Did I mention sitting and dozing?
But here's a nice long bit. Probably will be a while between posts for the next month or so.
I'm also doing some research for a novel I've writen a good chunck of and am now rewriting. Since I don't know much about post civil war West Virginia, I've been haunting wikipedia to learn about ye olde coal production and train lines. I know, exciting right? But don't worry: there will be zombies!
Word count: 1,571 - right on target! :)
Colton took her hand as they walked up the steps to the Office of the Madrid Police. She was shaking, despite her brave face. And her fingers were cold.
“Don’t worry,” he told her quietly. “It will be over quick.”
She nodded. Her mother held her other hand, her father bringing up the rear. Selene had driven up late last night to be present as well.
A man was waiting to meet them, eying their little group with distrust.
“This way,” he said, Colton translating for the Americans.
Renee was shaking now, trembling as they waited for an elevator. Colton leaned down to her.
“What’s wrong?” he asked, shocked by her fear.
“What if they don’t let me go?” she whispered back, her eyes round and frightened.
Colton gripped her hand. “They will.”
“I won’t let them.”
She took a deep breath, controlling herself. She nodded and squeezed his hand back. “Thank you, Colton.”
He managed a smile and her tight expression eased.
It was a little interrogation room, just like in the movies.
Renee sat gingerly alone at the table, Colton and her family waiting outside.
Moreno came in, scowling and dropped a heavy file on the table.
Colton watched with mild amusement as Renee’s eyes narrowed. She straightened, ready to face down this man; no longer afraid, just angry.
“Mrs. Renee Savage.”
“Yes.” She said clearly, folding her arms across her chest.
Moreno sat and opened the file. She glared at the top of his head as he read a piece of paper.
“You are an American citizen.”
“You were in Madrid on holiday?”
“Why did you marry Mr. Colton Savage?”
“He asked me to.”
Moreno gave her a flat stare. “Any other reason?”
She shook her head. Colton had to give her credit, she wasn’t lying. She wasn’t technically under arrest, but she wasn’t going to trap herself in her answers either.
“Tell me what happened.”
She sighed and recited her narrative. Moreno made a few notes, but didn’t ask anything else.
“Do you recognize this man?” He slid a glossy color photo across the table. Renee peered at it.
Renee made a face. “That’s the man I tackled.”
“Yes. And this man?”
She examined the photo. “Isn’t this one of the terrorists arrested for that bombing London last year?”
Moreno nodded. “He was a cell leader. We think he was controlling these two.” He tapped the suicide bombers’ faces. “Any information you have will be useful.”
Renee spread her hands. “Really, I wish I knew more. But I literally just looked up and saw what looked like a bomb on his chest. I didn’t know who he was or why he was there. I didn’t think.”
Moreno nodded slowly. “Mrs. Savage, we are removing the house arrest order. You are no longer under suspicion.”
Renee sighed and pressed her hands to her face. “Thank you.”
“But, I think it would be best if you stayed in Spain, under your husband’s protection.”
Renee peered at him, startled. “Why?”
Moreno sighed as well, looking not pleased with his task. “The terrorist group these men belonged to has issued a statement swearing to kill you.”
To Colton’s surprise, Renee only nodded after a moment of tense silence.
“I suspected that might happen.” She said slowly.
“They aren’t any particular religion or faith,” Moreno continued. “Anti-western, anti-capitalist, anti-military criminals.”
“Basically anything not them and rich,” Renee added dryly. Moreno actually cracked a smile.
“They’re based all over, malcontents and the like.”
“I’m surprised that some felt strongly enough to suicide,” Renee said. “That kind of criminal usually isn’t that committed.”
Moreno nodded. “I must admit, Mrs. Savage, I was surprised you could take that man down. It took us a week to get all the drugs out of him, methamphetamine, cocaine, steroids. It took four officers just to get him in his cell.”
Renee blushed. “Fear is a powerful motivator,” she said with a smile.
Moreno chuckled. “We’ve just a few more questions.”
Colton had to sit down. He didn’t listen as they talked, Moreno deep rumble mixing with Renee’s alto.
Jake gripped his shoulder. “I knew it would work out.” He said.
Colton nodded. She was free again.
“But what about the death threats?” her mother asked.
Colton ran his hands through his hair. “She’ll have to stay here. Or we can go to one of my houses somewhere else. We’ll keep a low profile.”
