Julie was totally shell-shocked. Her entire life had stopped as she’d gone from an incredible high to desperation. She stared at the phone for what seemed like hours yet could have been only minutes, waiting for the screen to light back up, and Juan to laugh and add some flip comment about yanking her chain. But nothing happened. Tears she had when she’d pleaded with him had vanished. She had no capacity to cry. No capacity to feel anything but numb. She protectively placed her hand over her stomach and closed her eyes, waiting for something she couldn’t classify.
Here she was alone in Luxembourg, while Otto and Haddy were traveling to Rome and Paris on a well-deserved sabbatical. She loved her parents and her sister. She enjoyed working in the family business as a cyber-assassin nicknamed JAC. She wondered, as she had earlier in the day before the nightmare, what her family would think. Quip would have some comment, that’s for sure. Her heart ached but still no tears.
She had planned to meet up with Lara and Juan at their next shoot and show off some new designs. She had come up with a new idea for men’s wear she’d hoped Lara might add into the Destiny Fashions line. She had connected with Lara on an assignment for the family business. Ever since then, she had been close with Lara as well as found an alternative outlet for her creativity. It matched so well to her sunny disposition and trademark mega-watt smile. Now this. Julie felt she’d never truly smile again until she located Juan.
Suddenly the screen on her cell lit up just before the caller name and customer ring tone kicked in, letting her know it was her sister. Julie thought to ignore it, but suddenly she wanted to hear her sister’s voice.
She pressed accept on the call and, mustering as much nonchalance as possible, answered, “Hi, Petra. How are you?”
Not one to pull a punch, Petra responded, “Hey, Julie, I am sort of worried about you. We just ended an unexpected call from Carlos a little bit ago. How are you doing? I understand you were on the call when communications with Juan ended.”
“I am sure he just entered a bad cell zone. Actually, I thought perhaps it was him calling back when I answered you.”
“Okay, we’ll go with that, my sister, for the time being. We have started to review the information that Carlos sent as well as what we began retrieving. Any thoughts or ideas that we should keep in mind?”
“I don’t know. It was so weird. We talked about the various steps to take, which of course he’d already done.
“There was no explosion or crashing sounds, just silence. Like he’d hit a bad cell zone. No static though. It was almost eerie, that pointed silence.”
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