“Fuck,” he curses. “There’s supposed to be three. Yeah, yeah, I know you can count.”

“Three, what?” I ask, looking up and meeting his eyes in the rearview mirror.

He takes another right turn and then holds his finger up at me in a sign for me to wait.

His head slightly inclines to the right as he listens to whoever is talking in his ear, and I press my lips together while I wait.

“Well, where the fuck is she?” he asks angrily.

My stomach suddenly sinks. I just know he’s talking about Lindsey.

“Did anyone see her coming out?”

“Johnathan,” I say, trying to get his attention.

He holds his finger up again. “Do you think they moved her last night?”

“Johnathan,” I say again, more forcibly.

He ignores me. “Well, she’s gotta be somewhere. Maybe she’s still in there. She didn’t fall off the fucking—“

I just can’t take him talking about finding Lindsey for one second longer.

“Lindsey’s dead!” I hiss and he glances up into the rearview mirror in surprise.

Finally, I’ve got his attention.

“Hold on a minute,” he says as we stare at each other.

Just saying that Lindsey is dead out loud has caused this great big painful hole to open up in my chest.

Charlie squeezes me tighter as I push air in and out so fast I’m nearly hyperventilating from it.

I feel like I can’t catch my breath.

Johnathan pulls the car over to the side and we come to a stop. He twists around in his seat and turns to face me.

Mouth pulled down in a frown, he looks genuinely concerned as he asks, “Are you alright?”

No, I’m not alright, I’m fucking far from it, and the words almost pass my lips before I realize they may upset the little guy that’s holding on to me like his life depends on it.

I have to be strong, I have to be. For him. Whatever I’ve gone through… it’s probably nothing compared to the nightmare he’s living.

Squeezing my eyes shut, I take a moment to compose myself before reopening them.

I look Johnathan hard in the eyes and say as calmly as I can, “Yes.”

From the way his lips twist and his gaze narrows, I can tell he’s not buying my bullshit, but thankfully he’s not calling me on it.

Seconds tick by and we just stare at each other. I finally get my breathing under control and I know he’s expecting an explanation, but right now I just can’t give it.

He breaks eye contact first, his narrowed gaze sliding over to Charlie before coming back to me.

“Are you sure?” he finally asks, breaking the silence.

I bob my head up and down, and close my eyes again.

“Fucking hell,” he growls, and I sense him turning around.

The car starts rolling forward and then I’m pushed back against my seat as he hits the gas.

“All three targets are confirmed,” he murmurs. “Yeah, I can count, you fucking dipshit.” His voice drops even lower, but it’s so quiet in the car it’s impossible not to overhear him. “Yeah, that’s right. I said three. Lindsey Hawthorne is confirmed deceased.”

10

Beth

We drive and drive, and I cling to the little boy hugging me, needing his comfort just as much as he needs mine. The bright lights of the city fade away, replaced by the softer, dimmer lights of a residential area.

We pull up in front of a white, two-story house, and the garage door opens. Charlie tenses against me and I try to keep myself from stiffening with apprehension. I don’t recognize this house or the neighborhood.

The car rolls slowly into the garage and then the door slides down behind us, closing us in.

“Not tonight, no,” Johnathan rumbles as he turns off the car. “We’ll meet up tomorr—”

He snorts and shakes his head.

“Yeah, fuck you, Simon. I know who her father is and he can suck my dick.”

Big hand lifting up to his ear, Johnathan plucks something out of it and then crushes it in his fist.

Our eyes meet in the mirror and he smirks as he opens up his hand. Tiny little pieces fall, scattering around him, and then he pushes his door open.

Fuck, what did he mean by that? He knows who my father is… yet he seems totally unconcerned by it… Who is this guy? Who does he think he is?

The back door on Charlie’s side opens and the little boy’s arms tighten around me.

“Come on,” Johnathan says, and motions for us to get out. “You’re staying here for the night.”

I give Charlie a little nudge and a smile. “It’s okay,” I try to say as if I believe it, but honestly I have no clue what the fuck is going on or what is about to happen.

Now that I know Johnathan knows who my father is, knows who I am, and obviously doesn’t give a fuck, he feels like a loose cannon. Normally, I have the power of my father’s protection to fall back on, but what do I do with a guy who obviously doesn’t give a shit?

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