Chapter Twelve ~
Jackson Masters was on a plane headed back to the United States. His assignment was over, and he was anxious to get home. He and his team had gone to Haiti to protect an important foreign diplomat, and it had gone well.
He secretly disliked the short, over-fed little man with the dark hair and beady eyes. His stares were all too often on the young girls, and he made Jackson's skin crawl, but it was his duty to protect him.
He was trying to doze, but his mind kept formulating a picture of his new nanny. No matter how hard he tried to dispel her, he failed. He knew he was falling in love with her, and he'd lost the battle to stay away. His mourning period wasn't even up and he was already in love with another woman. Self-disgust washed through him, and he groaned and wiggled in the uncomfortable seat.
He'd finally managed to doze fitfully when the familiar buzzing of the phone in his front pocket startled him back to consciousness. He dug it out quickly, careful not to disturb the other sleeping members of his team. He swung out of the chair and back to the restroom. He stood just inside the door. "Hello, Jackson speaking."
"Jack, you need to come home." A good friend, and one of the body guards he'd stationed at his house said.
"What are you talking about?" His heart was already skipping the wild tattoo of terror. He knew before his friend replied that they'd attacked his house.
His guard told him everything he remembered before being knocked out from behind. Then he said, "Jackson, they have your nanny inside the house. They shot Chester in the gut and Matilda the maid in the head. They're both still alive, but it's gonna be touch and go. The children are at the hospital. They drugged Teenie sometime in the middle of the night. We can only speculate as to why they thought it necessary to do that. I believe it was so she wouldn't awaken the nanny before they’d achieved their objective."
"It isn't there Peter. I decided not to leave it around my family. I would never put them in danger. I don't know what I was thinking to bring it there at all." Something about his friend’s tone told him he couldn't trust him, so he said no more.
"There are swat teams here, and even the FBI. I think there are some local PD officers, too." Peter told him. "What do you want me to do?" His voice sounded menacing now, and Jackson knew his precaution not to trust him had been correct. Peter was in on all this!
“Wait until I get there.” He prayed he would arrive before Peter hurt Amy.
On the other end of the line the big man kicked brutally at Amy's unconscious body. She didn't move. She was bruised and bleeding, and probably suffering from a concussion. "Your new nanny's quite the looker, isn't she?" Peter asked.
"I think what I want to do is get the nanny to open your safe so I can get back what belongs to me." He played with the phone jammer in his pocket.
"She doesn't know the code Peter. You know I wouldn’t give it to someone I barely know." It was a lie, but it would sound true to Peter. Jackson had never trusted anyone so quickly in his life. “It isn’t there, anyway, I already told you.”
"Oh I don't know, Jackson. I think it is here, and I think you did tell the hot little number you call a nanny. You wouldn't hire a beauty like this to take care of your little brats, friend." Peter bit out through clenched teeth. "I think she's just as deep into this as you are."
"No she isn't..." Jackson began, but stopped when he realized it was futile. Peter was gone. He'd ended the call in the middle of his denial.
Rage swept through Jackson like a wildfire. His friend was his enemy. He'd been duped by someone for twenty years. Anxiety rushed through Jackson's body. He had to get home to Amy.
He called the hospital to check on Teenie, Chester and Matilda, hoping his friend had lied about them being there, but he hadn’t. They were all in 'serious' condition, but expected to make it. Angie and Benji were with the hospital social worker. He told the nurse to inform everyone not to let anyone but doctors and nurses into any of their rooms until he managed to get there. He hung up and dialed another old frienemy of his.
Special agent Johnson of the FBI had come to physical blows with Jackson in the past, at Jackson's instigation. They were evenly matched, but Jackson was more thoroughly trained and wasn't afraid to use unethical tactics if it won his fight. Jude Johnson wasn't like him. 'He wasn't afraid, he was just too 'Christian' to fight dirty,' Jackson thought as the phone began to ring.
"Hello, Special agent Jude Johnson, what can I do for you?"
"This is Jackson Masters. I need a favor."
"What do you need?"
"There's been an incident." He spent the next ten minutes filling the agent in on everything he knew, including telling him about the thumb drive, and what was on it, or at least as much as he could. Some of it was above his clearance level.
"Okay, this is all well and good Jackson, but what do you need from me?" The FBI agent asked. He didn't understand why Jackson had called him. He knew Jackson Masters would never come to him unless it was something terrible. This realization caused him to ask, "There's more you aren't telling me, isn't there?"
"Yes, of course there is." Jackson ground out impatiently. "Will you help me, or not?"
"You know I will. Just tell me what you need from me."
"I need you to meet me at the airport. We need to devise a plan to free my nanny and eradicate the rat in my house."
"What exactly do you mean when you say eradicate?"
"Just what it means Jude. He needs to die. He knows too much and it's a national security issue."
"You can't be serious Jack! I can't kill a man in cold blood!"
"I'm dead serious, Jude. If he gets that thumb drive he could take down this whole country.”
"If it's such a national security issue, why don't you get the NSA involved instead of the FBI?"
"They don't know about it.” Jackson exploded on the other end. "Would you just go to the airport and wait for me?" His anger was about to explode.
"Yes, I'll be there. What time will you be arriving?"
"ETA is fifteen minutes." Jackson ended the call. He shoved the phone back into his pocket and sighed in impatience. The plane couldn't touch soil quickly enough. He had to get to Amy before Peter did something terrible.