I sat in the Beadles’ living room listening to the sound of everyone talking at once. We had all searched every inch of Stratford and we couldn’t find a single sign of her anywhere.
Mr. Somers, a former detective and Chaz’s dad, clapped his hands.
We all turned and looked at him.
“Okay, so we’ve all done our best to try and find Caitlin. Although, we weren’t able to find her, I’m sure we’ve gathered some sort of information that can help.” he said. “So, first off, who was the last person to see her?”
“I was.” Chris said, his eyebrows furrowed.
“Okay,” Chaz’s dad said. “Do you recall what she said when she left? Because we know that her car is missing and if she was upset, maybe...”
“Are you trying to imply that she ran away?” Mrs. Beadles asked looking horrified.
“Our daughter would NOT run away.” Mr. Beadles added defensively. “She has no reason to run away. She does well in school, has lots of friends, and she knows we love her.”
“I’m not implying anything. I’m simply trying to cover all of our bases here.” Mr. Somers said looking offended.
“Everybody calm down.” My mom said. “We’re all here for the same purpose. Let’s just all work together.”
The Beadles and Mr. Somers all nodded relunctantly.
“Pattie’s right.” Mrs. Somers said.
“To answer your question, Mr. Somers,I think she said something about how she was going to take my advice.” Chris answered.
“Your advice?” Mr. Somers questioned. “What did you tell her.”
“That she should break-up with that douche bag.” Chris stated.
“Chris!” Mrs. Somers scolded.
“Sorry,” he muttered.
“Are you talking about Seth?” I asked.
“After you left, he showed up on our doorstep and cussed Caitlin out.” Chris answered. “He seemed almost....”
“Almost what?” I asked feeling my blood begin to boil.
Chris swallowed hard, “He seemed almost...abusive.”
“What?” Mr. and Mrs. Beadles exclaimed in unison.
“Are you sure?” Mr. Somers questioned.
I suddenly felt faint as I thought through all that had happened.
Caitlin’s limp, the bruise on her face, her reluctance to get in the car with Seth, all of it made sense.
“I think he’s right,” I said.
Everyone in the room turned to look at me.
“If what you’re saying is true, this could be extremely serious.” Mr. Somers said. “Abusive relationships are a dangerous thing.”
I clutched my arm and screamed out in agony.
“Now, now, Caity.” Seth said in a sickeningly kind voice. “Looks like you’re going to need me to take care of you. Especially now that you’ve hurt your ankle AND your shoulder.”
He tsked, “What a shame too.”
I glared at the gun that sat in the holster on his belt.
I wanted so badly to murder him—right here, right now—but, the pain was excruciating.
As much as I didn’t want to, I began to cry like a big baby.
“Let me see it.” Seth said moving my fingers from around my shoulder.
My fingers were red with blood.
I thought I’d pass out at any moment.
“You’re in luck!” he said. “Bullet went straight through.”
“I need a doctor.” I said as sweat beaded my forehead.
“Nah.” he shook his head. “My mama’s a doctor. I’ve watched her stitch up plenty of people and there’s a first aid kit back in the cabin. I’ll take care of it.”
“A-are you sure?” I asked beginning to feel faint.
“Of course I’m sure!” he snapped. “Look, I’m NOT stupid. I’m not gonna take you to a doctor and let you tell him what’s going on. You’re never gonna leave me. You might as well get that in your head. If I can’t have you, no one can.”
I felt a coldness run through my body.
He was right. I’d never get away from him. It was hopeless. I looked around and realized we were in the middle of nowhere.
I was stuck in the middle of nowhere with a complete psychopath and there was nothing, absolutely NOTHING I could do about it.
At that moment, I wanted to die, but instead, I fainted.
When I awoke, I was back in the cabin and my whole body was numb from head to toe.
“Hey Sleeping Beauty,”
I turned to see Seth who sat on the couch watching t.v.
I opened my mouth to ask what had happened, but when I moved my arm, I remembered.
“You’ve been out for two days straight.” he said. “I started to call someone, but..”
His voice trailed off and I was glad.
Every word he spoke made me sick.
Suddenly I actually needed to puke.
“What’s wrong?” Seth questioned gently.
