In the elevator to the parking garage the two young people rode in silence, staring straight ahead. Each purposefully ignored the other. Kathy had put the photographs out of her mind but the pain and disappointment still burned. How could he have? Why would he? If she had just… She looked over at John.
He was still looking straight ahead. “I said if you’re going to come with me you’ll have to do as I say.” His tone bordered on pedantic. “I have a deadline. That means I don’t have any time to waste.”
Kathy bit back the answer that came to mind. She knew what a deadline was. She had her own right now. It would have been nice for him to at least look at her when he spoke. But, just like Greg he didn’t care about her. He didn’t think she was worth anything. And he wouldn’t be there for her. Just like Greg.
“And I’ve got to make two stops before we head south.” His tone drifted back toward normal but he still didn‘t look at her. “So you can come along or wait here. I can pick you up on the way back to the Airport.”
“I’ll come along.” Now he was trying to leave her behind. She wondered if Greg had really wanted her to come to Montreal with him. Maybe he was hoping she wouldn’t. They’d been engaged for six months and dating a year before that. And all that time he’d been pushing her for more. More than she wanted to give… well, at the moment, anyway. What had been going on during that time?
The doors opened and they entered the parking garage. It was dark and Kathy’s instincts brought her back to reality. She scanned the area around them as they approached the small silver Kia. It was a nice car, about four years old and in great shape. John Parker opened the trunk and dropped his bag inside. She set hers in across from his.
“You pack light.”
Kathy ignored the comment as he closed the trunk and they walked to the front. So he thought women always brought half the house, did he? What a pig. Just like Greg. She wondered how long he’d been … busy on the side. He was a doctor, he went to medical conferences. Maybe this had been a long term thing or just tonight. Did it really even matter?
As she waited for John to unlock the driver’s door Kathy wished she could just go home. This guy wasn’t going to include her. He was being rude. To him she was just a useless burden. She took a deep breath. Okay, Kathy, just calm down. You’ve got to do this, people are counting on you.
By now he had unlocked the passenger’s door and she got in. Five minutes later they were on I-285 heading out of Charlotte. Although John was driving aggressively Kathy didn’t worry. She figured he’d bought the car new. He’d taken good care of it and wasn’t about to risk a wreck.
“I’ve got to stop in Brevard.” Now his tone was just matter of fact. “It’s my sister’s birthday and I am going to be there.” Hmm a bit of edge there. “Then I have to drive to Jonesborough, over in Tennessee.” Yeah, Kathy knew where Jonesborough was. “Since you’re with me we’ll take 81 to Knoxville and catch a direct flight to Mexico. It should take about five hours.”
Hmm, he had a deadline but was going two hours out of his way to attend his sister’s birthday party. A few cynical comments popped into Kathy’s head, but she pushed them aside. This was a side of him she hadn’t seen before. He was going to be there to show his sister he loved her. Obviously he was committed to his family.
Kathy took a deep breath. She needed a break. She didn’t need to be on her way into the field right now. Her judgment was clouded. In her line of work this could get you killed. She had to calm her self. To find her center.
She closed her eyes and began meditating. Nothing mystical, just something to slow her racing pulse and quiet her mind. To focus herself. To let her move on from where the phone calls had left her. She would deal with that later. Right now it was time to work.
John Parker felt the awkward silence as they passed though Gastonia. He knew he’d let the anger and resentment toward Oscar Byrd affect the way he talked to Andrea. It was embarrassing. He was better than this. After fifteen years his boss shouldn’t be able to bring out these feelings out in him. He wondered what he could say or do to make the situation better.
After a few more minutes of silence John stole a glance at his passenger. She was asleep. Now that was impressive. He drove safely, but was always pushing ahead. He never dropped below the speed limit. If he was riding with himself for the first time he wouldn’t be napping. Amazing.
The journalist took a second glance then focused on traffic. It was hard to see in this light but Andrea Litz wore no jewelry and maybe only a little makeup. But his mysterious guest was cute. Okay, more than cute, she was really attractive. The jacket, jeans, and Henley shirt were loose. He suspected she had chosen them to conceal whatever her body looked like. But to him they were more appealing that shorts and a bare midriff would have been. John decided to abandon this train of thought before it took him places he had no business going.
He had been rude and now she was asleep. That had been why she was so short with him. She was tired. John Parker was deeply chagrined.
His third glance was at on her face. So this was his intern. An intern he had to get in and out of Mexico. Interesting. He wondered if Andrea was really her name and why she had to go to Mexico.
She had a very attractive face. Her hair was hard to read, but he thought the shoulder length brown hair under the “boonie” hat had just been shampooed. Pulling his brain back to where it should be John Parker wondered who she really was. Oh well, he always enjoyed having a pretty face around, even if they were cantankerous.
He shifted in his seat and thought about the assignment. There were two hours of hard driving between him and Brevard. If Andrea was awake he would’ve played the radio. Oh well, there were other ways to stay awake.