Read Missing Online

Authors: Noelle Adams

Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Women's Fiction, #Contemporary Women, #Romance, #Contemporary, #Contemporary Fiction

Missing (7 page)

Eight

 

Nathan couldn’t believe that
Elizabeth might be in D.C.

In all of his brooding reflections on where she might be
hiding and what she might be doing, he’d always started from the natural assumption
that she would get as far away from D.C. as possible.

If she’d wanted to get away from him so much that she’d
resort to such desperate measures, then surely she’d want to live somewhere she
wouldn’t likely be recognized, where no one from her old life would ever
accidentally encounter her.

Nathan sat at the desk in his office and stared at the
printouts Martin had given him last week when they’d met to talk about the new
lead he’d uncovered. Despite the unlikelihood of such a scenario, the pages, in
combination with the other evidence, certainly seemed to imply that Elizabeth
was in D.C.

Or, at least, she had been a month ago.

The pages laid out a series of financial transactions at a
small, local bank. Every six months, five-thousand dollars was electronically
deposited into an account at that bank and almost immediately withdrawn.

The name on the account was Mary Scots.

Nathan knew enough to realize the fake name on the account
was a reference to Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots, the notorious cousin of Queen
Elizabeth I, who was imprisoned—forced to live in “protective custody”—for
years before she was executed for treason.

The bitter nuances of the choice of name weren’t lost on Nathan.

With a hoarse exhale, he looked up from the pages and back
to his computer screen, where he clicked to play again a segment of recorded
footage from the bank security camera. He watched the slightly blurred image of
a slim, dark-haired girl wearing sunglasses and a black pea coat walk into the
bank, wait in line for a teller, and then walk out, having withdrawn
five-thousand dollars.

The girl’s face was too obscured to know for certain, but it
looked very much like Elizabeth. He watched it again. And then again, hunting
for any other clue or any sign that she was unhealthy or unhappy.

It was simply a girl in sunglasses, making a bank
withdrawal. He just couldn't see anything else.

It looked like Elizabeth. The name on the account sounded
like Elizabeth. And she’d been in D.C. just a month ago. She might still be
here now.

If she was, she wasn’t living as Mary Scots. Martin and his
team had checked into that name and had turned up nothing but the bank account.

But at least now they could focus their search for Elizabeth
in the city and the surrounding areas, and they were already looking into from
what source the money was being deposited into the account. So far, they’d run
into nothing but dead ends, but at least there were some new possibilities.

Somebody was helping Elizabeth. That much was obvious.
Someone was giving her ten thousand dollars a year. While it was hardly enough
to live on, it would certainly supplement any other income she might be earning
on her own.

Nathan felt a sick churning in his stomach as he thought
about some ways Elizabeth might have been forced to make a living. He prayed
she hadn’t been so desperate.

He watched the footage from the bank a few more times, but then
he had to put it away. He couldn't obsess any longer on this today. He'd stayed
up almost every night this week worrying and trying to figure out new angles to
pursue, and he was already behind with his clients. He had a few more hours of
work to do in the office right now. Then he should run home and grab something
to eat with Victoria before he headed to the hotel.

Tonight was his night with Lynn.

He needed it.

He needed
something
.

***

Nathan had never been surprised that
Lynn was a passionate and enthusiastic lover. She was that way outside the
bedroom, so it seemed natural that she would be both of those things in bed
too.

But there was something about her responsiveness to him that
thrilled him every time. It had taken his breath away the first time they’d
fucked, and he felt that way again now, as she lay in a beautiful sprawl
beneath him on the bed in their hotel room.

Her clothes were discomposed, and her blond hair was spread
out in messy waves around her face. Her brown eyes were glazed over with a look
he couldn’t get enough of. Nathan had been kissing her neck, but he’d raised
his head so he could look down on her, and his groin twitched as he saw her
obvious response to his touch.

He’d been cupping one of her breasts, and now he shifted his
hand enough to stroke her nipple with the pad of his thumb, through the slinky
silk of her camisole. It tightened as he stroked it, and she gasped and shifted
her hips.

