The First of Many

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Chapter 47

Aedan picked up Shadow, Blade, and Hunter early the next morning. All three looked harried and tired, like they hadn’t slept since they’d heard the news.

Aedan hadn’t either.

“So, did she leave anything?” Shadow asked once they were in his apartment.

"Just a note that said that I was not supposed to look for her."

“Anything else? She say why she left? Anything about the lady she saw before she left?”

"She told me to run if I ever see her again."

“She say why?”

"She just said run."

“Nothing else at all?”

“Told me that if she didn’t show up to the next deployment, she was dead. Told me to tell you guys she loved you, and to tell Hunter to watch his back. And to burn the note. That’s all.”

"That certainly sounds like Rosie," Hunter said as he sat down.

"Any idea where she could be?" Shadow asked.

"No. I don't know where she went."

“And the woman she saw, you said she had olive skin. Italian, you think?”

“Probably.”

“I don’t think Rosie’s ever done much in Italy,” Hunter frowned. “Could be a coincidence.”

Aedan sighed. “You’ve known her longer than I do. She ever talk about any safe place? Somewhere she went when she was a kid, maybe, or a safehouse?”

“Nobody knows anything about when she was a kid. And if she was in the camps, she probably didn’t leave before she joined the Army.”

"Good point," Aedan said as he fell on the couch.

“She said something about a place in Virginia,” Hunter said. “But I don’t know if she was telling the truth. If she left on her own, though, she’s either trying to stay close for safety, or getting the Hell outta dodge, in which case she’s halfway to Japan by now.”

“What if she didn’t leave on her own?” Blade asked somberly.

“She left a note,” Aedan said. “Besides, Rosie would put up a fight, if anyone tried making her do anything she didn’t want. I would have heard it.”

“But if she didn’t have a choice? Blackmail, maybe? A woman like that, she’s gotta have something big.”

"That is a good point."

“Why wouldn’t she just be able to kill whoever it is, then?”

“That’s not what we call legal,” Aedan pointed out.

“And you think that’ll stop her? Are we talking about the same Rosie?”

Aedan frowned. “I think she’s changed a lot over the last few months,” he defended.

Shadow chuckled. “What, she starts dating you and suddenly she’s a law-abiding citizen?”

Aedan blinked. “Who said we were dating?”

“Yeah right,” Blade said. “She starts living with you for no reason? Please. I’m a rocket scientist, not an idiot. Besides, it was only a matter of time.”

Aedan shrugged. “Yeah,” he said. “Sure, we’re dating. Trying to keep it quiet, but whatever. I just wonder if she left because of me.”

“That’s not Rosie’s style,” Shadow pointed out. “She’s more of a ‘shut up and put up with it’ kind of girl.”

"That's a good point. But why would she leave?" Aedan asked. "Maybe to protect you," Shadow said.

“She knows I can handle myself.”

“You’ve seen her train. If people from her camp days are showing up, they’re probably more like her than us.”

"That's a scary thought," Aedan said. "But I would die for her."

Hunter grimaced. “That bad, is it?” He asked.

“All of us would,” Shadow chided. “But the most important question is still where could she have gone?”

"We've already established that we all don't know where she would go," Aedan snapped.

“Then we’re not thinking hard enough,” Shadow shot back. “When did she ever look like she felt safe?”

Aedan held back the with me that was on the tip of his tongue. “I don’t know. When she was with the team, I guess. She knows we’ve got her back.”

"True. Maybe she left a clue on where she went.”

“I told you, the letter was clean. Sounded more like a suicide note than a treasure hunt.” He swallowed hard. “It really sounded like she wasn’t expecting to get back.”

"Have faith, boss," Blade said.

Wraith nodded. “Five hours now until she can be filed as a missing person,” he said. “Is that a risk we can take? I mean, a Delta operator goes missing, and Hannah no less, it probably won’t end well. But if they can help find her…”

"Don't. It might put the wrong people on her trail," Aedan said.

“But if we don’t have a clue…”

“Too many variables. When it’s light out, I’ll check if she left something outside the building. Otherwise… I guess all we can really do is wait.”
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