The next morning, we were on video chat again with Phaedra as she went over her findings with us.
"Right, so from what I can tell, he is being guarded at all times. It seems to be the same person, as I never seen anyone else going in or out except for the people that are delivering food twice a day,"
"Interesting," I said, "Is there any pattern to the drop off times?"
Phaedra laughed. "Yes, they're like clockwork. Either they're extremely incompetent or they really don't care if they get caught."
Jamie grunted and mumbled, "I suspect it's a wee bit of both."
"Anything else we need to know?" I asked. "Any other visitors?"
"No one, not since the other day when someone dropped Willie off there and when the guard showed up."
I looked at Jamie, wondering if he had any more questions. He shrugged. "Alright then, I suppose that's everything. Thank you, Phaedra. We can never begin to repay you."
Phaedra smiled and waved a hand at us in dismissal. Brianna came on the chat then so we could chat for a few minutes before we hung up.
I curled my legs up and rested my head on Jamie’s shoulder. "Penny for your thoughts?" I asked as I absent-mindedly played with the buttons on his polo shirt.
He grunted and kissed the top of my head. "I dinna ken what we're going tae do wi' this information."
"Don't worry, Jamie. I already have a plan," I told him.
I felt the tension rise in his shoulders immediately. "Are ye ever going tae tell me this plan so I can tell ye it's too dangerous? Then we can try tae figure out the real plan."
I kissed his shoulder and then made a trail to his neck. He moaned softly and reached his arm around to bring my face to his, pulling me into a deep, lazy kiss. I slung one of my legs around, so I was straddling him face to face, and slowly rocked my hips.
Jamie groaned into my mouth and then took a handful of my hair and pulled my head back gently. "Are ye trying tae distract me, mo ghraidh?"
"Maybe," I teased. "Is it working?"
He cupped one of my breasts in his large hand and bent his head and took my earlobe in his mouth. "Aye…" he answered, his breath tickling my ear.
I sat up straight, pulled my shirt off and then unhooked my bra and let it fall to the floor. "Christ," he groaned, moving his head down and taking one of my nipples in his mouth reverently and teasing the other with his fingers. Then, he took both his hands and pushed my breasts together, burying his face between them. "Ye could smother me here, and I'd die a happy man," he said. His tone was so serious, I couldn't help but giggle.
"Are ye laughing at me?" he asked, looking up at me with puppy dog eyes.
"Yes," I said. I grabbed his ears and urged his head up so I could kiss him again then went up on my knees. Jamie reached down and undid the button and fly of his jeans, pushing them down far enough so his erection sprang free. I followed suit with my shorts and panties.
Jamie's hand slid up my thighs, and he growled, biting his bottom lip. I gave him a playful smile and reached down to grab his cock, hard and ready for me. I lowered myself down and we both let out relieved sighs as I took all of him inside me.
He thrust up, eager for friction but I shook my head and leaned forward to whisper in his ear, "Stay still; I've got you."
I began rocking my hips back and forth, his cock keeping most of its depth. I adjusted my angle until it reached my g-spot and continued my undulations. My clit was grinding on his pelvic bone so that I was overwhelmingly stimulated inside and out. This was not the fiery, lustful fucking of the previous afternoon, but rather a slow dance that we could easily lose ourselves in, letting the outside world melt away.
Jamie’s lips stayed parted slightly - panting, moaning, and whispering words of love with every breath. My arms clung around his neck and I rested my forehead against his as my climax rose from a low burning fire between my legs and spreading in both directions until I was bursting with an unexpected heat that exploded into a thousand tiny firecrackers all throughout my body. My whole body was trembling as Jamie took my mouth in his and came hard inside of me. His hands rubbed my back reassuringly and I let my head drop to his shoulder.
I realized I was crying when I felt the wetness against my cheeks mingling with the salty sweat of the both of us. “Shhhhh….” Jamie whispered, “I’ve got ye now, mo ghraidh.”
I had intended to lull him into a state of stupefied satisfaction, so that he’d not have the strength or will to argue with me about the plans I had made with John the night before, but as usual, Jamie managed to turn the tables and turn me into a melted puddle of safety and comfort in his arms.
Eventually I climbed off of him and cuddled close to him, my head resting on his strong, broad chest. When I finally regained my senses, I kissed one of his pecs and asked quietly, “Are you ready to hear the plan?”
“Aye,” he replied with a sigh, “But if it involves John and Hector, best get dressed and go downstairs to talk about it all together.”
We went over the plan together over a large breakfast served in a screened-in room overlooking the pool. Less opulent than most of the other rooms in the large house, it was furnished with mostly wicker and had a comfortable, domestic feeling. After John and I relayed what we had talked about the night before, I filled in the information we had learned from Phaedra’s research and proposed a way to execute the plan. As expected, Jamie immediately bristled and put his foot down.
“Absolutely not,” he said, shaking his head. “It’s too dangerous for all of ye. I canna have it.”
“You keep saying that, Jamie, but what choice do we have?” I reasoned. “We’ve been through this a hundred times; there’s no other way.”
