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I'M BACK AFTER A LONG DELAY! THIS IS THE SEQUEL TO LOST. THESE ARE MY AWARDS FOR LOST:#1 MOST FAVORITE STORY AND HAS BEEN SINCE OCTOBER 2007! #3 MOST READ #7 MOST REVIEWED Summary: Simmons is introduced to a certain female vampire that we all know. He has been a player, but what happens when he meets her? ~~~~~~LAST CHAPTER AND EPILOGUE~~~~~~~ Chapter 15:MAGNIFICENTChapter 16:(EPILOGUE) HEADLINE

Wow! This sequel has been a long time in coming. I want to thank everyone for keeping this story alive. I have loved reading every single one of your reviews! I have had everything from awesome people translating LOST into other languages, to yucky people plagiarizing my story and calling it theirs. No kidding! I started this just a few months after LOST, but I didn't think anyone would want to read it. It was just for me. But, I kept writing and many asked for a sequel, so . . . . . . . . If you hate it, I will understand. 3 REASONS YOU SHOULD NOT READ THIS STORY: 1. SIMMONS IS THE MAIN CHARACTER, EDWARD AND BELLA ARE ALL THE WAY THROUGH IT, BUT IT IS IN SIMMONS POV. 2. IT HAS BEEN LIKE A YEAR AND A HALF SINCE MANY OF YOU HAVE READ LOST. FOR SOME IT WAS JUST YESTERDAY, BUT FOR THE ORIGINAL READERS, YOU MAY NOT EVEN CARE ANYMORE! 3. I CAN'T THINK OF ANOTHER REASON. SO I GUESS THERE ARE JUST TWO. Lost is long, and I would never make you read it again. To help the original readers, I have given you a quick summary: Bella and Michael Simmons worked for a NYC firm called Berkshire-Hathaway. Bella was heartless and vowed to take down C-Corp Edward was C-Corp (yikes!) Bella had started to date a hot guy named Thomas Vaughn Bella ended up breaking Vaughn's heart Bella gave Edward back his company - after she put Edward through a lot Bella left to be with Edward after she quit the Firm Bella and Edward got married (yay!) E & B set Vaughn up with his first love from High School - Kristin Roberts Alice is very mad that she was not Bella's bridesmaid - it was Simmons Lola is the boutique owner who helped Bella pick out her dresses Rosalie wants Bella's awesomely expensive shoes - - - - - - - Simmons is a player, but he is also sweet and intelligent He is a 6'2 surfer boy from California He is very hotly handsome *Lucky for you this story is about 20,000 words shorter than LOST *THIS STORY IS ALREADY DONE. I WILL UPDATE EVERYDAY!


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Chapter 5 - SCARY STORY

I sat on the plane and poured over the documents Hathaway's secretary had faxed to me overnight. There was a summary of the problems our Russian office was having, but frankly, there were other details about this report that were puzzling to me.

Hathaway said that Zachary Conner was doing a poor job, that he had botched things badly, but until three weeks ago, I could see no indication of anything wrong with Conner's performance. In fact, Conner had closed two deals last month. He had kept impeccable records, and he had been meticulous in his day to day operations. But then it had all come to an abrupt stop three weeks ago. According to reports made from others in his office, his behavior changed completely.

All of the sudden, he started coming to work late, and without a word to anyone he would head straight to his office and shut the door. People would hear him on his phone talking in an agitated voice and he wouldn't leave the office unless he had at least three people walk with him. His records became erratic, and there was no rhyme or reason to many of the entries he had in his books. It didn't make sense.

"We will be landing soon, sir. Is there anything else I can get for you?"

I looked up to see the stewardess bending over at the waist smiling down into my face expectantly.

"Uh, no. I'm just fine. Thank you." I was a little preoccupied and annoyed by the interruption.

The woman next to me patted me on the arm. I looked over and saw that she was suppressing a smile.

"That pretty stewardess has walked by you at least 5 times in the last hour and you haven't noticed her once."

I blinked in confusion. "What?"

The woman beside me looked to be about 70 years old or so. She spoke in a Russian accent and her eyes darted up to the stewardess as she spoke to me.

"We may all be sitting in the first class section, but she has been giving you more than first class treatment. She is a beautiful girl and yet you haven't even noticed her. She is trying very hard to get your attention."

