Run and Hide
Larry ran into the cabin, scaring me as I sat on the couch watching the Moscow Ballet on the television. “We gotta bounce, yo!”
Brian looked up from where he was making dinner. “This isn’t Breaking Bad, bitch. What’s going on?”
“Get packed, now. Yuri Zubkov showed up for the engagement ceremony and he recognized Patrick somehow. If he’s made Patrick, they will figure out Jessie is around too. We’re to head for the plane and get the hell out of the country.”
That lit a fire under Brian. He turned off the stove and ran into the room they were sharing. “Don’t do anything, we’ve got this,” Larry said as went out the door with their luggage.
“I wasn’t planning to,” I said as I turned the TV off. Picking up the remote control was the most work they’d allowed me to do. My headaches were still bad, and my body remained a mass of bruises. My leg would keep me from walking without crutches, so the guys insisted on carrying me around. Two minutes later, they had all my stuff loaded too. “I need to use the bathroom before we leave,” I said.
They carried me in, I quickly went and washed up then Larry carried me to the car. The windows were blacked out, and Sergey drove us quickly to the airport. I was carried up to the plane and set in a seat. Larry handed me my passport and my purse. “The pilots are ready, we need Customs to clear us and we’ll get going.” Larry sat next to me and Bruce across; Sergey had gone to the terminal to get an agent to come to the plane.
It took twenty anxiety-filled minutes for the Russian customs agent to check the luggage and stamp our passports, then finally the door closed, and we taxied out. “I need to call my lawyer,” I said.
“Not a good idea,” Larry said. “If they are watching calls into her office, and it’s certain they are, they can identify your number. Working back from that, they can figure out a cell tower and location. One call and they will figure out we’re leaving from the airport, and there are only so many flights out. We’ve been told to keep you safe, and that means complete silence for communications and no trail.” I looked in my purse, my phone was not there. “It’s deactivated and packed away,” he said as he figured out what I was looking for.
I just glared at him. “So where is Patrick?”
“Patrick is pretending nothing is wrong, and enjoying his engagement party tonight,” Brian said. “I hope you get to meet her soon. She’s a nice girl, almost eighteen, and they are great together.”
“Isn’t it soon? We haven’t been here long, even with my coma. Did he know her before?”
Brian shook his head no. “This is his first time in Russia, and she is a senior in senior high. It was love at first sight. We’re all happy for him, it’s such a blessing to find love at a young age.”
It all seemed weird to me; if I had told my Mom I was getting engaged a week after meeting a guy when I was seventeen, she would have locked me in my room until I came to my senses. “It seems like a big age difference, I mean he’s 21, that’s a lot when you’re in high school.”
“You can’t keep these two apart for long. He will return home after the party is over. Her parents won’t let her wed until she is eighteen, so he has four months to wait for her- and learn Russian.” I laughed at that. “He’s lucky she is fluent in English. He will be a motivated student, though.”
I was happy and sad at the same time; happy that he had found someone to love, and a little sad it wasn’t me. He was a good friend, though, and had helped me so much after I was hurt at the bar. “Are his parents all right with it?”
“Thrilled, they’re at the party now. You’re to thank for it, you know. When you were hurt, they sent Patrick over here. They wanted you to have someone you knew when you woke up. After we found out how much trouble you’d gotten yourself into in such a short time, we came as well. Mischa is the daughter of the family friend that rescued you and got you medical care outside the system. Without them, Yuri’s men would have found you and killed you within a day.”
The gears were turning in my head, something wasn’t adding up here. “Wait a minute. How did your friends know to rescue me? I was a nobody, a tourist coming to see my mother’s grave. Why would I need to be rescued? And how the hell did they get their so fast if they weren’t…” They had deer in the headlight looks, and I knew I’d answered my own question. “You had me followed.”
“Peter was worried that you were in Russia, asking questions for which you might not like the answers. He asked Viktor to keep an eye on you, to make sure you were safe. That is all. We didn’t want you to feel like you needed a babysitter.”
“Even though I did,” I said. I sat back and thought about it for a bit. Finding out that Yevgheny was my father might have been all right, but I should have known that going to a lawyer was dangerous. “I’m never going to be safe again, am I.”
