By: Alexa Riley

It would kill me if the novelty of a child could wear off like what had happened to me. Either way, it would be better than having no father at all. My father might not have been perfect, but he was still there, unlike my mother. That was something.

“Didn’t think you would. Just taking your time. You’ll get there.” With that, he stands and tosses the box in the trash.

I’m not sure I’ll ever get there. The time isn’t working as I spend my days painting and my nights lying in bed looking up at the ceiling. Letting things eat away at me. I have to go back. The sooner the better.

To get things ready for this child. To work on how Phillip and I are going to be in each other’s lives.

Finishing my cinnamon roll, I lick my fingers clean before I start packing up my art supplies. I put everything in my bag, fold the easel, and put it under my arm. I pull out my phone and call a number I know by heart. I’m not sure if I want her to answer.

“Cindy Reed speaking.” Cindy’s voice comes through the phone, the sound making my eyes water. I miss her. She’s probably going to kill me.

“Cindy, it’s—”

“Molly!” she barks into the phone, cutting me off. “Where the fuck are you?”

I hear someone gasp in the background. It actually makes me crack a smile. God, I really do miss her.

“I’m coming home. I was wondering if I could stay with you,” I ask, stepping off the sidewalk to cross the street in the direction of my little apartment. I’ll need to start packing things up because I know as soon as I get off this phone, Phillip will find me and show up here. Or worse, he won’t.

I barely hear the sound of the car before I feel someone grab me, slamming me down on the concrete, and everything goes black.

Chapter Four


The feel of my fist through the drywall does nothing to ease the anger pulsing through my veins and the sadness weighing heavy in my heart. I’m so fucking angry, I often feel like it consumes me, and I’m so fucking scared, but I don’t know what else to do. It feels hopeless, and then again it feels like any second, she’ll come walking through the door.

“Mr. Tanner, please understand we are doing everything we can to locate Mrs. Tanner.”

Shaking my fist out, I try to get the feeling back in my hand. It doesn’t make me feel better, but it’s all I can do. I’ve got a team of three private investigators on this, and no one has found a trace of her. It’s been weeks, and nothing.

She could be dead.

My heart stops at that thought. No, I would feel it shake my soul if she wasn’t alive. I would know deep in my bones if she wasn’t somewhere on this earth. She is the other half of my heart, and I will find her. No matter how long it takes. She’s checked in with the police and some lawyer. Both claimed not to know where she was, just that she was okay.

She ran out on me without so much as a word. She owes me an explanation, a way to make this right. I rub my face with my now beat-up hand and let out a sigh. I was going to make everything okay. I’d had it all worked out. We were going to have it all. We were just hours from getting it, and then poof!

I pace in my home office, not knowing how to respond to that. What do I say? Prove it? I’ve already yelled at everyone in this room at least once today. I stopped going to work after the night she left, waiting here in case she walked through the door. After the first night, I knew I couldn’t sit still, so I hired Carl Major and his team to find my Molly. She may need time to cool off, but she could have done that in the other room. She didn’t need to leave the house if she was having second thoughts about our marriage.

“How can there be nothing?” I scream the last word, my voice echoing off the walls.

The two men sitting before me flinch a bit, and I’m sure I’m a ragged mess. I haven’t slept in weeks, just walking around like a zombie. My old assistant, Debra, actually flew back from Florida for a few days when she heard Molly left. She made me lots of food I never really touched and left some in the freezer, too. She went back to her family last week, and her small visit was a comfort for a short time. But now I’m all alone in my grief and I can’t take it anymore. Maybe I am a madman, but I’ll be goddamned if she can leave me like this.

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