Tommy startled awake and sat up. “What was that?”
Careen stirred beside him.
The doorknob rattled, and someone pounded on the door. His adrenaline surged, and when Atari’s voice rang out, it did nothing to set him at ease. “Intruders! Man the battle stations!”
“What battle stations?” Careen threw back the covers and grabbed her jeans off the floor.
“No idea. We never did battle station drills.” He was already half dressed and balancing on one foot as he pulled on his boot. “Where’s my gun?” He pushed a chair over to the closet so he could retrieve the magazine and bullets from the top shelf. As he jumped down, she tossed him the empty gun and pulled on her sweater.
The magazine clicked into place, and the spare bullets rattled as he poured them into his pocket. “Ready?”
“No, but let’s go.”
He unlocked the door and they hugged the wall as they crept toward the lobby. He heard the elevator bell chime and the door slide open, and he held the gun poised as he chanced a look around the corner. Then he laughed aloud. “Mom?” He stuck the gun in his waistband, and he and Careen ran across the lobby to meet her.
Lara’s smile warmed him like the sun, and she gathered them both into a fierce embrace. Tears welled up in his eyes for a moment, and beside him he felt Careen draw a shuddering breath. When his mom released them, she kept a hand on Careen’s arm. “I couldn’t believe you were all right until I saw for myself.” She hugged Careen again.
Careen swiped at the tears that trailed down her cheek. “I am now. I missed you so much.”
Lara squeezed her shoulder, her gaze a mix of appraisal and empathy. Then she turned a stern gaze on Tommy. “You, on the other hand—sneaking away from the bunker and following your father to the capital was dangerous and unnecessary.” Then she winked to show she wasn’t really angry. “You couldn’t let the grownups handle things, could you?”
He shrugged. “How else am I going to learn the family business?”
Only then did he notice Tom, Eduardo, and Jaycee had followed Lara into the lobby.
Careen brushed past him and threw her arms around the mailman’s neck, and he spun her around. “Carina! Como estás?”
“Much better now, Eduardo.”
Tommy’s gaze took in all of them. “Boy, are we glad to see you guys.” He winked back at his mom. “It’ll be nice to have some backup.”
Atari skulked in the doorway of Command Central. “More Baileys? Fantastic. To what do we owe the unexpected honor?”
Tommy caught his father’s eye and shot a pointed glance in Atari’s direction. Then they spoke at the same time. “We need to talk.”
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