“I told ye, I’ll do it myself.”
John rolled his eyes. “You know that’s ridiculous. The plan we just laid out involved a minimum of three people. Even if you didn’t get yourself killed before you even made it to the motel, there is no possible way you could pull off the rescue alone.”
Rather than try to argue with John’s solid logic, Jamie simply leaned back and crossed his arms over his chest. “I willna allow it, Claire. I canna stop Hector and John, but I willna allow ye tae do it.”
John and I had known this would be coming, and we’d talked about the best way to manage the stubborn Scot acting like a chauvinistic horse’s arse. My instinct was to let him get my hackles up, ultimately distracting us both from the end goal. Instead I remained calm and told him evenly, “You can’t stop me either,” I shrugged. “Unless you plan to use bodily force on me. And if that’s the case, I suppose I’ll just head back to Scotland on my own after I know that Willie’s safe.”
Jamie opened his mouth and then closed it again, obviously thinking better of it. Finally, he said, “Fine, I’ll go with John and Hector, and ye can stay here safely.”
Sometimes I had patients who were hesitant to take the medications I prescribed or have surgeries I recommended. I spoke to Jamie then just as I usually spoke to them. “You are being stubborn for no good reason. The facts we’ve laid out for you clearly show that it’s much more dangerous for you to try to rescue Willie than it will be for me, yet you insist on being stubborn about it out of some foolish male pride.”
Jamie dropped his fork and turned to me. “Maybe my pride is all I have.”
“I can assure you that will be the case if you don’t let me go through with this.”
Finally, Hector pushed his chair back dramatically and stood, moving toward Jamie. “Pare! Enough! Jamie, you are being a cabeça-dura!” Hector rapped his fist on the top of Jamie’s head in demonstration. “Now, you’re going to let us take care of this once and for all so we can all go back to having some peace and I can stop worrying about meu afilhado. And if you don’t agree, then I will find someone who is big enough and strong enough to physically restrain you. Você entende?”
Shocked, I looked from Hector to Jamie as they stared each other down. Finally, Jamie lowered his eyes and pouted. “Fine. But I dinna like it.”
“You don’t have to like it,” Hector told him. “You just have to agree to it.”
Jamie nodded like a chastised schoolboy and Hector stalked out of the room. A few minutes later, Jamie stomped out, too. I heard him go out the back door, slamming it behind him.
“Do you want to tell me what that was all about?” I asked.
John chuckled and took a sip of his tea. “Hector may seem like just my innocuous queen of a husband, but he’s actually a very powerful man in our world. He knows a lot of people and could easily call in somebody to force Jamie to let us handle this, and Jamie knows it.”
“Never would have guessed,” I mumbled, still a bit taken aback. “But surely if he’s that connected, he could have just gotten somebody to help rescue Willie in the first place.”
John threw his head back and laughed. “My dear, as I told you, no one in our business would mess with anybody in that business.”
“I’m so confused,” I said. “I thought you were all in the same business.”
John smiled, shaking his head. “My dear, Hector and I are art dealers, exclusively. We don’t have anything to do with the cartels unless it involves obtaining a piece of art for someone involved in them. That’s how we met Brian in the first place.”
“Art dealers?!?” I responded incredulously. My head was spinning. John sat back and took another sip of his tea with a smug, self-satisfied grin on his face. “I have so many more questions,” I said finally.
“And we will answer them in good time,” John replied, patting me on the shoulder. “But right now, let’s get ready to rescue Willie.”
Phaedra’s review of the surveillance cameras had revealed food was delivered to the motel every evening around 8:00 PM. After a long, anxious day of waiting, we left before Jamie even returned from wherever he had gone during his fit of anger and were in our positions by seven, leaving no room for error.
We had parked at a gas station about a half mile away and walked to the motel to try not raise any suspicion. The sun had gone down and the air had cooled just enough to be tolerable. The three of us waited in silence, squatting in the shadows against the side of the motel. “Remember,” John reminded me, “If you need to refer to Jamie at all, call him Alexander.” I nodded, hoping I’d be able to remember under pressure.
Finally, we heard the crunch of rubber hitting gravel in the parking lot, and Hector quietly crept out of hiding, hoping to catch whoever was delivering the food off guard. John and I peered from the corner of the building carefully and watched Hector disappear around the driver side of the car.
The door opened and I could make out the shadow of a man exiting the vehicle. Before he could even stand upright, Hector popped up and clubbed the unsuspecting miscreant over the head with the butt of his gun. John scurried out to help tie the man up. Within a few seconds, I saw the trunk of the car pop open and then they stood at either end of his body and picked him up, carrying him to the trunk.
Hector closed the trunk silently and I ran out from my spot. Hector stood by the car to keep lookout while John grabbed the bag of food and moved quickly to the door to the room. I followed behind him and pressed my body against the side of the motel near the door.
He knocked on the door and held the bag of food up in front of the peephole as we’d discussed, hoping to not raise any suspicions about an unfamiliar delivery person. My heart pounded in my chest as the door creaked open and a gruff voice spoke in Portuguese.
