“I am not dying,” Arlette Xylander banged her hands on the steering wheel and yelled out loud. “I don’t have to believe it.” She dug in her handbag for a tissue and dabbed at the angry tears. She found a space, pulled to a halt in the parking lot and blew her nose. She let out a gut-wrenching sob and forced back others that wanted to follow.
She sneered at herself in the mirror. “Get a grip. Now your face is a total mess.”
The label on the eyedrops said they would get the red out. She poured liberal amounts into both eyes, and with shaking hands, she wiped the mascara that had run down her cheeks, her jaw clamped tight. She had to stop her hands from shaking, but how? Her whole body was still reverberating from the shock. Her mouth was dry and her stomach clenched tight.
She took a deep breath, and another. Would nothing slow down her racing heartbeats? She threw her head back and rested it on the back of the seat. Tears threatened again, but she forced them back.
Still fighting to control her runaway emotions, she thrust her feet into the red high heel sandals and jumped down from the truck, dragging her handbag with her. She took a few more deep breaths and squared her shoulders.
A few minutes later she entered the red brick FBI building on shaky legs, and, after showing her ID to security, headed for the elevator.
She peered through the glass door of Chad Kingsley’s office. Another man sat across from him, with his back to the door.
She unclenched her fists and flexed her fingers, and took a few more deep breaths before she knocked. Chad lifted his gaze from the paperwork, and beckoned. She opened the door and stepped inside, closing it carefully behind her.
“Arlette. Thanks for coming in so quickly. Let me introduce you.” His open palm pointed to the stranger, who stood up and turned around to face her.
His dark blonde untidy hair framed a square jaw and straight nose. He was heart-stoppingly handsome.
“Andre Rossouw,” his gray-green eyes flicked across her breasts before he lifted them to stare into her face. She noticed an old scar running from the corner of his right eye across his cheek. It didn’t detract from his good looks, but rather it made him more interesting. Make that stand-and-stare-with-your-mouth-open handsome. She closed her mouth and took the offered hand.
“This is Arlette Xylander,” she heard Chad speak, but she felt like she was underwater. “The psychic I told you about.”
He held onto her hand for a few seconds more than necessary. “I didn’t expect you to be so…” he said, and slowly released his grip.