I looked away from the woman and up at the stewardess. She was talking to a couple seated a few rows in front of us. The woman was right. She was beautiful. I hadn't even noticed. She was nowhere near as beautiful as . . . . I looked down into my lap. That was how it always went now. I compared every woman I saw to Tanya.

"You are in love with someone else." The woman spoke it as a statement, not a question.

"I'm not sure what I am anymore," I said softly. "It has been a long time since I saw her, and I am pretty sure that I will never see her again."

The woman took my hand in hers and said, "I will tell you what my Aunt Elena always told me. Love hardly ever comes at the time of our choosing. But when it comes, we must fight for it as if it were a rare jewel."

I swallowed hard as I stared into her wise blue eyes. She was right. I nodded my head and said, "Thank you for your advice."

There was a loud vibration under the plane as the landing gear came down. Then the captain came on the speaker and told us we would be landing soon. I busied myself with packing up my stuff, and did my best to avoid the stewardess.

I walked off the plane and into the busy Sheremetyevo airport. Yeah, try saying that three times fast. I tried not to stand out as I looked around me. I saw signs that should have helped me know which way to go - if I could read Russian. I squinted my eyes as if that would somehow help me understand the unfamiliar symbols that made up the Russian alphabet. It was no use. I might as well have been on a different planet.

I walked up to the counter outside my gate and smiled. I knew just enough Russian to be dangerous. I greeted the woman and tried to tell her that I needed to find the Oksana Hotel, and hopefully someone who spoke English, or Italian, French, German or Swedish. I would take just about any language over Russian. She smiled at me and I hoped that in my feeble attempt at speaking Russian I hadn't just unknowingly asked her to take my red chicken home and beat him with a stapler. I sighed in great relief as she spoke to me in English. She had a very thick accent, but I could still understand her.

She handed me a map and traced out the route I should take. She then showed me how to exit the airport and get to where the taxis were waiting. She assured me that the taxi driver would accept American money, but that I should exchange my dollars for Rubles as soon as I was able. She handed me the map with a smile and I turned and headed off into a new country in which I was not even able to ask where to find a bathroom.

The drive was fascinating. I saw The Kremlin and St. Basil's Cathedral. The streets in downtown Moscow were very wide. Much wider than in Manhattan. Soon, we turned into the hotel drive. Most of what I knew of Russia came from movies. I expected the hotel to be sort of run down and old, but it was fairly new and quite ornate and beautiful.

According to the clock in my room, it was three o'clock in the afternoon. My watch had two different faces. One always showed American time. My watch said that in America it was 7:00 am. Eight hours earlier. I had no idea what time it really was to my body. I changed into a suit and headed to the Moscow Firm.

When I arrived, I saw a lot of bodies hustling around. That was no different from what I saw in any of the other offices I visited around the world. The young receptionist greeted me warmly. The nameplate on the desk told me her name was Karli. I was surprised to hear her speak perfect English.

"I am from Ohio," she said with a smile. "My father is the American Ambassador here, and I am working while attending Moscow State University."

I was relieved to learn that several of the employees were either European or American. She called up Conner's second in command and he met me at the front desk. This man was definitely Russian. He introduced himself as Vladimir Sokolov. He led me back to Conner's office and we walked in and shut the door.

"It's great to have you here," he said in his thick accent.

"Are there any immediate problems I should know about?" I said warily.

He shook his head. "No, not really. Things have just been a little hectic around here for the last few days. Mr. Conner took care of much that I still needed to learn." His smile was large as he said, "I am glad you are here to help us."

I stared at him for a moment. Zachary Conner and I had worked together a little in New York. Bella had actually hired him. I had always known him to be a conscientious man who prided himself in the details. He never left a job unfinished. It was uncharacteristic of him to let things slide and deteriorate to the point of getting fired.

Vladimir spent the rest of the afternoon bringing me up to speed, and then I began working on some situations that needed my attention. It was well past dark when I left the office.

I checked my voice mail and saw that I had missed two calls from my Mom. She didn't even know that I was in Russia. I knew I would have to let her know that I was going to be living here for a while. That little bit of knowledge was going to set her off and create a whole new list of questions for me.

