Secrets

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Chapter 23

Rossum’s shoulders were tense and rigid as he walked through his front door. It was days like this one that he longed to be alone. A dull thudding was emanating from under the bandage on his knuckles and his throat was itching for a good stiff drink. The first thing Rossum heard was the vacuum cleaner, next he smelt something that reminded him suspiciously like meatloaf wafting out of the kitchen.

He didn’t want to be like this. He didn’t want to groan when he saw her being domestic, making him dinner, cleaning up after him, but he couldn’t help it. Every time he walked into his house and saw her there his stomach dropped. It wasn’t like it had been before. Sure, he still looked at her and felt the familiar stirring of feelings, but much had changed since she walked away from him. He had changed, as impossible as everyone thought that was, he knew he had.

His feelings were growing, mounting, every time he saw her, but he was still tucking them away. If he was being honest, he so desperately wanted it to work. He wanted to look at Lena and feel the way about her that he did in high school. When he was younger Lena was his entire life. When he looked at her he didn’t see anyone else, she was all he thought about, all he cared about and the only person he ever wanted to be with. After he went to college and found that it was possible to love something as much as, if in a different way than, Lena, he found himself growing a little apart from her. Once he found police work, it consumed him. He needed to fill his life with it. Maybe this was all his fault, his addictive personality told him that it was all or nothing. People often commented on how Rossum rarely displayed emotion, but that didn’t mean he didn’t feel emotion. It overwhelmed him most of the time, but he had become very good at covering it up.

Finally, Rossum realized that he no longer heard the vacuum revving and that he had been standing in his foyer trying to process his thoughts. A moment later Lena was planting a kiss on his cheek and pulling him into the kitchen, pushing him into one of his seats. The table was set in front of him and she hurried to the oven to pull the offending substance out of the heat and set it on the table.

He knew he should feel grateful. He should reach for her hand, give it a squeeze, look deep into her eyes and thank her from the bottom of his heart. But he didn’t so any of those things. He tore into the slab of meatloaf Lena laid on his plate and silently chewed the food. He had never particularly enjoyed meatloaf, but today it seemed to taste like cardboard in his mouth and he could barely swallow it without a sip of water.

“Is your hand still hurting you, hunny?”

He concealed a shudder at the nickname, “it’s fine, just healing slowly I guess.” It wasn’t exactly true, he hadn’t given it enough time to heal. There were about four new holes in his office wall courtesy of his fist, one for every time someone in the office had mentioned Addison’s name in his presence. The freshest one off the lips of Agent Brogan casually wondering if he had heard from her since the crime scene. The moment he walked out of the office the image of her walking out of her apartment door stuck in his head. Her flowing brown hair whipping behind her showing just how desperately she needed to get away from him. He could practically taste her smell as he stood in her apartment. The memory overwhelmed him until the only thing he could possibly do was take out his frustration physically.

The memory made him clench his shredded fist and blood seeped through the white bandage. He heard a shriek from the other side of the table, but the pain seemed to be dulling his other senses. Before he could really comprehend what was happening Lena was kneeling in front of him pulling his hand into hers and pulling the bandage off.

“Rossy, what is going on?” she hurried to the sink and wet a wad of paper towels. He sat there motionless and just watched as she gently dabbed the blood away. “This looks fresh.”

“I just accidently reinjured it today is all.” He tried to pull his hand away, but Lena had a firm grasp on it.

“Accidently?” She pulled her gaze from the red skin and rested them on his eyes, “it looks like you got into a fist fight with a brick wall.”

Rossum grunted his acknowledgement. Lena lips lightly grazed his battered skin, a move that a decade ago would have sent shivers down his spine, now caused no reaction in him at all, not even with her eyes locked on his. He knew it would hurt her and that she didn’t deserve it, but he couldn’t help it, he was about to pull his hand away when his cell phone ringing in his pocket gave him the perfect excuse.

“This is Agent Rossum.” He mustered up a look of condolence for Lena, but got to his feet and turned his back to her.

