Exactly 4 weeks after Kallie had left New York, a man came into Shantelle’s for dinner one night. He had high, prominent cheekbones, a chiseled jaw, and longish, perfectly quaffed salt and pepper hair. His brown eyes were friendly and his smile was even more inviting. Despite the graying in his sideburns, Kallie guessed him to be about 35 or 40 years old.
“Welcome to Shantelle’s sir; how many will be dining tonight?” Kallie asked, putting on her best hostess smile.
“Just me,” he answered in a warm, rich European accent.
“And your name?”
“Walter Wheton,” he answered simply.
“It will be about 15 minutes, Mr. Wheton; would you like to take a seat at the bar while you wait?”
“I’d love to,” he answered, “but even more if you would join me.”
Kallie blushed and looked away. “I’m sorry sir, but it is against policy, Thank you for the offer though; very much.”
“What a shame. It was nice to meet you…” Walter replied, looking expectedly at Kallie and waiting for her to tell him her name.
“Kallie,” she answered shyly.
“Kallie. Bellismo.” Walter held out his hand to Kallie, who put hers into it. He squeezed her hand warmly and kissed her knuckles, which made Kallie blush again.
Walter went in and sat at the bar, and 10 minutes later, Kallie went to get him to bring him to a table. He offered Kallie his elbow and she looped her arm through it, escorting him to his table. Alexa watched them walk back and raised her eyebrows at Kallie; Kallie shrugged her shoulders back in an answer. All night, Kallie kept glancing up at the stranger, only to find him watching her. It actually began to make Kallie feel a little uncomfortable, but she wasn’t too concerned in the crowded restaurant. She made a mental note to ask Frankie to walk her the few blocks back to the hotel after her shift was over.
For the next 4 days, Walter Wheton came in every single night. On the 3rd night, Kallie wasn’t working, and when she came in the next day, Alexa told her that he had been there, asking for her. When he came in on the 4th night and Kallie was working, she escorted him to his table, as she normally did. When he was finished with his meal, Kallie saw him call his waiter over. He whispered something to the waiter, who nodded and left the table, returning with their manager. Walter whispered something to Kyle, their manager. A wide grin spread across Kyle’s face, and Kallie watched with a surprised expression as Kyle made his way over to her.
“Kallie, Mr. Wheton would like to speak with you for a moment. I’ll stand at the hostess desk while you go.”
Kallie smoothed her short black skirt and slowly walked over to Walter, sitting across from him at his small, intimate table.
“Hello, Mr. Wheton,” Kallie said in a small voice.
“Good evening, Kallie. I’ve asked for you to join me because I have an interesting offer for you.”
Kallie looked up at him, raising one eyebrow in interest. “Oh?”
“I’m a photographer with Garrett Photography and Talent Agency, and I want to offer you a job. I’ve been watching you all week, and you are absolutely stunning. You have an extremely graceful presence, a gorgeous smile, and a perfect figure. I spoke to my agent and he really wants to meet you.”
Kallie’s jaw dropped, and she closed her mouth quickly. The first person she thought of was Sophie, and how she had asked if Kallie had ever been photographed the very first time that they had met. The memory made Kallie sad, but she couldn’t pass up an opportunity this tremendous, and for something she had been interesting in doing her whole life.
“Really? What would I be doing?”
“A good friend of his is starting a clothing and accessory line. He’s been looking for a few models to pose for his magazine ads, and you fit the description perfectly. “
“So, a print model?” Kallie asked excitedly. She had wanted to get into print modeling in particular, as the still shot of the subject was what interested her the most, not the runway aspect of fashion and modeling.
Walter smiled. “Yes, a print model. Does that interest you?”
“Very much so. I definitely want to do it,” she said. “So what’s next?”
Walter laughed at her eagerness. “I can set up an appointment with him tomorrow, if you are free. He is a busy man, but he will squeeze me in, especially for a bright young star like yourself.”
