When a child goes missing they say that the number of hours is important.
Most are found within 24 hours having simply wandered off and gotten lost before being returned to their parents. But a small percentage of missing children have been taken.
Kaya knew nothing of these facts and figures before that day. She had no comprehension that the vast majority of taken children were in fact snatched by a parent. But now she knew all too well.
At first she had tried to remain calm, confident that Morgan had simply been exercising her new found freedom by walking as far as she could, but as the hours ticked by, one hour turned into twenty hours and her hope faded.
She still counted the hours now, although that count was far too high for any hope to remain. 28,000 hours, or 3 years 71 days 16 hours and 8 minutes since her baby was taken. Taken by a man related to her by blood but who was a complete stranger to her. A man who had a violent temper. A man who had killed.
The hunt for Robson was ongoing. Initially she was told, "We are confident of finding him" After all how well could a former super star hide from public inspection?
After a few months she heard "We are doing everything in our power to find him."
Now all she got was "The trail has gone cold."
She had lived in a state of suspended loss, unable to accept that her baby wasn't coming back. There had been many sightings of Robson all over the world but none had panned out, however each time another sighting was reported her heart would soar with the thought "Maybe this time."
Her job at Morning Coffee had to be filled by another presenter, Kaya could not face the public nor could she face the pretence of happiness required for TV not when sadness lay behind her eyes.
When she found out that she was expecting another child shortly after Morgan vanished, all Kaya felt was numbness. She hadn't planned this and she didn't want it, she knew that others would think she was trying to replace Morgan when in truth nothing ever could.
Jackson had been thrilled at the news that he was to be a father again and although Kaya could not share his enthusiasm she knew in her heart that she could not terminate the pregnancy. She could not lose another child.
They welcomed Noah into the world a happy healthy baby boy. But for Kaya the void remained. Seeing his little face each day only served to remind her of what she had lost.
Over time her heart melted enough to allow Noah in, she knew she could not allow her suffering over Morgan to affect his upbringing, after all wasn't that what had happened to her as a child when her father was lost?
Now it was time for Noah's first milestone, his birthday. It should have been a time for joy but to Kaya all she could think is that she had missed Morgan's milestone, her transition from toddler to child would be complete and she had missed it.
Kaya sometimes wondered if she would even recognise her daughter anymore? As much as that thought frightened her nothing was worse than imagining that Morgan would not remember her, when she came home, for Kaya refused to accept the alternative, would she know her mother? Would she feel that she belonged here?
As she looked around the faces of her friends and family she saw varied reactions.
Some were distant and pensive.
Some blew party horns, while others simply seemed uncomfortable as though celebrations of any kind were distasteful in some way.
As always she sought out Jackson for guidance. He was brimming with excitement and unafraid to show it.
As was his son Howie, who clapped and cheered along in support of his half-brother.
Kaya smiled at the sight of the two of them, their happiness seemed contagious for a while and she realised that Noah's birth was a reason for joy.
As he made his sparkly descent into toddlerdom Noah grinned up at Kaya from his position on the floor and her heart skipped a beat. Staring back at her was a beautiful little boy who'd inherited Jackson's raven hair and Kaya's brilliant blue eyes, he's sure to break hearts one day, she thought.
Scooping him up she held him tightly, inhaling his wonderful babyish scent.
"I will never let you out of my sight." She murmured, "I promise."
"He's safe Kaya." Jackson whispered, "No one will ever get to him."
"I'm not taking any chances." She replied.
"We discussed this, remember? You agreed that once Noah was old enough for nursery you would go back to work, the studio have held your old job open for you." He reminded her.
"I'm not leaving him with some stranger Jackson. That's not an option." She hissed angrily.
"Kay?" She heard Lexie's voice calling her from the kitchen.
As she looked up her eyes took in the familiar sight of her uniform clad sibling followed by a girl who was standing nervously behind her.
Kaya drew in her breath sharply and handed Noah to Jackson. She glided swiftly as if on air over to the doorway and looked frantically from Lexie to the girl as if doubting what her eyes were telling her.
"Morgan?" She asked, tears brimming with the threat of overflow.
She searched the girls emerald eyes for a glimmer of recognition and thought she caught it there, just for a brief moment.
Reaching down she enveloped her into a huge hug, squeezing her tightly and kissing the top of her strawberry blond head.
"Kaya take it slow, she's been through a lot." Lexie warned.
