Unbound: The Pentagon Group, Book 2, page 21
“I want you to make sure Marty works with local PD to find out who abducted her and drove her many miles away from her home.”
“Yep, Matt. I will get on it right when we hang up. However, I’m sure Perla’s night security already informed Marty about the incident.”
“I know there is no sense of urgency for you because this isn’t Jenna, but please try to place yourself in my shoes. She’s in the hospital. Regardless of what’s happened, I love Perla, and I want to keep her safe.”
“I got it, Matty. I will make my calls. Do you want me to go see her?”
“No, dick-head. If you went to see her, she’d wonder how you learned of her being in the hospital in the first place. I’ve already called Dr. Baylis. He’ll check in and be my source. Get back to bed.” We hung up.
I didn’t know who else to call. Pacing around my patio, I had plans to go out to eat with my cousins and I couldn’t cancel because they were traveling into the city. As a doctor, I didn’t like feeling helpless, but I had to distance myself from Perla.
Dr. Baylis called within an hour and let me know she was fully examined and confirmed a concussion. She had superficial cuts and would have bruising. I would’ve liked for him to send me a picture of her, but it was intrusive and illegal. I desperately wanted to see her and talk to her myself to ensure she was safe. The first time we were together we had a heated discussion about her traveling alone as a single woman. She told me she was capable of taking care of herself. While she did attempt to save herself by trying to escape through a moving vehicle, she could’ve been killed. Worse still, she could’ve been assaulted then killed by her captor.
A loud curse reverberated. I needed to talk to someone about this. I didn’t want to call my mother because she would be concerned something was wrong with me. I called my sister’s cell phone. I hoped to only leave a message, but she picked up.
“Hello, Matty. What’s wrong?”
“Why are you up?” I asked.
“Leona has a fever. I’ve been up all night with her. She’s just laying on me, hot and cranky.”
“Is she sick or teething?”
“Hey, it’s not about Leona. If you’re calling in the middle of the night from across the pond, then you must be dealing with something. What is it? She asked.
I felt like I’d told the same story a million times. I’ve been more open with Stella in the last few months than I have in her thirty two years.
“I’m sorry, Matty. I don’t know what to tell you. You’ve both made decisions about your relationship, or lack thereof. She doesn’t need you. She has friends and family who can help her. You’ve done more than she’s willing to accept from you publicly. The fact you had security on her and you’ve sent your doctor is more than you should be doing without her consent.” Stella advised.
“But you’re still going to protect her? How are you going to find someone else? Are you going to stop all these things when you fall in love with another woman?”
“There’s no other woman, Stella.” I warned.
She paused before she rephrased her question. “What if there is another man?” Her question was like a stab to my heart. I didn’t want to think about it. I knew it was a possibility Perla would move on to another man. She was a beautiful, sexy woman, who wouldn’t wait to fall in love again.
“I don’t care to think about it, Lita.” I called her by her nickname. “I’ve gotta go. I’m expected to have brunch with Eduardo and Carolina.”
“Send them my love. And Matt . . .” She paused. “If you and Perla are meant to be, give her time to come back to you. She will.” Stella said optimistically.
“Yeah. Kiss Leona for me. Hope she feels better.” We hung up. I went to get ready for my lunch. A quick shower and change of clothes was in order.
I hadn’t been with Perla in two weeks. My body had already gone through a withdrawal. The sexual need for her was gone. I was physically numb and felt deadened. The only time my body responded to touch was the involuntary dreams I had about her. I’d wake up aching and longing, but those experiences were becoming far and few in between. I couldn’t remember what she felt like. Her smell, which was something I memorized each time I laid with her, was a sense I’d lost. If it weren’t for saved pictures, I would forget the way she looked: her ruby red lips, the curl of her hair, or her coquettish smile. Her taste was addictive. I couldn’t get enough of her kisses. She invaded all my senses, and now, I’d forgotten.
I wondered if she thought about me. Did she still love me? I sensed she didn’t love me anymore. She was done with me, and for my sanity, I needed to be done with her. Stella had a point; ‘What if there is another man? How would I handle the thought of her moving on to someone else?’
When I finished dressing, and walked toward the living room to wait for my family to arrive, my phone rang. Ken had called me again.
“Yes, Ken.” I said
“I spoke to her, Sir. She’s bruised and has minor cuts. She’d been in and out of sleep, but she’s in good spirits. I had to tell her my name because she would’ve found out from the police reports. She doesn’t know I’ve been guarding her, I assure you.” Ken quickly informed. A wave of relief rushed over me, knowing he ensured her safety and observed her.
“It couldn’t be helped, Ken. Thank you for keeping her safe. I appreciate your dedication.”
“She’s a tough little lady, Sir. Her friend is with her now.”
“What friend?” I asked a little too quickly.
“Chelsea is her name. Slender, Caucasian female, brunette, blue eyes.” I was happy to know Perla had her best friend with her. I would worry less knowing she wasn’t alone.
“The other guard, Joshua, is in place in the waiting room, which is within visual of Feather’s room. Well, I’m on my way home, Sir, if there is anything else.” He asked.
