So... miraculously... you guys liked MISSING and kept asking me for a sequeal... so I wrote one :)
It's not as good Missing, but I tried ;D
The first thing he came upon when he turned the corner was her jacket.
He recognized it at once, the same one she had been wearing when he was with her, sprawled out on the ground, crusted with dry blood. He clenched his jaw as he bent down and clasped his fingers around it, picking it up and holding it up to his face, where he realized that it had been practically ripped to shreds. The cops had refused to follow him, saying he was just tired and should go home and get some rest. But he knew better.
Their conversation didn't last very long. Actually, it lasted about five seconds, where in five seconds he had only heard a muffled clatter and her voice calling for him. Then the line went dead.
Luckily, his dad had put a call tracer in his phone, and he tried tracing her call, where it had led him only around the corner when announcing that her phone was dead.
Just like she might be in a couple of minutes.
So he had set off, calling her name when he came to a dead end. He didn't exactly expect an answer, so he relied on his instinct.
That didn't work out so well.
Before he knew it, he was wandering around aimlessly through the alleyways behind some sort of outlet mall close to her house.
He wondered why life couldn't be like in those cool crime shows that he watched where the officers would easily find the victim, relying on instinct alone, just in time for them to save the victim. If he was in one of those crime shows than maybe he would have found her already.
But this was life. The sickening world called reality that everyone lived in. His instinct was horrible. Who could make their way through a maze behind an outlet mall just following their gut?
He was getting desperate and he knew it. He had to calm down before he drove himself over the edge. His fear was that he had done that already, but he still stopped himself to take a deep breath to calm himself. He wished he could tell himself that all it would take was a deep breath for him to calm down, but he knew he would be lying.
Blue eyes searched around the alleyway, studying her surroundings as she tried to think on where she was. Nothing was familiar. All she saw were molded and dirty black walls stained with graffiti and large garbage cans that she doubted anyone used. She couldn't read the small signs that hung above her, for they were too faded and the letters had disappeared.
The pain in her side was almost unbearable, but she still found the strength to push herself up onto her elbows and drag her weak body over the cold, damp stone floor and lean against the wall. Lifting her shirt, she studied the deep wound that she assumed a sharp knife had caused, still seeping with blood. A lump rose in her throat and she held a hand tightly to it, closing her eyes and praying to the God above her that someone would find her.
A gust of wind blew by and she shivered, her body shaking with the combination of fear and cold she felt. Her jacket had been taken from her, leaving her arms bare to contact with the cold temperature. Her shirt was buttoned up incorrectly, missing several buttons, and her jeans weren't buttoned up at all, only resting loosely at her waist, as if whoever had redressed her hadn't had time to finish. She closed her eyes and tried not to think of what was done to her. Her screams echoed in her memory, her pleads for help ignored by the shadows looming over her, hurting her in the worst ways possible.
She whimpered and leaned her head against the wall behind her, willing someone to find her. To help her.
The small black phone was tossed across from her, completely useless by this point. She had tried to call someone, not being able to read the name as she pressed the call button in the middle of her confusion. She did remember hearing his voice, frantically speaking through the small receiver as she struggled to lift up to her lips to speak. But then the phone vibrated in her hand, slipping through her fingers and falling back onto the ground. She had tried to call for help, but the phone had shut off before she could, leaving her alone and with no way to call for help.
"Help," she croaked, her voice low and scratchy. Weak. She knew no one would hear her, because no one knew where she was and she doubted that anyone would even think of crossing through these alleys. Warm tears slid down her face and sobs ripped through her chest. "Help." She choked through a sob. "Someone, help me."
She could feel her strength leaving her, or maybe it was just the blood oozing out of her wound, pushing past the impact of her fingers, and she tried to press her hand harder against it. Her life was ending, and she knew it.
His hopes of finding her were slowly diminishing as more time passed by, every second seeming more deadly than the last. By this point he was squeezing himself through the first opening he could find, trying to think of the route that her captors would have used to hide her. He assumed they would take her somewhere where she couldn't be heard if she screamed.
But, he thought again, she could have already been knocked out, giving them easy access to do whatever the hell they wanted.
His anger grew and he tried to shake the thoughts of what they could have possible done to her out of his head, losing himself in the alleyways. A part of him told him that she was close, and he knew she was. He just hoped that he hadn't just passed her in his desperation. He had thoroughly checked every opening he found, looking for any sign of a body or shadow. But soon he found that there were hidden ways as well. Cracks between buildings behind a trash can, for example. That had left him feeling a bit uneasy.
