The Loudest Silence

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Mason

I stare back and forth between Isabella and the guy I now know as Roman while keeping the fake smile propped on my face. I could hear the loud chatter from around us as students bustled in and out of the main area of the library where Isabella and I had been working earlier.

Who was he and what affiliation did he have with Isabella?

Last I checked, Isabella tended to remain isolated, only surrounding herself with the occasional Isla and Fletcher.

This Roman guy was a new face.

His image looked rugged and brooding as he stood idly by, not uttering a single word to either Isabella or I. He was dressed in dark clothing, as if he was trying to stray away from any unnecessary attention. His golden skin glistened beneath the library’s lights as his gaze constantly roamed around him, as if he was watching his back for something. A permanent frown was etched on his face and his eyebrows were furrowed as he stuck his hands in his pockets. He looked to be in his early twenties and appeared to be of Hispanic descent but harbored distinct features that indicated an assorted racial background.

He stood nearly as tall as I did and towered over Isabella who looked tiny beside his grown build.

I had never seen him prior to this day and I made a distinct reminder to myself to request a file on him. There was no doubt in my mind that he had some connection to Isabella, but I needed to confirm whether or not he was affiliated with Rick and his gang.

I quickly snapped out of my thoughts and turned to Isabella who was already watching me with a guarded expression. I could feel the uneasiness oozing off her in waves as she fidgeted in her spot. She suddenly looked much tenser than she had when I had left the library earlier and my eyes warily shifted over to Roman.

Was he the reason why she was acting this way?

Whatever it was, I would get to the bottom of it and discover who exactly Roman was and whether he carried the same threat as them all.

I flashed her a small smile before opening my mouth to speak, “I’m going to go return this. I’ll see you in class tomorrow.” I simply said as I held the book up in the air before brushing past them and making way towards the back portion of the library where I would be hidden behind the rows of bookshelves.

As soon as I was away from their line of vision, I hovered behind a large shelf that hid my figure and stared in their direction. I watched as Roman wordlessly walked out of the library just as Isabella turned around from where she had been fiddling with her things. She stared at his disappearing figure before slinging her bag on her shoulder and exiting the library as well.

I let out a loud sigh and made my way back towards the main area of the library. Pulling out a chair, I sat back down into the table Isabella and I were seated at earlier and pulled out my phone.

I dialed Tyler’s number and leaned back in my seat as the call went through. Tapping my fingers on the desk, my thoughts wandered back to Isabella.

Surprisingly enough, today wasn’t half as bad as I had assumed it would be. Despite my failed attempts at getting her to reveal any part of her personal life, she wasn’t bad company to have around. She was a relatively quiet person and I would often catch myself watching her as she worked on the project. She would almost always have her nose scrunched and eyebrows furrowed as she stared down at whatever she was reading in the moment. Her dark locks, as usual, curtained over her pale but I would occasionally get a glimpse of her rosy cheeks that would redden each time she would glance over and catch my gaze. I couldn’t help the slight grin that made its way to my face at her facial expressions each time this happened.

It made me wonder how someone that seemed so innocent and harmless could be associated with one of the most wanted criminals.

I often found myself in need of a wakeup call that an exterior to someone was deceiving and there was always more to someone than what met the eye.

I had seen the darkest depths to the world, and it had ripped my eyes open to the cruelty and hatred that lingered in every corner.

It really left you wondering if there was anyone sincere left in the world.

I was torn from my thoughts by the sound of Tyler greeting me over the phone, “Hey man, what’s up?” His cheerful voice asked as I sat up in my seat. If there was one thing to know about Tyler, it was that he was damn near the happiest person on the planet. He was the type of guy that just was happy to be alive despite any circumstances.

I wished I could live my life like that, without feeling like I had the weight of the world on my shoulders.

I wished I could live with myself without hearing the endless echoes from the demons of my past reminding of all my past faults and the guilt that would never cease its imposition on me.

Shaking my head at nothing in particular, I forced myself to brush off the dark thoughts that were inching their way into my brain.

Those thoughts were cancerous. And like the disease itself, there was no cure.

I was defenseless against the thoughts that forced its way into my brain, eliciting an inner battle that I always ended up losing.

“Hey man, I wanted to know if you were in today, I need to come down to gather a couple pieces of information on this case.” I said, running a hand through my hair. I could feel the exhaustion from the day taking its toll on me but ignored it as Roman’s unexpected arrival lingered in the back of my mind.

“Yeah come down! I’ll be here for another couple hours.” He informed happily as I heard chatter on the other side, most likely coming from fellow colleagues.

“I’ll see you then.” I said quickly before we bid our goodbyes and I ended the call. Getting back on my feet, I slung my bag onto my shoulder once again before making my way out of the library and towards the parking lot where my car had been parked for the past couple of days.

