The End of the Beginning: Chapter 2 (1)
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Tim had remained oddly calm throughout the day until shortly before Bob and Vladimir were slated to give their joint speech. Marcus had given him his space, saying little when they were together and leaving him alone when they were in their rooms. The men walked side by side as they exited the elevators into the lobby before Tim stopped.

“I’m heading outside for a few minutes,” he said, looking at Marcus.

Marcus nodded and went his own way as Tim headed to the exit. The latter took a deep breath and stepped outside beneath the shadow of the hotel’s grand entryway, absorbing the desert quietude. The hotel was the only structure for miles, and it stood with solitary indifference atop the large hill, leaving civilization to fend for itself on the flatlands far off....

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