Prologue: “I know! Lets play hide and seek Ollie! Please!” Five year old Nola begged her best friend Ollie. “Okay but you have to count first!” he ran off and she covered her eyes to count. They had played a couple rounds when she heard it, the scream that would haunt her nightmares for the rest of her life. “Ollie?! she uncovered her eyes though she hadn’t quite reached ten. “Mom!” he screamed for his mom despite the fact they both knew she was shooting up in the house, forever oblivious to her son. His dad had left when Ollie was only three and with him went the only parent who ever paid any attention to him. His dad had been an addict aswell but when he wasn’t shooting up he actually cared. The same couldn’t be said for his mom. “mommy! help me!” were the final words Nola heard from her best friend before the man pulled him into his car and sped off “Ollie!” Nola ran after the car, desperate and terrified, wanting Ollie back and safe.
When she couldn’t run any longer she sobbed “Ollie, Ollie come back”
Present Day: Nola woke up with a gasp. She was twenty two now and she still had nightmares about the day her best friend was kidnapped. She sobbed much like she had as a frightened little girl “Ollie”
She took deep breaths to calm herself, wiping at the tears as she sat up. She had to find him. She got up, heading into the kitchen and starting a pot of coffee then going into the bathroom to wake herself up. Ollie. She missed him more and more every day. She had been told so many times that he was dead, but she knew that wasn’t true, she could feel it. She got out, pulling on a loose t-shirt and a pair of panties then grabbed her lap top and went to the kitchen table. While the computer booted up, she poured herself a cup of coffee, making it extra sweet to help her wake up. The sound of Ollie’s screams were still fresh in her mind, how terrified he had been. She couldn’t imagine what he had been going through, what those monsters must have done to him. She sat down in front of her computer and opened up the file with his name on it.
She had pictures from his childhood, some she was in with him since they spent most of their time together as children. There were also estimations on what he might look like now so she’d still be able to recognize him. Nola also had a folder of every single tip the police station received. When she’d pay money out of her own pocket to have his story told on television with pictures she’d get more leads and save them to track down as fast as she could. Nola had websites aswell and shared Ollie’s story and pictures on Facebook every week. A couple times she had people on Facebook upset with her for sharing it so much but she just deleted those people. She was going to find Ollie and she didn’t care who she had to annoy to do it.
She decided to start with Facebook. This weeks post had a lot of shares and likes and words of encouragement, but no one with any kind of lead. She sighed as she started going through the sites she had set up. It frustrated her when she didn’t find anything other than the usual. She got up, filling her cup and setting on the counter so she could put pants on and check her mail. She pulled on a pair of sweats and grabbed her coffee and keys on the way out her door. She headed downstairs to the lock boxes, feeling dejected the whole way. She just wanted to find him. She sighed as she sat her cup down and opened her box, pulling out a stack of envelopes. She was sure they were all clients. She didn’t feel like working today, but she would still go through them. When she got back upstairs she sat down on the couch and started tearing open envelopes. There were some lost pet cases which would be easy enough, one cheating spouse case, and a letter from a young woman searching for her birth mother.
The last envelope was a bit suspicious. It had no name and the words urgent and emergency written across the front in red ink. She ripped it open and tipped it over, shaking out a letter and photograph. She picked up the photograph and her heart nearly stopped in her chest. She let her thumb brush over that face, the face she had looked at a thousand times. “Ollie.” She said out loud and quickly snatched up the letter, her hands shaking as she read it: You don’t know me and I have to be quick, if they find out they’ll kill me. I know you’ve been looking.”
Her heart was racing as she gripped the letter tighter and continued reading. “He’s alive and he thinks about you too. I only know about you because the only happy thing he talks about before he was taken was the time he spent with you.” The hand writing was getting messier but she knew they were rushing and she’d rather have a chicken scratch letter than no letter at all about Ollie. This seemed like the real deal, this person had a real picture of her childhood friend, the man she’d do anything to find. “Go to Duran street at 2:17am on a Wednesday or Friday night. I want to help you but I must get this sealed and off to you. I’ll try to write again”
Nola quickly checked the date on her phone. It was only Sunday. She looked back at the letter. Why Wednesday or Friday? She thought. Could this mystery person only get away then? She looked at the picture, feeling tears in her eyes. He was alive, she had known it, but seeing an actual up to date picture of him gave her a sense of relief. She was finally going to see him and bring him home. She had to start getting things together, first by getting as much work done as possible. She didn’t want to go out, but she knew it would be better if she didn’t have a ton of work to come home to. She decided to start with the missing pet cases.
