Kiss Me Slowly, Chapter 19
January 10, 2007
Jason was already almost home when he’d gotten Carly’s call. An unexpected problem had come up two days ago and he’d had to leave town to take care of it. Problems had been found and dealt with quicker than he anticipated and he had been looking forward to surprising Elizabeth at home tonight instead of tomorrow as expected. He’d missed Carly’s calls because he’d been on the phone updating Sonny on what he’d had to do while out of town. Ten minutes after Carly’s call he was driving away from the airport.
His first stop up the elevator was to see Cameron. He knew his son would be asleep, but he needed to see that for himself. He knelt down by the bed and smiled as he covered Cameron back up. He kissed his temple and left the room. He thanked Mercedes for staying and promised to bring Elizabeth home. Once upstairs in Sonny’s penthouse he wanted answers.
“What do we know?”
“Two hours ago Elizabeth’s shift ended. According to Bobbie there was some kind of altercation in the courtyard with some college kids so Cody decided to take Elizabeth out the back way. We were able to pull up some camera footage from a camera so old it’s not a clear picture and it doesn’t always stay on. They are met by five men. They both put up a fight, but eventually Cody is beaten unconscious and Elizabeth is grabbed.”
“Show me the video.”
Stan turned the laptop so Jason could see it. He hit play and they all watched. Cody and Elizabeth came into view and they stopped suddenly. Cody moved to stand in front of Elizabeth. She turned to back back in and the feed was mostly hidden by static. It came back on and the men were fighting with Cody. The feed cut out again. It came back on and Elizabeth must have found a long piece of wood on the ground because she was swinging it like a bat at her attacker. She missed the first time, but on the back swing it hit him in the side of the head. He started going down when the feed cut again. When it came back on a second man had gotten past Cody and was nearing Elizabeth. This man slammed his fist onto Elizabeth’s upper arm. She was still fighting the two men but it was obvious something had happened because her movements slowed. Once she quit fighting one of the men picked her up bridal style. Once she quit fighting one of the men picked her up bridal style. Static started covering the screen again and when it was clear so was the alley, other than Cody’s body.
Jason stood up and the other six men did as well.
“I don’t have to tell you Elizabeth is important to me. Let’s go find my wife.”
Sonny gave the men their instructions.
“We’ll see what we can get from the alley. Hopefully Cody will wake up soon to give us more.”
The other men headed out first. Jason turned to Sonny, but Sonny was already putting his hand on Jason’s shoulder.
“We won’t stop until we find her, Jason.”
The men spent an hour scouring the alley and another hour talking to Bobbie and the other waitresses and there was little progress. Jason wanted to punch something or shoot something or damage something. He wanted to pace. He wanted to rage. He wanted to do anything, but sit still and wait for a lead. He was grateful when word reached him that Cody was awake. He went across to his own penthouse and up to the third room. Cody couldn't talk easily or well because of all the swelling but he was able to fill in one blank at least. The men had been teasing Elizabeth about the needle and how it wouldn't hurt her, only put her to sleep like Sleeping Beauty, but both she and Cody had fought to keep them away from her. Jason told Cody he didn't blame him. They were outnumbered and trapped. He also mentioned he could go back to guarding Elizabeth once he was up to it if that’s what he wanted. Jason wished him a speedy recovery and headed back to Sonny’s. He was watching the security footage yet again when he thought he noticed something.
“Wait. Rewind that a little.” It was difficult for Jason to watch the fight again, but he thought he had seen something. “Stop. Right there.” They all looked at the corner as the screen was splotchy from static. “They didn’t all leave through the alley. This figure went back inside. Unless they went out the front door with her they have to be upstairs.”
January 11, 2007
Jason called Bobbie and asked her how many of her rooms were being rented out. She had informed him only one was currently in use and it was for Lucky. He thanked her and promised payment if they broke anything. He hung up before she could ask any questions. He was going into Kelly’s with a team of eight men. Two for Kelly’s, two for the bottom of the stairs, two for the top of the stairs and two with him. No one was to enter a room without him because he wanted to be there for whatever Elizabeth might be dealing with. They were up the stairs and done with the first two rooms rather rapidly as they were both empty. The third room was Lucky’s which didn’t mean anything, but could be a problem if he was home. They picked the lock and entered quickly and quietly. Even in the dark room Jason knew immediately it was Elizabeth in bed with Lucky. He breathed his first easy breath in seven hours. He didn’t understand what he was seeing, but she was alive. She was on her side facing the middle of the bed and her back was bare. Lucky seemed to be shirtless as well, but Jason didn’t care about him. He sat on her side of the bed and tried to wake her. His men wrapped Lucky with a blanket from the closet and left with him.
