Virginia Beach, Virginia
Press took the lead. “Sam recently opened her own private investigation agency in DC,” he explained. “Typically, a new agency starts out with some rather routine cases—most of which involve roaming spouses.”
Everyone in the room turned to Sam who gave them a shrug in agreement.
“During one such investigation which involved a lot of tedious hours following an unfaithful spouse to a particular seedy motel, she noticed a man lurking in the shadows. Curious about what this man was up to, she began watching him and noticed that he appeared to be tailing someone himself.”
“Rach, this is going to be difficult to watch. Try to stay calm.” His only worry so far had been her reaction. He turned on the video.
They watched the dark-clad figure lurking in the shadows, as well as the couple who had neglected to pull shut the drapes to their cheap motel room until several passionate minutes had passed.
Suddenly the drapes closed, and Sam’s camera lost the view of the room’s very temporary inhabitants. Instead of turning off the camera, Sam had kept filming. The dark figure remained well hidden until another door opened. A man stepped out of the room next to her target’s room and onto the neon-lit walkway in front of the room. He stopped and lit a cigarette before climbing into his rental car—a USM sticker and the rental company’s sticker both in place on its bumper.
Rachel and Palmer both reacted by sitting forward in their seats.
Sam spoke up. “You don’t live in DC very long without recognizing Malcolm Probst, the Director of the FBI. I was very curious about why he’d be there, and who would follow him like that. I figured the why was something I’m better off not getting involved in.”
“Wise decision,” Rachel agreed grimly.
Sam continued, “The who—well, I just couldn’t pass on that one.”
As the rental car drove off, the figure in the dark emerged from the shadows, his face clearly illuminated by that same neon lighting. He looked directly at the camera for the briefest moment, and then he jumped into his own vehicle to follow Probst.
They all heard Rachel’s intake of breath in a shocked gasp.
Virginia Beach, Virginia
“Bollinger!” Rachel didn’t even realize she’d shouted and was now standing, shaking violently. Before she knew what was going on, Press was by her side and had her wrapped tightly in his arms.
“It’s okay, baby. It’s okay.” He soothed her until the shaking subsided. Then he held her away from him so he could look her in the eye. “You better now?”
“Yes. I’ll be okay, really!” she tried to reassure him.
Bollinger was the FBI agent-in-charge whose incompetence was responsible for Rachel’s kidnapping and torture in Seattle.
Palmer quietly said, “Looks like Bollinger hasn’t forgiven Probst for firing him for incompetence.”
“Looks like Rachel hasn’t, either,” Sam whispered, watching Rachel’s pale face.
“It’s not likely she ever will.” Palmer remembered all too well just how close to death Rachel had been when they found her.