Love Meets You part 2

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5.

* Mason *

Mason didn’t know what the fuck he was doing.

It was Thursday at the office and he couldn’t concentrate on the document in front of him. Every passing day without a word from Clover made him fear that by not reporting her missing, others would blame him if something awful happened to her.

“Mr. Thistle,” his new secretary Diane’s voice chirped over the intercom, “You’re needed up here.”

He frowned, hurrying to the reception area. Maybe Clover had shown up for her paycheck, although those offices were on the second floor. Nope, not his vixen, only a pissed-off dark-haired woman with long legs and a soured pinch of contempt on her mouth.

“Can I help you?” he buttoned his jacket, standing tall.

“Mason, right?” she placed a hand on her hip, looking him up and down, “Where’s Clover?”

Employees nearby slowed to pay attention to their conversation, so he waved her to follow him into his office. He was eager to speak to her because so far all his contact related was Clover’s phone shut off and she hadn’t returned home.

“Where is she?” she demanded after he closed the door.

“No idea,” he honestly told her, spreading his hands, “Who are you?”

“Aurora, Clover’s best friend,” she huffed, walking over to the window before twirling to face him, “She didn’t tell you about me?”

“Yeah, she did. She wanted us to meet, but I got busy with work that week. I haven’t seen her since Friday. Are you saying she hasn’t contacted you either?”

Aurora gave him a hostile glare, “What did you do? She’s ignoring my calls and text. Are you telling me she up and quit?”

“I have just as many questions as you do,” he put the desk between them, “We planned to hang out at Patches’ Friday night after work but she never showed.”

Lies. His contact pulled up video footage of Clover entering and exiting the pub where some guy drove off with her. He was supposed to learn who the vehicle belonged to, but by the description, he had an inkling who she ran off with.

Aurora rubbed her forehead with a sigh, “I went to her apartment and her car isn’t there. I figured you guys fought again and holed up with ice cream instead of ranting to me. She really hasn’t been here?”

Familiar angst swarmed in his gut, “Look, I’m sure she’ll turn up. Does she have any family in the area?”

“Don’t you know? Some boyfriend you are,” she flipped her hair, and his lips twitched in amusement, “No. She’s an only child and her parents live in Miami. I’ve known her my whole life and if you’ve hurt her, I don’t care how rich you are, I WILL cut you.”

Mason believed her. He hesitated before asking, “Do you remember a man drinking with Clover a few weeks ago? I spotted her there while with a friend.”

Aurora’s brown eyes lost focus for a few seconds, “Oh, yeah. I was there too. I took off with Casey, but Clover turned down… shit, what’s his name? Brad?”

Mason kept the triumph out of his voice as he continued to ask, “Have you seen or spoken to Casey or Brad lately?”

“Why? Do you think she’s run off with a paralegal?” she snorted with a roll of her eyes, “Casey and I dated a few times. I have his number.”

“Someone told me she may have been with him,” he shrugged as if he didn’t want to grab her phone to steal the digits. “Could you please call him and get Brad’s number?”

She crossed her arms suspiciously, “Who said that? What aren’t you telling me? Is Clover in trouble?”

He understood why Clover was good friends with this woman. She was as sharp as his vixen. “I’m not sure, but Clover’s my girlfriend, and concerned by her absence. We didn’t fight, by the way, but even if she were mad at me, she wouldn’t quit out of the blue, right?”

“Agreed,” Aurora plucked her cell from her bag, “We talked about you and she would’ve called me the minute she wasn’t happy. She learned her lesson about letting men rule over her.”

“What do you mean?”

She opened and closed her mouth, turning pink as if she regretted her slip, “Nothing. Give me a pen and paper, Mason.”

Bossy thing, he inwardly groused, tossing both items at her after she sank into a chair. His contact was running a full background check on Clover, now wondering if he should add her oddball friend into the mix. He should feel grateful someone else showed concern for Clover, but after the stunt Bentley pulled, he hoped to keep the situation from imploding.

Aurora got through to Casey, paling after asking how he was doing. She gazed at him with glistening eyes, whispering, “Brads dead? Wait,” she switched to speaker mode, “What happened?”

A deep male sigh came over the line, “Brad didn’t show up to work Monday so I went over to his place at lunchtime and found out there had been a break-in and someone killed him. They said whoever broke inside caved in his skull, Aurora! I… he was the nicest guy I ever met. The funeral’s this Saturday if you and Clover wish to come.”

She sniffed, clearly shaken by the news, “How horrible! I’m sorry for your loss. Of course, we’ll be there. Don’t hesitate to call if you need anything.”

“You’re so sweet. Hey… am I on speakerphone?”

She glanced at Mason hovering over her, “Yes, do you know if Brad took Clover out recently? She hasn’t been around and I saw how they hit it off.”

“Nope,” he popped the P, “Brad never gossiped about the chicks he slept with. Oh shit, you don’t think she was there, do you?”

“Why would she? No!” she spat, her tone resolute, refusing to imagine anything bad happened to her friend.

“He had the hot for her, that much I do know. It’s good to hear from you,” he cleared his throat, “after our fun the other night.”

Mason ignored jealousy pangs, imagining Brad touching Clover. The man died, and the trail leading to Clover’s whereabouts had just gotten a lot colder. He suspected Bentley was behind the unfortunate burglary, but since the asshole refused to answer his text or calls, unable to confirm anything. Aurora chatted for a few more minutes before hanging up, looking troubled.

Join the damn club.

“Poor Brad,” she muttered, getting to her feet.

“It’s sad such a likable guy faced a violent end. Leave your number and I’ll get in touch when I see her,” Mason promised, guilt prodding him to comfort her, “Do you keep your phone close?”

Aurora suddenly laughed, scribbling on a pad of paper, “Clover never told you what I do for a living, did she?”

“No.”

“Never mind, yeah, please do. You’re not so bad. I’ll bitch at her to woman up if I find her stubborn ass first.”

He smirked, “Thanks… I guess.”

When Aurora let herself out, he slumped in his chair. He sent his contact Auroras information, ordering him to trace every call and put another man on her. He wasn’t sure if Aurora would tell him if Clover popped up.

Peter found out Adley forged his signature on paperwork and had been more than happy to fire the bitch. He reamed the HR team until it was clear they would personally deliver any department changes in their inner office. Still, he kept thinking he needed to find out why Adley risked her job. She made a horrible decision switching departments, and it didn’t make a lick of sense.

He picked up the phone, calling Peter. When he answered he asked if Mila knew where Adley lived. He didn’t want to go through another bout of HR bullshit, certain the women would gossip anyhow. He came back to him a few minutes later, rattling off an address in the suburbs.

After telling Diane he was out for the day, despite her protest he had two conference calls, he left to discover if Adley held any useful information in that vapid head of hers.

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