Chapter Nine (Part Two)

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Chapter Nine (Part Two)



After carefully placing the phone back under the bathtub and securing the access panel, I stood up and looked in the bathroom mirror.

Frowning, I applied another layer of lip gloss and pressed my lips together. Who’s the pretty one now, Abriana?

“Lexi?” called my mother from outside of the bathroom door. “Are you okay?”

I rolled my eyes and pretended to sniffle. “Yeah, I’m fine.” Insert dramatic pause, I thought with a sarcastic grin. “Just thinking about her.”

After making various sad faces in the mirror, I found one that worked. Taking a deep breath, I plastered it on my face and opened the door.

“Oh, honey,” said my mother wrapping her arms around me. “It’s okay. We’ll find her. I promise!”

Burying my head into her shoulder, I continued the fake sniffling. “What can we do? When I’m not doing something to help find her, I feel worthless.”

“I’m going to put up more signs today. Would you like to help?” asked my mother.

I nodded. “Of course.”

My mother pulled back and gave me a sad smile. “I’m just going get my purse and I’ll be ready.”

I made my way down the stairs and toward the front door.

Knock, knock, knock.

Ugh! What now? With every passing day, more people came by to drop off casseroles, flowers, and to ask what they could do to help.

Running my hands through my hair, I sighed and tried to look distraught as I opened the door. I should win an Emmy for this…

My eyes widened as Detective Lock’s stern face appeared on the other side of the door.

“Alexa, are your parents home?”

“Yeah, ah. Just, just a second.” I turned around. “Mom, dad! Detective Lock is here!”

My heart raced as my parents raced down the stairs.

“What is it?” asked my mother hopefully. “Has there been an update?”

My father’s face turned ashen.

“Why don’t we have a seat,” said the detective with a grim expression on his face.

My mother and father sat on the sofa and held hands. I sat next to them on the arm of the loveseat.

“Did you find her?” asked my father in a quavering voice with tears in his eyes.

Detective Lock clasped his fingers and exhaled a long, slow breath. “We’ve found a body.”

My jaw dropped open as a scream of anguish escaped from my mother’s lips.

What the hell? Did Easton lie to me? Did he kill her and dump her body after she tried to run away?

Goosebumps prickled the back of my neck and my mouth went dry.

“I need your signature to authorize the release of your daughter’s dental records,” said the detective.

My mother collapsed into my father’s arms as sobs shook her body. “No, no, no! It’s not her! It’s not our baby!"

Unable to gain my composure, I slapped my hand over my mouth and sat in stunned silence.

“Why can’t we just see the body and tell you it’s not her?” asked my father.

Detective Lock ran his thumb over his lower lip. “The body is no longer,” he paused, “recognizable.”

My mother sobbed uncontrollably into my father’s chest.

“It has been burned beyond recognition,” he continued. “But, we’re confident with dental records that we can identify if it is Abriana’s body or not.”

“Give me the paper,” demanded my father. “The sooner I sign this, the sooner you’ll be able to tell that the body you have does NOT belong to our daughter.”

After collecting my father’s signature, Detective Lock stood and nodded. “We will be in touch as soon.”

As Detective Lock stood and headed toward the door, a million thoughts raced through my mind. Could it really be her? Was Easton lying to me on the phone earlier? Did he really kill her?

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