“No. Thanks for the update. Get some rest.” We ended the call.
A knock on the door alerted me to my cousin’s arrival. Carolina and I are first cousins, and married to Eduardo who has been a good friend since they’ve dated. As soon as Carolina entered the foyer, she took one look at me and complained in Spanish.
“Did someone die?” She asked after she kissed and hugged me.
“Because you look like you’re in mourning.” She ran her fingers through my damp hair, and scraped her palm down my jaw.”
“You’re going to cut your hair and shave. This is too much Mathias. You’re too handsome for this. After lunch, we’ll go to see Eduardo’s stylist.” And with her warning, we went to a local restaurant.
As we caught up and talked about recent events and experiences, I received a phone call from Chelsea. My heart beat wildly, hoping there was no change in Perla’s status. I hadn’t spoken to Chelsea since the breakup when I’d been trying to get Perla back.
“Hello?” I answered.
“Matt? It’s Chelsea. I just wanted to let you know Perla’s been in an accident.” I listened intently, not revealing my knowledge.
“Is she okay?” I projected concern.
“Yes.” Chelsea paused. “She was kidnapped and if it wasn’t for another driver who slammed into them, I don’t want to think what would have happened to her. The kidnapper escaped. Perla has a concussion.” She took a deep breath. I didn’t respond. “The reason for my call, Matt, is she’s supposed to start working for Pentagon next week. I have to ask . . . Did your friends have anything to do with the kidnapping?” Chelsea boldly questioned. My stomach flipped. My nonresponse to the accusatory question prompted her to continue.
“Perla has always kept her personal life close until she breaks down in an emotional heap. She hasn’t done it in a long time. I don’t know what happened between the two of you, other than your company took over Liberty Inn. She was hurt by you. But I’m concerned that because she got back at you by keeping your shares, she’ll be going into a hostile environment.” I couldn’t disagree, so I
“I know your relationship was short lived, but I’ve known her forever. To think I allowed you to take her home with you that night at the club and it may have led to this, I would never forgive myself . . . You assured me you’d take care of her, and I believed you. And if you tell me now you haven’t done anything to hurt her, I’ll believe you.” She said. I didn’t know how to respond. “Is there a chance your friends had anything to do with what happened last night?”
“I honestly don’t know.” I admitted. “But I’ll find out. Just give me some time to figure out what happened.”
“Matt, what if there isn’t any time? How is she supposed to stay safe, if your friends don’t want her at Pentagon?” She huffed in exasperation. “What do I need to do to redeem myself for letting her into your life and pissing off your friends enough to hurt her?”
“Chelsea, I assure you, I had absolutely nothing to do with this. I’m not in the country. I’ve been gone for two weeks, and I don’t plan on returning until the following week. I could never let anything happen to Perla. I’ve done my best to keep her protected.” I stopped before I said more, hoping she’d ignored my last statement.
“I have to get back to her. She’ll be waking up at any moment. If you have any news, please share it with me.” She asked. I couldn’t deny her and agreed. We ended the call.
After lunch, Carolina and Eduardo escorted me to the spa to be taken care of by his stylist. After a couple of hours of grooming, I left the spa looking like a brand new man. I left behind Matt Keene, and returned to looking like Dr. Mathias Keene; a man I hadn’t seen in a couple of years since before my first marriage ended. I shaved away the beard Perla once asked me not to shave because she loved to rub her cheek on the coarse hair. The hair Perla used to clutch as I tasted her was cut tight to my scalp. I went to Spain as a broken, disheveled man, and I was returning to Boston a man determined to protect and win back his woman.
My discharge from the hospital was not comforting. At the hospital, I felt protected. I was checked on often by nurses and doctors, and I didn’t fear another kidnapping attempt. The knowledge of my captor on the loose left me anxious and scared because he knew my home address. The biggest concern was the captor’s motive. The only people who had it out for me were the Pentagon men. Chelsea kept me company at the hospital the whole night. She made me feel like we were having a grown up sleepover. She brought a few magazines and books. I tried to keep her cheered up, making jokes and reminiscing about our youth. She’d been in a sad mood ever since I woke up from my nap.
Chelsea drove me home on Route One when I asked her to take me to the mall in Saugus. I wanted to go to a big box store for some technology. I was excited to purchase a laptop, a tablet and a current smartphone with my same telephone number. The saleswoman informed me how I could program the tablet and the smartphone to provide the laptop with internet capability. I was happy to get home with my new toys. I’d never spent so much money on technology in my life. Succumbing to trends was out of my character.
I was too tired to go clothes shopping. Knowing I had plenty of appropriate clothes for the remainder of the week, I decided there was plenty of time to shop for dresses and ready to mix and match tops and bottoms. Chelsea took me home. I retrieved my mail, and found the large manila envelope with copies of my contract, employment letter, and human resources paperwork I needed to fill out and submit on my first day of work.
