Deceit Among The Pack

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Chapter 13

CHAPTER 13-SETTING A TRAP

We were all standing in the living room around midnight waiting for the President to show up. When he finally did, he brought his wife and son into the living room with him while sending everyone else to another room, telling them he had two new members of his staff and his nephew waiting in the living room waiting to be addressed. To say that the Secret Service was less than happy that there were people in there that they did not know about, or clear, was explosively mild. The President did not give in to their demanding him to let them go in and search these people, however. He was following through with what we agreed, that no one including the Secret Service could know that these three were related to me, much less that I was the one positioning my siblings there with the First Family as a safeguard.

When the family was in the room and all the doors were closed, I started the introductions and assigned each sibling to the person they would be guarding as well as telling that person the cover story for the person guarding them. Each member of the First Family accepted their role and guard and understood exactly why this needed to be done, although the First Lady was not too happy about the impending danger, not that I could blame her. Honestly, who wants to live their life knowing that there was someone that wanted to kill them for something they did not even do?

It only took about five minutes for us to get through everything, so when I was finished I slid out the window and off the grounds before anyone noticed that I was there. I ran the five miles into the woods outside of the property to the waiting team and ATV’s there. I jumped on the 4-wheeler that was waiting for me and we all took off without talking, knowing we had already covered the important details before we came, and we would cover the events that just happened when we got far enough away. We needed to get as far away from this location as possible so it couldn’t be known that we were ever there.

About an hour later we were pulling up to the end of the woods where we had left the two SUV’s and trailers, loading the 4-wheelers and speeding off like a ghost in the night. Madison had re-wired the GPS in the two SUV’s and five ATV’s so it looked like we were in the woods almost four hours in the opposite direction from where we rented the vehicles in the first place. We had to get the rentals back and get back home before it got to be too late in the morning and people noticed we were gone.

We arrived home by 7:30 a.m. and had just been able to see the kids off to school so no one noticed we were missing, other than Logan since I wasn’t in the bed with him, although he just thought I was looking into leads on my ghost all night with my team, solidifying my alibi when they showed up at the house with me. I hated keeping secrets from Logan too but I knew this was too dangerous for even him to know the full details about. I wasn’t going to risk his safety too after what happened to our children. This war was mine to fight. As much as I would normally say when you’re married everything is “ours”, this was something I couldn’t say that about.

. . . . . . . . . . . .

A little over a month had passed since I had planted my siblings in with the First Family. In that time my team and I had gathered almost everything on Mr. Tressler, and everything surrounding him, as well as starting the list of politicians in D.C. that were corrupt and connected to him that we knew about. When we first started getting the names on that list we realized that this wasn’t going to be as simple as we made it sound, though nothing ever was. I never realized how much we had a way of downplaying everything that we did. I wasn’t sure if we did that for our own piece of mind or if we did that because we were always that confident in our own abilities. Either way, we knew there was no way we could spin this to make it seem as easy as we normally did with everything else.

Since planting my siblings with the First Family I had also hired two new bodyguards for Eliana and Angelo, as well as had a new grave stone put on my baby’s grave. Roberts-Shields Memorial Company made a beautiful Angel the first time I knew they would make this stone even more beautiful than anything else they had ever created. I was right. When I saw the stone, well very large monument, I was beyond awed. They did so amazing. I cried when I saw how beautiful it was. They really do make the best monuments around.

I had made some changes in our companies for who is in what position since there was a great deal of people that were in positions that should have been moved up a while ago and even more that should have been demoted a while ago because they had slacked off or shouldn’t have been moved up in the first place. The changes made seemed to have been a good thing because the companies have been running smoother since. Logan was a little disappointed in the number of people that quit after being demoted. I guess he thought they wouldn’t get pissed about it or something, but the fact is, even though he tries treating his employees like family there still has to be a line that everyone has to know is there and follow the rules instead of slacking off. There are plenty of people that are more than willing to do that job if given the chance. Plus, I think that after everyone saw that they could, and would, be demoted if they weren’t fulfilling their job requirements to my satisfaction they’ve really taken the extra initiative to give one hundred percent every single day. I think it’s a win-win.

Now, I just have to start getting everything together so I could do the same thing with my unit. Honestly, I think that will be harder than what this was. I spend so much time hand picking all these people, and then training them, that having to possibly tell them they’re being cut from something they worked so hard for is going to suck. I think I started getting soft after having my kids because this normally wouldn’t bother me at all. Well, it never did until now anyway, but I can’t have any more incidents like I had this year. Everyone is starting to get comfortable; that means they’re not on the top of their game, which in turn means that they can easily be killed or turned. Seeing as how they’re all my responsibility since I brought them into this program I don’t want that on my conscience.

I realized that I had more than enough things to do and I was going to have to stop putting things off just because they were going to be difficult or because I wanted to spend a little more time at home with the kids on this day or that day. The sooner I got everything done the sooner I would have more than enough time to get to spend with Logan and the kids every day. With that I sat down to make myself a to-do list.

My To-do List

·Re-organize my unit

·Grocery shopping list for Hazel

·Buy more weapons and inventory what I already have

·Finish profiles for FBI

·Filter through all kids clothes and toys then buy more that are needed

·Buy more bedroom furniture

·Talk to Hazel about the problems I’m having with letting Logan help

·Get the kids physicals done for Ballet and soccer or Tee ball

·Do legal stuff to set up kid’s God-parents (Eliana & Angelo’s)

·Vehicle Inspections on and off base

·Get everything together to set ambush for Mr. Tressler

·Get all events for base for the upcoming month ready

·Get packed to move into new house next month

·Pick up more office supplies

·Do Christmas shopping

·Help Kristi finish planning her wedding

·Take down my ghost

·Visit Jill’s grave

·Contact Jill’s God-mother about the kids

·Have a complete list of politicians that need to be filtered out before Valentine’s Day

·Get out to see grandmother on the reservation before Christmas

As I sat there looking at my list I realized I was either getting old or had too much on my mind these days because I’ve never had to make a to-do list before in my life. I’ve always just remembered everything since I have an eidetic memory. I think I was slipping. No, I wasn’t slipping; I was just stressed from everything I had been going through this year. After all, it was a lot for anyone to take in and not crack or need a little help with. Right? I don’t know, maybe I’m just spreading myself too thin.

I didn’t have time to think about it for very long though because by the time I started to question myself Madison came in to talk to me. I could tell something was up because not only was she acting funny but she looked slightly off as well. I wasn’t sure what was going on but I knew it had to be something important for her to come here to talk to me instead of calling or waiting until I got home. After all, I was meeting her as soon as I left here and we were heading to Benning since this was my week on base.

When Madison sat down and didn’t start talking right away I started worrying that something was wrong with her so I asked her what was going on.

“Rain, I know we discussed a timeline for when we were going to move on cleaning things up in D.C. and for taking out Mr. Tressler but I think we should move on things sooner than we had planned. I think we need to for both of our sakes as well as for some others.”

When she finished what she was saying I was trying to decipher what she meant by that because I didn’t quite understand. Well, I should say my head didn’t understand even though I believe my heart and body did. When I just looked at her questioningly she went on.

“Rain, we’ve always had the same cycles when we were around each other. So either you’ve missed your last two periods like me and chalked it up to stress or you already know where I’m going with this.”

It took me a few minutes to fully grasp what she meant by that. I didn’t realize that so much time had passed since I had lost my babies, well four months, but apparently it had. Then it dawned on me.

“Oh my God, I’m pregnant again. You’re pregnant. We’re pregnant. Oh my God. You’re right, Madison, we need to speed things up more because I won’t let anything happen this time. Come on, we are going to the pharmacy to get some tests. Oh my God! I just got my tattoo a few weeks ago: The crow on my chest ripping my heart out with a feather falling out over my shoulder with two baby crows flying out of the feather. They say crows carry the spirit of the dead from this life to the next. I cannot believe I did not realize this sooner and I got tatted up while pregnant. Damn. Let’s go to the pharmacy to make sure.”

When we got back to my office we both went in and took our tests, and sure enough, both of ours came out positive. Dr. Holbrook told me that it would most likely be hard if not impossible for me to conceive again after what happened with the twins, so I wasn’t expecting this anytime soon or possibly ever. Madison and I agreed to keep this news between us until we had everything sorted out but now that I was thinking about it, everything was making sense. I always had a serious case of pregnancy brain throughout the entire pregnancy and the first few weeks after having the baby.

Madison and I sat there for the next couple hours planning how we were going to set a trap for Mr. Tressler to hang himself and we were sure we had a good plan together before we left to head to the base and brief the guys on what we had come up with.

A couple hours later we were pulling up in front of our barracks when Madison got a bad feeling just milliseconds after I did. We looked at each other acknowledging that we had the same feelings before we got out of the SUV and started heading toward the entrance of the barracks. At the exact time that we reached the door we heard a soft grunt coming from the other side. I signaled for Madison to go up, meaning for her to climb into the open window on the floor above us. She took a few steps backward and ran for the building grabbing the drain pipe and threw herself from the building onto the tree beside the building. She continued climbing the tree before jumping back across to the building and into the window. I gave her a fifteen second head start before I opened the door to the barracks revealing a Major General holding a knife to Reaper’s, Nicole James, my number nine’s, throat.

When all I did was look at the General without reacting it threw him a little. He seemed to shake a little with concern. I just stood there staring at him for a couple more seconds before asking him if he was going to move out of my way. That wasn’t exactly what he wanted to hear apparently because he got even more pissed. He started screaming at me to put my weapons down and do what he said or he would slit Reaper’s throat and I would have to watch her bleed out knowing her blood was on my hands. Again, my lack of reaction seemed to piss him off even more because when I didn’t move he started to move his hand to kill her but he wasn’t as aware of his surroundings as the people of my unit, so he didn’t hear Madison behind him until it was too late. She already had him dropped to his knees and disarmed before he had a chance to figure out what happened.

Once she was loose Reaper turned around and punted the General in the face knocking him unconscious. She turned mumbling in German about being woke up with a knife to her throat and how she knew that today was going to be a bad day because she broke her boot stings this morning. I probably would’ve found her more comical if I wasn’t as curious to find out why a Major General that I had never seen before on this base, or any for that matter, was here and attacking one of my team. I was also curious as to how he knew exactly when I would be here. I didn’t like not knowing these things and I disliked the fact that someone else knew them even more.

We had taken the General to the holding facility that was hidden on post and had him cuffed to the table by the time he woke up. To say that he was both pissed off and confused was the understatement of the day. I don’t think I had ever seen one person turn so many shades of red so quickly and in one day. That wasn’t what bothered me though. While General Smith was unconscious Madison ran a background check on him and everything came up clean. He had been enlisted for over twenty-five years with no disciplinary actions on his record. He had good commendations though nothing outstanding and a mediocre security clearance at best. Hell, most of my team had higher security clearances than that before I recruited them, and being in the unit we have the security clearance that goes with the unit which is above top secret, meaning we can sit in with the President at all his meetings or be told any secret of our history like who really killed JFK. When added up, everything looked a little hinky for me. Well us. Madison didn’t like where things were going either.

It didn’t take but a few seconds to figure out what was happening here after we looked into his background. There was no logical reason why General Smith would be coming for me or my team unless someone put him on my trail for some reason, and I figured that reason was to distract me or to keep us busy for one reason or another.

When we started interrogating General Smith he was all too willing to tell us everything we wanted to know. Either he didn’t believe that we would record this interrogation and have the MP’s outside the door like procedure says or he didn’t care because he was already caught and thought he was untouchable. General Smith said Mr. Tressler sent him after us because he knew how good he was and thought he could get close enough to us that he would cause some added tensions before he was caught. He wasn’t counting on being caught so quickly, though no one ever does. General Smith also said that Tressler was planning something big that was supposed to be happening soon. Something that would surprise me at just how known I am and how predictable I am when it comes to my weak points and what will break me.