“Elizabeth.” He rolled her to her back, careful to keep her covered and tried again a little more forceful. “Elizabeth.”
Her head moved a little to the side so he continued to talk to her. It took about ten minutes for her to rouse enough to open her eyes. She tried to smile. Her voice came out rusty.
“Hey. You’re okay now. I found you.”
Her eyes drifted shut and her voice was almost dreamy.
“Found me? Why find me?” And that’s when it seemed to all come back to her. She fought the drowsiness and tried to sit up. As she did she pulled the sheet up instinctively to keep her covered and she panicked. “Why am I in bed? Where, where are my clothes? What happened to me? Did somebody?” She stopped and fear filled eyes looked at Jason. “Did somebody ra—“ She couldn’t finish the word and her stomach heaved. She whispered. “Jas—“
There was a trash can next to the bed and Jason had it out for her almost instantly. She retched into it as tears fell. Jason felt movement to his left and turned to find Elliott holding a wet washcloth and a glass of water. Jason nodded and took it before the guard bled back into the background. When she was quiet and looked at him he gave her the cup. She rinsed her mouth out and he put the trash can on the floor and eased closer to her. He wiped her face gently and she fell into his arms holding him tightly to her. He closed his eyes as he wrapped his own arms around her and prayed nothing more happened to her.
“Ready to go home?”
She nodded against his shoulder.
A blanket appeared and he pulled back to unfold it. He leaned close again to throw one side of the blanket behind her and drape it across her shoulders. He watched her look around.
“They’re in the hallway.”
Her gaze continued to look around the room. He saw when she recognized where she was and when she saw the rumpled sheets on the other side of the bed. Her hand had been resting on Jason’s chest as he wrapped the blanket around her, but now it clenched in his shirt as she became aware. “Yes, Lucky was here, but we don’t know anything.” Her eyes came back to his. His voice was deep. “We don’t know anything. Just because he was here doesn’t mean anything. Let’s get you home and checked out, okay?” He cupped her face gently. “I love you. We will get through this together. I promise you that.”
There knock at the door before it opened and clothes were laid on the dresser near the door. Then it closed again.
“They’ll be too big but I thought that might be easier than this blanket.”
“You thought of everything.”
His expression turned to disappointment.
“I didn’t think of anything. I had the blanket and clothes in the car for emergencies. I should have brought you—“
Her thumb covered his mouth and her fingers covered his cheek.
“You found me and you’re here now. It’s everything.”
Jason called Sonny as soon as the doctor left. He camel as soon as he got the call. Jason told him what they found when they got to Kelly’s.
“How is she?”
“Holding up, but I don’t really think it’s hit her yet. She’s still coming off of whatever they gave her so she’s groggy and tense. She’s taking a shower so I don’t want this to take too long.”
“No, man. I get it. What are you going to do with Lucky?”
“I need to know if he’s a victim or a participant.”
“Let me take care of it. You take care of your wife.”
“I appreciate it. I’m afraid this will be a trigger.”
“You don’t have to explain to me. I’ll bring over dinner for later today as well.”
“Thanks. We’ll be back down in her apartment by then. We’re only up here so we didn’t disturb Cam and Mercedes.”
“If you need anything you call.”
“I’m not injured, just sleepy.”
His arms tightened around her as he carried her into the elevator. The doors closed slowly behind them.
“I need you near.”
She couldn’t and wouldn’t argue with that. She needed him close as well. Waking up and not knowing what had happened to her was a horrible feeling. The doctor had determined that nothing physical had happened to her which only eased her mind a little. Someone had still drugged her and removed her clothes and if she thought about it at all she became physically ill. Instead, she rested her ear on Jason’s chest as he carried her into their apartment. His heartbeat calmed her and she closed her eyes. She knew it was still too early for Cameron to be up and she was extremely grateful she could count on Mercedes to take care of him today. Jason carried her to their room and sat her on the bed. He turned and she grabbed his hand.
