Make it a double, p.33
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       Make It a Double, p.33

         Part #2 of Last Call series by Sawyer Bennett
 
Page 33

  “Gone?” I had asked. “Where would you go?”

  She shrugged her shoulders. “I don’t know. I’m just saying. ”

  “You mean on a trip?”

  “No, I mean… I don’t go anywhere. I’m just saying—if for some reason I’m not here, you would know how to keep The Haven going. ”

  “You mean, in case you died or something?” I asked, slightly panicked and completely perplexed why this bothered me so much.

  She turned to me with a soft smile, and then gave me hug. “No, Brody… that’s not what I mean. I’m not going anywhere. I just need someone to back me up in all things. ”

  I squeezed her back, probably too hard, and said, “Okay. But don’t plan on going anywhere. ”

  I’m glad this will be my final week at Last Call. I’m essentially working two jobs between The Haven during the day and the bar at night. Alyssa has been trying desperately for me to cut my hours back at the shelter so I can get more sleep, but I’m good. Besides, she’s got me hooked on this concept of sleeping in on Saturday morning, especially since Bobby takes care of the animals for Alyssa so she can have a day off each week.

  This morning, I slept right past my five AM internal clock and didn’t crack an eye open until almost nine. I was on my back with a warm, na**d Alyssa laying partially on me. Her head was on my chest, her arm wrapped around me tight… our favorite position. My arm was equally as tight around her waist, and our legs were puzzled together.

  Her skin was soft against me, and I could hear the ocean waves crashing and the seagulls crying hungrily. As the sunshine streamed in the windows and bathed her body in golden light, I knew there would never be a more peaceful moment in my life. I also realized in a moment of giddy euphoria, that this could be every Saturday for me—for the rest of my life—and I didn’t understand how I could be so deserving.

  I held Alyssa for a while, just listening to her breathing, stroking the skin on her waist with my thumb. I thought forward… to have Alyssa mine forever, and realized there wasn’t anything I wouldn’t do to make that happen.

  When she started to wake up, stirring against me and making sexy little sleep noises, I rolled her over and kissed her to consciousness. Then I made love to her, in the morning sunlight, our eyes pinned to each other the entire time.

  It was exquisite and we fell back to sleep for a few hours, holding tight to one another. We finally got up and had a late, late lunch and I headed into Last Call while Alyssa curled up with a book on the couch. I loved that she was able to just completely relax on her day off, and I left her with a kiss to her forehead.

  My phone buzzes in my pocket, and I pull it out. It’s from Alyssa, and I have to smile that my heart picks up its pace just from getting a text from her.

  Heading to Haven. Bobby texted and one of the dogs is really sick. Going to check it out.

  I worry only for a moment, but then let it slide. It’s been almost two weeks with no sighting of Chad, and Bobby is at the kennel. Alyssa is as safe as she can be.

  I text her back, Be careful. Text me when you get there, let me know how pup is.

  She replies, XOXOXOXO, and I grin because I’ve become such a sap. If my old prison cronies could see me now, they’d eat me alive.

  “What are you smiling about like a fool?” Hunter asks with a laugh, and I slide my gaze to his as I put my phone back in my pocket.

  “Just a girl,” I tell him, and he chuckles.

  Heading back into the storeroom, I start pulling cases of beer that need stocked in the outside bar cooler. I pile four cases on a dolly and move them outside, snickering when Gabby growls at me when I have to interrupt her work to get out the door.

  It takes me three trips to get the outdoor cooler stocked, and then I go ahead and clear some tables as the afternoon crowd tapers off. In just a few hours, the evening throng will be filling the back deck to listen to the ocean and drink beers in the warm, salty air.

  Walking back inside, I pull my phone out to see if I missed a text from Alyssa. It’s been over an hour since she headed to The Haven, and she should have sent me an update by now. I immediately worry that maybe something bad happened with the sick dog.

  There’s no text, so I dial her cell phone. It rings four times before going to her voice mail. I don’t bother to leave a message because she’ll see I called. I then call Bobby’s cell and also get his voice mail.

  They’re probably busy with the dog, but that doesn’t stop me from calling her office number. That’s set to roll to her cell phone if she can’t answer it and that’s exactly what happens, but I get her voice mail again.

  “What’s wrong?” Hunter asks as I walk up to the bar, staring at my phone.

  “Nothing. Alyssa has a sick dog and had to go in for a bit. She hasn’t called to update me though, and she’s not answering her phone. ”

  “She’s probably got her hands full,” Hunter says, but the look on his face is worried.

  “Maybe,” I say, dialing her number again. It goes to voice mail for a third time. I disconnect and dial one more time, but she still doesn’t answer.

  Now I’m truly worried. No matter how busy she was with the dog, she would have answered me on the fourth attempt. She would have known I was worried.

  And that means something is wrong and dread rolls through me, thick and oily.

  “I’m going to The Haven,” I say, my voice coming out panicked.

  “We’re coming too,” Hunter says, and he calls for Gabby. I don’t argue, because I’m already starting to freak out a bit over what I may or may not find there. In ordinary circumstances, a few missed calls shouldn’t worry someone. But Alyssa’s circumstances aren’t normal. She’s had someone stalking her.

  As we get in my car, I call Wyatt. He’s off duty today but the minute I told him what was going on, he said he would meet us there. He lives closer to The Haven, so he’ll probably beat us there.