I knew she would be worried about me. She seemed to think that when I was traveling around the world that I was staying in third world accommodations. She always asked me if I had my shots and if I was drinking the water. She didn't think traveling around the world was glamorous at all. I know inside she was wishing that I would just come home and settle down like my brother. I deleted her messages. I would call her, just not tonight. I was already tired enough.

Once I was in the taxi, I called Mr. Hathaway. That was a call I could not put off.

"You were right, Mr. Hathaway," I began. "I am going to need to be here for at least two or three months. I'm just starting to go through the backlog of paper work. It seems like Conner completely stopped doing his job around the end of August. I really don't get it. Did he ever express his unhappiness at being assigned to the Moscow Firm?"

"He wasn't assigned," Hathaway explained. "He requested the Moscow Firm."

"He requested it?"

"He heard a rumor that we were opening a branch in Russia, and he pestered me for half a year to let him run it." Hathaway paused for a moment. "I thought it strange that he wanted to go there after everything that happened with his daughter."

"Conner had a daughter?" I was surprised. I didn't know that he had a family.

Hathaway continued. "The Board expressed concern that he go back to work so quickly, but at that time his performance was flawless. He really threw himself into the job. We authorized his move to Moscow, and for the last 18 months he was been putting up some really remarkable numbers. That's why none of this makes sense."

"What happened with his daughter?"

"She was attending Moscow State University for an internship, and she was murdered about a month before she was supposed to come home."

I was shocked. "Murdered?"

"I never knew many details. He didn't talk about it."

It didn't surprise me that Mr. Hathaway didn't know any of the details. He wasn't exactly the type that I would search out to talk about anything personal.

"Mr. Hathaway, do you know how I can reach Conner?"

There was an uncomfortable pause before he answered. "The thing is, the last time I heard from him was a week ago. He hasn't answered any of the firm's calls. One of my assistants tracked down his ex-wife and she can't even find him."

"Conner is missing?" The driver looked back at me in alarm.

"Apparently." Hathaway seemed more angry than alarmed. "We alerted the police three days ago and they haven't been able to tell us anything," he added.

The driver pulled in front of my hotel. I sat stunned, making no move to get out of the car.

"Simmons, you there?" He growled.

"Yeah, yeah I'm here," I mumbled.

"Call me tomorrow and let me know how things are progressing," he barked.

"Sure thing," I said. I was positive he was talking about the firm and its ability to continue being profitable, not about the fact that one of his employees was missing, and perhaps in danger . . . or worse.

I got in my room and lay down in an exhausted heap on the bed. Questions were swirling around me.

Why would Zachary Conner want to come to Russia, the place where his daughter was murdered? Why would his work performance be so great and then in a matter of weeks, have everything fall apart? Did he come here with an ulterior motive to investigate what happened to his daughter? Did he get too close to the answer? Did the same people who hurt his daughter come after him? I shook my head. I had probably watched one too many crime dramas. Still, none of this made sense.

The next morning, I went straight to Karli the receptionist. She and Conner's daughter had been attending Moscow State University at the same time. I wondered if she could give me more information.

"Karli, did you ever hear about what happened to Zachary Conner's daughter?"

For a moment, she looked surprised at my abrupt question, then she nodded her head sadly. "You mean, Olivia Conner."

She shivered slightly before she finished. "The whole thing was just so unsettling. I still think about it sometimes. I was a Freshman here and it was in all the papers."

I leaned closer. "What happened to her?"

She winced as she said, "Well, she was found just outside her apartment. It was early in the morning and some joggers were just leaving the building. The papers said that she was probably killed somewhere else, and then brought back after she was dead."

That was strange. Usually a killer tried to hide the body rather than make it easy to find. "Go on, please," I urged.

Karli took a deep breath and continued. "The reason the police figured she was killed somewhere else was because there wasn't a trace of blood found anywhere near her body, but she had completely . . . ." she trailed off.

"Completely what?"

Her eyes closed for a moment. "Well, there wasn't a drop of blood left in her body."

I blinked in amazement. "She had no blood left in her body?"

She shook her head. "None at all. And what made it even more strange was that aside from a small cut near her collarbone, there was not a scratch on her. Not a bruise or a broken bone. The papers said that she had been laid carefully at the bottom of the stairway, like the person was sorry for what he had done."

"That's terrible," I breathed.

She pushed out a gush of air. "It scared all of us at the University for quite a while. My parents wouldn't let me go anywhere alone. But, eventually, the police figured they knew who did it."

