"Sammie!" Jeff bellows as he steps out of the elevator. He looks briefly to left and right, then spots Phoebe at the dining room table.
"Phoebe, where's Sammie?" he growls low in his throat, as he takes a menacing step onto the marble entryway.
The two henchmen block his passage. Jeff draws his semi-automatic in a fluid single movement, and presses it up against one goon's forehead.
"Back off Henry. That goes for you too Ian," Jeff warns between clenched teeth. "Call off the muscle Phoebe, or I swear to God you're going to lose one dense neanderthal!"
She turns in her chair with a heavy sigh of annoyance, and waves the men away. They back off, and Jeff roughly shoves Henry away.
"Tsk, tsk, tsk. Such drama. I don't know where your trashy little girlfriend is, nor do I care. I'm more concerned that I'm missing something from my present. Where is it?"
Phoebe nods towards the dining room table, where the contents of four fat white envelopes are spread out over its surface. Canadian Dollars, British Pounds, European Euros, and Japanese Yen. Not a single American Dollar to be found.
"I have it, but you're not getting it until you tell me where Sammie is. She was supposed to meet me here."
" She isn't here. I have no idea where she is, but her three rodent buddies are tied up in your bedroom," she says with a snide undertone of dislike.
"They better not be hurt, or you'll have me to answer to," he says as the phone in his back pocket buzzes violently. He pulls it out, reads the text message, then puts it back in his pocket.
"Sammie's on her way. I guess I can give you the rest of your present, now."
Jeff pulls an envelope out of an inside pocket of his jacket, and walks toward her. His shoes crunch on small shards of the antique mirror that Phoebe has so recently murdered. He just walks over them. It'll all be permanently embedded in the carpet after tonight, anyway.
"There you go, go nuts," he says as he slaps the envelope onto the table in front of her.
Phoebe grabs it and tears it open eagerly. She begins counting the wad of American dollars, as happy as a pig in puke. Jeff regards Henry and Ian, who have resumed guard at the entryway.
"Are you two hungry? There's half a roast chicken, and some sliced beef in the fridge. Help yourselves," he says as he jerks his thumb in the direction of the kitchen.
They glance towards Phoebe for guidance, but she is too busy counting money to show any interest in them. Ian shrugs and heads towards the kitchen. Henry follows. Jeff walks down the hall and enters the bedroom. He leans his back against the door after he closes and locks it.
" You! Where the Hell is Sammie?" Sarah struggles furiously against her bonds, when she sees him.
Jeff puts one index finger to his lips. "Shhhhhh ... I'll tell you everything, but you have to be quiet, and do exactly as I tell you," he says softly as he goes to the bed.
He unties them all, and they jump off the bed. He crawls beneath the four poster, and pulls a piece of the baseboard out, which operates on an inner hinge. He presses a sequence on the keypad hidden behind it. The section of wall behind the head of the bed recedes into the left hand corner, like a pocket door. It reveals a hidden room. Jeff crawls into it from under the bed, then stands up, and motions the others forward.
"Come in and sit down. I'll be back shortly," he says as he strides purposely to the bedroom door and unlocks it. He joins the others, and punches in a sequence on the safe room wall. The entry door slides across, hiding Jeff's bedroom completely. The others wait patiently in the oak panelled room, which is simply furnished with a long leather couch and two lounge chairs. A glass topped coffee table holds a few magazines. It's like an affluent doctor's waiting room - comfortable, but not a place you want to spend a lot of time in.
"I locked the other door so no one could come in while this safe room was open. I had to unlock it again, or there would be no explanation as to how you escaped. My apartment is going to become very busy in a matter of moments, and I want you safely out of the way, while events unfold as they are planned. The wall between this room and my bedroom is doubly insulated and sound proofed. Whatever happens over there won't affect us."
Jeff pulls a fire extinguisher off its mounting on the wall, then stands with his phone open, ready to take a call.
"When I get the signal, I'm going to open the safe room door. Melissa, be vigilant. We may have to leave quickly. Sarah, the keypad passcode is Sammie's birth date. Close the sliding door when I get Sammie safely through. Dom, Sarah said you were shot at in her voice mail, and I noticed the bloody pillow case when I untied you. How bad is your wound? Can you handle a fire extinguisher?"
"It's only a graze. No biggie. What do you need me to do?" Dom answers.
"Stand guard beside the bedroom door. If anyone comes through it after Sammie, use this fire extinguisher on them. No one gets through except Sammie, got it?"
"Got it," Dom says as he goes and picks up the extinguisher. Everyone waits, not a word is said. When Jeff's phone buzzes, there is a general intake of breath. Tensions increase in the room as he reads the message.
"We have ten minutes at best. Dom, take a pillow case and cover your nose and mouth. There's going to be a smoke bomb out there," Jeff says as he opens the safe room door.
Dom does as directed. He pulls the metal pin at the top of the heavy extinguisher that releases the locking mechanism, and holds the nozzle at the ready. Jeff joins Dom, with similar protection on his face. He points the pistol towards the door.
A high pitched scream emanating from the dining room pierces the silence. Loud shouts and sporadic gunfire add noise and confusion, as acrid smoke curls up under the bedroom door. Without warning, it bursts open, and slams against the wall away from Dom and Jeff.
Sammie sprints through, one hand over her mouth and nose, her eyes streaming from the smoke. Phoebe is right behind her.
"Oh no you don't sunshine, you're not going anywhere," Phoebe screams as she yanks two fistfuls of Sammie's hair hard, to drag her back into the hallway.
"Don't bet on it!" Dom yells as he jumps forward and squeezes the handle of the Class A extinguisher, which releases 9.46 litres of pressurized water, right into Phoebe's face. She releases her grip, and falls backwards with a screech.