8:00 p.m. | Martha’s Pub
“Hey, look; here comes Gus now.” Mai says as she sees him approaching.
“Hey, guys. Aislyn and I are heading out.” Gus says once he reaches the table. “You too?” Lexi interjects. “Yeah, it’s kind of a long story… Wait, what do you mean us ‘too’?” Gus asks. “Kim said she needed to leave as well, you just missed her.” Mai says with a sigh.
“Oh… Well, thanks for the outing, we had a great time. Aislyn can’t tell you that herself, but she wanted me to pass that along.”
“Why couldn’t she come say that in person?” Otto asks. Gus ponders how to answer this as Cailean has an inquisitive expression on his face, before Gus can get a word out, a realization seems to dawn on him.
“She has a history with the owner here…” Cailean says aloud, Gus is surprised he managed to remember that much quicker than he himself had.
“Yeah, that’s right…” Gus says. “Oh, yeah, that was quite the sight.” Chad says with a chuckle, which earns him a nudge from Mai. “What are we missing here?” Lexi asks. “It’s a long story, anyways I better go before she freezes outside. See ya.” Gus says as he makes his way towards the door.”
There is a chorus of goodbyes behind him as he makes his way out.
“Well, this dinner has gotten infinitely smaller.” Otto says, gesturing to the empty seats in front of him. “It sure has… So what’s this history thing, then?” Lexi asks.
“I never really got around to asking her what happened, but there was a… disagreement between Ms. Maverly and Aislyn.” Mai says.
“Sounds like more than a disagreement. What did she do?–” Lexi continues but is cut off by Gus re-entering. “What are you doing back here so quick?” Otto asks. “Did Kim say where she was going?” Gus asks. “No, why?” Cailean asks. “Because Aislyn isn’t out front though she said she was going to wait while I said our goodbyes to you.”
“Maybe you got stood up.” Chad says with a grin. “I tried calling her but she isn’t answering.” “What?” Mai says, standing up and pulling out her phone. “I tried calling Kim, too.” Gus says before she can do just that. “Do you think they went somewhere together?” Otto asks. “I doubt it, they aren’t that close.” Lexi says.
“Because of the snow, it could just be a spotty cell service thing, we could check around though, just in case.” Cailean says. “They couldn’t have gotten too far on foot already.” Otto chimes in.
“In case we can’t reach each other as well, let’s meet back here after fanning out a few blocks.” Chad says whilst checking his watch.
“After about 15 minutes or so, head on back here, if we don’t find them we can swing by their houses, and worse comes to worse…” Gus says turning to Cailean. “We can pay my mother a visit, though I hope it doesn’t have to come to that.” Cailean says.
On that note, everyone nods and begins to look around…
– TWO HOURS LATER –
10:03 p.m. | Oldmerrow Police Station
Unfortunately, their search led to no signs of either Kimberly or Aislyn near the pub or at either of their homes, and a real sense of worry had begun to set in…
It was a rather quiet night at the station as Cailean leads the way into his mother’s office. “Hey, mom.” He says as he enters.
His mother did a good job of hiding it, but acting as the police commissioner was taking its toll on her. It was only in instances like this, in which he caught her off guard for a brief moment, that he could see the stress and weariness on her face. She turns at the sound of his voice. “Cailean? To what do I owe the pleasure?”
“I see you’ve brought your friends.” She adds as the rest of them pour into the room.
Sensing that this wasn’t a leisure visit, the signs of tiredness his mother wore a moment ago disappears off of her face instantly. “What’s happened?” She asks.
“We were all hanging out this evening, and for some reason we can’t find or reach Aislyn and Kimberly…” Cailean says. “It hasn’t been too long yet, and we know the weather is pretty bad, but we were wondering if you could trace their phones or something. We’d rather be safe than sorry.” Gus adds.
“Where was the last place you saw them?” The commissioner asks as she rises from her chair. “Martha’s pub, downtown.” Lexi says.
“Well, there isn’t much room in here, but find a place and get comfortable. I’m going to need you to recount your night for me.”
It didn’t take long for them to share what had happened. Cailean’s mother remained silent for the most part as they spoke, but her pacing indicated to him that she was worried.
“We should’ve tried to stop Kim from leaving…” Chad says once they finish their re-cap. “And what about Aislyn? If something has happened… At least they are together and that has to be better… right?” Mai says in a shaky voice.
“Right you are, Mai.” The commissioner says. “Ramirez!” She calls out, a woman officer peeks her head in. “Yes, Commissioner?” “I need you and Turner to go out and patrol the area near E. 15th Street, by the pub, we may have a missing persons case on our hands. See if you can find anything, and send Mitchell and Ronnie in here on your way out if you see them.” “Got it.” The female officer says as she turns out.
