Everyone has left the room except Logan, who’s quietly sitting beside me offering silent support.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t think he would come looking for me. I didn’t think he cared where I was either way.” I whisper to him.
“It doesn’t matter. He won’t hurt you again, no one will.” Is his only response, I start crying harder. Harder than any night I spent in the club. Even harder than the night my dad gave me away. Logan’s arms wrap around me and pull me into him. I cling to him praying he won’t let go. He doesn’t. Instead he holds me tighter. He seems to understand that I just need comfort, and nothing more, because that’s all he’s offering. I feel free, but yet still so lost. I have nowhere to go, and no money. The only job I’ve ever had is stripping, and I refuse to ever degrade my body like that again. All my dreams I once had are now gone. I think of when I was a little girl, and would hide from my mother and father trying to practice my ballet techniques. I always loved to dance, even though my parents hated it. It never stopped me though. I would hide in my room and practice till the sun would go down. I was home schooled so I never had any way to take classes. My dad kept me as much of a prisoner as Shane did. Everything I ever wanted in life has been taken from me. I force my face into Logan’s neck and let everything escape me. I have no idea how much time has passed by the time the tears have dried up. All I know is I feel empty. I finally lean up and pull away from Logan, he seems a little hesitant about letting me go, but finally releases me.
“I’m sorry. I ruined your shirt.” I say with a small smile, I probably look like shit right now.
“It’s just a shirt.” He says with a small shrug.
“Yeah.” I slightly laugh. “I guess I should get dressed, I really should get going before it gets to late.” I say.
“Stay.” He whispers to me.
“What?” I ask slightly caught off guard. He brushes a strand of hair behind my ear. He looks so serious.
“You don’t have to go, you could stay.” He says again.
“Your brother doesn’t want me here.” I tell him in a gentle voice. He huffs out a breath, and rubs his hands through his hair. He look nervous.
“It doesn’t matter.” He says rubbing his head again. “Look Haley, there’s something I need to tell you.” He jumps to his feet and starts to pace. I’m so thrown by his actions I jump back. He see’s my reaction, and frowns.
“I would never hurt you.” He says in a sad voice. I believe him.
“I know.” I tell him seriously. Before he can say anything else, Chelsea barges in the room, Kyle and Mac close behind. They all stop when they see Logan’s face, and then Chelsea sighs and walks towards me. She reaches for my hand and pulls me to my feet.
“Come on, you’re gonna need a drink first.” She says. I’m so lost that I follow her, wondering what the hell is going on. When we make it to the kitchen, I notice Bobby at the table already sipping on a beer. He looks up when we enter, and then shakes his head. I guess he knows what going on too. I wish I could say the same I think, and reluctantly sit on a stool.
“What’s going on?” I ask. Chelsea starts pouring two shots of tequila, and Kyle hands Mac and Logan a beer. They gladly accept them and then sit down across from me. Chelsea slides a shot glass in front of me, and I just stare at it. I’ve never drank. She gives me an encouraging smile, so I pick it up and swallow it down in one gulp. Jesus that’s nasty! She’s starring at me with her eyebrows raised in question, so I smile. I’m pretty sure it looks more like a grimace, from the way she laughs.
“We find people.” Logan says, startling me. I’m so caught off guard by him, that I have to really focus to process what he just said.
“Okay… like lost people?” I ask.
“Kind of, mostly people who have been taken.” Chelsea says.
“Wait, people like me?” Most of everyone nods there head. “So where are they? You obviously didn’t ask them to pack there begs and move in with you too.” I say trying to make a joke and lighten the mood. Apparently It was the wrong thing to say.
“Wait you guys asked her to stay with us?” Bobby interrupts me. “You don’t think this should have been discussed amongst the entire group?” He asks Logan.
“No I don’t. If I remember correctly she saved your ass back at Shane’s. That should be all the convincing you need.”
“My ass would have never needed saving if it wasn’t for you going all “Me Tarzan, you Jane.” On our assess!” I choke on the beer Haley had just handed me. They ignore me though.
“I wasn’t about to leave her there with him, if we would have waited he would have blamed her for his little “failed transaction”, and you know it.” Logan replies, his voice still calm.
“You don’t know that, cause you didn’t even try!” Bobby accuses.
“Wait, try what?” I interrupt them. Everyone goes silent again. “What the hell are you talking about?” Still nothing. “Someone better tell me what the fuck is going on.” I turn to Logan demanding answers, he blows out a breath. He seems like he’s trying to figure out where to start.
“Bobby and I are brothers as you probably have already figured out. We grew up next door to Mac. These two where fucking inseparable.” He says pointing towards the both of them. “After our father did this to my face.” He indicates pointing at his burn marks. His father did that? “And also beating the shit out of Bobby for trying to stop him. He ended up going to prison. Attempted murder.” He says with a shake of his head. “Mac’s family ended up taking us in after about six months in foster care.” That brings a smile to Mac’s face. “His dad is a bounty hunter, and his mom is a doctor.” He says smiling. “Weird combination, I know.” He says shaking his head with a small laugh. “Anyway, by the time we turned of age Bobby and I wanted to be just like Bill.” He says referring to who I assume is Mac’s father. “And Mac was already a tech genius.” Mac winks at me from across the table.
