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Walking up to the rather… inspired door, Dahlia was glad to have never gone through whatever phase of adolescence this was. Although with his step-mom, she didn’t blame the kid. The room was not much of a surprise after seeing the entryway. It matched. Looking about, she wasn’t entirely sure where to start. There was about a million nooks and crannies in this place, but somehow they managed to comb through the entire thing in a timely manner. Along the way, she made sure to take pictures of the scene and anything that they might want to look back on later.
When Eris tossed the bag her way, she swiftly made a place for it in her satchel. Unfortunately that was the only bit of evidence they would be finding here. It was clear that if there had been anything else of importance someone else had already nabbed it for themselves. Turning back to her friend after one final scan of the area, Dahlia shook her head. Was she really going to try and make off with the snake? She really couldn’t complain. As far as pets went it was rather low maintenance and it came with all the expensive setup so long as she could manage to walk out with it. And on top of all that, it was kinda cute.
Mrs. Sterns’ reaction was just about as dramatic as the dark-eyed girl thought it would be, but the focus was off. A normal person would be more concerned about strangers stealing several hundred dollars worth of reptile and equipment. But no, it was too ‘scary’ for her to look at. As Eris made it out the front door, Dahlia turned back to thank the woman once again for her time. It was better to keep on these people’s good side; after all they had been the only ones to allow them within 30 feet of the missing person’s room.
Once the pair had made it a fair distance from the house, Dahlia broke into laughter. “I cannot believe you. Are they even going to let us on the tube with her?” It was more rhetorical than anything. At any given moment you could find any number of things much stranger than a snake on the subway. “Do you think if we set her up in the living room people will quit barging into our house?” She really doubted it, but it might be worth a shot.
The ride home was mostly uneventful. There were a few sidelong glances at the trio, but no one said anything. Dahlia was glad for that. Although, it did give her mind a little too much time to wonder what was in the deep purple sack she was carrying. It wasn’t till they were safe and sound in their cramped apartment that she took the thing out of her pack and set it on the table. Still her curiosity would not be sated for some time as Eris busied herself setting up Eve in her new home. Until that was done, her friend would be too distracted to be productive with anything else. So instead Dahlia focused on throwing together a couple of sandwiches for them. She didn’t know about Eris, but she was half starved.
Coming back to the table, she set Eris’ sandwich on a napkin in front of the chair facing hers and waited. It wasn’t much longer till she pranced in looking well pleased with herself.
“Now that you’ve moved your new best friend in, can we get back to work?” There was a false air of hurt in her voice, but it was muffled by the food she was shoving in her mouth. Food was more important than snarky comments.
With her stomach full and hands empty, Dahlia brought the drawstring sack to herself. Pulling gently at the cinched mouth, she was slowly opened the booze bag. She wasn’t expecting a whole lot, as the bag hadn’t been very heavy. Inside there were only three items, one by one she set them on the table. First was the obligatory baggy of weed. There was about a gram there, neither shocking nor helpful in any way. Next was a booklet, small enough to fit in her hand comfortably. The kind of thing you kept to take notes on the go, but before she went any farther down that rabbit hole, a gleam of the third object caught her eye. Setting what was likely a journal to the side, Dahlia pendant from the now void container. It was either old, or made to look that way and depicted a symbol she didn’t recognize.
“You don’t happen to know what this is do you?” She held the dangling trinket out for her friend to see. While the book would likely give them all the information they needed, she was most fascinated by the bauble. Was it some new gang, or a cult of some kind? The answer was likely more mundane. The kid probably found it in some shop and wanted to freak his step-mom out with it.
Not waiting for an answer, Dahlia pulled out her phone and did a search for marks and icons that had been used throughout history by different groups. She knew it was unlikely such a shallow investigation would bear any fruit, but she had been hopeful. However, her hopes were dashed, even to just confirm it was nothing important. The medallion was still on the table as evidence as far as she could tell.
With that being a dead end for now, the notebook jumped back to her mind. Passing the pendant off to Eris for a closer look, the dark haired woman took up the little paperback once more. Thumbing through it quickly, she was surprised to see Ben had decent handwriting. That made things much easier. The second time she went through it was much slower as she scanned for anything out of the normal or linked to Hell’s Kitchen.
About half way through the journal, at least the part that was written in, the change that she was looking for occurred. Ben met a girl, Kara Clyatt. The further and further she went on the more obvious it became that this was the start of it. It talked about the pair going down to HK to hang out, but unfortunately not much detail after that. It was also at that point that poetry began to be sprinkled between entries.
“Looks like he fancied himself a poet,” she smiled as she spoke. It was all super corny, but cute at the same time. “If we can track down this friend of his, we might be able to get more information out of her. “
Switching back to her phone, Dahlia did another search. This time on social media sites for a Kara Clyatt. The name wasn’t a particularly common one so she thought this one might be successful, but no one under that name came up. The woman grew increasingly suspicious. It was rather uncommon for high schoolers to not have at least a Facebook these days.