She met with the owners as she always did to learn where they frequently took their pets. She had come to find that most the time lost pets could be found at one of the places their owner frequented with them. Cats and dogs were smart, they remembered where their owners went with them and they wanted to be found just as much as their owners wanted to find them. It’s why she always took those cases first, easy and fast money before she moved on to the harder stuff that would consume a lot of time. If she had no animal cases she’d take the cheating ones next. Cheaters pissed her off beyond reason and she liked catching them. She didn’t like the pain it would cause the person who had to see their worst fears realized but Nola knew she was ending prolonged pain and making a thoughtless ass pay for their actions.
Most of the animals were easy to find, but only one gave her issues. The cat refused to come down out of a tree and she wound up climbing up to it, scruffing it and doing a one handed climb back down. “Silly cat.” She said as she brushed leaves off of both of them. “Let’s get you home then and stay inside, you don’t want some dog turning you into mince meat.” Next was the cheating case. She already had a picture of the woman she was supposed to be following and her husband had sent her his wife’s schedule. She honestly felt bad for the guy. He had even tried to work things out when their relationship had taken a turn, but she obviously wasn’t as committed. She knew the rest of the day was going to be long, especially with Ollie on her brain.
Nola followed the woman until she returned home to her husband and didn’t see her do anything but that only meant she needed to follow her again tomorrow. Nola went home and decided to go ahead and look into the case where a woman was looking for her birth mother. The internet was the biggest help in cases such as this so it was one that she could spend the evening working on while she waited for Wednesday. She hated having to wait so damn long. Sunday, why did she have to get this letter on a Sunday? She barely even got into the mother case before she just couldn’t anymore. Ollie consumed her mind too much. She had been little but he had been her closest friend. Each memory meant so much to her, even then so she hadn’t forgotten a single day she spent with him.
She pulled Ollie’s files open and grabbed the envelope, pulling out the letter. She wante to compare the meeting place to the recent sightings of him. She pulled up google maps and put in the two locations. They were in the same town, but not close. She was sure the person who had written her had done that on purpose. Being to close to the location meant getting caught and he or she had said they would be killed if they were found out.
She studied the buildings around the meeting location. There was a diner there and would probably be where they would go to talk. “Just hang on Ollie.” She said as she looked at the picture of him again. She hoped he knew she had never given up.
She felt so close and that made Nola wonder if she would finally find him and if she’d have to tell him about his mother over dosing last year. She hadn’t given two shits about his mom but her parents still lived in that neighborhood and when Ollie’s childhood home went up for sale she couldn’t help but inquire about it. They had found his mother in bed, where she had practically lived her life. Her drug dealer was the one who had come to check on her because she hadn’t come to him in so long. The man of course didn’t tell the police that’s why he was worried but Nola nor Ollie hadn’t been stupid children, they knew who her dealer was. While she felt nothing for that pathetic excuse for a mother Nola knew Ollie probably would.
Crappy mother or not that was still his mother and she wouldn’t be home when Ollie returned. Nola had kept tabs on Ollie’s father too incase Ollie wanted to see him. He was clean now and had a new family so Nola was glad she had something good to say about at least one of his parents once she saved him.
The week seemed to drag on forever as she worked. She finally managed to catch the cheating spouse Monday afternoon and sent the photos to the husband, apologizing for the news and wishing him luck. She could only imagine what he must be going through. Next was the young woman looking for her birth mother. She stayed up late Monday and worked on it all through Tuesday, glad when she was able to track the woman down. She decided to call first, wanting to make sure she actually wanted to see her daughter.
“I think she’s been looking for you for awhile ma’am and I know it might be awkward, but I think it would give her closure to talk to you. Would it be alright to give her your contact information?” She was happy when the woman agreed and she thanked her then hung up and contacted her client, giving her the good news.
Nola was glad that tomorrow she could finally meet whomever had sent her the letter. The time was so ingrained in her mind she could practically see it when she closed her eyes. 2:17am, she needed to make sure she was there at 2:17am precisely. She was impeccable when it came to being on time but the preciseness of when they were supposed to meet stressed her out, especially since it was about Ollie. Only two shots a week at talking and it could apparently only be at 2:17am. If they hadn’t sent a picture of her childhood friend she’d worry she was being pranked, that someone was getting her hopes up just to knock the wind out of her tomorrow.
Her eyes snapped open when her alarm went off and she was quickly up and pulling clothes on. She made sure she had the letter and picture in case the person asked for proof of who she was and also her pocket knife in case it was a trap. She double checked she had everything she needed, then left. She was nervous as she drove, her heart beating a million miles an hour as she thought of Ollie. She arrived at the meeting place early and left her car to go to the diner across the street. It was a twenty-four hour place and she ordered two cups of coffee, one for her and one for her contact.
