Justin glared at Chief Michaels as he walked away from the room. The other cops let him go and he rushed in to room, “Babe?” he called gently.
She didn’t move, she was barely breathing. He crouched down and cupped her cheek gently when she didn’t acknowledge him. “Come on, babe, talk to me.” He wrapped his hand around hers and pulled her up from the chair. “Babe, are you okay?”
She still didn’t respond. She stared at the wall across from them.
He let out a sigh, this wasn’t good, “Come on, babe, what happened?”
“They want me to lead them out there.” She whispered.
“Over my dead body, I won’t let you go back out there, and it’s their job to find this place, not yours.” He cupped her cheek again. “I won’t let them send you back, we’ll figure something out, come on, let’s get you home.”
“But, Justin, I don’t have a home.”
He cringed. By the time all of this was over she’d have a home he thought, even if it was his family, “Okay, we’ll take you back to my place, I want you to meet Ben, and he can draw the picture of the man you saw during the first session.”
Fear made its way into her eyes.
“Honey, he’s my partner, he won’t hurt you, Cierra will be there also, so will Holly and I.”
She seemed to relax some, and he stood, pulling her with him. He took her to Iris’s car, shot a text to his team to meet them at his place, and headed to Iris’s home. He took Bree in with him and left a note for Clay, and Iris then headed back out to his bike.
His darlin’ pulled back on his hand, making him turn back to her, “What, babe?”
“Do we have to go on that?” she whispered.
“Kind of, I can’t leave Clay and Iris without a car, don’t worry, just hold tight to me, I’ll hold close to me, babe.”
She nodded, and he jumped on, then pulled her on behind him once he got the bike started. He took her hands and placed them against his chest, and pulled her close to his back, making her breasts press against his back.
The heat washed over him as her little body molded to him. Heel. He scolded himself, but the heat rose as she pressed her face below his shoulder blades as he took off to his apartment.
The ride wasn’t long enough for him, but he pulled into the garage of his building. He wondered when he was going to give the place up. Probably never, as long as Iris and Marnie were here.
He cut the engine and headed to the entrance from the ground. He felt his darlin’ digging her nails into his hand and arm. He opted for going up the stairs the three flights instead of taking the elevator since he wasn’t sure how she felt about enclosed spaces. And he didn’t want to find out right now.
He pulled her in front of him before he opened the door, “Okay, babe, there’s no pressure, okay? I’ll be there the whole time.” He turned to the door, but she pulled him back.
“I’m sorry for all of this, Justin, I don’t mean to be so clingy.”
“Honey, it’s okay, I understand, we’ll figure this out and get you back to your life.”
“What life? How can I have a life with a dad, but no mother, and who’s to say my dad is alive or any other part of my family? It’s apparent I don’t have anyone looking for me.”
Justin pulled her into a gentle hug, “I’ll do what it takes to find your family, babe, I won’t leave ’til I know you are safe.” As their eyes locked, she tilted her head up a little, giving him access to her mouth. And he stupidly took that access. He gently threaded his fingers through her short hair. She fumbled with the kiss at first but soon got the hang of it. She placed her hands on his chest and tightened her fists in his shirt.
Man, he was an idiot. He moved a little, trying to deepen the kiss more, causing his boot to hit his wooden door. He heard it unlock, and he moved away from his darlin’ quickly and was face to face with Ben.
Ben cocked an eyebrow at them.
“Sorry, we were talking before we came in.” Justin laid his hand at the small of her back and rushed them past Ben. Ben looked unconvinced, but oh well. “Did you get the DNA swabs sent?”
Ben grunted for an answer.
Justin walked past the narrow gaze of Holly and the round gaze of Cierra. “We’ve got to work fast after you left, Ben, Michaels was basically trying to bully her into showing them the way, I won’t risk her getting caught again, and something happen to her before they’d get to her.” He made his darlin’ sit on the couch. “I think I’m going out there to look since they aren’t having much luck, I want you,” he gestured to Ben. “To work on drawling the memory she had, we think it may be her dad, there is no way in hell Sal Thompson is her father, I want that name ran ASAP, Holly.”
He watched as his team acted fast, Holly jumped to the computer, while Ben pulled out his sketch pad and Cierra sat down beside Bree giving her support.
Cierra took her hand, “Can you remember what you saw? Or do we need to try hypnosis again?”
His darlin’ took a breath, “I think I can remember.” She mumbled.
Ben sat down on the coffee table, making his darlin’ pull up her knees to her chest. He turned those sharp hazel eyes onto his darlin’, “Okay, I’m ready when you are.”
Bree took another deep breath and squirmed beneath the gaze of the man named Ben. She was grateful Cierra sat beside her, and she was able to cling to her hand. She began to describe the man the best she could. Sharp jawline, a cleft on his chin, a bit of a crooked nose, wavy blonde hair that never seemed to stay. Blonde stubble and warm green eyes. She let out another breath as tears filled her vision.
She laid her cheek against her knees as Ben worked on the description she just gave. She felt Cierra shift a little and an arm wrapped around her gently. The tears fell, she had such an ache in her chest. Like something was terrible was telling her she didn’t belong anywhere. She was better off dead. She pulled away from Cierra and stood crossing to the one huge window in the room.