“Agent… Phil.”

“Agent Mortimer? To what do I owe the pleasure?” Even as the words left his mouth he knew they were wrong. This was not a social call, Mortimer’s voice was wavering and he seemed nervous.

“Listen, are you alone?”

“Mortimer, what is up with you? What could possibly be this bad? Take off your kid gloves and talk to me.”

“I know this isn’t something that you are interested in talking about, so you have to trust me when I say that I wouldn’t bring it up if I didn’t believe that is was important. So I am going to ask you this one more time, have you heard or seen Addison any time within the last 72 hours?”

“Agent, we have been over this. She’s taking a break, from the FBI, from dead bodies, and yes, even from me. I have not seen, heard or spoken to her since the first day of the crime scene.”

“And you’re completely sure of that? Has anyone else had any contact with her? Dex from the crime lab? Your lap dog… what’s his name, Brogan?”

“If you mean Magnus, I haven’t really spoken to him about her. Brogan asked me about her earlier today so I am fairly certain that he hasn’t talked to her.” He cautioned a glance towards Lena who seemed to be hanging on his words. “Why the sudden interest in her life? I thought I told you to leave it alone. Honestly, I –”

“Phil, stop! I need you to just stop. I think it’s about time that you come to Addison’s apartment.”

“With all due respect, sir, I don’t think that’s something I want to do.”

“With all due respect, Agent Rossum, it wasn’t exactly a request. It was something closer to an order. Get over here; I will be waiting for you.”

“Waiting for me? Why are you at Addison’s?” he had been trying to keep his voice low, but it was starting to rise with his frustration.

“We will talk about it once you get here.”

“Why are you asking all these questions?” Rossum’s heart started beating fast like it was trying to escape his chest.

Mortimer sighed heavily, not doing anything to relieve the frantic beating of Rossum’s heart. “When you get here, Phil, please.”

Rossum’s fingers went to the bridge of his nose, “okay, okay, I’ll be there as soon as I can. I’m leaving now.”

As soon as he hung up the phone he ran to the door and grabbed his keys off the hook. He was about to reach for the doorknob he heard a slight whimper. When he looked up Lena was standing in the front hall, arms wrapped around her stomach like she was trying to comfort herself and tears were welling up in her eyes. “So, you’re really going to go? Phillip, you just got home.”

“Lena, I’m sorry. Thank you for dinner, but I really have to go. I wouldn’t, but… but it’s an emergency.”

“It’s about her, isn’t it? I was either too stupid, or too blind to see it before –”

Rossum held his hand up to silence her, “Leen, I’m sorry if this seems abrupt or cold, but I do not have time to do this right now. I could stand here all night and reassure you about Addison, but what I really want to know right now is if she is alright. Let me figure that out then we can talk.”

He didn’t wait for her to respond before he pulled open the door and slammed it behind him. His hands were shaking as he tried to push his keys into the ignition. All the scenarios he might be walking into were playing in his head like the worst movie he had ever seen. More than he would care to admit prominently featured Addison’s dead body spread out on her bathroom floor. The ones he was more ashamed of were the ones where she saw him and ran into his arms without a moment’s hesitation, but everything went black as he pulled up to the apartment building. Walking inside, he expected to be greeted by Tom’s smiling face, but the front desk was empty as he walked by.

Mortimer stood by the elevator with his shoulders slumped and worry playing on his face. Rossum nodded in his direction, “Sir.”

“Phil, good, you’re here.” The elevator door was open behind him and they both walked inside.

“Can you please tell me why I’m here? I hope this isn’t some weird plot to get Addison and I in the same room.”

“If Addison were in that room up there I would be a happy man.” He pushed the button and the elevator immediately started to move. “So after our conversation a few days ago, I did a little digging around. I just wanted to make sure that she was okay after everything. She had told me that she would call me back on the message she left, and when she didn’t I started to get a little worried. So I called her, and called her, and called her. It went straight to voicemail every time. I dropped by her apartment a few times, but she never answered the door.”