His phone rang in his hand, and he kept stalking along, his head turning from side to side, searching for anything of interest. His hopes would rise when he would catch a figure here or a shadow there, and they would drop at least ten times deeper when it was only a cat crossing his path or a rat scurrying along.
"Where are you?" Logan's voice floated through the receiver, thick with concern.
"Out." He answered simply.
"Seriously man, we're all worried about you."
He clenched his jaw and took a deep breath, turning another sharp corner when he saw another trashcan in the distance. "Leah called me."
There was a moment of silence on the other end of the line, and he could hear a handful of voices asking what he had said. He expected Logan to be shocked at this information, for he was himself when he had read the name on the caller id, ready to check into the closest asylum. But it had been her, he was sure of it.
"Leah? But how did… where… " His friend stuttered on the other end of the line, unable to comprehend what was going on. "She's alive?"
"That's what I'm trying to find out right now."
"Where exactly are you, Carlos?"
"I have no idea." The Latino responded truthfully, his tone lifeless, very un-Carlos like.
"Carlos," a new voice replaced Logan's, one he recognized as Kendall. "Please don't tell us you're out looking for her."
"Okay," he said. "I won't tell you."
"Are you insane?" James yelled now, the phone being passed around like a hot potato.
"I'm pretty damn close to it."
"Listen, man. We know that you wanna find her, and we want to as well, but…" a sigh roared through the receiver.
"She's been missing for five and a half days, Carlos." Logan regained control of his phone, putting it on speaker.
There was no answer on the other end. He had stopped walking, frozen in place as his foot came into contact with something small and hard. He bent down slowly, his fingers gripping the small phone that belonged to her tightly. It had just been thrown on the middle of the alley, the screen blank, resulting from the dead battery.
"Hello? Carlos?" his friends asked, worry dripping from their voices when the Latino didn't reply.
His eyes followed the trail of blood on the ground, fresh tears blinding him for a second before spilling over and cascading down his cheeks. He was sure she was a goner. No one could survive the loss of that much blood.
Without a word, he shut his phone and directed his full attention to the body leaning against the wall. For a minute he thought he was just imagining it when he recognized the figure. He had thrown himself into the search for her, not knowing how he would react when—or if—he finally found her. But now here she was, right in front of him.
"Leah?" his voice was thick with tears. Something in his head told him to just give up, she was dead and would never answer him. But another part told him to keep hoping. Her body was still, unmoving. Her eyes were closed, and for a minute she looked asleep.
He took a step towards her, crouching down over her. He refused to touch her, not until he knew she was still with him.
Her skin was a sick pale, all the color completely drained from it. Her cheeks lacked the soft rose that he had grown used to. Her lips were a sick blue-ish color, dry and split. Her hair was damp and messy, matted to her forehead. Her shirt was improperly buttoned, bruises covering her arms.
He clenched his jaw to hold back more tears.
But as he got closer, he could see her chest moving slightly and hear her inhale. Her head moved slightly to the side and her eyes opened slightly. "Help." Her voice was lower than a whisper, breathy and tired.
He gasped and threw himself down beside her. "Leah,"
Her eyebrows stitched together tiredly. "Carlos?" her brain felt fuzzy, and even though she knew she was sitting down, her head spun. Her eyelids seem to weigh a thousand pounds, but she forced them open and her heart fluttered when she saw his face, staring at her with tears escaping those dark chocolate eyes.
He seemed to sigh in relief and grabbed her face in his hands, brushing away loose strands of her hair. Swallowing back the lump in his throat he nodded and attempted a smile. Leaning forward, he pressed a soft and gentle kiss to her lips, the power of the relief that washed over him almost knocking him over. "I'm here," he whispered, thanking God for helping him find her. "I'm right here."
The first thing she saw when she opened her eyes were dozens of balloons floating above her, all dancing along with each other. The first thing she heard was the annoying sound of the heart monitor, its loud beep overpowering the whispers of those in the room, talking about something she had no interest in. Her nose picked up the scent of alcohol and bad hospital food, and a low groan escaped her.
James' head popped out of nowhere, an appalled smile stretching out on his face. "Guys!"
Soon enough, the four Big Time Rush boys were looming over her, and she swallowed her rising fear and tried to forget the shadows.
"She's awake!" Logan grinned.
"You think she's okay?" Kendall asked. "She seems kind of confused."
"Guys?" her voice was tired and low. "She can hear you."
Relieved smiles spread out on their faces, and she managed a sleepy smile herself. A yawn escaped her and she snuggled deeper into the lumpy pillow behind her head. "What time is it?"
"It is exactly," Carlos held his arm up to his face. "Five thirty-two p.m."
