Chapter 6 Part 2

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"Are you sure you want to do this?" the driver asked, pulling into the private entrance at Great Redeemer. "I've heard stuff. These people are off their rockers."

"We know what's going on in there," said Andrea, turning on all the charm her trophy-wife disguise could muster. "Opportunities abound, though."

"As long as you know." Up ahead, a security flak held up a hand to stop the limo. The driver slid his window down and offered the paper that Guyton had given him earlier.

The security guard made a show of looking the paper over. "Okay," he said after a moment, putting a VISITOR placard under a windshield wiper. "Watch for the parking attendant. He'll tell you what to do."

The parking attendant greeted the driver with a smile. "Take the guests to the elevators. Over there." He pointed. "Then I'll find you a spot."

"I hope you know what you're doing," said the driver, helping Andrea and Guyton out of the limo. "Either way, I'll be here. Take care."

An earnest young man stepped forward as the limo driver returned to his car. "Welcome to Great Redeemer," he said. "I am Anton. Follow me, please, and I will show you to your seats." He led them to the elevator.

As they ascended, Guyton drew and shot. Ssst, and Anton disappeared as Andrea suppressed a scream.

"What—" Andrea gasped for breath, trying to compose herself.

"Yeah. He was a soulburn." Guyton quickly pocketed his weapon, and Andrea took a shuddering breath. "Can you get it together?"

"If you don't do that again." She hugged him, and calmed quickly. "I'll manage. I hate flipping out every time you touch... that. Takin' one for the team, I guess."

"Okay, good," he said, as the elevator chimed. "Let's do this."

The greeter looked around the elevator cab. "Where's Anton?" she asked.

"Still downstairs," said Andrea, turning on the charm once again.

"He had an 'urgent personal need,' he said," Guyton added. "He said you could take us to our seats."

"Of course, of course. But we'll have to be quick. I'm supposed to help another member. I am Jaymee. This way, please."

Jaymee led them to a small room with a love seat at the window, overlooking the main sanctuary. She quickly poured water into wine glasses, and laid a cheese plate on the coffee table between the love seat and the window. "Apologies, but I have to move on," she said before departing.

"Anton's in trouble," Andrea drawled, watching Jaymee speak into her phone as he walked away.

"A... Hell of a lot of trouble," Guyton quipped.

Andrea shuddered. "Don't joke about that."

"Sorry." Guyton took a toothpick and stabbed a cheese cube. "This reminds me of the skyboxes at the stadium."

"You've been in one?"

"A couple of times. The first one was on business. I was working security at a game, and some moron snorted too much coke or something. Then the stadium owners gave us some tickets for sweeping the whole mess under the rug. But we got free beer and nachos at the stadium. Looks like sparkling water and a cheese plate, this time."

"Figures. We always knew there was one set of rules for us, and another for the big shots."

"Money and power," Guyton quipped. "Goes together like... uh..."

"Coffee and doughnuts."

"Beer and bratwurst."

"Us." Andrea's eyes dared Guyton to come up with something better.

Another staff member rescued Guyton. "I'm Cassie," she said, hustling in. "Is everything okay so far?"

"Funny," said Andrea flipping a hand at Guyton, "he was just talking about how the skybox at the stadium had a fridge stocked with beer."

"Ha, well, this is a church!" Cassie laughed. "I'm so sorry about Anton. It's like he just... vanished. Nobody has seen him at all, and the security people downstairs are getting worried. One said he swore he saw Anton get on the elevator with you."

"He did," Guyton admitted. "But then he kind of bent over, said he needed a minute, and slipped out just before the doors closed. I hope you find him." Actually, I hope you don't. May you never end up where he is.

Down below, Outlaw Accountant began the hymns. "Good soundproofing," said Guyton. "You can't hear all that. But I guess we won't hear the sermon, either."

"Oh. Did Jaymee not show you the sound system?" Cassie pressed a button, and the singing from down below filled the small room. "You can adjust the volume, too. Press the button again to cut it off." She demonstrated. "She should have showed you that."

"Jaymee said she had to take care of someone else," said Andrea, turning up the charm again. "I think she was in a hurry."

"I can see that. Her client is... difficult. But I'm dedicated to you, for now. I can stay with you to answer any questions you might have, or step outside until you need me."

"We were referred by an acquaintance," said Guyton, showing Cassie the paper from the young man. "He told us we could contact this person here. But I don't know how the protocol works—do we wait until after the service concludes, or can we speak beforehand?"

"Everyone in the suites can interact at any time," Cassie assured him. "If you like, I can let him know you would like to talk right away. The High Priest might like to speak with you after the service, anyway."

"That would be fine."

"Good! I'll go find your friend, and let the High Priest's assistants know you're available after the service." She swept away, poking at her phone.

"You know, I'll take the opportunity if I get it," Guyton warned.

"I know," Andrea grimaced. "Do what you have to."

"I will."

After you eliminate Della Verne, eliminate her, too, he remembered. But if everything worked out, they would walk out together. That was a big if, though, and there was no telling what would happen next.

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