Wayward Son

Book Six

by Beth AKA Midge

ATF Universe

Chapter 4
Maude's presence was making everyone in the office uncomfortable. She had managed to go through all of Ezra's drawers in his desk. She was quickly stopped when she reached for his filing cabinets. Vin watched the woman who seemed more concerned about her nails than the whereabouts of her only son. Granted, nobody had said anything to her regarding the situation but she hadn't even bothered to ask what had everyone so preoccupied.

JD and Buck had decided to avoid the situation by hibernating in their office. The kid rested his head in his arms on his desk finding it difficult to do anything but worry. Buck searched the web trying any tactic available to search down anything on a man named Jared Harrison. Nathan had decided to clean the coffee pot and continued on a cleaning spree and was currently cleaning the mini refrigerator. Vin figured it had been the burrito the kid had forgotten to eat from Taco Bell that tipped the medics scale. Three months is a long time for anything to be forgotten, especially food.

When the bell to the elevator chimed it was so still you could hear a pin drop. All eyes locked on the elevator door. Buck thought in the back of his mind that it would be appropriate for a 'Sprint' commercial.

As the doors opened, everyone wondered if it would be too obvious to bombard Chris and Josiah with questions, or if the display would by chance upset Maude. After all this was her son they were concerned about.

Nathan locked eyes with Josiah and received a shake of his head. The medic threw the sponge he'd been cleaning with into the kitchen sink and sighed in relief. This was a good sign.

Chris motioned for everyone to meet in his office, Maude included. He needed to let the woman know what was happening with her son. They couldn't keep her in the dark for to long, and it would ease the tensions his men were feeling around the mother of his undercover agent.


Chris looked around the room to his men and Maude. The woman was confused by the actions of everyone and it was obvious to the team leader. She sat comfortably in one of the chairs across from his desk next to Josiah who could comfort her if he felt she needed it.

"Maude," Chris spoke up using her first name letting her know how dire the situation was. "I suspended Ezra yesterday morning after being shown evidence that he may have taken a pay off."

"What kind of evidence?" Maude looked disbelievingly at the blonde team leader.


"My son may be a lot of things but I guarantee you he wouldn't be dumb enough to get caught on film doing something 'improper'." she looked at Chris and waited for his response.

"We're sure they're fake. Regardless," Chris spoke up again looking incredulously at the woman, "he seems to have disappeared."

"My son doesn't 'disappear', Mr. Larabee." Maude shifted in her seat feeling the eyes of the men in the room upon her. "He's probably found himself a hiding place and he'll come out when he's ready...More than likely my dear husband called and told him I was on my way to see him and he's taken this opportunity to play out his 'disappearing act' for a while." She straightened her blouse and folded her hands in her lap and looked again at the man sitting across the desk from her.

Chris ran his hand over his face not quite believing what he'd just heard. He knew the relationship between mother and son was strained he just didn't think it was this unnatural. "Is there anything you need us to do for you while you're here?" The team leader went ahead and asked, not that he wanted to, but he needed to for his missing man.

"You can let me know when my son shows up. I'm only here for only a couple of days and would like to at least have lunch with him." Maude grabbed her rust colored leather purse and stood. "My son is worse than any woman when it comes to feeling sorry for himself, give him a couple of days. He'll come around." She turned and squeezed Josiah's shoulder gently. "I'll be staying at Ezra's apartment...if you need to reach me," she stopped in the doorway and looked back, "if my son is anything he's resilient...he'll come around."

JD and Nathan watched her go. Without saying a word they both felt and thought the same thing. How could any mother stand back and not worry about their child. Ezra had been missing for over twenty-four hours and she looked at it like it was routine.

"JD." Chris looked at the kid. "I want you to stay with Maude, keep an eye on her."

JD looked at Chris with wide scared eyes. He shook his head, "She might eat me."

Chris chuckled, despite the severity of the moment, and he looked to the ladies man. "Buck why don't you go, I don't want her left alone at Ezra's apartment."

"Hell no!" Buck jumped to his feet, "JD's only the appetizer, I'd be the main course."

Before Chris could even look at the sharpshooter, Vin was shaking his head, "Dessert."

"Fine." Chris threw his pencil on his desk in defeat. "Nathan, Josiah why don't both of you go." He didn't want to send Josiah alone and kept up his famous 'glare' until they consented to go together. Josiah was still a man after all and Nathan would be a good chaperone. "The rest of us will try and get more information together." The team leader looked back to the medic and strategist. " Come in early tomorrow and if we still don't have any word on Ezra we'll notify the Judge and file a missing person's report."

