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“Sami!” Sarah cried as she threw her arms around her friend and squeezed her tightly. “Thank God they found you!”

Both women held onto each other and cried; Sam was just happy to see her old friend and Sarah was glad that AJ found her. They stayed locked for a few more minutes as Lauren slipped out of the room and allowed them some privacy.

“How are you?” Sarah asked as they finally sat down.

“Ok physically but mentally, I’m not at all.”

“Are you still having the nightmares?”

“How did you…”

Sarah took her friend’s hand. “You used to have them when you stayed with us that time you ran away from Ryan. It seemed like they came several times a night. I remember how you used to scream yourself awake.”

Sam’s eyes filled with tears and she was so appreciative of her friend’s looks of love and concern.

“I’m sorry…”

“Don’t apologize.” Sarah replied. “There’s nothing you need to apologize for.”

Sam wiped her eyes and squeezed her hand. “I’m so grateful to have you here. I honestly never thought I’d see you again.”

“You’re tougher than you think Sami; I never had a doubt I’d see you at some point.”

“I’m not tough.” she responded as she stood and made her way over to the window. “I’m probably the weakest person…”

Sarah made her way over. “It takes a tough woman to withstand everything that happened to you. It would take a lot to make you go down without a fight.”

“Thanks Sar, that means a lot to me.”

“I mean it. You’re not going down easily.”


“Whose car is that?” AJ asked with concern as he entered the house.

“Calm down J.” Drew answered. “It’s her friend. You knew that she was coming right?”

“Yeah. We thought it would be good for her to come over and check on her.”

“So what clothes did you get?” Lauren asked as she wiped her hands on her apron. “And please tell me it’s not all pink or has skulls all over it.”

“What’s wrong with skulls?” AJ teased with a smile. “They’re a fashion statement.”

“Only for you Alexander.”

AJ laughed and piled the bags onto the counter. Lauren went through them and found all the items she’d asked him to buy as well as a few pretty items he threw in for good measure.

“Good job AJ.” Lauren said with a smile.

“You mean good job Nick.” her husband said as he wrapped his arms around her waist. “I had to keep a leash on him!”

“Shut it Carter.”

“Whatever McLean.”

“I hate to break up the love fest but did you ever tell the private investigator that you found her?” Drew asked breaking into the friendly argument. “I think that if he keeps looking, it might be safer for all of you because the husband might not realize that you found her.”

AJ and Nick looked at each; neither one had thought to do that.

“I hate saying it but I think you need to tell the guy she’s here but to pretend to keep looking.”

AJ nodded and pulled out his cell phone. He dialed the number he had memorized and waited for Max to pick up the phone.

“Hello Mr. McLean. How are you?”

“I’m good actually. I wanted to let you know that we found her.”


“Yeah, we found her the other day.”

“That’s wonderful news! I’ll call my friend so she can stop…”

“Actually, I was hoping I could pay you to keep looking for a while.”

“But you said…”

“I know but we were thinking that if you kept looking, it might throw Ryan off for a little longer.”

Max paused. “Do you think that’s safe?”

“Honestly? I don’t know but I do know that I need to keep her as safe as I can. Could you call your friend and explain? I’ll pay whatever I have to.”

“Ok. I’ll call her right now.”


Ryan picked up his cell off the table and grinned when he saw the familiar number flash onto the screen.

“I hope you have good news for me.”

“They have her.” the woman responded.

“Are you sure?” Ryan said as he sat down by the window. “I need to be absolutely positive that she’s with them.”

“I’m certain, I just got confirmation that she’s at McLean’s house.”


“So what’s the next move?”

“We wait.”

“What?” the female shrieked. “You said we could get going as soon as we were sure. Why are you…”

“Shut up!” Ryan yelled as he smashed a vase on the bedside. “You’re so lucky you’re not standing here right now!”

The woman quickly got quiet; she knew the consequences she’d face if she pushed him.

“Good.” Ryan responded to the silence. “I’m glad you understand and I’m anticipating that you’ll remember your place the next time we talk. I’ll call you when I’m ready to move forward. Keep your cell on and wait for me to get in contact.”