This is my beloved Cave Run Lake in Morehead, kentucky. I didn't take this picture.
Chapter Twenty-Eight ~
Scott was worried about Jackson, Otis and Jude, not to mention Amy. They hadn't returned and he'd received no call. Angie and Benji were being little angels, and Teenie only woke up when she was hungry, or needed to be changed.
"Uncle Scott, when will Mamie be back?" Angie asked tiredly as she sat on the couch beside him while he rocked Teenie.
Benji climbed up on his other side and laid his curly, dark-haired head on Scott's chest.
Scott turned on a cartoon and tossed the remote on the table. He got up to put Teenie in the bassinet and was settling down in an easy chair when his phone rang. He didn't bother to look at the name or number. He assumed it was Amy or Jackson. "It's about time you called me..."
"Are you serious? You were supposed to call me back."
"Michelle? I'm sorry. I thought you were someone else."
"There's no doubt, or you wouldn't have answered the phone."
Scott laughed in spite of her rudeness. He missed the banter. "Shelly I'm sorry. I've been really busy."
"You've been so busy you can't find time to call the girl who’s madly in love with you?" Her tone was light-hearted, but he knew it was anything but. The girl was in love with him, and that's one of the reasons he'd been avoiding her. The other was that she didn't know who he really was. She didn't even know his real name.
"I really have been busy, not that I would expect you to believe me. What did you need?"
"I didn't need anything, Jorgy. I just wanted to hear your voice.”
"I'm truly sorry Michelle, but I really can't talk right now." He sucked in a breath, keeping the yearning inside.
As he was getting ready to hang up, Angie said in her little-girl voice, "Don't you like her Uncle Scott?"
Scott tried to cover the earpiece with his hand, but it was too late. The little girl had unknowingly blown his cover.
"Jorgy, who do I hear talking? I know you don't hang around anybody that has kids, and who is Scott?" Michelle asked on the other end. "Well, nobody with kids but me."
"How is Elijah?" He knew he was opening a can of worms, but he needed to try to avert her attention.
"Your son is perfectly fine, not that you'd know, you never come to see him."
"Michelle, I don't want to go into it right now, okay? I really have been busy, that's the reason I haven't called."
"Let me guess, you met someone, she has a kid, and she needed a babysitter? How close was that?"
Scott felt remorseful. He knew if circumstances had been different, he would have a real relationship with her. But their relationship had been built on a lie, and he'd ended it before she could get too nosy. He didn't know if he could trust her if she found out he was an undercover agent. Her brother was the leader of the 'Streetwise Thugs.' Scotty had infiltrated the gang through him. "Michelle, can I call you back later?" He was expecting her to throw a fit, but she didn’t.
"I guess so. I'll talk to you later."
"Bye Shelly, I'll call you soon." He clicked the end button and shoved the phone in his front pocket.
"Was she your girlfriend?" Angie asked curiously.
"Now where would you even come up with an idea like that?" The child had amazing insight for her age.
"Now where would you even come up with an idea like that?" The child had amazing insight for her age.
"I watch TV, you know."
"Wow, you watch TV?" Scott laughed and tickled her a time or two. "You've learned a lot in such a short time." He got up and went to the kitchen. He needed to call Jackson and find out what was going on. He was worried about his sister. The last few days had brought home the enormity of giving his sister up for a job, and he yearned for a true relationship with her.
He pushed Jackson's name on his contact list and waited for him to answer.
"Hello? Is this Scott?"
"Yeah, it's me. What's going on? I haven't heard from you and when I tried to call earlier, it went to voicemail."
"Amy was beat up pretty badly Scott, but she's okay."
"Are you sure? Of course you are… Did you get the thumb drive?”
"No, we caught the mastermind though. It was my boss, but he escaped. We also got the scar-faced guy. He didn't get away. Otis wants us to go to his headquarters, but I don't think we will."
"I know you're worried about Otie Jack, but honestly, he would never harm anyone unless they threatened his life, or the lives of the people he loves."
"I'm hope you're right. My credibility is in rags. I didn't suspect for a minute my boss was the man we were after. I was giving him every plan we put in place."
"I wouldn't worry about it, Jack. Nobody else caught it, either. He’s very good.”
"Amy needed to go to the hospital, but I sent her to a private place I know down there. It's in the next town over. We're getting ready to come that way. Do you need us to bring anything?"
"I'm going to say something Jackson, and I want you to listen carefully, okay?"
"Okay, I'm listening."
"My sister's life and the lives of your own children are in your hands right now. Don't screw it up by losing sight of what's important. We have to find your boss so we can end this, you got me?"
"I know, I understand. If I were in your place, I'd be worried right now, too. I'm really struggling with this. I've never been in love with the person I was protecting before."
"Love is never easy Jackson, no matter the circumstances." Scott said sympathetically. "Just keep your wits about you.”
"We're getting ready to leave. Do you need anything from the city?" Jackson was unaware he'd already asked.
"Nope, I think I'm good."
"Hey Scott, I need to tell you something."
"I had just burnt the thumb drive and melted it into a little ball of plastic when I found out my boss escaped."
"Oh no, they're gonna be so angry..."
"I know, right? I had no idea he was loose, though. I thought it was over, and I wanted to make sure nobody, including our government, got their hands on it."
"You know you're gonna have to pay the piper over that one Jack. The government wanted that thumb drive so they could duplicate the virus in order to make an antidote."
