Bree jumped and moved away from the object in the bed with her when she heard the loud bang. Panic ripped through her as she flicked her gaze around the darkened room. She went to get up, but she felt an arm snag her around the waist.
“Babe, it’s okay, the door shut loudly, come on, you need more sleep.” The gruff voice she was becoming accustomed to soothed her.
She leaned back into the shelter of his body and laid her head against his chest, “Justin?”
She tilted her head up a little, “Will you kiss me again?” she whispered.
An emotion she had no clue was passed through those smoky gray eyes of his. But he dipped his head down, and his lips brushed against hers gently.
She sighed as her lips moved against his. He slowly pulled back as something ached inside of her. She felt his lips against her forehead, the scruff on his chin and upper lip sent a tingle across her body, “Thank you.” She whispered as a calm took her over, and her eyes drifted shut.
“Anytime, babe.” She heard him whisper and felt him lay his chin on top of her head.
Justin held Bree close to him. He couldn’t believe he just told her he’d kiss her anytime. After the second time of feeling those full pink lips beneath his, he doubted he’d get enough.
He cuddled her tightly to him as they both finally began to sleep. He hated himself. After the rest he’d got, he was taking Ben with him out to the woods to search for Marnie and the others. Waiting for the cops churned his gut, something fierce.
Cierra and Ben stared dumbfounded at the door Holly just stormed out.
Cierra listened for a scream, but silence came from the bedroom. She watched Ben carefully as he moved from the coffee table to the couch. He scooped her into his lap and laid back on the couch. She stared into his eyes, and he leaned up, kissing her softly. She let out a sigh.
“Why don’t you try to get some sleep, baby girl.”
She snuggled into him, closing her eyes and slowly drifted to sleep.
Justin felt a leg thrown over his, and a body snuggled close to his. He blinked his eyes a couple of times, looking down, seeing his babe draped over him. She rubbed her cheek against his chest but seemed to move away from him a little.
He slowly managed to get off the bed, he kissed her forehead and headed to his bathroom to get a shower so he and Ben could start their own search.
He got done with his shower quickly, then headed back to his bedroom with the white towel wrapped around his lean waist. He closed the door quietly and headed to the small closet he had in the room. He headed to the moveable drawer stack, grabbing his socks and boxers.
He glanced at his darlin’ when he heard a sharp intake of breath. She was lying there cuddled with the pillow he had used earlier, the blanket pulled around her tightly. His gray gaze locked with her violet one, “What’re you doing up, babe?” he strolled over to the bed, sitting down slowly.
“I woke up when you got up, I’m sorry.” Her eyes slowly scanned his mostly naked body. She slowly reached out her hand but pulled back quickly.
He reached out, pulling her hand back, laying it against one of his pecs, “You okay?”
She nodded her head, but red stained her cheeks prominently.
“Don’t worry, sweetheart, you don’t have to be so unsure around me, I’m not judging you.”
She sat up and laid her other hand against the back of his damp hair. She pulled him down to her, and her lips found his. Their lips moved against each other perfectly.
His fingers curled around her hand against his pec, and his other fingers dove into her hair, the short, silky strands sliding between them. He tried hard not to groan as the kiss deepened.
She let out a whimper as her body trembled against him.
At least he wasn’t the only one who was affected, he thought as heat slammed over his body. He slid his hand down her arm slowly, moving to her back and pulled her body closer to his. He kissed her desperately, not knowing when the next time he’d be able to.
She pulled back from his mouth but laid her cheek against his bare chest, “You’re leaving, aren’t you?” he whispered.
“Let me get dressed, babe.” He whispered back.
She moved away and let him up. She pulled the blanket over her head, making him chuckle a little.
He stripped the towel off and slid into his boxers and his worn-out light blue jeans. He got back on the bed, lifting the blanket off of his darlin’, “Come here, darlin’.” He laid down beside her, and she cuddled up into him. “The answer to your question is, yeah, I’m leaving, but not town, I’m taking Ben with me to do our own search, Cierra will stay with you, though, okay?”
She jerked her head in a nod.
He ran his hand up and down her back, he sighed, if she was much skinner he would have been able to feel her backbone. He pressed a kiss to her forehead, “I’ll be a phone call away, Cierra can call, and I can talk to you if you need to and I can be back here in an instant.”
She drew in a shaky breath, wrapping her arms around him, “Okay.”
He closed his eyes tightly, he hated to leave her, but he had to settle this problem. His gut was telling him something was very wrong, the cops were steered in the wrong direction like someone was in on it. He hated to think that Michaels could be behind the sick act, but he seemed too vain and not very helpful.
He felt her pull back from him, “I don’t like that they haven’t found them yet.”
“I know,” he cupped her cheek, tracing his thumb over her cheekbone. “I’m going to do something about it.”
She nodded and slipped away from him.
“I’ll send Cierra out to get you some clothes before Ben, and I head out.” He sat up, and she did the same.
They headed out to the small living room. A smile played on his lips as his eyes landed on Ben, and Cierra cuddled on the couch.
Bree looked up at him, eyes wide.
“Yeah, they’re together.” He mused then headed over to them. He nudged one of Ben’s football shoulders.
Ben grumbled but opened his hazel eyes, “Mathers.”
“What’s up?” his gruff voice rasped out.
“You and I are going on a trip.”
“Where to?” Ben asked, running a hand over his smooth face and shook Cierra awake a little.
“We’re going to find my niece, a lot of things aren’t adding up, while we get ready I was going to send Cierra to the store to pick Bree up some clothes.”
Cierra slowly sat up on the couch, “Thank God you’re using a name besides babe, darlin’, and hun.”
“Only to you guys.” Justin clarified quickly.