Kallie smiled and clasped her hands tightly in her lap, mainly to keep from hugging Walter Wheton. “I actually don’t have a shift tomorrow; I can meet whenever you want.”
At that, Walter took out his cell phone and chose a number from his contact list. Kallie listened to his end of the conversation.
“Alec, this is Walt. I have the perfect person for that print ad you are trying to set up for your friend,” Walter said, pausing while he listened, “Yeah, about 5’5, 115 pounds, long blonde hair, and the sexiest eyes I’ve ever seen,” he said, winking at Kallie. “Tomorrow, at 1?” he said, looking at Kallie for confirmation. Kallie nodded. “Okay, Alec. See you then.”
Walt ended the call and smiled at Kallie. “Excited?”
Kallie nodded, her eyes wide with excitement.
“Okay then. Would you like to meet me here at 12:30 tomorrow, and I can take you there? It’s kind of confusing if you don’t know how to get there.”
“That would be great,” Kallie answered, “I’ve only been in California for 4 weeks, so I don’t really know how to get anywhere but here.”
Walter pulled out a business card and handed it to Kallie. “Here is my cell phone number and email address. Call me if you need anything before,” Walt said, standing up and putting on his suit jacket. “As always, your company has been my pleasure. See you tomorrow, Kallie.”
When he walked out, Alexa came running over to Kallie. “What in the world was that all about?”
“That guy is a photographer. He wants me to pose for a magazine spread for his company.”
“Oh my gosh!” Alexa squealed, “How exciting! You’d be perfect for that Kal; I’m so happy for you!” Alexa threw her arms around Kallie’s neck, and Kallie hugged her back tightly.
The next morning, Kallie took a long shower, carefully washing her long hair and shaving her legs and underarms. She decided to keep her signature waves, so she added a small amount of mousse to her hair and twisted the front portion back out of her face, securing it with a bobby pin. Kallie carefully applied a smoky eyeliner and shadow to accent her grey eyes; normally she wouldn’t bring attention to them, but Walter had mentioned them to his boss as one of her selling points, so she figured she should accentuate them. She dressed in a short, black skirt, a tight blue v-neck t-shirt, and black, high heeled ankle booties. Kallie added a tailored white jacket over the top, and grabbed her purse to begin heading for the restaurant.
Kallie was so excited for this opportunity that she had an extra bounce in her step. Despite her elation, she couldn’t help but think that she would be happier if she could share it with Jack. She even contemplated calling him, just to talk, but she knew that he would find her and come get her, and she didn’t think she was ready to be ‘gotten’ yet.
When she arrived at the restaurant, Walter Wheton was standing outside, leaning against the wall. Although he was a significant number of years older than Kallie, she couldn’t help but be awe-stricken by his sophisticated presence and good looks. She definitely was not attracted to him like she was attracted to Jack, but he was nice to look at. When he saw her, he beamed that pearly-toothed smile and lazily pushed himself away from the wall.
“Kallie. How are you today, bella?” Walter said, taking her hand and kissing the back of it.
“I’m fantastic, Mr. Wheton, thank you,” she answered.
“Please, call me Walt. When I hear ‘Mr. Wheton’, I look around for my father,” Walt said, smiling.
Kallie smiled back, and Walt offered her his elbow. “My car is this way,” he said, leading her towards the corner of the block.
On the corner sat a sleek, slate grey 2-seater Mercedes coupe. Kallie raised her eyebrows and looked at Walt. “What?” he asked innocently, shrugging his shoulders.
“Boys and their cars,” Kallie answered teasingly.
Walt laughed. “Women never know cars; that’s why they always pick on men.”
“I know your car is a C63 AMG with a V-8 engine and- about- a 450 horsepower engine?” Kallie said simply.
Walt’s jaw dropped, which made Kallie smile sweetly.
“What?” she asked, and it was her turn to shrug.
“You know cars,” Walt said, opening the door for her.
