Ethan had a black Volvo and I felt my mouth go slant. He led me to the car where I sat down in the passenger's seat and he sat down in the driver's. He turned to me as he stuck his keys into the ignition.
"So," he said, smiling. "I know that you don't have cramps or whatever and there's no need in you arguing with me about that." He backed out of the parking space, down the parking lot and then onto the main road. "But I know that you do this fixing thing." He glanced at me, smirk on his lips and then back at the road. "I hear a lot of people talk about you on a daily basis." He came to a stop sign and let a couple of cars go by. "So where is it that you need me to take you?"
My mouth was hoarse as I looked at Ethan. He glared at me, eyebrow raised and then continued on down the street. He didn't know me at all, but from what he heard and he still trusted me to get in his car? He actually wanted to help me and that's all I actually needed right now.
"I need to go to Baskin Street. It's down the next one you come up to. Just make a left."
He nodded and continued down the street we were on. He took the next left and continued up the road. "Can I know what's going on?" He glared at me once more, before he looked back at the road. "Or do we just drive this one in silence?"
"We drive this one in silence," I muttered.
I looked along the street and spotted Sam's house. I slapped his shoulder, excited for some odd reason. "It's the house right here, with the police car parked out front."
Ethan jumped a little in his seat and then turned to park in front of Sam's house. He looked down through the passenger window. "Is this really the place that you need to be? You're playing hookey and you go to a house with a police car parked out front?"
I shrugged and looked at him. "I like to live my life on the edge." I unbuckled my seat belt and then glared at him. "Thanks. I never thought that I would be saying this, but now I owe you a favor."
"For some reason, I feel like your favors are better than money."
I opened the car door and hopped out. "Far better than money my friend."
As Ethan's car drove off, my phone vibrated. I answered on the second ring just to hear James yelling at me. "THE PLAN?"
"It's off. You all just meet Sam and me at the Brew for lunch."
"You're on your own right now?" James muttered through the phone. "How did you even get to Sam's place without Angie?"
"I caught a ride from this guy who is related to the nurse. Long story short, she would not let me call out another person from class. He was there so he helped."
"And what now?" I heard some water splash in the background and then James' voice came in quieter. "What can we do from school?"
"Where are you?" I asked as I took the steps that led to Sam's house. "And why are you whispering?"
"Boy's bathroom. That answers both questions so can you answer mine?"
"There's not much that you can do from school other than be on the lookout to see if Andrea magically appears there, which I highly doubt." James scoffed. "Just meet us at the Brew. Hopefully, we have a lead by then."
I pressed the end button on my phone and then approached the door to Sam's house. The screen was closed, but the front door was slightly opened. I opened the screen and walked in. To my right, I heard lots of whispering. I walked towards the whispering and noticed Sam's mother, two cops in uniform and a man who most likely was this new Brad character. Sam was right; he was perfect.
"Briana?" Sam's mother, eyes bloodshot, stood from her position on the couch. Everyone had their eyes on me. "What are you doing here sweetheart?"
"Aren't you supposed to be at school little lady?" One of the cops in uniform asked.
"I have second release," I lied. "Sam didn't show for first period and I figured something was wrong." I looked from the cop to Sam's mother. She wasn't buying my story for a second, but the cops did. "Where can I find her?"
"I'll take you there," Sam's mother said. She placed an arm on my shoulder and then turned me around to go in the direction of the kitchen. Once we were out of earshot, she looked at me. "Sam told you?"
"No, someone else did." I saw the anger about to boil. "And before you get mad, which is very easy for you right now, just know that this was not Sam's idea for me to come here."
"I know it wasn't," Sam's mother said. "It was yours because you have to fix what is broken." I clenched my jaw. She sighed and looked away. "And I will not stop you." I looked back up at her.
She stepped a bit closer to me, her eyes a boiling black. "These sleazebag cops have been asking us the same question since I've called them. I need someone to get to the bottom of this and find my daughter. If a rapist has taken her, he has already tainted her and if a killer is on a killing spree, he would not wait 48 hours to kill her, he would just do it. I know that you are only so old, but I know what Sam and Andrea mean to you and you won't stop until you have an answer. That is who you are, that is your ambition and Samantha is the exactly the same way which is why you two bonded."
I placed a hand on her shoulder. "Sam and I and everyone else will do our best to figure out what happened to her or where she would have gone. I need for you to compile a list of places she would go in this emergency. I'm pretty sure that the police have asked you to do that, so I just need a copy." She nodded.
"Anything." She smiled at me and pulled me into her arms. "You give me hope for the future. For some reason, I trust you - a seventeen-year-old girl - to handle this better than the police would." She pulled away from the hug. "But I know you'll get the job done."
"Don't worry, I got your back."
Sam's mother smiled at me. "And I'll call your father and tell him of this issue and let him know that you'll be with Sam for the rest of the day to help her get through this issue. I know he doesn't like the fact that you fix." I felt myself smiling. "Don't worry. I got your back too."
She turned in the direction of the living room and I made my way up the stairs and to Samantha's room. Her door was cracked and I pushed it open to find her pacing and running a hand through her hair.
She looked over at me and smiled. "Good you're here." She pulled up some papers and placed them on her bed along with a map. "I scoped out the time that she's been going and I have pulled up a radius of how far the killer or rapist could have taken her in every direction and it is not far so if Sean and James and Angie come and help us, we can totally go the distance and totally find her."
As she put the map down on her bed and pinpointed the directions that circled from their house, I took the time out to observe my best friend. Her hair was in a scraggly bun - and she hated buns - and she had on some Nike shorts and a big t-shirt. But the thing that must have really scared me was the fact that she was shaking. The shaking was in her hands and I noticed it as she pointed at the radius that she had scratched over the map.