Josiah got to his feet while nodding his head in understanding. "Let us know if you find anything." The big man headed out followed closely by Nathan.

Vin pushed himself off the wall where he'd been leaning on. "What do you want us to do?" The sharpshooter nodded toward JD and Buck.

Chris looked at his men and thought a moment. He'd been shocked at Maude's lack of concern for her son and the idea of Ezra missing didn't seem to register with her. Ezra wasn't a child hiding in the clothing racks at a department store. This was a real situation that had cause for concern. "Buck, you and Vin see if you can track down Ezra's informant...be subtle about it."

"You got it Pard." Vin slapped Buck in the shoulder before heading out of the office. Buck nodded to his long time friend and followed the sharpshooter.

"What do you want me to do?" JD asked following Vin's and Buck's forms with his eyes. He then turned back to Larabee and waited for an answer.

"I want you back on the computer." Chris leaned back in his chair. "Track any of Ezra's credit cards...see if there's been any action on them." The team leader's gut was telling him that there wouldn't be but it would give the kid something to do, and Chris didn't want to stop until all aspects of searching for the undercover agent were investigated.

"Do you really think I'll find anything?" JD stood up and stepped away from the small sofa.

"No..." Chris looked at the kid, "...I don't."

JD nodded his head in understanding before heading to his office to try and locate anything that might be useful in the search for the Southerner.

Chapter 5

Josiah knocked on Ezra's apartment door. The lights were on and the big man knew Maude was there. He had to wonder how she got in because he didn't think the Southerner would willingly have given her a key. Nathan stood behind him holding two grocery bags of food. A home-cooked meal was just what the three of them needed and he intended to make sure they got it. The medic had thought that Maude's reaction to Ezra missing was cold, but he also thought that she might be trying to convince herself that everything was all right. Ezra acted very much the same way. When things got a little out of his control, he ignored the problem rather than face it head on.

Maude answered the door and was surprised to see the two men standing there in heavy coats and carrying groceries in their arms. "Come in," she smiled and moved out of their way.

"Chris didn't want you left alone," Josiah spoke up setting two bottles of wine on the kitchen counter.

"I appreciate Mr. Larabee's concern, however, I'm fine."

Yep, Nathan thought, like mother like son. "I'll cook us up some pasta." The medic started removing the groceries from the bags and setting them on the counter. "How about some coffee?" Nathan looked at the two who seemed to be comfortable in each other's presence. Josiah and Maude both nodded their heads and the healer started a pot of coffee and a pot of hot water for himself for tea.

"My son has never found the importance of interior design." The slender blonde moved around the confines of the apartment.

"Perhaps he doesn't feel this is home." Josiah looked to the woman and waited for her response. His heart wanted her to feel the loss of her son, granted she might be feeling it and she just put a calloused front over her worry. But Josiah didn't think anyone was that good, even Ezra would have shown a crack or two in his armor. The woman standing in front of him was a stone, a rock without feelings, or tears.

"Good..." Maude looked at him. "...because this isn't his home." She looked toward the kitchen after hearing Nathan drop a pan to the floor. "My son is a handsome young man, he's intelligent, he's skilled and most of all he knows how to turn a situation to his benefit." The woman removed her jacket and moved toward the window. "He should be in Europe having dinners with people of position...he shouldn't be here wasting his God given talents."

Nathan looked at Josiah who seemed lost. Both men looked at life as a gift, something that should be cherished. And Maude looked at life as a liability, something to be controlled, and something to be manipulated.

Chapter 6

Chris was back at the ATF Offices at first light. JD had come up short unable to find anything regarding the Southerner's credit cards or check movements. It was as if the man had just disappeared. Only people don't just disappear. Buck and Vin hadn't been able to locate Ezra's informant and neither man thought they would. Informants were informants for two reasons. One, they let you know the information they have. Two, they find you. You don't find them. The TV shows and movies be damned. If cops could find their informants that easy, so could the people they're narking on.

The team leader grabbed the coffee pot and quickly rinsed it out. He then grabbed the can of coffee out of the cupboard and filled the filter with three scoops. He could hear Vin, JD and Buck come into the office. Chris sighed, he hoped the men were able to get some much-needed sleep, but if they were anything like him they'd been up most of the night working out their next steps.