Her mother nodded. “We’ve been offered witness protection back home. I am glad we weren’t home when it happened. Our neighbors said the media camped out on our lawn for a week, trying to get us to answer the door. Stacey said she couldn’t leave the house, there were so many reporters trying to talk to them. The police had to come and set up a road block.”
Colton sneered, glad Renee had been spared that sort of circus. He had whisked her away before anyone knew where she was going or who she really was. He looked up as Moreno showed Renee out of the little room. She hugged her parents and Selene, who had stayed silent until now, her face white.
Colton stood, feeling awkward, but determined as well. He crossed to his wife and pulled her close.
She stood stiff for a moment, surprised, then leaned into him, her face in his neck. He felt her sigh.
“See, I knew it would be alright.” He said softly.
She shook her head, her hair tickling his face.
“Come on. Let’s go home.” He took her hand and led her out.
She stared out the window the entire ride home. Her parents gave her some final kisses and hugs, then they left for their hotel.
“We can stay as long as you want us.” Jake told him. “The school year starts in September, so we have a month before we need to be back.”
Colton nodded. “As long as you like.”
Jake shook his hand, his grip strong. “Thank you, Colton.”
Colton smiled. “Anything for Renee.”
He found her curled up on her bed.
“You okay?” he asked, sitting next to her.
She nodded, though she wouldn’t uncover her face. Colton laid down carefully, wrapping an arm around her. She was shivering, crying.
“Don’t worry,” he said. “I’ll protect you.”
He was not pleased to wake up with Renee in his arms. Again. It was making things complicated.
He shifted her away from him.
“Colton?” she asked.
“Who else would it be?”
She smiled, her eyes half-closed. “What time is it?”
He checked his watch. “Four-thirty.”
Colton was surprised too. He wasn’t one to nap and he’d spent most of the past two days asleep.
She yawned, stretching. “The stress, I think.” She said slowly, rubbing her hair. It only made it worse, standing up in every direction.
“Yeah,” Colton agreed. It was odd, thinking she was free to go where she liked now. “You want to go out and celebrate?”
She peered at him in the dim light filtering through the curtains. “How?”
“I don’t know. See a movie. Get something to eat.”
She snorted. “You? Eating out? Like at a restaurant?”
He scowled at her. “Its been known to happen.”
“Why are you so everliving obsessed with healthy food anyway?” She asked, sitting up.
He shrugged. “Why eat junk?”
“Because it tastes good.” Renee answered promptly. “But, that does sound fun. A movie, not so much. My Spanish is down right horrible.”
“Where do you want to go?”
She got a mischievous look on her face. “Let’s go somewhere nice.”
“Nice?” Colton repeated dumbly.
“Like, swanky cocktail dress and tie, nice.”
“Uh, okay. Do I have to wear a cocktail dress or just you?”
She gaped at him and threw back her head and laughed. “Don’t tempt me,” she warned. “You never know what I’ll dare you to do.”
He grinned at her. “We’d better get going. You want to call your parents?”
She nodded, rummaging around on the floor for her phone. “Would you mind setting us up with nice clothes? I’m sure my mom brought just her backpacking…” Her voice died away as she looked at her phone screen. Her eyebrows went flat over her nose, angry.
“What?” Colton asked.
She turned it to face him. Stephen’s name scrolled down the list of recent calls.
Colton swore harshly.
“Give that here.” He said, tugging it from her grip. He dialed Alice.
“Yes, Mrs. Savage?”
“You want to go to dinner tonight?”
“Mrs. Savage, you’re a married woman!”
Renee heard and chuckled. Colton made a face at her.
“Seriously, Alice. I need you to go out a buy a phone. Add it to my plan.”
“For Renee?” Alice guessed.
“Yes. I’ll call you with the when and where.”
Alice sighed. “You know, I might actually have plans tonight, plans that don’t involve you or work.”
“No, you don’t.” Colton countered. “See you in a bit.”
Alice grumbled and hung up.
“Call your folks. We’ll go out and buy you something nice, then go eat.” Colton didn’t like Renee’s smile. “What?” he demanded.
She leaned in suddenly and kissed him. Before he could even gasp, she drew back.
“Thank you, Colton.” She said, smiling as nicely now as she had evilly a moment ago. “You are a wonderful man.”
She jumpeddisappeared into the bathroom. Colton fled back to his room.