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   Chapter 22 The Search

Broken Past By Arathi Characters: 10994

Updated: 2019-01-29 09:20

"Tell me everything, " JT said steeling himself for the worst. Was she that pissed off with him to run off without an explanation? Surely she can't be that irrational.

Then anger took over. If only she'd have met with him or taken his calls before thinking the worst, then he'd have explained by now. Guilt flooded him next. Could he have made a better effort to pacify her? He knew he got sidetracked with this whole Tom business. But damnit he was doing this for her safety!

Common sense was close behind, nipping at the heels of his guilt. How could she have known? He never told her! Back to square one, if only she'd taken one call! 'Damn that woman, ' he swore.

Nervous energy flowed liberally on both sides of the phone. Aunt Jasmine took a deep breath and rattled off as quickly as she could, "Well she woke up early, too early, had a bad dream she said. Then she went on and on about this woman she saw at the shelter. Neither Mrs. Puri nor I have ever seen this person Tara was talking about..."

"So insomnia, nightmares, and hallucinations?" he recapped ignoring the other details.

"Oh, stop interrupting. And then she and I spoke for a while, and Gwen confessed that she was sad, lost, and on the precipice of ..."

"Did she cry?" He curled his toes and rocked back and forth on his feet. Damn! This situation was a whole lot worse than he had imagined. He didn't understand it. He didn't understand her. How did they end up here? One moment he's spinning around the world courtesy the best kiss he's ever been at the receiving end of and the next, she's not speaking with him.

"Yes, and stop interrupting! It's very annoying. And then this woman came to meet her..."

"What woman?"

An exasperated sigh later Aunt Jasmine continued, "I'm getting to it! Now listen quietly. Erm, I think her name was Mary... Matty... Matilda. Yes, that was her name. Matilda. Anyway, I got this weird feeling, and I asked Mrs. Kapoor to watch. She's the only one here who can understand English when foreigners babble. So Mrs. Kapoor said Matilda wanted to grab some tea and Tara agreed. So within minutes, Tara was rushing out, bag and wallet in hand. And that's the last we saw of her." Aunt Jasmine finished with a loud huff like she had been running a marathon.

"And this is disturbing because?" JT asked, confused. It seems Gwen had a reason to step out and that she hadn't disappeared.

"Because she left ten hours ago!" the older woman sighed melodramatically. She twirled the archaic telephone wire around her fingers.

"Oh." Now he was stumped. "Really?" He asked scratching his head.

"Weren't you listening to anything I said?" Aunt Jasmine asked frustrated with her nephew. He didn't seem to be taking this as seriously as she had expected.

"I did. It's just ... she's a big girl, Aunt Jasmine. If she wants to go out with her friend, I can't fault her. Yes, perhaps she should have told you how long she'd be gone for, but still..."

This time Aunt Jasmine cut in, "Young man, you listen to me. There is something very wrong here. I say so, and therefore you must listen."

He disliked it when she used that tone with him. It was very motherly, and he was done being a kid a very long time ago. "If you're so worried, perhaps you should call her?"


"How will we find her?"

"Send the boy scouts out to the TRH's, " JT said to Aalam. "If Matilda isn't holed up with the slimeball, she will be close by."

Aalam pulled out his phone and hurried to the nearest empty room to make his calls.

"Dev, this is yours, " JT said flinging Tom's phone to him. "Get wifi on that shit. Check messages, WhatsApp, texts, emails, photos, browser history, phone log. Anything that will give us a lead on what she looks like, where she might be staying. You know the drill."

"You got it."

An hour went, by. And then another. And then another. Or perhaps it was the same hour ticking by slowly? JT didn't know anymore. He pressed redial every five minutes. "Come on, Ring... Ring ... Ring..." He silently commanded the phone. "Damnit!" the flat tone told him that her phone was still switched off or unreachable.

He stomped around the room like a pissed off elephant, ready to charge at anything that moved. He hated it when everything stood still. It was suffocating. Something needed to change and soon. The tension was thick. Every ten minutes he would hover over Dev's shoulder and ask the same old questions. Dev sighed with the mounting stress and irritation. Tempers were short and answers, even fewer.

As the first rays of the sun threaded through the darkness, suffusing the expanse with hues of pink, purple and yellow, the most welcome sound came with it.

"I got something, " two voices said in unison. Dev came rushing out the same time Aalam came running in. They looked at each other and chuckled.

"What the fuck is so funny?" JT was at his wit's end.

"I think I found her, " they sad in unison, again.

"Spill, Dev first."

"Here are pictures of Matilda." He handed out printouts "...And from her last voice mail, she's at the Queen's Meadow hotel. Not shacked up in any TRH mind you."

"So she has Gwen there? Tom would join them and then what? He expected her to just fly back with him to London? Just like that? No, it can't be that easy. There has to be something we're missing." JT mused looking at the picture in his hand.

"A leverage perhaps?"

"Sounds like it. "

"Let's go find out shall we?"

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