“What?” Noah asked, confused. “What are you saying? I don’t understand. Her flight wasn’t scheduled until tomorrow.”

“The airline shows she changed her flight and checked in for the flight to Miami tonight. I’m so sorry, Mr. Steele. The officials are still at the scene, but the damage was far too extensive for any survivors. All three hundred thirty seven passengers, plus the crew, are presumed dead,” she replied. “You were listed as her emergency contact on her airline profile. I’m very sorry, Mr. Steele.”

Noah dropped the phone and stared at it like it had bitten him. The rapid rise and fall of his chest mirrored his fast breathing. His heart pounded in his chest, beating fiercely against his ribcage. The blood surged through his veins, swishing through his ears and drowning out any other sound.

His knees simultaneously buckled as his guttural cry echoed throughout his enormous home. “No!” He bent at the waist and let his forehead drop to the floor as his fists pounded it relentlessly. He chanted a mixture of painful pleas and sobs over and over. “Please, God, no. Don’t take her from me. Bring her back home to me.”

“Brianna,” he whispered as tears continued to stream down his face. “I don’t want to do this without you. I love you, baby. So fucking much.”

He fell over to lie on his side and remained on the floor in shock. The ominous feeling he had before she left for this trip just made it harder for him to accept. He’d been warned and he let her go alone anyway. There was nothing he wouldn’t give just to hear from her again.


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