“Are you still there, Grey?” The voice says again. My mouth is dry.
“Where is she?” I whisper, hoarsely.
“Oh, we’re not going to have time for questions, Mr. Grey. We don’t even really have time to talk at all. So, here’s what you’re going to do. You’re going to get on your plane, you’re going to go home, and you’re going to wait for me to call you again. Do you understand, Grey?”
“Where is my wife?” I demand, anger boiling inside of me.
“Don’t worry, she’s here. Safe with me. For now that is. If you do what I say, I don’t see why you wouldn’t have her back in no time at all.”
“I swear to god, if you touch her. If you hurt her. I will hunt you down and I will fucking kill you. Where the fuck is my wife?!”
“I have to go now, Grey. I suggest you follow my instructions or when I do send your wife back to you, it will be piece by piece.”
The phone goes dead. No. No. Fuck! I charge out of the room of injured people and into the waiting crowd outside of the building. I’m temporarily blinded by the flashes of light bulbs as I force my way through the throng of onlookers. Photographers yell questions at me and news crews are shoving microphones in my face.
“Is your wife inside, Mr. Grey?”
“Is your wife injured, Mr. Grey?”
“Mr. Grey, can you confirm that your wife is alive?”
I feel a tug on my arm and I’m pulled forward. My head turns to see who has hold of me and I see that it’s Taylor. He’s pushing us through the crowd quickly, getting me away from the media. When we make it to the parking lot of the marina, I see my family members huddled around the black SUVs.
Kate immediately breaks into tears when she sees me.
“Oh god, oh god, she’s not with him. No! She wasn’t rescued,” She wails. Mia and my mother also begin to cry, but I ignore them and climb into the front seat of the SUV. Taylor appears at the window.
“Mrs. Grey, sir?” He asks solemnly.
“We need to get back to the airport,” I respond. “Get everyone in the fucking car and let’s go.” Taylor ushers the now hysterical Kate into the backseat along with Elliot, Ethan, and Mia. Elliot and Ethan try to calm the women in the back seat as they cry, but Kate is beyond herself. She’s screaming in her grief. The sound is grating on me, but I can’t speak. I’m far beyond words. I’m murderously enraged. Out of control. The only thing I can do is obey the commands of the man who has stolen the only thing in my life that has meaning.
We fly down the highway towards the airport. No one bothers to talk to me or ask me any questions. They assume my silence is grief, and on some level it is, but it’s mostly rage.
When we pull on the tarmac, I jump out of the car, away from Kate’s screams, and I pull out my blackberry.
“Welch!” I snap into the phone once he answers. “I need a trace on Mrs. Grey’s phone, now. I need to know where it is, you got that? I don’t care what your doing, I need you to stop and fucking find that phone.” I don’t even give him time to reply before I hang up. I’m pacing, stomping really, back and forth in front of the stairs that ascend into my plane. How am I going to sit still through the two hour flight? Fuck. I grab the railing to the stairs and pull myself up.
I take my seat and stare venomously at Kate, who is laying with her head in Elliot’s lap, sobbing. The captain announces we are ready for take off and as we begin taxing over the airfield, Taylor comes to sit beside me, placing a comforting hand on my shoulder.
“Sir, Welch isn’t going to find Anastasia by tracking her phone. This isn’t the type of situation where that’s going to work. I’m sorry, sir, but she’s gone. If she wasn’t brought in with the survivors than she…”
“She’s not dead, Taylor,” I say.
“Sir, it’s time to accept…”
“Jesus fucking christ, Taylor! She’s not fucking dead! She wasn’t on the fucking plane!”
Everything falls silent around me. I hear Kate make a long shuddering gasp as she sits up, her bloodshot eyes baring into me.
“Wha-What do you m-m-mean she wa-wasn’t on the p-lane?” She chokes.
“Exactly what I just fucking said,” I answer coldly. “She wasn’t on the fucking plane.”
“Where is she?” Mia asks so softly I can barely hear her.
My head falls into my hands. I want to cry. I wish I could cry. I’m jealous of the release Kate, and Mia, and my mother get to have, that I can’t. I haven’t been able to cry, not this whole time she’s been gone. The emotion just sits inside of me building and building and now I feel as if I might explode. The stress is too much to handle. Unwittingly, my arm shoots out and punches the wall of the plane with as much force as I can muster. My knuckles break against the metal of the wall but I can barely feel it. It helps. The pain, the release of frustration, it all helps. It takes away from the all consuming anger and stress.
“Christian!” My mother yells. She unbuckles her seatbelt and sinks to her knees in front of me, gingerly taking my hand in hers.
“Someone bring me a towel and some ice,” she says as she examines my broken hand. Mia jumps to her feet and brings back the things my mother asked for. As she wraps my hand in some tape from the first aid kit, Kate begins her inquisition.
“Where is she, Christian? If she wasn’t on the plane, where is she?”
“I don’t know,” I grimace.
“What do you mean you don’t know?” Kate demands. “If you don’t know where she is then how do you know she wasn’t on the plane?”
“Hannah,” I say darkly. “Hannah was there. She said she wasn’t on the plane.”
“Maybe she just didn’t make it to her seat?” Carrick asks. “You haven’t heard from her since the accident. I find it very unlikely that she just missed the flight and didn’t call.”
“She didn’t miss the flight.”
“I’m not following you,” Carrick continues warily.
“Someone has her. They picked her up at security or, I don’t know. But someone has her.”
“Sir..” Taylor begins. “Who has her? Where is Mrs. Grey?”
It’s difficult to recount the story of the phone call I received without flying into a blinding rage, but I manage. My family stares at me with looks of horror on the face.
“But I don’t understand,” Elliot says. “If they’ve had her this whole time, why are they just calling you now?”
“The plane crash. I wouldn’t have believed them if they called me before. They needed me to see that she wasn’t killed in the plane crash, for Hannah to confirm she wasn’t on the plane, before I would believe them.”
“So were they there? Did they see you with Hannah?” My mother asks.
“Maybe. I doubt it. They knew I’d find her.”
“Oh god! Oh god!” Kate says as her chest starts convulsing again.
“Kate, I really can’t fucking take that right now,” I spit at her. She covers her mouth and tries to calm herself.
“What can I do for you?” My mother asks.
“Where’s Mrs. Jones? Bring me my son,” I say, and moments later, Teddy is in my arms, keeping away the pain until we arrive in Seattle.
We’re taxing over the tarmac at SEATAC when I’m finally able to check my voicemail from Welch.
“Mr. Grey, I’ve located Mrs. Grey’s phone,” he says. “She’s at your house.”
I listen to the voicemail three times, sure I’ve heard it incorrectly. There’s no way her phone is at the house. She had it with her in Australia and I haven’t left the house in days, except to go to Los Angeles that is. Shit.
“Where to Mr. Grey?” Taylor asks carefully after we’ve all piled into the Audi SUV.
“Home,” I respond. “And Taylor, I need you to get me there as quickly as possible.”
I burst through my front door and am followed by Kate, Elliot, Mia, Ethan, Taylor and my parents, who all have instructions. Find Ana’s phone. We tear through the downstairs of the house while the security team checks the perimeter for signs of forced entry. When they find nothing, I tell them to help the others look. I fly up the stairs, taking them two at a time and burst into my bedroom door.
There it is. Ana’s phone. It’s sitting on the nightstand, plugged into the charger like she’s just forgot to pick it up after waking up for work in the morning. I approach it cautiously, waiting for it to ring. A musical ringtone fills the air but it doesn’t come from Ana’s phone. I look down at the bed and there is a small box, the label is addressed to me. I rip open the package and a small, pre-paid cell phone falls out, ringing and vibrating in my hands. The number is blocked.
“Hello?” I say cautiously into the phone.
“Chr-ist-ian,” a broken, terrified voice breathes.
I know that voice. Better than anything else in the world. The voice belongs to Ana.