"You're home now baby." Kaya whispered into the girls hair, "You're safe."
Releasing Morgan, Kaya turned on Lexie, "How? I mean, when and where?" There were so many questions whirring through her mind.
"Come on sweetie." Iris gestured, holding out her hand to Morgan, "Let's get you settled in your room."
"No!" Kaya yelled, rounding on her mother, "She stays with me."
"Kaya i was just trying to help, Morgan doesn't need to hear all that Lexie has to say." Iris explained.
"She stays with me." Kaya repeated through clenched teeth.
Iris held up her hands to signify agreement.
"Did you catch him?" Was Kaya's first fully formed question.
"Not yet, but we will." Lexie replied.
"Come on Morgan." Kaya said, her eyes wide at Lexie's reply, "Come with Mommy." Taking her daughters hand she lead her away from the remaining guests, up the stairs and into her master bedroom where she closed the door firmly.
"I'm sure she didn't mean to snap at you like that." Jackson told Iris, trying to smooth things over.
"Oh I'm quite sure she did Jackson, never come between a lioness and her cub." Iris smiled.
"It's going to take some adjusting, for both of them." Lexie added.
"We'll all be here to help them through it." Jackson answered, although inside he knew that Kaya could not be helped unless she wanted to be. While her stubborn, head strong nature was the part of her he most admired at times it could be frustrating to live with.
Jackson ushered out the party guests and handed Noah to Lexie to put who put him to bed, before entering the bedroom.
"Shh! Don't wake her." Kaya stage whispered.
"Kaya we need to talk to Lexie and find out what's going on." Jackson told her.
"All i need to know is that he's still out there and he could come back for her at any minute." Kaya snapped, "I'm not letting her out of my sight until they find him."
"But we don't know what she's been through or how we should be handling this." He replied.
"She's my child Jackson, i don't need to know how to handle her." Kaya retorted.
Jackson could see that he was going to get nowhere by pressing the subject tonight, it was best for him to allow Kaya to protect Morgan however her instincts told her to. "I'll spend the night in Howie's room." He agreed.
"She's back." Kaya smiled pulling Jackson to her, "That's all that matters right now."
Kaya knew that she couldn't sleep, not while the threat of Robson remained.
She took up vigil by the window where she could see around the outside of the house for any unwelcome visitors and keep the other eye on a sleeping Morgan.
As she slept she looked so peaceful and so beautiful Kaya felt she could watch her all night.
In fact she watched her for so long that before she knew it the sun had risen and the morning had arrived.
Morgan rubbed the sleep from the corner of her eyes realising she had managed a full night in this strange bed. The woman from the night before was sitting in a chair opposite, staring at her.
It came back to her in a flash, this woman was her mother, the mother she had been told was a violent bully whose temper was so bad that her father had to take her far away so that she could never find her.
Yet the face which looked down on her now was filled with kindness and love. Could this really be the mother her Daddy had told her about?
"Did you sleep well sweetheart?" Kaya asked.
Morgan looked at her with moon shaped eyes and slowly nodded.
"Are you hungry? I can make mashed banana, it used to be your favourite, remember?" Kaya asked hopefully.
"Daddy makes me blueberry pancakes, i want Daddy." Morgan replied innocently.
Kaya looked at Morgan open mouthed, "Sweetie your father has done some very bad things." She began.
"No! That's a lie!" Morgan yelled.
"I would never lie to you baby." Kaya pleaded.
Morgan felt the tears welling in her eyes and repeated, "I want my Daddy." Before turning and fleeing from the room.
Kaya turned and gave chase, following Morgan down the stairs and out into the back garden.
"Morgan wait!" She called.
"Leave me alone, i don't know you!" Morgan yelled.
She ran away from Kaya towards the tree house which Kaya had installed when she was born, knowing that one day she would be big enough to play in it.
"Who goes there?" A voice called from above her.
Morgan shaded her eyes from the summer sun and regarded a dinosaur sitting in the tree house.
"It's me, Morgan." She replied, "Am i allowed to come up?"
"What's the secret code?" The dinosaur asked.
"Erm, i don't know. Is it T-Rex?"
Howie scratched his head, this girl clearly did not know the secret code, but then how could she he hadn't told anyone else what it was.
In truth he had no friends to tell, it seemed that dinosaur loving wannabe archaeologists weren't exactly friend magnets.
