It took me a moment to register what the text message was telling me. Missing? What did she mean by missing? I immediately called her back, she obviously expected as much since she answered after the first ring.
"Ali, oh my god Kurt is missing, can you believe it?" Her voice normally high pitched was filled with panic, and I was barely able to catch what she saying since she was speaking so fast.
"Slow down Heather. What do you mean by missing, like Kurt's lost?"
"Yeah, well kind of. His mom just called Jared frantic because Kurt wasn't there when she woke up this morning."
"Jesus Heather, that's hardly missing. He probably just went somewhere" I was beginning to get annoyed. This was typical of Heather, adding a healthy dose of drama to any situation.
" No Ali, his mom said all of his stuff is still at home, his truck, his keys, his wallet, his phone it's as if he vanished into thin air" My blood ran cold. Well, that definitely wasn't a good sign. "She said she called everyone listed in Kurt's phone and nobody has seen him or heard from him since last night. I mean obviously he came home, but now nothing. How does someone just disappear like that?"
I immediately thought of Delaney and wondered if he … did something. I pushed the thought out as fast as it had come in, that was not something I wanted to think about. "Anyway, I just thought I'd ask you if you had seen him or he told you anything since you guys were kind of getting cozy at the movie."
I couldn't believe she just said we were getting cozy at the movie. My blood went from cold to boiling in a matter of seconds.
"Cozy?! What the fuck is wrong with you? You call having that bastard paw all over me through the entire movie cozy? Don't you even for a moment think that because he is missing now, I have forgotten what a shitty friend you are Heather. Your selfishness put me in the most awful position last night, not that I am even going to get into it with you now, but let's just say Kurt didn't stop after the movie. Quite frankly I don't give a shit if he's okay or if you and I ever speak again!"
"Ali I'm sorry…" was all I heard before I hung up.
I had surprised myself by the way I had just unleashed on her, but I didn't care. I was done. Delaney was right it could have been very bad for me. The memory of Kurt forcing his tongue into my mouth made my stomach turn. I knew without a doubt that he would have forced more than that, if I had not jumped out of the truck when I did. Then somewhere deep in the darkest part of me the idea that Delaney could be involved in whatever was playing out with Kurt gave me satisfaction. I was appalled at myself for feeling that way, but it was the truth. Bad things happened to good people, so why shouldn't they happen to bad people too…. I stopped my train of thought and took a deep breath. I was getting way ahead of myself, the whole thing was probably nothing, and even if it wasn't, there was nothing I could or would do about it. I gathered my things and went back into the house.
I walked into my bedroom wondering if I should mention it to Delaney and gauge his reaction.
God forbid this turns out to actually be something and he finds out I didn't say anything to him in the beginning. There would be hell to pay for sure. I dropped my towel into the hamper and turned to go find him and stopped dead in my tracks. There on my bed was a huge white box with a big red bow wrapped around it. My heart began pounding as I walked over to it. I picked up the attached envelope and slowly opened it reading the note enclosed.
The past couple of days have been trying. I think some time out would do you good. I've noticed your wardrobe is lacking so I took the liberty. Inside are a dress and shoes for you to wear to dinner tonight. Be ready by six
Only Delaney could give a gift and an insult simultaneously. I wondered if he was even aware of his severe lack of people skills. I took out the dress and held it up to me, it was certainly sexier than anything I owned. A short black dress with long lace sleeves. It was sexy, but with a touch of sophistication. The shoes were high and strappy, I wondered for a second if I would be able to walk in them. Delaney was good. I wondered if he picked this out himself. The idea of him in a woman's clothing store made me smile, he would be the awkward out of place one there.
I looked over at the clock and saw it was approaching 4:30pm. I decided asking him about Kurt could wait until later. I had to begin getting ready. I wanted to look flawless for him.
One hour and twenty minutes later I stood in front the mirror examining myself. The dress he bought fit like a glove. It was just short enough to show off my smooth toned legs without looking skanky, but long enough to keep what was underneath a mystery. I decided that since I didn't have any sexy underwear that I just wouldn't wear any. I also made up my mind to share that fact with Delaney if an opportune moment presented itself.
My hair was blown out and curled at the ends. It hung loosely around my shoulders and fell seductively into my face from time to time. Otherwise my look was natural. I didn't wear makeup other than mascara and lip gloss. I was satisfied with my reflection. I had not been this dressed up since, well I couldn't remember. It's not like I went on dates frequently or actually at all. Was this even a date? I pondered that question as I grabbed a purse and walked out into the kitchen.
