"Hey, Marcy," FBI Handler Joe Renato greeted his personal secretary as he entered his office.
"Hi, Joe," the attractive, dark-skinned secretary replied. "Here's your mail, and your phone messages."
"Thanks." Joe took the stack of mail and messages, whistling softly to himself as he sat down in the chair behind his desk.
He noticed the small television in the far corner of the room was tuned to a local news channel, with the volume turned down low.
Having accidentally overslept that morning, Joe had been forced to skip his usual routine of watching the early news while leisurely getting ready for work.
Maybe I can watch some news after all, he thought to himself with a twinge of satisfaction.
"Hey...turn that up, would you?" he requested.
"Sure." Marcy picked up a small remote control from the corner of her tidy desk and increased the television volume.
"...Ground Zero of the city's Lund building," a news reporter briefly relayed into a live-feed camera. "Sources say a bomb was detonated in this building roughly twenty minutes ago. There are no reports of survivors at this time."
At Joe's sharp intake of breath, Marcy glanced up from the papers on her desk. "Are you all right?"
Joe's eyes were glued to the television screen, an unfamiliar and overwhelming sense of panic seeping through his veins.
"Joe?" Marcy was concerned, to say the least. She had never seen her boss turn that pale before—not once in her eight years of working for him.
"Lily was in that building," Joe gasped.
Marcy's jaw dropped as she stared at him. "Are you sure?"
"I left her there less than an hour ago," he choked out. "She's working a money-laundering case."
"Oh, god," Marcy whispered, shifting her line of sight to the devastating rubble displayed on the television.
Pulling out his phone and quickly punching in seven digits, he willed Lily to answer the line and tell him she was okay.
But the only answer he got was a recorded voice stating, "The number you have dialed cannot be reached. Please disconnect and redial—"
Joe ended the connection and tried again, with identical results.
Ignoring the faint squeezing in his chest, he pocketed his cell phone, snatched up his keys and headed for the door. "Hold down the fort," he tossed over his shoulder.
"Wait—where are you going?" Marcy called after him.
"To find Lily."