Mask of coldness conceals all his features as soon as he hears my words.
His eyes are devoid of any emotion. Just like me even he has locked his emotions because it is not the time to be emotional.
The only emotion which dominating me is anger. This anger will help me to go through the pain which is tearing me apart.
“We will find him. Trust me, Avery, I will not let anything happen to him.” He snakes his arm around my shoulder and presses a kiss on my temple.
And I trust his every word.
I sit silently as I observe everything that is happening around me, some guys are on calls while Alec is giving some orders.
“Nothing will happen to Liam,” I hear someone saying in a comforting tone, but nothing can comfort me other than my baby.
Lifting my head, I see a man sitting beside me looking at me with concern, his browns eyes have warmth in them. Judging by the greys in his hair and age lines on his face he must be in his late forties.
“I am Marshall, I was Alec’s father’s friend,” He introduces himself.
“Avery,” I say in a clipped tone.
There are many people in this room and many things are going on however, one voice gets my attention.
“She should have never left the kid alone in the treehouse.” My eyes turn to the source of the voice, to see a guy who seems close to my age saying with a shrug of shoulders, “Instead of planning our raid, we are now looking for a kid.” He grumbles
He leans back in the chair and let out a long breath, seeming a bit annoyed.
“Sixteen hours.” Raising my eyebrows, I speak loud enough for everyone to hear, “I had endured sixteen hours of pain to bring my son into the world.” I look at everyone in the eye.
Getting up from my seat, I slowly walk towards that guy.
“Even I don’t have any idea how much pain I am going to inflict on a person who dares to harm a hair of his head.” I grip the back of his chair standing behind him and turn his chair to face me.
Pulling my hand back, I punch him in the face while holding him by his collar.
“What hell is wrong with you bitch!” He yells as he tries to release my hold. “Get this crazy woman off me.”
Everyone looks momentarily too stunned even to react, everyone but Alec.
“I have never told he was abducted from the treehouse.” I look Alec square in the eyes as continue to punch that guy ignoring the pain that is shooting up in my arm.
Realization seeps into Alec’s features, while fury swirls in his eyes.
“Now the question is, how did you know that Liam was alone in the treehouse?” I grab his jaw harshly digging my fingers into his jaw.
Only I and Ron knows where was Liam when he was kidnapped. Ron is unconscious and I haven’t told this to anyone. And him knowing these details only indicates one thing that he has helped those men in Liam’s kidnapping.
“Demond, where is my son?” Alec pushes him out of his chair and clutches him by his neck.
Instead of answering, he starts laughing.
“You will not do anything to me, because you need me to find your bastard.” Blood drips from his nose, as he smiles.
“You should not have said that.” Alec shakes his head slowly, his tone menacing low.
Next thing I know Alec throws him on the floor and crushed his windpipe by stomping on his neck.
“What have you done? We could have got information from him,” A woman says in annoyance as she hangs up the call.
“He would not have said anything, other than wasting our time,” I answer her, “And I can bet even he doesn’t know where they have taken Liam as they have just used him. Because if he was any importance to them than he would have been with them not here.”
“Since it is clear someone from inside has a hand in Liam’s kidnapping, now tell me who is not present in this meeting which was going on?” I look at around the room.
“John,” Alec growls and silence washes over the entire room.
As soon as he says this name everything starts clicking in my mind. Whatever Alec has told me plays in my mind, and John’s name keeps on flashing in my mind. This means...
“He is the one who killed your parents.” My eyes snap to Alec who has a realization in his eyes.
His throat works, as he swallows, but other than that he doesn’t even blink.
Alec walks outside the room as for the thousandth time CCTV footage is being played. Finn is trying to gather as much information he can by looking at the footage.
I follow Alec to his room to find him sitting on his bed holding his face in his hands.
“This is happening all because of me,” he says as he glances up and for the first time since the incident I see an emotion on his face which is not anger.
“My son’s life is in danger all because of me.” Tears gather in his eyes, as he takes a ragged breath.
“Alec, look at me.” Grabbing his face, I make him look in my direction, “Do you find any tears in my eyes? Do you see me crying?” I ask him.
He shakes his head.
“Because that’s what I would have to do my entire life if something happens to my son,” I say in a leveled voice, “However, now, there is no place of tears in my eyes when I have to find my son.”
“So instead of sitting here and blaming yourself for something which is not your fault, be the father that Liam needs you to be.” I look dead in his eyes, “He doesn’t need a father who already looks defeated, even before fighting for him. Liam’s need his dad who will move heaven and earth to find him.”
“I am not sure about you, but I will burn this fucking town to ashes along with those people who have dared to separate my son from me.” My words hold nothing but the truth.
“Alec, you have to come for identification.” Officer Cooper says, with a grave expression.
And I watch Alec clenching his jaws tightly while he stares blankly ahead
“What identification?” I immediately ask.
“A body of around five to six years old child has been found on the outskirts of the town.” Alec speaks stoically, “Police want us to come for the identification.”
Hearing the gunshots and commotion somebody from the neighborhood called the police. Finn has gone there and explained everything that has happened and now even they are looking for Liam.
“They think he is our Liam?” I ask in a quiet voice, as I try to block out my pain which is increasing with every passing second.
“No, they want us to go and tell them he is not our Liam.” Alec meets my eyes.
