After the Bomb

Before the bomb, Vanessa Winters was normal, or as normal as a 22-year-old could be when they’re part of a security detail, for billionaire business woman, Sophie Hudgens.

After the bomb went off things changed. Thrown into a pool of mystery and foul play Vanessa finds herself wound into the plot of something much bigger. Maybe it would have been better to keep her mouth shut, and play along, but she wants to know the truth, whether people want her to find it or not. Along with hasty alliances, mysterious clues and the help of her brother, Toby, can Vanessa really find the truth?

Money means power but it also means problems. Maybe you can hide behind the fame for a while but sooner or later someone can wash that away, and all your left with is the truth.


Author's note

Updates are probably going to be pretty irregular with this.

8. Chapter Seven

- Chapter Seven -

I found that you could go home when you wanted. I'd obediently sat in my office, finding things to research online when a sharp knock came at the door. 

It was Ford again and he looked confused. "Baker keeping you busy already? It's only your first day." 

I shrugged as I wasn't sure what he meant by it. 

"You know you can leave whenever?" He told me and I flushed a little red. How was I supposed to know how it worked here? "If you don't have stuff to do, he doesn't make you wait around. He'll call you if he needs you back in." 

I was relieved that he'd had the decency to turn up at my door to tell me. I'd struggled for the last few hours with occupying myself. There was only so much you could search into bombs, before you became too overloaded with information.  

I packed the envelope back in my bag, getting to my feet. "You off too?" I asked him, trying to keep the conversation from falling into awkwardness. 

He nodded his head and got out of my way as I came to the door, shutting it behind me. We walked together down the corridor and I wanted to ask so many questions. He obviously knew a lot more about this company than I did. 

"Is Baker good to work for?" I chose to ask as we exited door A. 

Ford seemed pretty convincing as he answered, "yeah, it's not bad." 

I couldn't think of what else to ask without sounding like I was digging for information too much. We descended the stairs in silence, and butler man was at the door, opening it for us as we approached. 

"Evening, Jones," Ford mumbled out to him as he went through the door. 

I muttered my thanks too, pleased that at least I had what I expected to be a last name to put to his face. Jones seemed far too boring for someone as scary and striking as him. 

Ford said, "I guess I'll see you around," before he made his way over to an expensive looking jaguar car. 

"Yeah, see you." 

I walked to my obviously less expensive car. The only thing vaguely exciting about it was that it was a VW, which had caused me much amusement because they were also, my initials. I threw my bag in the back and adjusted the seat slightly, watching in the wing mirror as Ford sped out of the car park. I wondered what sort of family he had to go back to or whether he lived alone. I imagined he had a girlfriend, he striked me as someone who easily attracted people. I couldn't say the same for myself. 

It had been Toby and I since I was 18, that was as full as my little house got. I rarely had visitors and when I did, it was usually Kirby, although I expected I would be seeing less and less of him now we didn't work together. I tried not to think about it as I joined the road which would take me back towards the city. 

I picked up a take away on the way to my house, thinking Toby might appreciate it after his day at work. 

"Toby!" I yelled when I walked through the door, entering the kitchen. "I bought takeaway." 

There was no reply, not even a faint grunt. The TV was off and when I strained my ears it didn't sound like he was in his bedroom either. 

"Toby!" I repeated, checking in the lounge and going to the bottom of the stairs. It was too quiet. 

He wasn't here but I checked his bedroom anyway. It was odd. He'd usually be home by 4, in fact he almost always was. 

I went back to the kitchen, taking out my phone. He hadn't texted me that he'd be late, and for as long as I could remember he had never been late home. I bit my lip anxiously, typing in a text and hoping he'd bounce back a reply soon. Seconds became long minutes. I rang him but to no avail. Shit. 

This wasn't good. 

Most people might think nothing of it, that a 19-year-old guy was probably off with his friends somewhere, but this was Toby. He always came home on time, and he had an electronic tracker too which meant he could only go within a certain radius around our house. There wasn't exactly any exciting place in that radius that he could be instead. 

I tried to call him again, leaving a panicked voice message as I got into my car. I'd try his work, maybe he had to work late. I tried to convince myself it was only that before I overthought it all too much. 

When I got there, someone was locking up the door, a young guy who looked around Toby's age. I quickly got out of the car and ran over to him. 

"Hey, have you seen Toby?" I called. 

He looked over his shoulder at me, key still in the lock. 

"Depends who's asking?" He said in a thick London accent, glaring at me. 

"His sister," I replied, frowning back at him. I wouldn't take his attitude, I needed to find my brother. 

The guy shrugged. "He ain't here." 

"I can see that," I snapped back. He wasn't being helpful right now. "But he was here this morning, I dropped him off." 

"Yeah, but he left." The guy turned back to locking up. 

"Left when?" I asked, gritting my teeth. 

"I don't know, like 1 o'clock," he replied but he didn't look like he was thinking very hard about it.  

"Do you know why?" His shift definitely didn't end at one. 

"No, I don't know why," the guy replied moodily, starting to walk towards the motorbike propped up at the front of the building. 

"Will your boss know?" I questioned, following him. I wasn't going to let him leave before I knew more. 

The guy was trying to ignore me, putting his helmet on. "Hey, I'm still talking to you," I snapped and he turned with a fierce look in his eye. 

"Alright! I don't know where he went, but his probation officer called up. Asked where he was," he grumbled out before he got on his bike. 

"Thanks," I replied briskly, before I turned away and started to rush back to my car. Why hadn't he just said that in the first place? 

If his probation officer was calling asking for him, it couldn't have meant good things. I tried calling Toby again but there was no reply. I hastily scrolled through my contacts, looking for the probation officers number. I'd asked for it in case I ever needed to contact them, and right now they were the only person I could think of to call. 

"Suzie Willis speaking," the lady on the phone said when she picked up. 

"Hi, I'm Vanessa Winters, Toby Winters brother," I started off and she made a noise of recognition. "I was wondering if you'd heard from Toby." 

"No, I haven't but I've been trying to track him down. Is he at home Miss Winters?" She asked me. 

"No, I don't know where he is, that's why I called you," I said quickly. 

"He's gone off grid, Miss Winters," she replied and my heart quickened in my chest. 

"Off grid?" 

"His tracker seems to have been deactivated somehow, we have no idea where he is," she replied to me and I wondered how on earth she was so calm about it. 

I tried to breathe normally but couldn't. What was going on? 

"Miss Winters," Willis tried to attract my attention again. 

"Yes?" I forced out. I was still finding it hard to breathe steadily. 

"Has he been expressing any indications of running away?" She asked me. 

I swallowed hard. "No, no he hasn't." Toby wouldn't run away, would he? 

"You're sure?" She persisted. 

"He hasn't," I repeated. "Toby wouldn't run away." I tried to convince myself he wouldn't but I knew how unhappy he was. 

Then I almost stopped breathing entirely. The files. What if this was something to do with them?  

He's said he'd need a different IP address and a computer. He'd said they could find him using his tracker, so maybe he deactivated it? I swallowed hard again.  

This was all my fault. 

"Please let us know straight away if you hear from him," I heard Willis say but I wasn't really concentrating on her anymore. I was too preoccupied with the uncomfortable thoughts in my brain and the tears that threatened to burst from my eyes. I mumbled some words out and hung up. 

This couldn't be happening. I was supposed to look after him and now he'd run off to god knows where, doing god knows what. What if he really was trying to get the files? He was getting himself in so much trouble. 

This had to be my fault.  

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