"Hey Cowboy." Vin grabbed a cup out of the dish rack and leaned against the counter waiting for the coffee to stop dripping. The sharpshooter had pulled his hair back into a ponytail and wore what looked like the same clothes as yesterday.

"Boys," Chris said, noticing all three of them looked as if they'd slept in their clothes.

"Nate and Josiah here yet?" Buck leaned against the wall and stuffed his hands into his pockets. It was obvious everyone was feeling the loss of the Southerner. It wasn't that he was just gone, it was the fear of losing him under unnatural circumstances.

"Should be in shortly," Chris looked to his men, "I'm just about ready to put in a missing persons report with the Bureau and PD."

"You do that Chris, and you might as well sign his resignation papers." Buck shook his head.

"It'll destroy his career." JD looked hard at the team leader. "He'll never be able to work undercover again."

"It's better than not doing it...if we get his picture out there then maybe we can find 'im...we've used up all our avenues." Chris understood the reluctance his men were feeling. "He'll understand."

"No he won't," Vin piped in.

"Vin's right," JD sided with the sharpshooter.

"I think we should give 'im and us a few more days...it's the least we can do." Vin poured himself a cup of the coffee and added his usual three spoonfuls of sugar. "Ez would do the same for us."

Buck and JD both nodded in agreement and grabbed a couple cups from the same dish rack Vin had gotten his cup from. Even the kid was drinking coffee. He hadn't had time to stop and buy his usual 32oz Coke this morning. He had been too preoccupied with the Southerner's disappearance.

Chris reluctantly nodded his head and sighed when the pot of coffee he'd just made was less than half empty, "We'll wait for Nate and Josiah." The team leader filled his cup with coffee and headed back to his office.


Josiah and Nathan entered the office closely followed by Maude. Josiah held tightly to Maude's arm and guided her to the comfortable chair in the middle of the room while Nathan followed carrying a brown cardboard box. All three of them were pale, even Nathan's dark skin seemed pale compared to his usual healthy complexion.

Chris, Vin, Buck and JD exited their offices and looked at the faces of their teammates and friends. Obviously something was wrong. Even Maude looked troubled.

"What's goin' on?" Chris asked, looking at the medic and strategist.

Nathan sat the small box on the table and pulled out a bloodied shirt that was now contained in a clear plastic bag. "When we headed out this mornin' we found it on the front steps." The healer looked to Maude who glanced away from the bloodied shirt.

Josiah handed the note that had come with the package to Chris and waited for his response.

The note was simple and to the point, '$350,000 corner of 6th and Delmar St. Day after tomorrow, No Cops.' Chris handed the note to Vin and looked around the room at his men. He knew the note was serious. The shirt was the proof. "Conference room." he pointed to the door and went to grab some pens and paper. Now was the time to work on the details.

The team sat around the long table while Maude sat at the end. Chris looked around to his men. "I think we should call in the Judge and the FBI, this is now a kidnapping case."

"NO!" Maude snapped looking Chris in the eye. "No police," she pleaded. "I won't risk my son's life...$350,000...I can try and come up with that amount."

Josiah reached out and squeezed her hand in offering of support. He noticed how hard she fought to keep the tears from falling.

Chris looked at the woman and realized he couldn't deny her wishes. "Vin...get that shirt down to forensics and get a blood match."

"That could take weeks." Vin looked at his boss furrowing his brow.

"Not a DNA match, a type match...that should only take them an hour or so." Chris wrote notes while he gave directions. "Buck..." he looked to the ladies man, "...get down to the security department and find any tapes for the day Ezra disappeared, they should have some for the front doors and the garage...JD help 'im." Chris looked to Josiah and Nathan, "I want you both to help Maude find $350,000."

Vin got up first and almost bolted out the door, he wanted answers and he wanted them yesterday. JD and Buck followed him just as eager. They hadn't even thought about the building's security tapes until Chris mentioned them and they hoped they found some kind of an answer. Josiah and Nathan escorted the shaken Maude to their office intending on helping her find the money needed to save her son's life. Chris watched them go.


Maude hung up the phone and almost started crying, she felt Josiah rub her back and she took comfort in his willingness to aid her in her time of need. "My husband and I haven't spoken in weeks," she admitted, "the divorce will be final in three days..." she patted her eyes with the white lace handkerchief she'd pulled from her purse, "...that's why I'd come for a visit with my son." She looked at Josiah and then to Nathan. "I didn't have any other place to go."

