Page 1 of Warzone (The End 3)

Next →
“Better to fight for something than live for nothing.”

General George S. Patton

Prologue

20th December 2012,

7:30 pm.

Skyline Hotel. Los Angeles, California. USA.

Suzanne picked up the papers scattered all over the table in the conference room as the other men who had been seated got up and walked out of the room. The sound of murmurs filled the air. The men weren’t satisfied with the outcome of the meeting. Their skeletons were being discovered. After all the papers were neatly organized in a file, she picked up her recorder from the round table and pressed the stop button. She looked up at the blond man sitting next to her on the table. He was forty-nine, but he seemed older than that with his round face and bushy blond beard. His broad nose spread out further when he smiled at her. Suzanne barfed in her head. She returned his smile physically, though.

“I guess that wraps things up for us,” he said, still smiling at her. He was the President Pre-Tempore of the U.S. Senate and the representative of California. She was his assistant. He had returned to Los Angeles to review the books for his business holdings. Apart from the two of them, three hefty men were in suits in the room—his bodyguards. Suzanne sighed as she drank water from her glass.

“Let me just say I’ve been a part of more honest audits,” she said, and they both laughed. The Honorable, Mr. Gregg Joseph, was a very nice man on the outside. He never bothered her and always desired the wellbeing of his staff. But he had the same problem most men of his age and in his position had: promiscuity, though he did it secretly so as not to dent his flawless reputation. Suzanne had been referred to work for him by a senator after the service tenure of the former Chief of staff had ended. Her heart ached. She regretted what she was about to do to him.

“What do you say we head out of here and go to our rooms? I’m tired,” he said.

“But sir, you haven’t still decided on the agenda for tomorrow’s meeting. And, based on the outcome of today, you need to do so before the meeting tomorrow by eight a.m. if you don’t want to remain in Los Angeles longer than planned. You’ve worked so hard, sir. I know you’re tired, but we can’t let that ruin all your hard work.”

He tilted his head at her.

“First, you did most of the work. All I did was to tell you what to do. Secondly,” he groaned loudly. “Why does my assistant have to be so disciplined? I was hoping you’d be tired enough to support me.”

Suzanne chuckled. “Well, discipline is what I’m paid for.”

Gregg’s phone buzzed. It was a call from his wife. Groaning silently, he got up before excusing himself and leaving the room to attend to the call. Suzanne took a deep breath. That was her cue. She had exactly two minutes before he returned to the room. She looked at the bodyguards. They looked casually in her direction. If she made any move, they would spot her. She picked up her phone and typed.

Call me. Hurry. Now’s our chance!

She waited for another five seconds before her phone rang again. The men looked at her, startled at the sudden call. She chuckled.

“My bad. I’m lucky this didn’t happen during the meeting,” she said to herself as she picked the call and greeted the person at the other end. The moment the men’s gaze turned from her, she held the phone between her left ear and shoulders. She moved slowly to avoid drawing the men's attention to herself. Pulling the crown out of her wristwatch, she poured out white powder from the tiny hole created into her cup of water. She replaced the crown and shook the glass until all the powder disappeared. She then swapped it with Gregg's glass after pouring some water from his glass into her own so that they both looked as they had been just before he excused himself. All the time, she chattered excitedly into the phone. Thirty seconds later, Gregg walked back into the room. She looked up at him with an excited look on her face.

Right on time, sir.

She laughed. “Hey, I’ll call you back once I get to my room. I’ve got to get back to work. My boss is here. And, next time, don’t call me when you know I’m working. You almost destroyed me today,” she said before hanging up. Gregg had just regained his seat beside her. She looked at him with a guilty look on her face.

“I’m sorry, sir. I know I shouldn’t be taking calls on the job.”

“Well, yes. Neither should I. But we’ve got to do what we’ve got to do, right?”

She chuckled.

"By the way, was that a guy's voice I heard on the other end?" Gregg asked, and Suzanne blushed. Gregg lit up. "Why! Am I happy you've gotten yourself a man? All this while I’ve been wondering how to set you up and liberate you from loneliness. You’re not getting any younger, you know?”

Suzanne burst into laughter. “Okay, sir,” she said as she managed to catch her breath. “Let’s get back to it. I’m sure you want to be getting home soon.”

Gregg nodded, and they investigated her tablet together. Twenty minutes later, they were done. Suzanne sighed and took a long drink from her glass. She sighed again after setting it down.

“Am I glad this is over!” she said.

Gregg chuckled as he also drank from his glass.

Suzanne took up her phone again and typed into it. “Can I go now, sir?” she asked, blushing again.

“I see you’re very eager to talk to your mystery man, right?” Gregg said as he got up. “Okay, let’s get going. You’ll let me walk you to your room, right?”

Suzanne smiled. That question was a weird one for even the kind-hearted Gregg.


Next →