Chapter Eight ~
Jackson Masters watched the house across the street intently. He saw three men wearing scarves across their faces bust through the door. He pulled his walkie-talkie up to his mouth and said urgently in a whisper. "Now, blow it now!"
The explosion rocked the whole neighborhood. Plumes of dark smoke rose in the air and hung overhead like a big ominous cloud of doom.
His assignment complete, Jackson Masters turned and walked out of the small village toward his hidden jeep.
He was barely seated when the vibrating of his phone caught his attention. He pulled out quickly and sped down the road as he held the phone out to try to make out the caller. It was Amy. Something must be wrong. He jerked the car to the side of the road, using an old broken down truck as cover.
He hit the answer button. "Hello? Is something wrong?" His voice sounded urgent and Amy regretted bothering him, but it was too late to worry about it now.
"It's okay Jackson. I just called to tell you Teenie has the measles." She tried to convey her lack of worry in her tone.
It didn’t work. "Are you serious? How on earth did she get the measles? Is she okay? Do I need to come home right now?" It was obvious he cared about his children and the knowledge made her breathe easier.
"The doctor thinks she probably contracted them from you. You travel out of the country a lot. She's okay Jack, don't worry, I'm taking care of everything. No, you don't need to come back right now. She's has the fever part right now so she should break out in the next day or so. Once she starts spotting up all we'll need to worry about is the itching. I've got plenty of calamine, though. The doctor also gave me a prescription for an antibiotic for secondary infection. It really is under control." She used her best 'nanny' voice and smirked a little at the way it sounded.
"Okay, thanks Amy. I really appreciate how kind you're being. I should be there with her, especially when she's so sick."
"It's my job, besides; I’ve already grown to love them. You have a wonderful family and you should be proud. Well, I think I hear crying again, I'll call tomorrow and give you an update, goodnight." She ended the call and shoved the phone back in her front pocket and headed to the baby's room. She would set a cot up in Teenie’s room. There was no sense displacing her when it would be easier for her to sleep in the baby’s room.
Jackson sat with his phone lying loosely in his hand, thinking about the call. He knew he should get out of the area as soon as possible, but a bad feeling gripped him, and he was rooted to the spot, momentarily unable to move. He was definitely glad he'd chosen so well in hiring a nanny. He shrugged off the feeling of foreboding and pulled out onto the road, heading to his hotel.
He wondered what the beautiful and sweet nanny would think of him if she knew the truth. He wasn't just into security. He was a Special Forces soldier. Most of the people in the army didn't even know his unit existed. He and his team did the jobs the regular Army couldn't, or wouldn't. There were things the United States government couldn't do and be politically correct. That's when they sent in his team, Condor.
Jackson got out of the army-looking jeep and put the key in the lock of the door. He hesitated, feeling like he was being watched. He ever so carefully turned around, scanned the parking lot, and everything around it. He didn't see anything. He shrugged to himself and went into the room. He threw the keys onto the table and turned on the light. His room was ransacked. Everything was turned out into the floor, and the mattress had even been cut and pulled apart. His hand went to the gun on his hip. He rushed through the room into the bathroom, but it was empty, too. His left hand dove into his left pocket and rested on the flash drive. That's what they’d been looking for. He hurriedly stuffed all his belongings into his duffel bag and left.
He didn't discard the surgical gloves he was wearing until he entered the airport. He went into the men's restroom, went into a stall and pulled the gloves off, turning them inside out in the process. He wiped the gloves down to remove any fingerprints and stuffed the alcohol packet back into his pocket and threw the gloves in the trash. He used the same alcohol pad to wipe the edge of the door, stuffed it in his pocket and walked to the ticket counter.
Thirty minutes later he was flying over the small country where he'd been, on his way home.
He stomped his foot in anger. Jackson must have the thumb drive on him. The plan was ruined. “No matter, I’ll just follow him back to Salt lake city.” The man left the hotel parking lot and went to the airport to catch a ride. This whole thing had gone awry, and it was all Jackson Masters’ fault. He would pay. He spent the whole ride lamenting and plotting what he would do to the man for daring to come between him and his plot. He had no idea what was at stake here. He didn’t see the big picture, but he would. He cackled loudly as he got out of his car, attracting questioning stares from several people heading the same direction. He smiled and waved at them, only slightly caring whether they bought his innocent demeanor. Soon it wouldn’t matter.
He exited the airport building and went out onto the tarmac where a plane was fueled and waiting for him. “It’s a good thing my men are obedient.” If anyone had been around, they would’ve given him looks, too. Only crazy men spoke to themselves, didn’t they? He cackled again. Many would think him crazy, but they wouldn’t matter either, because if his plan worked, they’d all be dead. He taxied down the runway and disappeared into the night sky.
Amy paced back and forth with Teenie as she screamed in misery. This was going to be a long night, but her main concern was for the baby. How did people get through it? Tears filled her eyes. She rocked the baby as she walked; trying to dispel the misery, but it was no use. She was inconsolable. Hopefully the medicine would kick in soon.
Chester came into the kitchen where she was pacing. “Hello, miss. I thought you might like some hot cocoa.”
“That would be great, Chester. Thanks for thinking of it. I feel so terrible for her suffering.” Amy was talking loud to be heard over the incessant crying.
To his credit, the butler seemed unperturbed. “It’s a bad situation, miss. Be thankful for modern medicine, though. Many people used to die from the measles, but very few do these days.”
“You’re right about that.” Teenie finally began to wind down and her cries became weaker, almost gone. “She’s almost asleep.” She whispered, trying not to wake the sick child.
“Don’t worry about whispering, miss. Once the medicine kicks in she won’t wake-up for a few hours.”
“I feel awful for being thankful for that, but I do. Not only does she need sleep, I do.”
“No need to feel guilt, miss. It’s obvious to anyone with a brain you love these kids. Mr. Masters couldn’t have chosen a better nanny.”
“Why thank you Chester.” Amy walked over and placed Teenie in a bassinet placed by the kitchen table. She pulled the covers up around her and pulled the bonnet up to keep the light out. “I do love them. I’m a little worried, though. Nannies aren’t supposed to become emotionally involved, and I never have before, at least not to this extent.”
“It’s hard not to be affected by innocent babes, miss. No one faults you.”
“I’m just a little freaked-out because I fell for these children so quickly. It isn’t that I didn’t care for my other charges, because I did, but not like this.”
“Maybe it’s because they don’t have a mother. Or maybe it’s because you’re attracted to their father.”
Amy stared at him in surprise. Was it that obvious? “Can you tell that easily?”
“Anyone with eyes, miss. Again, don’t feel guilty. It’s a natural response. He’s a handsome fellow, and he needs a caring woman in his life.”
“I don’t know if we should be talking about him like this.”
“There’s no harm, miss. You haven’t done anything inappropriate.”
“I don’t intend to, either. I have to quell these feelings.” Amy pulled the cup of hot cocoa Chester handed her over and warmed her hands.
“You can’t help who you care for.” Chester sat across from her, sipping his own cup of cocoa and smiling innocently.
“No, but I can suppress it.”