Chapter 3: Reflections
"WHAT'D'YA MEAN THAT I AM NOT TO GET INVOLVED! I'M ALREADY INVOLVED!" my voice booms as I give Cody an angry look.
"SHHHHTT! Keep it down..." Cody is gesturing with his hands to lower the volume, turning his head toward James' door to see if he heard anything, then he turns back to me. "And how are you already involved?"
"Well...I...er...searched Grace's apartment and found nothing, and then I contacted Griff and found out a small...minute, really...piece of information... and... well, that's about it, aside from me being her BEST friend! I am going to take this case with or without James's consent and you can't stop me!" I argue, scowling at Cody.
Cody steps back gives me a curious look asking, "What's this 'small...minute, really...piece of information' that you found out from Griff?"
"...that she was supposed to be picked up by Emma at..." I say confidently, with my chest puffed out.
"...5:00pm" Cody interrupts, making my chest shrink a bit.
"That she was flying..." I say with a smile,
"...US Airways, yeah, we know that." Cody interrupts again.
"That it was an ..." I say feeling disappointed.
"...Eleven-hour flight and that she had a layover in Phoenix...yes, we already know that, too." Cody says indignantly.
"Oh...of course you do... why wouldn't you, you guys spoke to Emma." I sneer sarcastically and throwing my hands up into the air.
"But one thing you did do, that we haven't done, yet, was to search Grace's place...and found nothing. We can rule that out." He says with a pat on my shoulder, trying to make me feel a bit better. And then walks past me, "I am not going to try to stop you from taking this case, but I do think you should reconsider. You'd be emotionally compromised, I don't think you will be able to think clearly and make the right decisions. I am going to advise that you just let us handle it, we are going to work alongside the FBI on this."
By this time Mr. James Somers walks out of his office and smiles at me, "Ah...there's my girl!" he says walking up to me and placing his hands on both of my shoulders, "and where's my Karma boy?" he looks around the floor for the dog.
"Er...he's around here somewhere...Karma!" I shout. "Where are you, come!"
Karma trots out from behind the front desk, where Brandon works.
"Ah, there he is...good boy!" James says, kneeling down to scratch behind Karma's ears. The dog affectionately licks James' hand.
"Brandon! Come here and get this dog some water!" Snaps James to his son, as the strawberry blonde, light blue-eyed young man walks toward Cody and I with a cup of steaming hot coffee in each hand.
"Yes, dad...will do." He says, feeling a bit chastised, and then hands us our cups.
"Thanks..." I smile to Brandon, and Brandon smiles back.
"Foxx....Fairchild, come with me." Orders James as he walks back to his office.
As James Somers drags Cody and myself into his rather large office, he talks drastically about how lazy his son is, and rambles on as to why he gave his son the job in the first place. I look around the office and think to myself that this office is bigger than my entire apartment. It contains two brown leather couches, a library of books, and a larger than life redwood desk with a glass top that reflects everything in the office making the office look twice as large. The big black swivel seat that is placed behind the desk doesn't look like it could hold the plump balding man, but it seems to have managed for as long as I have been working here. A huge bay window that overlooks the city takes up most of the southeast wall .
As James continues to droll on about his expectations of his son, I start reminiscing about Grace, and how this entire conversation is wasting time. Instead of listening to all of this nonsense, I remember all of the good times Grace, Emma and I had:
The twins were turning fifteen. They invited a bunch of their friends over for a slumber party. I hadn't been invited. I was still new to the area, and really didn't know anybody but the twins.
I slam the door of my locker shut, and turn to see two sets of sparkling green eyes peering at me:
"We should invite her..."
"No! We really don't know her all that well!"
"She can hear us, besides how else are we supposed to find out about her if we don't invite her?" Grace states as a matter-of-fact and then turns to me and instructs, "You are coming to our birthday party this Friday night. It's a slumber party at our house. But we have a pool, so bring your swimsuit"
Emma turns to Grace, smacking her on the arm, "I said, we don't know her...why'd you do that?"
"She's new to the area, she needs friends, and how can we just leave her out of our birthday party? Besides, she lives just right across the street from us..."Grace states.
"No...it's okay...I am busy Friday night anyway...I won't be able to make it..."I hesitate.
"You are coming, and that's final....bring one gift...because Emma don't deserve one...Be there at 6, and don't be late!" Grace demands as she and Emma huff off.
I chuckle to myself, even when they were young Grace has always been the domineering one in their twinship. Cody turns to me and whispers, "What are you giggling at?" And James continues to droll on needlessly about his expectations, I continue with the memory.
