Jen I look across the walkway to where my son is playing on the ground. His little blond head is leaning down and he’s pushing the truck in his chubby hand across the grass. I tip my head up and feel the breeze off the nearby water, it calms my nerves. My body instantly relaxes after the long week I've had. Just yesterday one of my patients was able to check her newborn baby out of the hospital after over fifteen days in the neonatal unit, several of which the little one was in the intensive care unit. Maybe I need a vacation. Take some time off for Tommy and me. We could go to Edinburgh and explore there for a few days. Or maybe we’ll go down to London and see my brother and his friends. I don't have any friends here. Well actually, I do, but they don't want anything to do with me, and I can't blame them. I huff out a big breath and drop my head, still keeping an eye on Tommy. Being out in the open makes me nervous, but the weather was so beautiful I couldn't spend one more minute trapped inside. Besides, Tommy needs to get out and play. Maybe I should take him for a walk on the beach. I stand up to get Tommy ready when he looks past me and starts squealing.
"Unc! Unc!" His little arms rotating like propellers in his excitement. I turn and see my brother, Anthony, walking up to us at a fast clip. "What are you doing here?" I look around in worry, my voice slightly high-pitched. "Come on. We need to go. Get Tommy's things." He walks over and scoops Tommy up without any fanfare. My body goes into panic mode. Anthony's only been gruff and quick with me one other time, and that was before I gave birth to Tommy.
My life is one big game of hide-and-seek I wish I could be over. I have to double-time my steps, even with my long legs, to keep up with Anthony. As we come to the parking lot, there’s a minivan with a group of people beside it. I recognize the older woman with the strawberry blonde hair. I don't know her, know her, but I know of her. The large man standing next to her, however, with his hand on her lower back gives me pause. I almost stumble over my own feet, and she gives me a small smile. What the hell is going on? I race up to Anthony's side.
"Tony, do you know them?" I point at the group. I look closer and see another woman with very red hair and striking green eyes. I recognize her too, and it starts to sink in. Oh my God! What has he done? My hand grips his arm tight, stopping him in his tracks.
"We need to go, sis, come on," he says as he pulls away from me and starts walking faster.
"Stop right now." I raise my voice, knowing it will stop him.
"Jen, we don't have time for this. We need to go, and they are coming with us."
"Oh my God! Tony, he will kill you when he finds out you have his mom, and that's Christopher's widow." I huff out in shock.
"I know who they are, and they will get us through the gate. He will protect you, and that's what I need right now."
"What do you mean?" I reach for Tommy, needing him in my arms.
"I got him. Where is your car?"
I click my key fob, and the black Mercedes GL350's lights blink. He nods to the man, and the group follows us to my car.
"What about your car?" I stammer, this can't be right.
"I need to leave it here. Come on, Jen, we need to get there soon, or he'll send out his little army to get them back."
"Fine." I huff as I take Tommy from him and buckle him behind my seat. Everyone loads up, and I notice the man settles in the back passenger seat.
"Hello, I believe you know my son. I'm Patrice, and this is Michael," the woman with strawberry blonde hair says in a soft, quiet voice.
"Yes, I do. I'm sorry if my brother is bothering you."
"Oh no, my dear, he has been quite charming. Besides, Michael wouldn't have gone with him if I was going to be in danger."
Apparently, my brother kidnapped them all, and she is okay with it.
"Where am I heading?" I grit out to Tony.
"Head out of town, northwest."
"Yeah," he mumbles as he looks at his phone and continues to be distracted from answering my questions.
I drive for about twenty minutes, when he directs me to pull off the road onto a private drive. We come to a large gate with a manned gatehouse. I can see the cameras and know this is where they are hiding.
"How did you find them?"
"You know who? How?"
"It wasn't too hard, besides, I have my ways."
I roll down my window as the guard steps up to the car. "Dr. Parker to see Mr. Donovan." The massive guard bends down and looks into the car, and I feel like backing up and forgetting all about this. I know who else is behind those gates, and it's not Mr. Donovan, but another. It’s the man I can't see without my knees knocking and my heart pounding. And all that's not because I still love him. No, the man I once loved scares me now. He is bigger than when we were together, and he’s so angry with me.
The guard walks back up to the car after placing a call. "Proceed in. You are going to the east part of the estate to the second manor. Mr. Donovan is waiting there for you." He nods, and I drive through the open gates. The front door of an old manor house opens, and I can make Joshua Donovan out as I park.
"I will come around and let Tommy and you out. Stay in your seat. Please," my brother says as everyone from the back unloads.
"Get out of the vehicle, Mr. Smith, you don't want to hurt the doctor or the child," Joshua says as he and Duncan walk up with their guns drawn.
"Well, Joshua, you're right. I don't want to hurt them, they're my family. I need your help. I helped you, now return the favor," Tony says as he lays his gun on the floorboard. I continue to wait.
Tony steps out and walks around to my door, letting me out. Then he helps me get a sleeping Tommy out of his seat. All the guns around my son are making me nervous.
"I'm unarmed, I left my gun in the car." Tony turns in a circle, showing them he isn't caring. "My name is Anthony Sullivan, I'm a CIA agent. Someone is trying to burn me. I need you to protect Jennifer for me, please. I took care of Bradley so he wouldn't go after your mom and her guard. I also got Rebekah and her daughter for the big guy." Tony nods at Duncan. Now I understand why he was in such a hurry. If someone is trying to burn him, then Tommy and I are in danger. Moving again. Great. I was just getting to like my little townhouse in Dundee. What about my practice? I clue back in to hear my brother trying to talk Joshua into protecting me when I hear a loud yell. I look up to see the one man I can never forget running at us. Tony pushes me and Tommy back as they start fighting.
"Ian, stop!" I yell, hoping he will hear me. But I accidentally wake up Tommy, and he starts crying from all the yelling. Rocks start flying, and I turn, covering Tommy with my body as Tony covers my back. I don't know what that was, but Ian is looking up at the house toward the roof. I remember now that Joshua's partner is a female sniper and I’d wager she just shot a bullet into the gravel between my brother and Ian.
"Damn it, Ian, he's my brother, just stop. You're the one who left me. Why would you care? I've been trying to ask you for help for months now," I yell at him again as I bounce Tommy, trying to calm him.
"I left you! I was in the military; I was deployed. I had to go. You served me with divorce papers through my chain of command because you were afraid of me. Accused me of being abusive and controlling," he growls back, and I can see the pain in his eyes.
Tony pulls away from me and rounds on him again. "Listen, you son of a bitch, stop yelling at my sister, or I'll cut you up in front of all these people." He bends down to go for his boot knife.
"I'll have my sniper take you out before you touch him. Now stop it, both of you," Joshua says, his voice barely rising. The calm and patience he has has always impressed me.
They lead us into the house where Tony doesn’t waste time exchanging information with Joshua's team, and then proceeds to leave Tommy and me here. I can't stay here. Not with Ian, and definitely not with these people who could be hurt from the crazy that follows me. But none of them listen to me. I'm shown to a smaller cottage with four bedrooms. I don't need all this room but it’s what Ana, Joshua's fiancée, or whatever she is to him, assigns me.
Maya, Joshua's partner, owns the whole estate, and Ana decorates and remodels the homes as people want them. I'm only planning on being here for a short time because I will escape, I can't be around Ian this much. If he found out the truth, he would…well I don't know what he would do. There was a time when I believed he would never hurt me, but now I don't know anymore.