John responded in English, for my sake. “Put your hands up and walk back into the room slowly.”
I watched carefully, my body thrumming with anticipation. Just as the door was about to close, I stuck my foot in the crack and grasped it in my hand, pulling it open and stepping inside of the room. Willie sat at a table near the opposite wall, his eyes wide with terror. John had already pushed the guard into the bathroom; he was to duct tape the man up and stay in with him until I was able to get Willie to safety.
I made a move toward Willie and he noticed me for the first time. He opened his mouth, but I quickly shook my head and I reached out my hand, beckoning for him to come to me quietly. He scrambled out of the chair and ran to me, throwing his arms around my waist and burying his head in my stomach. I hugged him quickly and then crouched down so I could use all of the strength in my legs to lift his oversized Fraser body up in my arms.
He threw his arms around my neck and wrapped his legs around my waist. The eight year old was much bigger in person than he had seemed on our video chats, but I was able to balance him enough so that I could at least get him out of the room safely. “I’ve got you now,” I whispered to him.
I whistled in signal to John and then turned to exit the room. Two steps and I would be out the door and on my way to freedom.
A man stood in the doorway with a gun in his hand, blocking our path. My stomach dropped into my feet and immediately, in my gut, I knew it was João Ranhel.
He spoke in Portuguese, stepping into the doorway. I took a few steps backward and glanced quickly at the bathroom door. Ranhel asked me something in Portuguese and I shook my head and said, “English.”
His eyebrows raised in surprise. “And what in God’s name is an English woman doing, getting involved in this?” he asked.
“Please,” I said. “Please just don’t harm the boy. Let him go free and you can have me.”
“Oh, I don’t think either of you will be going free,” he responded. “Put the boy down, and don’t try any funny business.”
Willie clung tighter to me, and I whispered in his ear, “We have to do what he says, ok? Just do what he says and we’ll both be alright.” Carefully, I bent down and set him on the ground next to me.
“Good,” Ranhel said. “Now both of you sit on the bed.” We did as instructed and sat on the edge of the bed furthest from the door. Ranhel sat across from us on the other bed. I glanced over his shoulder at the door and he chuckled sardonically. “I don’t think your man out there is going to rescue you. He’s a little…. tied up.”
“You better not have hurt him,” I sneered.
Ranhel laughed again. “You’re very feisty for a woman who is in no position to be right now. You’re no coward, I’ll give you that. In fact, you’re a match fit for our fiery Scot, and I can’t give you a better compliment than that.”
Unsurprisingly, he had figured out my connection to Jamie, and my only hope was that I could exploit that knowledge to keep Willie safe, even at the expense of my own welfare. “Look,” I said, “If you want Ja -...Alexander, I can take you to him. I’ll tell you exactly where to find him, but not unless you let Willie go safely.”
“You, senhora, are in no position to be negotiating,” Ranhel said with a pleased smile.
Just then, John appeared from around the corner, gun pointed at Ranhel. Ranhel quickly grabbed me and lifted me off the bed, bending my arm behind my back. I felt the cold metal of his gun under my chin and bile rose into my throat. “Run, Willie!” I yelled.
Willie stood and made to run toward the door, but Ranhel stuck out a foot and tripped him. He skidded across the floor and hit his head on the bureau, falling to the ground. I screamed and my instincts had me pulling away from Ranhel, trying to reach Willie to help him, but he twisted my arm harder and I knew if I offered anymore resistance, he would break it.
“If any of you make another move, your brains will be decorating the ceiling, senhora,” he said with a sick calmness.
My head reeled as I tried to pull my thoughts together and figure out my next steps. My chest was heaving and Ranhel moved the gun, tracing it down my neck to my chest and around my breasts. “Quite a lovely little gata, you are. It’s a shame you’ve lowered yourself to be with such filth.”
“Let me go, you piece of shit!” I said through gritted teeth.
He bent my arm again and hissed in my ear, “If you don’t stop speaking to me like that, I’ll have to teach you a lesson.” He moved the gun further down my body so that it was pressed against my pelvis.
Suddenly, the door burst open and Jamie stood towering in it, a gun in each of his hands, both pointed at Ranhel. “I’ll thank ye tae get yer hands off my woman,” he said in a calm, commanding voice.
Ranhel was so caught off guard that he loosened his grip on arm, and I lifted one foot, kicking backwards. My foot connected with Ranhel right between his legs, and he let go of me completely. I dove toward Willie and quickly checked for a pulse. His breath was steady, and I sighed with relief before looking to Jamie for my cue. “Take the boy and run, Claire,” he instructed me.
I scooped my arms around Willie up and tried to scramble to my feet. When he’d been fully conscious, he’d felt heavy, but knocked out cold it was nearly impossible for me to lift his deadweight. I rose to my feet for leverage and heard the sound of one gunshot, followed by many. A hot searing pain ripped through my arm and then everything faded to black as I fell to the floor.