“I love cars,” she answered back. Walt came around to his side of the car, getting in and starting the strong engine with a smooth purr.
“Learning new things about you will never get old, bella. And this car has a 451 horsepower engine,” Walt corrected, winking.
Suddenly, Kallie got a weird feeling In the pit of her stomach. Get out of the car, Kal, said a voice in her head, and she couldn’t help but notice that it sounded exactly like Jack’s.
“Are you okay, Kallie?” Walt asked.
Kallie snapped back to reality, and realized that her fists were clenched in her lap and her brow was scrunched up, as if she was in pain. “Yeah, I’m fine. Sorry,” she answered, smiling.
Walt patted her thigh reassuringly. His hand didn’t linger too long, and Kallie pushed the weird feeling away and let herself relax. Walt pulled the car into traffic and drove away.
Jack sat at the breakfast bar of his parent’s house, nursing a glass of brandy and reading the news on his iPad. He had been thinking a lot about Kallie today- not that he’d stopped thinking about her, but it seemed like he couldn’t get her off his mind at all today. He even called the station to tell them he would be out sick, something that he’d never done before. It had been exactly 5 weeks since Kallie left. He wondered if she was okay, what she was doing, or if she needed anything. Jack had been having this overwhelming feeling that something was wrong with her, and he couldn’t shake it. He hated himself more every day, because he was the reason she was gone. He didn’t even know if she was alive, and every time he thought like that, a lump formed in his throat. Cam had been trying to keep his busy; taking him to football games, the batting cages, or hiking, but nothing really worked to keep his mind off of Kallie. Cam and Linc were planning a trip to California in a few weeks to see how the restaurant was doing, and every time they said ‘Cali’, it brought Jack’s mind right back to his girl.
The kitchen door swung open, and Cam came through. “Whatcha doing, bro? No work today?”
Jack pushed his iPad away and took a sip of brandy. “Nah, I wasn’t really feeling well this morning. I didn’t get much sleep last night; I couldn’t shut my mind off.”
“Surprise, surprise. I brought in the big guns; I don’t know what else to try anymore,” Cam said, and held open the kitchen door for Blair to come in.
“Jackson! I haven’t seen you in forever! I’ve missed my nephew!” She said, wrapping her slender arms around Jack’s neck. Jack bear-hugged his aunt; no matter what kind of mood he was in, Blair could always make him smile.
Blair took his drink off the counter and without a word, emptied it into the sink. Jack watched her but didn’t say anything; he knew he shouldn’t be drinking as much as he had been, but he was just trying to keep his hands and mind busy.
“Hi, Aunt Blair. I’ve missed you too. How is everything?”
“Going great, actually. Zach got promoted at work, and he has to go on a trip next week to New Zealand, and he wants me to go along!”
“That’s great! Supposedly, it’s beautiful there this time of year. I’ve always wanted to go, but I’ve never gotten around to it.”
“Why don’t you come with us?! It will be so much fun, and you can keep me company while Zach is working!”
“I don’t know, Aunt Blair. That’s kind of far from home,” Jack said, without saying What if Kallie calls and I’m away?
“Okay then, no New Zealand. How about just a simple party? I’m having a get together at Ramone’s tonight; say you’ll come?”
“I don’t know…”
“Oh come on, Jackson. Cameron is coming too. It will be fun! Please,” Blair pleaded.
Jack looked at Cam, who responded with overdramatic, puppy dog eyes and a big pout lip. Jack laughed, for the first time in a long time.
“Okay,” he said, “I’ll go.”
“Yeah,” Cam drawled out, clapping his brother’s shoulder with his hand, “Let’s go get ready.”
“I’ll meet you boys there at 7,” Blair called after them, and left to go get ready herself.