“Gary, we gotta go!” Officer Ramirez’s voice rings outside as she begins to enact the commissioner’s orders.
“It doesn’t make any sense, how could they just vanish like that?” Otto asks. “We can’t rule out that they’ve just gone somewhere, right?” Lexi asks. “I mean, surely we would’ve heard something if…” She trails off, not finding it in herself to finish that grim thought.
“You say you don’t know why Kim left early?” The commissioner asks. “What about Aislyn, where was she planning to go?”
“She and I were heading to her place to talk.”
“About what, may I ask?”
“We were… breaking up.” Gus says sheepishly, to Cailean’s immense surprise. “Did she mention anything else she had to do?” The commissioner asks, pressing onwards as if Gus had just shared the time of day and not a personal matter.
“No, her family is coming in some time tomorrow and she had some things she wanted to get done. I know she had nowhere else to go but home.”
“Interesting.” The commissioner says with a grim expression. “What is?” Cailean asks, forcing himself to focus on the matter at hand and not the tidbit of info Gus had just shared.
“I’ve been working on a few cases out of the public eye these past few months, and what’s happening now is reminiscent of them. That’s not a good sign… I’m not at liberty to say more. I need to speak with my crew so I’m going to have to ask you guys to go home for now until we find out more.”
“We can’t go home without knowing where or what’s happened to our friends.” Chad says while leaning forward.
The commissioner sighs. “Well, I can’t have you here at the station, you might interfere. You can all stay at our place, if that’s alright, for now. I’ll relay any updates I have to you guys when I can, fair?” Everyone nods but says nothing more.
As the group filters out towards their cars to make their way to Cailean’s, several cop cars pour out to hopefully find word on Aislyn and Kimberly’s whereabouts.
12:49 a.m. | DeCarlo Household
– FOUR HOURS LATER –
5:04 a.m. | Cailean’s Room
Time passes by agonizingly slow, and in painful silence. Aside from the few remarks of caution regarding the icy steps made when they entered and removed their jackets and shoes, no one says anything more.
Chad does his best to comfort Mai who looks as though she would break into tears any second…
Lexi doesn’t make any effort to hide her silent sobs, as Otto does his best to comfort her without words; handing her tissues from time to time…
Gus, on the other hand, looks completely drained of all emotion and Cailean can only imagine how he’s feeling as he had been the one to leave Aislyn alone outside. Cailean knows his friend well enough to know that even though whatever happened wasn’t his fault, he’d find a way to blame himself. That was one of the traits he and Gus shared…
Cailean wasn’t faring much better himself, but knew he had to put on a better front for the group. His mother hadn’t called at all in the past few hours, and even though he was doing a good job of keeping it together, he needed to hear something in order to continue acting as the backbone of the group. “I guess I’ll go see if there’s any news.” He says; no one has it in them to utter a response as he walks out.
As Cailean enters the kitchen, he picks up the phone off of the counter and dials the station. His mother answers on the first ring. “Commissioner DeCarlo.” She says in an official tone. “Any news?” There’s a painfully long silence in which she sighs, “Yes, but it isn’t good.”
“What is it?”
“We’ve traced their phones to their last known location, which was a road five minutes from where you guys were… After that, they were probably shut off and we don’t know where they are.”
“How are you guys?” She asks, dropping her work voice and sounding like a mother for a split second. “We’re managing, but everyone’s worried sick. Isn’t there anything–” Cailean was going to ask if there was anything they could do, when he hears raised voices in the background on his mother’s end. “I have to go.” She says.
“Hopefully the next time we shall speak, it’ll be with good news.” She hangs up and Cailean places the phone down with a sigh; he’s never felt so helpless before.
He wasn’t going to even consider the thought that anything bad has happened to Aislyn and Kimberly. It couldn’t have… not when he had so many things he wanted to say. Wherever you guys are… please be okay… He thinks.
Gus wasn’t aware he had fallen asleep until his head rolls forward and he jolts awake.
He attempts to stretch and feels his foot hit something; he looks forward and sees Lexi and Otto have fallen asleep as well, with their fingers essentially intertwined, making him wonder what he had missed to cause that particular development.
He feels guilty for getting a moment of shut eye when he had no idea what two people he cared very much about were going through, so he decides he’ll force himself to stay awake and keep his mind occupied by going through some of his e-mails on Cailean’s computer.
When he opens it, he notices a folder titled ‘Bayville’ at the bottom of the column of files on the desktop. Gus clicks on it without hesitation as he was looking for a distraction anyway.
