A/N: Sorry guys for such late update. I know before I used to update several times a week but that doesn't seem possible anymore with school in full swing now. So my target is once a week! I hope you enjoy this chapter! And I just wanted to thank you for all the reviews; they made me really want to write all last week which really made my creative juices flowing.
"You think she's alright? She's been up there a long time," Daniel asks concerned. My insides writher in anger. Stop asking about Ana, she's supposed to be mine. I take a deep breathe to calm my anger before answering him. "Maybe she has a lot of pent up energy, or she could be showering upstairs. Don't worry; I'm sure she's fine." Daniel just frowns at me, clearly not taking my word for it.
Just then Mrs. Jones comes in with our coffees. It's really been a long day, and my whole being craves the alertness that accompanies the ingestion of coffee. As the familiar bitterness of my cappuccino meets my tongue, the tension from the day, from finding out that Becky was in with Ana's stalker, from seeing Ana cozy up to Daniel, it all just melts. I allow myself a few moments before steering my eyes back to him.
Daniel still hasn't touched the cappuccino yet, his face etched with worry. His worry is enough to bring back all the agitation that just melted. I guess a few seconds of peace was better than none. It seems that recently, we've all been living day to day, spending each day worrying about Ana's safety. It was exhausting, but there really was no other option. We both love her, that much was obvious, and there was no way we want whoever hired Becky to win.
Becky… My thoughts immediately go to the interrogation Daniel and I led individually at first and then together. She didn't yield much, aside from the fact that her 'employer' was female and seemed pretty wealthy. That didn't narrow the fields down at all. Both Daniel and my acquaintances were loaded, but I guess it did eliminate the men.
Daniel's frustration and rough interrogation methods were surprising. He always struck me as an all-together kinda guy, but I guess Ana is a good enough reason why normal traits are traded for extremes. Yeah like me, falling head over heels for someone I wanted as a sub initially.
I finish the last of my cappuccino and place it in the sink. I'm surprised by the red glowing numbers of the digital clock of the microwave. Has it been 3 hours already? Where has my sense of time of gone? Right, sleep deprivation. Okay, now I'm worried. Ana was angry before but no one can have that much to vent for three hours!
Maybe she took a bath? There is one in the sub room, and I remember Ana's love for baths, with all her aromatherapy candles and fragrances. She always did smell delectable. Mmmm… The still glowing numbers from the clock wakes me from my brief daydream. I also remember her falling asleep in baths though thankfully I did always find her soon after she had dozed off. What if she drowned?
Suddenly the thought consumes me and I race up the stairs to the sub room. Daniel sensed the urgency in which I flew up the stairs and had followed close behind. I guess he's been worried for so long, anything tips him over the edge into full panic. I burst into the room fumbling to switch on the light. I rarely come in here, preferring to keep my distance from my subs. Finally I find it and the light flickers on. Just as my eyes adjust to the illumination an audible loud gasp escapes my lips with Daniel's sharp inhale echoing my sentiments.
"I'm blind! I've gone blind!" I scream in my head as nothing but blackness envelopes me when I slowly and tentatively tried to open my eyes. I attempt to sit up but the ceiling is too low and the only way to be upright is to settle for a very uncomfortable crouching position. I immediately reject the idea, my head feels fuzzy and my back aches. I lay back down, careful not to bump my head against the too-low ceiling.
The darkness unnerves me. I can barely tell if my eyes are open or not if it wasn't from the slight tickle my long eyelashes make against my skin when I shut my eyes. But even then, the sensation is so light I lose sensitivity to it soon after I recognize it. I decide to just shut my eyes, figuring it to be least disorienting.
Why is my head so fuzzy? I try desperately to recall how I ended up here. My mind draws a blank as it desperately attempts to scrape the walls of information for any morsel of truth as to why I'm here. Finally I grasp an image, well more of a feeling. Anger. I hold on to it and try to develop it to try and get more out of it.
Anger at… A beautiful face pops into mind with perfectly chiseled features and a few wisps of dark copper hair falling into his hurt-filled grey eyes. Christian! Why, why was I so angry with him? My mind tries to solve the puzzle of why I'm so angry with this beautiful Adonis-like man? But even as my mind tries to grasp some semblance of sense, a sort of heaviness overtakes my mind forcing me to sink deeper into the darkness. All mental processes stops and I surrender.
"I'm sorry sir, but I'm going to have to ask you to step back from the scene," the officer in his blue Seattle Police Department uniform says in strained politeness. I'm about to take his head off when Taylor suddenly appears beside me, his strong hand on my arm, both as a gesture of restraint and sympathy. The look in his eyes says it all; this fight is not one I should pursue. I nod grudgingly, take a deep breath to try to rein in my temper and let Taylor pull me away.
"I don't care what it takes! I want you to find out everybody who has entered Escala, residents, postmen, children. EVERYONE, you hear me?" Daniel shouts into his blackberry before ending the call, not waiting for a response from whoever it is he was talking, or rather yelling at.
His abruptness has me reflecting myself. Ana always accused me of being abrupt on the phone with my employees, but surely I don't sound like that. The thought of Ana has my chest constricting with grief.
"You! You are the reason why she's missing!" Daniel suddenly yells at me, his finger in my face full of accusation, though it's nothing compared to the accusations I've already hurled at myself. He just needs a release and I let it slide. "And how do you figure that?" I ask sarcastically.
"If it wasn't for you interfering with Wright's Publishing acquisition of SIP, she wouldn't have met you! You who bring nothing but drama to her life and now she's gone because of the stalker you brought to her!"
