Elizabeth's body had tensed at the first rap, and now she felt like a coiled spring. She looked into my eyes with her eyes, and I knew, deep down, deep down in the swimming
hole of my soul, that she was capable of lying to me, that she could put the barrel of her gun against my forehead and pull the trigger while telling me she loved me. Still, I wanted to believe her. No, I needed to believe her.
"No one. There are others in the Org who know about the place, but no one knows we're here." She slid her gun out, and I wondered if the barrel would be pressing against my forehead.
"Were you sitting on that?" I had not noticed any hardware during our cuddle session.
"Not really. Check the door, Jack." Her eyes left my face, scanning the interior of the little room, although she must have been here before, and would know every inch of it.
She moved to the wall on along the door and flattened her back against it. I moved to the door. If someone surprised me like I had my assassin at the Henderson's, she would take him or her out, quickly. Or me. Whatever the situation demanded, and had demanded. I knew that.
The knock sounded again; sharp, insistent, and demanding. I pressed the view panel button, and the camera on the outside showed the doorstep and a figure, and the face was looking directly into the invisible camera. It was Alton. I looked at Elizabeth and lifted my eyebrows. "Alton," I breathed out,
"Great," she muttered. "Well, we have to deal with him sooner or later. Open the door, Jack."
I opened the door about two or three inches. "Alton," I called. "If you have any weapons, show them, now. Put them down on the step below you." I closed the door. I watched him on the monitor; he removed a handgun from somewhere in his jacket, and a knife strapped inside his pants leg. He placed them on the step, and turned back to the camera, lifting his empty hands.
"Jack," he said, "Jack. That's it, I swear. Now listen to me. We have to trust each other. Where's Elizabeth?"
"I'm not sure she wants to talk to you, Alton."
Elizabeth spoke for herself. "Let him in, Jack, before someone sees him. We're close to compromising the integrity of this house."
I nodded. She was right. Alton on the doorstep, making a fuss of some sort, would give away the location of not just himself, but also to us, to whoever knew to make the connection. It wouldn't be difficult. I opened the door. "Come on in, Alton."
Alton entered, smiling. I seized him by the wrists, spun him around, and thrust him against the opposite wall. Elizabeth quickly closed the door. I ran my hand under Alton's coat and removed another handgun. "You missed one, Alton." I spun him around. He was still smiling.
"Now Jack. I carry that one so much I don't even think about it. I feel naked without it, and here I am in the presence of a lady. Wait a minute, we were married; does it still matter? No need to bother, I guess. But thanks for letting me in, old sock, it's getting a bit cool outside. I think it may frost."
Elizabeth offered him tea, and he sat down. I did the same, on the other side of the table, still holding his gun, and keeping it pointed directly at his heart. Alton sipped his tea and smiled again.
"Did you find Markus?"
Elizabeth and I looked at each. I answered. "No. He didn't show. Have you seen him?"
Alton looked thoughtful. "No. I wonder if I ever will again. If anyone will."
"You mean he's dead."