A N D Y
Benny jumped up from the sofa, almost knocking me over in the process. The pounding on the front door startled both of us.
“Benny! Calm down,” I lean down, slipping my fingers around his collar before opening the door.
I saw Cain standing in my doorway, accompanied by Harry, the officer that had helped Max out at the station. Harry glanced down at Benny, smiling.
“Mind if we come in?”
Cain glared at me, his eyes narrowing when I nodded.
“Sorry to disturb you,” Harry strides past me, his gaze sweeping over my modest home. He indicates towards the guitar propped up against the wall, raising his eyebrows with interest. “You play?”
“I like to think I can,” I chuckle, glancing back at Cain who is still glaring at me. “But you’re not here to talk guitars, are you?”
Cain spoke then, folding his arms across his chest as he frowned.
“What? I would assume she is at home,” I meet his eyes then, holding his gaze. “Why? Did you think she was here?”
Cain makes a face then, glowering at me.
“You wish,” he smirks.
I frown, wondering what the hell Max saw in this guy. She didn’t strike me as the type of woman to fall for a neanderthal like Cain, yet it was clear they had something going on. I ignore his barbed comment, instead turning my attention to Harry.
“Can you tell me what is going on?”
“When is the last time you saw Max?” Harry asks, leaning against the wall.
“After I dropped her home from the station,” I answered immediately, my stomach dropping when Harry grimaces.
“When did you last hear from her?”
I tug my phone out of my pocket, swiping through my text messages to find the ones from Max.
“Yesterday. She said she had to focus on finding her sister, that she understood if I wanted to cool things off,” I read out quietly, noticing Cain and Harry exchange a look.
“What did you say?” Cain grunted, barely looking at me.
“I said I’d give her as much time as she needed, but that I really liked her,” I admitted, handing my phone to Harry. “See for yourself.”
Harry took the phone and nodded, confirming to Cain that what I’d said was correct.
“You texted her this morning, and she didn’t reply. Is that usual?” Harry peers at me, and I shake my head.
“No. We text each other when we wake up, I just assumed she was busy with her family. Look, is something wrong?” I ask, taking my phone back from Harry. “Why did you think Max would be here?”
If looks could kill, I’d be dead. Cain looked furious.
“We aren’t sure, but we think Max may be missing,” Harry breathes, my heart falling through the floor at his words.
“Missing? That’s absurd-“
“We wanted to know when you last communicated with her, just to help us out,” Harry blurts out, shooting a warning look at Cain. “If you hear from her, will you call me on this number?”
Harry hands me a card, reaching down to stroke Benny’s head as he does.
“Wait, what makes you think she is missing?” I swallow, suddenly feeling anxious. They must have this wrong.
Cain steps closer to me, and immediately we are sizing each other up. He leans forward, his eyes wide.
“Trust me, she is missing. I’ll find her, and when I do, I’m never letting her go again.”
The unspoken threat was heavy in the air, but I wasn’t one to back down.
“She isn’t a bird in a cage,” I retort. “She’s free to do whatever she wants, with whoever she wants.”
I fold my arms then, and Cain smiles coldly.
“Get back on your dating site, find someone else. Because she will always choose me.”
Cain walks towards the door, but I’m not done.
“Seems to me you met her first,” I opened the front door, turning my gaze back to Cain. “Yet she still went looking for more. The thing is, Cain, she found it. I don’t want countless women, or stupid flings. I want Max.”
Harry steps between us, pushing Cain out of the door with some difficulty.
“Thanks for your time,” Harry turns to me. “Ignore Cain. He has feelings for her too.”
Cain looks like he wants to say something else, but he shakes his head. He walks away, and I wonder why they aren’t in a police car. I close the door, examining the card with a sigh.
I blink then, reading the card again.
Cain was a detective?!
I felt a wave of jealousy then- the woman I liked had been fucking some hunky detective who didn’t want to let her go?
I slump back into my chair as Benny jumps up next to me, resuming his position. I rub his ears absentmindedly, my mind whirring. How had Max gone missing? It had to be something to do with her missing sister. I bring up Facebook on my phone, sending a message to Frankie George.
Hey, Frankie, it’s Andy. I’m a friend of Max’s, not sure if you can remember me from the police station the other night? I hope you and your family are doing okay. I’ve just had a visit from the police regarding Max. Please tell me what’s going on? I’m worried. Andy.
I couldn’t believe Max was missing. I felt powerless, and I racked my brain to think of anything I could do to help. It surprised me when my phone lit up, alerting me to a reply from Frankie.
Andy, it’s crazy. Both of my sisters are missing, I don’t know what to do or think anymore. The police have nothing to tell me. I’m terrified I’m next.
Oh man, the poor girl.
Is there anything I can do? I feel helpless.
The three bubbles tell me Frankie is typing, and I lean my head back against the sofa with exasperation.
No, thank you. It was nice of you to message, if you hear anything from Max, please let me know straight away!
I couldn’t imagine how Frankie felt. I also knew I would be a suspect in Max’s case- the new guy she had met online. I groan, leaning down to bury my head in Benny’s thick fur.
“I just wanted to meet someone, Benny. Now look what I’m involved in.”