Aidan pushed Kian back against the building. He took one more quick glance around the corner before saying, “Let’s go.” He pulled her back the way they had come.
When they got close to the Jeep, Aidan surveyed the area again. “Now. Quickly.” He set a swift pace across the parking lot. “Darn, couldn’t you buy a car with a remote?”
“Real Jeeps don’t have clickers,” Kian replied, trying to keep up. She wanted to remove her dainty sandals, and would have, but the pavement was hot enough to fry an egg.
“Always have an escape,” Aidan said as Kian jumped in the passenger side. He piled his bags on her lap. Then he climbed in the driver seat. Turning the ignition, he jammed the Jeep in reverse and spun 180 degrees. The Jeep jumped wildly as he took the curb without stopping, and then swung left onto the road.
“The highway is in the other direction,” Kian reminded him as they sped past the ice cream stand. “And slow down, there are kids around.”
Every few seconds, Aidan glanced out the rear view mirror. When he got to the intersection, he turned to Kian, “Does a left get me back to the highway?”
“Sure,” she replied.
Aidan spun the Jeep left. “Where to, now?”
“Go past those trees up ahead and turn left again. You’ll come out at a light at Buckston High. Slow down, Aidan.”
Aidan saw an intersection. “Griffith Field Road? Is that what I want?”
Aidan ignored the stop sign and jerked left again. He spotted the school track and then the high school. “Kian, when we get to the traffic light, get down. You hear me?”
“Why? What are we doing?”
Aidan glanced out the rear view mirror again. “Back at the motel, I saw that SUV. They could be at the light.”
“Why didn’t you say so? Turn into the drug store parking lot. There’s a back road. You can take that for a couple of miles, then pick up the highway. And slow down, okay?”
After they turned onto the patched road, Aidan did slow down. He grabbed his cell, held the button and waited for the familiar chirp. “Call JL Power.”
“Calling,” chortled the cell phone.
The line only rang once. “Director Power’s office. How may I help you?”
“Agent Scott here. Give me the Director.”
“Right away, sir.”
Power answered on the second ring. “Yeah, what is it?”
“Listen, sir, that maroon SUV? Well, I think it’s a Mercedes and it is still in the area. I saw it at the motel. Can you get the locals to pull it over and check to see if it scraped a tree?”
“Sure thing. License plate?”
“New Mexico. Maybe 2-5 something. Too far away to see clearly, and I was in too big a hurry to get my…,” he paused, “…to get Ms. Buchanan out of danger.”
“She with you?”
Power’s voice turned smooth, almost syrupy. “Well, howdy, ma’am. Thanks for your help, sweetheart. Are you doing okay? Everything okey-dokey with you?”
Okey-dokey? Kian looked amused. “I’m fine.”
Power continued. “Yes, sweetie, I’m sure you are. I train my agents well. Now if that Agent Scott gets out of line at all, you just let me know and I’ll send him off to Power’s Finishing School.” He chuckled.
“Power’s Finishing School?” Kian mouthed the question more than voiced it.
“Old joke,” Aidan told her. “Power’s sister went there in the 70s. She was expelled, ran away, and joined a commune or something. She got disinherited. It’s my boss’s way of reminding everyone he’s part of the horsey set, and could get us expelled from the D.C. office any time. Right, boss?”
“Right, son. And don’t you forget it either. Have you got anything else to report?”
“Not immediately. I’ll call you later.”
The connection went dead.
“What about that SUV? Is he going to pick it up?” Kian asked.
“Probably,” Aidan replied. But to Kian, Aidan did not sound so sure.
“Look,” Aidan quickly added, “We need to pick up a few supplies. Food and stuff. Where can we go that isn’t obvious?”
“There is an old grocery store up ahead. Hardly anybody goes there anymore. When you get to the next road, take a right,” Kian replied before adding, “I really don’t think your boss has any intention of finding that SUV. Your boss gives me the creeps. I don’t like him.”
“Yes, well, Jimbo would certainly agree with you. You know, he actually did get ‘expelled and disinherited’ from Power’s Finishing School a few months back. He aggravated Power and was sent to some god-forsaken place out west to do background checks, by phone no less. About as low level an assignment as he could get. He quit the agency right after that and has been working freelance ever since. Suits him better anyway.”
“What did Jimbo do to aggravate Power?”
“Don’t really know. He won’t discuss it.”
Minutes later, Aidan turned into a pothole-ridden parking lot beside a rundown grocery store. He hoped the meat, at least, was fresh.
By Lothar1976 (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons