When I was thirty minutes away from where Molly placed the call to Cindy, I got a call telling me she was in the hospital. From what I’d heard on the phone before the line went dead, something big had happened, but I pushed the thought away, refused to believe that something had happened to her when I’d just finally found her after all these months.

Just when she was about to head back to the city. Maybe not home, but to Cindy, and she had to know she wouldn’t have made it one foot into New York without my knowing she was there. I would have been on her instantly.

Everything else happened in a blur. When I came flying into the hospital making my demands, they’d tried to keep her from me. They were lucky she was in the hospital or I would have burned the motherfucker to the ground just to prove how serious I was about getting to her.

It didn’t take long before they got the point and attitudes started to change. I don’t like to push power and money around on people, but in this case I just couldn’t bring myself to care. There wasn’t a goddamn thing I wouldn’t have done in that moment to get to her.

Then when they’d told me she’d be okay, I felt like something was finally working for me. That I’d gone through enough and the powers that be were finally cutting me a break. Then they dropped the bomb. “And the baby,” the doctor had said. The roar in my ears was so loud I didn’t even hear what she said after that. I’d had to ask him to repeat himself.

If I hadn’t been sitting down, I’m sure I would have hit the floor. And the baby. The words keep circling through my mind. If something happened to our baby, it would destroy Molly. That’s something I could be certain of.

I rub my hand along the bump, feeling her breathe in and out.

I still remember when Molly told me that she wanted a family. At first, I’d just wanted her. The thought of filling her with a baby made the words tumble out of my mouth. I said I wanted one, too. At first, my desire was to tie her to me on every level I could. If we had a baby, I would always be in her life. I would be tied to her forever. The more she talked about it, the way she pictured and dreamed of it, made me want it, too. More than anything. Just another way she’d woken me up to life.

I should have been with her. Laid in bed every night cupping her little round belly and feeling it grow each day. It was what we both wanted and why none of this makes any sense. I can’t understand why she ran, and now I can’t even ask her. She doesn’t remember.

It’s a bittersweet thing. She’d been looking at me with so much love when she woke up. Like I was her world again. The trust was clear in her gaze, waiting for me to answer any questions. I didn’t have the answers for her. I didn’t know where she’d been living, with whom, or even how she’d been getting by.

Rising from my chair, I pull my hand out from under the blanket, then lean over and kiss her belly. “Don’t worry, son. I’m not letting your mommy go anywhere,” I whisper to him. I don’t know if that’s a promise or a warning for Molly.


I wouldn’t let her go. She’ll be back under my roof and in my bed one way or another. She’ll be lucky if I don’t chain her to me. I should feel shame at the thought, but I don’t. Not even a little. She broke me, and all that control, the effort it took not to smother her, is gone. Shattered into a thousand pieces, and there’s no way it could ever be put back together again.

Next I take her chin in my hand, tilting her head towards me. She doesn’t even stir. Her full lips part a little, and I can’t stop myself from putting my lips to them just for a small taste. Her mouth parts fractionally, and I slip my tongue in, cooling some of the tension in my body.

When I pull back, I hear her mumble, “Love you,” in that same voice she’d use after I’d come home from a long day of work and make love to her until she passed out. It makes my heart ache with need. I want to make her say it again. Over and over again for all the days I’d missed it.

I reluctantly pull myself away from her bed, stepping out of the room to make a call I’d been dreading. It’s a reality I’m going to have to face, even more so with Molly not being able to remember anything.

I clear the thirty missed calls on my screen and go straight for the investigator, Carl, but stop when I hear someone clear their throat. I look up to see him leaning against hallway wall. He straightens, but I put my hand up and walk towards him. I want to be a few more feet from Molly’s room. I don’t want her hearing this.

“What’ve you got?”

“What I got was fucking lucky. Your wife had nothing in her purse that showed where she was staying. Just a set of keys to who knows where.”

I just stare at him, waiting to get to the lucky part.

“When I got to the scene, there was some man freaking out about her.”

A growl leaves my chest, and I feel myself take a step towards Carl as if he’s the man in question. He holds his hand up like he’s trying to calm me. Carl’s a big man himself, a former Marine, but I’m just as big. It isn’t often that men match my size.

“He was an old man,” he says. Like I give a fuck how old he is. “An old, married man. Calm down. It wasn’t like that.”

I feel a little tension leave my body and I take a deep breath, dropping my head to look at the ground, trying to calm myself. It isn’t working.

“There isn’t another man. In fact, there was only you.” That has me snapping my head back up.