As he scrolls through the photos, he can’t help but smile; Cailean was always more sentimental than he was and that showed through the photos he took. As Gus continues to flip through the shots, however, he begins to notice something else…
At that moment, Cailean enters. He glances at Gus and says, “Hey, what are you–” before his eyes lay on the computer and the image on it. “Do you like Aislyn?” Gus interjects, more intrigued than anything. “What? No, I…I… I can explain…” Cailean says as he reaches out to close the computer.
“You aren’t the best liar.” Gus says as he looks at Cailean who avoids his gaze and says nothing more. Gus presses on, “Do you?” He asks again, more loudly. “Easy, man.” Cailean says, glancing back to where the rest of their friends were sound asleep. “Let’s go downstairs…” He adds.
Gus glances at Chad and Mai, who stirred at the sound of his voice, and looks back at Cailean and nods, before following him out. He had to admit he had no idea what Cailean was going to say, and no idea how he’d feel once he says it…
Cailean was not planning on having this conversation. Ever. He felt his stomach drop the moment he saw Gus going through his photos… Granted, he could probably explain them away… Say that the lighting was nice, or that they were just photos, but if there was anything this grave situation they were in now was telling him, it was that you never know what can happen in life.
Perhaps hearing that Aislyn and Gus were no longer together earlier gave him a bit of extra boldness he wouldn’t have had otherwise, because he didn’t plan on sugarcoating what he was going to say. A few weeks ago he had made up his mind to never pursue Aislyn, and now he so desperately wanted to see her, hold her, make sure she was okay… And if he could somehow make Gus okay with that, that would be one less hurdle for him to worry about later on… “So, you and Aislyn broke up?” He asks.
“If I say no, will that change what you plan on saying?” Gus asks. “Any time before today, yes, but now… no.” Cailean says.
“To answer your earlier question… Yes. Yes, I like Aislyn.” Cailean says aloud, surprised at how oddly vulnerable that made him feel. “But I want you to know that I never did and would never do anything to disrespect you, or her.” He adds.
Gus seems to ponder this for a moment before he finally speaks, “I know you didn’t, and I know you wouldn’t.” Gus says. “If you had told me this a few weeks ago, perhaps I would’ve gotten mad and maybe socked you… but now…” Gus sighs and takes a sip of the coffee Cailean hastily brewed to make sure they were both wide awake for this conversation before continuing.
“Look, this whole relationship thing was new for me, for us. I normally tell you everything, but I wanted to keep this to myself. Aislyn and I… we had issues. Not major ones, but we definitely weren’t together for the right reasons. And while I have love for her, I’m not in love with her, and she feels the same and can attest to that when we see her again, because we will. If we’d been madly in love, I would’ve given you an earful, but we aren’t so it’s okay.”
“Yeah, well, I didn’t know that, so I still feel like an asshole…” Cailean says. Gus gives the first smile any of them has worn for hours for a brief moment before losing it once more. “If I didn’t ask you, would you have told me?” Gus asks. Cailean thinks about this for a moment. “If I’m being honest… if what’s happening right now hadn’t… even if you two broke up… I wouldn’t have. That was a line I never planned on crossing.”
“You are too nice for your own good, man.” Gus says. “I’m finding myself more and more impressed that you’ve even managed to tell me this at all given the kind of person you are. It’s honestly more surprising to me than the fact that you feel this way.” He adds. “These aren’t the circumstances I envisioned for when it came to having this conversation…” Cailean says.
“And it’s not about being nice or not. I felt terrible. It was the first time you were being serious about anyone, Gus. And you’re my best friend. I wouldn’t want to strain that relationship in any way–” “There you go, getting all sentimental on your own, per usual.” Gus says, cutting him off.
“Aislyn is a hard girl to read, but even I found myself thinking at times that she reminded me of you, like when she talks about those nerdy books you like–” “They aren’t nerdy.” Cailean interjects. “Yeah, whatever.” Gus says with a grin. “Anyway, I can’t speak on her behalf or know how she’d feel about you… but when this is all over, if you want to seriously try being with her, if I would be the only thing holding you back, you have my blessing, honestly.”
Things could’ve gone so much worse, but they hadn’t and Cailean would’ve felt much more relieved if the situation wasn’t so serious and he wasn’t so worried about Aislyn and Kim. “You can’t control who you fall for, Cailean. And if there is something I would’ve thought you of all people know best, it’s that life is too short to be anything other than happy. So do what makes you happy, and if that’s being with Aislyn… don’t feel like you need to hold back on my account…”
Thanks for reading! This is out way later that I had intended for it to be, but that’s because the majority of my time was
wasted spent on re-vamping my site layout XD It took much longer than it needed to because I’m indecisive *cries* So that’s that… You’ve probably noticed – obviously – that there was no Aislyn or Kim this chapter… I like to be evil and draw out the suspense like that, lol. Feel free to let me know what you thought~