Brian sat on the couch, slumped forward, elbows on his knees and his head rested wearily in his hands. Bright rays of early morning sunlight beamed in through the window behind him, casting his shadow on the coffee table a few feet in front of the couch. When he and Michael had returned the night before, he’d walked in anxiously hoping to see a certain blond waiting for him. But, one look at Emmett’s tear stained face had told him that hadn’t been the case.
Both Emmett and Michael had opted to stay the night, instead of returning to their apartment and for that he was grateful, the presence of his two friends had been the rock he’d needed to help ground him during the silent hours. He wouldn’t admit it to anyone, even though he was sure they already knew, that the thought of Justin being in the hands of that madman terrified him. Hell, just the fact that Justin wasn’t answering his phone terrified him, and that alone told him that something was deeply, deeply wrong. Justin had never, not returned his calls, and the blonds voice mail was packed with Brian’s worried messages.
He sighed and ran his hands down his face, catching a glimpse of Jennifer coming into the room between his splayed fingers. He sat up and leaned back against the cushioned back of the couch as she stopped next to him, he noticed she was holding two steaming cups in her hands.
“I won’t ask how you’re holding up.” she said, as she sat down next to him and sat one cup on a small, rounded, woven coaster sitting on the short glass table.
“I appreciate that.” he answered, lifting the cup and taking a sip of the freshly brewed coffee. Debbie had returned a short time before Jennifer had risen and Brian could hear the clang of pots and pans in the kitchen as she set about preparing breakfast. He could hear the low murmur of subdued voices in the kitchen, and the occasional twang of Emmett’s southern voice as the tall queen talked with Michael and Debbie.
Jennifer stared at the steam rising from her mug then sighed as she lifted her eyes toward the dark haired man beside her “I keep wondering where they are. If they’re scared, cold, hungry” a sound tumbled out of her mouth, sounding suspiciously like a sob as she tucked a strand of blond hair behind her ear “You don’t think Glen……..”
Brian turned to her and grabbed her hand “Don’t think that, until we know for sure” he looked at her, noting that the worry lines on her face and the glassy red rimmed eyes made her look about ten years older “Jen, I’m going to find them, I promise, I’ll find them no matter how long it takes” he said offering her a small smile “I never break my promises.”
She nodded and gave his hand a squeeze “I know” she said, then set her cup on another coaster “this is just so hard, you know. Justin wouldn’t just disappear like this” Jennifer brushed at a stray tear that had begun to trickle down her face, then gave Brian a watery smile as she released his hand and stood up “ I’m going to go sprinkle some water on my face”
Brian nodded and watched her trudge up the stairs; he knew she needed some time to herself to regroup. After a few minutes he noticed the voices in the kitchen had slightly risen and had just stood up to go see what was going on when he heard Debbie’s brassy voice.
“That little shit, I could ring his fucking neck for running off like this.”
Brian stopped and turned around, the last thing he needed to hear was Justin being blamed for something he was sure the blond hadn’t deliberately intended to do. He went out the door, slamming it shut behind him and walked down the steps to the walkway and stopped. A moment later he heard the door open and close and then Mikey stepped up next to him.
“Ma didn’t mean it Bri; she’s just worried like the rest of us.”
“I know, Mikey.”
They stood there silently for a few minutes, both lost in their own thoughts, and then Michael turned his head as he watched Brian take his cell phone out of his pocket.
He gave a small huff as he flipped it open “I don’t know why I’m trying again, he’s not going to answer it.” he exclaimed as he pushed a button and held the phone to his ear. Michael walked toward the hedge rimmed sidewalk to give him some privacy in case Justin actually did answer this time. As he neared the greenery a distinct ringing caught his attention and he began to slowly walk in that in direction. The ringing stopped just as a loud frustrated “FUCK” came from behind him.
Michael turned swiftly “Brian call him again.” he said as he turned back.
Brian appeared next to him a moment later, he’d seen Mikey’s reaction and the urgency in the other man’s voice puzzled him “why?” he asked.
Michael’s dark head slowly turned from side to side, a puzzled expression on his face “I swear I heard something when you tried to call him just now.”
Brian punched in the number again and this time both men heard the ringing coming from the bushes. They began to walk toward the sound, eyes scanning the ground as they searched. Michael saw it first, the glint of something shiny hidden just under the bush, he leaned over and picked it up.
“It’s Justin’s.” Brian said, taking the phone in his hand. The battery was nearly drained, and Brian hoped there was still enough power to operate the device long enough to do what he needed to do. He quickly pushed the menu button and scrolled down the list of incoming calls; and two pairs of eyes widened as Molly’s name appeared on the screen. Brian quickly hit the GPS button to open the software and both men waited impatiently while the program searched for the location of Molly’s phone.
A few seconds later a street address in Los Angeles, California appeared on the screen, and Brian sucked in a harsh breath.
“Shit, is that….” Michael started to ask, and then realized he was speaking to empty air. Brian was already racing for the porch steps.
Jennifer was just going into the kitchen when the door slammed open and Brian ran inside “we found Justin’s phone” Brian said stopping in front of her and holding the phone out “Jen do you know this address?” he asked.
Her hand flew to her mouth, covering it as a small cry escaped “Oh my god, Brian, that’s Glen’s address.”
Brian knew he didn’t have much time; the call had come in at 11:00 pm and Justin had disappeared a few minutes later. Hopefully, Justin hadn’t been able to get a flight out right away so there was the possibility that Brian could get to California in time.
“I’m going as soon as I can get a flight out” he said, wrapping his arms around Justin’s terrified mother, then whispered in her ear “I’ll get them back, just hang on a little bit longer.”
He released her then turned toward the door when he heard Debbie’s voice close behind him.
“Stop right there asshole” he turned to find himself wrapped tightly in smothering arms as she quietly said “you take care of yourself, you hear?”
“I hear Deb”
As Brian headed for his jeep, he pulled his phone out of his pocket, and punched in the number that would connect him with his secretary and two rings later Cynthia answered the phone.
“Cyn, get me Pete Weller's number in New York”
Brian glanced at his watch as he came out of the bathroom and tossed his shaving kit on top of the pile of clothes shoved haphazardly in the large duffle bag. As soon as Jennifer had confirmed the address glowing on the small screen, Brian had realized that this was far more complicated than he could have imagined. Glen had taken extreme measures to reclaim his former lover and Brian knew that this rescue was something he wouldn’t be able do alone, he needed help and there was only one person he would turn to, and that person was Pete Weller. The call to his former neighbor and retired FBI agent had been very promising. Even though the man had been retired from the agency for several years, he still had contacts within the organization and even used his private jet to fly undercover agents to wherever their current assignments were. Luckily, Pete had been home when Brian had called and had volunteered to fly Brian to California.
Brian took one more look around the room as he zipped the bag closed; he had to be at the airport in thirty minutes. He picked up the bag, tossed his jacket over his arm, set the alarm and closed and locked the door behind him.