The Lives of Jame and Valeria

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The Thirty First Chapter

The day passes. No food or water. Another day comes and goes. Nothing changes. Yet another day, and Tamara's ribs have made an appearance. We get to a desert. I set up a fire. In seconds, Tamara is asleep in the sand. There hasn't been sign of any animals for miles. Valeria must be worried sick. Worse comes to worst, our wedding is supposed to be in three days. I'm trying to stay positive, for Tamara's sake, but as soon as she passes out, I fall to my knees and cry.

After a restless night, I wake Tamara. She sits by me as we watch the most beautiful sunrise. I've seen many sunrises and sunsets, but Arizona's are the best.

"Come on. Pick up," I say to myself. For the past three days, I've been pacing our room. Jame hasn't answered his phone, and I've started to worry. Mayley and Tritt are sitting on our bed, trying to find anything that could help. I've called everyone in my contacts. I can't give up. I refuse. My life can't do this to me again. I've never forgotten my wedding day, when he said, "I don't." Jame would've said, "I do." But now he's gone.

"Valeria," Mayley taps my shoulder.

"Hm?" I look at her.

"One of the investigators found his phone. We're going to send some dogs out. Hopefully they find him. Or at least what direction he was headed."

"YES!" I pull her into a hug. That's the only piece of good news I've heard in a while. If Tamara wouldn't have run off, Jame would still be here. It's her fault.

"I'm going to go to the station," Tritt gets up. "I'll see if there's anything I can do."

"Thank you. For everything." Tritt pats my shoulder, then leaves with Mayley. For the first time in almost a week, I feel hope. It's small, but it's there. I decide to wander around for a while.

I get my hoodie and lock up the house. As I'm about to unlock Jame's truck, I freeze.

It's a bad memory.

I decide to walk. Seconds pass before the hair on the back of my neck stand up. I get a feeling. Not joy, not hope, fear. I'm not alone.

I quicken my pace. I almost pull out my phone to ask Dallyn to pick me up, but then remember he's on a date with Connor. I decide against it. Tritt is helping with the search. Alex and Alec are trying to help Tritt. I start to walk around the corner into a dark alley. I'm a murderer. Whoever is following me will regret it.

I turn around. Two scrawny, unmasked boys block the only easy exit. I pull out my gun. They get into a fight position and run towards me. I decide to make them suffer. I pull the trigger twice. First, aimed at a hand. Next, a foot. They both fall. I walk past them. As I exit the alley, a bigger man knocks me onto my back. He steps on my chest to the point where I can't breathe. My vision begins to fade. The last thing I see is his foot coming on my face. Then... nothing.

"Why the hell won't she pick up?" I ask, pacing the station. Valeria hasn't picked up her phone. I've called her twice with no answer.

"Hey, Mayley," Rachel greets me.

"Hey. Have you heard from Valeria?" I pocket my phone.

"No. Why?"

"She hasn't answered her phone. It's scaring me."

"I'll have Tritt find her." She leaves the room.

"I'm coming with you!" I chase her.

Valeria has had her phone on her at all times ever since Jame disappeared. I'm really worried. This is unlike her. I call her again, but it goes straight to voicemail. I can't be mad right now. All I feel is fear.

As Rachel talks to Tritt, I stay in my own little world. That's when my phone rings. It's Connor.

"Hey, Connor. Are you okay? I thought you were on a date," I greet him.

"We had just left. That's when we saw her body." His voice is shaking. He's been crying.

"Wait. What?"

"Valeria. She's dead. We were driving by an alley, but she caught my eye. We were too late." He starts crying. I try to hold back my tears. To be strong. But I can't.

"I'll handle it. Go home. Get some rest. You're going to need it. Some of the officers are probably going to question you. They always do." A tear slowly cascades down my cheek to the wood flooring.

"Okay. Thanks." He tells me the address, then hangs up.

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