Chapter 7: Dom

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"We can't find him anywhere. The guy's as good as dead as far as the system is concerned."

"Then there's something we're missing. There has to be." Flipping through more papers on my desk I added, "We have to have a longer suspect list that her ex and Tommy."

"I know, man, but he's been gone for nearly four years now without making any kind of contact with anyone according to his phone records. The chances we're gonna find a way to contact him is pretty slim."

"Ryan, I-" I stopped myself, closing my eyes and dialing back my anger which, although not truly aimed at Ryan, had been living on the surface of my mind for the past four days and often found targets it wasn't intended for.

"I just... I just need you to have a little faith in the system, okay? If we can find her father, he may know something we don't. And if not, we at least need to rule him out as a suspect."

I knew it was a longshot but I wasn't prepared to leave any stone unturned or any path unexplored and have it lead to Kat's demise.

"Okay," he sighed over the phone and I could hear his acceptance sinking in. Then, an unexpected chuckle came through. "Boy, I hope you're not expecting to get her father's blessing this way. You know there are easier ways than dragging him through a police interrogation, right?"

"Trust me, the only blessing I'll need is one hoping I don't lock the doors and beat his face in while no one's looking."

"Damn, Reed." His appall over my disinterest in pleasing Kat's father was unsurprising. "So I take it you're not seeking father's approval?"

"Nope. I don't need approval from a man to date his daughter that he abandoned nearly four years ago. All I need is her."

"We'll find her, man. We will."

I ran my hand back and forth across my forehead, smoothing out my worry lines and let out a weighted sigh.

"I know," I spoke systematically, nodding my head and closing my eyes as pictures of a perfect, lively Kat ran across my mind, the lonely ache in my chest growing deeper. "I know."

For a moment, I lost myself in thoughts of her. I let her overturn my mind and take it over as she ran wild inside my head, splashing color and vibrance and love wherever her feet touched. I was so relieved and happy to be lost with Kat, even in my subconscious, that I had forgotten I was talking to someone altogether.

"I gotta get going, okay?" There was so much work to do.

"Yeah, man. Okay. Call me if you need anything."

"Will do. Thanks." I said my goodbyes to Ryan and disconnected the line, left again with nothing but my thoughts and the silence in the room.

Sadly, the silence only lasted so long.

"Working hard or hardly working?" Just the simple sound of Heather's voice was enough to grate against my nerves until they were reduced to dust within seconds. Her voice currently held a cheery tone which was not only off-putting but as fake as they day is long.

I'd had years of experience decoding and organizing each one of her tones into categories for what they actually meant. This tone in particular usually meant she wanted something.

"Working on the nannies case?" she tried again as I ignored her first question.

Picking up a set of papers, I tried to narrow my focus in on the rambling words splashed across the papers of Kat's case files. I could feel Heather staring at me, waiting for a response and with each second that passed with her still there was another second dedicated to boiling the blood beneath my skin as my rage and annoyance became a furnace, heating up every inch of my body.

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