Found

“Where could she be?” I asked Charlie as we made our way back inside the hotel room, closing the French doors that lead out to the balcony.

“I have no idea.” Charlie mumbled as he began to pace.

“Back at the Camp?” I suggested.

“No.” He whispered.

“Do you guys have some sort of safe house she could have gone to?” I asked as I sat on the edge of the bed.

“None that she knows of.” He replied, staring at his feet.

I sighed, “What about her apartment? Would she have gone there?” I asked.

Charlie stopped walking, “Possibly.”

“Maybe she went to grab her things,” I shrugged, “Let her girlfriend know what’s going on?”

“Maybe.” Charlie said with a small nod as he pulled out his phone and dialed a number, “Liam, its me. Kate and I will meet you at the hospital in ten minutes. We’re going to check out Anna’s loft in LaJeunesse, you’re coming with us.” He ordered before he hung up the phone.

“Liam’s coming?” I asked in surprise as I watched him walk over to the bed.

“Yes. Get dressed.” He said, tossing me a pair of black cargo pants.

I did as he asked and ignored the fact that I could feel him becoming distant again. It’s not fair, I thought to myself as I pulled on my pants and black t-shirt, he thinks its okay to change so dramatically within minutes. It’s like the second he lets himself truly enjoy a moment, he realizes he’s vulnerable and pushes me away.

“You ready?” He asked, handing me a jacket.

“Yes.” I mumbled before I followed him out the door.

 

***

 

We arrived in the town of LaJeunesse just as everyone was getting out of work. The ride was long and peaceful; Charlie and Liam talked softly in the front as I stretched out in the back, watching the trees go by at eighty miles per hour. Once we found where Anna lived, Liam hopped out of the truck and jogged to the apartment building in hopes of talking to a neighbor while Charlie and I parked around the corner and waited.

“What are we going to do if we find her?” I asked him.

Charlie tapped his three middle fingers on the steering wheel as he thought about his answer, “I don’t know, Kate. We have to find a way to convince her, again, to take the blame and make it stick until her court date.” He sighed, “Even then she could be a flight risk.”

I frowned, “Is this a bad idea?” I asked nervously.

Charlie looked over his shoulder at me with a determined look in his eyes, “We don’t have a choice.”

Liam jumped back into the truck seconds later, “No one has seen her.” He sighed, “Her girlfriend comes home every night after work, but there has been no sign of Anna.” He informed us.

“Well, where does her girlfriend work?” Charlie asked him.

“There.” I said, pointing at the night club a block away, “She’s a performer there.”

“Performer as in, stripper?” Charlie asked with a raised brow.

“No, she hangs from the ceiling from these long pieces of fabric and dances around…” I explained.

“Sounds like a stripper with no pole.” Charlie mumbled.

“Oh my god.” I sighed, “Lets just walk over there and see when they open.” I said, opening my door.

Charlie shut off the engine and climbed out of the truck, “Have you met her?” He asked me as we all walked down the sidewalk.

“No, I’ve only been here once and she was working, so.” I said, stealing a quick glance at Liam. It was a little uncomfortable going back to the club considering Liam and I had our first encounter there. First look, first smile, first kiss. I sighed at the memories before I forced them out of my brain.

“This is it.” I said, pulling on the handle of the locked door, “They open in four hours.” I whispered as I read the decorated sign taped to the door, “It’s a black tie event and all the proceeds go to charity.”

“Are you suggesting something, love?” Liam asked as he looked from me to the sign.

I could practically feel Charlie tense up at Liam’s poor nickname choice, “It’s the only way to find out if they’ll be here.” I shrugged.

“This might actually work.” Liam nodded, “I own the building next door, its under construction. We could set up an area and use it for surveillance.” He suggested.

“We’re still going to need someone inside, this place is huge.” I told them.

“So we’ll dress you up, get you through the front door.” Liam suggested.

“She can’t go in alone.” Charlie argued.

I blinked at Charlie, “Then you can dress up and go in with me.”

