The two Andrews men sat opposite one another at Press’s huge kitchen table. An observer would have seen extreme similarities in the two men. Only age in one had tempered those likenesses.
Both were tall—hitting an easy six-feet-three-inches—broad-shouldered, with well-toned physiques. The Senator made daily use of the Congressional facilities; the son used his completely equipped facility on the second floor of his house and took daily runs of at least ten miles.
The handsome faces certainly resembled one another. Preston had the scar below one of the dimples that both men displayed above strong, square, chiseled jaws. The elder Andrews had a few crow’s feet, but they just added character—or so his mother always said.
Their smiles, not on display at the moment, would have shown strong, straight white teeth for which no orthodontist had been required.
The thick, shining black hair—expertly cut in both cases—had turned to thick, shining silver for the Senator. The blue eyes were somehow colder—icier—in the son’s case. This was true for the color as well as the impact of his glance in your direction. He always attributed that to being a cop. The father’s were a deeper blue, almost the color of lapis.
It took the first pot of Starbucks for them to both become alert. Midway through the second, Press finally started to open up. With it came the pacing back and forth across his designer kitchen.
“I told Probst I was planning on going to Seattle to help them find her. The son-of-a-bitch shot me down!” Press slammed his fist down on the counter.
“As well he should have, and you know it, Son. You’re too close to this one—certainly too emotional right now. Look at yourself, Preston. You can’t get to sleep, can’t sit long enough to have a conversation! How would you help?”
“Dad,” he froze where he was, looked up at his father with his eyes so full of tears, it was amazing that he managed to keep them from falling. “I can’t just sit here and wait for some Probst-robot to mess things up. Just wait for the call that tells me they’ve lost her—I’ve lost her.”
“Hum. It seems to me that you don’t think much of FBI agents.” He’d learned when Preston was a boy that it was best to lead him to reason, not force it on him.
“You think?” Press shouted, the pacing continued once again.
He was revving up for a good blow of temper, which his father knew all too well was truly a remarkable sight.
“I don’t know Rachel very well yet. What kind of agent is she?” the Senator asked, maintaining his quiet, most reasonable tone. His fellow legislators knew this could cover his true emotions, and it was often used to plow right through his opponents before they knew what hit them.
“Rachel’s the best! She’s tough as nails when she should be; her martial arts skills are unbelievable—she ever-so-gently dropkicked Palmer during a practice session one day. He was speechless—unharmed, but speechless.” He was smiling for the first time since Probst’s call. “She’s tender-hearted for the victims, smart, capable. What’s your point?” Press sat across from his father.
“Well, isn’t she one of Probst’s…what did you call them? Robots?”
Press put his head in his hands, and the tears finally flowed. “I can’t lose her, Dad.”
“I know, Son. Moreover, I believe that once you calm down, you’ll be able to give Probst and his agents a hand on the case and you’ll find her. However, for now…right now…you’re too upset. You don’t want to jeopardize her safety?”
“Of course, I don’t want…” Once more, he was yelling. Damn it all, here he sat bellowing at the man who had put everything aside to come to his aid in a crisis.
“Oh, Dad, I’m sorry. I don’t seem to be able to get control of this—or myself.” Press was too honest to ignore the obvious. “Probst, damn his hide, was right.”
“I understand how important Rachel is to you, Son.” He reached over and touched his son’s hand.
* * *
William had known his son loved Rachel—enough to ask her to marry him—but now it really hit him just how much Press loved her. His son had finally found the love of his life—just as he had found Rosemary, all those many years ago.
“I told your mother I would be staying here with you for a few days. Unfortunately, we have a vote coming up, so I’ll have to be back in DC by Friday. However, for now, I’m here for you. Now, what can I do?”
His son was in pain and he would be here for him, no matter what. If he did nothing more than listen to him rant and rave—get it out of his system—so be it. If he had to deal with the worst—well, they’d deal with that, too.
Rosemary had fought him, wanting to come along. However, as a man, he knew this was time for a man to have another man to lean on. His son’s woman was in danger. Only another man could understand how that made you feel—the impotence it implied in your own mind.
Dear God, let the boy’s love be all right. Bring her home safe!
Preston wouldn’t want his mother to see him weakened and in pain. He’d know it would hurt her too much, and he’d try to be strong, for her.
No, he needed his dad for this one. Preston knew his dad could handle seeing him lose those tears, vent his soul, cry out to his God, and understand without falling apart himself.
A mother…well, despite a spine of steel, Rosemary’s heart was just too tender for the job that needed doing right now.
Rosemary had finally agreed to stay in DC—but she certainly wasn’t happy about it.
He understood, all too well, just what possibilities lay ahead of him and his son. He didn’t want his dear heart around for those possibilities.
Little did she know—and she’d be shocked to hear it—but William Andrews knew he would kill anyone who dared threaten his Rosemary.
Oh, their love, their relationship had changed over the years. They were no longer the young, giddy kids in love and lust—how few young people truly understood the difference. No, now it was richer—understanding, patience, and years of shared experiences had made it richer, stronger.
Of all people, Preston’s dad understood.