Eli and I sat in my car, down the street from Molly Daniels house. Two plainclothes officers went up to the front door. I watched, through my binoculars, not wanting to get too close. If he saw us, we would have another gruesome situation on our hands.
A quick call told us that she had taken the afternoon off, to be with her son as he was feeling ill. Her car parked in the drive, and after only a few minutes of watching the house, we saw movement inside.
The officers at her door waited till it swung open and I listened to them speak to her. They asked her about her fiancé, telling her they were kitchen supplies salesmen, and they had a meeting with him today.
“I’m sorry, he’s not here. He left yesterday for Italy.” She said.
The officers asked if she knew for sure he was gone, and if she knew where in Italy he was staying. She went inside for a moment and came back with a piece of paper. The men thanked her and left.
“Detective Mason,” one of the officer said through the mike he had in his pocket, “We have a hotel bill from Miss Daniels for a hotel in Italy. She also gave us a copy of his flight itinerary. Flight AM215 out of Portland, via New York and Amsterdam. No passenger name. Do you want us to run this down?”
I shook my head, “No, take it to Gail in DF. Tell her I will come see her later. We have a warrant, I want the house searched.” I said and felt Eli’s hand on my arm.
“Paul, maybe we should leave her be. If we go in there, he will know, and he won’t come back. This way there is a chance he will show up here again. We can watch the house and wait for him.” He said.
I looked back at the house, considering that and sighed, “You’re right. Get a team set up across the street, watch the house. If he shows up here, you let me know before you make a move.”
I turned the car on, and headed back to Gail, driving past my house on the way. I slowed the car to look at it, beginning to hate my own home.
How am I ever going to feel safe there again? Lilly will never be safe in that house. Addison died in there. I almost died, and now he had his slimy fingers all over it.
Eli sat quietly in the passenger seat, reading the file I gave him, as I drove us back to the station. He took it with him into Gail’s lab and slid it onto the counter next to her.
She smiled up at me, “Back so soon?” She teased.
I smiled, “Just can’t get enough,” I joked, referring back to the day I met her and the blaring music she had in her lab, the day I came down here to tell her to keep it the fuck down.
Eli sat down next to her and I leaned myself on the edge of her table, my arms crossed, looking at her. She gave me a quick sideways frown and pulled herself in under the table, “Hit me Eli, what do we have?” She asked.
“Flight AM215 out of Portland to New York, Amsterdam and Italy. Left yesterday. Get cameras up from the airport. Miss Daniels said she dropped him off at the departures terminal.” He said, focusing on the screen.
Gail worked her magic, glancing up at me occasionally. She started rambling, more to herself, the way she always did when she worked, “Ok, so flight AM215 left yesterday afternoon at four twenty-five. I have a passenger list. All the passengers were on the flight, there are no no-shows. Let me pull up the passport pictures of all the passengers, take out all the women, children, and African Americans, Asians… Ok. I have six guys, Paul,” She looked at me, “Any of these guys look familiar?”
I ran over the faces of the six men on her screen, but none of them looked remotely close to him.
Gail turned to Eli, “You got Miss Daniels car plate? I can try find them on the cameras.”
Eli reached into his pocket and pulled out his small notepad. He read the plate out to Gail, and she entered it into the DMV database.
“Silver Honda, 2002 model. Got it. Let’s see what we can see.” Her nails on the keys, and the ticking clock in front of me were like a hypnotic click, putting me into a trans.
I closed my eyes for a moment, letting my mind open up and thought about the night he ran. The next week, trying to hunt him down. The next month, fighting for the right to have Lilly stay with me. The next year, as she grew, and healed my broken heart. How, through her, I was happy again.
Gail said, “Bingo!” and my eyes shot open, and turned to the screen. A silver car pulling up to the departures terminal, Molly behind the wheel, and a man in the passenger seat, his face obscured with a cap.
Gail followed him, as he climbed out the car, said goodbye to Molly and entered the glass doors of the busy Airport. The camera flicked to a view from inside, following him as he walked towards the security checkpoint, but turned abruptly, heading for the bathrooms. He went inside, and we all watched and waited for him to come out, but there was no sign of him.
“Where did he go?” Eli asked, looking at me.
“Gail?” I asked.
She tapped some more, “I don’t know. He didn’t come back out. An hour in,” She started fast forwarding the picture, “Two hours…Three hours. The people that went in, are the only ones who came out. Four hours… Five hours… Six… He must have found another way out.” She said, looking up at me with a frown.
“Gail, get hold of airport security, show them this image, see if anyone there knows anything. Keep watching, maybe he came out later. Check all the other cameras, see if he found another way out,” I pushed off the desk, and hit Eli on the arm gently, “Let’s get to the airport.” I said with a small smile.
For the first time in a long time, I felt like I was getting close. Like he was at my fingertips, and soon I would get my hands on him. Soon.