Shrugging he figured she'd made a pretty good guess and waved her up.
Kaya watched as Morgan climbed the ladder as her final words rang through her head. She wanted him, Robson. The very thought of him made Kaya sick to her stomach.
"Come inside and eat something." Jackson called from the kitchen, "She'll be fine up there, no one can get into the garden without us seeing them."
Kaya sighed and reluctantly agreed.
"How does Morgan seem?" Jackson asked.
"Confused. Sad and lost." Kaya replied sadly.
"Give her time Kaya, kids are resilient she'll come through this." Lexie encouraged.
"She asked for her Dad." Kaya spat out before bursting into tears.
"Kaya try to look at things from her perspective." Lexie coached, "From what we've found there is nothing to suggest that Robson was anything other than a caring father towards Morgan. And she was so young when he took her that she probably remembers very little about her life without him."
"This must be scary for her." Jackson nodded in agreement.
"I can't believe I'm hearing this." Kaya said, wiping her tears away in frustration, "Are you taking his side?"
"What? Of course not!" Lexie yelled.
"Kay, nobody is taking his side, we're just trying to understand how Morgan must be feeling right now." Jackson replied, trying to calm the war he could feel brewing under his nose.
"Why haven't you caught him?" Kaya demanded, turning her attention to Lexie, "How did you find Morgan but not him?"
"It seems that Robson or Michael as he's been calling himself, left Morgan in the care of his neighbour while he went to work. She took a fall down the stairs and Morgan called an ambulance. When they got to the hospital one of the nurses recognised her from a missing child poster and called it in."
"How will you find him now?" Jackson asked.
Lexie looked down at the table for a minute before answering, "We're almost certain that he'll come here, for Morgan."
"You want to use her as bait?" Kaya shouted.
"It's not like that." Lexie countered, "Listen Kaya i know you won't want to hear this but Robson is a changed man, he's turned to God in fact that's where he works, he volunteers at a church. I don't know what his plans were when he took Morgan but from what i know he loves her and he won't want to be away from her."
"And if he takes her again?" Kaya asked, through gritted teeth.
"I won't let that happen." Lexie replied placing her hand over Kaya's as if to reassure her sister of her sincerity.
"Can Morgan play dress up in my room?" Howie asked, the pair of them standing expectantly in the doorway.
Kaya turned to see that Morgan was beaming, it seems that she had found a firm friend in Howie and anything that brought a smile to her face was alright by Kaya.
"Sure thing sweetie." Kaya agreed smiling.
As soon as the pair had traipsed upstairs she hissed, "Make sure you catch him and lock him away. I don't care how much he's changed he's a murderer and a kidnapper and i want him behind bars."
"Yeah i mean they're pretty cool." He replied, awkwardly. "So what do you want to dress up as? There's a princess dress in there i think, i mean it came as part of the set i don't wear it or anything." He added, blushing profusely.
"Nah, you got another T-Rex in there?" Morgan asked.
"Sure, there's a red one!" Howie called, rushing to the box and tearing the costume out in excitement at the prospect of playing with someone who not only did not laugh at his dinosaur obsession but seemed to openly embrace it.
Howie turned his back to allow her to get changed. After only a few moments he heard, "Grrroar! Howie I'm gonna eat you!"
He turned to find Morgan stomping her feet and trying to do her best monster impersonation before she collapsed into a fit of giggles.
"I'm fairly certain that T-Rex did not growl." Howie laughed.
"Oh yeah so what noise did they make then?" Morgan challenged.
"Err, actually i have no idea!" He laughed.
"Ooh what's this?" Morgan asked heading over to his mini science experiment table.
Howie watched her in disbelief, it was as though someone had actually been listening to his bedtime prayers. Every night, for as long as he could remember Howie had prayed for a friend who would enjoy all the same things as he did, someone who he could be himself around without feeling like a dork and now she was here.
Over the following few days the family remained close keeping a watch over Morgan. Kaya stayed on tenterhooks constantly looking out of the window on guard for Robson's reappearance.
Since Howie seemed to be the only one keeping Morgan grounded Beth had agreed for him to extend his regular 3 night stay to the full week and the pair of them had insisted on wearing their costumes as often as possible.
"So what have you little monsters been playing up there?" Jackson asked.
"Nothing." They both replied in unison giving each other an amused look.
Upstairs, Lexie's cop senses were screaming at her that something was not right.
