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“No! Definitely not!” Clara’s voice was both firm and shaky. She had just been told that she and Rafe would once again be separated. She didn’t care about intelligence reports. There was no way she would allow that to happen.
“Clara, darling, this is the only way you and the children will be safe. The terrorists want me. I can’t risk everybody,” Rafe begged.
They were alone in one of the rooms in the hangar. He knew Keith was standing just outside the door so the other man could hear their entire conversation.
Two planes were being prepared: One was flying to Montana, the other to an undisclosed location. The decision was to hide the President separately from the First Family.
“No!” Clara once again burst into tears. It seemed to be a day where she just kept breaking down.
“You have to think of the kids. We can’t risk it. Cheyenne and her baby…they need you, darling.”
“But I can’t…I can’t not know where you are. They want you dead. Just like all those others…I can’t lose you.”
Rafe took his wife in his arms. “You won’t. I will go to you and the kids as soon as this is all over. You just need to trust me. Please trust me, Clara. I can’t risk you and the children.”
They stood together, neither of them wanting to give in. “Clara…you and I, we’re a team. We need to be able to get through this together. But this time, it means we have to be in different places. Please take care of our family. Keep them safe.”
Rafe knew his wife was beginning to slowly accept that she would have to let him go off alone. “You and the kids…and our new grandson…you all are my life. I have to keep you safe, and being away from you right now is the only way I can do it.”
Clara nodded. Rafe felt her embrace tighten as she gave in.
They were surprised by a soft knock on the door before it was opened. Jordan stepped in with an apologetic smile. “Sir, the planes are ready.”
“Okay, we’ll be out in five minutes,” Rafe acknowledged.
Jordan left the room and closed the door behind her. Rafe looked at his wife and smiled. “You always wanted to have a vacation in the mountains, remember?”
“Don’t!” Clara wished she could be tougher, but at that moment she felt like bawling and crying that it was all so unfair. “You come back to us, Rafe. You hear me? You come back to us alive and well. Not in a box. Promise me. You promise me, Rafe. That you and I are going to watch the boys go and get married and spoil our grandson…and…” She began rattling off everything she still wanted to happen in their lives.
“I will.” It was a promise that he would do everything to keep.