“We’re still looking,” Trevor says; he and Asher took off not long after my dad did. “Any idea of which way we should head?”
“Look for Jules,” I tell him.
“I talked to Nico and I think he may be right; we need to be looking for Jules.”
“You’re f**king shitting me.”
“Dude, I don’t know what the f**k to think right now, but something in my gut is saying Nico is right and that Jules is behind this.”
“All right, we will look for her. Keep us up-to-date if you find out anything,” Trevor says, and I can hear the anger in his words.
“Will do,” I say and then hang up. I head back into the house. Lilly and her mom are inside waiting to see if the kids will show back up. As soon as I walk inside, Lilly is in my arms, her eyes red from crying.
“Did they find them?”
“No, baby.” She starts to cry again, and my heart is breaking. “I will find them and bring them home. You stay here with your mom in case they show back up.”
“Okay, but maybe I should be out looking too.”
“No, I want you to stay here in case they come back.”
“No buts. Stay here with your mom. Keep your phone on you and I will call you.”
“Okay, just bring them home.” I can hear the strain in her words as she wraps her arms around my waist, burying her face in my chest. I want to comfort her, but I need to be out looking. I pull her away from me, kissing her once before turning and heading out the door. I see Nico still on his phone, so I motion him towards the truck and climb inside. Once he’s in, I take off. I have no destination in mind, but I do know Jules had been sleeping with a guy in town, so that’s my first stop. When we arrive at his place, there is an old truck in the driveway. The yard is littered with garbage. We get out and head up to the front porch; the dogs behind the door go crazy when I knock. I hear rustling, then the door opens and a guy my age is standing there rubbing his face, the smell of alcohol wafting off him.
“What do you want?”
“Have you seen Jules?” I ask, and his eyes narrow. He looks between Nico and me then smirks.
“I know you,” he says when his eyes come back to me.
“Yeah?” I ask him, crossing my arms over my chest.
“Yeah, you’re Jules’s ex. She’s always talking about you.”
“Is that so?”
“Yeah,” he slurs, and until that point, I didn’t even notice that he is drunk. “She was always carrying on about you and how she was never important to you, and that you only wanted her because of the kid.”
“She told you that?”
“She told me everything. The bitch never shut the f**k up.” He runs a hand through his hair. “You know, she is hot as f**k, and not bad in bed, but she is nuts—and I mean really f**king nuts.”
“Why do you say that?” Nico asks, leaning on the side of the house. His stance is casual, but I can tell that he is up to something.
“The last time she was here I thought I was going to get some, but she carried on about your daughter and wife—who, by the way, is a hot piece.” I want to punch him in the face, but don’t let it show.
“She is hot, right?” Nico asks, and I swing my head to him. What the f**k?
“Fuck yeah, she is. I mean, Jules is good looking, but that bitch is smoking.”
“I agree,” Nico says, and the guy smiles at him. “So what else did Jules want?”
“I don’t know. I wasn’t really listening; I was trying to get laid, you know?” Nico nods and he shifts, his head going back like he’s thinking. “All I remember is her saying that the girl was a mistake on her part, and that she should have been smarter—whatever the f**k that means.” He digs his hand into his front pocket, pulling out a pack of smokes, offering one to Nico, then to me. We both shake our heads no. He puts one in his mouth, lighting it and taking a drag. “I really don’t remember anything else.” He shrugs, taking another drag before tossing the still-lit cigarette into the yard. My brain is in overdrive; she told him Ashlyn was a mistake on her part. I know deep down she is the reason Lilly got pregnant, but there is no way to prove it. I know that if confronted, she would deny it.
“Do you know where she might be?” Nico asks him.
“Jules?” he asks, and Nico nods. “I don’t know, at her house? Or with her f**ked up aunt maybe?”
“Why are you here?” he finally asks the question he should have asked a long time ago.
“My son and daughter are missing,” I tell him honestly. He looks between Nico and me, then backs up.
“Hey, I have nothing to do with that.”
“We didn’t say you did, but we need to know if you have any idea where Jules might be,” Nico says, and the guy looks nervous.
“You think that Jules has something to do with it?” he asks.
“We’re not sure right now; the only thing we know for sure is that Jules has disappeared, and so have my kids.”
“Dude, that’s f**ked up.” He shakes his head. My phone rings and I pull it out of my pocket, looking at the caller ID. I have no clue who it is.
“Hello, sir,” an older woman says.
“Can I help you?” I ask impatiently. I don’t have time for this shit right now.
“Yes, I’m calling you because a little boy showed up on my property about five minutes ago. He says that his sister was taken by his mom, and that I needed to call his dad.” My hand that’s not holding the phone goes to my chest where my necklace lays. I put pressure on it, the metal against my skin reminding me that my family will be back together soon.
“Where are you?” I ask, jumping off the porch and heading to my truck. I get in and slam my door at the same time as Nico. She quickly rattles off her address. “Let me talk to my son, please.”
“Dad!” Jax cries. “Mom took Ashlyn. I had to go with her to keep her safe, but she took her into a house, and there was a lot of shouting, Dad. So I ran as fast as I could until I found somewhere to call you.”
“You did good, dude. I’m so proud of you. But I need you to be brave for a little while longer, okay?”
“Okay, Dad.” I hear him sniffle, and I fight not to crack my phone.
“I love you, Jax, and I will be there soon,” I tell him, clenching my teeth. A drive that would normally take forty-five minutes takes twenty. My dad gets ahead of us on the highway in his squad car, leading a long line of cars and trucks. The old lady Jax is with explains that he had ran through a cornfield that is on the back of her property, and that no one else lives close enough to her that would know we are on their trail. When we arrive at the location where Jax is, we all get out of our vehicles just as Jax comes flying out of the house, right into my arms.