Madison rolled her eyes at him and I laughed as we turned to walk out the door but he stopped me right as I opened it. “Tell me, Harvey, when was the last time you visited your Giwanidimosa, or however the hell you say grandmother in your language?”

I stared at him for a moment longer before shaking my head at him that I understood what he was saying. He started laughing hysterically. I called Reaper and told her to meet me at the holding facility. When she got there I told her to stand watch and to not let General Smith out or anyone else in until I got back. I could tell she was a little confused about everything, and especially as to why I would be leaving again when I just got there, but she agreed quickly knowing that I seldom give explanations for anything I do. That’s not how things work in my unit. We work off of trust, and then when you’ve been with us long enough you start learning how we work things. Although Reaper has been with us for a little over six years she hasn’t spent very much of that with me so she still didn’t know how I did things other than by hearing about it from others.

As soon as she was in place I ran back to my SUV throwing everything back in and started to speed off when my team jumped in throwing their stuff in as well. I guess it was a good thing I was only going ten miles an hour through this parking lot. I should have known by now they wouldn’t let me do anything alone. I was grateful for that but I was also a little annoyed by it because there were some things that were handled better alone. I was pretty sure this was going to be one of those things.

I had Madison call Ben and let him know what was going on so they could be on alert for anything that may happen at the house while we were gone and to let Logan know what was happening so he didn’t worry about why I wasn’t calling home at night. I figured this would be a very long and worrisome drive to North Carolina. I had Madison call Berdina as well to let her know not to go to the base but to the house to help everyone there keep an eye on things because something still wasn’t sitting right with me. Berdina agreed quickly and turned around to head back to my house.

We had just made the outskirts of Atlanta when Reaper called to tell me that General Smith was dead. She went in to give him his dinner and found him collapsed and foaming at the mouth. Apparently he had a cyanide tooth that he crushed and had taken to kill himself shortly after I had left. As soon as I hung up the phone with her I threw the SUV across the four lanes of traffic getting on the off ramp and slammed on the brakes as soon as I found a safe place. Everyone looked as confused as I was sure they were feeling but it dawned on me. Tressler wants me to go to North Carolina to check on my Grandmother because he knows I’ll take my team with me. That will give him the perfect opportunity to get to Logan and my kids. That will be his best way to crush me. I was going to have to make him think I went to North Carolina but be at my house so I could catch him there.

. . . . . . . . . . . .

I wasn’t sure exactly how long I would have to wait for Mr. Tressler or one of his lackeys to show up but I knew that if he didn’t think I was going to my grandmother then he wouldn’t make his move. I called Jamie, Jenni, Kellan and Nick and had them meet me at a rest area with a similar SUV. We all went in and when we came out we swapped vehicles so my team and I could head home while they went to see my grandmother. I figured someone was tracking my vehicle most likely by now so when they did it would look as if I were still going to North Carolina. Jenni even looks similar to me so if anyone pulled alongside the SUV they would see the outline and think it were me since the tinting was dark enough. Then, I headed to the grocery store. I called Gary and Logan and told them to come grocery shopping and make sure they brought the limousine. They didn’t completely understand what was going on but they knew that it had to be something important so they stayed quiet and did as they were asked.

When they got to the store Gary parked exactly where I told him to while Logan, Ben and Andrew took the kids into the store for some snack foods since they would be having a slumber party in the play room tonight. Cage and Dani, Eliana and Angelo’s bodyguards, stayed back at the house with those two since they were napping still. Gary left the back passenger window down that was beside our SUV and we slowly slipped out our doors and into the window of the limousine. Gary was a little startled when I knocked on the inside of the window but he kept his composure doing nothing more than getting into the car and keeping his eyes forward while I talked to him, making it look like he was just sitting in the car listening to the radio and singing along.

