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       The Foundation Series Box Set, p.43

           Kira Adams

  I smile faintly. “That was sweet of her, but I haven’t been home in a…while, and I’d like to make sure I didn’t leave it a mess the last time I was there.”

  He nods. “Your mother isn’t upset with you, she’s just hurt. You might want to give it a little bit of time.”

  I gulp in a sob. “Okay.”

  “I’m going to go check on her. I love you, baby.” My father kisses my forehead before leaving the room. We listen as his footsteps retreat up the stairs.

  Kayleigh pulls me down to the couch with her. “How are you really doing?” she asks, her concerned eyes raking my face.

  I take in a deep breath. “I feel…lost. I mean, it’s Jace, and I love him…but I wasn’t anticipating this.”

  “I don’t think anyone was, but I also know how much he means to you…so I can’t say I’m surprised.” Kayleigh tucks some of my hair behind my ear. “I’m here if you need to talk, okay? I’m on break from school.”

  “Thank you, Kayleigh.”

  “You’re welcome,” she replies quickly.

  “Not just for today, for everything. For being my sister,” I say.

  Kayleigh tucks her chin in. “Yeah, well, I haven’t always done such a bang up job at that.”

  I squeeze her arm reassuringly. “We have all the time in the world to make up for that.”

  She smiles, yet looks sad.

  So we had a rough start, but we are sisters. We’re always going to have each other’s back.

  * * *

  When I get home to my apartment, my door is ajar. I don’t have the best feeling as I enter. “Brooklyn?” I call out. When I don’t get an answer back I tinker with the lights, but the electricity is out.

  I drop my bag in the doorway and reach for my cell phone. Without really thinking what I’m doing, I end up calling Luis.

  “Well, well, well, if it isn’t the famous newlywed herself,” he answers on the first ring.

  I cringe. I forgot there are more people to tell than just my family. My friends are going to have a lot to say about it, I just know it.

  “How was your trip?” Luis asks when there’s been a considerable amount of silence between the two of us.

  “It was…eye opening,” I say, thoughtfully deciding on my word choice.

  He chuckles. “I bet. So what’s up? Aren’t you just getting home?”

  “Yeah, yeah, that’s actually why I’m calling. Do you know if anyone has been to my apartment since I’ve been gone?” I ask.

  Luis breathes deeply into the phone. “No, I mean, I’m not sure. Why?”

  I sigh. “My door was unlocked and open when I got here, and the lights won’t turn on. I’ve been too chicken to go inside.”

  “Don’t go inside. Wait right there,” Luis instructs. “I’m coming.”

  “Okay,” I say, smiling to myself. It’s nice having friends you can rely on. “I’ll talk to you when you get here.” I hang up the phone amidst an objection from Luis. It’s not like I’m going to sit on the phone with him the entire time he drives here.

  I turn the flashlight feature on for my phone and then pull up my big girl panties and enter my apartment again. It is eerily dark and quiet, and I have goosebumps. The temperature seems unusually low. “Hello?” I call out, inching timidly through my home.

  My heart is beating wildly inside my chest as I whip my phone around, illuminating different parts of my apartment. I hear the wail of a siren, and rush to the window overlooking the parking lot. Maybe Luis called the police? Just as I begin to let the idea sink in, I feel a breath of warm air on the back of my neck, making all the hairs on my body stand on end.


  I stumble forwards, terrified, but my legs feel like Jell-O. I’ve never been more scared in my entire life. Without bothering to look back to see if it’s someone I know, I make a mad dash for the front door. Just as my hand wraps around the knob, I feel the carpet pulled from underneath me and I’m roughly thrown to the ground. My face hits the wood flooring with a thud, and the room begins to spin.

  The shadow of another figure comes to rest upon me as they approach. I’m fighting to stay coherent, fighting to get a good description of the perpetrator. “Wait, you’re a girl?” I ask as my vision finally goes.

  Sixteen: I Just Want to See Her—I Just Want to See My Wife


  The shooting days are long and tough on me, but I want to make it a point that every night, no matter how late it is, I make sure to FaceTime with Peyton. I want to see her face even though I know far too many miles separate us. I rush into my trailer, exhausted, with one thing on my mind. I don’t even bother changing out of my clothes from the scene. I just want to see her. I just want to see my wife.

  Hurriedly I retrieve my phone and call her through the application. I can’t wait to see her.

  When she doesn’t answer, I’m disappointed, but chalk it up to the fact that she is busy, just like me. I know it’s going to be a struggle with the distance, but I also know that challenges can be rewarding. “Chenise,” I call out, knowing very well my assistant is in the back of my trailer.

  She comes strolling out, her phone in hand. “Hey, what’s up? You ready to go?”

  I shake my head. “I need you to book me the next flight home between filming and anything else we have on the calendar. The sooner you can get me out the better. And I’d like at least twenty-four hours, if not more.”

