You suppressed the groan rising in your throat as you willed your eyes to open. The hammering pain in your head only worsened as the dim light in the van greeted you. You looked around somewhat frantically before everything came back to you. The fight between you and Dan, the strange knock at your door, and now here you were, trapped in a van with your captors.
It must have been hours since Dan walked out. Oh god, you thought to yourself. Dan doesn’t even know what’s going on. He’s gonna think I just walked out or something, no one’ll even realize what’s happened.
You took a few short, frantic breaths as you tried to subtly wriggle out of the ties around your wrists.
“Oh, look who’s awake.” One of the men smiled grimly. “Unfortunately, you’ve got another nap to take, love.” He quickly stuck you with another needle and within moments, your world was turning black again.
“Another?” The bartender asked Dan, nodding towards his empty glass. Dan didn’t even look up; he was leaning on the bar with his head hung, his eyes tracing the grain in the wood as he thought over what had happened earlier that day.
“Suit yourself,” the bartender grumbled before walking away. Dan bit his inner cheek and pulled out his wallet, tossing enough cash to cover his tab before leaving. He zipped up his hoodie as the cold winter air greeted him and pulled out his phone, dialing the same number he had been trying to reach all night. The phone rang and rang, but little did he know it was strewn on the floor back home, vibrating with no one there to answer it. Dan didn’t even bother leaving a message. He grabbed a cab instead, deciding you two needed to talk face to face anyways.
He walked up to the front door, his hair in utter disarray from running his hand through it so much. He fumbled as he tried to put his key in the lock, the alcohol obstructing his coordination.
When he finally got the lock to click, he opened the door to find an unusual sight. The rug right by the door had seemingly been kicked to the side, and there your phone lay, a few feet to Dan’s left. He picked up your phone, pressed the home button, and saw you were in the process of dialing a number when you were interrupted for some reason. The number 99 was displayed on the top of the screen. Dan let out a shaky breath and pulled his own phone from his pocket, his fingers shaking so much he could barely press the keys he wanted to.
“Hey, mate.” Kyle answered chirpily.
“I- uh… something happened. Something- something bad. I dunno what. I need you to get down here. Fast.” Dan stammered out, his eyes still locked on your phone.
“Wh- I mean, yeah. Yeah. Of course, I’ll- I’ll be right there.” Kyle said, all optimism absent in his tone. Dan ended the call and ran a hand through his hair.
“I…I need to call the police.” He muttered aloud to himself.
Dan was sitting on the porch step when Kyle’s car pulled up. The police had already arrived, interviewed Dan, and taken all the evidence they could - which was an underwhelming amount. All but one police car had left, and it’s flashing lights were the only thing lighting up the yard.
“Mate, what happened?” Kyle asked, taking a seat next to Dan.
“I- I dunno.” Dan muttered, wringing his hands nervously. “Fuck, I never should have said what I said…” Dan growled in anger. “She’s… She’s gone, and the last thing we did was fight. The last thing she’s gonna remember of me is me walking out on her. If I hadn’t been such a prick-”
“Dan, it’s not your fault.” Kyle interrupted him, shaking his head. “There’s no way you could’ve known this was gonna happen. Now, the guys are on their way, but did you tell her old partner? She talked about him, right? They used to work together before her accident.”
Dan nodded. “He said he thinks it could be the people who caused the crash in the first place. The bust they were working on… he said they put a hit out for her and anyone else working the case. They didn’t want anyone to be able to testify against them.” Dan bit his inner cheek.
“They’ll solve this, mate. They’ll get her back.” Kyle reassured Dan.
“I can’t stay here. Not tonight, not when this is going on.”
“Right, let’s go to my place tonight. I’ve got a couch you can crash on. I’ll tell Woody and Will just to meet me there. We’ll all get through this together, yeah?” Kyle clapped Dan’s back as the two of them headed over to his car.
“It’s not me I’m worried about.” Dan muttered.
A/N: sorry this part was so short! I’ll have another part posted soon, I promise!
You were coming up on your sixth week in New Zealand, and you loved everything about it so far. You were being paid to go on adventures and take photos; you couldn’t ask for a better job.