Half an hour later, we have arrived at the location as my heart feel it will burst with pain at any moment. With each step, the weight on my chest increases making it difficult for me to breathe.
Alec’s hand in mine is only providing me temporary comfort. His grip on my hand speaks even his condition is also not very different from mine.
Another officer guides us to the small body zipped in a plastic body bag.
Alec holds me tightly against his side, then only I realize my whole body is shaking while my eyes are glue at the body.
Alec nods his head at the officer as he unzips the bag allowing us to see the face.
“He is not our son.” Alec’s voice rings in my ear while my eyes are still fixed at the face of the innocent child whose life has been mercilessly snatched from him.
“Thank God.” Another officer, standing beside us, exclaims making me look at him in disbelief.
“Are not you relieved?” He asks when he notices my expression.
“How can I be relieved?” I question him, “If he is not my son, that doesn’t mean he’s not anybody else’s son. What I have gone through in the last half an hour, his parents will have to spend their entire life with that same pain. How can I feel relieved?”
“Maybe if you find who has killed him and give him the same pain which this child has suffered, then I will feel relieved. Because at least I will know he has met his fate.” I walk away from there back towards the car.
Leaning against the car, I close my eyes wrapping my arms around me.
The moments which I have lived in this past half hour, I have died a million times in them. No parent should ever experience the pain of losing their child, or worst living in the constant fear that any moment might be the last moment of your child’s life.
“He will be alright... He will be fine.” I chant to myself, trying to stop myself from breaking down.
A moment later Alec tightly holds me against himself. And God knows, at this moment nothing is comforting me when I know my child is somewhere away from me... scared and alone.
"I will find him, I promise," He whispers, "We will get our son back."
"And John will get what he has asked for." His tone darkens as his words hold a promise.
“John was one of our trusted members, a friend, I still can’t understand why would he do something like this?” Marshall clasps his hands in front of him, as he clenches his jaw, the pain of being betrayed by someone who you trust is painted across his face.
We have returned back to the house and now trying to find anything that will help us in finding Liam.
“The only person who knows the answer to this is John, himself,” Another man named, Kevin, says.
“The man whom Avery...” Finn looks at me seeming uncomfortable to say the word which I already know.
“Killed,” I say in a monotonous tone, “The man whom I have killed.” I am not even feeling a slight regret that I have taken someone’s life.
Alec’s eyes snap to me, as he whispers, “Avery?”
“Because of him, they were able to take my son from in front of my eyes,” I say stoically, “He deserved to die, just like everyone else who dare to come after my family.”
“What about that man?” Kevin brings attention back to Finn.
“He was John’s bodyguard.” Finn informs, “This confirms our doubt that John is the one who is behind Liam’s kidnapping.”
“There is a video call for you.” Another guy rushes inside the room and informs Alec.
Instantly, we all are on our feet as we follow Alec inside.
I see the face of an unknown man on the laptop screen, already knowing this is the same bastard who has my son.
“Your boy is a replica of you, Alec, whenever I see him he reminds me of you.” He smiles, but there is no warmth in his smile, “Too bad he has to pay the price of being your son.” He clanks his tongue.
“Cut the crap, John.” I glare at him, “I want to see my son right now.” I demand.
“Avery, Alec’s little whore.” He smirks, “You are brave and smart, maybe I should have brought you with your son for myself.”
“John.” Alec’s icy tone speaks volumes, as fury radiates from his entire body.
I know John is trying to get under our skin, but I am not going to give him this satisfaction.
I slip my hand in Alec’s and give a slight squeeze trying to calm him.
“I want to see my son.” I slowly enunciate each of my words while from my peripheral vision I can see Finn trying to trace the location.
“Don’t you think you are not in a position to demand?” He raises his eyebrows in amusement.
“Listen here, you motherfucker. Obviously there is something you want from us, which is really important for you, that forced you to take such a huge step like kidnapping our son... so that makes us equal because if you have our son then even we have something that you desperately want.” I arch my eyebrow, “So, now it is in your best interest to do as I say because you are not in a position to blackmail us.”
“Now, if you have done trying to play with us, I want to see my son.” I curtly nod my head as he clenches his jaws.
“I will cut your son into pieces.” He glares, angrily, confirming my assumption that there is indeed something which he wants from us.
He turns his head away from the camera and says something to someone.
I quickly release my breath which I was holding, my grip on Alec’s hand tighten because from inside I am shaking, not knowing what to expect.
“Liam, my baby,” I say softly the moment Liam’s tears stricken face comes in front of the screen.
“Mommy.” He cries as soon as he sees my face, “I don’t like it here, I want to come home.”
“Shhh... mom and dad will get you home soon.” I smile at him, even though my composure is breaking seeing him cry.
“You are our brave son, right?” I ask as he nods, “We will soon bring you back home.”
“I love you, baby.” I hastily wipe the tear which slips from my eye, “Stay strong for mommy, okay.”
“I love you, too.” He sniffles, “And I love you, dad.”
I notice Alec’s whole body is tensed while his eyes are fixed on Liam.
“Liam, I promise, I will get you home soon,” Alec speaks for the first time, “I am proud of you and love you.” His words laced with pride whereas his eyes displaying affection for his son.
A silent conversation passes through them as they just look at each other.