  Chenise nods with understanding. “That’s going to be tough, Jace. You know as well as I do we won’t get very many breaks during the shooting schedule.”

  I sigh, running my hand over my face. “Well, just do what you can, okay? I believe in you.”

  My phone begins to vibrate in my hands and I feel like a young school boy, giddy and unsure of himself. “There you are, I was hoping I’d get to talk to you tonight,” I say without a clear greeting.

  “Um, I’m sorry, this isn’t Peyton. Is this Jace?” a deep male voice asks.

  My heart begins to pound against my chest. Why is a guy answering Peyton’s phone? Better yet, who is he? “Who is this?”

  “Luis, man, this is the guy that signed her band.” For some reason his answer only seems to aggravate me more.

  “Yeah? Well, what are you doing with Peyton’s phone?” I ask defensively.

  “Dude, chill out,” Luis says. “Peyton called me when she got home because she thought something suspicious might be going on at her house. She didn’t want to go inside alone.”

  “So why didn’t she call me?” I exclaim angrily.

  “Look, man, you’re in a completely different state. Peyton knew I could make it to her a lot sooner.”

  “So where the hell is she?” I demand.

  “That’s why I’m calling. I told her to stay put, and that I would be there soon and it really didn’t take me long…fifteen minutes max. But when I got here, Peyton was gone.” He pauses, distressed. “I found her phone face down on the floor.” Luis sounds genuinely worried.

  “What do you mean gone?” I ask, my heartbeat speeding up in my chest.

  “Vanished. Caput. I have triple checked every room…but she’s not here.”

  I jolt up from my seated position. “I’m getting on a flight.”

  “You don’t have to do that. I’m about to call the police, but I thought it might be worth the effort to see if you might know where she was.” The casual way he talks about it irks me.

  “I haven’t seen her since I dropped her off at the airport,” I reply.

  “Alright, well if you hear anything from her, will you give me a call? You can just call her phone, I have it on me,” Luis says.

  “Yeah, and vice versa. I want to be the first call if you hear anything, you got it?” I know I sound stern, but something tells me that she wouldn’t just disappear without any word. I feel sick to my stomach.

  “Roger that,” Luis replies and then the line goes dead. I don’t give a shit what he said about not coming, it’s my wife we’re tal
king about. If I don’t hear something in twenty-four hours, I’m hopping on the next flight to my hometown.

  I didn’t even realize Chenise was still in the room. She has a sympathetic look on her face. “Is everything alright?”

  I take in a sharp breath of air. “Peyton is missing.”

  “Oh my God, Jace, are you sure?” Chenise replies appropriately.

  I shrug. “Apparently something fishy was going on at her place, so she called her friend Luis and asked if he could drop by. When he finally made it, Peyton was nowhere to be found.”

  “Oh my…what are you going to do?” Chenise asks, pacing about the room.

  “It’s Peyton, Chenise, I have to go.”

  “What about Duel? What do you think Tim is going to say?” Chenise asks frantically.

  “Honestly, I don’t care. It’s my wife, Chenise. At the end of the day, none of this matters without her.”

  Chenise smiles sadly. “You’re a good man, Jace. Now go. I’ll figure something out.”

  “Have I mentioned that you are overdue for a raise? Because you are. And when I get back we’re going to sit down and reassess your role with me, okay?” I hurriedly begin unbuttoning my shirt.

  Chenise blushes. “Thank you. I’m going to take off…have to book you a flight.”

  “You’re the best.” I grab her arm, stopping her.

  She nods and then rushes out of my trailer.

  My mind is racing a mile a minute. Where could she be?

  Seventeen: If This is the End, Thank You for the Memories


  © 2015 DarienMae

  Sometimes I lie awake

  Dreaming of your face

  Breaking & Entering

  We’re coming for ya

  We’re coming for ya

  I think of you and you think of me

  I can’t help but feel the chemistry

  Looking straight into my eyes

  I feel a deep connection inside

  Wondering how you passed me by

  Making me feel all warm inside

  I know you’re real

  I know it’s true

  It’s written all over your face boo

  Don’t you know I held my truce?

  Keeping it real the whole way through

  I got mad love for you

  Breaking & Entering

  We’re coming for ya

  We’re coming for ya

  Sometimes I lie awake

  Dreaming of your face

  I think of you every day in my wake

  Hoping that maybe you’ll come back to me one day

  Breaking & Entering

  We’re coming for ya

  We’re coming for ya

  Sometimes I lie awake

  We’re coming for ya

  We’re coming for ya

  Dreaming of your face

  We’re coming for ya

  We’re coming for ya


  When I come to, a harsh fluorescent white light is blinding me, and I can tell I’m restrained; the ties around my wrists, digging into my skin, hard to ignore. The glossiness evaporates from my vision, and suddenly, I can see clearly. I am in a bathtub, tied up.

