Chapter One Hundred
The next morning Ted and Stephen met with Herb and Reggie for a hasty conference. Ted began, turning bright red as he started. “You see, um, well, our girls, um, well, we need to get away, um…”
Stephen saved the moment. “Here it is. We’re young and in love, to two of the most precious gals in the world, and like Ted here is trying to say. We do need to get away, but in safe manner. We feel like we might have targets on our backs, so we need to find a way, see what I mean? I mean, we could just take off on our bikes like before, but…”
Reggie leaned forward on the table, stroking the stubble on his chin. Looking up, his eyes held a sparkle never before seen. “Ah, young love, ain’t it great? Takes me back to my ol’ sparkin’ days with Ruth, bless her. She’s been gone now for thirteen years next month.”
He put his hands over his face and shook his head, then grew serious as he looked at them. “Yes, of course you need to get away. I’ll go have a chat with a certain officer and see what I can whip up.” He brightened with a chuckle and grin. “Seems like we’re all witnesses to terrorist bombings and in need of protection.” He gave Ted and Stephen a slow wink.
Ted started to turn away but then snapped his fingers and turned back. “Almost forgot. Did Ralph get hold of you yesterday afternoon ’bout…”
Reggie waved him off. “Yes, he did, an’ it’s been taken care of, courtesy of some business acquaintances of mine, we’ll have stock on hand within two weeks, Lord willing. You go, get those ladies ready. Young love can’t be held waiting…, not in times like this…”
Rita burst into Carries trailer. “I just realized last night that all my clothes went up with the fire. I don’t have a nice dress to wear, not that I had much anyway. I’m more of a jeans and t-shirt sort of gal. I want to look, you know, special for Ted.”
Carrie looked in dismay at her closet. “Yeah, I know what you mean. I have a few things, just for wearing on camera, but nothing your size. I want to look special too, you know, get my hair done, and find something fresh, just for Stephen. And I have an expense account with a real high limit, see what I mean?”
Herb shared the guys idea with Diane during morning break. “How ’bout those kids? In all this trauma, love still finds a way.”
Diane thought a moment. “You know, if I were those girls, I’d want to go shopping first, get my hair done, see? Put on a fresh face, in spite of what’s happening around here.”
Herb stopped a minute as the hammering of a large demolition drill drowned out any conversation. “See what I mean, it’s like a large construction army descended on us. Everywhere I go, the new town is shaping up before my eyes. Thank goodness for Bill and Jean. They seem to understand how things progress more than I can imagine.”
Diane looked into his eyes and smiled brightly. “That’s our God again, putting the right people into play again and again. Speaking of that. Why don’t you go to Reggie and arrange for the girls to get away without the guys. I’ll bet there’s a way to do it.”
Reggie leaned into the officer and brought in his business tone. “Well, we’ll just have to find a way, won’t we? I don’t think it would look good for you to have your star witnesses drive away on their bikes, just ’cause you couldn’t be a little creative.”
He turned and looked out the command trailer. “No sir, I sure wouldn’t want to write up that report. Not when I have armored vehicles and a full staff, and a steak house only twenty minutes away, you know, that could be set up in advance for a pleasant evening away. You see where I’m going with this, huh?”
The young officer started to shake his head but caught the severe glare from Reggie and changed his mind. “You know, I think I have a new plan. Yeah, that’s it, a new plan. It’ll give my troops a great training exercise and anyway, we can’t legally keep you here.”
Both men looked up as Herb entered. Herb bubbled over with Diane’ idea. “Hey, Diane has a great idea to add. She thinks the girls would want to get away, you know, for shopping, get their hair done, see, before their double date. Rita doesn’t have a thing, lost it all that night. I think it’s a great idea an’ I’m willin’ to chip in some cash to help ’em. What do you say?”
Reggie wheeled around without a word, crossed his arms and glared at the officer.
In a flash the officer advanced his solution. “Mr. Thornton and I were discussing safe travel arrangements when you walked in. It seems like we need to expand our thinking in consideration of the girls needs.” He sweated profusely under the watchful glare of Reggie.
Reggie leaned toward the man to make his point. “One more thing. This won’t be, ‘a trainin’ exercise’, ‘cause the forces that are after us won’t be just practicin’, get it?”
The officer gulped and nodded. “Yes sir, copy that, loud and clear.”