The conversation went fairly quickly from there. “Gary, I’m pretty sure that my ghost you heard me talking about before is going to try to make his move on my kids tonight. He set something in motion, something to do with my grandmother, and as I was headed to North Carolina I realized I was giving him the opening he needed to get to the kids. I have some of the team headed there in my car making it look as though we’re the ones going. I need you to text Logan letting him know we’re in the car and to let the others know very quietly and without drawing attention, and to make sure that they know not to let on that they’re startled about us being in here or for the kids to make any indication that we are. I want this to go as smoothly as possible. Call him first and tell him you’re going to send him a text that you were instructed to do and that he has exactly thirty seconds to read it before it disappears off of his phone.”

“Yes, mam, ugh, Rain. Sorry. I’m dialing now”

Gary was brief saying only what I told him to do. When he said he sent the text I hacked Logan’s phone. Exactly thirsty seconds after he opened it I deleted it. I swear I could hear Logan smiling through the phone. Almost as if he were saying ‘That’s my girl.’ Within five minutes, everyone was coming out of the store a little more sullen then when they went in, playing the part well. That was a good thing because I had already spotted a car with three people in it that had pulled up shortly after we got in the Limousine and were sitting and watching, not only the limousine, but Logan and the others as they were coming out of the store to come towards the car. Right on cue, Jesse and Rory blurt out very loudly that they wanted Mommy and wanted to know when I would be coming home. Logan said I would be home as soon as I checked on my grandmother.

To say that I was more than impressed with how the kids acted was putting things as mildly as me saying that my team and I just did the normal things in the Army. The limousine windows are tinted so darkly in the back that even in the bright Georgia sun you couldn’t see in, even with your face pressed against the glass. So as soon as everyone was in the car and the doors were closed the kids piled on me giving me hugs as if I had been gone for months. Jesse asked how they did with pretending I wasn’t there for whatever bad guys were watching us. I loved my little man more than anything. He’s so smart and aware as well as being very in tuned to things that needed to be done. I love them both so much that I was instantly overwhelmed by a sudden urge to just hold them and cry because I know they would never have been in danger if I wasn’t their mother.

After hugging Jesse I let him go and he crawled back into his seat so he could get buckled, which he hates booster seats, though he understands they’re necessary still. Then, I hugged Rory telling her how good she did as well. She just sat there holding onto me for a few minutes. When she finally let go she gave me a kiss and told me she loved me. Then, she crawled into her seat and Logan buckled her into it. I quickly leaned over and gave him a kiss telling him I missed him and that I was glad that he was able to help me out with this, even though the fact that he wouldn’t be able to do much else was left hanging in the balance.

With that we set off for the twenty minute drive to Buckhead Community. I was mentally preparing myself for everything that had to be done tonight to get this trap set. Well, completely set so that everything went off without a hitch and Mr. Tressler didn’t get away. I was deep in thought and didn’t notice Logan staring at me, at first, which was very odd for me. Normally, I notice everything right away and anyone watching me.

When we pulled into the garage and the garage door was closed everyone took off into the house while Logan asked me to stay back for a few minutes while he talked to me. I knew what he was going to talk to me about. He wanted to help me catch my ghost, but the fact was, I knew how good this man was and I wasn’t about to let Logan put himself in danger. That conversation didn’t go well.

“Rain, look I know you think that this will be too dangerous for me to help, but I want to be there to help you with this. This is my family too. I won’t let this man come to hurt or take my family without me at least attempting to stand in the way. I don’t care what happens to me, I just want to help make sure my kids are safe. That you are safe.”

“That’s just it, Logan, you may not care what happens to you, but I do. I do care what the hell happens to you. I can make sure that this is taken care of without putting you in harm’s way. I don’t need your help with this! I don’t want you here when this happens! If you’re here when he comes, and you want to help so badly, then make sure you take the kids to the panic room. Promise me!”

“I’m sorry, Rain, but that’s a promise I won’t make. I’ll make sure the kids get there but I won’t be there. I will help; whether you like it or not.”

“Do I have to knock you out before this happens?”