The boys went to their separate rooms and dressed for Blair’s party. She told them it was “dressy casual”, so Jack stuck with a pair of dress pants, a button down shirt that he left open at the collar, and a dinner jacket. Cam decided that he was doing to drive; secretly, he thought that if he drove, Jack wouldn’t try to leave early. The restaurant was about 20 minutes from their house, and the boys drive in silence the whole way, windows down and music loud. Cam knew not to make silly conversation; it was a big step that Jack was even going out, and he didn’t want to make him feel uncomfortable or forced to come up with something to talk about.
When they arrived at the restaurant, the parking lot was almost full. Cam found a parking spot near the back entrance of the building. He parked, and the boys walked around to the main entrance and let themselves inside. Ramone’s was always a hit on a Saturday night. The main entrance opened up into a huge room with many tables and an elaborate bar on the far wall. There was a room both to the right and the left of the main room, each with their own full bar. There was a DJ in the main room that you could hear in all 3 of the rooms. Cam could see Blair and Zach in the room to the left. He tapped Jack’s elbow and nodded in the direction of their party, and Jack followed him to the room.
As always, “dressy casual” meant “red carpet event” to Blair. She was wearing a floor length, fitted green dress that matched her green eyes. Her sleek, straight black hair was pulled back from her face with a headband lined with crystals. She was on Zach’s arm, and between her dress and his perfectly tailored gray suit, they looked like royalty. When she saw the boys, she separated herself from Zach and walked over to the boys to greet them. Blair grabbed two flutes of champagne off of a passing tray and handed them to the boys, smiling.
“I’m glad you decided to come out, Jackson! It will be good for you to get out and meet new people,” Blair said.
“I’m not interested in meeting a new woman, Aunt Blair,” Jack said firmly.
“Oh no, Jack. I didn’t mean just women. I just meant new people to talk to,” Blair said apologetically.
“That’s okay; my fault for misinterpreting. The party is gorgeous, Aunt Blair,” Jack said, kissing his aunt on the cheek.
Jack and Cam went to sit at the bar, next to one of Zach’s coworkers that the boys recognized from another party that Blair had thrown. They talked about their jobs and the latest professional pre-season football game that was on television the day before. Jack could feel himself relax in this happy-go-lucky atmosphere. Two hours passed, and Jack could honestly say that he was happy to be out and wasn’t ready to go home yet.
A girl came up next to Jack, “accidently” brushing his arm to order from the bartender. “Oh, excuse me,” she said, “I was closer to you than I thought.” She flashed Jack a bright smile, then did the same to Cam. She was a pretty girl, nothing spectacular but she was nice to look at. She had shoulder length, auburn hair and bright green eyes. She was only a little over 5 feet tall, but her bubbly personality made her seem like a bigger presence.
“Hi, I’m Autumn. What’s your name?”
Jack smiled politely. “Jackson. This is my brother, Cameron.”
“Ooo, I like the name Jackson. Very ‘NYPD Blue’,” Autumn said.
“That’s funny,” Cam said, butting in, “Because Jack here is a cop. A captain, to be exact.”
Autumn looked impressed. “Really? A cop? That’s hot.”
Autumn was too drunk, too loud, and too clingy. Jack hated the way that she kept hanging on his arm and laughing too loudly. She was sloppy, and Jack hated that. He thought that Cam’s original plan was to try and hook them up, but Cam could see now that that would never work. Autumn hooked her arm around Jack’s neck and pulled herself into his lap. Jack put his arm around her back so she wouldn’t fall. Blair came over to the boys, raising her eyebrows in surprise at the sight she saw.
“Autumn? What are you doing? I think you’ve had a little too much to drink, sweetheart,” Blair said, pulling Autumn off of Jack and putting her unsteadily on her feet.
“You know her?” Cam asked his aunt.
“I do. She is Zach’s secretary. Apparently, she is pretty fond of Jackson,” Blair said, making a face.
“Aww, don’t be a party pooper, Mrs. C. Jack and I were becoming good friends,” Autumn said, winking at Jackson and grabbing his arm.
Jack untangled himself from Autumn’s grasp. “It’s okay, Aunt Blair. Autumn seems like she needs some quiet time, anyway.”