  The seven-mile drive there is torture, and I’m driving sixty in a thirty-five mile per hour zone. I pass car after car, and Hunter murmurs, “Brody… slow down. You get caught, you’re getting arrested. ”

  I didn’t even respond to him but hit the gas a little harder.

  I’m sure the drive takes no more than ten minutes but it feels like ten hours, my heart rate spiking higher and higher the closer we get. I just know—in my gut—that something has happened to my Alyssa.

  We reach the entrance to The Haven surprisingly just as Wyatt is pulling in. He drives too slowly down the dirt road for my taste, so I keep my front bumper on his ass urging him on.

  Nothing seems amiss as we drive up to the front of the buildings. Bobby’s car is in front and as we pull around back, Alyssa’s truck is where she always parks it.

  I barely slam my car into park before I jump out and run into the kennel. I can hear Hunter hot on my heels.

  Inside, I look quickly left and right. All the dogs are in their cages and they are all standing near the doors, tails wagging and barking noisily. It’s obvious they haven’t been fed and none of them are sick.

  Running through the building, I lurch into Alyssa’s office, slamming my shoulder against the doorjamb. It’s empty, and her computer hasn’t been turned on.

  “Brody,” I hear Wyatt yell from outside and I spin around, practically knocking into Hunter, who is right behind me. We both sprint through the kennel, the urgency in Wyatt’s voice fueling us.

  Once we get outside, we see Gabby running into the barn and take off to follow her, assuming that’s where Wyatt called from. My heart is in my throat and as I enter, I see Wyatt kneeling beside the prone form of Bobby on the ground, who appears to be unconscious. Wyatt has his phone out and is talking to police dispatch.

  Turning left and right, I put my hands on my head in frustration, because Alyssa isn’t in here. I walk to the barn door and step through it. Looking around, I can’t think of anything to do but scream h
er name. “Alyssa!”

  I wait… I listen… I look all around the property.

  Nothing.

  Two police cruisers come around the side of the building with lights flashing. They pull right up to the barn and, after they exit, Wyatt sets them out to search the entire area.

  He turns to me and puts a hand on my shoulder. “We’ll find her, Brody. ”

  His words torture my soul because he doesn’t know that.

  “He has her,” I say, the words slicing me deep as I voice them out loud.

  “I’ve got more units coming. They’ve put out an APB on his car. We’ll find them,” he says, with so much conviction that I almost believe him.

  But would we find them in time?

  “Wyatt,” Gabby calls from in the barn, and we all run back in. Bobby is moving, regaining consciousness, while Gabby strokes his forehead.

  “Bobby… can you hear me?” she says softly.

  His eyes flutter open, and he winces in pain. I’m guessing Chad knocked him out. “My head hurts,” he moans.

  Wyatt drops down beside him. “Ambulance is on its way, buddy. But I need you to tell me what happened. ”

  Bobby’s eyes start to roll backward, and Gabby slaps at his face lightly. I know that’s not standard first aid care, but I’d be slapping him harder to get him to talk if I was beside him. I’ll give her about three seconds to get some information before I take over.

  “Come on, sweetie… open your eyes. What happened to Alyssa?” Gabby says encouragingly.

  His eyes open again, and he focuses on Gabby. “Some dude. Came at me with a gun. Made me text Alyssa. Then he brought me to the barn. Hit me. ”

  “Do you have any idea where he took Alyssa?” Wyatt asks urgently.

  Bobby shakes his head, closing his eyes briefly in pain. “No. He just said it was time to set things straight with her. ”

  Bile rises in my throat and I turn away, spitting it out of my mouth onto the ground with a choking sound. My head is spinning as I imagine the worst possible way he could be setting things straight with her.

  A faded siren starts getting louder, and then an ambulance is pulling up to the barn. Paramedics rush in to tend to Bobby and I walk back outside, frantically trying to think what to do.

  Wyatt, Hunter, and Gabby walk out behind me.

  “What’s the plan?” Hunter asks Wyatt.

  Raking a hand through his hair, Wyatt sighs in frustration. “We’ve got all available units out looking. They’ve been to his house, and it’s empty. Nothing there… no clothes, no food… nothing. ”

  “We should be out looking,” I tell him. “I’ll start riding the roads. ”

  “Brody,” Wyatt says as he puts a hand on my shoulder. “Your best bet is to go to the police station… wait there. You’ll be the first to know once we find her. ”

  “No f**king way,” I tell him. “That motherfucker has Alyssa, and I’m not about to sit back and twiddle my thumbs. ”

  One of the uniformed cops comes trotting up and hands something to Wyatt. I immediately recognize it as Alyssa’s phone… a pink case that has shiny crystals all over it. So girly and so unlike Alyssa, but she loves that stupid thing. She calls it her favorite “bling,” which is hilarious because it’s cheap, tacky, and she could afford thousands of dollars of real bling.

  “I found it on the ground under her truck,” the cop says, pointing back that way.

  “It’s Alyssa’s,” I confirm, disappointment raging through me that she doesn’t have her phone on her. It was a long shot, but maybe she could have called for help. Maybe they could have tracked her through the GPS on it.

  Turning away, I start to walk toward my car. “I’m going out to search. ”

  “Wait,” Hunter calls after me. “I’ll go with you. ”

 
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