October 20, 1979
The phone was sounding louder than usual when Jackís hand flew over to the nightstand and fumbled around before he picked up the receiver. His eyes squinted at the clock as he at last found the phone, and picked it up. It was 4:50AM, and considering the fact he and Laura didnít get back home until after midnight, and they still hadnít gone to sleep immediately as they both wanted to make love until the morning was in its wee hours, neither had had much sleep. So when Jack answered the phone, his tone of voice was less than cheerful, and he decided if this was Grady calling him when he was supposed to be getting some time off from the Agency, his handler was going to get an earful.
"Jonathan Bristow?" an unfamiliar voice responded on the other end.
Hearing his given name instead of the name most people referred to him by cut through the fog of sleepiness in his mind, and Jack set up, "Yes, this is he."
"Mr. Bristow this is Sergeant Kerner of the downtown precinct," the voice identified itself, "Sir, I am sorry to have to tell you this but your sister Janine Neumann and her husband Bryan Neumann were both in a car accident approximately 2:26AM this morning."
"Are they all right?" Jack asked quietly as fear shot throughout him.
"Sir, Mr. Neumann died almost instantly but Mrs. Neumann was found alive but unconscious," the sergeant explained.
By now Laura was also awake and sitting up in bed, "Jack, whatís wrong? Whatís happened?"
"Janine and Bryan were in a car accident," Jack explained, and Laura gasped when he told her Bryan was dead, "Janine is at the hospital."
Lauraís eyes were wide as she said, "Jack, the baby, did she lose the baby?"
"Where did they take my sister, sergeant?" Jack asked. "Do you know if she lost the baby?" As he spoke he threw back the sheet that was wrapped around him, and walked the short distance to the dresser to pull out some clothes.
"Oh Iím sorry, Mr. Bristow, but youíve misunderstood me," Kernerís voice was sad, "Iím sorry, sir, but your sisterís injuries were very extensive and the medics did everything they could to keep her alive but she died on the way to the hospital."
Upon hearing the words, she died on the way to the hospital Jack sat back down heavily on the bed nearly dropping the phone as he did so. "W-what? Sheís what?" he asked in a voice of disbelief.
"Jack, what is it?" Laura asked.
"Mrs. Neumann passed away," the sergeant repeated. "And I know how you must be feeling, Mr. Bristow, but we need you to come down to the morgue to confirm the identity of the bodies." The sergeantís voice was not unkind and he waited patiently a moment for an answer from Jack before he said, "Mr. Bristow?"
"Yeah, Iíll be right down," Jack said.
Jack didnít seem to notice that the sergeant had hung up until he heard the dial tone scream in his ear. How fast things change, he thought as he finally placed the phone back into its cradle. Only hours ago he and Laura had met with Janine and Bryan for dinner because Janine had said she had some news she wanted to share with her big brother. The dinner had quickly turned into a celebration as Janine announced she was pregnant and that the baby was due around the time of their motherís birthday in April.