If Anything Ever Happened to You - Part 2
Disclaimers are all in Part 1.
Jed stepped out of the shower and dried himself off. He went into the bedroom to get dressed and waited for Charlie to bring him notes for his schedule for the day. Thirty minutes later, Jed called down to Charlie’s desk. When he didn’t get an answer, he called his secretary.
"Good morning, Oval Office," came the crisp, efficient voice of Jed’s longtime secretary. It never ceased to amaze him how she could be so chipper at 7:00 a.m.
"Good morning, Mrs. Landingham," he responded gruffly.
"Good morning, Mr. President. Did you have a good night?"
"Any night I can sleep through without the world going to hell in a handbasket is a good night Mrs. Landingham."
"That’s good, sir."
"Have you seen Charlie this morning?"
"No sir, I haven’t."
"Oh." Jed thought for a moment. "Call Zoey for me. No. On second thought, call Gina Toscano’s room."
"Yes sir." She put him on hold and a minute later, he heard the phone on the other end ringing.
"Hello?" the woman answered sleepily.
"Good morning, Mr. President," Gina answered. She stifled a yawn and sat up quickly, forcing herself to become completely alert.
"Did I wake you?"
"No sir," she lied. "I just haven’t had my morning coffee."
He didn’t believe her, but he let it slide. He got right to the point. "Gina, did Charlie spend the night in Zoey’s room?"
"I beg your pardon, sir?"
"Gina, I know we’ve had this conversation about protecting Gina’s privacy, but I need an answer to my question."
‘Something’s wrong,’ Gina thought quickly. "No sir," she said aloud. "Charlie left around ten last night. He mentioned going home to get some sleep because he had an early morning."
"Hmmm." Jed thought about that. He then voice another thought. "Gina, I need you to check with the night relief detail. Find out if Zoey left her room at all during the night or if Charlie came back. Then check Zoey’s room to see if he’s there." His tone indicated that he was in no mood to discuss this breach of his daughter’s privacy or the violation to the silent code of agent/protectee confidentiality.
"Yes sir," she answered. She put him on hold and quickly slipped on a pair of jeans and went to the door. Speaking to the agent in the hallway, she got the answer she expected. Then she went to Zoey’s room.
Zoey’s first class didn’t start until the afternoon, so Zoey was sleeping in. Gina didn’t want to disturb the girl, so when she opened the door, she made a quick survey of the room. She closed the door quietly and ran to the phone in her own room.
"Mr. President? Zoey’s alone in her room. I’ve also confirmed with the night detail. Charlie definitely left the campus shortly after ten. Zoey did go hang out with some friends down the hall and returned to her room around midnight."
Jed swore softly, increasing the level of alarm in Gina’s mind. When he next spoke, Gina sensed he was forcing himself to remain calm. "Gina, is she awake?"
"No sir. Her first class isn’t til this afternoon."
"All right. Don’t wake her. Gina, I’m going to tell you something. I need to know that you will not say anything to Zoey about this until I have more information."
"Of course, sir."
"Charlie didn’t show up for work this morning. I’m going to check with Leo and Josh shortly and I’m going to send someone to his apartment to see if he’s there. When Zoey gets up, ask her if she’s heard from Charlie. Don’t make it into a big deal. If she wants to know why you’re asking, lie to her. Tell her that one of the other agents found his wallet or something, I don’t care. Just don’t let on that anything’s wrong."
"He’s probably running late. Or maybe he’s sick," Jed said to himself, rather than to the woman on the other line.
"Sir," Gina queried, "if anything has happened…"
"I’ll send for Zoey."
"Yes sir." He ended the connection. Gina sank down on the bed. ‘This is not good,’ she thought to herself. ‘If something has happened to Charlie…’ she didn’t complete the thought as she cast a glance at the closed door of her sleeping charge. Gina didn’t know what was going to happen. She just knew she had to be prepared. She quickly went to the shower. She was definitely going to need that cup of coffee.