My eyes widened. "They caught her killer?"

Karli shook her head again. "No, they never caught him, but all the fingers pointed to her boyfriend. His name was, Nikolai. They were together for about three months. Things got pretty serious. They were almost inseparable, and then after Olivia was found dead, no one ever saw him again."

I agreed, that was pretty suspicious. "Karli, do you know if Mr. Conner investigated Olivia's death while he was working here?"

She nodded her head. "I know he talked to the police regularly. He knew as much as anyone did about the case. I wouldn't say he was obsessed, but he was probably like any parent would be in the same situation, you know?"

"Is there anything else you can tell me about this story?"

She shook her head. "Sorry, Mr. Simmons. That's pretty much all I know."

I thanked her and walked back to my office. I could certainly see why Conner would request to be here. He wouldn't have been able to find out anything when he was half a world away. What an awful way to lose his daughter, I thought.

For the next two days, I was mired in work. There was so much to be done that I didn't have time to think much about Conner. But the following Monday, two policemen came to the office asking questions. Zachary Conner had been missing for almost two weeks, and now things were becoming more serious. He still had not checked in with anyone. His family was very worried.

The officers wanted to talk to all the employees individually. I insisted that all the questioning take place in my office, and that I was allowed to be there for the interviews. All of them were fairly routine. I was lamenting the fact that this had been a waste of a work day. None of the employees had anything to say that would give any hint of what happened to Zach Conner.

Until they got to the last interview of the day. Her name was Svetlana.

Svetlana was a short, plump, older woman that was hired by Zachary Conner to be his personal assistant. She didn't talk much to the others in the office, she just did what she was told and left around 5:00 every day. She was very efficient at her job. I say that she didn't socialize much with the others, but that didn't keep her from being fairly observant.

From the beginning of Conner's days in the office, she saw that he was very involved in the investigation of his daughter, Olivia. He would talk on the phone at least once a day with the men that were in charge of the case. Svetlana thought he was a very nice boss, and a kind man, and that was why she became so worried about him the last month of his employment.

She said that he started acting very nervous, and that she could see him frequently pacing in his office as he spoke on the phone. She heard him once on the phone when he raised his voice saying, "I need protection! I figured out their secret!"

That would have been unsettling enough, but she wasn't done.

One night, about two weeks ago, she was uncharacteristically staying late. She said that Mr. Conner was acting stranger than usual, and she was trying to help him by taking care of unfinished work. She was faxing documents to New York, when she saw three people walk into the lobby and head straight for Conner's office. The front main door had been locked and she had no idea how they had gotten in.

What made it even more disturbing for her, was that even though it was dark, she got a pretty good view of the visitors, and they frightened her.

She had a crucifix dangling on a chain around her neck, and while she talked to the detectives, she took a hold of it before she continued. I leaned forward and concentrated very hard on her words.

"There were two men and one woman," she said in broken English. "They were more beautiful than anyone else I ever see. Their skin was so white. They walked like their feet were barely touching ground. When they get closer, I see that they had dark bruises under their eyes, and the color of their eyes was not real, two had red eyes, and one have color of gold."

She told the officers that the three glanced over at her before walking into Conner's office. She was very nervous as she continued relating her story to the policemen.

"Mr. Conner spoke to them in a loud voice. He was very angry man. I know I should have stayed, but I was too afraid. I finish my fax and then I grab my purse and run out of office. I must get home to my son."

She was fingering the crucifix nervously as she finished. "Mr. Conner not come to office the next morning. I never see him again."

I was frozen as I listened to her. She said they were extremely beautiful. She talked about their white skin and their almost unearthly grace. She had mentioned the purplish bruises under their eyes. I could vividly picture the exact gold she was speaking of. I had been haunted by it every night for months. My fingers began to shake.

The men leaned closer to her. This was the most information they had to go on by far. The head officer eagerly licked his lips and said, "You must give us a better description of the three individuals you saw that night."

She began with the two men, and aside from the description she had already given, she did not have much else to tell. One was tall, a little over six feet, and had long dark hair that fell to his shoulders. She reminded them again about his red eyes. The man at the ball flashed in my mind. The other man was more muscular and stocky, with brown hair.

