Home > Seek(6)

Author: Mia Sheridan

"Livvy, what about what we talked about before Alec disappeared? Your doubts then and—"

"Wedding jitters, Chrissy. They're normal. And if this situation has convinced me of anything, it's that I'm willing to fight for Alec."

She paused again before saying, "All right. But, honey . . . if things . . . well, if he doesn't want you to fight for him, if things don't turn out the way you're hoping when you find Alec—"

"I'll be okay, Chrissy. Really, I will. I'm . . . prepared for that possibility."

I heard banging and a few high-pitched voices yelling in the background. The army was at the gates. I pictured Chrissy pressed into the corner of a closet, or pantry, as her kids knocked relentlessly, calling for her attention, little hands coming under the door. My lips tipped up, and though I knew they were probably on Chrissy's last nerve, yearning rose inside me. I wanted that too. Noise. Family. Love. "Okay," Chrissy finally said. "I just . . . God, this really worries me, Livvy."

"I'll be okay. I will. I promise." I have to be okay. I’ve spent two months grieving and trying to resolve Alec’s loss, and I’ll survive if I can’t find him, but I need to know the truth.

As the yelling grew louder, I promised to email Chrissy my travel details, just in case. I refused to dwell on what just in case meant, but it was always wise that someone had your itinerary, vague though mine might be. I promised to text her when I got to Colombia, and we said our goodbyes.

I stood at my counter for a few more minutes, staring off into the distance, seeing in my mind's eye the stranger who would lead me to my runaway fiancé, picturing the two men who couldn't be any more different—Alec with his clean-cut handsomeness, and my mysterious guide with the stormy eyes. Shaking my head, I walked to my office where I'd been headed when my phone rang.

I had so much to do before tomorrow.


I was doing this. My God, I was really doing this.




The flight time between Las Vegas and Rionegro was just under ten hours. I spent a few hours sleeping restlessly, but the rest of the time, I spent going over scenarios in my head about what might happen when—if—no, when, I found Alec in that seaside town. Would his expression tell me immediately where his heart was, or would he only look at me with shock and bewilderment? Would he be relieved? Angry? My heart thumped nervously in my chest as I imagined any one of several possibilities. Initially, I hadn't been able to convince myself of anything other than that something terrible had happened to him, and all I'd felt was desperate fear for his well-being. But as the days went by and more and more information came to light—the failing company, the money problems—information that pointed to the possibility he'd been lying to me for a long time—I'd had to consider that he'd disappeared on purpose. He'd been keeping secrets, and then he'd run. The question that plagued me was why. Was he ashamed and couldn't face me? Did he think I'd turn my back on him because he'd made mistakes? Had he desperately tried to figure things out on his own rather than admit his failings? Was that the underlying tension I'd detected in him for months? The mood I'd attributed to the stress of wedding planning?

I rubbed my temples; a sound of impatience coming up my throat that was quickly drowned out by the roar of the engine. God, I'd gone over this so many times I felt like I could scream. No, I needed answers. And the only place I could get them was from Alec. He couldn't get to me even if he wanted to. I had no way of knowing if he was desperately trying to reach me in some way—any way—and simply didn't have the ability in the earthquake/tsunami-devastated area of Colombia where he was. Why Colombia? I gave a tiny shake of my head. No more questions. Not now. I dug my earbuds out of my purse, elbowing the man next to me and shooting him an apologetic smile, but he was asleep, his mouth hanging open. I stuck the tiny speakers into my ears and found a classical station from the music the airline offered, leaned my head back, and tried my best to clear my mind.







José María Córdova International Airport was somewhat large but easy to navigate, with signs both in English and Spanish. I hadn't checked my overstuffed backpack, so I didn't need to head to baggage claim. Where should I go? I'll find you, he'd said. I took a deep breath, looking around. I guess I'd just head toward the entrance of the airport and hope he was as good as his word.

I made a stop in the restroom and cleaned myself up as much as possible, smoothing water over my hair and pulling it into a neater topknot. I wasn't wearing much makeup so I wasn't smudged. I removed my cosmetic case and brushed my teeth and applied some ChapStick. Good enough. At least I felt refreshed after the long, cramped flight. I'd only ever flown first class, but apparently the money I'd paid mystery man didn't include luxuries. That was fine—I could live without luxuries for the next week or so, depending on how we traveled. Or at least that's what I'd estimated. I had no confirmation of anything from mystery man really, and yet here I was, making my way through customs in a foreign country, with no idea where I should go, only that I'd be "found."

I walked into the main terminal and headed toward the building exit. My eyes scanned the faces as I walked, looking for a tall, lean but solid figure who would certainly stand out in any crowd, especially—

"How was your flight?"

I startled, tripping over my own feet as he came up beside me, as if appearing from nowhere. He linked his arm with mine, steadying me as we continued to walk. In one smooth motion I was relieved of my backpack as he gripped it effortlessly in his opposite hand as if it didn't weigh three thousand pounds and he wasn't carrying another one on his back. "Uh, my flight was fine. Do you just materialize or what?" But I couldn't deny that a wave of relief washed over me. I wasn't alone in this strange airport in this unknown city where I didn't know a soul.

A sound came from his chest that might have been a chuckle, but when I glanced at him, there was no smile on his lips. I let my gaze linger a minute longer, taking him in in the bright fluorescent light of the airport. Without the cap, I could see his hair was black and cut short. Even without the shadows, his face was still angular lines and defined masculine bone structure, his skin bronzed as if he spent most of his day outdoors. My gaze flickered downward and back to his face. He was all . . . man, from his well-worn boots to the shadow of dark scruff on his jaw. He was attractive in a severe sort of way. Wolfish somehow. And when he glanced back at me, I couldn't decide if those pale eyes added to the harsh severity of his features, or softened him a tad. Maybe a little of both depending on his expression. Which right now, was focused and intent as he led me through the terminal.

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