For once, his kindness almost seemed genuine.
“I feel sick.” I said.
He held up a trash can and I began to puke up liquid.
It was a horrible experience–throwing up when your stomach’s empty.
My head throbbed and I could feel my pulse.
“Here, have some soup.” Seth said once I was finished.
He lifted my head off the pillow and slowly helped me swallow tomato soup.
I was so hungry, I began to gulp it down, but then I almost choked.
“Careful.” he said. “You can’t eat too much, it’ll just make things worst.”
I looked up at Seth and decided I wasn’t completely insane.
Many times when Seth had hurt me, I’d wondered if I had lost my mind, but now, seeing him show kindness told me that I wasn’t crazy.
THIS was the Seth I’d fallen for.
The one who put bandages on kids’ knees when they fell at the playground, the one who dreamed of being a doctor, but unfortunately, this Seth didn’t show up very often.
“Let’s check your bandage.” he said propping me up.
Seth unbuttoned the shirt I was wearing, that was obviously his, and gently slid my right arm out of the sleeve.
He unwrapped the white gauze.
I was expecting to see a horrific sight, but instead his stitches looked professional.
And the cut didn’t look infected either.
“Seems to be healing pretty well.” He commented. “Now, it’s gonna hurt, but I’m going to need you to move your arm around for me.”
I gritted my teeth in order to help bare the pain that I was about to endure.
“On the count of three,” he said. “One, two, three..”
Sweat formed on my forehead as I bent my arm.
“That’s enough for now.” Seth said he leaned into kiss me, but I pulled away.
He looked me straight in the eyes and I could see that his blue eyes were moist.
“I’m so sorry,” he whispered.
“What?” I asked taken aback. “Can you repeat that?”
I wanted to make sure I’d heard correctly.
A single tear slid down Seth’s face.
“I’m so, so, so sorry.” he said louder this time. “I’m sorry for everything. I’m sorry for hitting you, for forcing myself on you, for—for shooting you, I’m sooo sorry. I know you probably can’t forgive me and I’m not expecting you to, but just know that I’m sorry.”
I paused for a moment before speaking. I was unsure of how to respond.
Seth’s cell phone on the nightstand caught my eye.
“I’ll forgive you, if you prove that you’re truly sorry.”
“I’ll do anything, baby. Anything.” he said.
“Call my parents. Tell them where we are. I’m certain that they’re worried sick.”
Mr. Somers, the Beadles, Mom, Kevin, Kayla and I all stood outside of Seth McIntosh’s home ringing the doorbell.
After Kevin and Kayla had heard the news, they’d instantly began helping us.
“I don’t think anyone is home.” Mrs. Beadles said on the verge of tears.
She’d cried so much over the last two days that I was certain that her tears could fill the Indian Ocean.
The police were now involved, but their results were worst than ours.
“Well, we don’t have any other way to contact them, so we’re gonna have to keep trying.” Mr. Somers stated.
We’d rummaged through Caitlin’s room, but we hadn’t found any information of how to contact either of Seth’s parents.
“Why don’t we just break in?” I asked growing impatient.
It had been two days already, almost 48 hours. Everyone knows that when you get passed 48 hours the chances of finding a missing person are slim.
They’re even slimmer when the missing person is with a complete nutcase.
“Justin!” Mom scolded. “We can’t become criminals.”
I felt like the weight of the world was on my shoulders.
No one had made me feel as if any of this was my fault, but I still felt like it was, besides, no one had said that it WASN’T my fault either.
“Don’t worry, we’ll find her.” Mr. Somers said. “I promise.”
I trudged back to my Range Rover and Kayla followed me.
The two of us had ridden over here together, while Mom had caught a ride with Kevin.
I opened the door for her before climbing into my own seat.
Kayla reached over and placed her hand on mine.
“It’s not your fault, you know.” she said.
I looked up at her surprised. Had she just read my mind?
“And no, I’m not a mind reader.” she chuckled. “It’s just how I would feel if someone I cared about went missing.”
I smiled at her gratefully.
“Don’t worry, Justin. They’ll find her. I know they will.”
“I hope you’re right.” I sighed. “I hope you’re right.”
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