Blair put her arm around Autumn’s waist. “Let’s go grab a cab for you, honey.” She led Autumn towards the door, and Jack watched Blair put her coat on and walk with her out of the front door.
Cam looked at his brother and laughed out loud. “Dude. You could have taken her home in 2 seconds. She would have really taken your mind off of Kallie.”
Jack narrowed his eyes at his brother and clenched his teeth. “Cameron. I don’t want my mind off of Kallie. I want Kallie. That’s it. Everything else is pointless. I need her, Cam.”
Cam watched his brother. He hated seeing Jack like this; his strong, capable brother was crumbling slowly before him. “Then let’s find her.”
Jack’s head snapped up and he looked at his brother. “Really?”
“Really. I can’t see you like this anymore, man. I need my brother back. And I miss Kallie almost as much as you do. She’s my best friend.”
Jack smiled, a wide, genuine smile that Cam hadn’t seen since the last time Kallie made him smile. “Let’s get to work, bro.”
The next day, the boys went to the police station early in the day. They started their search again, from scratch. They went back to review what planes left from which airports on the day Kallie left, trying to wrangle passenger lists from each of the flights. Cam spent some time on the phone with his cellular provider, trying to track where Kallie’s call came from.
Jack was on the phone with someone at JFK airport. Cam watched him get more and more excited as he spoke. “Thank you, sir, thank you so much!” he said, hanging up the phone.
“Kallie took a flight from JFK. She went to San Francisco,” Jack said, excitedly.
“What? For real? Dad and I had planned on going there next week! San Francisco is such a big area though; it’s going to be impossible to find her.”
“Hard, but not impossible. At least we have somewhere to start.”
The talent agency was about a half an hour from Shantelle’s. Walt and Kallie held vibrant conversation for the whole ride, talking about everything from the food at Shantelle’s to Kallie’s modeling aspirations. Walt never made her feel uncomfortable, and Kallie began to feel trusting of him. When they arrived at their destination, Walt parked the car in a private, underground parking garage and ran around to Kallie’s side of the car to open the door for her. They rode an elevator up to the 23rd floor of the office building, the penthouse. When the elevator doors slid open, Kallie gasped at what she saw. The penthouse was enormous. The whole area was decorated in nothing but black and white. Elegant, geometric structures climbed high in the right corner of the room, all the way to the ceiling. There were four partitions on the far wall, all fully equipped with everything one would need for a full photo shoot. The entire left wall was racks of clothing, both men and women’s clothing, from winter jackets to tiny bikinis. There was a pretty receptionist at the desk directly inside of the penthouse. She was about 5’10 with long, platinum blonde hair and dark red lipstick. Kallie could tell that she was one of the models, and rightfully so. She was absolutely beautiful.
“Good afternoon, Mr. Wheton. Is this the girl you’ve been speaking so highly of? She is stunning. Great find, Mr. Wheton,” the girl said.
“Yes, Minka, it is. This is Kallie. Kallie, this is one of our top models, Minka Rose. We have her her in the front because- let’s face it- who wouldn’t want to see this angelic beauty as soon as they walked in?” Walt said, gently touching underneath her chin.
Minka beamed at Walt, batting her eyelashes flirtatiously. Kallie wondered if Minka and Walt were an item; they looked so perfect together and the beauty of the two of them combined was uncomparable.
“Mr. Murphy is waiting for you in Port #1. He will be thrilled to see you both,” Minka said, sitting back behind the desk.
Kallie followed Walt across the large room and to the large partition on the left, with a large, ornate gold number ‘1’ on the side. There was a man and a woman in the port; the woman was holding up different outfits and the man was nodding his head ‘yes’ or ‘no’. The man turned and saw them approach, and a huge smile spread across his face.
“Walt, my friend! How are you?” the man said, grasping Walt’s hand and shaking it vigorously.
