I open the door to my house but it doesn’t feel like I’m home. The tapping of a dog’s paws against the floor catches my attention as Roxie runs towards me.
She spots my person and stops in front of me lying on the ground whimpering.
Roxie hides her nose under her paws as she whines at me in dejection. She has been doing this for months, each time she hears the door opens she runs to it hoping to see her master. Months of disappointment have made her gloomy and most days she lies around whining and staring at people as they move about. She is depressed and misses her master as much as I do.
I take off my shoes at the door and walk towards her. I scratch behind her ears and ruffle her white fur, she lies there unresponsive to my caresses. I sigh as I pick her up and bring her into the hall. I place her on her red dog bed and she lies down looking up at me with empty eyes.
I throw my briefcase on the couch as I stare around the place. Her things litter the empty spaces: her furniture, her figurines and boxes filled with her stuff. These make my living room seem clustered but I could care less, everything for her is here. Everything except her.
I walk briskly to the kitchen as something falls onto the floor smashing and I curse as I take in the situation I stumble on.
“Don’t bend,” I say to Alexis as she attempts to take up a broken glass plate from the floor.
Her brown dull eyes meet my electric blue ones that seem to have lost their shine and she forces a smile. Her wild curly hair is braided behind her back a bit longer than before and she is in a white T-shirt with ‘Simple plan’ written in a graffiti design on it and a pair of blue sweats.
“Hey Johnattan,” she whispers as she steps away from the mess with a wobble. “I didn’t hear you come in.”
“I just got in,” I reply and she nods.
She takes a seat on a stool around the island and rubs her swollen stomach breathing deeply. Lexi is now six months pregnant and she is already starting to feel extremely tired and fatigued. Her morning sickness has eased up and regardless of my warnings to stay in bed and rest or not to overwork her body she continues to.
“Lexi, you can’t be bending like that with your belly,” I scold. “It may affect the baby.”
She releases a sigh and I place my hand on her shoulder as she shakes her head. “I can’t just sit around doing nothing. It’s tiring and my body always being tired makes me feel uncomfortable.”
“I know but you have to take it easy for the baby. Did you take the pills as instructed today?”
She nods as her facial expression turns into a sad one. She looks out into space, biting her lip and frowns tears welling up in her eyes. “I miss Christina so much. She’s the one who’s supposed to be here helping me not you. No offence.”
“I understand. I want her back too,” I say softly as move to clean up the mess.
It has been three months since Christina ran away and we are still feeling the full effect of it as if it only happened yesterday.
Roxie misses her owner, Lexi misses her best friend and I... I miss the woman I love. I miss my Christi.
After Christina left, Lexi’s health took a turn for the worse and she had been admitted into a hospital. They gave her iron tablets to help with her blood count and advised ways to help to lower her blood pressure because the fact she was pregnant meant she could not be given those pills.
I have been helping Lexi since Christina’s disappearance – it had been Christina’s request – but regardless I would have still helped her friend.
After returning to New York we cleared out Christina’s and Lexi’s apartment and placed their stuff in my penthouse suite. Their stuff now gives it a feminine look. They give it a Christi look.
Lexi is now a permanent house mate and Roxie is a permanent pet. I have to have them close to watch over them and also because being alone makes my mind wonder on Christina and my heart clenches in pain at the mere thought of her.
“Come on Lexi,” I say as I help her off the stool and walk her to her room. “You need to get some rest.”
She nods as she makes her way inside. It is eleven thirty in the night and she is still up. She was supposed to be asleep by now and she knew it. Rest is crucial when you’re pregnant.
“Good night Lexi,” I say as I turn to walk off.
She grabs my hand and I stop in my tracks turning to face her. “Have you heard anything about her? Found any leads?”
My eyes flutter closed, I run a hand through my hair and hold my head down in sorrow. “I’m sorry but no. They haven’t found her as yet.”
She nods with a sad smile as tears trickle down her cheeks. “I hope you find her soon. You need her and she needs you.”
I give her a sad smile as I slip away from her hold and enter my room.
“Good night,” I hear her whisper as I close the door.
I shower and change from my grey suit into a pair of black sweatpants climbing into bed with my phone and laptop.
I scroll through my emails and grind my teeth in anger at what I read. I grab something heavy off my nightstand and hurl it at the wall in frustration.