  Immediately, I begin panicking. My heart is racing a mile a minute and I am flopping about crazily.

  “Well, well, well, you’re finally awake,” I hear a female voice exclaim from outside the door. It opens and an Amazon woman walks through the door. If I have to guess, I’d say she is nearing six and a half feet tall. She has long black hair and broad shoulders. I don’t recognize her at all.

  “What do you want from me?” I cry out, unsure of my impending fate.

  “What do I want from you?” the woman cackles, looking at me like I’m going crazy. “Why would I want anything from you? In fact, no one is going to want anything to do with you after I’m through with you.”

  My heartbeat begins to accelerate. I don’t know what I did wrong. I’m scrambling, searching my mind for anything I could have done, any reason this woman might want to harm me.

  “Listen, I’m sorry if I offended you in any way, believe me, that was the least of my intentions, but can we discuss it like civilized human beings?” I ask. I know I may be going a little overboard with the last part, but I risk it. The ropes that bind my wrists are cutting into my skin, making it raw.

  “You’re just not getting it through that thick skull of yours, are you? This has nothing to do with you.” She twirls her finger around the room, insinuating that my kidnapping was for alternate reasons.

  “Then what does this have to do with? Why am I here?” I cry out, unable to stop myself. I’m beginning to hyperventilate.

  “Hello,” the woman shouts condescendingly as she knocks on my forehead roughly. “This has to do with Jace, you dimwit. I can’t believe you didn’t put two and two together.”

  “Jace?” I asked, confused. “How do you know Jace? And why would you want to hurt him like this?”

  “Hurt him?” the lady asks, throwing her head back and laughing. “This is not about hurting Jace, it’s about showing him who his real soulmate is.”

  I stifle a laugh, unable to stop myself. “You’re delusional.”

  “What did you call me?” she asks, leaning down for effect.

  “I said…you’re delusional. Jace wouldn’t want to touch you with a ten foot pole.” I know I’ve gone too far when she shifts her face and I can see her expression turn dark. The fist comes seconds later.

  This is going to hurt.

  * * *

  My eyes flutter open, and I instantly feel the shift in my surroundings. I am no longer tied up in the bathtub, yet now I am tied to the foot of a bed. My nose feels like it’s broken, and I can feel the dried blood on my face. When I breathe, there are sharp pains in my sides, almost like I have bruised ribs, and I can only imagine what took place while I was unconscious.

  I don’t know that I truly believed I was going to die before, but this time when I wake up, my body goes into full on panic mode. I am trembling, shaking, and searching for a way to free myself. I hear shuffling in an adjacent room and go still.

  “Perfect! This is so perfect!” her familiar voice boasts.

  I don’t wait to see what is so perfect, I just go back to my task of getting free from the ropes. I’m so preoccupied, in fact, that I don’t hear the footsteps coming, or see the shadow hovering above me as I attempt to free myself.

  She chuckles in an evil way. “There’s no need to bother, I had a brother in boy scouts.” She is referring to the complicated and tightly wound knots holding me prisoner.

  “What are you planning to do with me?” I ask. I figure it can’t be bad to keep her talking.

  “Well, oddly enough, my plans have changed a little bit. Did you know how much information you can find about a person just by Googling them?” she asks.

  I shake my head, unsure of where she is going with this.

  “My good friend Google here told me that before Peyton Lane was topping the charts with her hit single, she was enjoying her stay at a mental ward. Want to know what’s even better? She was put there because she tried to kill herself!” She squeals like she just won Bingo. I have no idea why she is referring to me in the third person, but I listen intently.

  “What are you getting at?” I ask, not shocked by the fact she could find those hospital records.

  “Well, if you tried to do it once, who says you wouldn’t try again?” Her brown eyes brighten in a sinister way.

  “What are you talking about?” I gasp, my heart banging against my ribcage wildly.

  “It just seemed too easy to just hire a hitman, you know? That would just be eliminating my problem and it wouldn’t be much fun. So I decided what better way than to hire the hitman to make it look like a suicide, especially when the victim is as perfect as you are for this.”

  “I don’t understand,” I exclaim. “Why are you doing this?”

  “Peyton, I am doing this
because you hurt Jace. I am doing this because I am going to be the one to pick up those scattered pieces and help him put his heart back together again. Me. He is my soulmate. You were never supposed to be part of the equation.” The way she talks about our relationship like she knows what took place is baffling to me.

  “Sure, that sounds perfect and all. You get your happy ending…but you are forgetting one thing,” I say.

  “What’s that?” she presses me.

  “Everything is evidence. The ropes digging into my skin—evidence of foul play. You may get away with this now, but mark my words, you’re going to be caught. Do you really want to risk it all for life in prison?”

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