Slippery Slope

All Rights Reserved ©

Cab 540

Cab 540 – A Cab 540 is performed by the skier accelerating backwards down a slope off a ramp and rotating 360 degrees and another 180 degrees to end up landing facing forward.

Hopefully, Brent was being a ball-buster. Kristy hadc decided they needed a cooling off period, so hadn’t called him. But after Derrick said he hadn’t heard back from him, she decided to grab Brent’s spare key and head over to his place the next morning.

She stood in the center of the apartment and slowly turned in a circle. It was like he had disappeared off the face of the earth. A mug of hot chocolate was sitting on his kitchen counter beside a piece of toast with one bite out of it. His clothes, coat, backpack, for goodness sake, his boots – they were all still there. The weather had been a little warmer of late but where the hell would he go without his boots?

Kristy put her hand to her stomach and took a deep breath. She felt queasy. Something was definitely not right. She took out her phone and dialed. Unexpectedly, a woman answered.

“Hello?”

“Hi,” Kristy said, “Is Derrick there?” There was no answer.

“Hello?” she asked.

The phone beeped. Disconnected. She dialed again. This time she didn’t get a chance to speak.

“Who the fuck is this?”

Weird, she thought. It didn’t sound like Jess.

“It’s Kristy. I’m trying,” she said, but the line went dead again.

Kristy looked through her phone book and dialed Jessica’s number. She answered after two rings. Kristy could hear the baby crying in the background.

“Hello?”

“Hi Jessica. It’s Kristy. I’m sorry to call you,” Ugh, really sorry, but she was desperate. “I’m trying to reach Derrick but the number I have for him – there’s.” Kristy caught herself. What was she doing? She couldn’t tell Jess that some woman was answering Derrick’s phone!

“Uhm, there’s something wrong with the line,” she continued.

Jess seemed to have no problem with her calling, “Oh, yeah. Derrick thinks he lost it somewhere. He was looking all over for it this morning- completely tore his car apart! He swears he left it on the dashboard. I guess called and had it shut off. “

Left it somewhere, huh? Kristy thought that one over. She wondered where he went after he left her and Hilda at the lodge. But that wasn’t her problem, anymore.

“You don’t know if he ever heard back from Brent, do you?”

“No. That was why he was so adamant about finding it. He said the last thing he did was text him again.”

“Thanks, Jess. If you see Derrick, please tell him I’m at Brent’s.”

“Will do,” Jessica replied.

Kristy put her phone back in her pocket. No sooner had she done so, there was a knock at the door. She sprang for it, but when she opened it, it was Derrick.

“Oh,” she said, stepping aside as Derrick stepped through the doorway.

“Thanks,” he replied.

“It’s just that I thought it might be Brent.”

“Kristy, why would Brent knock on the door of his own apartment?”

Kristy shook her head, “I don’t know. Maybe he forgot his key?”

“Well, the disappointment is mutual. I was really hoping it was him answering the door.”

“Right.”

“Have you found anything?” Derrick walked around the small studio.

“No, not really. But he left food out and his boots are still here.”

Derrick stopped and turned to look at her, “His boots are still here?”

Kristy nodded, “It’s strange, right? I’m not crazy to be worried, am I?”

Derrick shook his head, “No, not at all. A man could have another pair of boots or shoes, but we’re talking Brent here. He just got these recently, right?” Kristy nodded again. She had gone with Brent to buy them. Derrick bent over, picked up the Timberlines and turned them over. The soles were hardly worn.

Kristy knew exactly what Derrick was driving at. Brent lived well within his means. They all did. They didn’t make a lot doing what they did. Paying for rescue classes and ski equipment were their biggest expenses. Good boots were expensive, so they were worn until they wore out.

“And all his equipment is here, too. Ski equipment, safety rescue, his backpack. Look,” she pointed to the mug and the toast on the napkin. She felt tears rising in her eyes.

“Kristy, don’t,” Derrick said, “Damn-it. I can’t stand it when you women turn on the tears.”

Kristy quickly wiped her eyes with the sleeve of her shirt.

“Don’t be such a jerk, Derrick. Something’s wrong. You think so, too!”

Derrick looked around the room again before he looked back at her.

“I think you’re right. When you left, I wasn’t worried. Especially after I found out you packed a bag. But this is definitely odd.”

Kristy looked around, again, too, before settling her eyes back on Derrick.

“By the way,” she said, “I called Jessica.”

“Why?”

“I was trying to reach you. Your phone,”

“Oh, yeah!” Derrick cut her off, “That’s strange, too. I always leave it on the dashboard of my truck, but this morning it wasn’t there.”

“Did you go somewhere after you left us last night?”

Derrick tilted his head, “You keeping tabs on me, Kristy?”

Kristy put her hand up, “Not at all - just trying to be helpful because - ”

Derrick interrupted her again, “I thought maybe I brought it in and left it at the hot tub, but I went over to check this morning and it’s not there, either. I ripped apart my whole house and truck apart looking for it.”

“Derrick,” she said, “When I called your number, a woman answered.”

“What? You didn’t tell Jess that, did you?”

“No. I’m not stupid, Derrick. Why? Were you with someone?”

“Not that it’s your business, Kristy, but, no, I was not. I pretty much went straight home.”