In the time since you had left London, your relationship with Kyle had certainly changed. He had driven you to the airport, rambling on about what a good opportunity this was the whole way. He walked you as far as the gate your plane was at, but as you said your goodbyes, he became increasingly jittery and nervous.
“I’ll be back eventually, Kyle.” You chuckled. “Don’t go getting a new best friend while I’m gone, yeah?” You teased. Kyle looked up at you with a serious expression.
“What?” You asked, growing slightly nervous yourself.
“I… Uh, I’ve been thinking and- and,” Kyle stammered, running a hand through his hair, “I don’t want you to leave as my friend.” He frowned at his statement, unhappy with how it came out. “Wh- what I mean is, I know you remember our kiss, and… I want us to be more than friends. I’m asking you to be my- my girlfriend.” Kyle finally said, flashing you a nervous smile.
You opened your mouth to say something, but admittedly, you were a bit blindsided. Kyle noticed your hesitation.
“I mean, we could skype at night, and there’s always the phone and texting, and I can come and visit!” Kyle suggested enthusiastically.
You smiled and shook your head. You looked at Kyle for a brief second before cupping his jaw in your hand and pressing your lips against his. Kyle, after overcoming his initial shock, wrapped his arms around your waist and pulled you closer. A few minutes passed, and after a few gawking travelers had passed by, you eventually pulled back. You took a few hard breaths and broke into a smile. Kyle grinned down at you, his eyes wrinkling at the corners.
“Well then.” You finally broke the silence. “I should be off.” You sighed, not wanting to leave.
Kyle’s shoulders sank and he wrapped you in one last hug before you left. He held you close, and you buried your head in his chest. The woman at the boarding desk called out the last call for boarding, and you eventually pulled yourself back from his embrace.
“I’ll see you in a bit, yeah?” You offered Kyle a smile despite the tears in your eyes.
“Count on it.” Kyle nodded sincerely, pressing a quick kiss to your cheek before you left.
The memory replayed in your head as you drove towards the airport, excitement filling you at the thought of seeing Kyle again. You had so much to tell him about all the things you had seen, and how your work was going so far. You suspected he had a lot to tell you as well about how things were going with the band back home, and whatever else was going on. You had been talking on the phone late into the night just about every other day, but you missed seeing the way Kyle got excited about everything he talked about; the way his eyes would light up and how he’d make excited hand motions.
As you drove up to the terminal, you spotted Kyle almost immediately. His height caused him to stand out from the crowd, and he was wearing a (rather horrible) neon-yellow shirt with a cat on the front.
You pulled up beside him and Kyle broke into a grin as you got out of the car. He swept you up in a big hug, lifting you up off the ground and spinning you in a circle.
“I’ve missed you.” Kyle murmured as he pressed a few kisses to your cheek.
“I’ve missed you too.” You giggled before playfully shoving Kyle off you. “Come on, we’ve got a long car ride.”
While driving back to your place, you told Kyle about all the adventures you had been on. You recounted the story of the first expedition you led, and how you and your team got lost in the rainforest during a storm. You even had a few printed photos in the glove compartment that Kyle began to shuffle through.
“These are wicked!” Kyle complimented sincerely, staring wide-eyed at your photos. He slowly made his way through the deck of pictures before coming to some unusual ones you had taken on a whim.
“What are these?” Kyle asked, his voice a bit more serious than before. You glanced over at what he was holding.
“Oh, they’re… nothing.” You shrugged it off as if they were unimportant. Kyle was holding up a few telephoto lens pictures of men lurking around in suits almost out of view.
“They look a bit odd, these guys in the suits…” Kyle mumbled, taking a closer look. You let out a small sigh and decided to tell him about what you had been photographing lately.
On a few of your most recent photography excursions, you had started noticing odd things. You had repeatedly run into a group of men wearing suits in the middle of the rainforest, having a quiet (yet harsh sounding) conversations. It would only last a few minutes before the group would disperse, each man heading in his own direction. One time, you had followed them from a safe distance to see where they were going- the journalist in you got the better of your intuition. You followed them for half an hour, only to look a way for one second. When you turned back, they were gone. They had just vanished into thin air. It made you wonder if there was something wrong with you.
