A/N: So there is one chapter left after this one!
"Michael? Can you hear me?"
Mike heard Connie's father break through the haze.
"Michael, squeeze my hand….Good. Good. Now, open your eyes, Michael."
He obeyed and slowly forced his eyes open—they hurt from the sensitivity of the light. His head still pounded. Jose, Morales, TJ, Dekker, and Gonzales were standing around his bed. There were doctors and nurses working around the head of his bed.
He began to speak but was immediately hindered by a cough. Jose sat the bed up and handed him a cup of water.
"Just sip it. Just sip.", the doctor ordered.
Mike choked out his words, "What happened?"
"You were unconscious in your hotel room.", Morales responded.
Mike tried to piece things together, "Connie! Where's Connie?"
"She wasn't there. Do you remember what happened?", the lieutenant replied.
Mike was clearly confused.
"What is the last thing you remember?", Morales asked.
"I…I don't know. Umm…" he turned to look at Connie father standing next to him, "I was talking to you on the phone."
He nodded, "What happened before that?"
Mike stared into space shaking his head, "I had just woke up….and Connie wasn't there."
"Mr. Cutter, did you take anything last night…. maybe to take the edge off things?", Gonzales inquired.
"What... in the hell are you talking about?"
"Medications or drugs, Mike?", Morales added.
"No. What kind of question is that! We were attacked or something!"
"Do you remember her leaving?", Gonzales change questioning a bit.
"No, all of her stuff was still in her room."
"Prior to this afternoon when you spoke to Dr. Cruz, what is the last thing you remember?"
He shook his head again, "I don't know. I just don't…."
"There were a couple of drinking glasses in your room, did you and she have a drink?", Gonzales started again.
"No, that was from a night or two ago."
"Are you sure? Maybe you and she had a little too much to drink, and you might have taken something extra?"
"No. What in the hell kind of question is that? You're asking if we're doing drugs?!"
"Mike, there was no sign of struggle or break in; there are no scratches on you…. Our officers didn't see anything suspicious. I looks like Connie left of her accord.", Morales explained.
"So… so what? The working theory is that Connie got high and wondered off! He has her! Spencer's got her!"
"There is no evidence of a kidnapping, Mike.", Morales tried to calm.
"You're looking for her aren't you? She didn't just leave!"
"We are looking for her, but it's not an abduction at the moment.", Gonzales stated.
Jose cut Mike off with a hand on his shoulder, "Michael, take a breath. Just think. We need you to think: What was the last thing you remember about last night?"
"I…I don't know."
He was going to do what he could for his daughter, "Mike, you are the last person to see her—just tell us. Do you remember going to bed?"
"Good. Now, were you alone or together?"
Mike stopped and looked into the father's eyes- they were both terrified of losing Connie.
"Together, we were in my bed."
"At what time was this?", Gonzales piped in.
He took a deep breath and thought, "She got back to the hotel, from work, about ten…. We…" Mike struggled to think about the previous night. "We talked for a long while… I don't think we fell asleep until three or four."
"What did you talk about?", the doctor pushed.
"I'm not trying to invade your guys' privacy, Michael, but if you try to walk through all of last night, you might remember something you don't realize."
He took another sip of water, "We talked about me moving out here so we could be together. I-I... had her in my arms, and when I woke up, she was gone. She wouldn't have gone anywhere without her protection detail, and she wouldn't have left without telling me. If I have any drugs in my system, it is because Connie and I were drugged."
Gonzales nodded, "What was she last wearing?"
"Umm...", he tried to recall, "She was wearing one of my t-shirts—black—and a black pair of shorts."
"Alright then, we'll leave you, but call if you remember anything else."
"I will, lieutenant."
When the group left, Connie's father remained.
"I'll go, Michael, but I'd like to stay….it's up to you."
Mike was not sure how to respond, "You don't have to, sir."
Jose sat down in the bedside chair, "Trust me, I've got nothing better to do."
"This shows one man, dressed in utility clothes, entering the room next to Connie's carrying a duffel bag and pulling a large maintenance cart.", TJ paused and played the surveillance video. "About thirty minutes later, a second man entered the room next to Mike's... Not five minutes later the first man re-emerges, heads to the other room, and the second man lets him in."
TJ fast-forwarded as Morales continued, "Ten minutes later they both come out and entered Mike's room, using a stolen master key…. Another seven minutes later, they reappear with the cart visibly harder to push…. "
"Connie." Hardin stated stoically.
Everyone was gathered around the conference room table.
"How in the hell did this happen?", the district attorney abruptly yelled.
"We did everything we could.", the lieutenant defended.
"Then where in the hell were your men?"
