“Arthur!” shouted Bobby, before Beatrice could elaborate, “You need to check this out.”
Arthur hurried over to Bobby with Beatrice following cautiously behind him; as she reached his station, she saw live footage streaming on the left monitor, and a three-by-three grid of other surveillance locations, cycling every fifteen seconds on the right monitor. However, she was drawn to the center screen, where Janelle, her boys, and Gerald Jr. walked into the bakery. This changed to a traffic camera shot of Janelle and Gerald driving together, then switched to the first time the cousins ambushed her apartment with Janelle and Gerald Jr. walking out of the camera’s range. As Beatrice gazed at the changing scenes, she listened to Arthur and Bobby’s exchange.
“I don’t know how I missed it before, but it happens again and again. From the time they arrived to ten minutes ago. Janelle is more important than we originally thought,” Bobby explained.
“I’m sorry,” Beatrice interjected, “What is so important about Janelle and Gerald Jr. being seen together?”
Bobby turned to Beatrice, his face a mixture of confusion and pity, “It’s not just that they are together. They are together in private, evading the cameras, and causing interference. All signs of knowing they’re being watched.”
As the center monitor changed to an interior shot of the bakery, Beatrice could see Janelle and Gerald Jr.’s mouths moving in conversation, but was overcome with the gut-wrenching sensation of time going into warp-speed and then slowing to the pace of snail. Once the sensation passed, the screen, too, changed.
“See?!” Bobby exclaimed, “The two of them are up to something bigger than we thought.”
“Dig into footage from past appearances,” Arthur started, “Find out if these private conversations and this wacked-out sensation are on-going or new. Update me by noon.”
“Beatrice,” Arthur turned with a concerned smile, “Let’s finish our conversation.” Beatrice tried to put on a brave face, but was terrified of what would happen when they talked. Perhaps sensing her hesitation, Arthur gently reached for her hand and instead of taking her to the tiny kitchen table, led her out the apartment door, and into the parking lot.
“You looked like you could use some air,” he whispered, “Every time we catch a break, another problem seems to surface. What’s yours?”
Beatrice spoke quickly, afraid if she didn’t get it out in one breath, she never would, “I couldn’t hear what you were so excited about in the kitchen. I mean that – sensation – hit while you were talking… Like I wasn’t allowed to hear you, like we can’t hear where my cousins go. I think they know. Janelle and Gerald. They know something and will ruin all the good in my life. Again.”
Back at Beatrice’s apartment, Janelle pulled Gerald Jr. aside. “So far everything is going great, Gerald, but we both know, we can’t leave them behind this time. Birdie and Aunt Te-Te have to come with us.” Gerald simply smirked in response.