We accelerated for takeoff, and Larry took my hand. As we let the ground and were pressed back in the seats, he squeezed it gently. “As soon as you filed paperwork to be declared Yevgheny’s heir, you became a woman with a target on your back. It’s not just Yuri, though he’s the biggest threat. Yevgheny had many enemies, inside the Mob and out. Hustlers and greedy men will try to take advantage of you. You can’t be worth hundreds of millions of dollars and not be vulnerable to blackmailers, kidnappers, or other criminals. You aren’t Jessie Donato, Hooters Girl and College Student. You are Natalya Klishnina, the only child of Yevgheny Zubkov, and soon to be on one of the richest women in the world.”
“It gives me a headache,” I said. “I’m tired, I’m going to try and nap.” They turned the cabin lights down as I reclined in the seat and tried to turn my brain off. Eventually, it did.
“We’re here,” Larry said as he nudged my arm. “You need to put your seat up for the landing.”
“Where is here?”
“London. The crew needs to rest, and to throw people off the trail we booked flights in the morning to Minneapolis. We aren’t going there, though.”
“Where are we going then?”
“Paris. We’ll take the train there, then fly to Chicago and be picked up by a car there. That should make it difficult to trace us, even though it will take much longer.”
I wasn’t much good to them after we landed; they put me in a wheelchair and we cleared Customs quickly. Larry pushed me while Brian pushed the luggage cart. A driver was waiting, holding up a car; Brian went up to him, then waved us to follow. Larry lifted me into the back while they put the luggage in the boot, then we all got in, Brian riding shotgun. I leaned over to Larry and whispered, “How do we know he’s all right?”
“A friend sent him for us, he’s to take people to Paris, he knows nothing more of us and won’t say anything. My last name was misspelled in a specific way, that’s how I knew it was him.” We exited the airport and got onto the highway, headed for the Chunnel. I’d never been to England, but Charles, our driver, pointed out the sights for me as we went along. I put it on my list, I needed to come back here and really see things sometime.
We left the city and I was watching the countryside, trying to get used to the idea of being on the ‘wrong’ side of the road. Charles wasn’t going as fast as some, so I was watching the passing cars when I felt something was wrong. The car that was passing us on the right had slowed, holding with us, and I saw a gun barrel pointed out the window. I screamed, throwing my hands out like I was pushing it away as the man started firing. The window shattered, and through the spiderweb I saw the other car flip on its side and start skidding on the ground. Unbelievable pain split my skull, and darkness took me.
She screamed, and it was like time went in slow motion. The first shot shattered the window, and I reached over to pull her down on the seat. I expected more shots, but no more hit the car. I grabbed her shoulder and watched in amazement as the car flipped on its back. “GO GO GO,” I yelled as I watched it hit the guardrail and explode in flames.
Charles floored it and we sped away from the danger. Jessie was limp in my arms, so I unbelted myself and knelt on the floor before her as I laid her down. I started running my hands over her, checking for injuries.
“Is she hit?” Brian was turned around in the front seat.
I took a minute, finding no blood. “I didn’t find anything. She’s out cold after that scream, though. We need to get her to a doctor, but she can’t go to a hospital.”
Brian turned around and talked to Charles about options. Charles didn’t have good news for us. “There are packs around, but I’m not sure how much they can be trusted. Jessie is a hot potato, and no one else has been told she’s Beta John’s mate. They won’t take a human into their Pack hospital without a lot of questions. I think we need to take her home, it’s the only safe place for her.”
I checked her again, her color and breathing were good, she was just out like a light. “If we delay treatment and she dies, we’re all in big trouble,” I said.
“Let me call my Doc,” he said. He put it on the hands-free and called a number. Doctor Conall asked a lot of questions and was joined by Alpha Heir Sean for the call. He had me remove her clothes down to her underwear to make sure she hadn't been shot, then I pulled her clothes back on.
After twenty minutes, we had decided to drive through to the Highlands Pack hospital. If Jessie’s condition worsened, we had names and locations of five other Packs along the way. If it got really bad, we’d take her to a human hospital.
I sat there on the seat, her head on my lap as I watched her breathe, and prayed to Luna she would be all right. “By the way,” I finally said, “What did you guys do to flip that car? I don’t remember you hitting it.”
“I didn’t do anything, Larry,” Charles said as he looked at me in the rear-view mirror. “That car flipped over like it was pushed by the hand of God.”