“OR, we could skip playing dress-up and go through the back.” Charlie said, folding his arms over his firm chest.

“Security will be tight if it’s a high-end event.” Liam pointed out.

Charlie let out a deep chuckle, “You don’t think I can take care of a rent-a-cop?”

“That’s…not what I said but since were on the subject-”

“OH MY GOD.” I blurted out, interrupting Liam. “I will go through the front, Charlie will go through the back, Liam will set up camp next door, and together, we will find Anna and/or Anna’s girlfriend. Deal?!”

The boys nodded silently as they dropped their argument.

“Now,” I sighed, “Where can I find a dress?”

 

***

 

As it turns out, the event was impressively high-end, including a red carpet and press. When I arrived, there was a line of people wrapped around the building waiting to get in. Luckily, growing up, I had a very persistent group of girlfriends who couldn’t stand in their blood filled stilettos very long so I learned how to force my way inside every hot new club opening within seconds. Unfortunately, this situation had an additional hoop I had to jump through; the guest list.

As I approached the man in the black suit holding a tablet, I made sure he kept his eyes on me. Swinging my hips as I walked, subtly biting my bottom lip, looking up at him with my please fuck me eyes; All the while being sure I used my low cut dress to my advantage. I had him hooked.

“N-name, miss?” He asked with rosy cheeks, ignoring the complaints of all the guests I just cut in line.

God I’ve missed this, I thought to myself as I took a quick glance down at his guest list. I spotted a Natalia R…. something; Not catching the full last name but I didn’t want to look too long, so I just went with it.

“Natalia Resbutantish.” I said with a thick Russian accent, hoping he wouldn’t ask me twice.

After a quick glance at his list and then back at me, he unclipped the rope barrier and allowed me entrance.

“Spasibo.” I whispered to him with a wink before I made my way inside.

You speak Russian? That’s new…” I heard Charlie say in my ear piece.

I stopped a waiter walking by with a tray of champagne, grabbed a glass, and put the chilled rim to my lips, “Not exactly, I took one semester back in college, barely remember a thing.” I said before I took a sip and looked around.

After I left my fur shawl at coat check, smooth jazz filled my ears and drew my attention to the silhouettes of dancing couples in the middle of the room. Everyone was so entranced by their partner; They didn’t even notice me as I walked though the sexually charged crowd. The only thing lighting up the dance floor were these dark blue lights that were bouncing off the stage. Every other dim spotlight was pointed at the curvy brunette performing a sexy jazz number on stage; Her voice dripping with sexual intent as she serenaded us, a pianist, cellist, and guitarist softly filling the air as she hummed the tune of seduction.

It wasn’t until I looked up that I realized there were performers above me; The blue light bouncing off their twirling bodies as they twisted themselves in the satin fabric hanging from the ceiling. I was so focused on their technique and grace, I completely forgot Anna’s girlfriend could be one of them. I found it hard to believe they weren’t hooked to any wires as I watched them dance through the smoke filled air with nothing on but a leotard.

Suddenly, the dancer directly above me rolled down the fabric with the utmost grace until we were face to face; nose to nose. She was hanging from the fabric by just her ankle as she looked down at me with innocence. She was beautiful and petite, reminding me of a ballet dancer but with a circus performer style. Slowly and carefully, she brought a thin cigar to her lips that she had been holding and took in a long drag. The sweet scent made my mouth water; suddenly making me crave something…bad.

With her free hand, she reached down and ran a long index finger from my collarbone, up my neck; Resting it just under my chin so she could tilt my lips up to hers. I wasn’t sure if it was the music, or the vibe I was getting from this woman but I didn’t stop her. Our lips were closing in, only inches apart before she softly blew cigar smoke into my mouth and disappeared above me.

I let the sweet smoke nestle into my taste buds as I closed my eyes and let the music course through me. I didn’t want to leave the dance floor, and I was a little confused about my sudden intentions with the cigar smoking, Cirque Du Soleil performer dancing through the air, but Charlie’s voice in my ear brought me back to reality.

