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Chapter Three

"Will you tell me what's going on yet?" I asked once we were in a cab and Emma had told him to go to LaGuardia and we were speeding through midtown traffic.

Emma looked at the driver's license display. She looked back at me and shook her head, "Not yet," she said. She looked at her phone nervously, her leg jiggling with nerves, a habit that she'd picked up that reminded me of the jiggle she did when she heard a really good song. She took a deep breath, "Why hasn't Seth called yet? God." She shoved her phone back into her pocket.

"Are we like in danger?" I whispered.

The cabbie glanced in his rearview mirror.

Emma caught the movement and eyed him warily. She looked at me, "We're fine. This is more precautionary than anything." She took a deep breath, then pulled her phone out again.

"Where are we going?"

"Jared, I can't tell you yet, okay? Please, just ...trust me."

"I do trust you, I'm just - I mean we're on the way to the airport, I'm just curious if we have, like, tickets or whatever..."

Emma stared at me. "Yes, we have tickets."

"Okay, that's all I wanted to know."

Gridlocked traffic kept the cab moving slow. Emma got more and more tense as time passed, kept looking at her watch, kept checking her cell phone, kept muttering, wondering why Seth hadn't checked in.

When the cab came to a stop at the drop offs at the airport, I pulled out my wallet and paid the guy while Emma practically sprang out of the cab and started yanking our stuff out of the trunk. I pulled a couple bags over my torso so they criss-crossed, and Emma did the same. She led the way into the airport, gripping my hand tightly. She pulled me past the lines of people checking in and went right to a security guard by the turnstalls.

Emma pulled out her badge from the back of her shorts and held it up for him to see as she approached. "We need immediate access to the terminals," she said. The security guard looked over her badge then nodded and waved us through.

As Em pulled me along up the escalator, taking the steps two at a time making us climb it three times faster than normal, I said, "You're pulling all the stops, I feel like a VIP or something," I laughed.

"We gotta get out of here," she said, "It's that important." Her voice was more grave, less amused.

She pulled me along past the smoothie booths, new stands, Starbucks, and duty-free stores. She was just starting to slow down when a guy came out of nowhere, like he'd just appeared, and stepped in front of her, stopping us. Emma came to an immediate halt in front of him, her body language like a rearing horse. She backed up two steps, pulled my wrist so she was mostly in front of me. Though I'm relatively big guy, and she's a teeny tiny little thing, so she was probably only really blocking like my elbow.

"Where ya going, honey?" the guy asked.

Emma stared at him.

"Your partner said we might find you here." The guy looked at me, "This your husband?"

"I'm Jared. Who the hell are you?" I asked.

Em stomped on my foot.

"Where's Seth?" Emma asked in a defiant sort of tone.

"We took care of Seth," the guy answered. "Don't worry about him." He smiled. "Now if you'll come with me --"

Emma reached into the back of her shorts for the gun, but before she could pull it out, the guy had taken three quick steps forward and grabbed onto her elbow. Wrong move. She whipped her arm around, releasing his grip on her, caught his wrist, and effectively flipped the guy onto his back right there in the middle of the airport. She did it with the ease that small child would flip a doll. She grabbed my hand. "C'mon." She said, her voice now panicked. I didn't have to be told twice. I ran along behind her.

People were looking, and we dodged between them. We hit the moving sidewalks running and I felt like we were The Flash or something, turbo-charged. We seemed to fly. There was scrambling and shouting behind us, commotion ensuing as we shoved our way through the crowded airport. Emma's agility enabled her to do this with a certain amount of grace. But me, I'm like an ox in a china shop and I kept knocking into people, bumping into carts full of luggage, muttering sorry as I spilled coffees and stepped on toes.

"Hurry, hurry," Emma begged. I was starting to get winded, but she was used to the chase.

I really need to get out and exercise more, I thought.

I don't know what terminal we were headed to, so I can't really say how close we were to our destination, but I could hear guys shouting, catching up to us. Emma glanced back. "Shit," she muttered. "They're faster than --" she was about to say you are, but changed her mind. "Jared, I'm gonna distract them for a few minutes. You go to the terminal," she directed. She shoved the two duffle bags she had criss-crossing her torso onto me. "The tickets are in the end of that bag there. Board the plane. I'll get on with my badge."

"What plane?!"

"It's the last terminal, just go," she said. She let go of my hand.

"Okay. I'm going." I paused. I felt like I should say something really smart. Something that would go in one of my cards or something. I stammered, "Emma, I --"

"Jared. I'll see you on the plane. Just... Jared, just run."


So I ran.