I looked at her and she continued to spew out words about how she was sure that Andrea would be at this coffee shop or this mall. Walking closer, I grabbed her shoulders and made her look at me. She had red brimmed eyes. "We will find her."
"I know we will," Sam said, a bit too chipper for my health. "I made a map and everything and we will find her today if we could just get going." She leaned down to roll her map up, but I stopped her.
"Sam." She glared at me. "Sam, Andrea hasn't been kidnapped nor has a rapist decided to come and do a spree here in the small town of Coxton where the population is less than 7,000 people. He would have been caught by now."
Sam looked at me and then back at her map, disappointed. "You're totally right." She rolled her map up and threw it against the wall. "I'm totally screwing up." She took her hair out of the bun that it was in and it fell down her back in a black cascade. She ran her hand through it. "You're totally right. We don't need a fucking map. I spent three hours on this freaking map and we don't even need it." She began laughing, hysterically. "We don't even need a map." She sat down in her computer chair and faced me.
I stood complacent, not sure how to react in this situation. "Sam..." It was the only word that I could form. Nothing like this had ever happened to anyone I knew personally, and seeing Sam unfold was not one the best things that I could have seen on a Monday morning.
"Three hours..." She smiled and then frowned. She propped her arms on her knees and then leaned her head in her head. The next sound that I heard is a sound that I never want to hear from my best friend. Loud, heart turning sobs escaped from her body.
Immediately, I found myself sitting in front of my best friend soothing her, not with words. Words don't go well with Sam. I just rubbed her arms and gave her my undivided attention. "Briana, she slipped from right under me. Me! She tells me everything. I know her. Where is she? Where could she have gone?"
"I don't know." Sam looked at me as the tears continued to glide down her face. "But trust me, she will be found. I promise you that." I sat on my knees and wiped her tears with my hands. "I will bring her back home where she belongs."
Sam smiled a sad smile. "I feel like everyone needs a Briana Wilkens in their life. I don't want to share you, but I will if I have to."
I laughed some and she laughed a little too, which made my heart smile. "I need you to do something for me Sammy." She nodded, immediately. "I need you to compile a list of people that Andrea was close to or who didn't like her. I know you know, she tells you everything." She nodded some. I stood up and so did she. "Your mom is getting me a list of all her favorite places."
Sam nodded and turned to her desk. She began jotting down the names and I began to pace her room. She had a lot of pictures that covered her wall - mainly of her and myself or her and Andrea - and posters of bands or people whom she loved.
"Remember the day that we went to the Florence and the Machine concert that was outside and we got rained on?" I glared at the Florence poster that was glaring back at me. "And Sean was prepared for the rain and he was the only one that brought an umbrella and he wouldn't share with the rest of us?"
I heard Sam laugh and then sniffle a little. "Yeah and Florence still performed because she claimed that 'a little rain never hurt nobody.'" There was a slight knock on the door and then it was pushed open. Samantha's mom had poked her head in.
"Am I interrupting?"
"Of course not," Sam said. She stood up and approached the both of us. "In fact, I had just finished. I compiled a list of the people that Andrea knew, good or bad."
"Add that to the list of places she loves to go, we should be all set," I muttered as I grabbed both lists. I looked at my wrist watch and noticed that we were due to be at brunch in half an hour. "I can text these to the others and they can just meet me at the diner."
"Excuse me?" I looked up at Sam who was giving me her usual Sam look. "It's not just you they are meeting at this diner, it's me as well. I have a car and no offense B, but you're kind of car-less."
"None taken," I muttered.
"Sam, you need to be here where it's safe," her mother assured her. "I know you want to be the hero and bring Andie back, but you have got to see the bigger picture here."
"And the bigger picture is?" She half-yelled back. "I sit and wait around until someone brings Andie back? I can't do that. I am a go-getter and right now I am a 'go get her' because she is my sister and I want to be the first face she sees and the first person to slap her for this nonsense."
"You don't think she's been kidnapped?" Sam's mother asked. She glared from me to Sam. Sam also looked at me, waiting for an explanation.
I chewed the inside of my jaw and shook my head. "My theory - which might be far-fetched - is that after your family brunch yesterday with her meeting Brad, it didn't go so well. The brunch might have been miraculous, but Andrea wasn't. She felt as though you were replacing her father who was the only man that she knew to be with you. That set her off and she just felt betrayed so what else was she to do?"
"Talk to me?" Sam's mother scoffed. "That's what she was to do."
"She's thirteen mom," Sam said. "At that age, we don't really know how to contain our feelings so we lash out in the biggest way possible. Remember I skipped school, a whole week of school because we had to put Brutus down?"
Sam's mother sighed. "You totally hated me for doing that to our poor dog." She shivered some. "And I know what it means for you to go out and find your sister." She glared at Sam, eyes glossy. Sam pulled her mother into a hug and sighed. "Please find her."
I don't know how she did it, but twenty minutes later, Sam walked down the stairs, hair pinned in a ponytail, makeup squared away and an outfit that screamed SAM on. She glared at her mother and smiled. Brad stood up and so did the two officers.
"Briana and I are just going to go grab some lunch," Sam said. She looked at the officers. "I promise we will be back in two hours."
The officer looked at his partner and then at Sam's mother. Sam's mother nodded. She knew the plan. "Be back here at two ladies."
We took our opportunity and made our way out of the house as soon as we could and towards Sam's Mercedes. We entered it, got secure and made our way down the street and towards the Brew.
***If you like the story, comment and let me know! If there's something that you don't like, comment as well! I love to hear everything that people love and hate to stay about my story. It's motivation to continue!
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