Nola’s leg bounced as she drank her coffee. With how high her nerves were right now she couldn’t help it. She was checking her phone every minute and almost precisely at 2:17 someone sat down at her table. “Nola?” The man look rugged that sat across from her, rugged and scared. She instantly noticed a shoulder injury. The way it was wasn’t natural, like it had been broken recently and was healing. “where’s the letter so I know it’s you?” She pulled it out and he sighed with relief “good, it made it’s way to you.”
“For starters he answers to Cade now but I know he remembers his name before they gave him a new one. Ollie has and is going through a lot. He doesn’t have the same use for them as he did when he was a child but…he needs your help and I can no longer know what I know and just turn a blind eye. I’m sorry and you should hate me for not reaching out sooner but I’m reaching out now and maybe together we can free him of his torture.”
“Did they do that to you?” She nodded at his shoulder.
“Then I can’t be mad. If they would do that to you then I can’t even begin to imagine what Ollie’s been through. I just want him back so please, I’ll do anything.”
“You have to understand, he’s not the little boy they took, he’s broken and I have no idea how he’ll respond to you.”
“Ollie is Ollie, I know him.”
“And it’s dangerous.”
“I don’t care, I’d walk through Hell for Ollie, just get me to him and I’ll get him out and make sure those bastards pay.”
“I can take you now if you can follow.”
“Finding Ollie has been my life. Take me to him, I brought my gun and I’ve taken quite a few self defense classes. I’m ready”
“Then come with me. We’ll ride in my car, they’ll know something is up if they see yours. Do you trust me enough for that?”
“I have to trust you implicitly if I want to find Ollie. Whatever you say I’ll do” They hurried to his car and once inside he said “when we get to a more secluded place I’m going to bound your hands and lay you down in the back. I’ll make it so you can break out though”
“You really are willing to trust me one hundred percent huh?”
“I told you, for Ollie, I’d do anything. I’m not scared.”
“I might also have to say things, bad things so don’t get mad at me.”
She laid a gentle hand on his shoulder. “I trust you, I can see this is hard for you and you’re scared so please trust me too.”
He nodded and started up the car, pulling away. She could see he was nervous, but she knew everything was going to be okay as long as they both stayed cool. When they made it to a place without any people they got out and he popped the trunk, grabbing a roll of duct tape while she took her gun and hid it in the front of her jeans and her knife in her bra. “Are you sure about this?” He asked.
“Yes, one hundred percent.” She put her arms behind her back and let him tape them together. He then lid her gently in the back seat and put a piece over her mouth.
“Just act scared. The tape is loose, but please don’t try escaping until you’re alone.” She nodded. “Okay, here we go.”
Laying down she could no longer see where they were going but once she had Ollie if he didn’t know the way back she was sure her phones GPS could guide them. When the car finally stopped Logan, the man who was helping Nola got out of his car and she could hear him talking to another man. “You know where to put her” the other man said and Logan got back in the car, driving a very short distance before coming to the back to get her. He whispered in her ear :remember, don’t try to escape right away. I swear the tape is loose and I’m not tricking you”
She nodded again and he picked her up, taking her into a large shed. There were two other men and there and a few terrified little boys. Nola could barely look at their faces. There was no innocence in their little faces, just pain and too much knowledge of how cruel people could be. Seeing these little boys she wondered if her worst fears for Ollie were what had become of him. The police had told her when she grew up that if he had been kept alive the purpose of his kidnapping was most likely to sell time with him to pedophiles if he wasn’t just a constant toy for one adult.
Logan sat her down and gave her one more worried look before leaving and locking the door behind him. Nola waited, counting to ten before jerking her wrists and pulling the tape completely loose. She tossed it on the floor then grabbed her phone and switched on the flashlight. “What are you doing?” One of the boys asked. He couldn’t be more than ten.
“You can’t, they’ll just beat you.”
She pulled the gun free and showed it to him. “They won’t get a chance.” She stuck it in the holster at her back.” She dropped down on her knees in front of him. “I’m looking for someone named Ollie, he’s going by Cade. Have you seen him?”
“He’s inside.” The boy ducked his head, looking ashamed.
“Hey, everything’s going to be okay. How about we all get out of here?”
“I’m going to go and get Ollie and then I’m going to call the cops and they’ll come save you.”
“But Ollie will tell them, he wont run with us. I..he’s scary”
“he was kidnapped as a little boy. He’s probably doing what he has to do to survive. He had sucha good heart as a boy, I know no matter what they’ve made him do he’s still good” The boy nodded “He’s nicer than the others I guess” Nola, needing to know more about who Ollie had become before facing him asked a hard question “has he done anything to you or the other boys?”
“He’s beaten us but he doesn’t..he” He looked like he was going to cry “shh, it’s okay” Nola didn’t think Ollie would become a pedophile himself even if he endured being raped as a child but the more information she had about how far they had taken him down the better.
