Here’s the first scene:
His breakfast, such as it was, was now cold and untouched on the small table in front of him. Jack hadn’t eaten since lunch at Sohrab’s home on the northern end of DC, and even then had only picked at it in a desultory manner. Sohrab’s wife, Marie, was an excellent cook, but Jack had simply not been in the mood to eat. His thoughts constantly turned to Amber, and or the hundredth time this morning, he picked up his phone and checked to see if she had called. Mason, sitting across the room on the bed with Sohrab and playing cards, watched him from the corner of his eye.
Getting out of DC had been easier than Jack imagined it would be… once they left Sohrab’s house, that is. Much of the city had been locked down due to some idiot landing a gyrocopter on the White House lawn, so the three of them had holed up at Sohrab’s until dusk. His wife was not happy with his decision to drive two fugitives to South Carolina, but the stack of fifties Mason pushed across the dinner table to her waiting hands had helped. She was an American—born and bred—and therefore a devout capitalist. Danger was an abstraction, but money was concrete.
Taking the Skyline Drive through the mountains along the Shenandoah Valley had been Mason’s idea. His reasoning being that anyone assuming they might be headed to Bill’s would also assume they were taking the shortest route. Jack didn’t think it mattered, since even the FBI would be hard-pressed to connect them to their cab driver, but Sohrab had never been there so the issue was settled by majority vote.
And Jack checked his phone every mile or so the whole way.
“Put the phone down and eat,” Mason said, without facing him. “If she hasn’t called by now, she either can’t, or has lost your new number.” He turned a troubled face to Jack, and added, “Either way, there’s nothing you can do.”
“Don’t you think I know that?” Jack said, a cold knot in his stomach. “It’s not just Amber, though, Mace—we haven’t heard from Sally, either.”
“Same advice,” Mason shrugged.
Jack shook his head at his friend, “How can you be so nonchalant about this?” Ever since arriving in Charlotte the previous night, Mason had shown a preternatural calm. It’s almost like he no longer cares what happens. Thinking back, Jack realized Mason’s change of demeanor occurred at the exact moment Debbie had betrayed them. Betrayed Mason, he thought. Was that payback? Or did he just think it was? Either way, it was clear to Jack that Mason never once thought such a thing was possible.
“Oh, you must be confusing my outer calm for unconcern,” he said, tossing a card to the pile between he and Sohrab. “Trust me… I’m feelin’ it. I just know there’s nothing I can do about it.”
“Maybe there’s nothing you can do about it,” he said, grabbing the phone. “Get your shit together, guys. We’re heading out.”
“You calling Bill?” Mason said.