I’ll be coming through the backdoor in four minutes, meet me at the bar.” He ordered.

I opened my eyes and found the bar area, “Copy.” I whispered, smoke rolling out of my mouth.  I finished my glass of champagne on the dance floor and decided to pop into the restroom before I met Charlie at the bar.

With only four hours to get ready, the boys and I drove an hour to the nearest mall to grab dress clothes for the night ahead of us.

I got my hair done while Charlie found me a dress. Between arguing with Charlie about riding to the club separately, and Liam trying to explain to me how my ear piece works, I had barely any time to pick out heels, let alone mentally prepare for what was going to happen. I stole the quickest glance in the mirror before I got in the cab and headed to the club, so I really wanted a moment to appreciate the fact that I was all dressed up.

I walked into the public restroom and immediately grinned at my reflection. Charlie picked out this long black dress, silk fabric, spaghetti strap, low V-neck so the top of my breasts were showing, a long slit up my left leg, and completely backless. My hair was curled into relaxed thick waves, all pulled to one side so the right side of my neck was completely exposed. My eye make-up was smoky and the only thing on my lips was a shiny vanilla lip balm. No jewelry. Black strappy heels. I looked damn good.

You coming, Red?” I heard Charlie ask in my ear.

Knowing I couldn’t answer him with a room full of witnesses, I quietly walked out of the restroom and headed to the bar.

I didn’t realize I hadn’t seen the boys all dressed up either until I set eyes on Charlie. He was leaning against the bar, scanning the crowd in a classic tuxedo. Single breasted tuxedo jacket, black waistcoat, crisp white button down, black bow tie, dress pants, the works. I stood there for a few seconds, admiring him from a distance. He was absolutely gorgeous, and every woman walking by confirmed that with their stares.

As I made my way over to him, I noticed a brave woman took a seat next to him and started up a conversation. I could tell she was nervous by her high pitched giggles and flushed cheeks, it was almost endearing. She was a pretty young woman, about my age, asking Charlie the basic questions any interested woman would ask. Charlie kindly lied to her of course.

I watched him casually check his watch before he glanced up and set eyes on me. I could hear the woman offering her entire life story on a silver platter but Charlie completely blocked her out at that point, standing up straight as I made my way closer to him. He had a look of awe in his eyes as he looked me over from head to toe, slowly, taking me all in before I reached him.

Charlie stepped away from the bar in my direction, closing the distance between us as he reached out with his rough hand to wrap it behind my neck before he leaned down to kiss me. The intensity of his kiss almost had me stumbling backwards, but he kept me stable by wrapping his arm tightly around my waist; Pressing his body firmly against mine. Within seconds I had my hands running up his chest and around his neck as I matched his intensity with my own. Our kisses were long and savory, nothing like before. There was no biting and grabbing, but more satisfying. We had a longing for each other that had never been expressed before; a mutual respect for the other human being and I felt that in his grip, the way his tongue massaged against mine, his entire demeanor.

Slowly, he pulled away from me just enough so I could catch my breath.

Congratulations, jackass, you just attracted the attention of half the bar.” Liam communicated to us through our earpieces.

Charlie and I glanced at our surroundings before we broke from our embrace, collecting ourselves as we straightened our clothes. It was then that I realized he was clean shaven; His square jawline even more beautiful and chiseled than before.

“Wow.” I whispered, “You clean up nice, Sparky.”

Charlie flashed me a white grin before he cleared his throat and guided me by the small of my back away from the bar, “Tell me you have eyes on Anna.”

Negative.” Liam responded.

“Anna’s girlfriend?” I asked.

Negative.” Liam sighed, but then there was hope, “Wait.”

“Wait what?” I asked.

There’s a woman with a duffle bag, north side of the building, coming out of the alley.” Liam informed us.

“Liam, do not move from that desk. That’s an order.” Charlie said as he casually grabbed me by the hand and pushed through the crowd.

I can literally open up the door and grab her.” Liam whispered.

