And so we were off. I was driving, with Janie in the passenger seat. Louis was back at the hotel, serving as our mission control. Janie had convinced me that driving her car was the safest way to get there and I agreed. The fans knew my car, and we really didn't have time for an encounter.
"Do you have the bracelet?" Janie said, breaking the silence that had been constant for the past half an hour. I suppose we were both just thinking.
I nodded and patted my pocket. Then she looked out the window, once again submerging us back into silence. I stared at the open road in front of us and tried to think of something to say. Finally, I decided on something I had been wanting to know for a while.
"What's Hallie's full name?" I asked her. It sounded cheesy, but I really did want to know. It just seemed like an important detail.
At first Janie just stared at me. Then she responded with, "Her full name is Halina Elizabeth Thomas." She paused. "It's such a beautiful name. I've always been jealous." She said quietly.
I nodded. It was a beautiful name. So it made sense for a beautiful girl like her. Then another though pricked my brain. "What's your birth name, Janie?"
She laughed before responding with, "Liliana Jane Howards."
"Liliana? Then why do you go with Janie?" I asked, puzzled. Liliana was a pretty name too.
"I've never felt like a Lily. So I rearranged my first name and my middle name. Jane always seemed to suit me better." She responded absentmindedly.
I nodded. "Either way, your name is beautiful too."
She blushed and looked away. "Thank you," she told the window.
I smiled and continued to drive. I now understood why Janie and Hallie were best friends.
Finally we arrived at the sanctuary. Janie got out of the car first and went to the trunk to get our communication sets. Louis had set us up with a small cordless earpiece and a microphone that was hidden under our shirts. I didn't want to ask where Louis got all of these things.
"Here," Janie said handing me a pocket gun. It was just small enough to fit into the inside pocket of my jacket and still be concealed. "In case it gets rough."
I nodded glumly. I really hoped it didn't. Knowing how dangerous this was, we looked into each others eyes. A tear slipped down Janie's cheek.
"You really love her." She said, smiling through tears.
"You do too," I responded sincerely.
"Yes, but I'm just so happy that she has someone who cares about her like you do. I don't think she's ever had a man in her life that has been here for her, and if anyone is going to be in that role, I'm so thankful it's you." She smiled and hugged me. I hugged her back, finally realizing why she was saying all of this. She thought we wouldn't make it back safe. She thought this might be goodbye.
"Hey, hey." I said, wiping her tears. "We're gonna make it out fine. With Hallie."
She nodded slowly, still unconvinced. But it was time. We needed to make our move now.
"Louis?" I asked, testing the microphone. The reply was a sniffle.
"You guys are making me tear up!" He said sadly. Janie was hearing the same thing I was, so we exchanged a glance.
"Ready?" I said shakily. I was starting to get worried now.
"Mission stop the creepy guy holding Hallie hostage and make it out alive is under way." He replied.
I nodded to Janie and we walked together into the visitor's center, not knowing what to expect.
Harry and I walked into the visitor's center. I was worried, but I knew if this is where I died, I would die with a purpose. Harry obviously knew I was worried about this, and he kept reminding me that we would be okay. But how did he know?
Harry pushed on the door, but it didn't budge. Obviously, if this man was a skilled kidnapper, locking the entrance to the sanctuary would be the first thing he would do.
"Anyone know how to pick a lock?" Harry asked hopefully.
I nodded. "My dad taught me when I was younger." Harry looked at me skeptically. "Sometimes I would get locked out of the house!" I said defensively.
I pulled a bobby pin out of my bun and carefully placed it into the lock. I twisted and turned in every direction until the lock popped. Harry looked at me, impressed, and pushed open the door.
Inside, the receptionist sat tied in her chair, duct tape covering her mouth. Her eyes were fearful.
"Shh," Harry soothed, "We won't hurt you." He gestured for me to untie her hands from behind her as he slowly removed the tape.
I untied her hands as she began to speak. "A man, and a girl!" She gasped, looking at us with wild eyes, "He hit her and told her to tie me up! She cried all the while she was doing it and he duct taped my mouth. Then he slapped her across the face and kicked her out the door." I looked at Harry as I untied her feet. He was listening to the woman speak, and all the while his eyes got more wet with tears. He nodded every once and a while.
Louis' voice appeared in my ear. "Get the lady to set me up with the security cameras. Just tell her to accept my security breach request!" Louis hissed.
Harry heard him too and spoke to the woman with kind words. "Ma'am, I hate to bother you with all you've been through today, but my friend and I are here to save that girl. Our other friend, back at home, needs access to your security footage. He sent you a request on your computer. If you just accept it, we will be on our way." Harry's eyes were pleading.
"How do I know I can trust you?" The woman asked, her voice shaky.
"I just untied you, didn't I?" I reminded her.
The woman nodded. "You both do look genuine. I will help you. But after I accept this, I'm leaving. I don't want to stay here and put myself in danger any longer." She said, logging onto her computer and doing the necessary things to put Louis through.
Harry nodded sympathetically. "Your help is appreciated."
Louis' voice came again. "I'm in."
"Thank you," Harry said to the woman. "We can handle it from here."
"I hope so," she said, grabbing her handbag and running out the door. Harry locked it behind her.
"Don't want any visitors at this hour." He laughed shakily. "The tours are closed."
"Where do we need to go, Louis?" I asked into the microphone.
"Looks like... just out the door to your left." He responded.
Harry and I both glanced nervously at the door. "Well, what are we waiting for?" Harry said, his hand on the knob.
I ran behind him as he pulled the door open, revealing what was behind.
NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR:
I hate to leave you guys at this suspenseful part, but I'm falling asleep. I just wanted to say, that last night, I went to bed with 61 views and 6 favorites. I woke up with 78 views and 30 something favorites. I cannot tell you all how ecstatic I was this morning. I seriously skipped around my house all morning. I would say thank you, but my thanks don't fit in words. Well, I guess all I have left to say is: KEEP READING! (: