Kira was looking at email on Audrey’s laptop when the cell phone on the table buzzed. She jumped up expecting it to be Rocco or Michael, as they were the only ones with that number. Her heart stalled when she answered and heard Frank’s voice on the other end. “Baby,” he said softly. “Where are you? I’ve been worried sick.”
Anger consumed her. “I could ask you the same question,” she snapped. “I should have been asking that question for the past twenty years.”
“What are you talking about? I’m in Chicago working on a case,” he said. “You know that. Listen, I know I’ve been gone a lot but I’m going to make it up to you when…”
“Are you with Audrey?” Kira blurted, cutting his sentence short.
“Audrey? Why would I be with Audrey?”
“Because you’ve been screwing her.”
“Kira, you don’t know what you’re talking about,” Frank said, his tone suddenly changing.
“Yes I do,” Kira barked. “I know exactly what I’m talking about. I know that you set up the interview at The Candy Shop for me and Audrey. I know all about your flirty little emails! I know that you allowed Landon to kidnap me and even called our son to tell him that he wouldn’t be able to contact me for a while.”
“Baby, you’ve got it all wrong,” Frank interjected. “Landon picked you up and took you to the Adams Mark so that you would be safe and the people who were threatening us wouldn’t find you.”
“Then why did he steal my wallet and cell phone and leave me with nothing? Why did he have the windows blacked out and make the hotel phones inoperable?” She snapped.
“He didn’t want anyone to be able to trace your phone and find you and we couldn’t trust that you wouldn’t contact someone and end up getting yourself killed,” he explained and then paused. “Kira, you’re in danger and I need you to trust me. I’ve never hurt you. In twenty years of marriage, I’ve never hurt you so you’ve got to trust me. The people you’re with are killers and they’re going to kill you too. They are police officers on the take from the Coronado family, especially Rocco Sterling. He owes the Coronado’s because he was the one that put their son behind bars. You’ve got to get away from them,” he urged and Kira’s pulse suddenly quickened. Was Frank telling the truth? “I’ll explain it all to you in person.”
“You’re lying,” she said curtly. “All I want is the truth.”
“I’m telling the truth,” Frank rebutted. “I can’t explain everything over the phone. It isn’t safe. Meet me and I’ll answer all of your questions. I promise.”
“Where are you? I’ll come pick you up.” Frank said.
Kira paused, a prickly sensation darting up the back of her neck. “How can you come pick me up if you’re in Chicago?” She said and Frank didn’t answer. An eerie silence fell between them. The only sound Kira could hear was her own breathing and her heart pounding against her chest. Frank was lying. He wasn’t in Chicago. The truth was he probably never even went to Chicago. He was probably with Audrey the whole time. Her stomach hollowed out and then filled back up with anger.
“I got back late last night,” Frank stammered. “I’ll tell you everything. I promise. You’ve got to believe me. You’re not safe. Just tell me where you are and then we can talk.”
Kira blinked slowly, a sense of numbness encasing her heart. “I hope you burn in hell, you lying son-of-a-bitch,” she spat and disconnected the call.
Her adrenaline was pumping as she dialed Michael and asked him why he gave Frank her phone number. “I’m sorry, mom,” Michael said. “Dad said he was really worried about you and I didn’t know what else to do.”
“Listen to me,” she said poignantly. “Do not believe anything your father tells you right now. He’s a liar.”
“He’s a liar?” Michael repeated, shock lacing his tone. Kira had never uttered a negative word about their father.
“Yes. No. I don’t know. I’m not sure what’s going on, but I know that he can’t be trusted right now.”
“That’s a weird thing to say, mom,” Michael retorted.
“I know sweetie, but do something for me, will you? Promise me that you’ll stay away from your father for a while, and anyone associated with his firm.”
“You’ve never told us to stay away from dad before.” Michael sounded genuinely confused.
“It’s a long story. It has something to do with the Coronado case from a couple of years ago. I know it doesn’t make sense, but please, Michael, promise me you’ll stay away from him until I let you know that it’s safe.” Kira’s eyes welled with tears.
“Okay, I promise,” Michael said. “Mallory wants to call you tonight after class, is that okay?”
“Yes. I’ll talk to you tonight. I love you both.”
As soon as she disconnected the call the phone rang again. This time it was Rocco, checking in to see how she was doing. After what Frank had said about him, she felt suddenly guarded, so she feigned that everything was fine and got off of the phone quickly.
When it rang again, Kira was tempted not to answer, but she gave in to curiosity. “Well, hello Kira,” Ian’s voice oozed. “I have someone here that would really like to talk to you.” Kira could hear sobs in the background.
“How did you get this number?” Kira seethed.
“Kira?” Audrey’s voice came through the phone and Kira wasn’t sure how to feel. Audrey sounded like she was crying. Her voice was raspy and low and laced in fear. She sounded frail and afraid and compassion tugged at Kira, but anger tugged harder.
“What do you want?” Kira spat.
“I need your help,” Audrey sniveled. “They’re going to kill me if you don’t come.”
“Why don’t you call Frank to help you?” Kira spewed sarcastically.
“He won’t help me. He set me up.”
“No, you and Frank tried to set me up and it backfired. You deserve whatever you get!” Kira screamed into the phone, rage blocking every rational thought.
“Please,” Audrey wept. “You’ve got to believe me. I would never hurt you. Never. You know me. You know me, Kira. You’ve got to believe me. Please come.” Audrey broke into sobs and Ian must have grabbed the phone because the next thing Kira heard was Ian’s voice.
“You have exactly twelve hours to show up at The Candy Shop or Audrey dies,” Ian sneered and then disconnected the call.
Kira sank onto the couch, stunned.