But once we arrived at the airport, then what?
If I’d been Baptiste, I would’ve already had a private plane ready. Baptiste knew Zola had this charity event. He had access to her passport.
I can’t do this all by myself.
I pulled out my phone and dialed York.
York answered on the first ring. “Hunter, I’ve been trying to get in touch with you.”
“Good, because I need you to book me a flight from New York to Montego Bay, Jamaica. Have a car ready for rental. I don’t know if I’ll need it but have it ready.”
“Zola is gone. My friend…my partner took her.”
“Why?” York asked.
“He’s the stalker.”
“What do you mean?”
I sped down the road. “Just get the goddamn plane ticket for me. I’m heading to the airport now. I’m right behind them.”
“Jesus won’t help us now, but the tickets will.”
“Okay. Okay. Just let me get something to write this down.”
Up ahead, Baptiste took an exit. I ambled the car slowly behind another one that was going in the same direction.
York came back on the line. “Okay. Montego Bay, Jamaica?”
“I’ll catch you up later. Just send the details to my phone. Get the first plane out of here.” I hung up, hoping I wouldn’t have to use the ticket at all.
I have to get her back.
My chest rose and fell at a rapid beat. I considered the note’s lines over and over as if it could help me understand everything even more. If Baptiste wanted revenge, he could have had it many times. He could’ve killed me long ago. If he wanted Zola dead, then that too could’ve happened without any problem. But he’d done neither.
I scanned my head trying to gain some clue as to what was going on in Baptiste’s brain. What was the result he was hoping to get?
“Zola’s the one that you always sent bright pink roses to. I just realized it.”
“You didn’t. You know that I have a small…obsession for her.”
“One that you think is dirty,” Baptiste said.
“I’ve never said that.”
“But you do. She’s not your sister by blood.”
“What I’m trying to say to you is this.” Baptiste looked my way. “Have some fun, Hunter. After Nakita…”
Baptiste’s car continued down the new route at a decreased pace. It made me think he hadn’t seen me following him.
“That’s right.” I tapped at the steering wheel. “I’m still at the ballroom, fumbling my dick around and confused. Just take your time, Baptiste.”
I’d taught him too well.
He’d planned out everything with meticulous attention to detail.
Baptiste had been the one to find the gift box with the eyes in it. I’d figured that someone on Zola’s makeup staff had brought it in.
But it was him.
“This was on Zola’s bed.”
“What?” She shook her head. “That’s not mine.”
“When I’d scoped out the room,” he said, “I saw it, but figured it was Zola’s hat box. But when I set the box on the dresser, I noticed how heavy it was and…the smell can’t be denied.”
In fact, the only reason I’d left Zola in the dressing room at the video shoot that day was because someone said that Baptiste wanted me.
“Baptiste wants to see you outside.”
“Okay. I’m coming.”
He’d timed it perfectly as he sat in the tree, ready to shoot her. It was perfect. Well-executed. A mindfuck of all mindfucks that had shattered my head.
I was too busy falling in love with Zola to see what was right in front of me.
After Zola had been shot, I’d yelled at Baptiste. We’d been standing by the limo, and I couldn’t believe the stalker had won again.
“I’ve been paying attention. No one’s been following us.”
Baptiste leaned his head to the side. “Are you sure you’ve been paying attention?”
If I saw him right now, I would’ve unloaded every bullet into his head. The whole time he’d played the friend and had been my enemy. My heart broke, although I didn’t want to admit it. In this moment, I questioned everything—our brotherhood, our times fighting together.
After all we’ve been through, why would you do this, Baptiste?
I’d given him my personal chef for Nakita and his first date. Later, I’d helped him pick out the engagement ring. And of course, I’d been the best man at his wedding. I was shocked I’d made it to the ceremony. Nakita had spent the week threatening bodily harm, pointing guns at me, and demanding that I not go over-the-top for Baptiste’s bachelor party.
Nakita pointed the gun right at my forehead.
Sighing, I leaned back in my chair. “Is this necessary?”
“Not one naked stripper.”
“It’s a bachelor party, Nakita.”
She took the safety off the gun.
Shrugging, I smiled. “You know what? I hate strippers anyway. Let’s go with a nice camping trip. I’ll get all the guys to come. Designer cabins. Bonfires. Expensive whiskey and cigars. Baptiste loves the outdoors.”
“I want the location of the woods.”