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(Read by Author Esther Mitchell)

"Rick, it's me."


He stopped in his tracks at the concern in her voice. "Jean. Is everything okay?"


"Everything's fine. Well, personally, anyway. The girls are with Carey." She paused for a moment, and the silence was palpable, before she muttered, "Rick, listen, I need to meet with you. It's important."


"You want me to come to the paper?"


"God, no. It's not secure, here." She stopped again, and was silent so long he nearly called her name, to make sure she was still there. As he opened his mouth, she spoke. "Can you meet me at Saint Pat's? In about an hour?"


Rick's gut roiled at the request. If Jean was asking to meet at the cathedral, it meant she thought that was the only place they wouldn't be overheard. And if she was worried about being overheard... "Jean, do you need to come here? Are you and the girls safe?"


A sigh of fond exasperation answered him. "We're fine, Rick. It's not dangerous. We just need to discuss something I don't want getting out. Not yet."


"All right. Saint Pat's it is. One hour."


"Thanks, Rick. I gotta go." Before he could respond, the line went dead, and he stood there, frowning at his phone. What had Jean stumbled into, that she was calling him for this kind of meeting? Last time she sought him out over a project she was working on, she ended up chained to a wall on Pier 40.


Whatever this was about, Rick had the sinking feeling it wouldn't be good.

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