“I said-” Charlie started but I interrupted.

“Do it. Grab her.” I ordered in a panic.

Charlie spun around and looked down at me with big eyes, “Liam do not-

“-Too late, brother. She’s unconscious. Walk out the side door and meet me in the alley.” Liam said with a satisfied tone.

I had to hold back a smirk as Charlie clenched his jaw in frustration. “Come on.” He said, pulling me to the back of the building by my arm so we could sneak out the side door.

Once we were outside, Liam lead us into his empty, leaky, dust covered building.

“Man, this place really goes on and on, doesn’t it?” I asked as he lead us through three different rooms before we found Anna unconscious, tied to a chair.

“Doesn’t look like she was going inside.” I thought out loud, looking over her jeans and hoodie. “Why would she come to the club if she wasn’t going in?”

“Maybe she was just here to say goodbye.” Charlie said as he approached his unconscious sister.

“Watch your step.” Liam warned us, “There’s a thirty foot drop behind her.”

Slowly, Charlie and I backed up before we looked over at Liam.

“We’re on the ground floor, why would you buy a building with a crater in the middle of it?” Charlie asked with a frown.

Liam shrugged, “It was cheap and it’ll cost me close to nothing to fill it.”

“What we’re they digging for?” I asked as I carefully leaned forward to get a closer look into the never-ending pit of darkness.

“I have no idea.” Liam admitted.

“It looks like the mouth of Hell.” I blurted out.

Liam sighed.

“She has a point.” Charlie agreed.

“That’s enough!” Liam said with an irritated tone, “Lets get back to business.”

“I have to say…” Anna whispered as she lifted her head to look at us, “This does feel like Hell.”

“Oh you haven’t felt anything yet.” Liam threated as he took a step towards her.

“Mmm, promise?” Anna flirted with a sly grin.

It took everything I had not to knock her out myself as Charlie held Liam back.

“We can’t get justice if she’s dead, Liam.” Charlie pointed out as he stood between the two of them.

“Ooohh, how sweet. You’re defending your little sister.” Anna said in a such a tone that made us all stop and look.

“You are NOT my sister.” Charlie snapped, “We had a deal, Anna. After everything you’ve done-”

“-Yea, well, I changed my mind.” Anna shrugged.

I could feel the tension growing in all of us. Three angry wolves, all eager to have a taste of the taunting sheep.

“Leave me alone with her.” I told the boys as I grabbed a chair.

“What?” Charlie asked with a furrowed brow.

“Leave me alone with her.” I repeated as I took a seat across from Anna.

With a heavy, knowing sigh, Charlie gave me a small nod, “We’ll be right out here.” He said before he turned around and followed Liam out of the room.

“Well look at that, you have him whipped.” Anna said with a soft laugh, “I’m impressed. Maybe you can convince him to run and get me a whiskey.” She joked, not taking this seriously.

“Why don’t we cut to the chase.” I suggested, crossing one cold leg over the other. “I want you to start from the beginning.”

Anna tilted her head to the right, “The beginning of what, dear?”

“The beginning of your sickness.” I whispered.

Our sickness.” Anna corrected me with a smirk, “You sure you want to hear this?” She asked.

“I’m sure.” I nodded.

“Alright. Well. I found out about our father a few months before he invited me out to your cute little vacation house. He wrote me letters, sent me photos, really wanted to build a relationship with me. I figured I didn’t have anything to lose, so I went. Figured I could get some closure.”

She sighed, “But the second I got to the beach house I had this pit in my stomach, just a very sick, angry feeling came over me. It got even worse when I met him and your mother in person. They were so kind, so warm, so welcoming. It was disgusting.”

My vision blurred with tears as memories of my childhood came flashing back to me. They were kind, warm, welcoming people. If I was having a bad day, the only thing that could cure it was my mother’s hugs and my father’s advice. My mother comforted me and my father built me back up; That’s how they worked. They were truly an amazing team and hearing Anna downplay that immediately made me see red.

