romantic empathy. The degree to which he had misread the dynamic between Magnus and Lanie was staggering. As it was all to Magnus’ benefit, he decided not to correct him.
”We will try harder,” he grumbled.
“See to it you do. This case is getting thornier all the time.”
”We think Ms. Greyson must know more than she’s letting on. She has this guy spooked somehow, or he wouldn’t have sent that email.”
”Lanie wouldn’t lie to us,” he defended her, bristling at the very suggestion.
“I’m not saying she is,” Kurt sighed, “but she might be unaware of what she knows. What can you tell me about Haas?”
”He’s definitely obsessed with her. I had to practically fight him last night to keep his oily hands off her.”
”Well, don’t let him get too close, but remember not to push him too far. We need him to allow you to accompany her to his house party.”
”I’ll do my best,” Magnus promised. “Lanie is due to go back to work on Monday, I thought I would arrange to pick her up, so I might have a look around after every one else is gone. She says she’s often the last one to leave.”
”Good. Just be careful. I am not pleased that you let the killer get a shot of her this morning. Imagine if that had been a gun in his hand instead of a camera?”
”Believe me, I have,” he sighed. He didn’t need Kurt to fill his head with worst case scenarios, his own brain was more than willing to come with them on its own.
“I know we’re asking a lot of you, Magnus,” Kurt said unexpectedly. “But along with being the only lead we have, the girl is important to Anne-Britt. Just keep up the preformance for another two weeks, then you never have to see the girl again.”
It was ironic, Magnus thought, that the one time Kurt tried to be comforting he only succeeded in depressing his mood even further.
Lanie watched Magnus follow Inspector Wallander out of the room, eyes straying down to the seat of his tight jeans as he walked away. A shame he had kept so much of his clothing on earlier, she couldn't stop herself thinking. It may have been her only chance to see a body that perfect.
"See something you like?" Anne asked.
"What?" Lanie jumped, blushing. "No. I don't know what you're talking about."
"Oh come on, Lanie, you can't deny the man is gorgeous," Anne said with a laugh. "Even I catch myself staring sometimes."
"Alright, fine," Lanie sighed, "I might have been admiring certain of his assets."
"I should hope so!"
Anne sat down and gestured for Lanie to do the same. Not thinking, she lowered herself onto a chair and immediately jumped back up again as pain shot through her ass as it hit the hard surface. Anne looked at her, perplexed.
"Are you alright, sweetie," she asked. "I know this must be taking a toll on you. I hope Magnus has been behaving himself."
"Of course he has!" Lanie assured her hastily. "Why would you think he wasn't?"
"I didn't think that," she protested. "I just wanted to be sure. Kurt has issues with him, but I think it's just because Magnus comes from a posh background."
"He does?" Lanie thought of the beat up car, the small apartment, and the dive bar where they had met.
"Can't you tell just by listening to him?" Anne asked. "God, that voice! I like the boy, personally. Quiet, hard to get to know sure, a little sassy at times maybe, but a good cop. I always thought he just needed to find the right woman to bring him out of his shell more."
"Anne," Lanie stared at her old friend with growing alarm, "did you arrange for this whole protective custody situation as some sort of ridiculous blind date?"
"No! No, I swear!" Anne hastened to assure her. "You really do need protection, and the idea to place you with a cop as a couple wasn't even mine, it was Lisa's. I just thought... well... since you were going to be stuck with someone for a couple of weeks, why not make it easy on you?"
"Yeah, easy," Lanie shook her head, pacing.
"So, is his place all tricked out?"
"Ha! Not at all. He lives in a four room shoebox of an apartment. I would never have known he came from money, though now that you say it there is something posh about him."
"That sounds cozy," Anne smiled.
"Stop that!" Lanie glared at her.
"Alright, alright," Anne laughed, then turned serious again. "But all joking aside, Lanie are you okay?"
"Sure," Lanie shrugged, "why?"
"You're just not acting like yourself," Anne replied. "You're all jittery. You can't seem to sit still. And that outfit. I promise, Anne, we will catch this guy. You don't need to dress like a nun."
"I am not dressed like a nun!"
"You're wearing a turtle neck and a skirt to your ankles."
"I get cold," Lanie insisted.
"Since when? You've been known to wear sundresses and sandals long past the time sane people have packed them away for the season. I promise you, Lanie, we will not let this guy get you."
"No, we won't," said a male voice. Lanie turned and saw Kurt and Magnus walking back in. Magnus looked more grim than he had when they had left, but he walked over to Lanie and put his arm around her shoulder.
"Better," Kurt nodded, "but still could use work."
"What needs work?" Lanie asked, looking back and forth between the two men.
"Kurt thinks we need to work on our chemistry," Magnus told her, and as their eyes met she saw a brief flash of hilarity in his.
"Our chemistry?" she asked, sure she must have heard his wrong.
"Yup. Apparently you and I are just not believably attracted enough to each other."
"Oh," was all she could think of to say. If she was any more attracted to the man she would be straddling him on the conference table right now, she thought.
"Oh, for god's sake, Kurt!" Anne chided him. "They've just received a death threat. What, do you expect them to be going at it on the sofa? Give them a break."
Lanie felt Magnus flinch as her finger nails dug into his arm.
"I'm just trying to offer a little constructive criticism," Kurt.
"Well then," Anne suggested, "why don't you two run along home and work on your chemistry."
Lanie thought she just might happily strangle her friend.
"Should I consider that an order?" Magnus asked blandly, looking at Kurt.
"Yes, consider that an order."
"Well Lanie, you heard the man," Magnus grinned at her and escorted her out to the car.