"You know better than to think I would destroy the only one. I'm just hoping they'll fall for it."
"Yeah, that’s a little optimistic."
Jude walked up and asked Jackson, "Have you decided where we're going yet?"
Jackson put his hand over the phone. "We're just gonna go back down south. That's where Amy really is, and I want to be with her. Besides, I don't trust Otis' people."
"Do you trust Otis?" Otis asked as he walked up to where they stood.
"I trust him with my life." Jackson said without hesitation, giving the older man a long look.
He pulled his hand off the phone and said, "I gotta go. We'll see you in a few hours." He hit the end button and shoved the phone back into his pocket.
"Are we ready to roll?" Otis asked.
"Yeah, let me go get some cash from the office first." Otis and Jude followed close behind him as he went to the office, and he smiled.
He was getting ready to go in the door when a sound coming from Amy's room down the hall hit his ears. "Help, someone please help me!"
The three men raced down the hall to Amy's room. Jackson pulled out a key card and slid it in the lock. The light flashed green for a second, and then clicked to the open position. Jackson went inside. Amos the hostage negotiator was handcuffed to Amy's four-poster bed. His arms and legs were stretched out so far he couldn't have slid his arms or legs up if he'd tried.
"Amos, we were worried about you." Jackson rushed over to un-cuff the cop.
"You mean you don't hate me for what I did?" He asked in surprise.
"We know the kidnappers have your family. We don't know where they are, but we're on it."
Amos had unshed tears in his eyes as the cuffs were taken off. "I’m glad you guys finally heard me. That ghastly man with the scar brought me up here last night. I was terrified he would kill me, but he didn't even try. He just brought me in here and cuffed me. I don't know what they wanted from me after the first abduction was a disaster, but I sure don't want to find out. I heard the girl screaming. It went on for about half an hour. I’m so sorry she had to go through what she did. Is she okay?"
"Yes, she's gonna be fine, she's a scrapper." Jude said. "Do you have any idea where they may have taken your family? How many people are we looking for?"
"They have my wife, son and daughter. My son's name is Adam, and my daughter's name is Emerald. They even took Sparky, our dog. He's a papered Chihuahua."
"We know who most of the group is, so it shouldn't be too hard to track them down." Jude said.
"Let's get back to your family. Do you have any idea where they may have taken them?" Otis asked.
"We were coming back from Wednesday night Church meeting. We stopped at a four-way stop sign, and three cars hemmed us in. Sparky was with us because he had a vet appointment right before Church and we didn't have time to go home, so we took him with us. Anyway, men came from every direction and opened up our car doors. They put bags over our heads and pulled us out of the car and took us to what I would guess was a van. They threw us in, and the next thing I know, I was waking up in my car where I started from, minus my family. I don’t know where they took us."
"We're going to do everything we can to find them. We have at least one other family still missing." Jude said.
"We need to get on the road. Let's take him with us." Jackson said.
"Sounds like a plan to me." Otis chimed in. "let's stop and get something to eat on the way though, I'm starved."
Jackson laughed, easing some of the stress. “I could eat a horse.”
"I agree, and third that motion." Jude replied.
"Are you sure I won't be an imposition on you guys and your investigation?" Amos asked.
Jackson discerned his reason for asking and said, "You don't have to be afraid of us. Unless you're on the wrong side, of course."
"Yeah, you don't want on his bad side, either." Jude said as he got in the front passenger seat. "Let me tell you about the time we got into a knock-down drag-out fight."
He looked at each man, and then said, "It happened the first time we met. Jackson took an immediate dislike to me for some odd reason. I mean, I'm a great guy, right?" He grinned. At the groans from the other guys, he laughed and continued, "We were after this thug. He was in the 'Army' so Jackson automatically thought he had jurisdiction, but he didn't, I did. Well, he got so mad I had the audacity to challenge his right to authority he walked over and punched me in the face." He paused for effect and went on, "I punched him back, and we rolled around on the ground until our respective teams pulled us apart. I guess I stuck in his mind, because when he needed help, he called me. Now I consider him a friend, and I believe he considers me one, too."
"Aw, that’s such a touching story." Jackson mimicked. "He forgot to tell you he was making faces at me like a two year old. That's why I hit him. I know it was wrong, but at the time I reacted without thinking. I'm sorry, Jude."
"I'm sorry, too." Jude said. "Of course, I'm a Christian now, and wouldn't think of doing anything like that again."
"Speaking of being a Christian..." Otis began, but was interrupted by Jackson.
"What does it mean to be a Christian?" He asked Otis bluntly. They were in the car driving down the road, and Jackson looked at him through the rearview mirror.
"First off, do you know who Jesus is?"
"Yes I do. I know He is the Son of God, the Son of man, and our Lord and Savior."
"You know He came to the world as a man so He could die for your sins, correct?" Otis asked.
"Yep, I know that too. I also know salvation is a gift from God and there's nothing I can do to be saved. God has to call me. He has to enable me to hear him. He has to change me so I can respond to Him, and then He continually works through me and causes me to grow in sanctification and glorification of Him. I know that saying a prayer doesn’t ensure I’m saved because those who believe they have to say a pray to be saved are not only relying on the prayer and not God, they’re trying to usurp the work of God when He told us salvation was a free gift. It's all of Him and none of us." Jackson took a mouthful of air to catch his breath.
"Wow man, it's awesome you know all that, so why aren't you saved?" Jude asked curiously.
Jackson pondered that question as they continued their journey south.