the window seat on the school bus. Again. A grin tugged at her lips... of course that might depend on who was asking, and how good the candy was. She decided not to rule anything out for the time being.
The writer stood up and straightened the belt to her russet-colored slacks, sparing a wistful thought for the blue jeans she didn't think she'd be seeing a lot of in the next four years. Then, out of the corner of her eye, she saw it. Should I? She thought for a moment then nodded. "I think we've got a minute, Grem. Let's call him, huh?" Lauren chuckled. "Let's just hope this doesn't give Wayne that heart attack he's been worrying over for the past five years. Because he is going to die when I tell him where I ended up staying."
The second shelf of the dark nightstand slid out, forming a small table, making the phone easily accessible from the bed, but still keeping it mostly hidden from view, so as not to spoil the decor of the room.
The blonde woman opened her mouth to give the voice command to 'call', but stopped when she got a good look at the smooth machine. It didn't have a voice box on the top. "Huh." Must be a genuine old phone. Next she picked up the receiver and stared at the cord, pulling at it a few times and looking slightly annoyed. "Pain in the... okay, I can do it the hard way." She lifted the receiver and flipped it over to press the button pad, but there wasn't one. In fact, there was no visible way to call anyone.
Suddenly, a genuine smile lit up Lauren's face. "Hot damn, Gremlin." The dog finally took a running jump and was able to make it onto the bed. His tail wiggled furiously in victory, and his beady, black eyes fixed on the object in his mistress' hand. "It's the Bat Phone!"
A light knocking sound drew Lauren and Gremlin's attention to the door. "Time to go meet the miniature humans. Wish me luck, boy." She waggled her finger at the mutt. "No... you can't come." She almost ordered him off the beautiful comforter but shrugged instead. If she was going to live here, this would be Grem's home too. And he'd be up there for bed tonight anyway. "Just be careful," she pleaded, straightening the pillow Gremlin had mashed in his excitement. "Martha Washington or somebody probably made that. And I don't want to have to take out a loan to replace it."
The dog jumped to the edge of the bed to follow her, but hesitated when he looked down at the floor. He whined softly.
"Uh huh. Now you're stuck, aren't you?" Lauren laughed as she made her way to the door. "Serves you right."
She opened the door to find Michael Oaks standing there. Lauren was vaguely disappointed. Why was I expecting Devlyn? She looked over the slender black man's shoulder. "What? No reinforcements this time?"
Michael stiffened at her reference to his visit to Nashville. "The Secret Service agent assigned to this hall is properly positioned at his post, Ms. Strayer. I assure you. I saw no reason to bring him to the door." He tucked his purple necktie deeper behind his suit coat. "You're ready, I assume?"
"Yes.... err... no... just one minute." Lauren dashed back to the desk perched against the wall opposite the bed. Digging into a bag, she pulled out a camera and quickly slid in a fresh roll of film. She waited to click the cover closed before she spoke. "Now I'm ready."
"You can't..." He pointed toward the camera. "That's not..." he began to sputter.
Lauren arched an eyebrow. " Full access, Mr. Oaks. These will be for my own research purposes, not for publication. And I already have David McMillian's full permission. Do you outrank him?" she asked innocently, inwardly chuckling.
"Well, umm... of course not." Michael's frustration began to mount. "But..."
"Get over it." She looked back down at her watch. "We're going to be late. Shall we continue to stand here and discuss it?" Lauren was fully aware of how much she was annoying the aide, and she was loving every minute of