“Yeah.” He hugged his legs to his chest. “He looks sad sometimes and he has bruises too.”
“He’s probably in a lot of pain, but I’ll save all of you and he’ll help me. What about Logan?”
“He does the same as Cade, they hurt him really bad once for not listening.”
“Alright, you guys all stay quiet.”
The boy nodded and Nola moved to the front of the shed. She used her phone to look at the lock. It was just a normal lock and from what she could see through the crack in the door, there was no padlock. They were using fear to ensure the kids stayed where they were. She pulled out her knife, flicked it open and wedged it between the door and the lock. She wiggled it a little then paused to listen and when she didn’t hear anything she wrenched on it until it slid back and she could open the door. She peeked out, keeping low so as not to draw attention to herself. She could see that there were lights on in the house and her heart thundered in her chest. Ollie was in there.
“Logan finally did his job right. After we had to kill those last two bitches we had we need some women again. I guess you really did set him straight Zack” Zack looked intimidatingly over at Logan “I’m not satisfied yet, so he brought us one good looking red head, we’ve sent him out dozens of times and he’s produced one fucking woman. That shoulder is going to find itself out of place again if you don’t come up with more”
“women are harder to get these days”
“Bullshit, there’s always some drunk bitch somewhere”
“we..well I just”
“He’ll do better” Ollie interrupted, not wanting Logan to talk himself into a bad spot again. The two left the room and Ollie asked in a hushed tone “why do you talk back like that when they are finally happy with you” Logan shrugged “I’m sorry, if I did a bad thing Cade”
Cade looked at him questioningly, picking up on the fact he wasn’t talking about what happened in the other room. He guessed it was guilt over kidnapping someone for his first time “They haven’t forced me to do that yet so I can only imagine how you feel”
“It’s not the fact of doing it…it’s who I brought here. I just, I wanted to apologize beforehand” They were called back in the room before any more could be said.
Nola stuck to the shadows as she moved across the yard, her knife ready. She would use her gun as a last resort since it was so noisy. She moved up to one of the windows and peeked in when she heard voices. Her heart stuttered when she saw him and she resisted the urge to call out. She could see Logan too, his head down at he listened to the other men in the room talk. She ducked down, needing a good way in. She moved slowly along the back of the house, happy when she found a basement window. It had been blacked out so there was no way to see in, but she didn’t hear anyone. She sat her phone down and used the knife to pry at it, trying to be as quiet as possible. When it popped open she froze and listened, waiting and when she didn’t hear anything she grabbed her phone and slid inside. The room was pitch black so she used her flashlight to illuminate it. She nearly threw up when she saw the bed and the straps and next to it a table with syringes and what she guessed were sedatives. She swallowed down the bile and moved across the room, looking for the door.
“Cade, I need you to go down and prepare the room for that little bitch Logan brought. Logan go get her, I’ll be down in a few minutes.”
Ollie felt his gut twist. The only time he had been down there was when he was being used as some perverts toy. “Why?” He had to ask.
“Question me again.” Zack snapped. “Do as your told, now.”
Already feeling sick to his stomach from the memories he began walking down to the basement. Nola heard someone coming and quickly hid, ready to attack. She couldn’t let herself get over taken. She had to save Ollie and those little boys who had already been through too much. When the man was all the way down in the dark basement she attacked him, swiftly putting the knife to his throat “don’t you dare scream” He grabbed her and slammed her onto the ground in self defense. He was moving to punch her when realization widened his eyes and he felt like he couldn’t breath. It was Nola, she was a woman now but this was Nola, he could feel it even though he couldn’t see her that well.
Ollie switched on the lights and it confirmed it “He…Nola?”
“Ollie, I’m sorry.” She said as she sat up and rubbed the back of her head. “Shit that hurt.”
“N…Nola, my god, Nola.” He quickly helped her up. “How?”
She hugged him, she couldn’t help it. “I’ve been looking for you for so long. I’m sorry I couldn’t save you.”
His heart twisted. He remembered the look on her face that day, the day he was taken and turned into whatever he was. He started shaking. “You shouldn’t be here, you shouldn’t touch me.”
“I’m here to save you, Ollie, you and those kids.”
He grabbed her shoulders and pushed her back. “You can’t, they’ll kill you.” He was still in shock it was her, Nola, the girl he throughly about every day to get him through his pain, his shame.
