Black Jack (Elite Ops 4)

Page 88

Where had her perfect world gone?
Lilly sat on the bed in the darkened bedroom of another safe house, this one a large apartment in the heart of Hagerstown only a few blocks from the bar she had often met Travis in.
She stared into the dark but it was memories she saw. Her father’s laughter, his gentle voice, and his loyalty. She saw their walks, remembered their talks. She saw her mother, always distant from them, always appearing amused, yet accepting of the bond they had had.
She’d been wrong.
Jared had often stood with Angelica, quiet, intense. Her brother had always been very intense, very studious, but she’d believed he was being protective.
Where had her family gone?
Looking down, she could barely make out the dim outline of her fingers as they picked at each other. A nervous habit she’d had all her life. Her mother had often lectured her over it. Lilly had seen those lectures as loving, as a mother’s concern. But she remembered now the times that her mother had commented that perhaps it spoke of a deeper problem. That perhaps Lilly would feel better if she spoke to a doctor about her problem.
Lilly stared at her fingers. Perhaps it hadn’t been her problem that had needed to be addressed.
She remembered, although she hadn’t wanted to remember before, the horrible fights her parents had once had. Not that she had known what the fights were about at the time. All she remembered were the sounds of the raging arguments that had come from their suite.
They had argued over her often.
How many times had her mother tried to have her confined during those years that Lilly had believed she was safe and secure with her mother’s love, with her brother’s loyalty? That it was all simply threats.
She nibbled at her lower lip as she felt the pain gather in her soul before bleeding through her spirit. Where was that perfect world she had believed existed?
This was why she had chosen a far different life when she’d had the chance. But still, how desperately she had missed her family.
She had forgotten the monsters that
existed in that perfect world.
“Lilly.” A soft knock at the door heralded Travis’s arrival.
She wiped the tears quickly from her face as the door cracked open, allowing a slender ray of light to pierce the darkness.
“You have a very bad habit of disappearing when I don’t want you to, Travis,” she told him quietly as the door closed behind him, enclosing them once again in the darkness.
“Can I turn the light on?” he asked.
“I’d much prefer you don’t.”
She watched as he paused, his dark shape shifting slightly before he moved to the bed as though he needed no light to see by.
“Whoever is trying to kill me is someone associated with, or within, my family. Isn’t that right?”
He eased down on the side of the bed. “That’s what we suspect.”
She nodded slowly. “How would they have found me after the first attempt to kill me? A new face, new hair, new eye color, plastic surgery.” She rubbed her fingertips together. “No fingerprints. How did they find me?”
“We don’t know.” He sighed. “That’s one of the things I’ve been trying to find out. So far though, all signs point to the Harrington camp.”
She gave another slow nod. “The first attempt was during the party. Father was in a meeting when I came to the office. I remember that much. He’d been investigating the embezzlement from several companies Harringtons owned or had shares in. The money was going into an account proven to fund terrorism. I had been helping him for months, but those final months, he pushed me out of it. We argued over that.”
“He was trying to protect you?” he asked.
“I think perhaps he was,” she said as she looked down at her hands to realize she was picking at her fingers once again. “Do you think it was Uncle Desmond?”
Her father and uncle had been very close, but she remembered that Desmond hadn’t known that her father worked for MI5, and he had cautioned Lilly against letting anyone in the family know that she was as well.
Even her mother hadn’t known what Lilly was doing.