Today is a continuation of Day 33 (part 7).
Johns busies himself with my wound. The round went through, leaving a bloody maw in its wake, but nothing a little medi-gel can’t put back together. My father watches, pacing nervously and muttering to himself.
“I’m fine, Dad, really.”
“Liz, you are not fine. You got shot! And how did you even find me?!”
I take a deep breath, wincing as Johns finishes bandaging me. “I asked around, okay? Can we just be glad I found you and not worry about how?”
“Not worry. You burst into the room they’re holding me in, kill a guy, take me on a crazy run across the rooftops, and then ask me not to worry.”
I sigh, leaning my head back as the painkillers hit. “Yeah, Dad, don’t worry. Where is Mom?”
He glowers at me for a minute, sputtering. “I don’t know,” he sighs, sitting across from me in the chair.
Johns nods at me and goes to check the perimeter of the house. Thorough as always. I couldn’t ask for a better partner. He doesn’t deserve what I’m putting him through.
“Start from the beginning, Dad. What happened?”
“A man knocked on our door late at night. I told her not to answer, but she insisted it might be someone who needed help. You know how she is.”
I nod, waiting, analyzing, praying.
“The man shoved his way in the door and disabled our security in less than a minute. He had our code, Liz. How the hell did someone get our code?”
I keep quiet on my suspicions. He doesn’t need to know what guns are involved in this showdown. Safer that way.
“What happened after that, Dad?”
“He had a gun, was talking crazy about some project your mother was doing at work. I tried to reason with him. I tried to tell him we didn’t want any trouble, but he-”
His voice hitches. I walk over to him, wincing as I stand, pulling him into a hug.
“It’s going to be okay, Dad.”
“I just don’t understand how this is happening.”
“I don’t know why, yet, but I will find out. What happened after he threatened you with the gun?”
“He put a derm on me, something that knocked me out. When I woke up, I was in that room with the man you killed. He told me I was insurance against your mother completing some project, that they would kill me if she didn’t.”
“Did they say where she was?”
“Of course not. But they said she could see me on the camera, that they might have to hurt me to inspire her. You showed up before that became necessary.”
I sit holding him for a minute, stroking his shoulder, the relief and painkillers make my head spin.
“Don’t worry, Dad. I’m going to find her. I need to rest first, but then I’ll find her.”
“Liz, where is the force? Why was it just the two of you at the warehouse?”
“Don’t worry, Dad. I’ve got all the backup I need. Let’s get you to bed. You’re safe here, for now, but we’ll have to move in the morning.”
He nods, shoulders slumping. We hug before he retires, a long hug that leaves us both sniffling. I rest against his door, getting my emotions back under control before stepping outside to talk to Johns.
“Hey,” I say, leaning against the house.
“How’s he doing?”
“He’s pretty shaken, but he’ll be okay. I sent you everything.”
He nods in the darkness.
“Listen, Johns, about tonight-”
“Stop, Liz. You don’t need to say anything. You were right, okay? Family first. I’m sorry I cut you out.”
I swallow the lump forming in my throat. We soak in the night air. I can feel the painkillers starting to wear off, the dull pain in my side returning.
“Thank you,” I whisper into the dark.
He doesn’t say anything, wrapping me in a hug instead. My body shudders as the tears come, half fear, half relief. He holds me until the shaking stops.
“We’ll find her, Liz. Whatever it takes.”
I nod, wiping my eyes and smiling. “You deserve a better partner than me.”
He chuckles, pushing a stray hair out of my face. “You do alright. Little bad at following orders, but we’ll make a cop of you yet.”
I laugh and hold my side, the dull ache turning into a sharp pain. Johns gives me another pain tab.
“Get some sleep, Liz. I’ll stand guard.”
I nod, the painkiller dulling the world around me again, a deafening silence in my ears. I slide back into the house, pulling a blanket around me and laying on the couch. I don’t remember falling asleep.