Page 23 of His Hostage

“All right, I’m going in,” I say, and just as I’m about to get out of the van, Track grabs my arm.

“I’m coming with you.” He grabs his mask from his back pocket and pulls it over his head.

“No you’re not.” I push his arm off and shake my head. “That wasn’t part of the plan, and Mags would kill me.”

“She’s going to kill me if she finds out I didn’t do whatever it took to bring your girl home.” His jaw is set and I know I won’t change his mind.

“You need someone watching your ass,” Walsh agrees from the driver’s seat and I nod, knowing he’s right.

“Good luck,” Levi says and squeezes my shoulder from the back. “We’ll see you afterward.”

The plan is in place and already in motion so there’s no backing out now. Levi, Jonas, and Walsh are on their way to Monte’s to get into position and start the surveillance. If Jules is in her apartment it’s going to rain hell down on this part of town and Monte will have to send for backup. If she’s not here, then we need to know where Monte may have taken her or if Warren is involved. There are too many ways for this to go wrong but I won’t give up.

Track and I jump out of the van and slide the door closed as it quietly pulls away.

I nod to him as we put on our masks and make our way to the rear of the building. When we get there, I see Levi was right and there’s a fire escape on the building next to hers. It’s pretty fucking far away from her window and there’s only a tiny ledge for me to land on. As if Track is having the same thought, he shakes his head as he looks over at me.

“Let’s hope you’ve got a good grip and better balance,” he says as we move closer.

“I should have taken ballet instead of football.”

“Yeah, because you were shit at that.”

I feel a smile threaten to pull at my lips and I know he’s just trying to take my mind off the fact that Jules is in danger.

“Damn, you’re still salty. You couldn’t catch me.”

“You can be fast and still not know how to catch the ball.” He nudges me with his elbow when we reach the wall and I look down to see he’s put his hands together to boost me up. “Prove me wrong, twinkle toes.”

“I’ll see you at the top.”

I put my boot in his hand and he lifts me up so I can grab the edge of the fire escape ladder and pull it down. Once it touches the bottom I grab the bars and begin to pull myself up to the first platform. I hear Track down below making the climb now, too, but I don’t wait for him as I take the stairs two at a time until I reach the top floor. Of course Jules has to have an apartment on the top floor.

I hold on to the railing as I leap over it and to the outside. I don’t dare look down because I might lose my nerve. I take a deep breath. Jules’s window is about ten feet away from where I’m standing and it’s a straight drop to the ground if I miss it. We’re about five floors up, so one wrong slip and I won’t have to worry about the boys taking my life.

I concentrate on the image of Jules in my mind, one where she’s smiling and on her side in bed with her hair all over the pillow. She’s looking at me and her arm is reaching out and I know I can do this. I will do this, because I’ll do anything for her.

With all my strength I make the leap and just as my feet leave the ledge I begin to fall. My arms stretch as far as they can, and just as I think I’m going to miss it, my fingers catch the ledge of her window and I stop myself from the descent.

My body jerks against the building and I can hear Track let out a sigh of relief as I pull myself up to her window. Luck is on my side as I slide it open and then silently climb into the room. It’s her living room and I can see the light coming from under the bedroom door. I grab the rope that’s strapped to my back and toss it out to Track as I secure it inside.

As I look around I see no signs of disturbance, but it feels like someone is here. Track comes through the window and we both take out our weapons as we slowly approach the bedroom door. I hold up three fingers and count down until I make a fist. He nods and I kick in the door. We both point to what’s inside.