Jaynes stared at the black and white photos for the millionth time. Each one playing out a vivid story that plagued his dreams every night. While Terrah recovered from her injuries, he sought out any information about the assassination attempt. Every possible lead turned into a dead end. He had people in every part of the world and he couldn’t trace the hit ordered on him and his wife.
He understood why Terrah didn’t want to see the photos. He never intended on showing her them. This was his personal mission. If he couldn’t protect Terrah, then everything else they had set in motion was worthless. Jaynes was so tired of everything.
The red convertible had been replaced with a more sensible car. This one discreet and more fuel efficient to get to his destination three states over. The drive only took a few hours. He pulled into the driveway of a picturesque home in a fall background. Jaynes could hear the sounds of a saw behind the home. He headed that way—finding a workshop with its doors wide open.
An unsuspecting man focused on running wood through carefully. Several cut pieces laid in a neat pile. To anyone else, the person inside the workshop would seem like the perfect neighbor. Clean shaven, family man, blue collar job, and the perfect model of a husband. He looked up to grab a new piece of wood and saw Jaynes. The saw stopped soon after.
“Gavin,” Jaynes said.
“Never thought I’d see you again.”
He shrugged, not bothering to fill in the details. While they hadn’t seen each other in over five years, Gavin always kept up with the news. “Things happened.”
The other man laughed and pulled out two beers from the mini fridge in the shop. “That’s an understatement.” Jaynes took his and popped the lid off the edge of the table. Crisp. Ice cold. “Something tells me what happened yesterday isn’t why you’re here though.”
Jaynes took another large drink from his bottle before pulling out the photos he always kept close to him. He laid them on the table for Gavin to look at but didn’t say a word. Instead, preferring to finish this drink as quickly as possible before grabbing a new one.
He longed for something stronger to take the edge off. Gavin looked through the photos, taking his time with each one. The creases in his forehead getting deeper as he grew closer to the final few. Jaynes had looked at those the least.
Gavin put them down and took a long drink. “You’re in some serious shit.”
“What do you want me to find out, Jaynes?”
“Anything you can. Mainly their identities and who hired them.”
Gavin scoffed. “Oh, is that all?” Jaynes took another drink, peeling at the label of the bottle. “I assume you’ve exhausted all your sources. What makes you so sure I’ll be able to turn up anything?”
Jaynes had a vast network nationally. It would be easy to go through his channels, but… “I haven’t had anyone look into it.”
He could feel Gavin’s eyes on him. Normally, Jaynes wouldn’t look away. This time, he kept his gaze firmly to the ground.
“It’s that important to you?”
He looked up, “It’s Terrah. She’s the most important thing in my life.”
Gavin looked through the photos once again. “Whoever hired them intended for you to die. If you go down this path, you realize there’s a good chance you won’t make it out alive.”
“And what does Terrah think about this?”
He shrugged. “She doesn’t support it.”
“Can’t say I blame her. You two have been separated long enough. A piece of paper doesn’t change the fact that she needs you after going through this.”
“I didn’t come to you for marriage advice,” Jaynes hissed. “I don’t need your help in that department.”
Gavin shrugged, not bothered by his outburst. “I’m just saying, based on the pictures—she’s lucky to be alive. This type of incident doesn’t come without trauma.”
“So she says.”
Jaynes finished the beer and slammed it on the workbench. “Are you going to look into it or not?”
“I will. Just—make sure she’s okay, Jaynes. She’s been through enough.”
Jaynes walked to his car. He sat behind the wheel, body shaking.
The feeling of betrayal gnawed at his mind.