“I understand how that can be disheartening, sir, but I think you have to take into account that this is Addison we’re talking about. You know, just as well as I know, that if Addison wanted to disappear she could do it without breaking a sweat. She probably has more than one contingency plan kicking around her apartment.” He said this as they walked out of the elevator and he found himself staring at a familiar apartment door. His muscles tensed as Mortimer grasped the handle and let himself inside.

“Trust me I have taken that into consideration, but I just had a bad gut feeling about it. Something wasn’t… something isn’t right. So I looked into her phone records and called the last person that she called, a man named Gregory Preston.”

This caused Rossum to stop mid stride and turn to look at the older man, “Greg Preston? Are you sure? And she called him?”

“Yes, when I spoke to him he said that he was a lawyer and was taking on an important case that Addison had brought to him.”

“He’s lying! They used to be involved. If there is something wrong here and he lied to you –”

“Rossum, he didn’t lie to me. He told me about their prior relationship. He also told me that Addison wanted to keep in contact about this case, but he has tried to call her multiple times, left her countless messages, urgent messages about a man that she believes has been wrongly imprisoned, and she has yet to return a single phone call.”

Rossum closed his eyes in sudden realization, “Greg’s a lawyer. It must be that case she was talking to me about. After we got out of the hospital she visited some guy and she was pretty adamant that she get him out of jail.”

“And does Addison seem to you like someone who would just abandon someone who she thought was innocent for her own selfish reasons?”

“Of course not.”

“Exactly my thought. So when I called building security to see if her loyal doorman had seen her and management told me that he hadn’t shown up to any shifts in three days you can imagine my surprise. So I told management that I needed to get into the apartment because Addison had been missing for about the same amount of time.”

When he stopped talking Rossum took a moment to assess the room. By the door there was a pool of brown liquid with a bottle smashed around it. The cushions on the couch were in disarray and Addison’s cell phone was sitting on the coffee table. “And this is how you found the apartment?”

“This is it.” He glanced towards the smashed glass, but Rossum knew that the more telling sign was the cushions. Addison would never leave them in that state. Everything in her apartment was always perfect. Even if she was taking off, leaving everything behind, she would never leave the apartment like this.

Without another word Rossum took off towards the bathroom and turned on the light. He was immediately relieved when he didn’t see a body on the ground, but next he looked at the mirror. It was clean, but he couldn’t help but remember the last time he had been in there. Mortimer was on his heels.

“Don’t you think I already checked in here, Agent? It was the first place I ran to.”

“There’s something I didn’t tell you.” Rossum fished his phone out of his pants and quickly flicked to the photo that was permanently embedded in his head. “The last time I was in here Addison left me alone. I saw this light on so I came in here to turn it off and this was on the mirror.”

Mortimer grabbed the phone and glared into the screen, “Why on earth didn’t you show this to me? To anyone?”

“In my defense, in some weird way I thought I was protecting her. I thought she needed some time to sort things out and I didn’t think she could do that with everyone probing into her life. It was just one more thing keeping her here. I tested the blood. It came from the woman found in the downstairs apartment. I figured it was just another taunting. We all knew he was taunting me and, as an extension, Addy. I just didn’t think it was new information. In hindsight I obviously would have made some different decisions.” Rossum was rushing through his explanation, trying to rid himself of the accusations playing in Mortimer’s eyes and the string of guilt knotting in his own stomach.

He finally dropped the phone to his side, “this is bad Rossum, maybe worse than I initially thought. Who knows how much time we lost because we thought she was blowing off a little steam.”

“You think I don’t know that?” Rossum finally blew up, “you think that I’m not going completely out of my mind with worry? Where the hell is she? Is she even alive still? You don’t think that if I find her dead somewhere I’m not going to blame myself every day for the rest of my life? Because I will.”

“Rossum, I’m sorry if it feels like I am blaming you for this. That wasn’t my intention. This was clearly something that was further reaching than either of us knew. Now, are you going to call this in, or am I?”

