Chapter XXI. December
Cooper clicked his tongue behind his teeth. More waiting. He hated waiting. If it were up to him, there would have been no waiting. In fact, if it had been up to him, the deed would already be done and the team would be sitting around the table toasting their accomplishment. Or they would be behind bars since his way consisted of many illegal acts. Or they would be dead because his way was a little rash based on instinct and very little thought. He could see the logic in Ant’s plan. It was a solid plan. Well thought out, many years in the making. Cooper could recognize the value in it when his thoughts of revenge didn’t overtake him. He conceded actual revenge was better than dying without bringing his mother’s murderer to justice. So, he waited.
Cooper could not sleep.
He felt frustrated that he couldn’t sleep, after all, he was bored. That’s what happened when things became too routine and his life had become so routine it was in a rut. Since June when Team Coop (he was the only one that called them that, everyone else still referred to them as Luck’s Team) apprehended not only one of the most notorious terrorist masterminds known simply as The Sheik but also one of the world’s most dangerous assassins known simply as Donovan, his team worked non-stop catching all sorts of known baddies. With each successful mission, the team seemed to level up. Each nefarious person they caught was a little worse than the previous one. Ant and Al were aware of the caliber of their missions, novice Malone sensed the intensity of each succeeding mission, but Cooper could not care less. His focus had rested solely on finding the man who murdered his mother. After each successful mission, he expected the next one would be to chase the man who killed his mom. But Ant said that wasn’t how it worked. So, for now, Cooper did what was asked of him but his mind often drifted to his mom’s case when other matters didn’t occupy it.
VII. 16 years ago
Liz Baldwin stood at the kitchen sink washing dishes. She had a dishwasher but when she had a lot on her mind, she preferred to wash dishes by hand. Keeping her hands busy helped with the racing thoughts. Her husband Jo was working late. Again. Conveniently enough. He had dropped a bombshell before he left for work that morning about a promotion. While a promotion seemed like a good thing Liz also knew it would involve a lot more work which translated to more time. More time at the office and away from home. Jo already devoted so much time and energy to the office. She preferred him to spend more time and energy at home with her and Cooper. Their son was growing up, he was already nine. Soon he would be a teenager and then all to quickly he’d leave for college. Liz knew now was the time for a father and son bond to develop.