Seems like he's been talking to my inner demons, I smirk to myself. "And why are we so sure that the stalker is my fault? You are in the limelight too, though I must admit not as successful as I am but still, for some reason they love you over there in Manchester," I retort, keeping my voice cool.
His face reddens as I finish my comeback, which surprises me. Is there something I don't know about him? Specifically about him and Manchester? But my curiosity spell is broken when the booming voice of the head of investigations beckons our attention.
"Gentlemen, we have finished sweeping the perimeter and the room in question. The cloth found on the floor has tested positive for chloroform, which explains why there isn't much evidence of struggle in the room. We'll be sending the cloth to the lab to find if Anastasia's DNA is indeed on it to confirm that she was knocked out prior to leaving this place. Moreover, we're hoping that the attack might have accidentally betrayed their identity.
We'll let you know the results as soon as the necessary tests have been run. As for how they escaped, we have a few theories but the one that seems most likely is that they were already in the room waiting for Ana and grabbed her. How they got out though is what we don't know. You had 2 bodyguards in the apartment and your elevator has a security code. Also there are cameras in all lobbies. So it really is looking like an inside job," the captain finishes, with a grave look on his face.
It's evident that Daniel and I are in complete shock. They got her right under our nose. How is that even possible? I thought I had made all possible security arrangements. I couldn't protect Ana. I'm a failure. The dark thoughts continue. I hear Daniel ask some more questions regarding the investigation but I tune him out, complete consumed with my guilt trip. I hope she's alright I pray fervently.
"I can't help but feel I'm really falling head over heels for you. And I know you don't want to rush into anything and I don't either. I just want to be with you all the time, not just late nights in the office. I want more with you," his green eyes shining with passion and sincerity as they gaze affectionately into mine.
I awake with a jolt and bolt upright. "Ow!" I yell out loud as my head collides with the hard ceiling above, the 'thunk' my head made still ringing in my ears. I forgot it was there. I lie back down gently and gingerly rub my head. That really hurt.
Angrily, I hit the ceiling hard and it moves just a little. Disbelievingly I try it again, hitting harder this time. It definitely jerked a little. I move to feel the small space I'm enclosed in. there's just enough space for me to lie down comfortably but it's not wide enough for me to stretch out my arms which are aching for stretch. My hands skim the surfaces, feeling every bump and soon realize that what I'm feeling is the grain of wood.
Understanding comes to me in a flash. I'm in a box! Oh my god. I'm in a box. I start having a panic attack. From the size of the box it would seem that I'm in a crater. My mind continues thinking about the tiny enclosed space and my panic attack worsens. I start hitting against the top of the box, the lid, harder and harder. I need to get out; Desperation is starting to kick in.
"QUIET!" a loud voice booms and a something hits the box hard. From the sound it made, I would've guessed it was made of metal. Completely taken by surprise that I wasn't alone, that someone could hear me, my panic attack vanishes quickly replaced by fear as I realize that whoever just yelled was probably my attacker.
The police have finally cleared out of the apartment and its early morning the day after Ana has been kidnapped. Everyone hasn't slept in a day and a half. Daniel and I seem to be in the same state, and I hate that he's as affected as I am. It means he cares about Ana as much as I do, but now isn't the best time to think about that is it Christian? We need Ana back before we can think about who she wants.
Mrs. Jones lingers in the hallways hoping to be nearby in case I want something. She really is worried about me, almost like my mother. I smile sadly as I think of Grace's shock when I told her about Ana and how much I had to persuade her that I was alright before she would leave. It's not that I didn't want her around; I just want one person – Ana. Until she's back, I want to be alone.
"Mrs. Jones, you can stop lingering. I'm going to retire to bed now and you really should sleep too. I appreciate you being up with me through all the mess," I say kindly and the look of astonishment on her face is hard to miss. "Thank you Sir," she says stiffly after she recovers and walks in the direction of her room. I guess I've never talked to her this informally before. Oh Ana, how you've changed me, come back to me please.
As I walk towards my room I see Daniel standing uncomfortably in the hallway. "Christian, Err, I think I'll go to Bellevue now. It seems like everything has finally died down. Call me if you find out anything," the awkwardness in his voice is unmistakable. I feel a pang of guilt for him. "You can say here if you like, I have another spare room on this floor. There're clothes if you need them for when my brother stays over, I think they should fit."
Even I'm surprised by my offer, but it's really the least I could do. I wouldn't want to return to Bellevue alone. At least there are people here, and I guess he's also doing me a favor, though I'm not about to tell him that. He nods diffidently. "Alright, it's the second door to the left, down that hallway," I say as I motion to the direction of where Elliot's spare room is. "Thanks Christian." "No problem. I'm, errr, gonna sleep," I say, the awkwardness between us in insane and we walk toward our respective room abruptly.
I don't know how long it's been since my attacker yelled at me, time seems to stand still. It feels like it's been days, but I really can't be sure. I really want to talk but I'm afraid of what might happen. When they yelled it really seemed like a warning, one that I feel I should heed.
I can't talk, and I'm too nervous to just lay here knowing that my attacker is just outside of this wooden prison that I decide to at least sleep it off. For all I know I've been awake for days. The darkness really plays with your mind, making you feel like its night time always that sleep comes soon.
"Well well well… it seems like you really are a precious thing aren't you?" a heavily accented man says slyly after I'm prodded by a hard stick. I open my eyes slowly, and gasp as the light burns my corneas. I guess I'm not in the box anymore. "I've got some questions for you missy…"
I know, another cliffhanger. I would've made it a longer chapter but then you guys would have to wait longer. So I thought a shorter chapter is better than none right? Tell me what you think! DawnMidnight xx