December 24th. The Land home.
Quinn could hardly look at her youngest son. She’s been in the window of their living room staring at the street for hours. She believed that Yakusoku would come walking up the driveway, and tell them that nothing happened. That his car had just skidded on the ice on the street and that was how it wound up in the ditch. Knowing how expensive it is, he was ashamed to face them with news that it's been ruined, and so he stayed over at a friend’s house until he was sure the worst of the blame was over.
It was a pretty far out wish to be the truth, but it was better than believing what the police have told them. That their son was suicidal and has disappeared and killed himself. That it was a common occurrence with teenagers that are troubled. Although, they admitted that most of them just do it in their own home, but that didn’t mean it was any less true a thought to weigh.
But Yakusoku wasn’t troubled. ...Well, he did go through that two years a completely different person than the one they’ve raised since adoption. He was rude, swore like a sailor, stayed out at all hours and came home reeking of alcohol- which they still don’t know how he got his hands on- weed, they knew he got from Gev. And if Quinn wasn’t mistaken sex. But, Yakusoku wouldn’t do THAT... Would he?
“Oh my god.” Quinn began to cry again.
Her face has swelled considerably from all the crying she’s been doing; she’s completely lost to her remaining family. As far as they’re concerned Quinn isn’t there either. She hasn’t cooked, hasn’t cleaned. Ai’s been doing it all, along with help from his father from time to time when the man isn’t out scouring the city for Yakusoku.
They’ve put up flyers for rewards; their phone and cell numbers just out for the public eye to see, and they’ve gotten calls. Some from students at school asking if it were true. Some from other people being wise-asses. And a few from people who saw his car on that horrible night. They said that he was headed for the store, at least that’s where he’d parked his car. They drove by before they could see him exit.
“Mom, I really think you should eat something,” Ai suggested for what must be the hundredth time since his brother’s disappearance.
As well as pouring on the tears, Quinn hasn’t been eating either. She’s lost six pounds already! The plump Swedish woman would be a pencil if Yakusoku isn’t found sooner than later.
“I’m not hungry.” She said barely above a whisper.
“I know you’re not, but you should eat something anyway.” Walking into the kitchen he returned with a plate of sandwiches. “Dad made them. It’s turkey and tomato.”
Quinn is unresponsive. She said she doesn’t want to eat and she meant it.
Sighing, Ai places the plate down on top of the television stand. “Please eat.”
“How could this have happened, Ai?”
“I...” And he stopped speaking right there. He must have answered the question a million times, and he still has no answer that will comfort her. “Eat, and watch a Christmas movie with me?” He grabs his mother’s hand, then the plate of sandwiches. “Come on.”
Quinn got up, or rather, she was tugged up from her seat and walked over to the couch. “Ai, I really don’t want to.”
“But, it’s the holidays,” He protested as if that vanquished any horrible thing going on in the world.
And if you watch the movies, it usually does just that. But being the holidays isn’t going to bring his brother back, though it could at least cheer Quinn up somewhat. If the Hoos could sing and the Grinch could turn nice, surely Quinn could find a smile somewhere- or at least eat. Honestly, he’s barely functioning, but Ai knows he has to do it or his mother will lose herself completely. And so would his father.
The man has been with the police since day one, but Reeve can only take so much as well. Ai isn’t going to believe the lies of his brother being suicidal. Ai isn’t going to believe that Yakusoku ran away. He’s unsure of whether or not he can even consider someone having taken him, that’d be so weird. But what else could it be? But who would take him? Some random perv? He’s in the age range of perverted interest.
“We’ll watch Frosty the Snowman or Rudolf... You love his stuffy voice, remember?”
Quinn nodded but then her tears renewed. “You... you and your brother always sound like Rudolf when you’ve been out in the cold for too long.”
Panicked, Ai wraps his arms around her hugging her close. “Mom, forget Rudolf... We’ll watch... um... Jingle All the Way.”
That movie seemed to always be on from the moment December begins to when it ends.
“Maybe Christmas with the Kranks, you love Jamie Lee... Mom...” His shoulders and face sag at once. “Please stop crying. Yakusoku is gonna be found- before he’s hurt... Everyone is looking for him, and praying for him. It’s only a matter of time.”
“You’re right, I shouldn’t be moping. I should be out there with your father and the police looking for your brother.”
“I’ll get your coat and things, but first, you eat.” He lifts a sandwich and hands it to her. “You need strength to look.”
Ai smiled when she bit into the sandwich. Looks like another long day of searching is ahead of them. Their dad had seen a video of Yakusoku’s car pulling into the Save-a-Lot store’s lot on that night, but that didn’t do much for evidence since his car was moved. And Yakusoku didn’t exactly get out of the car, it was only identified by Reeve. The video footage was on its last roll by the time Yakusoku pulled in and once his car stopped the tape rewound itself to record new footage. Maybe it was time to take Nono’s advice and put up posters in the next state. It might help.
It’s been six days since Yakusoku went missing. All is quiet. Little helpful tidbits here and there didn’t amount to where his brother has gone to. The crash into the ditch must have happened overnight as well because no one had seen that either. It was as if that entire night were a magic trick of ‘now you see him, now you don’t’.
The thing that Ai couldn’t wrap his head around was who’d wanna abduct his brother?