“What about the kids?” he asked, and it was like a jackhammer to my heart. I didn’t have an answer. I went quiet and Ethan settled back down into his armchair. “Exactly.” He looked up at me, and his eyes were serious, yet full of emotion. “I want Jordan back, and maybe if she comes back, we can figure out what that means, but the kids need a nanny. They need a woman to care for them and be there for them, regardless. I will wait 24 hours. If we haven’t heard from Jordan by tomorrow night, I’m going to start arranging interviews.”

I wanted to continue to argue with him, but I couldn’t. I understood where he was coming from. The very reason we started looking for a nanny was because we couldn’t manage everything the children needed. So, I had my goal, and I just had to achieve it.

“24 hours,” I said.

Ethan nodded, and I didn’t waste anymore time. I left Ethan’s place and got in my car, my heart racing as I came to realize I was going to have to unlock my past a little if I had any hope of meeting Ethan’s deadline. Jordan needed me, and she deserved the truth, by whatever means necessary.

I called Oliver, with whom I’d left Trey, and asked him if he could keep him overnight and deal with him tomorrow, and after confirming that, I drove to a bank far outside of Dallas. I kept my eyes peeled for anyone watching or keeping an eye on me, and then I went inside and accessed my safety deposit box. In it, were a few things that I’d kept from my former life. Eva and I’s rings, Trey’s birth certificate, our old social security cards, and my case files from Eva’s death. Among a few other trinkets, was a phone in which I had all of my old contacts. My absolute, last resort, if there was no other option friends, that I knew would help me if I found myself unable to complete a task on my own.

I grabbed the case files and secured the number of an old friend of mine named Travis. He was a cohort of mine from when I was still an agent of the FBI, and he himself worked for the NSA. Once I was free of the bank, I locked myself back in my car, and called him with the bluetooth speaker off, and my phone volume very low.

“Hello?” Travis answered with a shaky voice.

I took a deep breath. “Hey, Trav.”

The phone was silent for a long time before Travis spoke again. “Are you fucking kidding me?”

“I know,” I said. “I’m sorry.”

“Are you fucking kidding me, Adam?” Travis repeated. “They told me you were dead. You and Trey. You have got to be–” his voice trailed off. “I would hang up on you if I wasn’t so happy to hear your stupid, goddamn voice.”

“Nice to talk to you too, buddy,” I replied.

Despite only talking to one another in a professional capacity, Travis and I had gotten quite close. Whenever our paths crossed, we got along great, and we preferred to work on cases together. We always threatened to take things outside the workplace and introduce our wives and children one day, but we never got around to it before I had to pack up and go. For my safety, and everyone else’s, I wasn’t told what would be provided to my old friends and co-workers as an explanation for my sudden departure, but I figured it may be something as definitive as death. That was typically the only thing that would make people stop looking.

“God, fuck. Witness protection? Because of the stuff with Eva?” Travis asked.

“Yep,” I replied. “Travis, I swear–”

“Do not insult my intelligence by insinuating that I actually would have believed you did that,” he said. “I know you. I know you didn’t do that.”

It was a relief to hear that after everyone from my old life was so convinced I had. “Look, I hate to call you up after five years, and when you thought I was dead, but I really need a favor.”

“God I hope you could feel me punch you through this fucking phone,” Travis barked. “What is it?”

“I need you to find someone,” I said.

“Is that it? Couldn’t you do that?” he responded.

“This is different. I have no idea where she’s gone or any clue to help. I’m talking invasion of privacy. I need you to find someone,” I repeated.

Travis groaned. “I don’t know, Adam. I could go to federal prison for that.”

“I’ll pay you. Any amount,” I said. “Just name it.”

“It’s not about the money,” Travis responded.

“$3,000,” I offered.

“Adam, seriously, no amount of money is worth–”

“$5,000,” I cut in.

“Dude.”

“$10,000,” I said.

Travis hesitated. “Who is this that you are willing to pay that much money just to find them?”

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