“The more I learned about them and their perfect life, the angrier I got. I could have had a good life, your life, if he hadn’t walked away from his responsibilities as a father.” Anna continued, “That was the first time the thought of murdering someone didn’t scare me. I was fifteen. So young. So dangerous.” She shrugged, “So, I cut a gas line and made it look like an accident. I sat on the beach and watched the house go up in flames with a grin on my face.”

I was trembling. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. She looked so normal, so peaceful. I wouldn’t have guessed in a million years she could be so sick.

“And then?” I asked.

“And then, a few years had passed. I hadn’t felt the urge once after that, until I met Abigale.”

“Liam’s wife.” I whispered.

“Yea. Well. Liam claims that I romanticized our entire friendship but I knew he wanted me.” She shrugged, “He was nice, and smart, and gorgeous. He always took time out of his day to help me with whatever I asked. Then he met her.”

“What did you do?” I asked, squeezing my hands together to keep them from shaking.

“Everyone was so in love with Abigale and I had no idea why! I was just as smart and pretty and dangerous but no one could see that. All they saw was her. All he saw, was her.”

“So you killed her?” I asked.

Anna grinned, “Honestly, I barely remember that night. I remember showing up to Liam’s house, Abigale was there alone with their newborn baby and I just…snapped.”

“Jesus Christ.” I whispered, wiping my wet cheeks with shaky hands.

“You’ll get there, sweetie. Don’t worry. The urge will come to you at the most innocent of times and you’ll just…give in.” She whispered with an evil grin. “The adrenaline rush is absolutely amazing. The anxiety and guilt you feel afterwards sucks but, that comes to you in waves.”

“No.” I said through gritted teeth, “I will NEVER be like you.” I yelled.

Anna blinked with what looked like confusion, “Why, you already are, darling.”

Everything moved in slow motion after that. I stood up with rage, my chair falling backwards as I moved forward; Eager to get to Anna and wrap my hands around her fragile neck. I wanted to feel her windpipe crush against my palm. I wanted to watch her suffocate underneath my touch and I wanted it that instant, but Charlie was quicker than I was. His strong arms were wrapped around me before my chair even hit the ground. I couldn’t break free no matter how hard I kicked.

With ease, Charlie drug me out into the dark alley; A narrow passageway between two brick buildings that was completely vacant. Using both of his hands, he slammed me up against the cold brick building by my shoulders; sending chills up my spine as the rough structure scratched at my bare back. I could feel the music from the club humming behind me through the windows and cracks between the old brick structure. It was almost a relief to know I could still feel pain.

“Where the fuck is your head at, Kate?!” Charlie yelled down at me.

I looked up at him just as rain started to fall. It was a soft drizzle of chilled water, gently falling against my red cheeks over and over again; cooling me instantly. I watched as each individual drop fell to our feet, filling the negative space around us in the most comforting way. I suddenly knew what I had to do.

Slowly I brought my mouth up to his, parting his lips with my tongue as I pulled him closer against me by his tuxedo jacket.

I felt him hesitate at first; Maybe a little confused by my actions, but his hesitation lasted only seconds. Soon after it was his tongue forcing its way into my mouth; Passionately searching for an answer I wasn’t ready to give. His hand found my neck as my nails dug at the cloth against his back. His grip around my throat was firm, assertive, confident. I could feel his bulge growing harder as he held me against the wall by the groin and it made my knees weak. I wanted him to take me right here in the alleyway, but I knew I had a more important matter to take care of.

With all the willpower I had left, I pulled my lips away from his and pushed him back far enough for me to look him in the eyes.

The rain was falling heavier now, bouncing off his shoulders before the droplets hit the ground. I knew he was confused and I didn’t expect anything less.

Charlie opened his mouth to speak but I swiftly grabbed the stun gun I had strapped to my thigh and pressed it against his neck; Dropping him to the ground by an electric shock being sent through his body.

“You don’t have a lot of time to do whatever you plan on doing.” Liam told me as he stood in the doorway, “He wont be down for more than a few minutes.”