“Ollie, I can’t leave you here. I know I can’t possibly understand what you’ve been through but I can guess you’ve been afraid to leave and brain washed in some ways but I won’t leave here without you. You’re coming home and I’m going to help you heal”
“Nola, these people. If I leave they’ll….they’ll kill you”
“No they won’t. I don’t care what they’ve told you”
“Cade!” another man yelled down. Nola could see the fear, the years of abuse and domination from these men. “Ollie, I’m kicking their ass and I’m taking you home. Logan will help us fight, he’s the one who contacted me, he brought me here knowing who I am because he knew how badly I wanted to save you”
Ollie grabbed her when he heard footsteps coming down and pushed her against the far wall, his hand over her mouth. “Please, just be quiet, please.”
“Cade, where are you?”
Ollie stepped out. “Sorry, I was busy.”
“Doing what, you were told to get the room ready.” He grabbed Ollie by the back of his neck and shoved him toward the bed. “Or maybe you need to be punished first.”
“No, I’ll do it.”
He grabbed Ollie by the throat. “Are you telling me what to do you little shit?”
Nola felt rage bubble up in her and she came up behind him, hitting him in the back of the head with the butt of her gun. He let Ollie go and she hit him again when he started to turn, making him stagger and fall over. “Piece of shit.” She kicked him in the head, wanting to make sure he was out.
“Wh…what did you do? Why, Nola? They’ll kill you, they’ll hurt you and it’ll be my fault. I can fix this, I…I…”
She stuck her gun in her waist band and grabbed his face, making him look at her. “Ollie, look at me, look in my eyes.” His eyes looked into hers. “Trust me, I’m not going to let them hurt you or those kids anymore. I didn’t come this far just to lose you again. I need you to survive.”
“They understand, they really do. They know how scared you and even Logan have been and I know they’ll forgive you.” She pressed their foreheads together. “Please come with me, please help me, I need you.”
“I’ve done unforgivable things Nola..I’m..you shouldn’t even be touching me, not someone like you”
“Ollie, stop that, I can forgive anything you’ve done. You’ve been through so much. You grew up in hell and even before all this you didn’t exactly live in the best setting. We will talk about this all when I have you out of here though. Please, let me help you. I am not helpless. I’ve taken many classes that have taught me to defend myself and kick ass when it’s needed. As a private detective I sometimes need to know how to defend myself”
He could have sworn his heart trembled. She had such kind eyes and a warm aura about her. He was so used to being around deplorable people just being around someone so bright and loving had him emotional. It was only made worse by it being Nola. She had always been his saving grace and now she was here, wanting to pull him out of the life he had been living. He gave in to her wanting to help and followed Nola up stairs. When they were near the top she handed him her knife “don’t be afraid Ollie, protect yourself”
Logan had known Nola was there and that she wasn’t just going to be another victim of this household but he was still shocked to see her come out of the basement with Cade. Logan had grabbed a weapon as well and quickly pulled it out. Today was now or never for his freedom and Logan was going to fight these bastards with everything he had. “what the fuck are you doing!” one of the men spat. “My name’s Nola and Ollie is coming home with me”
“There;s nobody here named Ollie, isn’t that right Cade?”
“His name is Ollie” Nola said angrily. “His name is Cade and he belongs to us. You just take that cunt by her hair and break her for us. It’ll be your new job, breaking the bitches to sell” Ollie had felt fear and deep, suffocating sadness so many times as an adult but for the first time since he was a child he felt intense rage. They spoke horribly and degradingly about women all the time but this was Nola, he wasn’t going to talk about Nola that way.
Ollie didn’t even remember moving, only that he suddenly had the man pushed against the wall and the knife pressed to his throat. “I…I’m not your toy anymore, you bastard.” He wanted to kill him. For the first time in his life he wasn’t the helpless little boy. “You don’t talk to her like that ever.”
“What the fuck do you think you’re doing?” It was Zack and his voice sent a spike of fear through Ollie.
“Your favorite little dog is being disobedient, Zack.” The man is Ollie’s grasp said. “Logan too.”
“Drop the knife, Cade.” Zack ordered and Ollie had to stop himself from flinching. “Now!”
“No.” He shot back. “I’m not your dog, I…I’m not your toy, and my name is Ollie.” He was terrified, but he wasn’t going to let Nola down. “Nola, call the police.”
Nola pulled out her phone and dialed 9-1-1. “Address?” Ollie told her and when the operator answered she told them where they were, all the while keeping her gun trained on the asshole named Zack.
“Cade, you are well aware of the other people involved in this. You may leave tonight but that won’t be the end, even if we’re locked up it won’t be the end. Dreas is supposed to be coming with Nick and Vrone tomorrow. I’ll make sure they find out it was you two that got us arrested. Let him go like a good boy Cade or that little bitch over there will suffer far worse than you ever did and when I get back out” Zack chuckled darkly “I’ll be coming straight for you to put you back in your place”
“Ollie, don’t listen to him” Logan said fearfully “His name is Cade isn’t it?”