“I can’t complain, Greg; my life has been fabulous lately. This is Kallie, the girl I was telling you about that would be perfect for your fall line print ad.”
Greg Murphy reached for Kallie’s hand, and she placed it gently into his. He spun her around, sizing her up from head to toe.
“She is…..absolutely perfect. Exactly what I had in mind. I love her. Let’s shoot today,” Greg said, speaking quickly.
“What?” both Kallie and Walt asked at the same time.
“No better time than the present is my life motto. Is there some kind of problem with today? You can’t do it?” Greg said, looking from Kallie to Walt and back again.
Kallie shrugged her shoulders. “I’m free all day,” she said, looking at Walt inquisitively.
“I’m free as well,” Walt said, “Let’s choose the shots!”
“Great!” Greg said. “I have some selections here that I really want to highlight. Kallie, are you comfortable wearing anything?”
“I guess. Honestly, I’ve never done this before, so it’s all new to me. Tell me what you want, and I’ll do it.”
“Well. That’s refreshing to hear from a model,” Greg said in surprise, “Let’s get her into hair and makeup.”
Above the photography ports, there was a loft-style balcony that could be accessed by a spiral staircase. From the floor, Kallie could see a dozen brightly lit vanity tables in a semi circle around the perimeter of the space. Kallie climbed the staircase, while Walt stayed in the port to set up his cameras and backdrops. Greg shouted some kind of lingo up to hair and makeup, who directed Kallie to the first vanity and set to work. The hair stylist gave Kallie a robe and asked her to change into it behind their small privacy curtain. After she had undressed, they flat ironed Kallie’s wavy hair and then put large, loose barrel curls all around her long hair. They removed the makeup that she’d had on and started from scratch; the makeup artist complimented on her talent in applying makeup but said that makeup for a photoshoot had to be applied much differently. They put heavy, gold and brown makeup on Kallie’s eyes and glossed her lips. They added bronzer to her shoulders and collarbone and put blush on her cheeks.
When she was done in hair and makeup, the woman who had been helping Greg Murphy earlier (whom Kallie found out was his assistant) led Kallie over to a rack of clothes. She handed Kallie a pair of leather snakeskin flood pants, a wide knit, off the shoulder white sweater, a hot pink bra, and hot pink stilettos. Kallie went behind a screen to put them on. She was surprised that everything fit perfectly, even the shoes. The girl was good with guessing sizes.
Kallie came out from behind the screen, and Walt looked at her and grinned. Greg Murphy was talking to his assistant, but when he saw Walt’s face, he turned to look. He raised in eyebrows and nodded slowly.
“Wow,” Greg said, impressed. “This is exactly how I want my new line portrayed. Great find, Walt. She’s exactly what I pictured.”
Kallie let out a breath that she didn’t realize she was holding and smiled. Walt got to work posing her in different places in front of the backdrop. He maneuvered his camera lenses back and forth to get the perfect angle and lighting.
“Just relax,” Walt explained to her. “Smile, turn your body in different directions, touch your hair. Have fun.”
Kallie did as she was told. At first, she felt a little self conscious, but after a few clicks of the camera, she felt like she was in exactly the right place. Walt’s camera captured her for a few minutes, and then Walt called Kallie and Greg over to look at what he had gotten. He pulled up the images on the large Mac computer screen connected to his camera equipment, and Kallie drew a sharp breath in when she saw them.
The girl on the screen wasn’t her. It couldn’t be her. This girl was, well, perfect. Flawless, even. Her smile was intoxicating and every curve of her body was even more flattering than the one before it. Her makeup was perfect and there wasn’t a hair on her head that was out of place. She looked….happy.
“Oh my gosh,” Kallie said.
“Wow,” Greg breathed.
“Kallie, you were made to do this. The camera loves you. There isn’t even one picture here that I couldn’t use right now in print. I can’t wait to see when you actually get some experience under your belt,” Walt told her, and Kallie beamed excitedly.