Svetlana explained that they spoke so quietly that she could not describe their voices. She didn't notice any marks on them or outstanding characteristics that would make them stand out in any way. Oh except for the whole attractiveness and gracefulness thing, I thought. And, oh yes, the red and golden eyes. Wasn't that enough? Couldn't the police just put out an alert that said if they happened to come across any person with red eyes they should go ahead and bring him or her in for questioning?

I then realized that I was leaning in and sitting even closer than the officers. My hands were gripping the armrests and my teeth were clenched. The officers looked at me suspciously, and I relaxed and slowly sat back in my chair. I forced myself to remain calm as they asked her to describe the woman.

Svetlana's eyes narrowed as she fought for the memory. "The woman, she had very long hair, very pretty. It was a different color."

Svetlana seemed frustrated that she couldn't think of the right word in English so that I would also understand. She turned to the second officer and spoke in lightning fast Russian. When she finished, he turned to me and spoke slowly.

"She says that the woman's hair was strawberry blond."

An image of how Tanya's hair felt and smelled as it ran through my fingers flashed across my mind. I could feel the heat building under my shirt collar.

Svetlana continued. "Her body was long, graceful. Her face so beautiful. She look right at me as she pass. I never hear her speak."

She relaxed into her chair and said softly, "I sorry, that is all I know."

Both hands were around her crucifix now. She hated being there and having to talk to them. The officers sat back frustrated that they were not able to get better descriptions. She stood up and said, "Please may I go?"

The head detective nodded his head, but stated that he would probably need to speak to her again. Her brow was furrowed as she walked swiftly to the door, but as her hand touched the doorknob, she stopped. Her head snapped up as she took in a quick breath and spoke quietly in Russian.

"Did you remember something else?" The detective asked anxiously.

She turned back around to the men and began speaking rapidly in Russian and the officers put out their hands and asked her to slow down.

"I just remember more," she said breathlessly in her broken English. "I must have been so afraid that I not remember until just this moment."

"Please go on," urged the first dectective.

"When the three go in the room and I hear Mr. Conner yelling, I hear him say, ‘How do I know they won't find me', and then I hear him say the pretty girl's name." We all leaned in closer.

"Mr. Conner called her Tanya."

I was staring right at Svetlana, but my eyes were looking far past her. I was frozen in shock. I fought to keep control of myself until the officers were out of the room. If Svetlana or the men said anything else, I didn't hear it. As soon as they left the room, my head went into my hands as I forced air into my lungs.

Was there a chance that this was all a coincidence?

I didn't think so.

What in the hell was Tanya doing here?

Did she do something to Zach Conner?

Was she the bad guy?

All of the sudden, Tanya's words came to me again; "I won't pull you into my world."

Just what kind of world was it?

There was something wrong here. Very wrong.

My body was quaking as new thoughts came to me.

Svetlana had been afraid as she described the three visitors. Their appearance had been strange and upsetting to her.

Had I really been so blind before?

Had I really been so ignorant that I had not noticed that there was something vastly different about Tanya?

No normal person had her kind of grace.

No normal person had her cold, hard, granite skin.

And what about Edward Cullen and his family?

What was really going on here?

Was I really so unintelligent?

I knew why I had not detected anything that night at the ball. I was so wrapped up in what I was feeling for Tanya that nothing could have swayed me from my raging thoughts.

But Edward?

The only explanation I could come up with was that in every context regarding Edward and his family, things had always been in a boardroom. It wasn't until now, that I saw their appearances associated with darker things, that I finally realized the danger.

I felt nauseous. I needed to hear a voice of reason. A voice that would help me see what an idiot I was to even think such nonsense.

Please, I begged, Let it be nonsense.

I needed answers, and I knew there was only one person who could help me.

I rushed out of the office. I had to be alone and call Bella.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

I sat on the edge of my hotel bed staring at the phone in my hand. As I saw it, there were only two outcomes to this phone call.

One, Bella would think I had gone insane, or two, Bella would find out I discovered a secret that seriously, I should have figured out a long time ago. The problem was that I hadn't talked to Bella for over three months.

After the first few weeks of leaving messages and getting nothing in return, I realized that she was blowing me off. I could take a hint. I had tried twice since then, but there was nothing. I wondered if this call would even make a difference.

If she answered, I was worried if mine and Bella's friendship could survive the call. We had been through a lot, that was true. But, this was taking things to a whole new personal level.