“Why don’t you do it? I think I need to put in a call to Magnus, Greg, and probably Brogan too. They should know.” Mortimer nodded in silent agreement and handed Rossum his phone while he pulled his own out. Rossum cast his glance down to it like it was a device of torture, which, with the phone calls he was about to make, it might as well be. First name he came across was Magnus, but he hesitated before he hit the call button. He tried to imagine what Mag was doing at this moment. Sitting at home getting into a good book, blissfully unaware that Rossum’s life was crashing down around him and he was about to pull him into the shambles. He didn’t know where he found the strength, but the phone was ringing, and Magnus’ eager voice was sounding in his ear.

“Agent Rossum? Is everything alright? Has there been another murder?”

Maybe Rossum shuttered to himself, then pushed that thought out of his mind. Addison was stronger than that. “I…I have some news that you should probably hear. Are you…” Rossum was trying to keep it together, but he was finding it harder and harder to keep the tears back, but be tried to shake it off, “are you busy?”

“No, not at all, I’m just reading. Is everything alright?”

“Not really, actually. Listen, remember how I told you that Addison was taking a little time off to sort some things out?”

“Yes,” he heard the hesitation in Magnus’ voice.

“Well, something’s happened. Addison’s gone missing and… and we’re not exactly sure for how long.”

“What do you mean she’s missing? Like, you just can’t find her, right? She left town and now you want to talk to her, but you can’t find her, that’s what you mean, isn’t it?”

“Okay, I suppose I could have worded that better. Mag, we’re pretty sure someone has taken her, someone dangerous.”

“Someone. Someone? Who? Who would want to do that to her?”

“We’re not sure, Bud, but I promise you that I am going to find him and I am going to find her. I promise you, Magnus. This story does not end here.”

“I’ll be there in five minutes.”

“You’ll be where?”

“Addison’s apartment. That’s where you are, isn’t it?”

“Yes, but –”

“No, Rossum, no buts. I’m coming there and collecting evidence myself. Don’t let anyone touch anything before I get there, I don’t want them contaminating anything. I mean it, Agent, you’ve probably ruined enough just by being there.”

“Hey, Mag!” Rossum defended himself, though, he knew that Magnus might have been right and made a mental note to be more careful.

“I’m sorry, agent, I don’t mean to offend, but I have to go. I’ll see you real soon.”

Rossum hung up his phone in awe, but he didn’t really have any time to reflect on the surprising reaction, because he felt like Greg deserved to know what was going on. He had saved the lawyer’s number in his phone when he and Addison were still together just in case something had happened. Now he wasn’t sure if he was glad that he had done it or regretting it. Either way Greg answered the phone sounding sleepy.

“Hello,” he croaked out.

“Hi, Greg? This is Phil Rossum. I’m not sure if you remember me.”

“Something’s happened to her, hasn’t it?” he asked, completely ignoring Rossum’s question.

Rossum was nodding before he realized he would have to vocalize an answer. “I’m afraid so. It’s possible that she is just running, but… in my gut, I know something’s wrong. If I’m honest, I’ve known it for a while.”

“Your gut is right. There is no way Addison would just abandon this kid. I saw her face, it was not a look that I take lightly.” Greg was silent for a while, and Rossum didn’t want to interrupt his reverie, so they both stayed quiet, lost in their own thoughts, “I knew it something was going to happen. I knew her life was going to catch up to her.”

“What do you mean? If you know something, Greg, you have to tell us.” His mind immediately snapped back to when Addison was drugged in his office reliving her childhood.

“I don’t know anything, per se, but nothing has ever added up about her, Phil, you know that probably better than I do. There were just things. She would always shy away from talking about her past. There are scars on her body that she won’t explain. That and she has this weird thing about locked doors.”

“Locked doors?”