Logan started to answer me but didn’t get a chance to before we were interrupted. I wasn’t particularly happy by the conversations that came next either. It seemed like everyone was out to make things harder for me today. I mean, I knew that wasn’t the case, they really were trying to help, but in all actuality, they were making my life harder by putting too many complications in my way. I think Mr. Tressler knew this would happen and was banking on it to help him in the end.

Hazel said, “Rain, honey, I know that you don’t like the fact of Logan being in danger, but I also know that you are well aware he’ll be there trying to help either way. So you can either trust the man you love and let him help as much as he can, or you can forcibly remove him and cause yourself a whole lot more marital problems than what I’m sure are already coming. Nothing tonight is going to lead to anything good. Remember that when tonight is over and done with because you know as well as I do that something will go wrong. It always does.”

“That’s my point Hazel. Something always goes wrong; I don’t want that something to be Logan dying on me.”

Gary said, “Rain, I don’t think you understand the fact that you’re all family to us and we’re all going to do anything and everything we possibly can to help you finish this tonight. Katie and Hazel will be with the kids and bodyguards. The rest of us will be right here with you, so you may as well accept that. I’m sorry, I know you may be the boss, but Honey, you’re like the daughter I don’t have and I won’t stand by and watch my family be in danger while I sit around and twiddle my thumbs waiting for answers on the outcome of what happened just feet away from me. I’m with Logan on this one.”

I stood there looking at all of them for quite a while thinking about what had to be done and what obstacles lay ahead of me with the people I cared about being in the way of a mad man knowing they may be hurt and that I won’t be able to do anything to stop it.

Trying to juggle dealing with the daily danger, with the struggle to protect my loved ones was proving to be harder than me letting another man into my life after Jason. I don’t think Logan, or anyone really, will ever understand how hard it really was for me to let Logan in. Especially so quickly. The way my kids reacted to him was something I couldn’t ignore, though. The way my body reacted to him wasn’t the easiest thing in the world to ignore either. Things happened so quickly for us and have been so good so far that I knew Hazel was right. We would end up in a bad fight sooner or later and it was just a matter of time for when it happens and if we could survive it. I didn’t want it to happen, but I knew it would.

After standing there for a few more minutes looking at everyone I finally gave them the only answer I could. “Fine! This is the way things will go down: My team and I will set everything in motion the way we want things to go. I will tell you where to be, when to be there, and what to do. If you deviate from that at all then I will make sure you will never help me with anything else that has to do with anything military or anything that pertains to my past. If that means I have to lock you all up and knock you unconscious when something happens, then, so be it.”

Neither Gary nor Logan looked pleased with what I had to say. I knew Gary could take care of himself, hell, he was ex-special forces and an Army Ranger, and I wanted to say that but I also didn’t want to hurt Logan’s feelings by making it out like I didn’t think he could take care of himself. The truth was, he’s a big boy and from what I saw in the gym he’s pretty good; but if I know my ghost as well as I knew I did, I knew he wouldn’t be bringing the easiest of enforcers either. That was what was worrying me.

There are so many people out there that I haven’t seen or evaluated before and even more that don’t let what they can do be known. That poses a problem when I have to evaluate my competition, and even more so when I have people who I haven’t trained that are insisting on putting themselves in the line of fire against these people.

It was already almost six in the evening which meant we had to get things planned and set in motion very quickly which left room for error. I couldn’t allow any form of errors at all when it came to this man. We were used to doing everything at the drop of a hat and making sure everything was perfect, so this should be no different except in the fact that we were all more determined to make sure this went exactly like we had planned. After all, this man had been the cause of so many deaths of our loved ones; of my loved ones. My babies. I wasn’t going to let him get away from me even if it cost me my life. I would die before I let him get away, and I would take him with me. I think everyone knew this and that was why everyone was so hell bent on helping out with this; to make sure that didn’t happen.

. . . . . . . . . . . .

There had always been an underground tunnel going from the garage to the pool shed so it was very convenient when all of this started for us to turn the pool shed into a panic room. From the outside everything looks the same, but from the inside everything was completely changed. For starters, everything was dug up and there was a basement, so to speak, put in under the pool shed. It’s the same size as the shed, which is fairly large, and it is made with the top materials that the white house bunker was built with. Unless you have the code, retina scan, palm scanner and voice sensor then you couldn’t get in.

