The conversation with Jacqueline was long and teary-eyed. I managed not to cry for a full three minutes. I completely lost it when I heard Patrick burbling in the background. I was still a mess when Jack took the phone, thanking me over and over again for saving his wife. Then Jacqueline again, thanking me for looking after her children.
It was nearing dawn, and we were back in Dallas. Chimansky wanted me on-hand when they identified and captured the President’s would-be assassin. In the meanwhile, we were holed up in — of all places — The Adolphus. The hotel had put us up gratis in one of their nicer two bedroom suites. Apparently word had leaked and this was their way of saying thank you for not getting their hotel into the history books for all the wrong reasons.
I could hear the television in Franklin’s room, turned low; his snores were impressively loud. He had passed out even before I emerged from my long overdue shower, swaddled in one of the hotel’s very nice bathrobes. Barnaby, jacket off and sleeves rolled up, sat at the table near the window cleaning his pistol. Occasionally he would look over to check on me. He had finally taken off his sunglasses and now I could clearly see the worry and exhaustion he had been hiding.
When I ran out, he handed me another wad of tissues. I sniffled, wiped at my face, and eventually said good-bye to Jacqueline. Not for long, though. While her trip to Dallas had been cancelled, I would be expected to make an appearance at the White House once all of the necessary arrests had been made.
And probably testify in front of Congress, too.
I grabbed the tumbler of whiskey off the nightstand and swallowed it in one gulp.
Barnaby stowed his pistol, kicked off his shoes, and climbed onto the bed next to me.
I flopped against his chest and draped an arm across his stomach, utterly spent. The shower had temporarily revitalized me, but I had been awake for almost twenty-four hours. The phone call had done me in.
His breath ghosted across my head, tickling my hair. “Cuddle time?”
“Yes, please. I want sexy time, but I don’t have the energy for that right now.”
He chuckled and ran his hand up and down my arm.
I heard the phone in Franklin’s room ring. The television clicked off. A short muffled conversation followed, and then there was a knock at the door.
“You’re interrupting cuddle time,” I groused.
Franklin’s voice echoed through the door. “Can’t be helped. I’m coming in. You two better be decent.”
The door cracked open, and Franklin peered through. Satisfied by our state of dress, he opened the door all the way and propped himself against the frame.
“That was Chimansky. Couple of things. First, the clairvoyants at the field office are recovering. Most of them have completely emerged from their catatonic states; some of them are just sleeping. And no more reports coming in from clairvoyants in other offices. Looks like clear skies ahead.”
“Second, the plane in Tucson is clear. The maintenance crew went in about an hour ago to start tearing it apart. No sign of any incorporeal entity of any kind on Flight 283.”
“Half good. The chief of the maintenance crew — remember the bouncy guy in the overalls? — went in late last night. Guess he couldn’t wait. They found him this morning, curled up in the plane’s lavatory.”
I pushed my hair away from my forehead. “How is he?”
“To quote AD Chimansky, who got it from Argyle, he’s a ‘rambling, terrified, incoherent mess.’”
“Damn it.” I draped my arm back across Barnaby’s stomach and snuggled closer. “He went in before things changed, while Patrick was still there. Urgh. What else?”
“The Bureau’s handed down reassignments. Once we’re done here, we’re moving on to our next station.”
I dreaded the answer, but had to ask anyway. “Where?”
Franklin grinned and I could feel Barnaby trying to suppress a laugh.
[Written by Rebecca Buchanan.]