I show up at their ranch style home, precisely at 6, and not a minute later. I am holding in one hand the two gift bags each containing a make-up palette, perfume, and jewelry; with my right hand I search for the doorbell. I can hear the laughter of kids splashing in the pool coming from the back yard. The doorbell buzzes, and the door opens to reveal a beautiful golden blonde woman with the most gorgeous brown eyes I have ever seen. She stands tall and proud, in her red stilettos heels. She has an hour glass figure, and a face like a Barbie doll. She is wearing a bright red pencil dress that comes down to her knees, and her hair flows over her shoulders and hangs in a cascade of curls.
" You must be here for the party," She states, "They already started, come on in." Her gentle voice sang softly. "You may call me Sandra, I am the girls' mom. And what's your name, darling?"
"Um...Ariella..." I answer nervously while looking around. The house looks bigger inside than what it looks on the outside. Looking to my left, there is a hallway that leads to two doors, one leads into the master bedroom, and the other to a bathroom. To my right, is an entertainment room, which contains a set of matching soft blue denim loveseats and sofa. In the center of the room is a fireplace with a portrait of Sandra, the twin girls, what looks like it could be an older brother and a rather handsome man that could be passed off easily as the girls' father hanging above the mantle. Also a large screen television sits atop of an entertainment center that is adorned with dvd's and ornaments that look like school projects collected over the years. Walking forward is a dining room with hardwood flooring polished to a shine. The dining table and matching chairs look like oak and seats six. Still walking forward is a black marble counter top dividing the dining room and kitchen, a metal stove and matching refrigerator, and dish washer. Turning to my right, into another room with tan suede couches and entertainment center of pine and a smaller television, a console with two connecting remotes suggests that this room is strictly for the children to play. Off to the right there is another hallway that leads to three other bedrooms, and another bathroom. Also, off to left is a door, and still further left is a sliding glass door where I can see everyone outside in the swimming pool. Sandra gestures me to the restroom to change into my swim suit. I hand her the gift bags and she takes my sleeping bag and backpack full of extra clothing from me as well. I change out of my jean shorts and striped tank top into my sleek pink and purple one piece swim suit. I head over to my backpack to dig out my towel, when above me I hear, "Is that your swim suit?'
I look up and see a soaking wet Grace smiling over me and dripping water all over the place.
"Uh...yeah...do you like it?"
"Absolutely not! That swim suit is for a 6 year old....You are fifteen, you should be wearing one like mine! You gotta show off your stuff!" She stands proudly showing off her white bikini. "Come on, you can wear one of mine." She tugs on my arm, leading me down the hall. I follow her into a room which is cluttered with blues and pinks and glitter and golds. A white fluffy cat slinks out of the room as we enter.
"Is this your room?" I ask, looking around and observing the posters of fairytale princesses on the wall, and all of the unicorn and fairytale figurines.
"No, it's too messy to be my room, this is Emma's, but she has some of my swim suits in here...AH! That's the one! Here." She thrusts a small piece of blue and yellow cloth into my hand. I hold it up to reveal a blue and yellow bikini. "Put it on." She demands.
" Um...no, really, I can't wear this....it's too small!" I protest.
"No it's not, try it on...come on!" she insists.
"Uh...okay...I guess..." Reluctant, I give in. I go into the bathroom, and close the door. "Jeeze..."
"HURRY UP!" She yells impatiently through the door.
I quickly slip out of my pink and purple swim suit, and squeeze into the bikini that Grace told me to wear. I look into the mirror, and see someone that I had never seen before. A young woman, with CURVES.
Embarrassed, I step out of the bathroom, and Grace declares, "NOW THAT'S WHAT I'M TALKIN' ABOUT!"
I chuckle again, and this time James turns to me and says, "Foxx... this isn't funny! I'm serious! I have got to do something about that boy!"
I glance at Cody, and then turn to James as he sits down behind his desk, "I think that if he were to be assigned field work, he might become more interested in his job, knowing how important it is."
James gives a thoughtful look, "Make him appreciate being behind the desk more...hmmm...I like it! Foxx, I knew I could count on you! You're a GENIOUS!"
Turning to Cody, I whisper under my breath, "Oh, crap, what have I done?"
Cody laughs. "Make Brandon Foxx's mentee..."
"Perfect! Absolutely brilliant! Fairchild , Foxx, you both will take Brandon on your next assignment! You two will partner on this," Holding a file out to us with his hand, " it's an easy one- you won't have to do too much Foxx." He hints at me, and I am guessing that he means that I will not have to use my talent. I am feeling a bit irritated that my concerns have been deflected so I decide to bring them up on my own.
"Grace!" I demand. Cody shakes his head at me and gives me a look of warning.
"What? What about her?"James pretends to not know what I am talking about, but looking a bit shocked.
"I want her case....but I am not partnering with Brandon, nor am I partnering with Cody on this." I slam my hand down on his desk.