Nathan’s body stiffened as he watched.

When they first arrived in the room, he’d fucked her hard
and fast against the wall, before they’d even made it to the bed. He’d only
lasted a few minutes, but Lynn had been just as eager as he’d been.

Now that he’d climaxed once, Nathan had more patience. He
could take his time. He slowly brought his second hand up and teased both of
her nipples simultaneously.

Lynn arched up into his hands with a hoarse gasp.

Nathan hardened even more.

He’d unbuttoned her little cashmere cardigan earlier but
otherwise she was still mostly dressed. Her skirt was bunched up around her
hips, and her camisole kept sliding higher, revealing a strip of bare skin at
her middle.

Nathan felt a surge of power and desire as he watched her so
overcome by sensations.

“God, Nathan! You’re killing me.”

“Hmm,” he murmured, his voice unusually husky. “What did you
want me to do about it?” He cupped both of her breasts again, squeezing gently
as Lynn pressed up eagerly into his hands.

She opened her eyes and slanted him a quick look, as if she
were assessing his mood or checking his expression. Nathan had no idea what she
would see in his face, but it evidently satisfied her. “I want you to touch me.”

He hardened all the way, so quickly it actually hurt. He'd
buttoned up after their earlier round, so his erection was uncomfortably
confined in his trousers now, but he ignored it as he slid his hands down to her
thighs, stroking the soft flesh there as he pushed up her skirt even more.

A visceral gratification pulsed through him when she
whimpered helplessly as his hands got closer to her center.

“Is that all you want me to do?”

She was breathing in fast little pants, and her nipples had
tightened visible through the thin fabric of her camisole. Her eyes were
squeezed shut now, and she fumbled against the bedding beside her, finally
fisting her hands in the coverlet. “No,” she gasped. “Make me come. Please, Nathan.”

He slid down her little panties and parted her thighs. She
was really wet. His chest expanded with feeling at the knowledge.

He stroked her with one finger. Then teased her until her pelvis
was shifting restlessly and she was making soft, pleading sounds.

Finally, he sank two fingers inside her.

Lynn cried out in pleasure, her shoulders lifting off the
bed. She clutched at the covers as he moved his fingers rhythmically inside her.

“How do you like that?” he asked. Despite his climax
earlier, his own arousal was hard and aching again, and he wasn’t sure how much
longer he could wait before he took her once more.

“Yeah,” she mumbled, her head tossing against the pillow,
her hair flying messily into her face and sticking to her damp cheeks. “It’s so
good. Faster, please, faster.”

He sped up the pumping of his fingers. He knew she was
letting him do this, giving him more control than usual. Normally, if Lynn
wanted something, she would make it happen. But she was just barely rocking up
into his hands, and she was gripping the coverlet in an attempt to restrain
herself from doing any more.

Her tight nipples beneath her camisole taunted him, and Nathan
leaned over to take one in his mouth, still pumping his fingers inside her.

He could feel her tightening around his fingers until she
cried out as she came.

Nathan pushed his fingers against spasms, and he didn’t
stop, even as she came down.

He did lift his head, though, so he could see her.

“Very good work,” she said breathlessly, a glint of irony in
her eyes.

“You too.” Despite his desire, he had the ridiculous urge to
laugh.

She started to move, but he held her in place and began
working his fingers inside her again. He used his mouth too this time, until
she’d come two more times.

Finally, she collapsed limply on the bed, mumbling out
wordless sounds of satisfaction.

Nathan’s felt a surge of primal pride. He didn’t know any other
woman as intelligent and lucid as Lynn, but he’d made her feel so good she
could barely form words.

“Are you ready for me?” he asked, after giving her a minute
to recover. He didn't want to be too demanding, but he was afraid he couldn't
wait much longer.

“Yeah,” she said hoarsely, fumbling with his pants until
she’d freed him and then rolling the condom on for him. “I want you inside me
now, Nathan.”

He positioned himself above her and then slid in with a hard
thrust. She cried out on the penetration, her voice drowning out his groan of
helpless pleasure at the feel of her around him.

