Updated: Mar 30
Desiree Brown let out a sigh as she slowly opened her eyes. She was in so much pain.
Her mind spun as reality set in. Everything felt too loud from the beeping of the hospital equipment to the people making their way down the hospital halls, it was all too much.
Desiree tried to lift her head but that just aggregated a horrible headache building at the base of her skull.
She braced herself as memories of her last few moments of consciousness flooded in.
“What is happening?”
“It’s going to take you a moment to adjust, Cherie.”
Desiree jumped and looked up. She recognized the man immediately. Jean Claude was someone she’d met twice in her lifetime and each time had been in a place of violence.
“Do you remember who I am?” The man asked and his French accent soothed her.
“You’re Jean Claude, you saved me from that man,” Desiree shuddered. She could still feel the bastard’s creepy hands on her skin.
I did. Do you remember why I was there?” Jean Claude asked as he sat down on the edge of her hospital bed.
“Elsa sent you to help me… oh my God is Elsa okay?”
Jean Claude smiled at her. “She is fine, well she’s going to be fine. I talked to Alek and it’s a long story.”
“Those men that had me…” Desiree fumbled through her words as memories from that night resurfaced.
“They are dead, Desiree.”
“Thank you.” She didn’t realize how much she needed to hear that.
“You are welcome but it wasn’t just me. After I told Nate what happened he hunted down everyone in the crew.”
Desiree looked around the room and found Nate asleep on a cot.
“How long has he been here?”
As soon as he took out those men Nate came here. Don’t worry from what I can tell he’s not going anywhere.”
Even sedated, Desiree didn’t like the idea that Nate felt like he had to stay. “I can handle this on my own if he needs to go. With Sam in jail, I don’t really have anything else to worry about.”
Jean Claude looked away from her as soon as she said those words. Why was he acting weird?
“Sam is in jail, isn’t he?”
“I will let Nate talk to you about that. The only reason I stayed was to make sure you survived your surgeries and to also ask you about the girl you wanted me to help.”
His words snapped her back to reality. Desiree sat up in her bed so fast that her head spun.
“I can’t believe I forgot that! Yes, there was this little girl that moved through that house while I was there. I got to talk to her when they first brought me in. Her name is Kelly Lupin. She said the men there kidnapped her and were selling her to someone in Aruba. I heard you talking to Nate. You said you never hurt women or children and after what you did for me I know deep down you are a good guy. I need you to help her.”
“Desiree, I’m not some sort of hero. I’m a thief and a collector of bounties, I’m not looking to get involved with another mess.”
Desiree nodded, she understood that, but she didn’t know anyone else who could help Kelly. “Jean she’s ten years old and according to her she doesn’t come for money and her family isn’t well off. We both know what that means for her. Someone purchased her and there is no telling what is happening to her right now. Jean, you have to help her because no one else will. She doesn’t have anyone, but us right now.”
“Us?” Jean Claude raised an eyebrow.
“After the doctor clears me, I can meet up with you and I will help in any way I can. I have money and connections, I will pay you as well. Please you have to do this, Jean. She’s just a kid.”
For a moment, Jean Claude was silent. He walked over to the window and looked down at the street below.
“I will find this girl and get her home. But I do this alone if you involve yourself in any way. I will walk away, I won’t risk my team. So if you can trust me to handle it myself then I will.”
Desiree wanted to argue, but what was the point. She wasn’t like Jean Claude. When he’d found her in that rundown house with that man trying his best to remove her clothes, he’d killed everyone within seconds.
She’d watched him as he worked. This was a world where people like Jean Claude and Nate thrived.
“I will pay you, Jean.”
“No, a prince cannot be a prince if he charges the distressed damsels he meets.”
“And you think you are a prince? "Desiree asked.
“No, I am many things, but a prince isn’t one of them.”
Desiree chuckled and relaxed back against the hard pillows on her bed. She had secured a promise and for some reason, Desiree knew Jean Claude would honor it.
Desiree tried to fight as her eyes grew heavier. They had her on round-the-clock pain IVs to help with her injuries. The automatic pump must have administered a dose because she could barely keep her eyes open.
“You promise me, Jean Claude.”
“I promise you, ma petite.”
With those words, Desiree slipped back into the darkness that had been her home for the last few days. Somehow she would follow up with Jean Claude and hopefully, he would have Kelly with him.
The thought of that little girl alone with the kind of men who kidnapped her killed her was horrifying. Desiree could only pray that Jean made it to her in time. She’d read about the statistics on human trafficking and she knew the longer Kelly was lost in the world the less likely they would find her.
Desiree sighed, she’d done everything she could at this moment. It was time for her to rest now.