Taking the search on tour
Gev was the first one up in his home. He walked downstairs and snatched up the gift he bought for his little sister then traveled into the girl’s room to set it down on the dresser beside her, writing a quick note on a sheet of her Lalaloopsy stationary about where he would be for a few days. Giving her a kiss atop her sleeping head, he wandered from the room to his parents.
Yakusoku had asked him to lighten up on them, that they wanted to prove they’re good parents. He had yet to comply. He supposed he should leave them a note, but instead he walked in and stood over their bed looking down at them. Randall and Vasylyna, the sham of a lifetime. Pinching his mother’s nose between his fingers, he waited for her to wake up.
A snort sounded from the woman trying to catch her breath. Waking herself, she shakes her head and looks to where the bright light from the hall is coming in. “Wha...?” She gasped, startled from her sleep. She then sees a darkened-over silhouette of her son standing beside the bed. “Gev, what is-..?”
“I’m leaving.” He states clearly enough, then turns and walks out of the room.
“Gev! Gev, wait a moment, please!”
Antsy, he stops his exit just outside the of front door and, leaving it cracked, he waits for his mother to catch up to him. “What? I really need to leave as soon as possible.”
“Someone called for you.”
Interest peaked, he asked. “Was it Yakuza?”
“No... it certainly did not sound like him; his voice was very... quiet.”
“Did he say anything about him, though?”
“No. He only asked if you were home. I tell him no.”
“Okay. Well, if he calls again, give him my cell.”
“Yes. I will give him cell... and Gev?”
Rolling his eyes, he released his hand from the door knob to turn and ask. “What?”
When he was yanked into a firm hug. “It is very scary that your friend is missing. I am worried for you too.” Kissing him on the cheek, she says. “Be very careful out there.”
Smiling, he shakes his head. “I’m sixteen years old. I can take care of myself without a blessing.”
“No, but the world is scary when people you know are gone. So you being careful too.”
“I will 'being careful too'.” He teased rather than mocked her accent. As long as she’s been in America, you think it would have been dropped and her English would have improved a long time ago, but it would seem not. It was kind of endearing in a way.
“Thank you.” She removes herself. “You are a good boy.”
Taking in a doubtful breath, he says thoughtfully. “I’d see a shrink about believing that.” Raising his hand in a departure wave, he walks down the street towards Ludwig’s house.
Covering herself from the cold by bunching her nightgown around her throat, Vasylyna leaves the cold and returns into her home.
Are you out of your mind? Do you know how early it is?” This was Ludwig. He packed a little more than Gev which added an additional backpack to his load.
“What’s in here?” Asks the Russian giving the second bag a smack.
“An extra coat, in case the cold is worse in another state.”
“Worse than CT? I find that hard to believe.”
“My mom won’t like me taking her car. We’re gonna have to get rides with Nono and Clark.”
“I know. I called them on my way over here.”
“Oh. Then why’d you come over?”
“Yakuza told me to take care of you, so...” He trailed off with a shrug.
Ludwig would be lying if he said his heart didn’t just jump like it got an electric jolt through it. But he still was compelled to say. “You don’t have to do that.”
Gev shrugged as if to say “I’m gonna do it anyway, deal with it”. Kicking a clot of snow he looks at his friend's home. “Well, are you gonna invite me in while we wait?”
“Oh! Sure. Come in.”
The two enter the Ballantyne home and head straight for the kitchen to have warm drinks. “My mom only bought tea. That okay?”
Putting on a kettle that looks like a bloated chicken, Ludwig grabs a bag of bread and fixes them a slice of toast each. “Do you like jam or butter on your toast?”
“I hate toast.” Replied the asked with a teasing smirk.
“Really?” He looks over his shoulder from beyond the opened refrigerator door. “Wish you’d of said that before I put it on.”
“We can get donuts when we head out. It's just bread, toss it.”
“Do you know how many people are-..”
“Starving in the world?” He finished for the worried-wart. “And do you know how many homeless people actually dig through the trash to find something to eat? Put it in a plastic zip lock and keep the germs off.”
Removing the whistling kettle from the stove top, he then fixes their cups of apple cinnamon tea. Buttering both slices of toast he walks over the cups before bringing his toast over to the kitchen table. Ludwig couldn’t help but look at Gev thinking that, not long ago, Yakusoku sat right there quietly doing homework beside him. Hn. The two actually looked alike when you crossed your eyes, but the differences could knock you over. Gev has an edge to the dye in his hair and the contacts in his eyes. Yakusoku just looked like he was hiding beneath it. Not wearing it because he wanted to but rather that he had to. There was only agitation underneath, not primping rebellion, like the Russian.
Noticing the long glance, Gev sips his tea speaking after setting the cup back down on the table. “I didn’t sleep either.”
“How did it go at the police station?” Ludwig ignored the unasked question, that he already knew the answer to.
“I gave them a good tip; remember that girl that kept calling him? The crazy one constantly asking to meet with him, but never showed?”
“You think it was her?”
“Not sure. Do girls even abduct people? I thought maybe she did it with help from her beater boyfriend, but... I really only told the cops that the unknown number on the phone list might have been hers.”
“I remember the two of them arguing over the phone when he was at my house that night.” Ludwig mulled over his thoughts while nibbling his toast. The silence stretched until he asked. “What if it is her? Where would she take him? How would she have taken him?”
“Help from her boyfriend. Real question is, what the hell they’d want him for... so he said some shit to her, get over it, right?”
“Some people can’t just get over things. They hold onto it forever.”
They sit in silence again.
“There might be someone else...”
“Who?” Weighed down from thought, Ludwig re-adjusts his sitting position.
“A girl... He said she stalked him when he was in middle school.” He decided to leave out the other part in respect for his missing friend.
Saying there was a freak is one thing, but he didn’t need to go into details without going through the proper channels of talking about another guy’s demons.
“Do the police know?”
“I only remembered just now.”
“You should tell them! Any little thing helps.” Gev turns his attention to the living room where a car horn sounded.
“That’s us.” Pinky out, for humor in this dour moment, Gev gulped down the rest of his tea; which was surprisingly delicious. He never drinks tea, preferring hot cocoa.
He hasn’t had tea since he was- what- six and he had the stomach flu. Those were good times. A time before the thing happened, that changed how he saw his parents for well into his adulthood probably. How could it not fuck a guy up? Knowing what he knows.
“Come on.” Ludwig taps him on the shoulder, shielding himself when the Russian snapped out of his train of thought and glared at him as if he were in his head and saw something he shouldn’t have. “The guys are here.”
The two head out the front door. Gev waited long enough for Ludwig to lock up before asking. “Who’re you going with?”
“Yeah, personally, I’d take Nono.” He slings an arm around the distressed Canadian. “Clark might make you hit him in the peepee.” He snickered while wriggling his pinky like its the offending appendage.
“I’ll go with Nono.” Replied Ludwig. “And don’t forget what I’d said about calling the police.”
Removing his phone from his pocket, he shows his friend that he’s dialing the number.
Satisfied, he stopped Gev from leaving again. He had one more question. “How are we gonna pay for this fees of leaving the state, food, gas, and sleeping?”
“I’ve got it covered. But we have to make a stop somewhere.” Walking away he says very cryptically. “Someone owes me some money.”