“I know.” I whispered as I pushed my way past Liam, “Where’s her bag?”

“Right here.” He said, sliding her duffle bag over to me.

Quickly, I put my stun gun back in its hiding place and started looking through her stuff.

“What are you searching for?” Liam asked curiously.

“This.” I said, pulling out the dagger I used to kill John.

Liam blinked down at me, “Are you gunna-”

“Yes, Liam. I am. Do you have a problem with that?”

I watched as he looked over at Anna, not a single emotion showing on his face, “No. I don’t.”

“Alright then.” I whispered as I stood up straight.

Anna was no longer in a joking mood as I made my way over to her with the dagger in my hand. “Katie, come on now, what do you think you’re doing with that thing?” She asked.

I heard the nervousness in her voice, saw the trembling in her abdomen, felt the tension in her fists as I leaned down to untied her arms from the chair, “You scared, Anna?” I whispered while we were face to face.

“Yes.” She whispered with a shaky tone.

“Good.”

Anna knew what was coming. I could feel her getting ready to beg for her life, but unfortunately I didn’t have time to play those games.

“Anna, you murdered my parents and then destroyed the only place I could go to remember them. You killed Abigale, leaving Liam without a wife and Collin without a mother. You put Finn in the hospital and betrayed your own brother.”

I watched as Anna squeezed her eyes shut; Not wanting to face what she had done.

“No, no.” I whispered, “Look at me.” I demanded as I pressed the tip of the blade under her chin.

Hesitantly, Anna blinked open her tear filled eyes and looked up at me.

“Unfortunately for you, Charlie and I have a different idea of what justice really is.” I whispered down at her.

A faint smile appeared on Anna’s lips, “And what’s your idea of justice, Katie?” She asked.

That was the first time the thought of murdering someone didn’t scare me.

With a clenched jaw, I glanced back at Liam who gave me an approving nod, “Blood for blood.” I whispered in her ear before I slid the dagger across her throat and kicked her into hell’s mouth.

Her body disappeared into the darkness a few feet in, sending chills up my spine. It felt like five minutes of complete silence had passed before I heard her collide with the bottom of the black hole, but once I heard that thump, I squared my shoulders and walked back to Anna’s duffle bag.

“You alright?” I asked Liam as I used one of Anna’s cotton shirts to clean off the fresh blood on my blade.

“I am. Are you alright?” He asked, looking down at me in shock.

“I am.” I said, standing up straight.

Liam looked down at his feet, “I didn’t think you had it in you to kill in cold blood.”

“Yea, well, neither did she.” I whispered as I carried the duffle bag out into the alleyway.

Charlie was surprisingly still lying on his back, soaked from the rain that had now died down to a mist. Just to be sure, I leaned down and checked his pulse, “Still beating and breathing.” I whispered with a smirk.

“What should I do about the hole?” Liam asked, leaning in the doorway.

“Fill it.” I told him.

“And Charlie? What do I tell him?” He asked.

I looked down at Charlie’s unguarded, strong, handsome features and sighed, “Tell him I did what had to be done, and to not come looking for me.” I said, standing up.

Liam folded his arms over his chest as he spoke the words I didn’t want to hear, “He would spend the rest of his life trying to keep you safe, Kate.”

“I know.” I said, blinking away a few tears. “That’s why I’m leaving.”

“The chaos has finally subsided,” He frowned, “Why would you leave now?”

“I need to find out who I really am, and I can’t do that with Charlie always there to save my ass.” I admitted with a deep sigh.

“The cops are gonna come looking for you if you disappear in the middle of a murder investigation.” He warned me.

I nodded, “I know.”

“You have any idea where you’re going?” He asked.

“I don’t plan on going too far.”

Liam let out a soft exhale, “Well, just be careful.” He said with a small smile, “You plan on getting back in touch with Charlie once all of this blows over?” He asked.

I suddenly found myself slouching with disappointment, “I’m not sure where he’ll be then…” I admitted.

“Come on, Kate.” Liam said, tilting his head to the side, “He’ll be looking for you.”