“No…it’s not” Zack tried running at Logan since he was nearest to him. He didn’t believe Nola had the guts to pull the trigger. She looked to sweet and spoiled to him. Nola didn’t hesitate a moment. She went to the shooting range once a week and kept herself familiar with her gun. She even went hunting now and then so she was nowhere near gun shy. Zack let out something that was a mix of a groan and a scream “you fucking bitch”
“I’ll shoot you again you asshole! His name is Ollie and he’s coming home with me and I don’t care who you send I’ll…I’m not a little girl anymore. I will kill any bastard who tries to touch him or Logan”
Logan was surprised that she would include him and Ollie felt a knot forming in his throat at her absolute conviction. “You are so fucked.”
“No, you and your friends are. People like you don’t do well in prison and believe me when I say that they’ll know what you’ve done before you even set foot in prison.”
They all three stood there, Ollie refusing to relinquish his hold, Logan ready for another attack and Nola still pointing her gun at Zack in case he decided to get up. When the police arrived, Nola, Ollie and Logan put their weapons away and held up their hands as Nola explained who she was and that Ollie and Logan were victims. She directed them to the children out back as she, Ollie and Logan were escorted out. “Do you think we’ll be arrested?” Ollie asked as he sat with Nola and Logan on the curb.
“No, I’ll make sure they know what happened to both of you.” Nola said as she slowly wrapped her arms around Ollie’s shoulders. “I’m not letting them take you.”
Ollie wrapped his arms around her waist, feeling tears in his eyes. He was actually free. When the children were being taken to police cruisers, the boy that Nola had spoken to in the shed broke away and walked over to them, stopping in front of Ollie. Ollie couldn’t bear to look at the child, feeling like he was just as much a monster as the men who had taken him. “I…I’m sorry.” He whispered and the boy hugged him.
all I care about is seeing my momma” the little boy looked at Nola “thank you mam”
“You’re welcome” It felt like they questioned Ollie and Logan for days even though it was only hours. Nola hadn’t been allowed to sit with Ollie so it was torturous for her, especially because she knew how scary it had to be for them. Nola glanced at the time when she finally saw Ollie come out of the interrogation room. 2:17am had been when this all started and it was now it was nearly 1:00pm. She ran to Ollie, hugging him again. “what’s going on?”
“They say as long as I show up to court with the testimony I have there won’t be any charges for the things they made me do” he looked ashamed again. Her heart ached for him and she had no idea what to even say. “when will you be done with Logan?” She asked the officers “I’ll go check for you mam”
“They need rest, they have been here too long already”
“They’ve got a lot to tell us. We let Ollie go to the bathroom and gave him drinks and snacks. We aren’t torturing them or anything”
“still, Logan needs to be out here soon so I can take them back to my house” One of the officers walked away and Nola had Ollie tell her the court date and time so she could log it in her phones calendar. Logan came out soon after, looking just as ashamed as Ollie after telling the cops everything. He had the same deal as Ollie, as long as he showed up in court there would be no charges filed against them. Nola started to walk out with the two men but one of the cops stopped them “listen, we’re going to take shifts parked in front of your house indefinitely. These men are sick and they keep sick company. Until we feel you three will be safe from harm we’ll be sitting out front of your home”
“Hell we’re all just impressed you found Ollie. We all here thought you were wasting your time but here he is”
“No amount of time would have ever made me give up.” They left and she took them to her home “let me call my parents” Ollie swallowed and found the courage to ask “what ever happened to mine Nola? I mean…did they care I was gone?”
“I’m going to hug you again before I answer if that will be okay”
“You don’t have to ask Nola”
“You sure I don’t?”
“I’m sure, just hug me if you want it” Nola moved closer to him and wrapped Ollie in a tight hug before answering “Your mother died, she over dosed last year” She could feel him crying “I’m sorry Ollie”
“did she care though, that I was gone. I want you to answer honestly, don’t just try to make me feel better with lies Nola”
“No…I’m so sorry…I mean maybe she did and just didn’t express it but…she never reached out to me or anything before she died. I only she died at all because your old home went up for sale and my parents still live in that neighborhood” He sobbed into her and when it was quite enough she knew for sure he would hear her she pushed out of his arms enough to look at his puffy, soaked face “but your dad Ollie, it killed him to lose you. He checks in with me almost every single week to see what I know and sometimes offers help. He’s clean now, he hasn’t touched drugs since you were kidnapped. He hated himself for using after you were taken. He has told me many times that some days all he could think about was how it could have easily been him. That he did drugs all the time when you were in his care and it could ahve been him shooting up when he was supposed to be responsible for you. It’s kept him clean and it’s made him an incredible dad to the kids he has now. He’s married and has a good family, he takes care of them. Your dad loves you so much and he’ll be over the moon to know you’re safe. I want to take you to see him at somepoint if that will be okay with you”
“I just need some time. We can let him know I’m okay, but maybe he can give me some time to settle in and everything.”
