I hope I am long gone when and if anyone reads my private notes. I am not fearful as to what most might think of me. However, I would not want my brother to know the things I think and do for he would be shocked. Also, I know him enough to realize he would not want to be aware of any of this.
Mother already suspects what I am capable of and father already knows for certain. Father and I are more similar than different as he has had to justify his actions upon occasion also.
As of now, I keep my diary in a safe concealed in my office in the Off-White House.
Let me begin, rather, by admitting I spend many stolen moments in the Oval Office, staring at the Leader of the Free World’s desk. My destined seat. I am not just dreaming for I have glimpsed the future and know this to be true.
Today, as it has been with many other days, I could not keep the tears from forming in my eyes, as vexatious as that was. For months, my poor sweet brother had been fighting to get his life back after maliciously being shot. As professional as I was, it was difficult to control the mask I normally maintained when I was no closer to finding the perpetrator of this fiendish act.
I did find some comfort, though, when I stood in my office.
Perhaps my mood would change once Ellie was back at her desk. I did enjoy working with my sister-in-law. The strength and warmth she brought to my world kept me grounded and it was clear to me why Holden was so enamored with her. He needed her more than I did … for now.
Once back in my current office, I flipped through my appointment book with trembling fingers. For one to say I was anxious, was not exactly accurate. Rather, the full day before me was a disappointment compared to any news I might have about the shooter. “My people” had been investigating since the night of the tragedy and keeping my staff member Mr. Brimm updated. Still, there was no news as one clue turned into more and so on.
“Darling,” I murmured as Grayson Preminger entered and snaked his arms around me.
He responded with a kiss, his lips covering mine. I could not say the sensation I felt during moments like this was all that bad even though kissing was not my favorite thing. If it was up to me alone, I would skip all the nonsense and just get down to business.
As I gazed into his eyes, I considered once again what Holden might think of this on and off again relationship I had. It never occurred to me that Holden should be introduced since I had no plans of carrying this affair any further than what it was now. Men were complicated and I simply did not need that in my life, although the occasional tryst was quite entertaining.
“What are you thinking about, you little devil?”
The corner of my mouth rose in amusement at his words. “What is it you want me to think about?”
“Me, obviously. Why is it you haven’t married me yet? I keep asking.”
“Yes, you are persistent, I will give you that. I did tell you from the beginning I was not interested in such a merger.”
All of a sudden he laughed and yet, I failed to see what was so funny. Finally, he said, “Only you would call marriage a merger, Rosetta. And, yes, you did tell me that.”
“It is not my mistake that you did not believe me.”
“Someday – ”
He was promptly interrupted by the door flinging open and more lights in the back of the office flipping on. The two of us stepped away from each other quickly.
” – Good morning!” Debra Spanner said as she and Jedrek Brimm entered.
“Good morning,” I said after clearing my throat. “And what do the polls say today?”
Debra beamed as she filled me in. “Well, first of all, you’ve moved up three points since you gave the speech on behalf of battered women. It seems, though, that many people don’t think you’re old enough to be Leader of the Free World.” She actually said LOTFW, so that is what I will use from now on to refer to my future office.
“What do you suggest? Clearly, I am younger than the other candidates, but that does not preclude me from being capable.”
“If I may, I would suggest an updated hairstyle. Something that says sophisticated and in charge. You know, able to lead. And perhaps wearing your glasses again instead of the contacts.”
“I will take your suggestions under advisement,” I said.
Debra had been on my staff since the beginning and was useful in reading the public. It wasn’t that I could not do that myself, I just did not want to. Frankly, I did not care what the public thought or wanted. All that mattered was that I was elected because I knew how to straighten out the problems the government was dealing with.
Yes, Debra was good to have around. She was not smart enough to compete with me, yet she was intelligent enough to climb her way up the political ladder to my staff. She seemed happy enough to remain where she was and that was fine with me.
“Very good,” Debra said, glancing at Jedrek. He always seemed to make her nervous, though I could not fathom why.
Staring openly at Jedrek, I pondered on whether it was his pummeled, smashed up nose that Debra found concerning. Certainly, his nose was the biggest clue regarding his line of work as it had been through a lot. I once asked him why he did not seek out plastic surgery and he laughed at that notion, stating that it helped make him look “tough.”
“I have good news, Ms. Sprague.”
I grasped my heart which had skipped a beat, then, carefully returned my face to its usual impassive mask.
“That is wonderful, Mr. Brimm,” I replied.
Within moments, I had excused Jedrek and myself from the present company so we might speak alone. As we took a brisk walk to the elevators, he filled me in with hushed tones.
“We have him downstairs.”
Of course, I knew this meant the shooter had been detained and was now in the deepest part of the basement where he would be … questioned. Most of the Off-White House did not know of this room’s existence.
It was difficult to contain myself as I thought of all the terrible, awful things I would have done to this person.
I am not certain what I expected to find sitting in the cold metal chair in the interrogation room. The man looked like a normal person, pale, frightened, too scared to even stand up or protest.
“This is the shooter?” I asked although it came out more as a statement than a question.
“Yeah, I was surprised, too, but there’s no doubt this is our man.”
“H-hey, wait a minute, guys, I – ”
“Did I ask you to say something?” Jedrek growled at the man who shrank back against the chair, closing his mouth.
“Has he admitted to it?”
“Yep. Seems our man here has a squeamish stomach.”
Jedrek nodded with an evil grin that openly showcased the delight he took in his work. “Yep. All I had to do was pull a few teeth. It was a little disappointing that he admitted it so quickly as I would have loved to have done more.”
A little thrill bubbled up in my heart, and I must admit that I quite enjoyed the thought that this piece of detritus had suffered.
“Who is he?”
“Name is Gunner Housen.”
This, of course, made me smirk a little. “Gunner. What a coincidence.”
Jedrek’s mouth twisted into an insane looking sneer which caused Gunner Housen to whimper. His feelings did not concern me, though.
“I do not know this man,” I said. “He shot Holden for someone else, obviously.”
Jedrek kicked at Gunner’s feet. “Who hired you?”
Gunner stared at me with pleading eyes as if that could save him now. “I – I – ”
When his voice trailed off without a proper answer, I turned my attention back to Jedrek. “I believe he needs further convincing in order to confide in us.”
“Please, lady, no!” Gunner shouted.
After staring at him indifferently for a moment, I said, “Finish with the teeth. Once you are done, if he has not told you what we wish to know, pull out his fingernails. That usually works.” I smiled briefly at Gunner because I knew my nonchalant attitude would frighten him even more. “Farewell, Mr. Housen. We shall not meet again.”
Author’s Note: Did you have any idea Rosetta had torture in mind and that she would be so nonchalant about it? Crazy stuff there! So, who hired Gunner Housen? What are your ideas?
One thing I wanted to mention was that although Rosetta works at a replica of the U.S. White House, and that the government is structured similarly, I don’t see this story taking place in the U.S. Rather, the setting of Fortress Rock, to me, is the center of what could be anywhere; a made-up country, if you will. Anyway, I used the U.S. government as a model simply because that is the one I am familiar with.
As always, thank you for reading, liking, lurking, and commenting,