The fact of the matter was that only the kids were able to get in with one of any of the security protocols and they each even had their own code to get in. There’s pretty well an entire house built under there. A small house, but a house none the less. They have rooms, plumbing, a kitchen; everything that would be needed if they needed to stay in there for a while. We made sure that the panic room could hold up to thirty people for a month without running out of anything. There was only one way of getting in there because once it was finished we built the pool shed floor back over top of it and put the pool stuff back in it so it looks no different than any other pool shed. The only exception is the back wall in one of the changing stalls opens up to the stairway that leads down to the panic room. I thought it was a nice addition.

I’m so glad we had it put in so quickly. I wasn’t planning for any of this but at least I know my kids will be safe. I know they will be well taken care of down there too. Now the trick is getting Logan out of the way so the only loved ones I have in danger are my team and they’re more than capable of taking care of themselves.

The panic room had plenty of people in there to take care of the kids considering that on top of the four kids Hazel, Katie, Becky, Eddie, Justin, Ben, Andrew, Dani and Cage were in there with the sole purpose of protecting the children under any and all circumstances, though I doubted anyone would be able to get anywhere near that panic room, even if they did know where it was.

We all sat down with Logan and Gary to find what they would be good at enough to keep themselves out of danger since they insisted on being there when Mr. Tressler showed up to claim what he thinks he has a right to. Madison took Gary into the gym to get him in the ring to see if he would be good enough with hand to hand if it comes to it, which I was placing bets he would. Christiaan and Jojo looked as though they were torn between wanting to go watch Madison and Gary or to stick around and see what I decided on for Logan.

I hated having him here. I knew something was going to go wrong and he wouldn’t listen to me and just go stay in the panic room with the kids. I could feel his determination to stay but I also knew he could feel my resistance to him being there. I knew he was good but he wasn’t trained like us and that worried me no matter how good he was. We were trained together; we worked together; we could flow through battle after battle without having to communicate with each other verbally because we knew what had to be done. How do I say this to my husband without making him feel incompetent, though? David stood across the room looking at me and when I looked up at him he nodded his head slightly telling me to just take a chance this time with Logan and hope it pans out.

I let out a very long breath and decided I most likely had no other choice. It wasn’t like he was being iconoclastic towards my beliefs of how my unit worked. Maybe I’m just thinking too highly of my unit but I put everyone through hell repetitively and sporadically to keep them on their toes and they’ve always superseded those around them so I have no other choice than to think as highly of them.

Madison and Gary came out just as I started to say something to Logan and she was rubbing a red mark on her jaw. She nodded at me. Apparently Gary got a few good hits in on her. That means he’s still in great shape and much faster than anyone will ever expect: Even faster than I had expected him to be. I think he’ll be just fine. I wasn’t as worried about him. I knew he was quick to begin with but I didn’t think he would get any hits in on Madison. I guess I was wrong. He will definitely be a big help.

I turned to Logan then so we could get started since I knew it wouldn’t be long before things got messy. I asked him what all he did, what he knew how to do and what he was good at. Apparently, sniper and close quarters hand to hand combat were his specialties as well as intelligence gathering. We didn’t have time to see about the sniping but the hand to hand combat we did so we all headed for the gym. I can definitely say that having this put in when we did the panic room was a great choice. We use this one more than the one at the office even though that gym has way more things.

When we got into the gym I had Logan get ready while I sent in David, Christiaan and Jojo. I know three on one isn’t really fair but he had to know that we would definitely be outnumbered tonight and he has to get it into his head that he shouldn’t be here. They all looked at me hesitantly, I think afraid to go after Logan because they thought they would get into trouble if they hurt him, but my look told them differently as I signaled for them to “teach” him what would be coming tonight. They knew not to go full speed but they would still be too much for him to take on one on one much less three on one even at half speed.

