027; real life

104 11 44

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"You said he'd be back for dinner," Jade mumbles, staring at Awsten's untouched plate of food.

"I'm sure he's on his way," Geoff tried to sound hopeful despite his own worries.  "Don't you wanna go watch cartoons with Skye?"  Jade only shakes her head, staying quiet.  "I'll call uncle 'lijah and ask him to go check on him, yeah?"  Jade nods again and Geoff hesitates moment before giving a forced smile and leaving the table to go call Elijah.

"What's up?" Elijah asks in place of a greeting.

"Awsten went to Emily's," Geoff gets straight to the point, not giving Elijah time to react before continuing.  "He said she had some pictures of him she threatened to put out if he didn't show up.  He said he was gonna go and take her phone and delete the pictures then leave and that it would be quick but it's been a little while and I've got a bad feeling.  I can't go 'cause I have the twins so can you head over there?"

"Shit," Elijah mumbles, "yeah, okay, on my way there."

•••

Elijah arrives at the building and parks.  On his way inside, he passes Awsten's car.  He heads inside and upstairs.  He gets to the apartment and decides to test the lock instead of knocking, though he doesn't expect the door to be unlocked.  Much to his surprise, it is.  He gets a sinking feeling before the door is even fully open.

He steps inside, staying quiet.  It takes a few steps in for the puddle of now mostly dried blood to be visible.

"Shit," he mumbles before hurrying forward.  His eyes land on Awsten's phone.  "Awsten," he calls out, though part of him is already aware that Awsten and Emily are probably long gone.  "Awsten!"

He tears through the apartment, checking each room and closet and even under the beds.

His yelling grabs the attention of the same neighbor who had helped Emily earlier.  The neighbor pokes his head out the door before stepping out completely.

"You looking for them?" he inquires hesitantly, seeming unsure of whether Elijah is a friend of the pair he had seen earlier or just an intruder.  "Some girl, I think her name is Emily, and her boyfriend?"

"He's not her boyfriend," Elijah is quick to correct, "did you see them?  What happened?"

"She said she was taking him to the hospital," the neighbor informs Elijah, "he fell and hit his head, was bleeding real bad.  I helped her get him down to her car so she could take him to the hospital...she said he was her boyfriend."

"Fucking shit," Elijah mumbles in worry and anger, "he's not her fucking boyfriend."

"Right...I'm just gonna...go not be a part of this."

•••

An hour later, the apartment is swarmed with police and the neighbor who had tried to avoid further involvement is being questioned about everything that happened.  Local hospitals are checked but all are insistent that Awsten was never there.  Elijah stays there to keep Geoff updated and Geoff fills in anyone who needs to know, starting with Awsten's parents.

The cops put a trace on Emily's phone but it only leads them to an empty parking lot where Emily has abandoned her phone.  They check traffic cameras and are able to track their movement for only a little while, losing them after the Walmart stop.  They're able to find out what Emily bought, which isn't any less unsettling than the rest of the situation.  The cops continue searching through the footage from traffic cameras but, with all the city traffic, it's near impossible to keep track of her.

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