He began to thrust almost immediately, barely controlled. He
took her hard in a fast, steady rhythm, the force of his thrusts shaking the
bed and shaking Lynn’s body.

She was just as eager as him, rocking beneath him and
gasping out to the tempo of their motion.

He wasn’t sure if she’d come again, but she was obviously
enjoying it. She was just as uninhibited as he was when he finally fell over
the edge, the pleasure momentarily blinding him as the sensations ripped
through him.

He wasn’t sure how long he lay on top of her afterwards,
dazed by the effort and release. Finally, though, she pushed him a little.

He rolled off her with a groan and let her take care of the
condom, since he felt too boneless and replete to even move. When she returned
to the bed, they both lay panting and cooling off for a long time before either
of them could speak.

After a while, though, he could feel her watching him, so
steadily it made him uncomfortable.

“Is everything okay with you?” she asked at last.

Nathan pulled his eyebrows together. “What do you mean? Didn’t
you enjoy that?”

“Of course, I did.” Her eyes were soft on his face. “I was
just wondering if everything was okay with you.”

Everything wasn’t okay. His daughter had run away. He’d lost
her—and there didn’t seem to be anything he could do to get her back. He was
constantly afraid of losing his other daughter too.

And these nights with Lynn were the only times he could let
go, escape a little.

She reached a hand out and stroked his cheek when he didn’t
answer. “What’s bothering you, Nathan?” she asked, very softly.

He wanted to tell her. He desperately wanted to tell her—no
matter how irrational the impulse was.

He needed
something
.

“Nathan, are the girls all right?” she asked, when he still
didn’t respond to her questions.

It must have been the sex—the intensity of the sex after
going so long without any outlet for his needs. Because there was no excuse for
the way Nathan’s throat seemed to close up.

And absolutely no excuse for his saying, “No. I don’t really
think they are.”

Nine

 

Lynn was starting to get worried.

Her mind was a little fuzzy from the last round of
mind-blowing sex, but she’d sensed all evening that something was bothering Nathan.

He was still partly dressed, wrinkled and sweaty, his body
soft in the way it only ever was after sex. His features were composed, and his
eyes stared up at the ceiling.

Something was off, though. He looked lost, helpless.

The intense, aching swell of feeling she experienced—sympathy,
understanding, tenderness, a need to comfort—was rather worrying.

She shouldn’t be feeling anything of the kind for him, and
definitely not
this
much.

The pull of all the other feelings was too strong, however. Nathan
might just be an occasional lover to her, but he was hurting.

Making sure she sounded mild so the conversation didn’t
become too intense, she asked, “Is something going on with them?”

Even her mild, casual question must have triggered his automatic
defenses. He wasn't a man who opened up—to anyone. He glanced away from her
with a half-shrug. “No. Not really. It’s nothing.”

That was clearly a lie, but it was one Lynn almost accepted.
They shouldn’t be confiding in each other anyway. That wasn't who they were.

She didn’t like to not know things, though, and she didn’t
like that something might be wrong with the girls. “Okay. I guess Victoria is
in the middle of those notorious high school years. I’m sure that’s great fun
for you.”

Nathan chuckled and looked more comfortable at her wry tone.
“Sometimes she’s Victoria, but sometimes I really think some malevolent spirit
has possessed her.”

“What do you expect? She’s a teenager. But she’s the same
person she always was. It’s just that, at that age,
everything
is the
most important thing in the world, everything is life or death. That’s what it
really feels like. She’s not getting in trouble or anything, is she?”

“No. I don’t think so. I don’t know everything she does, but
I would know if there was a major problem.”

Lynn knew what he was referring to. She had no doubt that
his security followed the girl everywhere and would report if anything looked
amiss.

He continued, glancing away from her again, “Sometimes I
think she hates me, but I don’t think she’s really getting in trouble.”

His tone was dry, as if he wasn’t truly serious, but Lynn
wasn’t fooled.

“She doesn’t hate you. I told you—everything feels like it’s
life and death at that age. When she’s angry or upset, it feels to her like
it’s the end of the world, but she doesn’t hate you. I promise. I was a
sixteen-year-old girl myself once, remember?”

