"Don't move, Jack. I'm getting on the first flight down there from D.C." He paused. "Do you have the formula?"
Again, Jack's caution kicked into high gear. When had the Colonel learned about the formula? If he knew the story about Jack being a traitor, he knew about the formula. He let out his pent-up breath. "We can talk about that when you get here."
"And where's here? Where should I meet you?"
Without thinking, Jack answered, "Call this number when you get here. I'll tell you then."
He ended the call and collapsed against the headboard, stuffing the pillow behind his neck.
Lola pulled her knees to her chest and wrapped her arms around her legs. "You're very...suspicious. It wasn't the joyous reunion I expected."
"Really?" He pressed the heel of his hand against his forehead. If he had another headache coming on, he should sit back and ride it out.
"Really. After all that 'the Colonel was my mentor stuff', you didn't seem to trust the guy much."
"I think he expected that. I just remembered his existence this morning. I still have gaps."
"You're getting a headache."
"If it comes, it comes. I'm not going to do anything to stop it."
She balanced her chin on her knees. "You look...concerned, and I know you're not worried about the headache, since you see it as another opportunity to remember. What's wrong?"
"I don't know." Jack massaged the back of his neck. "The Colonel didn't mention anything about the guys, the other Prospero members."
"Did you expect him to? I thought you said they'd all retired."
He squeezed his eyes shut and pinched the bridge of his nose. He didn't want to come across as a two-year old having a tantrum, but if one of his Prospero buddies had been in trouble he would've been there. Retirement or no retirement.
"That's right." He slid beneath the covers, pulling Lola down with him. "They have their own lives now."
She stretched away from him and punched the switch for the overhead light. Then she snuggled her back against his front, pulling his arm around her waist, obviously forgetting about their previous conversation. Lola had no intention of backing off or slowing down to consider the consequences of their fast and furious attraction.
And that was okay. Lola was his present...and right now, the present was all he had.
THE FOLLOWING MORNING, Lola plunked a bowl of cereal in front of Jack. "So you didn't get a headache last night."
"You sound disappointed." She splashed some milk into her bowl and slid her spoon into the flakes. She couldn't fall asleep last night until she'd heard Jack's breathing, deep and steady.
"The headaches give me an opportunity to remember."
"And you still need to dig up more memories."
"It's like a painting." He framed his large hands into a square. "Like an Impressionist painting. The dots and smudges are there, even the colors are vibrant, but the scene is missing the details, the solid lines connecting it all together."
"It will all come back to you, even the parts about Gabe." Uneasiness tightened the knots in her belly even as she uttered the cheery words. Why couldn't Jack remember where he'd stashed Gabe? Maybe Gabe had gone off that cliff with Jack and hadn't been as lucky.
Drowning his cereal in milk, Jack jerked his chin toward her cell phone charging on the kitchen counter. "Why don't you call the computer shop and see what time they're going to be done transferring the info on Gabe's hard drive to the new computer?"
"If it's done before your meeting with Colonel Scripps, you can turn the formula over to him." She popped a raisin in her mouth and scooted her chair back from the table.
She called the shop and gave Jack a thumbs-up sign. When she ended the call, she spun around, clapping her hands. "It's going to be ready in an hour. They're just running some tests on the new computer."
"Good." Jack folded his hands behind his head and stretched his long legs in front of him. "The sooner we get rid of that file, the safer you'll be. Farouk's guys won't have any reason to come after you once they know the formula is with the U.S. government."
"Then all we need to do is find and rescue Gabe. If the terrorists do have him, he won't be any use to them once the formula is secured." Lola rubbed the goose bumps that freckled her arms. "Of course, if he's no longer valuable to them..."