Nate waited for the celebrations to tone down. Rachel had been nowhere in sight, he tried calling her a few times but to no avail. Nate went to the Staff Block, Wesson’s house and even the Cabin but could find neither his god-daughter nor his best friend. Eventually, Connor and Gavin told him about Rachel discovering the truth about Wesson and the blowout between them, causing him to curse and then make them swear not to tell another living soul about it.
Sighing, he dialed his best friend’s phone, but it went straight to voicemail. He was about to try Rachel again when his phone lit up, Hannah’s smiling face on the screen. He answered.
“Nate?” she sounded panicked
Rachel had only found out hours ago, what could have happened? “Babe, what is it?”
“A guy was here a while ago, he was asking about you.”
Hannah was a strong woman and was rarely shaken up. Nate remembered once when he stumbled into his apartment at 5:30 in the morning with gauze tied around his leg and a bloody uniform, and she barely bat an eye. The wavering of her voice threw him off guard, “Who was it?”
“He said he was from the precinct and wanted to discuss something about the Lionel Watson case…”
“Lionel Watson? Hannah there-“, his brows furrowed in confusion
“I know. Lionel works over where you are right now … but Nate … the guy, it was Emmet.” He could hear her trying to even her breathing.
“What?!” Emmet was part of the gang that was initially after Davis.
“Emmet was here, at our doorstep, less than ten minutes ago.” Hannah repeated.
“Son of a bitch” he swore
“What do I do?”
“Don’t panic; just” Nate’s eyes flitted around his surroundings as if the simple action would help him think of an effective plan, “Pack - I’ll be home in a while, until then, head over to your mother’s with our things. I’ll see you soon.”
“I will. Don’t worry.” Nate lowered the phone when he heard her speak again.
“I love you. Be careful.”
“Love you too, see you soon. Don’t stay here too long.”
The call disconnected and Nate went back into the Rec center looking for Joey. He found here standing by a table tennis table, laughing over something with Gavin.
“Nate, hey! Did you find them?”
“No. Listen,” he took Joey by the shoulder and pulled her aside, “Any clue where they could be?”
“….Um, there’s a clearing a little way from the teacher’s lodging, they could be there. Do you want me to show you the way?”
“Uh, no, I think I’ll be okay on my own.” Nate turned around, he had to hurry.
Joey noticed the worry etched on his face “Is everything okay?”
“Yeah, kid, don’t sweat it.” And with that he took off, out the Rec center and towards the clearing.
“Too much to process?” Davis asked after a long, astonished silence.
“Yeah…” she wrapped her fingers around the blades of grass and tugged, “’m sorry … about the way I acted.” Rachel’s voice was small.
Davis gave her a small smile, “it’s okay. What matters now is that we’re both here, and we’re both okay.”
Rachel nodded, “I said some pretty harsh stuff…”
“I’m not surprised.” He laughed, “You may have your mother’s looks but you have my temper.”
“But I haven’t seen you pissed off at anyone yet.”
“You’ve only known me as a father for a few hours,” his lips twitched, “But I really hope, for your sake, that you don’t see me when I’m raging.”
Davis shrugged, “Pretty bad.”
“But you’re so patient now…”
Just then, Nate burst through the trees, wheezing.
“Hate to-“, he heaved, “break up the-“, he put his hands on his knees, “family reunion, but-“, he straightened up and took a deep breath, “Dave, I gotta tell you something.”
Davis was on his feet and walking towards him but Rachel stayed back, fighting off the urge to eavesdrop.
“Emmet showed up at my house.” His voice was barely above a whisper.
“What?” his eyes were wide.
“Hannah said he mentioned Lionel Watson-“
“Lionel? He’s been on a break for a few weeks now. As a matter of fact, he should have been back today.” Davis shook his head.
“Davis…” Nate glanced over Davis’ shoulder at Rachel, dropping his voice lower, “I think Lionel’s dead.”
Davis worried at his lip for a second, “Emmet showed up at your doorstep?”
“What, am I speaking French?”
He closed his eyes for a quick second, “Nate, you have to go home.”
“I told Hannah to leave the house.”
Davis scratched at his beard, “How the hell did he not barge in and shoot her in the face?” Nate stared at him, horrified “No. I’m glad she’s breathing but … Emmet?”
He shook his head, “What’s the plan?”
Davis’ voice was firm. He wasn’t going to endanger his best friend or daughter. If for some reason, Emmet and his goons were on to something, the first sensible thing to do would be to go radio silent, let it all blow over, “Distance yourself from the institute; remove any and all evidence of your affiliation with this place. I can’t leave the kids but the fact that he was at your place today means you’re in danger and I’m not having that.“
“I know … it can also mean they know something … This whole place could be in danger.”
“I know.” He ran a hand through his hair and puffed his cheeks “They can’t be on to us, right?”
“God, I hope not.” Nate glanced at his watch, “I gotta get going. I have to drop Gavin back home and head over to Hannah. Call you when I get there?”
“No – Do that, but just don’t call me. Like I said, pretend Jameson doesn’t exist.”
Nate sighed and looked over Davis’ shoulder at his God daughter and smiled at her. Rachel was up on her feet in an instant.
“I’m guessing I surprised you by not killing him – or you for that matter.” Rachel smirked and the duo shared a forced laugh.
“Yeah thanks for that.” Nate he nodded, wincing, “Rachel … something’s wrong. Things could get dangerous so you might not see me or hear from me for a while okay?”
“o-kay?” She sounded unsure.
“We’ll have to go radio silent. No calls, no emails, nothing. Not until … whatever this is - is over.” He added, looking at her meaningfully, hoping she would understand.
Rachel looked to her father, “Does this have anything to do with what you just told me?”
She got a curt nod in response.
“I have to head home and try to figure this out from over there; you have to stay disconnected from the outside world for me.”
Rachel nodded slowly, “This is big, isn’t it?”
The shared silence was answer enough.
Rachel all but crashed into him, hugging him tightly, “No dying.”
She was terrified and had to admit that some part of her was telling her that this could end bad, but she kept that thought to herself and stood up on her toes to give him a kiss on the cheek, “I’m gonna miss you.”
“I’m gonna miss you too.” He ruffled her hair and planted a kiss on her head, “Go tell Gavin to get our stuff to the trunk, we’re leaving.”
Nodding at the pair, she was off in an instant, heading back to the Rec center.