“Yeah, like if I locked a door and told her not to go in it, she would avoid it like the plague. I always thought it was weird because, usually, if I told her not to do something she would just go and do the complete opposite, that’s just who she was, but with locked doors… she would never even attempt to defy it.” When Greg stopped talking Rossum let the silence watch over him. The words seemed like just that, words. Just a funny story, a quirky little antidote about what made Addison, Addison, but, for some reason, Rossum felt like it was more than that, he just knew that it was something important, a key to unlocking her past.

“Thank you, Greg, I get it. Addison was running as fast as she could from her past, but it looks like someone was racing her, looks like maybe they won.”

“Please, Phil, find her. Find her, bring her back, and spend the rest of your life protecting her. If it’s the one thing you do, protect her. She needs you.”

Rossum felt the tears well up in his eyes, “I’m going to do whatever I can to find her, and I will never let anything like this happen to her again.”

“I believe you, and I’m sorry.”

Mortimer walked into Addison’s bedroom and Rossum glanced up at him trying to blink tears out of his eyes, “I’m sorry too, Greg. I should have taken better care of her.”

Without waiting for a response, Rossum hung up the phone and used his silence to urge Mortimer to speak. He obliged almost immediately, like he was trying to save Rossum from his own thoughts, “No need to call Brogan, I got connected to him when I called in. He’s raising the alarm; everyone is on their way… everyone.”

“It’s funny, isn’t it? For someone who is so prickly, so mean, so emotionally distant and blocked off, she still manages to inspire so much dedication, such loyalty. I mean, maybe everyone would do the same for me, but would it really be the same? Not a moment’s hesitation, forgetting everything I may have done in the past?”

“Is this really you wondering if she would be here if you went missing? Do you really for a moment think that she wouldn’t be losing her mind if she couldn’t find you? Because if you think, even for a second that she wouldn’t be rounding up the troops, screaming orders, and doing whatever the hell it is she does to find people than you are just feeling sorry for yourself. Regardless of whatever the mystery is that happened between you two, if she thought you were in trouble, and amount of trouble, she would be there in a heartbeat. Don’t you forget that.” For a moment he rested a heavy hand on Rossum’s shoulder and grasped it before dropping it to his side and hardening his gaze, “now, what I need from you is to stop this little tirade going on in your head. The one telling you that she somehow doesn’t deserve for you to be here, or that all this is somehow your fault? I need you to stop it so that you can be here fully because I need you to figure this out. Rossum, you’re the best agent we have, and I know that without you we have no hope of finding her, but I need all of you here. That’s an order.”

“Lots of orders today…” but Rossum said it with a small smile. He knew it was true. If he was going to find her… find her alive, then he is going to have to focus on only that. “Magnus is coming here too, so we’re going to be at full capacity here. He also wants to make sure no one contaminates his crime scene.”

“So all it takes to get Dex’s face out of his microscope is for a pretty girl to go missing.”

“I heard that.” Magnus said as he walked into the bedroom. He adjusted his glasses as he looked around the apartment, “It feels…” he trailed off, unwilling to look either of the men in the eye, “empty I guess.”

“There is some broken glass by the door,” Rossum completely ignored Magnus’ assessment of the apartment, taking Mortimer’s advice to heart, “and her cell is on the coffee table. I think something must have happened by the couch, there’s no way in hell Addison would have left it like that, she would have a nervous breakdown if she tried.”

Magnus lifted his kit a little, “I’m on it.”

“I’ll come with you.” Rossum nodded at Mortimer and headed out of the bedroom, “I’m pretty sure nothing happened in here anyway.”

A chill swept over him as he walked into the living room. Unconsciously, his hand reached towards her cell phone resting on the table – “use gloves.” Magnus’ voice broke him out of his reverie, “if you’re going to look at her cell, I mean, use gloves and please dust for prints first.”

“Yes,” Rossum shook his head, “of course.” He walked over to Magnus’ bag and pulled out a set of gloves and the fingerprinting kit. He went to work on the cool, sleek surface. Nothing. Moved on to the back, still nothing. Addison was a neat freak, that much was true, but even she would draw the line at wiping down her phone after every use. “No prints.”

