Chapter Nine

~ Emotions ~

Alex's observation skills went into overdrive as he accessed the Jensen family. Robert, Dara's father, was approximately 6'1 and extremely fit. He took very good care of himself and looked much younger than 60. His skin tone was a few shades lighter than Dara's and his hair was dark brown and very short. In the short time that Alex had known him, he knew immediately that Robert was the type of man who was used to giving orders and having them followed to the tee. He was an impatient man who wanted things done yesterday.

On the other hand, Carrie Jensen was just the opposite. She was patient and willing to listen. She had a quiet strength which was obviously helping her deal with her daughter's disappearance. Physically, she and Dara could be twins. Her skin tone was the same rich mocha color. She was around the same height as Dara, give or take an inch or two. Her reddish brown hair was shoulder length and it framed her face in soft curls. Like her husband, she looked much younger than her 55 years.

"We saw the ad in this morning's paper. Thank you for moving so quickly, Detective," said Carrie, as she sat next to her daughter on the sofa.

"We wanted to get her picture out there as soon as possible. There may be a chance that someone has seen her and willÖ" Alex began, but was interrupted by Robert.

"A newspaper ad is a good start Garcia, but what else do you plan to do?" he asked, impatiently.

"Daddy, Alex is following proper procedure."

"I donít give a damn about proper procedure. I want my daughter back. How long do you think this will take?"

"I hope that this investigation will not take long and that we'll find your daughter and bring her back safe and sound. But, as I have mentioned, the first 24 hours are crucial. Right now, we're looking at 36. Each day she's out there, the colder the trail becomes," Alex explained.

"I should have called the police the moment she slammed out of the door," Carrie said.

Dara wrapped her arms around her mother. "You didn't know she was serious. Dawn has never done anything like this. This is so out of character for her. You couldn't have known."

"I'm her mother. I should have known," Carrie sighed. She felt so helpless. Her baby was out there, God knows where, and there was nothing she could do to help her.

"Your little sister has changed a lot since you've moved here. She got in with the wrong crowd. She's been more than a handful lately," Robert replied with a frown.

"Now, RobertÖ"

"What Carrie? You know what I'm saying is true. Spending time with musicians almost twice her age..."

"He was her friend. There was nothing more to their relationship than that," Carrie said with a hint of anger. From her set tone, Alex could tell that she and her husband had discussed this before.

"Who is this musician friend?" Alex asked. "I'd like to have a talk with him."

"He doesn't know anything."

"Mama, how do you know that? Alex may be able to get something out of him," Dara said with concern.

"I know that he's gone. He's been gone for a few weeks now," she replied.

"Where has he gone, Mrs. Jenkins?"

"He's gone on tour," interrupted Robert. "She's right. He doesnít know anything. Now, how long are you going to sit here twiddling your thumbs, Detective?"

~*~*~
Tommy took a deep breath. Ivory smelled good on his skin and the taste of Crest wasnít so bad either. The clothes Audrey found for him were a little baggy, but they were clean. He couldn't remember the last time he felt this clean.

He took another deep breath. A plate of bacon, eggs and toast and a glass of orange juice sat before him. The sight and the smell of the food seemed to fill him up before he had even taken a bite. Everything looked so good that he didnít know where to begin. The rumbling of his stomach reminded him that he had better begin soon, so he began with a slice of bacon.

"Mm."

Audrey found herself watching her grandson. She couldn't help herself. She hoped that familiarizing herself with who he was now, she'd be more prepared in helping him. And, there was no doubt in her mind that he needed her help.

"How is it?" she asked.

"Delicious," he answered, taking another bite of toast. In his haste to grab his glass of orange juice, he knocked the glass over. "Oh, I'm sorry. Let me clean this up," he said, frantically.

"Honey, it's okay."

Tommy either didnít hear her or was ignoring her because he didn't stop. Audrey gathered from his determination to clean the spilled juice that it was the former. She reached over and grabbed his hands.

"I said it was okay. It was an accident. Now, finish eating your breakfast. I'll clean it up."

When Tommy stared at her in surprise, she continued. "Eat. I can take care of this. Okay?"

Finally convinced that Audrey meant what she said, Tommy relaxed and continued eating his breakfast.

Tommy's actions were so extreme, Audrey thought. Whatever happened to him was traumatic. Maybe she couldn't help him on her own as she had previously thought. Maybe she should consult an old friend from some advice.

*~*~*

"Have you seen this morning's newspaper?" Alexis asked as she strode into Wyndemere.

"No, I haven't. Has Mother been remanded back to Greece?" Stefan asked with a faint smile.

"This doesnít have anything to do with Helena. Take a look at page 3," she said, handing her brother the paper. "ADA Jensen's sister is missing. There's a chance your case may be postponed again."

Stefan turned to page 3 and found the face of his houseguest smiling back at him.

"I can't believe this," he replied.

"Neither can I. I feel for the Jensen family, but this couldnít haveÖ" she began, but stopped when she saw Stefan's face. "What is it?"

"I know this girl, but even more than that. I know where she is," he said with a smile.

~*~*~
"Nickie, wait."

"What's wrong?" Nikolas asked.

"I think we should talk," Dawn answered.

"About breakfast with my uncle," he asked with a teasing smile, "or about our kiss?"

"Please, don't remind me about your uncle," she said with a smile. "I meant our kiss. How do you feel about what happened?"

"I feel that you're a very good kisser. How do you feel?"

"I feel that you're a good kisser, too. But.." Dawn stopped. She didn't want her words to come out wrong. She frowned as she tried to think of what to say.

Nikolas reached for her hand and she willingly gave it to him.

"I apologize for teasing you before. I think I know what you're asking," he said, looking into her eyes. "You want to know what the kiss meant. Am I correct?"

"Yes," she whispered.

"I can't lie to you. I don't have a habit of randomly kissing beautiful women." Dawn smiled and he continued. "Our kiss was special to me and I hope it was the first of many."

"Nickie, I donít know what to say."

"You donít have to say anything."

"Yes, I do. I can't throw a question at you and then not answer it myself," she said. "Our kiss was special to me, too. And, I would like for it to be the first of many as well, but I'm not sure if that's possible."

"I understand," he said with a wry smile. He released her hand and started walking down the hallway again. He stopped when he saw that Dawn wasn't following him. He looked behind him and saw her watching him. She had her arms folded across her chest and her head was leaning to the side. He wasnít completely sure, but he surmised from her body language that she wasn't exactly happy.

"You donít understand," she said, marching towards him. She stopped when she reached him. Standing face to face, she said, "I like you, and more than anything I would like to see what would happen between us, but this isn-- Oh!"

He was so close and before she knew it, she was kissing him. She just pulled his face down and leaned up and kissed him. The kiss which was born of frustration and desire quickly became one of passion as Nikolas pulled her closer to him, engulfing her in his warm embrace.

Chapter Ten

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