Chapter 10: Lost girl
Alex followed Adam’s old black car that looked like it was on the verge of falling apart. He kept his sirens off so Matthew wouldn’t take the opportunity to escape before he could get to him.
The hotel was a small inn that wasn’t far from the aquarium. Immediately Alex spotted the Toyota Tundra, which he had learned wasn’t Matthew’s actual car. It was most likely a rental, so getting a license plate wouldn’t really help, especially since they were so close to him now.
He trailed behind Adam to the back of the building, trying to make sure they were as undetectable as possible.
Unbuckling his seatbelt, he turned to look at Maria, who appeared as though she might throw up.
“I’ll be back,” he said, finding that she was more anxious than he had ever seen her. Turning to silently get out of the car, Maria grabbed his hand that was warm compared to her own.
“Alex, wait,” she said, her heart beating so fast she was worried it might stop. When his gaze was on her once again, she told him, “Be careful.”
“I will. Don’t worry, everything will be fine.”
She was wary of the smile on his face. “No, you don’t understand. He is more dangerous than you realize. When he gets angry, he doesn’t hold anything back. He will do anything to make sure he wins, and he’ll get all in your head and-”
His voice made hers stop and her attention refocus on him. “Y-yes?”
“I’ll be careful. Relax.”
“That’s impossible. You’re going on a suicide mission.”
“I will be okay. Everything is going to be fine.”
She bobbed her head up and down. “Sure.”
He smirked at her before quietly shutting the car door and locking it, his sole focus now on two things, and two things only. Getting Natalie, and making the rest of Matthew’s life a living hell.
He found Adam standing by his car waiting for him.
“Ready?” He asked, nervousness radiating of his golden skin.
“You’re coming with me?”
He nodded. “Yeah. You need all the help you can get... When is backup getting here?”
“I don’t need backup. It will be too many people, and we don’t want to cause any attention.”
Adam laughed fretfully. “Right. Shall we?”
Alex started walking with Adam next to him. “You have the key card don’t you?”
“Right here,” Adam said, holding it out.
Both of them walked into the lobby, and alerted the woman at the front desk what was going on. She gave them to room number the key went to, and they made their way up the elevator in silence.
Alex held the key card in his sweaty palm as he felt his confidence flush out of him. But there was no turning back now. He had too much to fight for now. If he didn’t get Natalie back, he would feel as though he failed. Not himself, not Armstrong, but Maria. She was depending on him to get person who was most important to her back.
The elevator dinged as the doors opened, and it wasn’t the familiar ring of the elevator back at the station. Stepping out, he felt Adam’s breath against his back.
Walking down the hallway, he tried to come up with a plan in his head so he wasn’t winging something as important as this, because if he missed his chance, he wouldn’t get it back. He had one opportunity, and this was it.
The hallway seemed to stretch on for forever, and the further he walked, the louder Armstrong’s words echoed in his ears a few times before fading away.
Don’t fuck it up...
Don’t fuck it up...
Don’t fuck it up...
“Don’t fuck it up,” Alex muttered to himself.
Soon they found themselves at his door, and Alex felt his hand raise to put the keycard in the slot.
“Wait,” Adam whispered.
Slightly annoyed, but at the same time grateful that he could take his mind off this for a few seconds, Alex gave his attention to him.
“Do we have a plan?” He continued.
Alex thought for a second before answering. “Yeah, yeah. You get Natalie and... umm... okay, you get Natalie then go to the bathroom and lock yourselves inside so he can’t take her. I’ll try and restrain him and put him in handcuffs so all of this will be over.” Alex stared at the door, preparing himself for what was to come, and replaying Maria’s voice in his head one last time. “Okay, I’m ready.”
Alex slid the keycard in and heard it click. He put his hand on the handle and pulled it down.
“LPD! Put your hands up!” Alex yelled, his hands feeling empty with out a gun in them while saying those words. He heard Adam close the door behind them, and Alex quickly wondered whether that was a bad idea, but it was too late to do anything about it now.
He felt his heart stop when he saw a tall man with blond hair and the clearest blue eyes come and face him.
“I think there is a misunderstanding here sir,” Matthew started, Alex’s jaw clenching at his fake smile that he knew so many people had fallen for.
“There is no misunderstanding here. She told me everything.”
“I’m sorry but I really don’t know who you are talking about.”
Alex parted his lips and stared at Matthew. His blue eyes reminded Alex of medusa, they could turn you to stone, the only difference was that he was no myth. He was real, much to everyone’s disadvantage.
“Maria. Your wife. The one you left to die.”
“Hmm... doesn’t ring a bell.”
Alex felt his nostrils flair, and without thinking it through, he grabbed the collar if Matthews shirt and used all strength to push Matthew against the wall, hoping his head would hit hard enough to knock him out.
“I know you know what I am talking about! You hurt her! You made her miserable! She rips herself apart every day because of you!”
Matthew chuckled sinisterly, his eyes narrowing, letting his prey know he was about to release his full power. “Good,” he growled, plunging himself towards Alex and holding him in a choke hold. Even through his tight grip, Alex managed to mutter Adam’s name, reminding him of his task.
Adam ran toward the bed where he saw a little girl with hair just like Matthew’s and eye’s just like Maria’s crying as she watched her father going after someone she had never seen before.
“It will be okay, it will be okay,” Adam told her, quickly picking her up and carrying her into the bathroom and locking the door behind him.
Alex took his foot and kicked Matthew in the shin to free himself of his grip, which to his luck, worked. But before he could get a good hold on him, he felt Matthew’s fist meet his cheek, and with a force that was enough to make the other side of his head hit the wall. Sliding down the wall, Alex winced and held where Matthew had punched him, eyes closed shut. But before all the pain could settle in, he felt it all disappear when he heard the door open.