“None?”

“None.”

“Well, that’s ominous.”

Rossum went to shoot him a disparaging look, but before he could a memory came crashing down on him, “her phone… it has no prints on it.”

“…didn’t we just –”

“I called her.”

“I’m assuming that’s not exactly a rare occurrence, Agent.”

Rossum was pacing at this point, “It’s not that it’s a rare thing, but I called once and got cut off, then I called back, but the phone was turned off. At the time I thought she was just mad… but what… what if it wasn’t her. Maybe I just interrupted them.”

“You do have a knack for doing that, don’t you?” Magnus was on his knees dusting the shards of glasses big enough to hold a print, “is it really going to make that much of a difference? Or… I’m sorry, was that just you trying to make yourself feel better? I’m never really sure.”

He shifted the papers on the front desk until he found a map of the building. It only took a moment to locate the control room and he set off for it. When he finally reached it he pulled on the door handle only to find it locked. With a groan of frustration he banged his fist on the wall and rested his head against it. He allowed himself only a moment to catch his breath before he backed up and threw a kick into the middle of the door. It didn’t seem to do much, but he heard the distinct sound of wood splintering by the hinges. Moving slightly to the side they were on he kicked again, harder this time and the wood moved away from the metal a bit. One more hit and it fell to the ground on the other side. He sucked in a breath when he saw what was on the other side. There were five monitors mounted on the wall in front of him that were usually used to review different parts of the condo, but right now staring back from all five were pictures of Addison. At the gym, walking on the sidewalk, at the office, stepping out of her bathroom with a towel wrapped around herself, driving away in her car, and the last one was her sleeping. A shiver ran down Rossum’s spine as he tried to ignore the pictures and focus on the words written on the screens: Sorry Rossum, you’re too late.

The writing was eerily familiar and it wasn’t just the thick, red substance that clung to the glass surface like it had clotted as it dried. It looked like the words written on Addison’s mirror. Just to be sure he took out his phone and scrolled to the picture. He gazed at all six of the images that seemed to stare back at him. He closed the picture, snapped one of the scene in front of him, then tried not to touch anything as he backed out of the small room.

Dejectedly, he walked back up the stairs to Addison’s apartment. This time it was filled with people. All them bustling about, dusting what seemed like every surface for prints. Agents, with notebooks and pens poised in their hands, some scribbling down some meaningless piece of information they had mistaken as meaningful. His head spun with the emptiness of it all. When Addison had walked out of the door and left him standing in her kitchen alone, he had thought about how empty the room seemed, but standing here, in the middle of all these people poking around her things, he now knew that it wasn’t empty then; the walls still screamed with her presence, her scent still wafted through the room. Now, when he stood there he couldn’t feel her at all, but maybe that wasn’t all the activity in the room. The words he had just snapped a picture of were seared into his brain. Too late. Is that why he couldn’t feel her anymore? Is that why her home seemed so empty? Was he really too late to save her? He felt his legs waiver and threw out his hands to steady himself. As he did this he felt a hand on his shoulder trying to keep him upright.

“You alright, boss? You look a lil’ queasy…” Brogan’s usually comforting southern drawl did nothing to calm him, in fact, it seemed to chill him right to his core, but not much was comforting in the wake of what he had just discovered. Brogan seemed to catch himself and started to apologize, “I am so sorry, sir, ‘course you’re not alright. Nothing about this is alright. I just meant… you look… a bit worn out is all.”

Looking around the room, Rossum saw that no one looked at their best. Everyone was sporting worried looks and bags under their eyes. They were all moving around like their muscles were stiff with tension, not wanting to miss anything or make any mistakes. Brogan had the same dark bags, but his eyes were sparkling. Rossum had to admire his spirit. The kid was obviously run down, dead tired, but he was still ready to go, to solve this thing, and that gave Rossum hope. “I understand, Brogan. I feel a bit worn out, but it’s Addison. She deserves our full attention.”

