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Rafe listened to Jordan and Keith explaining the investigation being done based on their suspicion.
“We are considering the possibility that the victims were poisoned,” Jordan reported. “But experts have not been able to find any poison that can cause all the symptoms. Stroke, cardiac arrest and multiple organ failures… it’s, well, basically all over the place.”
“It is just one of the options we are exploring,” Keith interrupted. “And we are not taking any chances. The security at the White House has been beefed up. We are also making sure that at least two people taste the food being prepared for you and the First Lady.”
Rafe understood that it was a serious matter, but it all seemed quite unfair to him. Two other people were putting their lives on the line to make sure he was kept safe.
“Has everything been arranged for Wednesday?” He decided to change the subject.
He watched Jordan shuffle the papers she had in her hands, apparently looking for the trip’s itinerary. “The funeral is scheduled at noon. We will be leaving at 7 am and will be in Ottawa by 11 am. The drive from the private airport will only take about 15 minutes.”
“It is still 15 minutes too long if you ask me,” Keith remarked.
“Would you rather we land in front of the basilica?” Jordan retorted in an irritated tone.
The past few days had been very stressful for everybody. There had been various suggestions on how the President would be transported, and none had satisfied Keith. If he had his way, he would have the man teleported there. Unfortunately, despite the advanced technologies that had been developed, it was still not possible.
Keith was about to respond when the door opened. Gina, the housekeeper, appeared with coffee and sandwiches.
“Is there anything else we need to discuss?” Rafe asked the two people he trusted the most after his wife. “It is a Sunday, folks, and I for one would like to spend it with Clara.”
Keith and Jordan shook their heads. There was still tension between them. Both wanted to keep the President safe.
“Now, now, children…” Rafe teased. “We mustn’t fight.”
He stood up, and the other two followed suit. “Gina?” he called out to the housekeeper. “Do you by any chance know where my wife is?”
Gina nodded and smiled. “She’s in her sitting room. The baby clothes she ordered were delivered yesterday.”
Rafe turned to Jordan and Keith who were standing close by, waiting for him to leave the room. “Neither of you have even congratulated me on my first grandson.”
“We have. The day he was born, sir,” Jordan reminded with a smile. Rafe had a way of making people feel better, even in the most stressful situations.
“You have? Hmm… I reckon you did.” Rafe laughed out loud. “Gina, can you please tell my wife that I am heading to our room. I am jumping in the shower, and I would very much like to have her there with me.”
When the older woman’s cheeks turned pink, Rafe laughed even harder. “You have a dirty mind, Gina.” And with that statement, he walked out of the oval office.
Jordan watched Rafe walk away and turned to Keith, who Blurted out suddenly: “I’m sorry about being difficult with the arrangements. I agree that it is our best option. But God! This is a security nightmare.”
“I understand. We’re all worried. But we’ll make this work.” Jordan nodded. “Are you all packed?”
“Always packed.” Keith grinned.
The two of them started walking towards Jordan’s office. Sunday or no Sunday, they still had some details of the trip to iron out. “By the way, can I borrow your phone?” Jordan asked
“No, it’s acting up. One of the apps updated and it seems to have messed up everything.” Keith suddenly looked puzzled. “What’s wrong with yours?”
“Same thing. What app?”
Keith’s face darkened. “Do you have the pictures of the scenes where the victims died?” he demanded. Jordan nodded and motioned towards her office.
The blond man walked inside quickly and surprised the woman who had been cleaning the office when he stormed in. He hurriedly picked up the folders and took out the pictures he was looking for.
“What’s wrong?” Jordan had caught up and was now standing in front of him.
“Woodworth was found sitting in a chair with his phone next to him. That woman said he had dropped it when he had the stroke.” Keith showed the picture of the phone next to the chair. “The Prince of Dubai was taking a picture of the clothes he was trying on.” This time he pointed to the picture with the Prince’s phone on top of a pile of clothes. He and Jordan began leafing through the other pictures, seeing smartphones in each and every one of them.
“That’s how they’re doing it!” Jordan exclaimed. “The President-”
She had barely finished when they heard a loud explosion. The blast shook the room and Jordan would’ve fallen had Keith not reached out to catch her. As soon as she regained her balance, both of them were running out the door and rushing to get to the President.
Outside in the hallway was complete mayhem. Sheets of paper were flying everywhere, and debris was scattered all over the floor. Despite the shocked and panicked look on everyone’s faces nobody seemed seriously hurt.
Keith ran up the flight of stairs that led to the President’s apartments with Jordan close at his heels. Every single second counted. There was no way the most powerful man in the country was going to die on his watch.
When they got to the upper floor, everything seemed to be filled with smoke. But thankfully he could not see or smell fire. All the smoke seemed to have been caused by whatever device had been detonated. And if their suspicions were correct, Keith concluded that it was the President’s phone.
It was a good thing that they knew the floor plan by heart because they could barely see anything in the darkened and smoky hallways. The smoke got denser as they got closer to the apartments.
A door to the side suddenly flew open. Clara was rushed out by her security detail, but she struggled against them. She looked towards the door to their room where Rafe was. She screamed out for him and would not let anybody pull her away.
“Is she okay?” Keith asked Sidney Chaste, the man assigned to keep the First Lady safe.
“Yes, but we need to get her out of here. The President?”
“Just get her to safety. We’ll meet you at the hangar.”
The exchange was swift; Keith was concerned about the First Lady, but he had to get to the President. “Jordan, go with Sid and the First Lady.”
“But I need to-”
“Just go. We’ll be right behind you.”
Keith ran off without waiting for Jordan to reply. The smoke was beginning to hurt his eyes. The door to Rafe’s room had been blown out. There was no doubt that the explosion had come from there.
He pushed his way in, digging through rubble and shouting for the President. He thankfully found no traces of blood anywhere in what used to be a luxurious bedroom. He heard a soft groan coming from the corner.
“Mr. President?” he called out.
“Keith? Keith is that you?” Rafe called out from the other side of a door that had been slammed shut by a huge armoire.
“Sir! Are you hurt?”
“No. No! What happened? Are we being attacked?”
Keith turned to look around for something that would help him push the heavy furniture that had fallen against the door to the bathroom. He picked up a thick piece of wood that must’ve been part of the four-post bed that had graced the bedroom.
He slipped the end underneath the armoire and used a big chunk of cement to anchor his lever. Putting all of his weight on the other end of the plank, he slowly tipped the armoire over to create space Rafe could squeeze through.
Keith helped Rafe through as soon as the door could be opened wide enough for the latter to go through. The older man had nothing on but a towel around his waist.
“What’s going on? How did this happen?” Rafe asked as he looked at the disaster around him.
“It was your phone, sir. Terrorists must have tapped into the applications of smartphones,” Keith quickly explained. He looked around the room for something the President could wear.
He remembered seeing a cleaning cart outside in the hallway. Hopefully, the cleaning crew had left a couple of overalls in there. “I’ll be right back.” He rushed out and dug through the cart and quickly found what he was looking for.
When he got back to the room, Rafe was still standing where he’d left him. The expression on the man’s face was hard to read. “Clara?” He murmured.
“Jordan is with her. You better get dressed, sir. We need to get you out of here. She’s been evacuated.” Keith handed a pair of overalls to Rafe and decided to change into the second one.
They had barely zipped up when a series of explosions happened. Keith knew some of the explosions were happening within the White House. Looking out the window, he saw other buildings being rocked by explosions as well. Fire had broken out in some places.
He turned to Rafe, who looked horrified at the scene in front of him. If it had not been obvious earlier, then it was certainly clear then. The Capitol was being attacked.