“Do I look okay? I even took my shower last so I wouldn’t smell like Franklin.”
Carlos grinned and replied, “You look great. It always amazes me that you have such a fresh face and ready smile.”
“Carlos, I know I should probably add some lipstick or mascara, like EZ showed me, but I just don’t like it.”
Carlos laughed. “It is not a requirement and, frankly, you don’t need it.
“The driver should be here shortly. Last night you said you wanted to go to the car by yourself. Is that still the case? I don’t want to get into trouble for not escorting a young lady, such as yourself, to the car.”
Su Lin frowned and then brightened as she suggested, “I really would like to try to do it myself. If the driver gets out of the car to open the door then I think that would be okay, don’t you?”
Carlos pondered that and answered, “Okay, but if you change your mind, I’ll be right here.”
Su Lin pointed out the window as the black car approached. “Wow! That is a huge limousine. I must be terribly important for this visiting doctor to meet.”
She stood up as the car came to a stop, and the driver, with a standard cap and dark glasses, emerged. He seemed to be a large man and certainly looked like he could take care of himself and her. Carlos rose and gave her a hug.
“Go ahead now. I’ll be here when you return. You also have the cell phone I gave you last night, right?”
Su Lin grinned and replied, “I do. Thanks, Carlos.”
Carlos remained where he could watch, as Su Lin rushed out the door, closed it firmly behind her, and then proceeded down the long walkway toward the car. Su Lin stopped a bit short of the car door. Carlos smiled, knowing she was doing as instructed before she got into the car. The driver gave a slight bow and replied to her questions. Something in the driver’s mannerisms looked familiar to Carlos, so he moved a bit closer to the window to see if he could reconcile his growing concern.
The driver opened the door and indicated that Su Lin should take her place. Su Lin seemed rooted to the ground as she made a comment back to the driver. He replied and then reached for Su Lin’s arm, almost like an escort move. Su Lin pulled back, and Carlos headed for the door. Just as Carlos threw open the door, the driver was forcibly moving Su Lin toward the rear seat. The door had no inside handle that Carlos could see, and dread welled up inside him as he sprinted toward her almost in slow motion.
Su Lin yanked herself free and started screaming at the top of her lungs and flinging her hands and feet in random directions, as the driver tried to gather her up. The driver spotted Carlos and gave up his efforts. Su Lin melted into a puddle on the ground and kept screaming over and over. The driver jumped into the car, and Carlos made a note of the license plate even as he bent to encircle Su Lin in his arms.
As he patted her and held her, almost rocking her on the ground, she cried and kept muttering, “Bacon, no bacon, no, no, no bacon.” She sobbed.
Carlos picked her up and carried her back into the house. He held her for a long time until she settled down. Once she quieted, she refused to utter even a single word while torrents of tears continued to streak down her face. Su Lin finally stopped crying and fell asleep. Carlos disengaged her from him and laid her on the couch, covering her with a lightweight blanket. He knew something was very wrong, really didn’t want to worry Andy, but he needed help. He placed a call to Jacob, but it immediately went to voice mail, so he did the next best thing and placed a call to Quip.
Quip picked up the call on the second ring and said, “Carlos, long time no ring. What’s up?”
Carlos seriously replied, “Quip, I tried to reach Jacob, but he’s not answering. Someone just tried to take Su Lin for some additional tests to a visiting doctor at the center in Atlanta. She wanted to show she was responsible, so she walked to the car herself.” Carlos looked to make certain Su Lin was still asleep. He ran his fingers through his hair then paced back and forth as he continued, “She was to ask the name of the center, the doctor she was to see, the driver’s name, and how long the drive would take, before getting into the car.”
Quip commented, “Okay, so Su Lin is making progress which we are all fairly aware of. Andy has been doing a great job in setting up her teaching, and EZ has been keeping me informed as to her progress. Didn’t Andy go to some customer site for a meeting or something?”
Carlos responded, “Yes, Andy is in California. I was to watch Su Lin. He told me to take care of her and to make certain she was okay. He told me like ten times that he trusted me.”
Quip was now on full alert as he asked, “Carlos, I heard you say someone tried to take her. Did they take her, because we need to take action now and not debate?”
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