“They took writing samples from Lilly that say that she is not the one who wrote those checks. The evidence against her is not solid, so maybe with the tape and the other evidence we can get her home. All the rest can be worked out after that.”
“Jules needs to go down for this shit.”
“And she will, but first, let’s get Lilly home.” He squeezes my shoulder. “Look, you go with Dad to pick up her parents, and I will get this to the lawyer.”
“Thanks, man,” I say to Nico.
“You would do the same for me,” he says before leaving. I sit back down, scrubbing my hands over my face.
“You want me to go get her parents?” my dad asks.
“Nah, I need to get out of the house.” I stand, and after we say goodbye to the kids, we head out to my dad’s truck.
After we pick up Lilly’s parents from the airport, the lawyer calls and tells me Lilly has seen the judge, and he is releasing her on bail. The tension that had been weighing heavily in the car since we picked up her parents disappears with that one call. I have never felt such a sense of relief in my life. Now I just pray Nico finds a way to clear her name completely. I also want Jules to go down for what she did.
I drop Lilly’s parents off at the house. Yes, I know they want to see their daughter, and the kids want to see her too, but I don’t give a f**k. I need her to myself for at least a little while.
I look down at the sudsy water I’m washing dishes in, enjoying doing something so normal. I missed being home the last week. Jail is scary and lonely, and I never want to go back to that place. The second I was free, I ran to Cash and cried into his chest. I missed his smell and the way I felt when he held me. I missed our kids too, and couldn’t wait to be home with them. On the way home, Cash explained to me about Jules and what happened with her. No one has been able to find her yet, but I hope they catch her soon. I need to know why she did it. I look up from the soapy water and out the window. The kids had been playing in the tree house, but have now disappeared. I don’t think much about it until twenty minutes later when I realize I haven’t heard anything from them for a while. Since I got home, they have been coming in to check if I’m still here every ten minutes or so. I step out the backdoor into the yard. It’s completely quiet out here, not even the sound of leaves moving with the wind.
I walk around the side of the house to see if maybe the kids are there playing…but nothing. I get a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach, and that’s when I take off running. I look everywhere and I can’t find them. I run back towards the house, trying to catch my breath. “Where are the kids?” I run into the house screaming. “I can’t find the kids anywhere! They were out back playing in the tree house. I had been watching them through the window above the kitchen sink. Then they disappeared. I thought that they had decided to play along the side of the house, but I wanted to check on them to make sure they were okay when I didn’t hear anything for a few minutes.” I know I’m rambling, but I feel sick, and I know I’m going to have a break down.
“They’re outside honey,” my mom says, and I start shaking my head, clutching at my throat, trying to rip the words out but I can’t speak.
“Breathe, baby,” Cash says, concerned. His arms are around me, but I push him away; he needs to go look for the kids.
“Th-they’re not there!” I take a huge gulp of air. “I can’t find them anywhere!” My dad is the first to move. He is up off the couch and heading out the backdoor. Cash looks me over before handing me off to my mom, and then he follows my dad.
“It’s going to be okay. They’re kids, honey. I used to lose you all the time,” Mom tells me, trying to lighten the mood. Any other time I would have laughed, but not now. I get up and head towards the bedrooms, checking each one, but they are nowhere to be found. A few minutes later, I hear police sirens and my stomach drops. My worst nightmare is becoming a reality. When I get outside, Cash and my dad are talking to James. A few minutes pass and the whole yard is full of people. My mom holds me next to her as we listen to the guys plan out a search party. No one knows where they are, so they all split up.
I always wanted a little brother, but got stuck with a little sister. We are playing hide-and-seek, and when I’m getting ready to find her like I always do, I see someone pulling her into a truck. I’m scared, but my dad always says that it’s my job to keep her safe because I’m her big brother. So I climb into the back of it and lay down, hiding under a tarp.
This cannot be f**king happening. Someone is going to die. I’m not saying that as a threat—I mean it all the way to my soul. As soon as I find out who has done this, I’m going to kill them.
“All right, man, I want you to hear me out, okay?” Nico says. I lift my chin in response. I’m too angry to answer him right now. We have searched everywhere for the kids, and come up with nothing. They wouldn’t have wondered off. Someone has to have taken them, I just don’t know who.
“Who do you think would do this?” he asks.
“I don’t know.” I rack my brain, trying to come up with someone who would do this. I can’t think over the pain in my chest. My kids are missing; someone has them and I have no idea who it is.
“I want you to think for a second. Who would do this?” I pause, coming up with nothing, then for some reason a name comes out of my mouth without thinking.
“Jules,” he nods, “you know she has been missing. Kenton is running her cards to see if he can latch onto her.”
“She’s not that crazy,” I say, knowing it’s a lie.
“She is that crazy.” He pauses, looking like he is weighing his words. “Look, I know you feel bad for her, and I understand that she is Jax’s mother, but the bitch is f**king crazy and needs some major help—and not the kind that she can receive from a therapist.”
“All right, now I need you to tell me anything you know about her and her family,” he says, and for the next thirty minutes, I tell him everything that I know. When I’m done, I realize how very little there was. “We’re gonna find the kids; don’t worry.” He pats my back, walking away and putting the phone to his ear. My phone buzzes in my pocket, and I answer right away.