“She’s perfect,” Greg decided. “I want her in all the ads. I actually have a good idea; can we use this place as our set? Like, pictures on the spiral stairs, and on that black and white structure in the corner, and at the vanities?”
Walt nodded his head slowly. “That’s a great idea, actually. That will look great; kind of like she is just walking around the city and taking pictures. Very random and spontaneous; I like it.”
Kallie, Walt, and Greg spent the next 4 hours shooting every shot they could find. Kallie wore a short pair of khaki shorts and a flowy white top on the stairs, and tight black pants and a green crop top while she perched regally on the very top of the large geometric structure at the front of the room. Her favorite picture, though, was the one they took in front of the vanity. She was wearing a short, red dress with a corset top and a flowy skirt. She had tall, glittery gold pumps on her feet and the makeup artist added dark red lipstick to her mouth. She sat on the vanity itself, putting her feet on the vanity chair and crossing her long legs seductively. The camera was angled in such a way that you could see her reflection in the mirror behind her, the intricate lacing up the back of the corset in full focus.
After that last shot, Walt told Kallie she could change. He gave her a long sleeve t-shirt and a pair of fitted cotton shorts, both with the agency logo on them. Kallie changed into that outfit, instead of putting on the clothes she came in. She thought that Walt wanted her to be a walking billboard for the Garrett Agency, and she didn’t mind in the least. Walt and Greg wanted to go over proofs of some of the shots, which Kallie wanted to see as well, so she didn’t mind staying. Greg pulled over one of the big armchairs for her, and she curled up in it, looking at the big computer screen and watching the men work. She listened to them gush over each and every shot, and couldn’t help but feel happiness at the fact that she had finally found something she was good at, and loved. Sophie would be proud. So would Jack.
Even after seeing all of the pictures on screen, she still liked the vanity picture the most. Walt agreed with her, and Greg liked the structure picture the best.
“Walt, I’d like for you to print me a few of these proofs,” Greg said. “I want to give them to a few of my contacts. Kallie is a beautiful girl; I want to get her name out there.”
“Definitely. I feel the same way; I’m going to use some of the prints to send to a few people I know. She will definitely go far,” Walt said, nodding at Kallie.
The last time Kallie had been this excited and happy was when Jack had admitted that he was in love with her. She wondered idly what Jack was doing at this very moment.
At that very moment, Jackson was calling hotels in the San Francisco area, trying to get a lead on where Kallie could possibly be staying. He and Cameron had gotten through about twelve hotels, and had yet to have any luck finding her. Cameron hung up with hotel #13, and shook his head.
“No go, Jack. Maybe when I’m there next week, I can show her picture around and see if anyone has seen her.”
Jack sighed. “I guess that’s our best option right now, Cam. When this girl doesn’t want to be found, she can’t be found. I want to kiss her and shake her at the same time; is that weird?”
Cam laughed. “Not at all. I feel the same way; except for the kissing part. Well, yes on the kissing part, but like a ‘I’m so glad you’re home’ kiss and not a ‘Let’s get naked’ kiss.”
Jack laughed out loud and punched his brother in the arm. In the next second, his happy face changed to a solemn one. “I miss her, Cam. I’m 30 years old, and this is the first girl I’ve ever met that I could honestly say that I want her to be my wife; the mother of my children even. I really can’t see ever loving anyone else as much as I love Kallie. Instead of getting easier, every single day without her is harder and harder.”
“You should have said these things instead of asking her to leave, Jackson.”
“Don’t you think I know that? I beat myself up every day knowing that the last thing I said to her was to ask her to go. I just wish she would call again, so I could tell her how I really feel. Maybe then, she would come home.”
“Do you think it would make you feel a little bit better if we moved into the house? Like, maybe you need your own space and things to do?”
“No, Cam, I don’t. I don’t want to spend one night in that house without Kallie. It’s her house too. She needs to be there.”
“Alright then, bro. We’ll keep working on it. We’ll find her; don’t worry.”