She paced for a while before resuming her vigil by the window.
She didn't see him at first, the shadows concealed him well, but he was there, watching the house.
Lexie's hand instinctively went for her gun, finding it in it's holster at her side. She picked up her police radio and called it in before heading downstairs.
No matter what, she would protect her family.
"Kaya, take the kids upstairs." Lexie asked.
"He's here isn't he?" Kaya demanded, jumping to her feet.
"Who's here?" Morgan asked, "Is it Daddy?"
Before Kaya could intervene Morgan dashed towards the front door.
Kaya gave chase calling after her, "Morgan wait, don't go out there!"
But Morgan was already outside, scanning the front garden for her father who she had missed so badly.
Robson stepped out of the shadows into the brightness of the street lamp and Kaya stopped in her tracks. It was clear that he had disguised himself to the point where there was nothing outwardly that would identify him as Robson Colt star of the silver screen.
His hair had been dyed and was much longer and dishevelled, partly hidden beneath a hat. His clothes were nondescript and well worn, a passer by in the street would not give him a second glance, but Kaya knew it was him.
And so did Morgan.
She ran for the garden gate which sprung Kaya from her state of trance and she once again gave chase.
Lexie ran from the house, her gun clenched in her hand. "Kaya get Morgan, I'll stop Robson!" she yelled.
As Morgan made her way through the gates of the Traytor house she was stopped by the sight of blue flashing lights as three police cars and one van drew up outside. The officers sped from their vehicles towards the scene and Kaya managed to catch up to Morgan holding her back she began pulling her away from the gate towards the house.
Robson made no attempt to run, he seemed to have accepted his fate and simply watched Morgan as she was pulled away by her mother, back inside the home that she did not remember.
"Robson Colt, you're under arrest for the murder of Marcia Marsay and the kidnapping of Morgan Traytor. You do not have to say anything but anything you do say may be used against you in evidence."
As the officer read him his rights and snapped on the hand cuffs, Lexie holstered her pistol. She was pleased that she hadn't had to use it, although it was what she trained to do the last thing she wanted was blood on her hands.
A week following Robson's arrest Kaya received a letter from his solicitor requesting she visit him in jail.
"You're not going to go are you?" Lexie asked.
"I think i should." Kaya replied.
"Why?" Lexie shook her head in confusion.
"I guess i just want to see it with my own eyes that he's behind bars, and that he's not getting out." she explained.
"Well I'm coming with you, and that's not an option." Lexie commanded.
Flanked by Lexie and another officer Kaya approached the cell cautiously.
Robson looked so different under the harsh fluorescent lights of the prison. They had shaved his unkempt hair and his beard, he looked so baby faced that for a moment she forgot what a monster he truly was.
Robson sat calmly his hands rested on his knees in front of him regarding Kaya as she paced towards him.
"Take a seat." He offered, gesturing to a stark metal chair.
"I'll stand if it's all the same to you." She snapped, "Why did you ask to see me?" She demanded.
"I wanted to know that Morgan was safe." He asked his voice calm and measured.
"How dare you?" She spat, "My daughter's welfare is nothing to do with you." Kaya fought back the tears of anger which held her eyes hostage.
"She's my daughter too." He replied, remaining serene.
"She wants nothing to do with you." Kaya retorted, she knew it was a lie but she so desperately wanted to crack his cool exterior.
"I know you may not believe me Kaya but i love that girl." He admitted, turning his head as his outer shell crumbled. "I know I've done wrong but Morgan, she changed me."
Kaya stared open mouthed at Robson as his confession came rushing out.
"When i found out about her i just wanted to hurt you for keeping her to yourself, but once i had her, once i looked into her eyes i knew that i had to be a better man. For her." He finished.
"You murdered Marcia." Kaya cried, "You will never be a better man."
"Kaya please! I know that Morgan will find out what I've done but I'm begging you please let her visit me so she can remember the person that I've become. So i can be the Daddy she loves."
Kaya held up her hand to stop his little speech, "Forget it!" she replied, "You actually think that i would let my daughter come to this hell hole?"
"Please." He whispered, the emotion catching in his throat.
"You will never see Morgan again." Kaya hissed.
She turned on her heel and strode away from the cell. She could hear Robson calling her name, pleading with her to change her mind but there was no way that she ever would.
Kaya kept on walking until she was free of the prison walls, a place she hoped that Robson would never again see.