Forty-One - Linkin

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After my brief meeting with Ira during the night, I slept better. For the first time in a long time, I actually felt refreshed when I woke up. It felt like a weight was lifted off my chest. I got up to get ready for the morning, but by the time I was dressed in my tight fitting black dress pants, my white shirt, and navy blue blazer, I had a different idea of where this day was going.

I didn't waste a second as I skipped down to the guest bedroom as I put on my high heel ankle biters. I knocked on Ira's door loudly, Stuart in the shower next door. "Ira, I need you to wake up and fill in for me today!" I called through her door, leaning against it to put my other shoe on. "Ira!" I yelled again.

A groan was enough for me to pretend that she was agreeing and I went to the main floor. I went to my desk, scribbling a note on a pad of paper for Stuart.

Don't wait up - L

It wasn't going to satisfy him at all, but I was a woman on a mission and he had Ira now. Stuart would be able to handle a whole day without me or the car. I grabbed my purse, throwing it over my shoulder and headed for the door. The keys were waiting for me on a hook beside the door. I paused for a second, glancing over my shoulder and grinned knowing for once, I had a purpose.

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Just over seven hours and three countries later, I finally arrived. Luxembourg. I had around two hours before I had to be on the road again, which didn't leave me a lot of time. There were many wonderful things about this great, small European country. The main thing which I enjoyed, was all their business was done in French. Luxembourg is what most people know as a trilingual nation speaking Luxembourgish, German, and French. My German and Luxembourgish was nonexistent, but my French was coming along nicely. It helped I could read it, but the more work I did, the better I became at speaking it. It also helped with some business dealings back home in England.

I stayed in Northern Luxembourg which to call it sparsely populated was an insult. When deciding where to do my business where I wouldn't be noticed, an area which it's the largest town is just over 4000 people seemed to be perfect. I had a small cabin in the middle of nowhere between farmland and forest. It was reclusive and at the risk of falling over. It was exquisite.

The only thing inside my one-room cabin was a phone, a laptop, and a case of water. I didn't come here often or for long, just when I had business that I didn't want to be traced to me. It was an easy enough task after reading a few books on coding and other less than legal things. I still wasn't the fastest or best, but I was good enough for what I needed.

Turning on the laptop, I was almost giddy as I waited for it to load. The number I was anxious to call repeated in my head over and over again. Once loaded, I worked on making sure my call couldn't be tracked before I picked up the phone. My fingers had a mind of their own as they dialled the familiar American number.

"One down," I mumbled to myself as I hung up the phone, grinning at the promise from the call. Stuart would disapprove of my illegal activities, but there was only so many ways a girl like me could get a good paying job. Stuart didn't pay me nearly enough for us to keep that stunning Victorian house we lived in, or to decorate it. There were certain precautions we needed to keep us safe, to keep the island far away from us and that required money.

So what if I received a few calls from shady people to tell them information about someone they held illegally. The money was good and I was a better interrogator than a torturer, more efficient as well. People in pain would say anything to keep from their fingers being cut off. I didn't require people to talk, to lie, I only needed them to sit still. I didn't do it often and I made sure that nothing too terrible would happen with what information I told my employers. What was one life in the scheme of things, it wasn't like I was starting a war. Stuart and I needed friends, needed protection, and we needed money. I got all of those things plus some with the few tasks I took up.

That wasn't what I was here for today. I never got a call asking me to make a trip for anyone. Even if I did, I would have gotten a private plane, not driven my own car. No, I was here for Ira. I had a few contacts in States. I didn't bother to call my family - I was still a wanted criminal for fraud there, but I knew people who could get me some answers. Being a doctor and human lie detector did have its benefits. I met all sorts of interesting people, all who owed me something.

Forty-five minutes later, the phone rang again. "Anything?" I asked curiously. I wish I had taken up Thierry's offer to find Ira for me, to put her under surveillance, but at the time I didn't want those answers. Now I wish I had a camera in the room after she was attacked.

"Her friend drowned," he replied in French.

I groaned and rolled my eyes, "Something worthwhile please?"

There was a pause, his language switching to English. He had a thick accent, a mix of German and Dutch. "There were scratch marks on his ankles and back. Something not human. The doctor said maybe a dog got too excited before he died."

I couldn't keep a smile from appearing on my lips as I relaxed. Celestia. So Ira wasn't lying. "I sent you a photo, did you get it?"

"I did."

"And?"

"And what?" He laughed and I heard glasses clink in the background, he was at a bar. "It takes time, I cannot just find you a girl like that," he says and snaps his fingers. "No matter how pretty she is and no matter how rude you are. I have people on it, but your search radius isn't exactly small. New York City a week ago? Do you know how many people are in that disgusting city?"

Thierry wasn't a pleasant man, but he did a good job. He was one of the first people I met in Luxembourg. I hadn't exactly planned on coming to this city to start up an illegal interrogation and street doctor gig, but it worked out that way after someone found me. I had to assume it was someone from the island, as there was no one on this continent who knew me as Valentina. Thierry heard the gun go off, came running and saw my tattoos changing as the man curled up on the ground in pain. One thing led to another, he put a bullet in his brain and I told him I owed him one. From there it was all downhill.

"She's dangerous," I told him.

"All your friends seem to be dangerous, Linkin. You should really let me get you that island. It'd be nice, safe. No one would find you on an island. It'd be warm, you'd be happy."

I smiled at the offer, maybe he wasn't completely awful, but he didn't realize that was my personal hell. "You got me all the fake passports I need, now I just need this girl. When you find her, you call me back on my cell, alright?"

"You don't wait for my call there?"

"You said it'd take a while and I have other things I need to do other than sit in the woods." I objected, "If it'd be done in the next hour, then I'd stay but-"

"Don't rush me!"

"Exactly," I sighed. I glanced at my computer and nodded. "Keep me updated and if you find anything on the boy-"

"I let you know."

"I'm trusting you, Thierry." There was no heartfelt goodbyes, just the click as the line went dead. I still had some time and another call to make. With Ira back, there was no telling what could happen next. I wanted to make sure my affairs were in order, that if something happened to me, that Stuart and Ira would still be safe. 

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