Enjoy a few of my favorite pictures...
~ Chapter Twenty-One ~
Two hours and three officers later, Justin was finally beginning to make some headway into getting the baby brought back to the police station.
Officer Mendez, the third officer, was being very helpful. She was taking his statement when a commotion at the front desk grabbed their attention.
Justin turned, trying to see what was going on. What his eyes focused on turned his blood cold.
Harry, AKA ‘the Monster’ was shoving through a group of policemen.
Justin stood up and yelled, “No, don’t let him go.”
The officers were intent on trying to restrain the man, but even Justin could see his determination was causing him to move with almost super-human strength.
Justin stood, scraping his chair back, grabbed Arianna and without a backward glance ran to the bathroom. The huge solid wood door slammed closed and Justin’s fingers shook with fear as he snapped the lever over to the locked position.
Arianna looked up at him from her cradled position against his chest. “How?”
“I don’t know, but the guy is either the luckiest person alive, or the most evil. I don’t know how we’re going to find out anything from in here, but I didn’t have time to think and this was my first reaction.”
Arianna reached out a trembling hand and laid it against his cheek. “It was the right thing to do if it keeps us safe.”
The tenderness in her eyes was his undoing. He turned his face, his lips landing on her cold fingers. He kissed them. “Let’s pray.” The trust she bestowed upon him caused tears to well up in his voice, but he continued, “Dear Lord, Your will be done in this situation, and all of them, in Jesus’ name I pray, amen.”
They sat there for a moment, silent. The bathroom was pretty sound-proof, leaving them ignorant to what may or may not be happening on the other side of it.
“Do you think Mary Jo is okay?”
He squirmed around for a moment, digging in his pocket. He pulled his cell out and tapped her name. He didn’t call, but sent her a text, hoping she had her phone on silent. Are you okay? He typed.
Almost instantly, the reply came. She will be when you come out.
Arianna cried out, “Oh no.”
“What have I done? I should’ve told her we were going. How could I leave her out there alone?”
Tears poured down Arianna’s face, but she said, “You were trying to protect me. It isn’t your fault.”
But he knew it was. Mary Jo was as much his responsibility as Arianna was. “Dear Lord, please keep her safe and give me the answers on what to do.”
Arianna grabbed his hand. His phone buzzed.
The text read: Well?
So many things ran through Justin’s mind he couldn’t think straight. If he opened the door, ‘he Monster’ would take Arianna. If he didn’t, Mary Jo could die. Not only her, but hard telling how many other people were being held captive out there.
Indecision held him in its evil grip.
And suddenly, it became clear. Pray some more.
“We have to pray again.”
Without one word or question Arianna squeezed his hand tighter and bowed her head.
“Dear Lord, we commit this decision into Your hands. No matter how much we think we can help, we know it is only by Your grace that we live and breathe. Your will in this situation.”
He lifted his head and looked down at Arianna’s strawberry blond head as it rested against his chest. She depended on him, but he depended upon God. So they would wait.
The phone continued to vibrate, the same message being displayed across the screen: Well?
After what seemed like hours, but was probably only minutes, a loud bang reverberated through the whole building.
Concussion bombs… Good idea.
The next thing Justin knew, he was waking up with a huge headache and the sound of someone beating on the bathroom door. “Hello in there? Are you okay?”
The door was so thick it sounded like it came from a long way away, but Justin made it out. “Yes, we’re fine. The man?”
“In custody,” a male voice returned.
Justin smiled. “Awesome!”
God had come through. And He always would.
He scooted up, the slight weight of Arianna keeping him down a bit. He shook her shoulder until she was roused enough to slide off his lap into a weak heap on the floor.
She looked up into his face, hers a mask of pure trust and joy. “God saved us Justin.”
He smiled down at her. “Yes. Yes He did.”