Chapter 27

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Leaving Italy was hard.

Not just because it was where I had awoken again and had finally dared to open up to Lauren, but also because in just the two days we had been there, it had grown on me. I told myself that once this was all over, I'd go back to Italy again. Maybe and hopefully with Lauren.

As for now, I had to focus on what was going to happen. We were in the private jet with Caleb again, who was fiddling around with a toy I could only assume once had been a drone. It now looked like a cross between a helicopter and a soap bubble machine. Meanwhile me and Lauren were looking the case over again, trying to figure out what our plan was going to be.

"So if my boss is involved somehow, then how do we get to him so we can interrogate him?" I asked, hating the words that came out of my mouth. I still didn't want to believe Howard was a part of it, but for the sake of the mission, I didn't let my personal feelings get in the way.

"His house would the easiest way," Lauren replied, picking out a file that Caleb had printed with the details of Howard's personal life. "It's moderately secure, CCTV, trigger-sensitive alarms. I'm sure the kid could handle them easily."

"Not his house," I said and firmly shook my head. "Howard has a wife and three daughters. Two of them are moved out, but his youngest is seventeen and still lives at home. I don't want neither her or his wife being there if it turns out he is a part of it. I don't want them... experiencing that." I said and pressed my lips tightly together. "They're innocent and they shouldn't see their husband and father get... taken."

Lauren took my hand and then nodded understandingly. "I understand. We won't take him at home then. Public is no good either then, no? Too many civilians."

I nodded and then closed my eyes for a moment. "Yeah, but then what do we do? We can't wait for his wife and daughter to leave the house, and Howard is too smart to fall for a trap if we try and lure him out. He's been on the force for thirty-four years, he's not stupid. He'll know a trap when he sees one."

"That leaves us with just one option then; His workplace."

I turned my head and stared at Lauren for a long second to determine whether or not she was kidding. My conclusion was that she wasn't. "You've seriously not suggesting we break into the CIA, are you? We just escaped from there. If we step into that building again, they won't hesitate to kill us."

"Actually..." Caleb now broke in, looking up from his hybrid-drone toy to be a part of the conversation. "They won't pop your asses. You're forgetting that while we're like on level 10 with what's going on, they're still just on level 2, looking for the USB. They have no idea what Lauren stole yet, and as far as they're concerned, I'm still Liam Neeson's son from Taken. They won't risk killing you guys before they know what's on that USB. If it's state secrets, they have to know which hands they landed in, and currently, your hands are Mr and Mrs Sex."

Me and Lauren exchanged a brief look. I was the one who spoke first. "So you're saying they wouldn't take us down if we walked into the CIA?"

"Oh, no, they'd totally take you down," Caleb said and resumed fiddling with his toy. "They'd taser you, cuff you and tie you up in that room below." He suddenly frowned and then looked up preposterously. "What the shit, I just realized how perverted they are," He said and grimaced. "That's total Christian Grey kink right there."

I rolled my eyes, but Lauren pursed her lips seriously and spoke. "If we could at all avoid going down there again, I would much appreciate it," She said and looked sternly at Caleb. "My last stay wasn't very hospitable."

An image of how Lauren had looked after she showed at the safe-place now popped up my head and made my guts turn. I could understand why she'd want to avoid that again. "I agree. We have to find a way to get to Howard without ending up in any extraction rooms," I said. "There has to be a way, I mean you've done it before when Lauren broke in. Why can't we do it the same way?"

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