Tossing my backpack into the trunk, I slid into the drivers seat before pulling out of the school and heading down the highway towards the agency headquarters. I switched the radio to a random station and watched as the sun made its descent as nightfall began to approach. Upon arriving, a strong gust of wind blew past me as I hopped out of my car. Glancing up at the large familiar building that I had invested many days and nights working in, I shoved my hands in my pockets before striding inside

After greeting a few colleagues that were on their way out of building, I finally reached the second floor where both mine and Tyler’s office was located. Upon reaching the tall steel door, I pushed the knob before stepping into the office that had been vacant ever since the start of this assignment.

Taking a couple more steps in, I glanced around the bland office that I had spent countless hours in. Upon receiving this job position and office, I never took it upon myself to personalize it to my liking. Nearly every office in this building had been decorated with at least one photo with a loved one except for mine.

I tended to stray away from pictures.

They only served as reminders for a time where life wasn’t so bad.

And maybe that was a good thing for others, but in my case it wasn’t.

Photographs only reopened old wounds and provoked dark, unwanted thoughts.

“And so the infamous Mason Reed has returned!” Tyler loudly said from behind me, breaking me away from my thoughts once again. I couldn’t help the grin that crawled over my face as I turned to face him. He stood in the doorway of my office, leaning all his weight against my open door as he stared at me with a massive smile.

“Hey man.” I greeted, extending my hand to him. He gave it a quick pat and shake before pushing off the wall and walking farther inside my office. Pulling out one of the chairs, he plopped down into it as I too made my way towards my seat behind my desk.

“So, what brings you here?” Tyler questioned as he twirled a pen between his finger tips. His dark locks fell into his eyes as he propped his legs up onto my desk before turning to look at me.

I eyed his shoes that were dangerously close to my files and computer, before shifting my gaze back towards him.

“There may be another person of interest at the college besides Isabella Wright so I wanted to look into it” I informed as I switched the computer on. I watched as Tyler brought his legs down from the table and sat up straight, a serious look etched on his face.

“Rick has someone else out there? Who is it?” He questioned abruptly as he circled around the desk to where I was seated. Pulling a chair up beside me, he sat down as I entered Roman’s name into the database.

Millions of names along with photographs appeared on the screen and I let out a deep breath as I pinched my nose in frustration.

It would take me all night to go through this whole database searching for him without any indication of what his last name was.

“I only got his first name, and judging by these results theres no way I can get an exclusive search on him without any other information.” I said tiredly as I ran a hand through my messy hair. I could feel a headache coming on as I leaned back in my chair.

“I’ll be right back.” Tyler suddenly said as he stood up from his seat. Before I could even get a word out, he had left down the hall most likely towards his office. Leaning my head back on the cushioned chair, I let my eyes close for a couple minutes of silence. I had just shut my eyes for less than a minute when the rapid sound of footsteps suddenly caused me to peel my eyes open.

A determined Tyler rushed into the room, a pile of manila folders in his hands as he strode across the room towards me. Tossing them down onto the desk, he sat back down in his seat before pulling one of the files closer towards him and opening it up.

“I was looking into a couple of the other guys we have information on and theres this one guy...Wes Carter.” He slowly said as he rummaged through the papers before finally pulling one out from the stack. “This guy right here. We have intel that he has a nephew working with Rick as well. And from the information we’ve gathered, he’s about the same age as Isabella. There’s not much information on him besides that.” Tyler informed as he slid the paper over to me. Glancing over at the mess of papers, I quickly took the paper from his hand and scanned through it. There were no photographs besides a blurry one of both Wes Carter and Rick Wright in an alleyway. I could barely make out the facial features of Wes and tossed the paper aside after failed attempts of trying to find a resemblance between Roman and Wes.

“The photo’s too blurry to tell if they’re related” I said as I repeatedly rubbed a hand over my forehead to soothe the throbbing pain near my temples.

“It doesn’t hurt to try and find him through the database” He offered lowly as he once again began looking through each of the files.

Taking his words into account, I leaned forward into my seat before typing both Wes and Roman Carter’s name into the database. Instantly the search significantly narrowed down to a smaller number as I stared ahead at the various files online.

Clicking on the only one labeled Wes Carter, I looked under the relations tab where any family members under law enforcement radar would be listed along with immediate family.

Upon clicking, I noticed there were no other listings except for one particular name reading Aidan Carter.

“His file isn’t there?” Tyler questioned from beside me as he leaned in to get a closer look. I shook my head and furrowed my eyebrows as I continued staring at the name. I let the name swim around in my head before turning to face Tyler who had a similar expression etched onto his face.

“The only name in relation to Wes is Aidan Carter and the only reason why Roman’s name wouldn’t be on file is if...” Tyler trailed off as I stared ahead at the database with a newfound determination in my mind.

“Roman isn’t his actual name.” I announced loudly as I let the newfound discovery linger over the silent room.

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