Finally, I began to dial the phone. As much as I hated to admit it, there was one argument that kept winning out over all the others. I could find out more of the mystery surrounding Tanya.

It wasn't until after four or five rings that I realized I had no idea what time it was wherever Bella happened to be. If she intended to answer the phone, she would usually do so on the first few rings. If she let it go longer than that, it meant she had no intention of answering. The phone rang for a while then went to her voicemail. I knew it wouldn't do any good, but for the next hour I called her every five minutes with the same results. I decided my last resort was to send a text. If she could just read what I had to say, perhaps it would make her call.

"I have a question about red eyes and golden eyes. Tanya may be in trouble with the police. - Simmons."

About ten seconds later my phone rang.


I didn't know who this was on the other end, but it wasn't Bella. I wasn't in the mood for games.

"I need to speak to Bella," I demanded.

There was a lengthy pause, a large sigh, and then, "Simmons, it's me."

"It . . . .it doesn't sound like you, Bella."

"I've been a little sick, just getting over a cold."

I didn't believe her for a second. My heart began to pound. The last time I saw Bella, she was normal. As normal as she had ever been. Now, her voice sounded more like Edward's sister. Was her name Alice? Why in the hell would she lie to me? Who ever heard of a cold making your voice sound like a cross between a child's voice and a wind chime? I tried to make my voice sound calm.

"Bella, what's going on?"

"Nothing is going on, Simmons." She said it with conviction. High-pitched conviction. The attitude was still there. That was the only way I knew it was her. I knew she could keep up this crap as long as she wanted to. I had seen her do it in the conference room multiple times.

"Look, Bella. You're not going to level with me, I get it. But, for just a moment, I need you to just listen. I'm in Russia. I've been here for a few weeks. I . . . . ."

"You're in Russia?" Bella interrupted me.

"Yes, Bella. I had to take over here because Hathaway fired Zach Conner. He began messing up, big time. And now it turns out, that Conner went missing two weeks ago."


"Yes, missing. I always wondered why Conner had been so eager to come to Russia. A few days ago I found out why. Last summer his daughter was killed in a bizarre way by someone she knew at the University. Zach became pretty obsessed with finding her killer."

"A secretary here had a very intriguing story to tell, Bella. It seems that one night after everyone but she and Conner had left the office, three very beautiful people came to see him. She said they had very pale skin, and seemed to glide across the floor. She distinctly remembers strange purplish bruises under their eyes and a gold color around the woman's pupils, and red around the men's."

I paused a moment to see if Bella would respond.


I continued.

"The story gets a little stranger, because the night that the three very graceful visitors came to call, was also the last time anyone ever saw Conner."

Here was the question. I swallowed hard and went on. "So, Bella. Is there anything about this story that sounds even vaguely familiar to you?"

She didn't answer. I began pacing. This was far beyond exasperating. I hadn't heard from her in months, she sounded completely different, and now she wasn't answering any of my questions.

I sighed hard and said, "Bella, Zach's daughter died in the strangest way."

Still no answer.

I kept talking.

"My receptionist said that she was found right outside her apartment with all the blood drained out of her. They could find no wounds except for a small cut near her collarbone."

She still wasn't talking.


The silence continued in a very long and frustrating way. I could feel my temper rising. She wasn't answering me anyway, so I might as well ask a question I knew she wouldn't answer.

"What's with the new voice, Bella?"


If she hung up, I knew I would never hear from her again. As good as the Cullens were about staying secretive, I knew there was no chance of me ever finding her. I remembered how hard it had been to uncover "Mr. C". I couldn‘t let her just hang up that phone.

"Bella," I began in a much more pathetic voice, "The night Conner disappeared the secretary heard him yelling at someone, she heard him call the woman Tanya. Bella, please. Say you'll help me. What if Tanya is in trouble? What if she is in danger . . . . Bella, are you there?"

"Simmons, wait. . . ." I relaxed a little. At least she hadn't hung up on me.

Suddenly, there was a new voice on the other end.


"Hello, Edward," I said with relief.

"We'll be there in 24 hours."

My voice caught with surprise. "Great, where can I meet you . . .?"

There was a click and he was gone.

I hung up the phone with guarded satisfaction. There was a chance for answers now. Answers to a lot of things. Including questions that had been plaguing me for months.