Madison and Gary stood right beside me and looked a little concerned. Madison asked me if this was the way I wanted to show him that he wasn’t supposed to be in this fight but with the kids instead.

“Look, Maddy, you know I don’t want him to get hurt but this is going to be the only way he learns that he shouldn’t be here with us. He’s not trained like us, he doesn’t have the same mind set and he wants to be here for the wrong reasons. He’s going to get hurt and my mind will be on him instead of acquiring the target so we can both end this for all of our futures. We all have too much at stake to let this continue.”

My answer seemed to pacify them but they still looked concerned while Logan, though unable to hear me seemed to know why I was doing this, only seemed more determined to prove his worth to me when it came to the battles we both knew would lay ahead of us for a good portion of the rest of our lives as long as I am who I am, and continue to be this person, which didn’t look like it would change anytime soon.

I said a silent prayer then told them to go. Logan stood perfectly still at first just waiting for them but once they took a step forward he moved to the center of the ring quickly and went for David first thinking he’d be the easier of the three men to take down since he was lower ranking, I was guessing. That was a good plan to start but David didn’t go down as easily as Logan thought he would. I have to hand it to Logan, he did well with holding his own with the three of my guys for about the first minute, then one little slip up and he fell. That was all it took and when he went down he didn’t come up with the same advantage that he had when he had kept himself in the corner after his first attack.

After about thirty seconds I couldn’t take watching him get the shit beat out of him anymore so I stopped the fight. All three guys looked like they hated it even more than I did and walked away a little irritated for having to do that but they all understood why I was doing it to begin with. I walked up to the mat as Logan was pulling himself up.

“Don’t look at me like that, Rain. This hasn’t done anything besides show me how much better you are than me and how much more I need to work out. I’m still going to be in this fight. Besides, you and Madison are the only ones that can beat those tree trunks anyway.”

“No, Logan. I’m not so sure of that. I know how good this man is and the men he’ll bring with him won’t be a walk in the park: Especially for you, but maybe even for us. You know it when you think about it logically that there are still millions of people out there that I have never seen or evaluated. For all I know, some of them could be better than me and that spells danger for all of us. The kids need at least one parent when this is all over with.”

“The kids will be fine. They have plenty of people taking care of them. You’re not dying tonight and neither am I so it won’t make a difference if one of us is in there or not.”

“Logan, you are completely exasperating. I know that you know what the hell I’m talking about. You know what I mean. You are not trained like us. You just proved that you can’t deal with three of my guys going half speed so how are you supposed to keep up with God knows how many of his men that could be better than all of us going full speed? You’re going to get hurt or be in the way!”

“Say what you want to me, Rain, but I’m not backing down. Whether you want to admit it or not you know I’m right. This is just as much my fight now as it is yours. I will stand my ground and help protect my family, not cower in a room and let my wife do it for me!”

“Is that what this is about? YOUR EGO?!?”

Right then my phone rang. “WHAT?!?”

It was Jenni. “Rain, we just pulled up to the gate of the reservation. You need to tell them why we’re here and do it quickly because there’s an SUV that’s coming up the road behind us to check and see if we go in, I think. They’ve followed us the whole way. You’re on speaker.”

I said, “Ulisgolátaná nasgi ageyá hawinaditlá. Akuatseli sidaneláhi tsinusdi tinánada ganiyegi.”

“He’s opening the gate, Rain. We’re on our way to your grandmother now, but you should know the SUV pulled over just past the gate on the road and they’re on the phone. You can see it lighting up the car.”

I said thanks and snapped the phone closed. Logan asked what I said on the phone. I told him I said to let her in because my family is in danger. He looked at me like I hadn’t said a thing. We had moved the kids, Katie and Hazel, and the bodyguards to the panic room an hour before so they could get settled because I figured Jenni would be almost to the reservation. It was a good thing we did that when we did because all hell was about to break loose.

A FAMILY IS A RISKY VENTURE, BECAUSE THE GREATER THE LOVE, THE GREATER THE LOSS…THAT’S THE TRADE OFF. BUT I’LL TAKE IT ALL-BRAD PITT

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