C A I N
Max had been missing for two fucking days. Her sister had turned up at her parents’ house yesterday, heavily sedated but otherwise in good shape. She was still under observation at the hospital, but Harry was heading down there to talk to her today.
I hated to admit it, but I was a wreck. Yan was a spiteful bastard, and drugs were his speciality. He could access a variety of poisons to keep Max out of it for days if he were so inclined. Harry tried to convince me that Yan didn’t have her, but I was positive.
What were the chances of Max just disappearing at the exact moment she gave a bagful of cash to Yan?
My phone rang, and I felt my stomach drop when I saw it was Max’s father calling. He had been calling me every few hours, demanding we tell him where the hell his daughter was.
The problem was this; the captain didn’t approve of us carrying out our ‘unofficial’ ransom case, let alone having a missing civilian on our hands. The slap from Harry saved my skin, despite the knowing glint in the captain’s eyes.
“Tell me you have a lead, Cain,” Mr George breathes down the phone.
“I will not lie to you, Mr George- I don’t,” I pinch the bridge of my nose. “But-“
“You think you can give me a ‘but’, son?” He interrupts me. “Because I’ve got one daughter in hospital and another missing because you lost her.”
I tense up then, leaning my head against the cool metal of the locker in front of me. I’d not left the station in hours, trawling through CCTV footage hoping to see Max somewhere. So far, I’d come up with nothing.
“I’m going to find her, Sir,” I clench my jaw, wishing I could tell him it was damn personal. “I swear.”
“We’re all worried sick, Detective. Her new boyfriend keeps asking for news- what the hell do I say to him?”
“He isn’t her boyfriend,” I growl, venom crawling through my veins.
“Huh, some Detective you are,” he snorts. “He was here for her when Alex went missing. They looked damn close to me.”
“She met him on a dating site a few weeks back,” I snap, no longer caring. “I know her more intimately, Mr George, so if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to find her.”
I hang up, my temples throbbing. I pace the locker room, contemplating my next move, when my phone disturbs the silence again.
“Detective Harvey,” I bark when I hear a voice sigh.
“Cain, it’s Andy. Look, I’ve just had a phone call from some guy, telling me to pick Max up-“
“What?! Where?” I roar, pushing through the double doors that led to the exit.
“Well,” Andy swallows. “He said to meet her at her place-.”
“I’m on my way, Andy-“
“Wait,” Andy exhales loudly. “He said it had to be me, not you.”
I slump into my car seat, shaking my head. I’m definitely going to kill that fucking dealing little bastard.
“I don’t give a fuck.”
“Cain,” Andy groans. “I’m telling you so you know where she is. Don’t let him see you, or he might not release her.”
“Fine,” I lie, heading to Max’s apartment.
“He said you don’t deserve her,” Andy whispers. “His words.”
“Andy, just get to Max’s-“
“Cain, I’m here. I’m parked up right outside.”
I’m seething that Yan would meddle in my affairs like this.
He’s a dead man.
I fire off a text to Harry, my fingers catching ask the wrong letters in my haste.
CAIN: Max being dropped off at hers. They told Andy.
The tree-lined street gives me ample opportunity to hide, and I check my surroundings along the way. My senses feel heightened, adrenaline pumping through my veins. I make it to a small clearing, and I slowly make my way to the car park where Andy is.
Andy crosses his arms, checking around him nervously. I sent a mental message to him to pack that in- Yan would spot it a mile off. Andy lifts his phone to his ear, suddenly sprinting towards Max’s apartment.
I know I should stay still, but the urge to see Max takes over. I glance around, checking the cars to make sure no one is watching us.
I follow Andy up the steps as my phone vibrates.
Harry: Wait for me this time. I mean it.
“Shit,” I mutter, hovering in the stairwell. All I was doing now was giving Andy ample opportunity to be Max’s saviour. I close my eyes, reminding myself that this was my job too. I decide to wait for Harry.
He arrives shortly after, his eyes softening when he sees me crouched on the stairs.
“You listened to me,” he chuckles, moving up the stairs two at a time. I scramble up after him, my heart in my mouth. When we reach Max’s floor, we hear the sirens. Harry stills, turning to look at me with surprise.
“Did you call this in?” I hiss, glancing around us.
“Why the fuck would I do that? This isn’t our case officially, Cain. We’re just winging it with the family, remember?”
Harry drags his fingers across his head, exhaling with annoyance.
“Let’s go,” I mutter, unable to wait much more. Harry is right behind me, but so are half a dozen officers.
Max’s door was open, revealing the apartment inside. My heart sank when I saw the apartment trashed; books lay scattered all over the floor, drawers emptied leaving a mixture of bills, trinkets and fuck me- even condoms.
Andy stood in the middle of the room, his eyes wide with confusion. Max wasn’t here.
“Where is she?!” I shout, whirling around.
“I don’t know!” Andy yells back, pushing his hands through his hair. “I got a call telling me to go into her apartment-“
“Was the door open?” Harry interrupts as the room fills with officers.
Andy frowns, opening his hand to reveal the keys to Max’s apartment.
“No, they left these in front of the door-“
“Andy Hallson, you’re under arrest for suspicion of kidnapping Max George,” an officer to my right approaches Andy, cuffing him. As he reads him his rights, Andy starts at me desperately, his eyes wide with horror.
“What?! They called me!”
The officer marches him out of the apartment, but Andy is still shouting to me, his eyes bulging in fear.
“Cain! Tell them!”
“He isn’t the kidnapper,” I bark, causing the officers to exchange nervous looks. “What are you doing?”
“We had a tip off that involves him, Cain. You must come to the station to see the evidence,” a portly officer murmurs from my right.
“Evidence?” I repeat, glancing at Harry who looks like someone has slapped him. “You have evidence that Andy took Max?”
The officer nods to our colleague, who drags Andy away.
“He has a stack of photos in his house of you two together, and of Max apparently. He is obsessed with her,” the officer continues gravely. “The tip off said he was in her apartment, and he had keys.”
I feel strangely calm, despite the insanity unfolding around me. I knew that Andy hadn’t taken Max, and I knew that Yan was trying to lay this at his door.
The question was, why?
“We are heading over to his house now,” the officer informs us. His badge tells me his name is Richards.
“We’re coming,” Harry says flatly. He looks devastated.
“Harry, he didn’t do it,” I hiss, as he blinks at me with surprise. “He called me and told me they’d rang him. He may be a dick, but he isn’t guilty of this.”
“I guess we’ll find out,” Harry raises his eyebrows at me, following Officer Richards out of the door. I’m left standing in Max’s apartment with a handful of officers who are poking around Max’s things.
“Leave it,” I command, unable to bear the thought of them touching her private things. My eyes fall onto the sofa, and I can’t help but remember the time we had watched Netflix all day long, wrapped in each other’s arms.
Fury races through me, and I storm out of the apartment, catching up with Harry.
“We’re wasting time,” I growl, as he frowns at me.
“I’m going to his house. If there’s evidence that he took Max, I’m going to kill him myself. But we need to find her Cain. So let’s go.”
“But Harry, come on man, how did he get her from that alleyway?”
“Alex George can’t remember anything,” Harry stops, turning towards me with an irritated sigh. “They’re running tests, but I’m certain she’s not got amnesia. She’s scared.”
My eyes find Andy’s through the glass of the police car, and my gut tells me something I guess I already knew, deep down.
Andy felt too much for Max to do this, let alone to her sister too.
Andy is being framed, and I'm the only one who knew it.