Chelsea wanted to stay and help me, but I shooed her out of my apartment and sent her home to be with her husband. She wouldn’t be comfortable staying in my place. It would’ve been nice to convalesce with someone staying with me. I missed not having Matt around. I knew he would take amazing care of me. I resigned myself to forever being alone, and the notion made me weep. How could I trust another man? The only man I could trust was my father, but with his advanced age, he wouldn’t be able to be there for me for much longer. When it came to love of a partner, I was a failure.
‘Shit. I miss him.’ I sobbed out, dropping my head in my hands. My head hurt, checking the time to see if I could take a pain killer. I had an hour until I could take more meds. I could’ve asked Matt to assist me with pain medication dosages and time line. I wanted to see him. Even a picture would’ve satisfied my need to connect. I lay in bed and turned on my new tablet, searching for his picture was in order. I hadn’t looked up his picture since my discovery and research of Pentagon. There were so many images of him in various settings and different ages. At the time, I couldn’t appreciate seeing him with his four friends sitting on the lawn of their school, or the picture of them graduating from boarding school. There was a picture of Matt with jet black hair and bare faced. He looked so young and handsome, like a model for a preppy clothing company. I wondered when he’d decided to grow out his hair and beard.
An online search of Dr. Mathias Keene produced hundreds of pictures. Scrolling through the images, the first dozen pictures were professional headshots for his medical practice. Pictures of him under Pentagon headings were mixed in. The ones which stole my breath were pictures of him in social settings . . . with his ex-wife. I could barely breathe. She was stunning. I made the mistake of looking at each picture, reading each caption, and comparing myself to her. She may have been a lovely woman, but in the moment, I despised her.
Sonia Carrion Keene had it all; a handsome husband, who practiced medicine, rich beyond her wildest dreams, and beauty which made men melt into a puddle of mush. Her long blonde hair cascaded along her creamy, slender shoulder. She stood beside Matt, smiling wide and baring her perfect white teeth. However, he looked stern and serious, much like the man I met in the examination room. Sonia’s bright blue eyes were captured flawlessly by the light. In heels, she was a few inches shorter than Matt. All I could focus on were her impeccably symmetrical facial features. She was a classic beauty, similar to the lead actresses in an Alfred Hitchcock film.
‘Why me?’ I asked. I really hadn’t asked the question before because I wasn’t curious about Sonia. Wanting Matt was the only thing on my mind, but since he was out of the picture, I questioned every fragment of time we spent together. If he wasn’t interested, a man wouldn’t continue fucking a woman for months after obtaining what he’d used her for. Even weeks after my last sexual encounter with Matt, I could still feel his desire for me. His fingertips still prickled my skin, gliding over my inner thighs to part them. ‘He fuckin’ wanted me.’ I exhaled, and nodded adamantly.
I lightly pressed my finger to his picture, sliding it along his jawline. My eyes welled with tears and my heart burned with ache. I loved touching his lips, running my thumb on the bottom lip as he flicked his tongue on the pad of my finger. He’d pretend to try to bite my thumb. Even through sorrow, I could still smile at the sweet memories of our time together. The nagging feeling it was all a lie invaded momentarily, and passed. The image onscreen moved, awakening me from my reveries.
The nagging urge to call him infiltrated my mind. I just wanted to hear his deep voice. Instead, I searched for a video of him; any recording of his voice and image would do. I shrieked with glee when I found an interview he filmed a year ago for a sports program asking him about the recovery of a local college basketball player. My heart skipped a beat and my pussy creamed at the sight of him. My body quivered in response to the stimuli of his virtual presence.
When the video was over, I felt satisfied. The act of watching him online wouldn’t be good for me to move forward, but it gave me instant gratification during those lonely periods of time. I set the tablet on my nightstand and plugged it in to charge. I heated some soup I found in my freezer.
As I ate, a thought came to mind. ‘How would I handle meeting with him regularly?’ I didn’t know what I would do. Not seeing him in person for two weeks had been difficult, but freed me from the emotional rollercoaster I’d been on. I did wonder if he was in town or if he had gone to Europe, as was expected. I dared not ask any of his friends where
I had no plan of how to get out of this crazy mess. The kidnapping made me hyper aware that I’d made many people despise me enough to cause me harm. Losing everything in my divorce to Ben, left me stagnant financially and professionally, but it also left me emotionally crippled and mistrusting. I felt no other option, but to turn the tables on Brady and accept the shares and use the sex tape as leverage to keep the gift. When the opportunities to regain my financial independence and expand my career options were placed in my hands, I had to take the best option for me. My desire for an chance to prove myself in corporate America and make money for the present and save for the future overshadowed my love for Matt. I was sure I beat Matt to the punch of ending our relationship before he realized he truly wasn’t in love with me.
I was awoken by the sound of my phone ringing. I missed the call, and groggily tried to retrieve it when I heard the buzzer for my door. My stomach leapt. It took me a while to figure out who could be furiously pressing the buzzer. I slowly got up from bed. I pressed the speaker and greeted with a “hello?”
“Perlz, it’s me Carson. I’m here to pick you up for dance.” I’d forgotten to tell Turner to pass a message to Carson I couldn’t go to practice.
“Oh, Carson. I’m sorry. I forgot to call. I’m sick.”