Five private investigators and they can’t find a trace of her anywhere! It’s like she disappeared off the face of the fucking earth. Nothing! She couldn’t have gone out of the country without using a passport so it shouldn’t be hard to find her!
I grab a bottle of whisky from the mini fridge beside my bed and chug it. The taste burns my taste buds and I enjoy the feel. It takes me away from the turmoil in my heart.
I’ve been working day and night trying to bury some of the pain in my heart but it doesn’t work. The constant reminders of the decoration of the Orphanage that I now handle remind me of her. Cali Designs offering to send another person to replace her reminds me of the hole in my chest. Everything reminds me of you Christina.
My home didn’t even feel like home.
They say home is where the heart is at Christi and to me home is where you are
“Fuck I miss her so much,” I say as I fling my head back in agony.
Luv me luv me by Shaggy and Janet Jackson rings out as a call pops up on my phone. That song we once performed together at the bed and breakfast before we made love passionately and meaningfully reminds me of her. I remember her feel, touches, kisses and the warmth I feel around her. She is running laps on mind even when she’s not around.
I sigh picking up the phone without glancing at the caller ID.
"Joey! My baby!” The woman on the other end of the phone exclaims.
“Mother,” I say trying to sound cheerful and happy.
“Oh Joey you won’t guess where me and your father are right this moment!”
Josephine Blake, my mother. She’s a cheerful person, she tends to talk a lot, loves to stick her nose into peoples’ lives and undoubtedly loves with a big heart. In terms of physical features we share the same wavy brown hair and thin pink lips but that was it. I look more like my dad, Nathan Blake.
“Where?” I ask as I scroll through a document on my laptop not the least bit interested.
“Now Joey, I specifically said guess and that doesn’t count so make a proper guess,” she scolds.
I groan, listen to the water crashing in the background and make the first guess that comes to my mind.
“Yes!” She screams and I move the phone from my ear with a wince.
“Mother, your squawking is affecting my eardrums,” I say as I return the cell phone to my ear.
“Oh I’m sorry baby. So how did you know?”
“I heard the water in the background going swish,” I reply dismissively.
“Look at you quoting a Katy Perry song,” she teases. “That video was absolutely stupid no offence to the director or artist. They shou–”
“Mother, did you call to rub it in my face that you guys are happy in Hawaii while I’m here trying to find the woman I love, the one that got away?” I ask as I slam down the laptop. I should be happy for them but I find it hard with my love somewhere out there hiding from me.
“Again with the Katy Perry,” she teases.
“Mother,” I firmly say and she sighs.
“I’m sorry Joey, you know I’m not good with being sad. I rather pretend to be happy,” that makes one of us. “So how is it going, any news on her location?”
“No,” I grunt. “Wherever she is. She’s laying really low, avoiding certain places that would get her noticed because there is no Christina Hase anywhere in this country.”
“Maybe she’s not going by Christina Hase,” of course! “If I was going to run away I would change my name and appearance so no one could find me easily.”
“You’re right! Thank you mother. If you were here I’d kiss you,” I say with a twinkle of hope. Maybe she would use something close to her name.
“I can already feel it on cheek my sweet Joey. I know your dad isn’t keen on you hunting down a girl that ran away from you but I support you. If you love her and she loves you don’t let anything stand in your way and find her.”
“I will mother.”
“Good, now I have to go the ocean is calling me,” she says cheerfully.
“Bye mother,” I coo.
“Bye my little Joey, I love you my sweet.”
I hang up the phone and run a hand through my brown shoulder length hair. I love you.
Those three little words that hold so much meaning. I can’t even say them with lashing out and getting mad. The hurt that comes over me at Christina leaving me alone, it takes me over and I get angry. She is gone and has been for three months now but it feels like she’s only been gone hours.
I open the laptop and type up an email to the investigators informing them about a change in the search.
From: Johnattan Blake
To: Mr James, Mr Holland, Mr King, Mr Manley, Mr Lewis
Subject: Christina Hase
It has just been brought to my attention that she may be using a different identity. It would be safer and makes it harder for someone to find her. I am not sure what name she would choose to go by but there is a possibility she might go by Isabelle seeing this is her middle name but for the last name I am clueless.
Get me a list of females named or who go by Isabelle (ages 18–21) around the California and New York area. Pictures included. If we come up empty in this search we will widen our reach until she’s found. And she will be found.
Don’t worry Christi I’ll find you whether you want me to or not.