Once breakfast was over, Cass became all business. "We're using my car," she informed Kip. "It's safer. Jamie, you're to hold your father's hand and stay right beside him when you leave the building. Neither of you come outside until I let you know it's safe."
Kip looked at his son and saw his own fear echoed in Jamie's eyes. He tried to smile, saying, "And the big adventure begins, right?"
Jamie nodded slowly, looking around as he did. "He's not here," he barely whispered.
Knowing who he meant, and not wanting Jamie any more afraid than he already was, Kip told him, "Your angel's probably doing just what Cass and Mack are, making certain it's safe to go to her car." He didn't believe that, but apparently Jamie did because he seemed a bit less fearful.
"Let's go down," Cass said, after checking the hallway. Kip noticed she had her hand on her gun. When they reached the elevator, she took it out of the holster, holding it by her side, away from Jamie's view. As soon as the elevator door opened on the ground floor, she stepped in front of Kip and Jamie, scanning the lobby before beckoning them to join her. At the front door, she pointed to the side, indicating they should wait for her signal.
Kip moved to put Jamie behind him while he watched Cass with bated breath. Her car was directly in front of the building, less than ten feet away, but to him it seemed like it took her forever to get to it. He knew that was because she was checking everything in her view, looking for any place Stewart might be hiding, either in another car, on a rooftop, wherever. She paused momentarily before carefully inching her way around her car to the driver's side. He heard the click that meant she'd automatically unlocked the doors. Then she beckoned for them to join her.
"Now," he said to Jamie, staring at the empty sidewalk ahead of them.
Four things happened almost simultaneously as they started toward the car. Someone yelled, "Down", a shot rang out, Kip was shoved to the ground, and Jamie seemed to vanish, reappearing almost instantly inside the vehicle. Kip heard more gunfire and prayed Cass was the shooter. Without thinking of his own safety, he was on his feet again, calling out Jamie's name, praying he hadn't been shot.
"Okay," he heard Jamie reply. The back door of the car was open and his son was crouching on the floor in front of the seat. Kip raced to him, diving in to cover him with his body. He was barely aware of the sounds of running feet from outside the car.
"You got him," Mack shouted.
Cass replied, almost boastfully, "Of course I did." She opened the back door on her side to tell Kip it was over.
* * * *
"That was a bit close," Dave muttered, as he watched several police officers descend on the scene.
"I suspect Cass had to wait until Stewart showed himself before she could do anything," Hal replied. "It wouldn't have looked good if she took out a passing stranger. She played it well, though."
"Almost too well. We barely got them out of danger. If we hadn't been there…"
Hal patted him on the shoulder. "But we were, which is what counts."