St. Louis, Missouri
3175 Cinnamon Teal Way
"Pascal, stop dribbling the ball in the house," Rose said, her mom voice in full force. The sound of a basketball hitting linoleum stopped. "Get dressed. Dad's taking you to the mall."
"Aw, Mom," the boy began.
"Don't start with me. You need new clothes. You've grown again." Rose disheveled her son's hair. "Now go upstairs and get ready. And be quiet. Amber's trying to rest."
Amber shuffled into the kitchen. "I am?"
"You should be in bed." Rose kept using her mom voice.
"I can't sleep anymore, Rose. And my shoulder hurts too much."
"Sit down, then." Rose maneuvered the woman to a chair. "What do you want for breakfast?"
Rose shook her head. "Not now. Dr. Ellison left some pills for you to take, so no caffeine."
Amber held out a hand. "Rose, look at me. I need something to steady myself."
"No coffee for you until you have your shoulder looked at."
"Can I have a Coke?"
Rose leveled a gaze at Amber. "No. Nothing caffeinated."
"Honestly, Amber, you're worse than my kids." Rose walked over to the refridgerator. "I'm making omelettes. How are you feeling?"
"Decaffeinated." Amber saw Rose's glare and added, "Hungry."
Rose smiled. "I'll make an omelette for you, too. Were any of the other girls up?"
"Nah. I think they need the sleep."
"Okay." Rose started preparing the eggs.
Allison walked into the kitchen, stifling a yawn. "Morning, Rose. Amber, shouldn't you be in bed?"
"Can's sleep." Amber grinned at the younger brunette. "What about you?"
"Stiff. I forgot what it's like to sleep on the floor." Allison sat at the table opposite to Amber. "I need a shower, clean clothes, and the day off."
Rose slid a plate in front of Amber. "I can give you two of the three," she said to Allison. "I need you today."
"For what?" Allison asked. "I don't think I can drive like I did yesterday."
"Nothing like that. I just need you – not so fast Amber – to use your computer skills to find Sexton."
"That, I can do, if you have a computer here." Allison looked over at Amber. "What?"
Amber kept grinning. "Nothing." She went back to her omelette.
Rose set a plate in front of Allison. "Effect of the painkiller?" She shrugged.
"I hope so," Allison said.
Elena entered. "Started the party without me?"
"I thought you were being fashionably late," Rose joked. "Breakfast?"
"No thanks. I'll get a danish later."
"It might be a long day."
"I've survived on coffee before."
"I'm not allowed any," Amber grumbled.
Elena patted Amber's good shoulder. "There, there."
Rose started making another omelette, this time for herself. "Now that we're all up, I want to go over today's plan. Allison, I want you to find Sexton. Make sure he hasn't left the city. There's nothing we can do if he's driving, but we'll know if he's taken the train out. Elena, we'll be making a few calls from the office. What Allie can't find online, we might by making calls around town. We can get some supplies and one of our own cars. Questions?"
Amber raised her hand. "What about me? Shouldn't I be doing something?"
"Resting," Rose said. "Amber, you were shot yesterday."
"Duh, Rose. I was there."
Allison raised her hand, poised to cuff Amber. "Want me to smack her, Rose?"
"No, Allie. Amber, you need to rest, really. Sit on the couch and watch TV."
"Come on, Rose. I'll be bored. I could, um." Amber racked her brain for an idea. "What about manning the phones? You wouldn't want Allie here distracted if you called."
Allison shrugged. "It'll keep her happy, Rose."
"Okay, Amber, man the phones. We'll check in to coordinate with Allie."
Amber smiled. "Yay! And you get to spend more time with me, Allie."
Allison looked heavenward. "What have I done?"
St. Louis, Missouri
Rose put her feet on her desk as she waited for the call to be picked up. The hold music over the phone was a classical piece Rose was certain Elena could name. "Thank you for holding, my name is Alicia, how may I help you today?"
Picking up the receiver, Rose said, "Hi, I'm trying to track down my husband. He was running late and I had the kids and, well, you know how that can be, so, I was wondering if my husband made his train." Rose nodded. "Can't you take a look, please? He's checking on his mother, the poor woman, she's had such a hard time lately and now the broken leg and-- Oh, thank you." She gave Alicia Sexton's description. "Not at all? Thanks, you're such a dear." She hung up, then struck the train station off her list.
Elena entered the office. "No luck at the airport. You?"
"He didn't take Amtrak," Rose answered. "I don't think he's left town. Well, maybe gone over to East St. Louis, but that doesn't count."
"Have you called the casino?"
"I think they're more paranoid about security than we are. Might be a place to check, though."
Elena shook her head. "They might wonder about someone with a gunshot wound. He's probably not there."
Rose sat up, putting her feet back on the floor. "He has to be somewhere. Sexton couldn't have dropped off the face of the planet."
"That was different."
"Sexton doesn't have the same organization backing him that you had."
Elena sat on the edge of the table. "How do we know that?"
"I spoke with his boss and . . .." Rose grinned. "I should have remembered her."
"Donna Lund, Sexton's admin assistant. Elena, think about it. How much does Tyler know about what we do? Who books our travel arrangements, our hotels, sets up our meetings?"
Elena nodded as she processed the information. "Where's your phone book?"
"Wherever Tyler left it."
The Russian ran out of the room. She returned shortly after, white pages in her hands. "Guess whose this is." Elena flipped through the pages. "There, got an address."
Rose picked up the phone. "I'll let Allie know. She might be able to do more traces with this info."
St. Louis, Missouri
3175 Cinnamon Teal Way
"Okay, thanks, Rose," Amber said. She shifted the receiver from her left ear to her right. "I'll tell her." She hung up the phone. Being careful of her wounded shoulder, the green-haired girl rolled off the couch. Padding along with bare feet, she walked
into the dining room. "Allie, Rose called," Amber reported.
Allison's face was bathed in the glow from the computer monitor. Without looking up, the brunette asked, "And?"
"They haven't found anything, but they asked me to ask you to look for someone else. A Donna Lund."
Allison's typing slowed. "Donna Lund?" She opened a text file and typed the name there. "Got it. Anything else?"
"No, that's it. Want a coffee?"
"Amber," Allison warned.
"I'm just asking."
"No, Amber. No coffee. Go do something. Read a book or watch TV. You're supposed to be resting."
"Aw, Allie, I'm bored! There's nothing on."
Allison turned away from the computer and toward Amber. "What would you be doing normally this hour of a Sunday morning?"
"Then go back to bed."
"I'm not tired. Allie, I go to bed at 4am Sunday mornings."
"I don't need to know what you do on your own time, Amber." Allison turned back to her work. "Find something to do that doesn't involve a lot of movement of caffeine. Maybe there's a game or a jigsaw puzzle somewhere you can do."
Amber sighed loudly. "I want to help, though."
"You helped yesterday."
Amber flopped into a chair. "But that was yesterday."
"And I wouldn't be here today if it weren't for you yesterday." Allison stood up and walked behind Amber's chair. "You saved my life and could have lost yours. You deserve a vacation."
"But I want to be useful today, too."
Allison massaged Amber's uninjured shoulder. "You are useful, Amber. But even you have to rest at some time. Especially now." The brunette tousled Amber's green hair. "How about this: You go listen to the radio and keep an eye on the TV and pay attention to the news. Maybe something will come up there."
"It'll give you something to do and someone should be monitoring the news." Allison patted Amber's head. "It'll be useful."
Amber got up from the chair. "Okay." She turned and grinned at Allison.
"Don't start that again. Go."