"I'm truly sorry Maude," Josiah said rubbing her back.

"I don't have the money." Maude choked back the tears. "I only have $60,000 in savings."

"We'll get him back Mrs. Standish." Nathan refused to use the name McDuffy. No matter what the cause of the divorce McDuffy was still her husband and she needed him now more than ever.

"I wish I had your faith Mr. Jackson," she gently patted his arm.


"Zoom in there," Buck directed JD as they looked over the garage surveillance video taken from Security.

JD quickly did as he was told and zoomed in on the Southerner as he exited the building and entered the parking garage. Chris and Vin stood behind the two men and waited patiently for the screen on JD's computer to obey his commands.

"Don't look like he was in any kind of a hurry." Vin watched the screen and Ezra reached into his coat pocket to retrieve his keys. The video was in black and white and slightly fuzzy but it was obviously the team's undercover agent.

They continued to watch until Ezra stepped out of range of the first camera. JD stopped the play and picked up another video. "There's a camera that views all the cars, Ez's included." He slipped the other video in and fast-forwarded it to the same time as the previous video.

Ezra stepped into view again and headed toward his car. The Jag was in partial view, parked halfway in the screen. The Southerner stepped between his car and JD's Exterra and fumbled with his keys. "Zoom in on 'im closer JD, can you do that?" Vin spoke up watching the scene intently. Ezra glanced around his shoulder and looked down again, then suddenly he fell out of sight. "Push rewind," the sharpshooter stepped closer so he could point out what he'd just seen.

"What is it?" Chris asked knowing Vin had caught something the others had missed.

"Look here," Vin pointed to the scene just before Ezra turned his head to the right, "he either heard somethin' or saw somethin'." The sharpshooter pointed again at the screen. "Something from below catches his attention," he noticed how Ezra looked to the floor and bent over.

"What the hell." Buck watched and looked harder at the screen. "Rewind it again kid," the ladies man demanded before pointing to his find. "Look here," Buck pointed to the screen, "after Ez drops. What or who is this?" A form wearing all black came into the picture for only a brief second then dropped out of view of the camera using the cars as cover.

"Vin," Chris motioned for the sharpshooter.

"I'm on it Pard." The sharpshooter grabbed his jacket and headed for the parking garage to see if he could find anything out of the ordinary.


Chris ran a hand over his exhausted face and sighed. They weren't anywhere close to having $350, 000. Between Maude and the six of them they could only pull together $147,000, and that was clearing out all their savings. Each one of them had been more than willing to offer up whatever amount of money they had in order to get Ezra back, but unfortunately they were short. The idea of using funds from the Bureau was out of the question. In order to obtain the so-called 'Flash Money', used in undercover operations, usually took days to process. If it were less than $100,000 then maybe they could ask for a temp voucher, used on short notice cases. Now, however, they needed $203,000. Ezra would be dead even before the paperwork could be filed.

The team leader looked again at the tranquilizer dart Vin had found under the Southerner's car. "We need to call in some help."

"They'll kill him for sure," Maude protested.

"They're going to kill him anyway because we don't have the money," Chris argued. He looked harder at the woman sitting at the end of the table soaking in all the attention from Josiah. "You don't know anyone who'd be willing to help?"

Maude bowed her head. "David Montgomery."

"The Texas millionaire?" JD looked to the morose blond woman.

"We were married, but unfortunately our relationship ended on a bad note." Maude looked up to meets Chris's gaze. "He was a terrible alcoholic, you must understand. I left out of fear for Ezra and myself."

Chris nodded his head in understanding. "Can you play on his guilt, and maybe get him to help?"

"I can try." Maude stood up and headed back for Josiah's and Nathan's office.

Chris looked at Vin. "Go down to forensics and find out if they have anything yet." He ordered glancing down at the table. His gut was still telling him something wasn't right, the whole situation was mysterious. Someone had to know when Ezra would be leaving the building. They also had to know where he parked his car. Why did a box with the Southerner's shirt appear on the step to his door? Was someone trying to get back at Maude? Did they know she was going to be here? Did this have something to do with her impending divorce? Chris ran his hand through his hair and looked up when Maude stepped back into the conference room a look of relief on her face.

"David will be here in a couple hours." She smiled. "He's flying in on his private jet...with the cash."

"Finally," Chris said under his breath. Something was going right.


Vin entered the conference room and noticed Maude and Josiah were gone but the rest of the men were still there. Chris looked up from his notepad and looked inquisitively at the Texan. "What did you find out?"