He swallowed. She could see it in his throat.

“I promise Victoria doesn’t hate you, even if it feels like
you fight all the time.”

“We don’t fight that much. Not really.”

The words sounded genuine, and there wasn’t hidden torment
in his eyes, so she decided Victoria must not be the real problem. She asked
casually, “Has Elizabeth outgrown that teenage angst yet?”

Nathan swallowed again. He turned his head, but not before
she caught the shift in expression.

Something was seriously wrong with Elizabeth if he was
having to try so hard to keep his casual demeanor.

When he didn’t answer, she murmured lightly, “I guess maybe
you don’t know for sure if she has or not, since you don’t see her very much.”

“Yeah.” He still wasn’t looking at her.

“Does she like being so far away at school?”

“I…I guess.”

Lynn’s heart was starting to race again. She knew—she
knew
—she
was getting at the core of whatever was bothering him. “It’s got to be hard
with her being so far away. Are you ever tempted to bring her back home?”

There as a long pause before he replied. “Yes. I’d like to
bring her home.”

“Why don’t you talk to her about it? Maybe she doesn’t want
to stay at school in Europe.”

He’d been staring in front of him, at the blank television
screen across the room, but now he turned his head away even farther, toward
the windows.

“Nathan?” she prompted, very softly, after the silence had
stretched on too long.

He cleared his throat and turned to meet her eyes again,
perfectly composed. “We don’t talk that much anymore.”

“It can be hard. I guess she’s about nineteen now. Did you
fight a lot before she left for school?”

“All the time.”

“I guess she thought you were an unreasonable tyrant who
didn’t understand her at all.” Lynn kept her voice light and gave him a dry
smile, to make sure the mood didn’t get too deep or intense.

Her tone didn’t work at all. For some reason, her words hit Nathan
hard. He sucked in a breath and looked away again.

“I was just teasing,” she said, squeezing his arm and no
longer caring if he thought she was being too pushy. She hadn’t meant to hurt
him. “Teenagers always think their parents are unreasonable tyrants who don’t
understand them.”

He gave a half-shrug. “You’re probably right, but sometimes
I think I was.”

Lynn was surprised he’d said the words, but she wasn’t
surprised by the sentiment. Nathan had always been a controlling man—which
she’d observed when she’d been an intern for him—and that tendency would only
intensify with someone he loved as much as his daughter. He probably
had
been unreasonable. He probably hadn’t given Elizabeth enough space, enough
freedom.

It was entirely possible that the rift in his relationship
with the girl was part of the consequences of that.

She desperately hoped the consequences weren’t irreparable,
since it was clearly tearing him apart.

“Just try to talk to her,” she said, finding it impossible
not to say something that might give Nathan a little comfort, a little hope.
“She’ll know you’re trying. It will mean something to her.”

He just stared at her for a minute, and she had no idea what
was going on in his mind. Then something changed in his expression. He gave her
a smile that didn’t reach his eyes. “I will.”

She knew that was the end of the conversation. He’d let his
guard down a little, but the walls were up again now.

Which was just as well. Lynn was feeling way too soft and
emotional, which could only be stupid and dangerous.

She smiled back at him and pushed herself up enough to pull
his wrinkled dress shirt off his shoulders. “I don’t know why you’re still
wearing clothes,” she murmured, letting a familiar erotic mood ease them back
into the interaction they were used to.

Nathan leaned up enough to let her pull his shirt off.
“You’re still wearing clothes too.”

She wore her silk camisole and skirt, both worn so hard from
the first two rounds of sex they might never be the same.  “We’ll worry about
undressing me later.”

She leaned down to kiss his mouth, and the kiss deepened
quickly. Her body flooded with pleasure and feeling when she heard Nathan make
a helpless groan as she stroked his lips with her tongue.

After a minute, she kissed her way down to his chest,
squeezing his sides as she mouthed his nipples and then down to his tight
belly.

She could feel his breathing accelerate, feel the muscles of
his stomach tensing as her mouth got lower and lower.

