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Mr. Smith found himself sweating. This one most delicate thing, had possibly exited his control, and he needed to keep a lid on this. He needed to get to Jude, before anyone else could. Jean’s message was vague and unsure, but the possibility that this plan was about to go off the rails could not be tolerated.
His contact had been very vague about what to do, but he knew he needed to find out what Jude knew, if anything. Other than that, his instructions had only been to ensure that everyone goes to solve the problem. He didn’t think that any other scenario was likely, or even possible.
He entered the foyer, and much to his surprise, saw Jean and Vanessa sitting alone. “Vanessa! How are you doing? How are you holding up?” He started to ask his next question, but caught himself. There was time to be a good father in more ways than one.
Vanessa looked down. A certain coldness surrounded her. Vanessa’s face cracked into a sea of tears, as Mr. Smith moved closer to her. Vanessa tried to control herself as much as she could. “Paul… Paul’s…” she broke out into even more tears, “Someone’s kidnapped Paul!”
Mr. Smith sat down next to her, and pulled her in close. She moved to crying into his shoulder. “Now, now. It wouldn’t make any sense to charge in ahead of the group, would it? We’ll just wait for Jude to get here.”
Jean began to mouth something, but Mr. Smith’s attention was taken away by Vanessa again. “Dad, you don’t understand. I told them to go without me. I can’t. Last time I could’ve died, but why do I feel so awful about it?” She looked up to him, with her makeup running down her face.
A decade’s worth of thoughts went through his head, all simultaneously. He had been given specific instructions to ensure everyone went, but he didn’t necessarily want his daughter charging into death. This worked better when she was confident in herself, when nothing he could say would ever change her mind. It came to him what he needed to do.
“Vanessa, darling, look at me.” He made a pause for emphasis. “Not long ago, I couldn’t bare to see my baby girl charging off into superhero battles. I was terrified for you. But now, I’ve seen you work at it. For about 3 months, you’ve worked your ass off every day, until you proved to be strong. That feeling you get, is what heroes have. No matter what the cost, they have to act. Firefighters, policemen, human rights activists, and now you.
“I am more than confident in you. You have everything you need. You’re a hero now, and I need to let you go. You’ve made that so much easier, by showing me how insanely capable you are.” He paused a moment to gauge her response. Her crying turned into a look of resolve. “Now go out there, and kick some ass!”
Vanessa looked down again for a moment. Her tears stopped, if for a moment. Her face contorted, and her clenched fist turned white at the knuckle. Suddenly, she looked Mr Smith in the eye, with a steely look that even cut him to the bone. “I’m going to get Paul.”
Mr. Smith was caught off guard by that look. This didn’t sit right. He debated calling after her, but decided against it. He watched as she went out of the room.
“Very good, sir.” Jean nodded.
He stared off towards where Vanessa had gone out. It took him a moment to register that Jean had spoken. “Thanks, Jean, I tried. Now, I need you to ensure that nobody who knows anything can say anything. Go with her, and keep this contained. Call me as soon as anything changes.” He patted his shoulder. “Oh, and Jean? Keep my girl safe.”
He watched on, as Jean exited the room. His phone, as if on cue, began to vibrate. He pulled it out and pressed answer. “Felix, everything is under control on my end. I’ve done all I can.”
“Very good.” Felix entered. “I will be watching.” The call clicked to an end.
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Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed it. I hope you’ve had a lovely week, and continue to have a lovely weekend. We’ve crossed the threshold into holiday season, so I do hope you’re holding up alright. I had a lot of help this week from my friend, and I desperately needed it. If you’re reading this, thanks James!