“Pretty much?”

“I stopped at the store to get diapers for Rachel - that OK with you?”

Kristy looked up at the ceiling and took a deep breath, “Of course. Can I ask you a another question?”

“Sure, what?”

“Is my number still in your phone?”

“No,” Derrick answered.

“I see,” Kristy said.

“Kristy, I took it out after all that stuff went down with the investigation about the accident. In case Jessica answered my phone,” he added.

“Oh, you let her touch your phone?” she asked.

“This is not the time to get petty.”

“I don’t exactly think it’s petty, but you’re right.”

“Why did you ask that, by the way? About my taking your number out.”

“Because the woman – who sounded very angry, by the way, asked me who it was. I figure if you still had my number in there, my name would show up, too.”

“She asked you who you were?”

“She asked me who the fuck I was.”

Derrick’s eyes moved side-to-side, “That makes no sense.”

“I know,” Kristy replied, “Which is why I thought maybe you, you know, were with someone or something.”

“Yeah, I get it. But, no, I wasn’t. Why the hell would she be angry?”

“Derrick, why would she answer the phone in the first place? If it’s not her phone and she found it or stole it, why would she answer it?”

Derrick looked oblivious, “I have no idea.”

They stood staring at each other for a moment.

“You’re sure you have no idea where Brent is,” Derrick asked.

“None. Derrick, what should we do? I’m really worried”

“Let’s find Asher. If Brent hasn’t contacted me or you, maybe he reached out to him.”

Kristy nodded her head but she had her doubts. Despite what she had done, she knew that Brent would never leave without letting her know where he was going.

At the lodge, Asher seemed just as amazed by the situation as they did.

“I’m wracking my brain. I just can’t imagine where he would be. No one has seen him?”

“No,” Kristy said, “I’ve asked everyone on staff. The only person I haven’t seen so far today is Hilda.”

“I saw her earlier. She’s not working today, but she’s around here somewhere. I think she was going to do some skiing or hiking,” Asher answered. “Does she know Brent’s missing?”

“I don’t think so,” Derrick replied, “She was there last night when I told Kristy that he hadn’t returned my calls or texts, but we weren’t all that worried about it at the time. I don’t think they really know each other that well, anyway.”

“Err, I don’t know about that,” Kristy said.

“What do you mean?” Asher asked.

“Well, I don’t want to get anyone in trouble, but I walked in on them kissing,” she admitted. Ordinarily, she would not have divulged this. Despite Asher’s own relationship with Denise and Kristy’s with Derrick, she knew he wasn’t very keen on employee relationships.

“You did? Brent and Hilda?” he emphasized Hilda’s name, “When was this?” Asher seemed pretty surprised.

“Right before I left.”

“What?” It was Derrick’s turn to be surprised, “Is that why you left?”

“No, don’t be ridiculous, Derrick.”

“I don’t know, Kristy. How come you didn’t mention this before?” Derrick demanded. “Was there something going on between you and Brent?”

“Derrick, I didn’t mention it because it’s nobody’s business.”

“And was there something going on between you and Brent?”

“That’s not your business, either, Derrick.”

Derrick went to respond, but Asher interjected, “Maybe, maybe not, Kristy. Brent was really upset that you left. Do you think he might be trying to get back at you?”

“Asher, Brent is not a child.”

“No. But he’s a man. If you and Brent have feelings for each other, this would explain a lot about what’s been going on with the two of you.”

“Why, Asher? What’s been going on?” Derrick now demanded of him.

“Nothing!” Kristy insisted.

“Both of you, calm down. I only mean to say that if Kristy left because she saw Hilda and Brent together –

“I didn’t!”

Asher turned to Kristy, “Then maybe Brent thought you had feelings for him and that’s why he was so upset, too.”

“Asher, you are letting your imagination run away with you and we are getting way off track.”

“Kristy, you haven’t considered the possibility that Brent just wants to stick it to you for your disappearing act?” Asher asked her.

“I did,” she answered and both men exhaled sharply, “but I don’t anymore. There is no way Brent would just up and leave without telling me.”

“Even if he was involved with someone else?”

“No way, Asher, especially after what I did. And he is not involved with Hilda. She told me so herself.” She looked back and forth between the two men, “You have to believe me.”

“OK,” Derrick said, “Let’s assume Brent didn’t just up and leave because he’s pissed at you. Where would he be? Don’t you think that what Asher is saying makes more sense?”

Just then a voice commanded their attention. “What’s going on?” Hilda asked.

“Hilda!” Kristy was actually relieved to see her. “Have you seen Brent?”

Hilda ran her hands through her hair and fairly sauntered into the room. Her hair was flowing down around her face and not up in her usual style. She was wearing a form fitting, bright blue ski outfit. Her cheeks were red from the slopes and goggles replaced her usual thick frames. They all looked at each other. Kristy could swear that Derrick was giving the woman the strangest look.

“I’ve seen lots of him,” she laughed. “After we left here last night, Kristy, I found him waiting for me on my doorstep. We spent the whole night together!”

Continue Reading Next Chapter

About Us

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered publisher, providing a platform to discover hidden talents and turn them into globally successful authors. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books our readers love most on our sister app, GALATEA and other formats.