“I’m sure he will.”
Nola called her parents and told them she had found Ollie alive. They had a million questions and she answered the ones she could before telling them she would call tomorrow. Ollie and Logan both looked ready to collapse and she wanted them to get some rest. She gave them a quick walk through of her home then showed Logan to the guest room. “Feel free to shower and nap, I’m sure you’re exhausted. I’ll go clothes shopping for both of you in a bit.”
“Thank you.” Logan said. “I don’t deserve this, but still.”
“Yes you do, you helped me save Ollie.” He just nodded and she took Ollie to her room. “You can sleep here, I’ll use the couch, it pulls out so it won’t be a problem.”
“You don’t have to do that.” He looked a little distressed and she pulled him into a hug.
“Could you maybe stay with me? I…I don’t want to sleep alone.”
Her heart broke for him, at how terrified he sounded. “Are you sure?”
“Yes, please.” He wanted to tell her that he felt vulnerable by himself, like at any moment someone would burst in and hurt him again. She made him feel safe. Even when he was a boy, just the thought of her helped.
“Alright, how about we nap and then we all go shopping. You two need your own things.”
“Okay, can I keep my clothes on?”
“Ollie, you can do anything you want. You’re free now” He looked a little embarrassed “I know..I think it will be hard to get over asking. If I’d forget to ask if I could do something…it always had really bad consequences.”
“I understand, come on, lets go lay down” Ollie stayed fully clothed as they relaxed in her bed and her heart broke for him again. It was over now but in his mind she knew it would be a long time before it was really over. Her cellphone ringing woke the two of them up. While she woke up peacefully he woke up panicking “Ollie, Ollie calm down, it’s okay. It’s my phone” he was breathing heavily as she hugged him “It’s okay Ollie” Hearing a cellphone go off so close to him, he had for a few moments thought a stranger was at his bed looking to collect what they had paid for.
Ollie sobbed violently. He was so embarrassed and so relieved it was just Nola.She hated herself for not thinking to silence her cellphone. Logan came running “Is everything okay?”
“It’ll be fine Logan. When Ollie is more relaxed we’re going to the store.”
“I’ll get ready then” Nola held Ollie until he was calm then said “I’m so sorry about my phone”
“No, it’s okay”
“I should have considered it possibly scaring you Ollie” He wiped his face and she asked “are you sure you can handle shopping with me?”
“I want to, I want to start doing my best to be normal.”
“Okay, let me just change clothes and we’ll go” When they were all ready they went out to her car. She had gotten it back at the police station earlier that day. Nola made the trip as short as possible. They each picked out some new clothes and she picked up a little food for the house. Nola stopped taking all calls except from her parents up until the trial. Nola could see how afraid Ollie and Logan were to be in the same room as their abusers so she was incredibly proud of them when they delivered their testimony in court. With the huge hurdle of court out of the way Nola began trying to figure out who Logan was. According to Ollie and Logan they gave all the boys new names. Logan had been there long before Ollie so neither boy knew his name.
“How did you manage to remember yours Ollie?”
“I was a little older than most the kids they kidnap and…well…I dreamt about you all the time. You were always calling my name when we’d play together. If I wasn’t having bad dreams I was dreaming about the girl who I’d spent my childhood with before being taken. It was always so sweet to hear your voice. It made my real name impossible to forget.” Nola blushed
“Yeah, you were my only happiness in such a terrible place.” He looked at his feet, feeling embarrassed. “I guess maybe I…” He sighed. “It doesn’t matter.”
“It does matter, what is it?”
“Could I use your laptop, I want to look up missing person’s reports.” Logan said. He could see what Ollie was trying to say and he thought maybe if he left them alone, he would say it.
“Sure, it’s sitting on my chest of drawers.”
“Never needed one.” He left and she turned her attention back to Ollie. “What’s wrong?”
“I’m fine, really.”
She took his face gently in her hands. “I can see you’re not, please talk to me. You know I’ll listen, I’ll do anything for you, so tell me.”
“It’s just every day was such a hell, but remembering you saved me. I…I love you, Nola, even though I shouldn’t. I’m so broken and dirty, but I really do.”
“Ollie, you’re not dirty at all. I love you too. I’ve always loved you Ollie and it’s why I could never give up on finding you. So many times well meaning people told me to just start living my life but I could never have one without you”
“I just…I love you but I don’t know how to love you” She took his hand “theres no certain way to love. I’m going to help you heal Ollie, I’m going to show you overwhelming love until all your pain goes away and you don’t feel dirty any more” A few days later Ollie asked “can I see my mothers grave?”
