Chapter 5

Pat King

As they had for the past few days, Joe and Catherine arrived at the office early. Visitors had to sign in and out of the building at night, so Joe could be reasonably certain Gaines hadnít snuck in, and at this hour there were no crowds in which he could mingle.

Catherine put her purse in the desk drawer and sat down with a sigh. This was getting old and getting on her nerves. As much as she enjoyed having Vincent stay with her each night, this constant surveillance was making her feel like a prisoner. Not that her normal life was that much different, she realized. Other than going Below, her regular schedule consisted of long hours at work and quiet nights at home Ė it was just the idea that she couldnít do anything else that chafed.

Her thoughts were interrupted by the jangling sound of the telephone on Joeís desk, its bell echoing loudly in the empty office. Catherine could tell by the tone of his voice that something was seriously wrong. This was confirmed by the look on his face as he approached her desk. She couldnít remember ever seeing him so angry.

"Whatís wrong, Joe? Gaines?"

"He has his daughters."

"What! How?" Catherine shot up from her chair.

"Iím not sure, but I wouldnít count on fatherly love to protect those little girls."

Their conversation was interrupted by Catherineís phone.

"Catherine Chandler," she said into the receiver. The smooth voice on the line made her skin crawl.

"Youíre at the office early, Miss Chandler."

She mouthed ĎGainesí to Joe, and he grabbed another phone to get a trace started.

"Mr. Gaines, weíve been looking for you."

He chuckled. "Iím sure you have. I think you and I have something to discuss."

"I canít imagine what, unless itís turning yourself in."

"Iím hurt, Catherine, that you should think badly of me."

"You can drop the charm, Gaines. It doesnít work on me. I know who and what you are, and youíre going to pay."

All pleasantness left his voice as he responded.

"Everything thatís happened is your fault, bitch. But I think you will meet with me. I have my daughters, and Iím sure you donít want anything bad to happen to them. Iíll call you later with instructions."

The connection was cut off with a click. Catherine returned the receiver to its cradle. A glance at Joe confirmed her suspicion that the call wasnít long enough to trace.