“I dunno…” you shrugged. “Maybe it’s nothing, but I thought it was strange. Maybe it’ll land me a story in the new magazine.”
“Well, I think everything you’ve been doing here sounds fantastic. So, have we got any plans for today?” Kyle asked with a suggestive wink, to which you shook your head.
“I was thinking we could go ziplining.” You suggested, ignoring his innuendoes.
“I’ve always wanted to try that!” Kyle beamed, excitement apparent in his eyes.
“Ready, love?” Kyle shouted from the platform a few metres away from yours.
“Ready!” You yelled back, adrenaline already filling you. “One, two,” you got ready to leave the platform, “three!” You let out a whoop as you took off, flying over the dense rainforest below. You looked over at Kyle, who had a manic grin as he took in the sights around him.
The two of you were quickly approaching a clearing in the forest, and three black figures came into view. You called out to Kyle and pointed below at what looked like the same few men you had been seeing again and again.
After realizing what you were telling him to do, Kyle ducked his head down, trying to find what you were pointing at. He looked up at you, confused. You glanced back at the clearing, and everyone was gone. Great. Now Kyle’s gonna think I’m a nutter, you thought to yourself.
Kyle waited until the two of you had gotten out of your gear and into the car to say anything.
“Look, love…” He began with a sigh, and you shook your head.
“Kyle, I know it doesn’t seem like it, but there was something there. The men in the suits, I swear.” You looked over at him, pleading for an ounce of faith.
“There was nothing there,” Kyle insisted with a soft tone, “I looked down, an-and no one was there. They couldn’t have just vanished like that.”
You remained silent for a while, staring only at the patch of car park gravel in front of you. Maybe it was a figment of your exhausted, somewhat lonely imagination. You had been spending weeks in the wilderness with very little contact with others. You had proof, but maybe you’re tired mind was making something into nothing. It was possible…
“Maybe I’m just tired. I dunno.” You shrugged with a sigh. Kyle reached over and took your hand in his, rubbing circles on the back of it with his thumb.
“It’ll be ok, yeah?” He smiled reassuringly, then leaned in to give you a kiss.
Kyle’s stay, whether it had been a week or a year, couldn’t have been long enough for you. You had crammed in as much soppy romantic things you could in his stay, complete with Kyle’s cheesy pick up lines and awful jokes, but you were still left with a feeling of grief when you saw him disappear into the airport crowds.
Despite what had happened with Kyle, you had decided to continue pursuing the odd people in the forest. You printed out all the photos of the men, and now you were sitting on your bedroom floor with what must have been hundreds of photos all around you. You pulled out your phone and called your editor.
“ ‘Ello?” He answered groggily. Damn timezones.
You quickly exchanged greetings before getting to the point. “On my trips I’ve taken for all my assignments, I’ve been noticing… odd things. Odd people, to be specific. Everywhere I go, there’s these men in suits lurking around in the forest. I started snapping pictures as soon as I realized they were the same people, so I’ve got proof, and I know this isn’t normally the type of story we do, but-” Your ramblings were cut off.
“Are you sure this’ll pan out?” He asked, obviously anxious to get back to sleep.
“Yes.” You answered confidently. There was a moment of silence as your editor thought things over.
“Alright. You’ve been one of our best photojournalists these past few weeks, so I’m gonna give you the benefit of the doubt and trust you. We need something new to bring up sales, anyways. I’ll call you in a few days and see how things are going.” And with that, he hung up.
You smiled, proud of yourself, and began cleaning up the mess of photos around you.
Almost 12,000 miles away, Kyle was pacing back and forth in his bedroom, anxiously running a hand through his hair.
He had dark circles under his eyes, and the way he was drumming his fingers against his thigh would have told anyone how nervous he was.
“Come on, pick up!” He muttered angrily as the other line just rang and rang.
“What, Kyle?” The other voice finally greeted, sounding very annoyed.
There are still so many people that don’t understand the power of representation and seeing a reflection of yourself in the stories and entertainment you indulge. When a woman becomes Thor or a black character becomes Captain America, a new portion of the audience suddenly stops feeling like outsiders in a medium they love.