Cody slaps his forehead, as he sighs, giving me an evil eye.
"Who told you about Grace?" James stares Cody down.
"Yes, I told her." Fearful, Cody admits and quivers at the stare down.
"No, you are not taking that case, in fact you shouldn't even know about her disappearance." He states with anger while turning to Cody and raising his voice, as Cody whimpers like a dog in shame.
"Yes, I am!" I scream, "SHE IS LIKE MY SISTER, AND SHE IS MY BEST FRIEND! YOU CANNOT STOP ME!"
"YOU WILL DO AS YOU ARE TOLD! I AM NOT GOING TO ALLOW YOU TO GET YOURSELF KILLED OVER THIS!" He slams the blue folder down on his desk, "Besides, the case has already been handed over to the FBI. They will handle it from here!"
"What? You handed her case over to the FBI? HOW COULD YOU DO THAT? It hasn't even been 24 hours already! How can you break protocol?" By now James and I are both red in the face and screaming face to face at each other. Cody has cowardly backed himself out of the office, standing at the door and flinching with every word that is screamed.
"That is NOT your decision to MAKE!" James shouts. OH NO HE DID NOT! I can NOT believe that he decided to use his boss card on ME!
"I am taking the case or I QUIT! And I will handle it myself!"I sneer.
"You are NOT getting the case, and you are NOT quitting." James states in an annoyed voice. I slam the door to his office, "TAKE THE REST OF THE DAY OFF, GET YOURSELF TOGETHER AND BE BACK HERE BRIGHT AND EARLY TOMORROW MORNING! I HAVE MANY MORE CASES FOR YOU TO SOLVE!" He yells at me from his office as I storm out of the building, with Karma following me to my car.
Cody is shuffling after me... "Ariella wait...Ariella stop...HEY COULD YOU SLOW DOWN FOR A MINUTE!"
I completely ignore Cody, how could he just stand there like a coward during that entire argument? I can't believe he didn't stand up against James and defend me. He knows how close Grace and I are, he should have been the one to tell James that I am the best person for the job! I don't even want to look at him right now, he makes me wanna hurl! I unlock my car door and open it. Karma jumps in. Cody comes running up to me, grabs my arm, "Ari wait, I wanna talk to you..."
I jerk my arm out of my his grasp, spin around and fling my long black hair into his face, "Oh, so NOW you wanna talk? You wanna tell me what the HELL happened in there? You know what? I DON'T want to talk! I'm done TALKING! I am wasting too much time with this CRAP! I gotta find my friend." I climb into my car and slam the door, stick the key in the ignition and turn it. I turn my head and watch Cody stand there helplessly, as I pull out of the driveway.
I am driving home when I realize that I have started crying. Any time I have a bad day at work, get into an argument with Cody, or Somers, who is the one I would usually go to? She would have me come over, eat ice cream and make me sit down and watch sappy love stories. Even if it was a boring day, she would make me come over and eat ice cream and watch stupid comedies with her. Oh, I miss my friend so much.
I start crying even harder, so hard that I have to pull off to the side of the road. I hug Karma, and sob into the back of his neck. His soft fur and warmth makes me feel a little better. He gently licks the tears off of my face and nudges my hand with his nose trying to make me pet his head. He makes me giggle, "You're a good friend, Karma, my faithful side-kick. We are going to find her, we just have to take a breather, and figure out our next plan." I start the car again and slowly make my way through the city towards my apartment building. As I do though, I start to reflect:
My parents were fighting, so I was feeling a little alone, and bored. I had just gotten off the phone with Grace. My mother, Kayla, pretty much stayed in her room crying, and my father, Leo, had left for the night. I gently rapped on my mom's bedroom door, "Mom...mama?" My mother looks up at me from her position on the bed, wiping the tears from her eyes. "What is it sweetie?"
"Mom, are you okay?" I ask, trying to be compassionate. I really don't care too much for my dad. He seems to not care for me or my mom, so I was happy when he was gone.
She gives me a weak smile, " Yeah, honey, I'm fine." She sits up in her bed, and sniffles."Uh..what did you want, baby?" She asks me, trying to push all of her problems away.
"Mom, I was wondering if I can have my friend over tonight...Are you sure you're okay? I mean, what were you and Dad arguing about?" I try so hard to show that I really do care, but I guess my true feelings have been found out because she answers:
"Yes, baby, I am fine, nothing to worry your pretty little head over. Dad and I just had a little spat, it was nothing. Daddy will be back later. Do you want to have Grace and Emma spend the night, or would you rather spend the night over there?" She opens her arms, smiling widely, and embraces me. I can't help but gravitate towards her bosom, she is my mother after all, and there is nothing like a mother's love and warmth. I shake my head, "Just Grace, Emma is out of town..." Emma likes spending time with her grandparents, so that leaves Grace hanging out with me quite a bit.