Delaney was sitting at the bar in the kitchen. He was effortlessly sexy in his black blazer and jeans. The white shirt he had under his blazer was unbuttoned at the top showing a more relaxed man than the suite and tie I was used to. He was sipping scotch but stopped mid-sip when he saw me coming. He stared his eyes slowly moving across up my body. God, one look from him and I felt immediately self-conscious.
"Thank you for the dress, its beautiful" I said trying to not sound as nervous as I felt.
"Your welcome" he said pausing to finish his sip. "If I had known it would fit you like that I would have bought you one in every color." He stood up and stalked over to me leaning down to give me a light kiss on the lips. "Let's get going now, before I change my mind and have you for dinner instead". I laughed timidly and took his hand as he led me out. I wouldn't have minded that scenario I thought to myself.
We were in his car cruising along the highway, the sun was setting and the colors of the passing landscape were playing in the light just before disappearing. For once the mood in the car was relaxed. In that moment I felt happy.
"Where are we going?" I asked curious about the plans that Delaney had put together.
"There is this place downtown that I haven't been to in a while, plus with Norma away I know you've been suffering."
I laughed. I wouldn't call what I've been doing with him suffering.
"I'm surprised you want to go out with me." I said surprised at the honesty in my statement. "I assumed you would feel weird, because of our situation."
"Surprised huh" He sounded playful. "Would you prefer I just kept you in the house and had my way with you repeatedly without so much as feeding you? Which believe me, I would like very much. But there's no food at home, and you need your strength so, I wanted to be nice and here we are." I giggled and rolled my eyes at him.
"Nice isn't really a word Id use to describe you Delaney. But you didn't answer my question. Do you feel weird about our situation?"
"What situation is that?" He asked laughing himself now.
" I'm not going to say it" I replied feeling the blush on my face begin to creep up.
"Well then I guess I'm not the one who feels weird about it am I" He winked at me.
We walked into the restaurant together. Delaney's hand resting on the small of my back as the Maître D' lead the way to our seats. I felt as if I surely would float away had he not rested his hand there. People stared as we passed, our reflection in a passing mirror showed me why. We looked stunning together. I wanted to pinch myself.
Our table was in a private alcove in the back of the restaurant. We were still able to enjoy the ambiance and hear the noise of the main room, but set apart enough to feel intimate. I sat on my side of the table studying him as he studied the menu. The man was perfect, and he was mine. Well at least I could pretend he was for tonight if nothing else.
The conversation flowed easily, which surprised me. We talked about my parents. He even told me a few funny stories about my dad that had me laughing so hard I was in tears. It was nice to talk about them in a good way. I asked him about his parents and he told me that his mom had passed years ago and that he didn't really have any kind of relationship with his father. It was no wonder my dad had taken him under his wing.
I was actually really enjoying his company. This was bad. I could feel myself falling for him harder than I already had. He noticed me staring at him and reached over the table taking my hand into his. "So Ali, are you sure your doing okay with everything?"
"With what? My parents, or with you?" I asked.
"Well, both I suppose."
"I'm okay with my parents. Well, I mean I'm as okay with it as I can be. There is a lot I don't understand and I've accepted that. I just miss them and how they died doesn't change the fact that they are gone. I just want you to find the people responsible, and I want really bad things to happen to them." He studied my face as if he could tell whether I was telling the truth or not from my expression.
"I will Ali, and I promise that they won't be handed over to the authorities." I immediately began to think about Kurt and decided now was as good a time as any.
"Delaney, Remember the other night with Kurt and Heather and the whole movie theater mess."
"You mean, when I found you lost in the woods after that mother fucker put his hands all over you? Yes Ali, I remember" His voice was angry at the mere thought of what happened or more so what almost happened.
"Well, Um Heather sent me a text today saying Kurt was missing" I just spat it out. There was no good way to say it. He leaned back in chair looking at me amused.
"And, go on ask me out loud what you've been asking yourself in your head" I was so nervous now, how could I accuse him especially after we were having such a nice evening. He was going to hate me, but I couldn't take it back now.
"Well, um are you involved in that in anyway?" He was silent for a few seconds, leaning forward to brush a stray lock of hair out of my face he said.
"Tell me Ali, would it matter to you if I was?"