Brogan bowed his head a little and nodded, “yes, she does… boss, this situation… it really –Aw, hell, it really sucks and I’m sorry.”

“You don’t have to tell me you’re sorry; tell her when we find her. Tell her you’re sorry it happened because she is the one going through it.”

A ghost of a smile flickered across Brogan’s face, “Alright, boss, I’ll do that.”

Brogan walked away to join the group examining the kitchen. Rossum was about to call him back so he could tell him about the control room, but he stopped himself. For some reason he wanted to play it close to his chest. He needed to tell Magnus because he wanted him to be the one to go over the room with a fine toothed comb, and, since Mortimer had been the one to figure everything out, he should be kept in the loop as well, but he decided he would tell no one else about the message.

Luckily, the two men were standing together in a corner of the living room whispering to each other. Magnus was mirroring Mortimer’s stance, arms crossed, brow furrowed and shoulders hunched.

“Why do I feel like this is a conversation that I’m going to want to skip?”

Both men snapped out of their conversation and took in Rossum’s weary appearance, “that would be because you have a good gut. We didn’t want to discourage everyone while they’re all working so hard, but there is nothing here. Every surface has been wiped clean there is barely a trace of Addison ever being here let alone anyone else. So, unless you found something in the control room, we’re starting at square one here.”

‘I found something in the control room.” Two sets of eyes were on him in a flash.

“Well, what are you waiting for? Everyone could use a boost in morale, all we’ve found out here is that Addison is disturbingly tidy. The only reason I don’t believe that she’s a robot is a picture that we found of her as a little girl.”

“You found a picture? Where is it?” Mortimer patted a couple of his pockets, then finally produced a small, somewhat crumpled picture. It was of a little girl in a flowery t-shirt dress. Her green eyes shone like emeralds in the setting evening sun. her mousy brunette hair was pulled back into a loose, low ponytail and she was holding hands with a beautiful woman. Neither was smiling, just looking into the camera, resigned to stand there until they were told they could stop. Still, the woman grasped on to the toddler’s small hand like she was afraid to let it go, afraid to lose her. “Is it alright if I hold onto this? I don’t think it’s something that Addison would want to get passed around.”

“Yes, of course, but what did you find in the control room? What can I tell everyone?”

“I think it’s just better if I show you. I want Magnus to go over the room anyway. As for what to tell people… I’m not sure that we should. I am just feeling like some things are better kept in a small group. I’m leading the investigation anyway, so all information will go through me. If there is a connection, I will find it.”

Mortimer looked hesitant, “I can understand where you’re coming from, and if that’s how you want to play this, I’m not going to argue, but sometimes, one person putting everything on themselves isn’t helpful. Sometimes it can make them sloppy.”

“That’s why I told you and Doc here. Now, are you coming, or not?”

They all walked in silence down to the control room. Both men gasped slightly as they entered the room. Mortimer stepped forward and squinted at the images on the screen, “this is…”

“Disturbing.” Magnus finished.

“To say the least.” Mortimer stepped closer to the picture of Addison at work, “how the hell was this taken? I want every security measure double checked when we get back to the office. I’m also pulling the footage from this day to see who the hell was around her, then we are interrogating every single one of them.”

Rossum nodded his head in agreement. As soon as Magnus seemed able to move again he started unpacking his kit. Rossum pulled Mortimer out of the room and away from Magnus’ earshot. “What does it mean, Mortimer? Too late? Where is she? Is she even…”

“Nope. Phil, don’t do that. We have found nothing to suggest that Addison isn’t alive. Whoever did this is obviously obsessed with her. I don’t think he’d kill her so quickly. He’s going to want to play with her, either that or he wants something from her, and you know Addison will not give anything up willingly. Either way, we have a little time.”

Rossum shook his head and ran his fingers through his hair, “yeah, maybe, but how much time do we have?”

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Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered book publisher, offering an online community for talented authors and book lovers. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books you love the most based on crowd wisdom.