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Establishing Trust

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“Give me your phone!” Peter Burke demands in a no-nonsense voice when Neal’s cell chimes softly as the two men sit in a car surveilling a suspected art thief. Within seconds, after just three rings, the phone falls silent. Nonetheless, Peter’s open palm is still extended.

What Neal gives his new handler is a wide-eyed incredulous look. “Isn’t that an intrusive invasion of my privacy?”

“You’re a felon paroled into my custody, so you have no privacy,” Peter says firmly. “Now give me your phone.”

Peter isn’t quite sure what he would do if Neal got obstinate and didn’t comply. These were early days in their new relationship and there weren’t any rules in this playbook. Thankfully, his young CI finally relents and passes over his phone, which actually starts to ring again while still in Peter’s hand. A suspicious overseer notices an unknown number flash up on the screen, and he immediately puts it to his ear.

“Neal is busy at the moment and can’t take your call,” Peter says authoritatively before disconnecting. He has a gut feeling this anonymous contact is Neal’s little friend. He suspects they have somehow teamed up since Neal’s release from prison. Of course, Peter could check the call log, and even have the cyber geeks at the Bureau run them down. That way Peter could get ahead of the eight ball instead of cleaning up messes later. Yes, that would be proactive, but was it actually beneficial if he wanted to establish a sense of trust with a skittish young criminal? After a few tense seconds, Peter hands back Neal’s phone without another word being spoken.