It finally registers in my ears. I pull it from my pocket and stare down at an unknown number.
"Hello," I say calmly.
"Lily, help me please. They found my parents. They're going to send me back. I don't want to go back," a young female voice cries.
"Sorina? What happened? Where are you?"
"I'm at the halfway house. Please, Lily, don't let them take me back to those men," she sobs.
"I'm on my way," I snap, standing.
I run to my office and grab my guns and my keys. As I blaze through the living room, Blake and Dresden get to their feet.
"Lily?" Dresden says.
"Sorina's parents are at the halfway house. They're going to sell her back to the Taurus."
"We'll meet you there," he calls as I run out the door, heading for the elevators.
This can't happen to her. She deserves a chance, something my parents never gave me. The elevator doors open to the lobby and I jog through it, shouting apologies to the people who get in my way. I jump into the front SUV and take off, not bothering to worry about other drivers.
I pull my phone out of my pocket and call the main number for the halfway house.
"Mason House, this is Julie."
"Julie, it's Agent Williams. Are Sorina's parents still there?"
"Yes, ma'am. They're fighting with Nurse Slybeck."
"Tell her I'm on my way. Don't let them leave there with Sorina."
"Te duci înapoi! Destul! Ia-?i lucrurile!" a man yells, grabbing Sorina by the arm.
You're going back! Enough! Get your things!
I stand inside the door, unnoticed, watching the exchange with her parents. Her mother stands, rigid, her face cold as she glares at her daughter. The father has enough anger pulsing from him to set off a box of explosives. Blake and Dresden enter and stand close behind me.
"No Papa, please. I don't want to go. I want to stay here," Sorina begs, trying to pull free of her father's grasp.
"De ce ar vrea ca tu sa stai? Nu e?ti nimic. Nimeni nu te vrea." He sneers at her.
Why would they want you to stay? You're nothing. No one wants you.
I take a few steps forward. "I want her," I say loudly. Their heads whip in my direction, Sorina's eyes as large as saucers. "She's everything, and I want her."
Her father stalks toward me, pulling Sorina next to him. "You know nothing, bitch," he says with a thick accent.
I carefully open my jacket and reveal my guns, hanging under my arms. I point at the badge lying against my stomach. "I know everything. I also know selling her into slavery can earn you a life sentence in prison. The choice is yours. Leave Sorina, or after I beat the shit out of you, I’ll arrest you, and she'll stay anyway."
Her parents exchange a few hushed words in Romanian. After, her father glares at me, pushes Sorina away and stomps from the building, his wife in tow. I sigh deeply. Opening my eyes, I'm almost knocked over as Sorina wraps her arms around my neck and sobs.
"I got you, kiddo," I whisper into her hair, tightening my arms as she shakes, uncontrollably.
"Did you mean what you said?"