Cierra frowned at him a little as Ben sat back against the arm of the couch.
Justin ignored the frown and turned more toward Ben, “Are you up to the challenge?”
“Of course, why wouldn’t I be?”
“Just making sure, and you’re okay with going to the store?” his gaze slid to Cierra.
“Yeah, she should stay here with you guys until I get back, I won’t be long.” She went to get up, but Ben pulled her back and kissed her long and hard.
“If something weird happens, you call me, I’ll come to get you ASAP.”
“I’ll be fine, Ben, I love you.” She whispered.
“I love you, too.”
Cierra headed out of the apartment.
Justin looked at Ben, “Where’s Holly?”
“She stormed out of here a while ago, she’s one unhappy camper right now.”
“Why?” Justin frowned.
“Because, she’s got it bad for you, she wants you, she’s mad because we’re going to keep a closer eye on Bree, Holly started spouting her mouth off about how she was closer to your age, and she’s known you longer.”
Bree took in a shocked breath, she was nothing but problems. Now she was causing them between Justin and his team. She needed to leave, the less Justin focused on her, the more he could focus on getting Marnie and the others safe.
Justin turned toward her quickly and pulled her into him, “Hey, it’s okay.” He stroked her back gently, catching Ben staring at them.
“Yeah, you’re fine, Holly’s just being Holly, no one in our group cares too much how she acts, she’s more spoiled than anything else.” Ben chimed in.
“But she wants someone to care, I know how that feels, to want someone to care,” Bree whispered.
“Oh, there are people who care, she just wants it to be Justin, you’ve snatched him up though.”
She glanced up at Justin. How had she snatched him up when she hadn’t even tried? She didn’t even really know what it really meant.
Justin caught a strand of her hair between his thumb and forefinger, stroking it a little, “He’s just talking, pay him no mind, Holly will get over it, I’ve told her I don’t know how many times that I’m not interested.”
“But, she still has the right to be upset, if I need to go somewhere else I can,” she began.
Justin leaned down and covered her lips with his, “That’s not an option, I want you where I know you’re safe, I’ll only trust myself, my team, and sister with you, but they need some time to get a handle on things, here is the best place for you right now. I didn’t think about it at first, but now that we’re here, this is better, and maybe Cierra and you can work some more on your memory.”
She laid her head against his chest, she didn’t think about that, “Okay.” She agreed timidly.
“That’s my girl.” He smiled at her and kissed her forehead.
Was she his now? He didn’t seem to be the kind who would see her as property, but it was possible. She was just trying to help five other girls, and figure out who she was. Bree wasn’t good enough for her. There had to be more. So much more.
Ben stood from the couch as he cleared his throat. She tore her gaze from Justin and watched Ben closely. He handed her the pad he had been drawling in earlier.
She took it and stared at the drawing. Her hands trembled as she stared, “Daddy.” She whispered. Her fingers brushed over his strong jawline that Ben captured perfectly. Then over his blonde hair, and over the cleft in his chin.
Ben let out a breath, “So you’re sure that’s your real father?”
Bree glanced up, tears blurring her vision but she nodded her head, “Yes, he used to call me pumpkin all the time, his green eyes were always so warm and shiny, how can we find him?” she looked back to Justin.
“We’ll try our best, babe, as long as you can be with him I’ll make sure you are.”
“How impossible will it be, though?”
“I’m not sure, babe, but I’m going to try my hardest, we’ll just have to be patient.”
She nodded and handed the pad back to Ben, “Thank you for that, Ben, it’s like you crawled inside my head and saw who I saw.”
“That’s why Justin keeps me around.” He winked at her, and she smiled faintly.
“We can look once you get Marnie back, right?” she looked back at Justin.
“Of course, baby, of course.” He pulled her into a hug.
She wrapped her arms around him as she snuggled into him. He felt so warm, safe, and she didn’t want him to leave, but if this was the only way to save the other girls, then so be it. She had to let him go, and she would.
Justin took her into the kitchen, “Let’s try something different to eat, I might having something, but if not, I can order a pizza.” He pulled open drawers, pantries, and shelves after he let her go. “Damn, pizza it is, I guess.”
She closed her eyes tightly, “Just cheese, stuffed crust?” she whispered.
“That’s what you want on it, baby?”
He was smiling at her when she opened her eyes, “Your wish is my command, darlin’, I’ll order it, and then Ben and I need to get things ready.”
“Thank you, for everything, Justin.”
He ran his knuckles down the side of her cheek, “No problem.”
She headed back to the living room as she heard Justin talking in the kitchen. She slowly curled up on one side of the couch as she stared at the brown carpet in front of her.
Why would she be his? She didn’t even have anything to offer him, or know how to make anyone happy. She sighed, pulling her knees to her chest.
Justin got done ordering the pizza, he went with just cheese and the stuffed crust just like she asked. He paid over the phone then headed out to the living room. He chewed on the inside of his cheek when he saw how tightly she was curled into herself.
He sat down by her as Ben glanced up, “So, how long do you think we’ll be gone?”
“I don’t know, Ben, I’d hope no more than a couple of days, we’ll look for that long and if we don’t have any luck then I don’t know what we’re going to do.” Justin huffed a little.
The apartment door opened, and Cierra came in with a few bags, and Ben rushed to help her.
“You can put those in my room, for now, you two can go through them when Ben and I leave.”
Cierra nodded, and Ben helped her take them back to his room.
Justin pulled his darlin’ into him, they sat there cuddling until a knock landed on his wooden apartment door.
He kissed her temple and went to get the food. He brought it into the living room as Cierra and Ben came in, hand in hand.
They all sat there, eating in silence.
After they ate, the men kissed their girl’s goodbye and headed out to start their search.