“So you guys are bounty hunters?” I ask, still confused with what this has to do with me.
“For a short time, yes. That’s how we met Kyle. He’s five years older than all of us so he had been hunting a little longer. He was doing his own undercover job at the time though. Turns out his sister had been kidnapped and sold; sex trafficking is what we discovered. We eventually quit our jobs and started freelancing with him.”
“Oh my god! What about your sister, did you ever find her?” I ask him, he doesn’t respond verbally but his eyes flick to Chelsea who has been sitting quietly beside me.
“Yeah, he did.” She says smiling at Kyle with a soft look. Then it hits me, and I gasp.
“Oh my god you’re his sister?” I all but yell. She looks at me, still smiling and nods her head. My eyes begin to burn from unshed tears. I don’t think, I just grab her and hug her. She was sold just like me? This whole time I thought none of them understood what had happened to me, and she did. Except she never said anything, she comforted me when she was probably re-living it all over again in her own head.
“Well anyway after we found Chelsea, it was all over the news. People were going crazy, the community held a huge welcome home party for her, and the mayor gave Bobby, Kyle, Mac and myself metals of honor. We where the town heroes. Eventually we had people from other counties and states tracking us down asking for our help. Their daughters and even in some cases sons, had been kidnapped. There were children in every age you could imagine.” He says with a faraway look. Like he’s remembering something. “I think one of the hardest was a little girl; Savannah. She was twelve years old when she was grabbed walking home from school. Her parents went to the police and every local news station, but she was just gone. By the time her father found us and asked for our help it had been six months since she had been taken. We accepted the job without a second thought, and long story short, we found her two months later. She had been in the same town the entire time, in an abandoned house at the edge of town by some guy who had been released on patrol just a year before. She was being kept under the floor boards with nothing but an old blanket, that was covered in her own feces. She had a dress on that was about three sizes too big on her, and nothing else.” He stops for a minute, breathing hard. Tears are running down my face freely now. “She had to go through speech therapy for months afterwards, no one could get her to say anything other than, ‘Yes Daddy’.” He spits the words with such a look of disgust, I can feel his body shaking with rage beside me. “Right after we found her she had to have surgery cause of the damage inside her body, turns out she was pregnant as well.”
“Oh my god.” I whisper. I feel like I’m going to be sick, but he continues like he doesn’t even hear me.
“So that’s what we do. We save people. Usually once we figure out where they are we try getting close to the person, pretending to be someone else entirely. We rarely change our first names though, most the time it’s only necessary to take a different last name.”
“Wait so your name isn’t Logan cash?” I ask.
“Logan Roster. Bobby and I took Mac’s family name soon after they adopted us. Cash was our uh, fathers name.” He says looking a little embarrassed, but he continues. “Anyway, most of the time the police are involved, but your case was a little different.” He says meeting my eyes.
“How?” I ask him.
“We were offered more money if we kept it under the radar, and take care of Shane ourselves. We originally said no, we were just going to try and sneak you out. He wasn’t too thrilled with that plan but he accepted it, anything to get you back.”
“Who…?” I ask scrunching my forehead together.
“Your uncle.” He tells me. “Tray Morgan.” Oh my god!
“You work for my uncle?” I gasp. I can’t believe it, he nods his head once.
“He came to us about a year ago saying you had been taken, but he just didn’t know by who. He also didn’t have any proof, simply a feeling. He suspected your father was behind it, but again couldn’t prove it. You were one of our hardest cases, turns out your dad can hide shit really well. He had told people you where traveling overseas, he even went as far as buying a plane ticket the night he gave you away, and then putting money into an account he opened under your name. Every month like clockwork the money would vanish.”
“To make it look like I was spending it.” I finish for him.
“Yeah, well your Uncle knew better than to believe it. He said you had planned on going to college in the fall.” He says laughing. “He said there was no way you would have turned Juilliard down just to travel, that you were far to stubborn, and you loved to dance.” I smile at that, he’s right. Ballet used to be my whole life.
“So where is he, If he knows about me?” I ask him grabbing hold of his arm, I’m so excited I could scream.
“He’s in Iowa, I actually spoke to him this morning. He can’t wait to see you.” He says with a full smile.
“Oh my god! I can’t believe this whole time he was looking for me. I just assumed my father would fool everyone into believing whatever lies he came up with. I should’ve known Uncle Tray wouldn’t buy into his shit.” I say laughing and crying at the same time. My body is vibrating with excitement. Family, I think. I’m not alone.
“We planned on heading out in a the morning, Tray said he knows how much you hate flying, so he figured a small road trip would work best. It’s about seventeen hours one way, but we figured we’d stop for a night and rest up. He’s already covered the cost of the hotels and gas. Even sent some money for you to buy some new clothes and anything else you may need.” He says taking a check out of his back pocket and sliding it towards me, I pick it up and almost pass out from the numbers on the paper. I look back to Logan, who’s still smiling at me.
“This is a lot of money.” I tell him, like he doesn’t already know.
“He said that even if you decided to not stay with him he wanted to make sure you where taken care of, but he hopes you at least come see him.” I instantly pull Logan into a hug, pouring every ounce of happiness into it.
“Thank you.” I tell him around my broken cries. “Thank you, for saving me.” His arms wrap around me and squeeze.