"Neither Connie nor Mr. Cutter wanted officers in their rooms. And there was a fatal incident, a few months back, that changed LAPD policy on placing officers in hallways at hotels. So we had eight officers in the lobby, on the back entrance and on the street—they used, what we were told was a broken service elevator."
"And so my DA has been kidnapped because of a policy change!"
Gonzales retorted, "District Attorney Hardin, I understand that you are upset, I consider Connie a friend, but arguing this is pointless and it wastes time."
"What about the holes cut in the walls?", Dekker interrupted before a bigger fight broke out.
Morales quickly answered, "The working theory is that they pumped something into the room to knock them unconscious. We're waiting on Mike's toxicology report but even with it fast tracked, it'll still be a couple of days."
Dekker stated the obvious, "Connie does not have that much time!"
"Wakey, wakey, sunshine."
A splash of cold water awoke Connie.
"Up Now!", Spencer pulled her up by her hair.
"Ahhhh!", she screamed in pain.
"Where is my ledger?"
"I-I don't have it!"
"Where is it?"
"I don't know!"
He threw her up against a wall and put a gun to her, "I know my sister gave it to you."
Hitting her with the butt of the gun, she fell to the floor. He shoved the gun back in her face. Connie did not know what to do…. He would not believe that it did not exist—he had already killed his sister and wife over it.
"It's hidden—y-you can't get to it."
"My office. "
He pulled on her hair again, "Where in your office?"
She said the first thing that came to mind, "I taped it underneath my desk."
"I need to do something."
"You need to stay put and eat—regain your strength."
Mike washed down his toast with a cup of water. Dr. Cruz opened a pudding cup and pushed it towards the younger man.
"Jose, I'm not doing any good here—I need to go find her."
"The whole of the LAPD is looking for her, Michael. Whatever they pumped into your room needs to leave your system before you start to do anything."
Mike grabbed the pudding, stiffly stood from the hospital bed and walked over to the window.
"I don't care. They…they can't want to find her as much as I do", he said, as he gazed out the window.
Mike jumped when Jose placed a hand on his shoulder. The doctor pretended not to notice.
"But I just might…. Michael, we can't keep you in here, but I wouldn't let one of my kids leave—it would not be a surprise if you collapse and crack your head open."
Mike turned slightly but never made eye contact, "I don't care. I told her that everything was going to be okay and he….I should have…."
Jose squeezed Mike's shoulder once more before he removed his hand, "You were unconscious, Mike, there's nothing you could have done."
"You're very clam about all of this."
"Well, it's out of my hands—I hate it, but it's out of my hands. So, I just have to pray that Connie is okay and that the LAPD is guided to her—or that that bastard Spencer is fatally struck by lightning…or a bus."
Mike laughed a bit. He hoped that Connie too was bring comforted by her faith. It was not something he could take solace in at the moment.
"I'm going to check myself out, Jose."
"Can't blame you."
Dekker had brought everything from his hotel room that was not considered evidence, which was nothing expect for two changes of clothes and his cell phone, so Mike got dressed to leave. He had just put on his jeans and t-shirt when Jose returned.
"Knock? Knock?", the doctor said from the other side of the curtain.
"Yeah", Mike replied as he swung the curtain open.
He was pushing a wheelchair, "Everything thing is taken care of. You're free to leave against your doctor's—and my—orders."
"Good, thanks…. But that is not necessary", he pointed at the wheelchair.
Jose half joked, "You're leaving against our orders, we're not going to let you sue us that easily."
Mike sat down on the bed and began to untie his shoes.
Jose sat in the wheelchair to wait on him, "So, Mike, this probably is not the best time…, and my wife would probably tell me to butt out…, but how long have—or had—you and Connie been seeing each other? It's just Connie never said that she had left someone in New York…."
"Umm…" Mike awkwardly fiddled with the tongue of his shoe, "I don't want to give you the…wrong impression. She didn't really leave me." He looked over at her father, who was fixedly waiting. "Connie and I…we…didn't have a romantic relationship when we worked together. But, it's complicated."
Her father pushed still, "You said that you guys were discussing you moving out here…. I assumed that you had dated in New York."
"No. But we spent a lot of time with each other and… had fallen in love. I was an idiot to let her go—at least by herself."
"What was the verdict?"
"On your discussion about you moving here."
"I think we settled on me moving…. She was hesitant about me moving my life."
Her father seemed very receptive of the news, "Well, not to stick my nose any deeper, but I know how happy she's been since you got here... so as long as you love her half as much as you seem to, we, her family, will be supportive of whatever."
Mike was taken aback and did not know what to say, so he just appreciatively nodded his head. He stood and was about to grab his bag when his phone rang.
The number was blocked.
"Want your girlfriend back?"
Have a good week and please review!