"How long have I been asleep?"
"Approximately," Logan paused to calculate in his head. "Fifty-two hours and six minutes."
"Not that we were counting or anything." James shrugged.
She raised her eyebrows and shook her head, trying to sit up, but Carlos reached out and gently pushed her back down. "Not so fast!" sighing, he slipped his arms around her and gently helped her lean forward before adjusting her pillow and patting it a couple of times to fluff it out. When he was sure she was nice and comfortable, he let go of her and plopped himself down beside her.
"So," she cleared her throat, grabbing his hand and looking up at the rest of the guys. "How bad am I?"
The four of them looked at each other uneasily, as if waiting for the other to speak.
"The wound in your side was caused by a stab with a knife, which went so deep it ruptured your lung." They all looked up to see a woman standing by the door with some kind of file in her hand. She didn't look to be a doctor, considering she didn't wear a lab coat, or sympathetic expression. Carlos tensed and glared, and Leah directed her gaze towards him, not understanding his reaction. The rest of the boys looked down and pretended to be interested in something other than the conversation. "You also lot a great deal of blood and suffered from a mild concussion."
She didn't know what to do except nod, trying to find out how this woman fit into the picture.
The door opened and her parents came filing in, followed by her older brother, Mrs. Knight, and Katie, all of who seemed to light up at the realization that she was awake. The woman didn't seem to notice though. She had a mean poker face and only looked at the girl on the hospital bed.
"My assumption is that you were abducted, raped, and beaten, then abandoned in the alley and left to die."
Katie's eyes widened considerably, flooding with tears before she turned into her mother's arms. Advanced as her ten year old mind might have been, no little girl would react calmly when finding out that someone they knew went through that.
Carlos shot up at the blunt statement. "Whoa, whoa, whoa…"
"What kind of person do you have to be to say it like that?" her brother demanded, taking his spot next to the furious Latino.
"So much for breaking it to her easily…" Kendall muttered, sighing.
"I think she deserves to know what happened to her." The woman defended herself, completely unfazed by the cold glares she was receiving from all in the room.
Leah only stared from her place on the bed. She already knew everything that the woman had said, so she wasn't surprised when this woman confirmed it, but her eyes still burned with tears as she tried to erase the memory of the shadows hurting her.
"There was no reason to say it so bluntly." Her mother said softly. "There is also no reason to react so harshly."
"Carlos, Hamlet," her father spoke up, his voice powerful and loud compared to everyone else's. "Take a breather."
Both boys did as they were told and calmed down. Carlos regained his seat beside Leah and her brother settled himself onto the very uncomfortable couch beside James.
"I apologize for being so straightforward," she honestly didn't sound apologetic at all. "Leah, my name is Helen Morgan. I'm a detective and work with the LAPD." A shiny badge was held up for proof. "I'm here to ask you a couple of questions to see if you can remember anything that might help us catch the people who did this to you."
Leah only gulped and nodded.
Her voice was small and frightened in the darkness, and he moaned groggily before throwing the blanket off of himself and sitting up on the recliner he was currently sleeping on in his room. "Yeah?"
"I know this is gonna sound childish, but I had a bad dream." She whispered, pulling her own covers tighter around her, her body shaking no matter how warm she was.
He rubbed the sleep from his eyes and yawned before her words hit him and he jolted up.
It had been three months since the incident and most people were over it already. Leah had provided the police with everything she could possibly remember, resulting in some emotional breakdowns that no one wanted to exactly remember. In the end, her attackers had been found and arrested. By the end of the trial, they had been charged with rape and attempted murder. Soon after, it was found that both men were also guilty of raping and killing two other girls in California, resulting in a life sentence.
Leah had been dubbed as a miracle, for no one knew why or how exactly she had survived such a terrible event. And after a miserable week in the hospital, she was finally released and allowed to go home with orders of no stressful activities until she was fully healed.
And now, though most people had probably forgotten about everything, Leah still had a hard time sleeping at night, afraid of the painful memories and nightmares it would bring.
This was one of those nights.
It was hard to say that Carlos was not surprised when he opened the front door of apartment 2J to find Leah standing there with a shy smile. To be truthful, he was a bit confused on the status of their relationship with everything going on. At the knowledge of what those bastards had done to her, he was afraid to come close to her or touch her, afraid of her reaction. Ever since she had been interviewed by the police and detectives and her memories of that dreadful night had returned, the poor girl flinched away from any sort of physical contact, and it broke everyone's hearts to see her curled up alone, crying and wrapping her arms around herself, afraid of everyone else.
