All I Hold Dear
Thump, thump. Thump, thump.
The blood pounding in my head makes it difficult to focus. I don’t understand what I’m seeing right now. All these years I’ve been searching, I never expected...this. Many questions are scattered in my head, but only one comes out.
“What the fuck?!”
Five Years Ago...
I’m sitting in the police station for the third time in two weeks. Everyone I ask about my missing sister has the same bullshit answer.
“Son, we’re trying our best.”
“Our finest officers are on the job, Mr. Vaughan.”
But when I come back, no one has a fucking clue where she is. Her friends have been no help and neither has that loser she’d dated, Matt Russo. It’s been months since even I last saw Serena.
She could be dead by now!
The sad thing is...I’m the only one who still cares. With our mother dead and dad gone—the cousins and creepy uncle Myron we have contact with are all we have left. Distant relatives would accurately describe them, as in the more distant they are, the better. As time wears on—it becomes clear that I’m alone in this.
At home, I sift through my mail. Most of it is junk except for an orange envelope from Serena’s school. After tearing it open, I sigh.
“Dear Mr. Vaughan,
We have reviewed your request to acquire access to our security camera footage for the dates including, but not limited to:
17 August 2015 - 21 August 2015
In light of the predicament and legal issues revolving around your request, we are denying permission to view the above-mentioned files. Our records show you have already obtained copies of her course schedule and transcripts for the school term in question. We feel that this is more than adequate as well as our allowance of your multiple visitor passes to inquire further about your sibling from her fellow classmates.
We will continue to cooperate with local law enforcement agencies regarding this matter, but can no longer indulge your personal whims. For future reference, please direct all inquiries to the officer or officers in charge of her case. Any other contact from you will be considered harassment and treated as such.
Thank you in advance for your understanding of our stance. The Lawton Public School System wishes you and your family the best in the resolution of your sister’s disappearance.
They say they’re cooperating with the police, but the problem is the police aren’t doing anything to solve this. Frustration has me balling up the letter then making my way into the kitchen. I need a drink. The bottle of scotch I bought is still half full.
I haven’t gone off the deep end yet...
My glass and I go out on the balcony for fresh air. Throughout the night, I work on piecing together Serena’s case between glasses of alcohol. It’s 1 am and I’m no closer to finding her than I was hours ago. An idea hits me that sends me inside—Serena had a diary. I saw it somewhere.
The box of files and her things are brought out then dumped onto the tiny glass table near my now watered-down drink.
“Ah! Here it is.”
Flipping past pages that I don’t need, I get to the ones I’m looking for.
Softball tryouts are today. I hope I make the team, but I’m not holding my breath. Matt is for sure going to make the baseball team. He’s the best guy at the school.
I worry about being apart during the season if I don’t make it. I could go to all his games...it’s just not the same as being on the bus together.
If Kari Hughes has her way, she’ll be all over him when I’m not there. I already caught her on his lap at the last practice match. Bitch thinks I don’t have eyes. She better hope I don’t nail her with a bat on “accident”.”
Well...my life is officially over!
Not only did I not make the team, but I had a huge fight with Matt. I said something to Kari when she wouldn’t take her hands off my boyfriend. He thinks I’m just being crazy and jealous.
In the heat of the moment, I yelled at him and sorta broke up with him... maybe. I was just pissed.
When Alex came over in the dugout, I swear he was just being a good friend! I guess Matt didn’t like him hugging me. I’ve never seen him this mad before. I hope we’ll be okay…”
Things are so scary right now.
Matt only talks to me when he wants to yell. He hasn’t forgiven me for the fight and letting Alex “feel me up”.
I go to school trying to avoid him, but he always finds me. Always.
He lost control at Tasha’s party tonight. I think he was drunk. My arm still hurts where he grabbed me. He didn’t mean it though. Not my Matty.
I need to make it up to him. Everything will be better then. It has to be. I don’t think he’ll ever let me go…”
It was him...has to be. No one else thinks so. Other members of my family point their fingers at Myron. While his vibe is alarming—it’s just too obvious. I know who I need to pay a visit to: Matt Russo.
The next morning, I wipe the drool off my cheek and regret my existence all the way into my bathroom. I don’t know how I make it in there upright, but to be honest, I don’t know how I made it into my bed last night either.
Once showered and dried off—I toss the covers aside in search of my phone. A ton of texts flood the screen when it’s found; all from Willa.
“Harry! Where are you?! 😡 ”
“You were supposed to be meeting me for breakfast this morning!”
“Ugh! Seriously, Harry where the fuck are you? I’ve called you 5 times already!”
“If you don’t show up you can just forget about our plans this weekend! I’ll go clubbing instead!”
“You know what?! Fuck you and fuck that shitty place of your family’s on the lake! 🖕"
Damn...what crawled up her ass and died?
I don’t remember agreeing to have breakfast with her and our “plans” for this weekend weren’t definite. I believe I said, ‘Maybe’. To her, I guess that means something else. This attitude is nothing new—sadly. She’ll disappear for a week then suddenly reappear when she wants my attention again.
That’s fine. I don’t have time for this shit right now. There are more important things in this world than Willa Huntford.