“Of course, I don’t know where she was buried but it shouldn’t be hard to find out. I was and am so angry at her. I mean” she scoffed before continueing “she was never even sorry from what I saw that you had been taken because she wasn’t being responsible. She never once asked about you or made any kind of effort…until the end all she loved was her drugs” Ollie hugged her “she was truly awful but I need to see her grave”
“let me look into the records” Nola took her laptop from Logan who was still using it hoping he could find out who he really was. He had high hopes if he figured out who he really was he might have a family that loved him. Ollie and Nola were amazing and his close friends but he wanted a family if he could have it. Nola easil figured out where Ollie’s mom was buried and took Ollie there. She invited Logan but he wanted to stay and search the web more. “I hate it so much we can’t figure out who he is” Nola said and Ollie responded “and I hate even more the two families who have given him hope, claiming he was their lost child only to find out they have no biological match”
Nola sighed “yeah, I’m going to start a similar campaign though tonight. I’m going to plaster him everywhere with photos of what he should have looked like when he was kidnapped. Hopefully someone will reach out again like Logan did to me”
“Thank you Nola..really, you didn’t have to help him too. You could have just saved me and washed your hands of him. Thank you for saving my friend”
“He’s a good man”
“I wish we were Nola”
“Ollie, we’ve talked about this. You are a good person. You did bad things but they weren’t really your choices and if they would have killed you for being too disobedient you wouldn’t be around today to be free”
“I appreciate what you try to do for me Nola but it doesn’t take away my guilt…”
“I love you Ollie”
“I love you too..thank you” When they got to the grave yard it was obvious nobody ever came to see her. There was absolutely no care taken in keeping her grave looking nice but not even Ollie cared. Nola watched as he started talking to her “Mom…Anna really…you birthed me but you were never my mother..you know. I like to think that maybe you did care at some point about what your lack of care cost but I know deep down thats just a fool hearted hope..I hate you…I hate you and I wish…I….but Nola, I won take my anger to the grave. Nola has filled my heart with so much love and happiness and I wont allow you to taint that…I wanted to see you today to tell you that. That I refuse to hate you any more. I’m going to let it go because Nola deserves better than a bitter ass and you don’t deserve to be thought of for even a second”
Nola let him get everything out then when she was sure he was done she hugged him.
“I want to go home.”
“Okay, we’ll go wherever you want.”
When they got home he took her hand and pulled her into their room, wanting to cuddle with her for a bit. He felt childish, but he really needed her. She didn’t complain or deny him, just laid down with him and let him hold onto her, his forehead pressed against hers, his eyes closed. For a moment she thought he had fallen asleep, his breathing was so even and he seemed so calm, but then he opened his eyes and she gave him a warm smile, letting him know she was still there and that she still very much loved him. He found himself lost in her eyes, those eyes that seemed to reflect everything she was feeling. She was so warm and soft and beautiful, everything he had never thought to have and before he could think he kissed her. It shocked him and he quickly pulled away, terrified he had just done something wrong. “Sorry, I’m sorry. I…I won’t do it again. I…”
“Ollie, easy, it’s okay, it’s okay to kiss me. I’m not mad, you just surprised me is all.”
“I should have asked.”
“You never have to ask, I love you, so kiss me all you like.”
“I don’t want to end up hurting you. I could be like them.”
“Shh, never in a million years, I promise.”
He tucked some loose hair behind her ear “I carry so much guilt Nola. If I added hurting you…I just couldn’t live with myself any longer. I wouldn’t want to live any more”
“I know with absolute certainty you’d never hurt me Ollie” Fearfully he moved in for another kiss, already addicted to how it felt. He had been kissed on the lips many times by his many rapists but for the first time in his life, a kiss felt incredible. They got lost in how amazing it felt and kept kissing until Logan knocked “what do you two want for dinner?” Nola giggled, especially at how adorably embarrassed Ollie was “Some sort of pasta” Nola called and Logan walked away from the door. “that was a good step Ollie. You’re my boyfriend whom I love with every fiber of my being. I want to be intimate with you but with what you went through it needs to be completely at your pace. If you want to do something do it”
“and you’ll tell me to stop if you don’t want it”
“Of course I will so don’t be afraid”
“I’ll try, I just love you so much”
“I know and it warms my heart how much you care about my feelings.” They laid there happily talking until Logan called them for dinner that night. Over dinner Nola couldn;’t help but think about how far the three of them had come. Six months had passed since she saved these two and they both had made more progress than she would have thought after only six months. She had so much hope for their futures and she hoped Ollie’s self worth would continue to rise and that he’d one day fully realize just how good of a heart he had.
~ The End