I hold on to her tightly before she states, "You know, baby doll, we should have ice cream, and some cookies, and maybe get some movies so you and your friend can stay up all night and have a girl's night. Would you like that sweet heart?"
I giggle, "Yes ma'am! And PIZZA too?!"
She smiles, and with a chuckle, she adds, "And Pizza, too!"
My mother is so pretty. She has soft brown, shoulder length hair that is always pulled back into a wavy ponytail, a fair complexion that never holds make up, pretty soft baby blue eyes and is fairly physically fit. She always likes to do yoga, it relaxes her, and as she puts it, "it keeps her young." I love my mother so much, and I always hated to see her cry because of Dad. So whenever she wants ice cream and movies, it was always okay with me.
I call up Grace and squeal, "She said YES! AND we get to have Ice cream, movies, and PIZZA!!!"
Grace comes knocking on our door, and I answer it. She has a gigantic smile on her face holding her pillow and sleeping bag, "Movies all night long and mani-pedis?" she asks, I nod, and we both laugh. She says, "Bring it!"
I pull into the dirt lot of my decrepit, old apartment building, and park the silver Sentry. I sit in my car and lean my head back on the headrest, taking a deep breath. I remember how Grace and I used to stay up all night doing each others' nails and talk boys. She was always the one who would go after the Jock types in high school, which is why I always thought that she and Cody might be good for each other. But, for some reason, all the jock types always thought I should date them. I have never thought I was beautiful enough to date those guys, I was never cheerleader type, Grace was. In fact, she WAS a cheerleader in high school, and so was Emma.
I walk up the eight flights of stairs, and my clumsy fingers find my door. I slip the key into the doorknob, and push it open. I walk in, toss my keys and purse onto the black leather couch, and head toward the kitchen when I hear, " Ouch, hey Ari, when are you going to move out of this dump and in with me?"
I jump, and spin around, " CODY! What the hell are you doing here?!" He is sitting on my couch, holding my keys and purse in his lap, with his feet propped up on my coffee table.
"I need to talk to you. You ran off without giving me a chance to explain." He admits in a calm voice.
"HAH! FAT CHANCE! Get OUT!" I yell. I yank my door open, as he slowly rises to his feet. " I thought I told you that I am DONE TALKING!"
"Ari, just listen to me, please." He tries to coax me into a conversation. I grab his arm and try with all my might to push him towards the door. He allows a little flexibility, but hardly budges.
"I am not leaving," He says with humor in his voice, "not until you let me talk."
We start a pushing and shoving match. He's smiling, and I am not having it. He is making me angrier and angrier as I start using my entire body to try to push him out of my apartment. He doesn't budge, however, instead of moving him OUT, he manages to work his way further from the door, deeper INSIDE my apartment. That's when we trip over my coffee table, and he lands on top of me, and somehow, within the struggle, I find his lips had landed on mine.
This kiss, so new to me, makes me even more angry. But at the same time, it is warm and sweet. HOW DARE HE! But, at the same time, I feel my knees become jelly. He slowly pulls away, and stares at me, waiting for an answer, but instead he finds confusion in my eyes. And then: WHOMP! Right across his cheek my hand lands." I CAN' T BELIEVE YOU!" I shriek as I push him off.
" Okay, I deserved that, and I..I'm sorry..." he stutters rubbing his cheek, "I didn't mean to offend you." He tries to calm me down.
I glare at him, "Why?"
"Why, what?" he seems awfully confused.
"Why'd you do it?" I feel like throwing daggers at him.
"Why did I kiss you? I thought you know how much I like you..." Okay, he is thoroughly confused.
"No, no...why did you leave me to deal with Somers like that? KNOWING FULL WELL that I am the best detective to solve that case?" I said glaring at him, and then I added with a laugh, " And by the way, I kind of expected you to take a cheap shot at me like that."
"You thought it was a cheap shot? I'm rather hurt that you don't know me all that well..." There is a sense of amusement in his expression and his tone of voice. "I didn't leave you to deal with Somers, I was there and heard the entire argument. I wanted to tell you that..."
"I know that you were there, THE ENTIRE STAFF WAS THERE. You just weren't there for me, backing me up." I interrupted.
He shakes his head, "God, you're beautiful,"
I stare at him dumbfounded. "What...?"
He continues,"Please, let me finish. I wanted to tell you that I think you are right, I have decided that YOU should be the one to solve this case. And I want to help you."
Read Chapter 4 here.
- The Shift: Book 1- The Anomaly Ch 4
Someone from Ariella’s past shows up and causes Ariella to reflect on her feelings. How is this going to affect her investigation of Grace’s disappearance?