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The alley was dark and littered with the trash of a neighborhood that didn’t seem to care anymore. Clementine Philips wanted to kick herself for agreeing to this meeting. She should have insisted that her source meet her in a better part of town. Maybe a local Starbucks where she could have helped herself to a tall mocha.
For the past few months Clementine had been following the story of the mysterious disappearance of Charles Widmore nearly twenty years before. Everyone in his life from his ex-wife to his daughter, Penelope Hume, seemed determined to keep the story hidden. It just made her more curious about what was going on and why they wanted to make sure to keep the press out of it.
She had been tipped off to the story after someone had left a note with a picture of the missing billionaire in her mailbox. Clementine closed her eyes to recall the wording of the mysterious note: ‘Find him, find the truth.' The truth of what? That’s what she wanted to know.
She might have ignored the random note if it weren’t for the reaction from her own father. James Ford, the father who had mysteriously reappeared in her life when she’d been a young child, returning from where, he’d never say. Her mother had been livid at his reappearance and had denied him access to Clementine until she’d been nearly ten years old.
He was a gruff man, flippant with his nicknames (her favorite was when he called her Tiny) and honest in his assessment of a situation, but always there had been a shadow of sadness hidden in his eyes. He’d made a life for himself as a private investigator, and he seemed to always stay just below the radar, even taking on a fake name. But, above all, he’d been a man who loved her, and she believed that no matter what, he’d watch over her.
It was his anger and fear over her interest in this story that struck a nerve. She couldn’t help but wonder what was hidden behind his reaction, and it propelled her to know more. Why did Charles Widmore evoke such a response from a man who seemed to fear nothing?
That’s what brought her out this dark night. Clementine wanted to know what was going on. She wanted to know what the truth was.
A sudden screeching of tires brought Clementine’s thoughts back to the present. Stepping out of the dark, she watched a black SUV barrel into the alley and jerk to a halt.
“About time,” she whispered, glancing at her watch.
The back door opened, and she was surprised to see several men jump out. A tall, blond grabbed her arm and yanked her towards the vehicle.
“Hey!” she cried out.
“Come on, missy,” he growled shoving her into the back seat. “There’s someone who wants to talk to you.”