He knew that she never meant to hurt him, but every time he saw her whimper and turn away when he would try to kiss her or hug her, her rejection of it all would stab him painfully in the chest. So he had decided to just take it a day at a time after talking about it with the guys. He kept a nice twelve inches between them when he sat by her, and everyone made sure not to move too fast when she was in their presence.
It was hard, almost like starting again from scratch.
So when she told him that her parents were out of town and asked if she could stay the night, he was a little more than surprised.
Not to mention the other boys of Big Time Rush.
She had immediately fallen asleep on the couch while watching a hockey game with the boys, and after an entire discussion on where she would sleep, Carlos had gently and quietly carried her over to his own bed, tucking her in and making sure she was nice and comfortable.
James insisted that the Latino crawl in beside her, at which time the pretty boy had received three much-too-hard slaps to the back of the head.
In the end, Carlos had taken to the basically unused recliner in his room, that way he could keep an eye on her while keeping the distance she needed.
He realized her shaking frame and hesitantly moved closer to the bed. "You cold?"
"A little," she mumbled.
He had no idea what to do, or what to say. Suddenly the words 'Well, what do you want me to do?' seemed a bit harsh, so he swallowed them back and sauntered over to the edge of his own bed. He grabbed the large quilt he was using and softly draped it over her, sighing in relief when her shaking dimmed a bit. He longed to reach for her hand, but was unable to. "You, uh…" he cleared his throat, trying to figure out what to say. "You wanna talk about it?"
She shook her head against the pillow and let out a shaky breath. "Not really."
He nodded and swallowed, looking around the dark room. The clock on his nightstand read three-thirty in the morning, no right time to pound on any of the guys' doors and ask for help.
He was totally alone on this.
As he racked his brain and tried to think of what to do, desperate to help her, he felt her move under the blankets and her hand came into view, her fingers cold against his as she grabbed his hand and pulled gently. He looked down at her with apprehensive brown eyes, not exactly knowing what she wanted.
"Come here," she whispered, tugging on his hand. "The bed is big enough for two."
His eyes widened considerably, and he was glad it was dark enough to hide the light blush that colored his tan cheeks. His eyebrows stitched together, unsure and afraid of how she would react. But yet, he allowed her to pull him onto the soft mattress, pulling back the covers and making room for him. He settled himself beside her slowly and softly, despite the hammering inside his chest. In the three months since the incident, the closest he was ever able to get to her was the comforting embrace he offered while she cried after interrogation or a session with the "counselor", and even then she was a bit hesitant.
Carlos had always been one to get overexcited, so he could easily say he was a bit more than happy when she took his arm and wrapped it around herself, snuggling herself into his chest and sighing contently, like a little kid would when they woke from a nightmare and find comfort from their teddy bear.
Her dream had consisted of the dreadful memories, all of which seemed to end in the same horrible fate of the two other girls that had not been as lucky as she had. She couldn't help but think and wonder how she had survived. The doctor had told her parents that if the knife had gone any deeper, her life would have been cut short. Just a centimeter more and she would be buried underground, mourned over by those she loved.
The image of a large grey tombstone with her name engraved into it, the dates too short, just wouldn't escape her mind, and she found herself jolting awake at night, shaking and cold no matter how many blankets she had been wrapped in.
She hadn't realized how much she missed the feeling of his arms around her until she was curled up into him, his body warmth eagerly welcomed as he helped her shivering stop, the cold slowly escaping her until she was just as warm as he was.
It seemed so long since she had allowed him to embrace her so closely, and it was never because she didn't want his hugs or his kisses, but every time someone got too close to her, the first thing that would cross her mind were those shadows looming over her, and her body would react on itself, flinching away from any physical contact. She hated seeing his pained expression when this would happen, but she couldn't seem to stop it.
But now it was different.
She didn't feel afraid anymore; instead she craved the feeling of protection that he cast over her when he was near. Craved the feeling of his lips moving softly against hers, or the warm feeling of his arms around her.
And seeing that goofy white smile just added to all of it.
"How did you find me?"
He seemed to ponder over that for a moment, secretly admitting to himself that he had been asking himself that question ever since his eyes had fallen on her weak body in that alley. Everyone had given up on her, saying she was dead, that no one could survive such circumstances for five days. He had been accused of being crazy, and in the end it was him to find her, proving to the policemen and detectives and everyone who had doubted him that there was no such thing as a lost cause. He might have been completely and totally insane, but he always was a bit not right in the head. And that had just helped him gain enough courage to take matters into his own hands.
"I didn't give up." He told her quietly, his smile widening.