“Hey, where are you going?”
“I’ll be right back. Just checking on Cam.”
“Will you wait for me?”
She rose and moved to the dresser. She grabbed some pajamas and changed, leaving Jason’s extra clothes in the floor. He held out his hand and she took it as they went into the hallway. She opened the door quietly and they watched him for a moment. She crept in and covered him up. He rolled over and she quickly moved back to the door and into the hallway. Jason shut the door and followed her back to their room. They finished getting ready for rest. Once they were in bed she tucked herself into his side and again rested her ear on his chest.
“It feels weird going to bed at four in the morning. I want to sleep but I don’t want to sleep.”
“You want to talk about it?”
She shook her head and his muscles contacted when her hair brushed across his chest. She grinned and pulled back.
He pretended to growl.
“You already know the answer to that.” He covered her mouth with his own. She sighed with a smile after he pulled away. “Let’s sleep.”
Sonny arrived at the safe house less than an hour after he got the call Lucky was awake. When he arrived he found a sullen Lucky sitting on the couch flipping channels on the television. When Lucky saw him he threw the remote down and jump up.
“What am I doing here, Sonny?”
Sonny put his hands out in front of him.
“We’re just checking on some things. What do you remember about last night?”
“Seriously? What kind of question is that?”
“Just answer it.”
Lucky rolled his eyes.
“Fine, but don’t think I’m not telling my dad about this. I had dinner at Kelly’s with Maxie. She got a call from Mac so she left early. I figured I might as well go have a beer. I don’t think I stayed long but…”
He drifted off.
His brow furrowed.
“I don’t know. I can’t remember. The next thing I remember is waking up here.”
He huffed and crossed his arms across his chest.
“Yes, that’s it. Can I go home now?”
Jason’s phone woke him. He was quickly out of bed and in the bathroom to answer it. When he came back into the room Elizabeth was whimpering. He walked over to her side of the bed and saw Elizabeth’s face pinched up in fear. She was trembling. He sat next to her just about the time she shot up to a sitting position.
He covered her upper arms with his and tried to get her attention.
She jerked away when he touched her until she realized it was him. She flung herself at him and he climbed over her legs to his side and laid back down taking her with him. He stroked from the crown of her head down to her hip repeatedly. He didn’t care how long it took but he wanted her to be able to relax. After her breathing was back to normal she drew odd shapes onto his skin with her fingers. Her quiet voice eventually broke the silence.
“I was sitting in the park and I knew what was coming and I couldn’t move. And then I was yanked off the bench and dragged backwards. I could feel the cold and the wet and I couldn’t do anything. Finally I was able to move and I screamed.”
“Are you apologizing for the nightmare or what happened? Because it’s not your fault or my fault.” She knew what he was thinking. She eased back and tilted her head so she could look him in the eyes. “We did what we were supposed to. We didn’t know they would manipulate us into using the alley where five guys would attack us. Things are calm in our world right now. There was no reason to suspect this would happen.”
He grinned and stroked her cheek.
She held up her left hand and wiggled her ring finger where her tattoo was healing nicely.
“I’m all in, Babe. All in.”
He leaned down until his mouth brushed a whisper soft kiss over hers. She held him there and he enjoyed her mouth under his for quite some time. He pulled back and slid her hair away from her forehead.
“Sonny called if you're ready for a few more details.”
He noticed she closed her eyes as if to brace herself. She opened them back up and stared into his face.
“Blood tests came back with only Diazepam in your system. Thankfully, because you’re in the middle of your second trimester our son should be fine. I know the doctor did a basic check last night, but if you want to go to the hospital we can.”
“I’ll call Kelly in a bit. Do you think Lucky is involved?”
“We’re still looking into his possible involvement, but my gut says no. Sonny didn’t get the impression he was involved either when he talked to him.”
“So we don’t know anything yet.”
“Not yet. But we will.”
Milo yawned as he made his way around the perimeter of the warehouse once again. He only had twenty minutes left on his shift and then he could go home and sleep. Night shift wasn’t fun, but they all took turns so no one complained too much. As he turned the corner he saw a dark figure run from the building. Milo yelled back to some of the other guys before running after him. He didn’t get very far when the side of the warehouse the unknown person came from exploded, setting off a chain reaction that set the whole building on fire.