Vin shut the door and seated himself in the chair Maude had occupied earlier. "The blood on Ez's shirt is pig's blood." The sharpshooter looked for a reaction.

Chris furrowed his brow and looked at Vin. "There's something not right here." He stood up and walked to the window on the back wall and looked out over the city. "Don't tell anyone about this, Maude and Josiah included." Everyone nodded their heads in agreement. "Josiah's too close to Maude, I don't want him to 'get confused'."

Chapter 7

David Montgomery stepped off the elevator with a determination in his stride that could easily match Chris Larabee's. He was a big man, well over six feet tall, and had a build that could intimidate Goliath himself. As leadership usually draws leadership, David Montgomery ignored the looks of the men who seemed to gather just outside the offices and headed straight for Chris's office door.

Buck, JD, Nathan, and Vin all watched as the stranger stepped out of the elevator and head directly to Chris's office door. Buck shrugged his shoulders because the guy seemed to know where he was going and the ladies man didn't bother to get up from his seat and introduce himself. Chris could take care of that.

David knocked on Chris's office door without mercy and waited until he was invited in. He read the nameplate on the outside of the door 'AC, Christopher Larabee' and sighed. He didn't like to wait.

+ + + + + + +

Chris heard the knock at his door and knew immediately it wasn't one of his men, like one of his men would actually take the time to knock. He knew Maude and Josiah were in the conference room talking, the woman seemed generally upset and Chris didn't want her left alone. The team leader closed the file he'd been looking through and stood up. He was hoping it was the man Maude had called regarding the money.

+ + + + + + +

David was about to knock again when the door swung open exposing the tall lean form of Chris Larabee. David stuck his hand out and shook hands with the tall blonde. "I'm David Montgomery."

"Chris Larabee," the team leader responded.

"I have the money," David got right to the point, he motioned toward the silver briefcase. "I would like to see Maude," his voice was stern. He wanted answers and he expected them.

Chris understood why he wanted to see the woman, $350,000 was a lot of money. He motioned for David to follow him. "These are my men," he introduced Montgomery to the team and with the tilt of his head motioned for them to follow him and David into the conference room.

+ + + + + + +

Maude looked up from the tabletop when the door to the conference room opened. Chris entered followed closely by David and the rest of the team. She sat up straighter and waited for David to lay the case of money on the table. "David," she smiled, "it's been a long time."

David waited until everyone was seated before he placed the briefcase on the table and opened it up exposing the cash. He didn't wait and ask where the money was going, or who was demanding it. He slid the case around and pushed it in front of the woman who had once been his wife. "There's three hundred and fifty thousand dollars in this case." David looked hard at Maude. He then threw the backpack he'd had slung over his shoulder on the table and unzipped it. "Here's a hundred and fifty more if you tell these people where Ezra is." He clenched his fists and leaned over the table glaring at the woman sitting across form him.

A collected 'what' could be heard around the room. Chris leaned forward in his chair and looked between Maude and David.

"How dare you!" Maude snapped getting to her feet. "How dare you accuse me."

"Where is he Maude?" David said in a low voice unwilling to back down.

The team looked questionably at Maude and David. Chris knew there was something about this that had his gut in a knot. He just didn't think Ezra's own mother would pull something so cruel.

"I have no idea what you are talking about," Maude backed away from the table. "How dare you accuse me of doing something like this." She ran her hand over her arm and looked back at David. "He's my son."

"That's right...he is your son!" David ignored the looks of the people in the room. "You've done this before," he accused.

"I have never..."

"I spoke with Henri Dupont on my way here." David tried to keep his temper in check. He knew Maude would deny any and all accusations he made, but the conversation he'd had with Dupont convinced him that this woman was behind Ezra's abduction.

Maude took a step back when she heard the name of her second husband. She hadn't been expecting this. "Henri is a liar...you of all people should know how dirty our divorce was." Her unbreakable façade was falling.

"This isn't about your divorce." David ran his hand over his face. "This is about the time Ezra disappeared from Blainly's School for Gifted Children and Dupont's $200,000 to get him back!" He didn't back down, he knew she was guilty.

"I had nothing to do with that!" Maude snapped and looked around the room. "Are you going to let him accuse me?"

"He was seven years old Maude!" David snapped ignoring her desperate attempts to get help. "You're using him now the same way you did all those years ago."

"Wait just a damn minute!" The blonde woman yelled, her face red with anger.