 

***

 

ONE YEAR LATER

 

9:00PM on the dot and Frances, owner of the three story library I’ve been working at for the last six months, was asking me to shut down the place a little early.

“We have a big snow storm coming tonight and I don’t want you’s to get home too late.” The seventy-year-old man told me as he pulled on his wool p-coat, “Why don’t you and Alex tidy the place up and then head home.”

“It’s just me tonight, sir. Alex called in sick this morning, remember?” I said as I walked him to the old wooden door.

“Oh…yes. Yes. I remember.” He whispered, pulling a thin handkerchief out of his pocket to wipe his nose, “Then you don’t worry about cleaning up, just get on home and stay there.”

I smiled at his kindness, “I’ll do what I can and head home soon, I promise.”

“Yea…Okay. You have a good night, now.” He told me as his caregiver met him outside.

“You too, sir.” I whispered before I locked the door and walked over to the record player.

To be honest, I enjoyed cleaning the place. It gave me the chance to wind down, listen to some jazz, sit by the fireplace, write down any ideas I had for my next book without being bothered. Every night from ten to about midnight that’s what I did.

The vintage architecture and distressed wooden floors made this library feel like home to anyone who entered. There was always a fresh pot of coffee and a warm fire to cozy up to. I just happened to stumble upon it one morning on my way to the grocery store and the owner and I clicked so well he offered me a job. I’ve been here ever since.

I usually start my rounds with checking the isles; Making sure there’s no one left in the library before I turn up the jazz and start to clean. Most nights its just the mice keeping me company as I organize the books, other nights its horny teenagers trying to hook up before they have to go home to their families. Most of the time I kick them out, sometimes I let them finish.

I had just made my way to the third floor when the music stopped.

“Damn it.” I groaned to myself as I peeked over the balcony and squinted at the ground floor. I did not want to climb all of these stairs again but I couldn’t stand working in silence.

“Anybody home?” I heard a male voice yell from the ground floor.

I blinked in surprise, “Uh, yes, but we’re closed. I’m sorry, sir, you’re going to have to come back on Monday.”

“I’m actually looking for someone.” He continued, not getting the hint.

Hesitantly, I started to make my way down the spiral staircase, “Who might I ask, are you looking for?”

“A Miss Katherine June Fox.”

I stopped dead in my tracks. I haven’t gone by that name in months. Pull yourself together, Kate. I thought to myself in a panic, “I’m sorry, I don’t know anyone by that name.” I lied, slowly climbing back up the stairs.

“I don’t take note of all our customers but I’ll be sure to make it a point come Monday. Just leave your card on the desk and I’ll give you a call if she shows up.” I yelled over the balcony, struggling to see where the voice was coming from.

“Id appreciate it.” He told me.

“Is she in some kind of danger?” I asked curiously.

“Possibly.”

I frowned.

“Um, the…the door was locked, how did you get in?” I asked, slowly bending down to take the dagger out of my boot.

No response.

Quietly, I slipped off my boots and walked down the stairs. My heart was pounding, my palms were sweaty, my knee’s were shaky. I hadn’t felt this kind of adrenaline rush since I got shot in the shoulder and almost died. I knew there were a lot people looking for me; Between John’s murder investigation and Anna’s disappearance, I could only imagine what everyone thought.

I waited in the shadows for any sign of movement, there was none.

Maybe he left, the angel on my right suggested.

Maybe he’s waiting for you to make the first move, the devil on my left pointed out.

“There’s only one way to find out.” I whispered to myself as I stepped out of the shadows.

Nothing.

Did he leave a card? My angel asked.

Slowly, I made my way over to the desk and saw a white card resting against a freshly poured glass of whiskey.

Well, who the hell was it? My impatient devil asked.

“Detective Charles Lucius” I whispered out loud as I held the card in my shaky hand.

A faint smile tugged at my lips as I felt him walk up behind me, “You found me.” I whispered with a stomach full of butterflies.

 

“I found you.”

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