“No!” He screamed, scrambling to get up from the ground, for his body felt like there were a million bricks pulling him down.
Alex slipped through the door before it closed on him, and ran full speed down the hallway, still several strides behind Matthew. Coincidentally, he saw him go into the stairwell, so he ran faster than he thought his legs could even go.
Opening the door, he found that Matthew was a few steps down and would never catch up to him if was careful. So instead of going down the steps, he jumped on Matthews back and wrapped his arms and legs around him as he fell down the rest of the stairs.
“Get off me!” Matthew yelled, scratching Alex’s arms with his nails, a few of his strikes drawing blood.
“No! You need to pay for what you did to her! You hurt her!”
As Matthew pushed Alex off of him, he met Alex’s eyes for a brief moment and whispered in discomfort, “She deserved it,” before striking him in the face again with even more vigor than the first time, and running down the last staircase, Alex not having enough strength to chase behind him.
He could feel his vision blur, and the blood drip the side of his face and swollen arms. With his legs turning into blobs of nothingness, he fell to the ground hoping to regain his consciousness of the world around him. Alex laid there in the empty staircase for five minutes before he had the ability to stand up and walk without collapsing.
Punching his fist into the wall, he roared, “Dammit!” loud enough so that even a deaf person could hear it. He ran his fingers through his hair realizing what had just happened. Matthew had escaped. And it was his fault.
“Natalie,” he muttered to himself in realization before running up back up the stairs and down the hallway.
“Adam!” He yelled, pounding his throbbing fist on the door harder than anticipated.
Adam looked through the peep hole before opening the door, his jaw on the floor at the sight of Alex’s injuries that he managed to get in such a short amount of time.
“He got away,” Alex said with disappointment and anger resonating in his wobbly voice.
Adam held his head low. “He might have gotten away... but she didn’t.”
“You have Natalie?” His said, beginning to feel his eyes burn of an emotion that seemed to be a mix of all of them.
“Yeah. I have her.” Adam opened the bathroom door and picked up Natalie, holding her securely in his arm, one of which had a name tattooed across it. “What’s the next step? Are you going to take her back to Lansing with you and Maria?”
It took him a few seconds before he could make an uncertain decision on what to do now that they had Natalie. “No,” he said, his voice sounding a little unsure.
“Because all he wants is revenge on Maria. He only took Natalie so he could do that. We need to make him confused. Now that we have Natalie, he might think that Natalie and Maria are together. We need to keep them separated for now at least. So if I took Natalie with Maria and I back to Lansing, there could be a greater chance of him getting to them. But if Natalie were to stay here, there is less of a chance he would come back to get her.”
“But isn’t it dangerous for Maria to go back to Lansing if he might be going there?”
“It’s dangerous for Maria anywhere, but since we got Natalie back he might think we’d keep Maria and her in Dallas. We just need to outsmart him. He is all about playing mind games. He wants to hurt her mentally.” Alex explained, hazily walking over to the bed.
“Matthew doesn’t know that Maria’s with you though.”
“He must by now. I told him that she told me everything, so he knows we know each other. I think for Maria it’s best if I take her back to Lansing.”
Adam narrowed his eyes and looked at Natalie who was drifting off into sleep. “Who is going to take Natalie?”
“Yeah. I trust you with her. Give it a month, and if nothing happens, bring her back to Lansing. I’ll ask Armstrong to give you updates, and Enrique can give you my address and number.”
“Are you going to tell Maria?”
Alex felt his heart break into two. “I can’t. I want to, but I don’t think it’s a good idea. She won’t be able to be away from her if she knows Matthew doesn’t have her.”
Adam turned his eyes away from Alex. “She’s not going to be happy when she finds out you lied about this. She’ll want to know where her daughter is. Can she even handle it?”
“Honestly, I don’t know. I don’t have a choice though. If I do tell her it could blow our cover.”
“Hey man I get it,” Adam held his free hand up in mercy, “I just think that you need understand what you are doing.”
“I know. I have to this though.”
Adam nodded understandingly.
There was a break in the conversation before Adam spoke again. “So, I’ll leave with her after you and Maria get out of here, and I’ll take care of her for a month, then bring her to you guys if it’s safe.”
Alex nodded and put his hand on Adam’s shoulder. “Yeah. Thank you.”
“It’s no trouble. Now, go.”
Alex ran out the door and back down to the lobby before going back to the car, everything replaying in his mind on the way there. He didn’t even have to pretend to be sad that Natalie wasn’t with him, or that Matthew got away because he could foresee Maria’s reaction, and that was enough to break his heart.
Before he even reached the car he saw Maria walking towards him, her hand covering her mouth as the streetlights made the tears that had yet to fall from her eyes, glow.
“Did he do this to you?” She murmured in disbelief, her eyes glued to Alex arms that had scratch marks running down them, and the left side of his face that had was bruised and had dried blood.
Alex nodded, his head hanging low. “I tried Maria, but he got away. You were right.”
“And... and Natalie?” She didn’t even want ask, already knowing the answer.
“I don’t have her.” He tried to not fully lie. To say that he didn’t get her would be a lie because he did get her, she was just with Adam. But to say he didn’t have her was different because she wasn’t with him. He was thinking about using that in defense if Maria were to get upset at him once Natalie came to Lansing. “I am, so sorry, Maria.”
“No,” Maria whimpered, not listening, her mind too full with her own thoughts.
Alex felt his bottom lip beginning to tremble as well, but was soon distracted when he saw Maria’s legs going limb. Holding her in his arms, she only sobbed louder and louder.
Alex prayed that where ever Matthew was, he could feel this. Feel that she was in pain emotional pain and realize all the terrible things had done, and realize that was going to have it all come back to him once Alex got the chance.