When she glanced up at his face, she saw he was staring down
at her, something almost hungry in his blue eyes.

She smiled, feeling both excited and strangely tender. She
pushed down his trousers and underwear until she got them off his legs and
dropped them to the floor. After she pulled off his socks, he was completely
naked.

He wasn’t fully erect, but he hardened a little more as she
lowered her mouth to his stomach again.

“Lynn,” Nathan said hoarsely, one of his hands moving to
tangle in her hair.

She hummed against his skin, kissing her way even lower. His
belly shuddered under her mouth, and he sucked in a sharp breath when she
wrapped her hand around his half-erect penis.

“Lynn,” he muttered, one of his legs shifting as she started
to stroke him, loving the way his shaft swelled beneath her hand, “Lynn, you
don’t have to—” He broke off abruptly when she leaned down and twirled her
tongue lightly on the tip.

“I know I don’t have to,” she murmured. “I like to. I want
to. Do you have any objections?”

“No object—” The word was cut off with another gasp when she
took him fully in her mouth. He tasted faintly of his semen from coming
earlier, and his shaft grew quickly as she started to suck.

“Oh, fuck,” he groaned, his hand curving around her head and
pressing her down toward his groin unconsciously. “Fuck, Lynn!”

His body was tightening quickly, more quickly than she would
have expected, since he’d already come twice this evening. His legs bent up
slightly and his head jerked to the side as she bobbed her head rhythmically
and applied suction as well as she could. She slid one of her hands under her
mouth so she could cup and then massage his balls.

He made a choked sound, and his hips bucked up slightly
toward her mouth.

“Fuck, Lynn,” he rasped, his head moving restlessly against
the pillow. His eyes had closed, and his body was starting to shake. “Lynn, I
can’t…I can’t…”

She wasn’t sure exactly what he couldn’t do, but she was
pretty sure it wasn’t that he couldn’t come. He was already close, his pelvis
rocking with the rhythm of her sucking as if he couldn’t stop himself from
fucking her mouth.

She wanted him to let go.

She kept caressing his balls and worked him over with her
mouth. She was making little sounds around his flesh as her own arousal
intensified.

When she looked up at his face, she saw his eyes were opened
again, staring at her with that raw, naked hunger.

She shifted her hand between his legs enough to massage the
spot behind his balls.

He came hard, without warning, releasing a loud, helpless
exclamation as his erection and then his whole body shuddered with the waves of
his climax.

She kept sucking him through all the spasms, as his body
jerked and twitched until he was fully relaxed.

“Oh fuck,” he groaned, when she finally let him slip from
her lips. His eyes had closed again, and his skin was damp with perspiration.

“Pretty good?” she asked, trying to sound ironic. Her voice
was too cracked to make the tone work.

“Good?” he huffed, opening his eyelids enough to look up at
her. “That was…”

He was clearly out of words, since he couldn’t seem to
finish the sentence, but she was pretty sure she knew what he was trying to
say.

She felt a little weak and fluttery, so she lay down beside
him, pleased when he reached over with one arm and pulled her against his side.

They lay tangled together for a long time without speaking.
She heard his breathing gradually slow down, felt the heat in his body
eventually even out. He was fully relaxed. She would have thought he was asleep
except one of his hands occasionally stroked her hair lightly.

She was very aroused, so wet it was almost uncomfortable.
She’d gotten really turned on while she’d given him the blow job, and she hadn’t
yet come. It was a fairly minor distraction compared to what else she was
feeling, however.

She was overwhelmed with tenderness and a silly sort of
pride. Nathan had been hurting. She might not be able to help in any real way,
but she’d made him, at least for a little while, feel better.

He seemed real—human—to her as he lay limp and replete
beside her. He'd never seemed quite so real to her before.

But it was starting to worry her again.

She really,
really
shouldn’t be feeling this way. She
was far too smart and experienced to let herself fall for someone she knew
would never return her feelings.

She was worried about these new feelings, but she was also
worried about Nathan.

She hoped he was all right. She hoped Elizabeth was all
right. She wondered what had happened between them.

And she wondered if there was anything she could do to help.

 

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