Part 2 - Chapter 27 - The Two Suitors

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Recovering from being tased, I took stock of my situation. Had to move. Hailee needed me. My Ruger New Vaquero revolver, my most trustworthy companion, the tool that had been an extension of my own body since Denholm started training me was at the bottom of the building's mail chute, inaccessible.

There was no time to figure a way to get it back. I had to abandon it. I needed to let it go. "Goodbye, old friend."

I wouldn't be able to go anywhere smelling of urine and needed a change of clothing.

My legs now back to normal, I didn't wait for the elevators and ran down the ten flights of stairs.

Racing across the street, I burst through the hotel lobby and stabbed the elevator call button with my index finger.

When I finally arrived in my room—my room and Hailee's I reminded myself—I stripped off all my clothes and invested a few precious minutes taking a quick shower but didn't bother drying off, jumping immediately into fresh clothes. My soiled laundry I stuffed into the teeny bathroom trashcan. I grabbed my pack and decided to leave behind the binoculars and other spy gear. No time. Trent would understand.

I took a moment to breathe while looking at Hailee's huge roller suitcase. A lump formed in my throat. "Oh, Hailee, why? You promised me you'd stay here no matter what happened."

Snapping out of it, I grabbed the handle and moved as quickly as possible to the Subaru, not bothering to stop by the desk to check out. It was full dark now, half past eight.

Back on the road, I headed for I-5 north since that was the last location Hailee reported to me before our comm units cut out. As I merged onto the interstate, I felt hopeless. Where should I go? What should I do? When would Myna call me?

I unleashed a stream of curses and pounded the steering wheel. Using Hailee's phone, I called Trent.

When he answered, I continued driving north and laid it all out for him. Out of breath, dark spots appeared in my vision. "Trent, I don't know what to do. I'm going to have a nervous breakdown."

"It'll be okay, Sing," he said. "We'll work it through together."

Hearing him say those words changed nothing, but it made me feel a little lighter knowing I wasn't alone.

"Where are you?" he asked.

"Leaving San Diego and heading north toward LA."

"You don't know where they're taking her. They might not even be going in that direction anymore."

"My gut tells me they are."

"I know you feel helpless, but there's not much we can do until they call."

"I can't just sit around. I need to do something."

Trent went quiet for a moment before continuing. "Obviously, we can't call the cops. That was the whole point in their taking Hailee. They want to get away clean with the shipment and are using her as leverage."

"I don't give a damn about the shipment," I yelled. "I worry about what's going to happen to Hailee after  they get away clean."

Trent paused. "Here's what you need to do. First, stop driving and find another hotel. Then you should call Hailee's parents and let them know—"

"—Are you crazy!"

"You owe them that. Then you should get some sleep."

"You think I can sleep?"

"Try."

After we disconnected, I decided to keep on driving. Movement felt like progress, even though that wasn't the case.

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