She stared out at it, seeing the woods off in the distance. It looked so huge, maybe that was why the cops were having such an issue finding where she had been held, she placed her hand against the cool glass as she stared. So many thoughts running through her mind. She closed her eyes tightly as another memory assaulted her.
‘Daddy, why did Mommy have to go?’ a childlike voice whispered.
‘I don’t know, sweetie, everything happens for a reason, but we may never know.’
She curled up to the man she had just described to Ben. ‘I don’t want a party this year, Mommy always made my cake special, I never want another party again.’
‘If that’s what you want, sweetie, we don’t have to have one.’ His voice was so calm and soothing. He looked so sleepy. ‘I love you, Daddy, I hope you don’t ever have to go.’
‘Not for a very long time, I’ll be here for you, my little pumpkin.’
The sob racked through her body, she hung her head, clutching herself tightly. But where are you now? She wondered. Can I find you? If she couldn’t, what was left for her?
Another memory plagued her, but it wasn’t a pleasant one.
‘You’ve been nothing but a pain since day one, you are so worthless, you are nothing and causing us a loss on a lot of money.’ Burly yelled out at her.
He threw her in the corner of her prison hard, that day she thought he had broken her back. She couldn’t move for so long after.
The pain felt so fresh, she clutched her body tightly a scream ripped through her at the feel of being snagged up by her hair. Pain radiated down her back.
‘Just let me die.’ She begged over and over, just like she was now.
Everyone jumped at the painful scream that ripped from his darlin’ as she stood in front of the window. Justin tensed, but there wasn’t any other sound, no glass breaking, nothing. Just her screaming. He rushed up to her and put his arms around her.
“Easy, baby, easy.” He soothed.
She trashed against him, he looked to Cierra at a loss.
Cierra stood from the couch, “Maybe we pushed her too much, take her somewhere with fewer people, Justin.”
Justin managed to pick her up and rushed to his bedroom with her. He sat her on her feet beside the bed, “Babe, easy, look at me, come on darlin’, open those pretty eyes for me, shh, everything’s going to be okay, come on, babe.”
Her eyes fluttered open slowly, “Justin?”
“Yeah, I’m right here, you’re okay.” He was taken aback a bit when she wrapped her arms around his neck and pressed her body against his. He wrapped his arms around her and lifted her, then crawled onto the bed, “Why don’t you try to get some sleep.” He encouraged as he laid them on the bed.
She moved closer to him, and he didn’t mind. He kept an arm over her waist as she clung to his shirt. How was he going to keep the poor woman from having so many issues? It wasn’t like he had a shrink on his pay scale, although he may need to invest in one now. But for now, he would hold her like this and hope it kept her calm.
Ben turned to Cierra, his hazel gaze bore into her blue eyes, “Why’d you suggest he take her?” he demanded, folding his buff arms across his chest, making his biceps seem even bigger under the tight gray sleeves of his gray t-shirt.
“Because she trusts him, Ben, you saw the fear all over her, how desperately she wanted to flee from you. That poor thing is petrified of almost everyone except for Justin, you know I know how she feels.” She whispered the last few words. “For the longest time, I was just as afraid of everyone, except you.”
“Yeah, but we know how old we were, Justin has no clue, and I caught him kissing her, she doesn’t look over than eighteen, which is a fourteen-year difference if we’re lucky, what if she’s younger than that? It’s not right.”
“Age is just a number when you’ve found the one, nothing will stand in the way, Justin knows what’s at risk, at first, I thought the same, but he settles her, and that’s what she needs right now.”
Ben moved across the coffee table, sitting the sketch pad beside him and caught Cierra’s hands tightly, “God, I love you, are you sure you weren’t supposed to be a psychiatrist?”
Cierra giggled, “No, hypnotism is my calling, I’m just glad Justin, and you believe in me.”
“How could we not, baby” he leaned forward and pressed his lips to her forehead. He then grabbed the pad and handed it to her. “When she wakes up or settles down, I want her to look at that, see if that’s who she’s remembering.”
“Guys, I’m not getting anything on a Sal Thompson.” Holly interrupted, not wanting to hear any more talk about Justin and the stupid girl he was fawning all over.
Ben glanced over to her, “More than likely a fake name, but now we’re going to have to keep a close eye on her now that he knows we have her, they can’t get her again.”
Holly groaned and rolled her eyes, “Great.” She grumbled.
“Got something to say, Holly?” Cierra demanded.
“Good, because we could send you back to the office,” Ben added.
“Justin won’t hear of it, he brought me out here before either one of you.”
“Because you called and begged, and he knew you wouldn’t leave him along until he gave in.” Ben scoffed.
Holly’s anger flew through her, jumping from the desk and computer chair, “I’m more his age, over that thing, known him longer, why’s he fawning all over her, I was attacked today, and no one even cares.’ She stormed to the apartment door, rushing out and slammed the door loud she had to make Justin wake up and see that she was who he was supposed to be with and care about. One way or another.