The First of Many

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Chapter 46

Aedan awoke to an empty bed, Hannah’s spot cold against his side.

“Hannah?” He called, sitting up.

No one answered, and he stood and went through the apartment, looking for his girlfriend.

Her usual spot on the couch was empty, but so was the area where she kept her things. All traces of Hannah had been wiped from his apartment, as though she’d never been there.

Immediately, he pulled out his phone and called Shadow’s cell. “Is Hannah with you?” He demanded immediately.

“Thought she was with you,” Shadow answered. “What, she’s gone?”

“Yeah,” he said. “I woke up, and she was gone.”

“I’ll call Hunter, ask if he’s gotten word. But you know, sometimes she just does that. When she was with us, she would just up and vanish for a few days at a time. Did anything happen recently?”

"She saw someone she said reminded her of her past."

A moment of silence, then, “Shit,” Shadow breathed. “I’ll call Hunter, see if he heard from her. Do you think someone hurt her?”

"That's what I'm afraid of," Aedan said as he ran through different situations in his head.

“What did she look like? Maybe I saw her one time. If she actually had anything to do with Hannah, she might have been watching her.”

"She had black hair, sides cropped, top floppy, and she had olive skin."

“Never seen anyone like that,” he said. “Hang in there, I’ll call Hunter. We’ll head over to your place, yeah? Be there in a day or so, to help you look. How far do you think she could have gotten?”

"I don't know. Just get over here."

“You got it. I’ll call you back once I’ve talked to Hunt.” Shadow hung up.

Aedan put down his phone, not quite sure what to do in the meantime. He sat on his couch, pondering why Hannah would leave. As far as he knew, she was happy with him. And yet she had run away and taken all her things. Clearly she didn’t expect to return. He began scouring the room for a note, any signal of her having left against her will.

He searched every inch of the apparent, trying to find even a scratch on the floor that would indicate Hannah being kidnapped, despite the irritating voice in the back of his head reminding him that it would take a ridiculously skilled person to make Hannah do anything against her will.

A bit of blonde hair on the countertop, but that could have been anything. She’d left one of her books: On the bedside table, War and Peace all in Russian. He opened it, searching for a note. A small paper fluttered out, written in Hannah’s neat, flowing script.

Aedan,

I’m sorry.

That’s all I can say at this point. I didn’t plan this, I didn’t want to leave. But I have to, and that’s that. And I’m so sorry I have to go without saying goodbye.

Thank you for everything you've done for me. You've been so much to me. You’ve been a friend and a teammate. I care for you, too much, and it’s dangerous. I’ve gotten careless, and things are starting to add up.

I won’t tell you where I am. If anybody comes looking for me, tell them I left and you don’t know what happened. Don’t look for me. I don’t know if I’ll be back – If by next deployment I’m not there, assume I’m dead, and for that, I’m sorry.

Live your life, fall in love with someone who deserves your love, someone who can give you what you deserve.

That woman at the store? If you see her again, run away as fast as you can and never look back. She isn’t dangerous – she won’t hurt you unless if you hurt her. But don’t get mixed up in that stuff, please. I’ve seen too many people like you die because of them, and I don’t want you to find yourself in a shallow grave in Siberia because you asked the wrong questions.

Tell Shadow and Blade that I love them, and tell Hunter to watch his back.

Goodbye,

-Rosie.

P.S.: BURN THIS.

Aedan's hands shook as he put the note down and sunk into his chair, loneliness engulfing him.

His phone knocked him out of his daze, and he picked up slowly. “Any news?”

“Hunter hasn’t heard a thing,” Shadow said. “But he’s with us now and we’re heading over there. Can you pick us up at the airport tomorrow?”

“Sure,” Aedan answered. “No problem, what time?”

“I’ll call you.”

"Okay, just get here," Aedan said as he hung up. He slumped into the couch and felt his heart break as he pictures his life without Hannah.

He re-read her message, heart falling with every time the words I’m sorry echoed in his mind.

What did I do wrong? He wondered, tracing her careful penmanship with the tip of a finger. What happened?

He stood, pulling a lighter out of a drawer, and burned the note, washing the ashes down the kitchen sink. He stood there for a moment, staring at the running water, then turned around, grabbed his shoes, and stepped out into the night to find her.

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