"Both of you sit down!" Chris got to his feet and yelled. He looked hard at Maude and then at David giving them no room for discussion. "NOW!" The team leader had enough. He wanted answers and he intended to get them.

"This is outrageous." Maude slid reluctantly back into her seat. "Ezra is my son, how could you think I would do such a thing." She folded her hands in her lap and waited.

David slid into the chair closest to him not taking his eyes off the woman sitting across from him. "Where is he?" He tapped his hand on the table.

Chris ran his hand over his face and looked at his men. They all looked to him for his leadership and he intended to get to the bottom of this. "What is this 'before' bullshit?" He looked to David and waited for his response.

"Would you like to explain or should I?" David looked at Maude tilting his head.

"I will not sit here and be maligned like this."

+ + + + + + +

Josiah bowed his head. His gut was telling him Maude knew where Ezra was and it crushed him. He'd let temptation cloud his gut instincts. The big man got to his feet and left the room, he knew one of the others would follow him out and he intended to do what he could to get their lost team member back.

Vin followed Josiah out of the office; he could tell by his posture that the situation was weighing on him. The sharpshooter closed the door behind him and he walked up to the big man and waited for him to start.

"Do you think she knows where he is?" Josiah asked rubbing a weary hand over his face.

Vin stuck his hands in his back pockets and nodded his head, "Yeah...I do."

"The blood on Ezra's shirt...is it his?" Josiah looked from the floor to Vin.

"No," the sharpshooter shook his head, "it's pig's blood."

Josiah nodded his head, "Good."

+ + + + + + +

"Maligned?" David questioned. "He's your son...and he's the only one you've got!"

"I'm not the one who beat him with a baseball bat," Maude bit back with the only thing she had left.

David bowed his head. "It's why I'm here now." He looked for the first time at the men sitting around the table. "I was a drunken son-of-a-bitch, I admit it...but I'm sober now and this has to come to an end...you've hurt him enough Maude."

"I've hurt him..." She got to her feet.

"Yes," David snapped. "You've hurt him. He's nothing to you except a commodity."

"How dare you!"

"All the schools he went to?" David raised his eyebrows. "It wasn't for his own good. It was for you, it allowed you to impress unsuspecting targets. The problem started when Henri found out about it. The divorce was ugly because you wanted it that way. You made more money in the settlement." David paused and looked at his hands before continuing. "Ezra was the one in the middle getting pulled from one place to the next, you disregarded his needs and wants like you're doing now. Think about it Maude, you put him in a school where he could learn to play piano because Henri was a concert pianist." David saw the anger building in the woman sitting across from him. "Only you didn't expect your son to be good at it."

"I would not have my son involved in a music industry. There isn't any future in it," Maude protested.

"Did you ever stop and listen to him play?" David lowered his voice. "He was good Maude," he shook his head. "He had a full ride scholarship to Julliard and he threw it away because of your threats!" The big man shouted. He'd had it. He was guilty of falling into her manipulive traps in the past, but not any more.

Chris pounded his fist onto the table stopping the argument between David and Maude. "Enough...I have a missing man and I want some answers."

Josiah stepped into the office with Vin on his heels. "We got the results back from the shirt." The big man looked sadly around the room knowing he was taking a huge chance.

"What shirt?" David looked franticly around the room for answers.

"Ezra's shirt." Chris locked eyes with Josiah. "It was found this morning covered in blood."

"It's Ezra's," Vin piped in looking to Maude for her reaction.

Maude opened her eyes wide and looked at the sharpshooter in disbelief, "It can't be?" She sat back down in her chair.

"If Ezra's losing that much blood...we don't have much time," Nathan said, surprising everyone. It was out of character for the healer to lie.

Maude's face went pale and she realized her plan was over. "He's at the Sunset Motel, room 16."

"Who's guarding 'im?" Chris snapped watching as his men started heading out.

"Two men, they won't be armed."

"JD!" Chris yelled and waited until the kid came back into the conference room. "I want you to stay here and watch her."

"I won't go anywhere." Maude looked up and met Chris's gaze.

"Now why the in hell don't I believe you?" The team leader snapped pushing his chair under the table making it move.

"I'll stay with her," David offered.

Chris ignored his offer. "JD, we'll call you when we get there...not a word about this to anyone."

"Sure Chris." The kid wanted to go but he knew the importance of staying behind.


Please send comments to: embaker38@hotmail.com