Damn, people could be real Ass Holes. Their first encounters with members of family to the missing people were less than cooperative. Some went so far as the threaten shooting them if they so much as stepped on their front stoop. Was she still in New York? Did people in such a liberal city actually own firearms? Or was this fear that Eris could taste? She had been aptly named by her mother after the Grecian Goddess of Chaos and Discord, and while Eris was very good at leaving a wake of chaos wherever she went, she had learned the name itself had power. Eris was reaching the end of her rope, and the last house they had been too, Eris has been near desperate for answers that the mother she spoke with threatened to call the cops from behind her screen door, and was explicative causing Eris to lose her cool and nearly breaking down the screen door. If it wasn’t for Dahlia dragging her away, the cops definitely would have shown up. Whatever the deal was, this was not usual behavior for family members of a missing person. It wasn’t like they were asking around in a predominantly Puerto Rican community, Jewish, Muslim, or any other culture community within the city that kept to themselves… they were only in a poor part of town. It definitely wasn’t safe at night, but to be threatened in broad daylight? Eris almost couldn’t wrap her mind around it.
Again, thank the Goddess for Dahlia, or Eris might have gone on a rampage. No one could keep Eris from turning into a Psycho better than Dahlia. The girl just understood her, always had since day one. Eris was two cigarettes away from an empty pack, as she inhaled on a third. They were approaching the Upper East Side of the city, they weren’t terribly far away from central park, but they were a good subway ride from home. It was a stark difference from the poverty stricken burrows they’d just visited. Porsche Cayennes, Mercedes Benzs, top of the line Infinities, and BMWs drove the streets including black Lincoln Town Cars… with their own drivers. The whole block reeked of Wall Street money.
“Ugh… rich people…” Eris groaned, but after a look from Dahlia, Eris zipped her lip and fell in line with her, and put her best smile on and started up the steps to the home listed at the address given to them by Ross. They stopped though when they saw a powder blue Benz turn into a private drive, down into a Garage under the house. Eris again rolled her eyes at the car. It was such a silly concept to not only own a car while living in the city, but to OWN one and drive it in the city. In Eris’ opinion, it was rather obnoxious.
She was tall and elegant, maybe a former model… definitely a trophy wife. Eris wouldn’t hold that against her, instead she called out to the woman. “Mrs. Stern? You are Mrs. Stern, yes?”
“Of course,” She said with a classic Miss. America smile. This did not strike Eris as someone who was in grief of a missing child… she also didn’t look old enough to be the mother of an 16 year old boy.
“I have a few questions, about the disappearing teenagers,” Eris informed her.
“Is it about Benny?” The woman asked, Eris was getting a trite annoyed, as she’d been since the second house they’d visited. Thankfully, Dahlia made another save, and they were invited in. Dahlia, the clean cut photographer and Eris, the dirty grunge punk chick made their way into the opulent house. Eris was not surprised to find a Latina woman working the home. God Damn rich people… Eris’ first thought was: They better be paying that sweet woman a livable wage.
They were brought drinks inside a room that was clearly designed for entertaining guests and not for family use and they sat down on a couch across from Mrs. Sterns.
“So you have news about Benny?”
“No, we were hoping you could tell us about him. What he does, where he goes, who his friends are… I’m a journalist, my name is Eris Alcone and this is my lovely photographer, Dahlia Morgan. We are doing a story on the missing teenagers around Hells Kitchen, your son is the only one who isn’t from around here. Have you received any ransom notes, anything?” Mrs. Sterns looked thoughtful for a moment and suddenly sighed.
“Oh my… Well,” She began, “We have not received a ransom note, no phone calls, no texts… nothing. We have no idea where he’s gone. I honestly am not sure if Benny has any friends, if he does he never brings them over.” Eris was stuck in disbelief, how could his mother not know he did or didn’t have friends? “Benny has been… difficult since his father left his mother a couple years back.” She chuckled nonchalantly. “It’s been a downward spiral ever since.”
“Oh, so you’re not Ben’s mother?”
“No, I’m his step mother. His father and I have been together for a long time. I almost regret admitting this, but I was his father’s mistress for about three years before he finally axed his wife.” Eris had to restrain her stunned laughter. Still Mrs. Sterns the 2nd continued. "I would suggest checking to see if he ran to his mother's but I suppose you two should know that she died about a month ago. Car accident, was a real tragedy for him. I think you ladies are wasting your time, honestly, I keep telling Howard that Ben ran away, the boy hates me, and I just can't figure out why." Eris could only dumbly nod her head, but she somehow managed to find her words.
"Yeah.... umm... Do you mind if we look in his room?"
"Certainly, it's upstairs third door on the left. You can't miss it. Everything is as he left it...Oh and be careful of that demon spawn up there!"
Can't miss it, was right. His door was the epitome of Teenage Angst. His door had posters and caution tape all over deterring anyone from entering. It did not deter Eris or Dahlia, and Eris made quick work of opening the door and looking inside. Posters from metal bands, comics, and playboy pinups littered the walls. Dark colors permeated the room giving off a very Emo-Goth vibe to the room. Eris walked in and took stock of every little detail she could find. The bed was thrown together in a haphazard was of making it. Things were overflowing from underneath the bed, there was a standing dresser, a desk and nightstand, and another table that had a Terrarium sitting on it. Curiously Eris walked over and found a sleeping Ball Python in the tank, the light still on and its cage relatively clean. Almost as if it had been cleaned right before Ben went missing. He clearly loved this snake too, it was a pricey set up, and the Boa had a hand drawn sign taped to her cage with the name Eve. Eris smirked at the Biblical jab and watched as the snake, Eve raised her smooth head and tasted the air with her tongue before pinning both women with an almost curious look.
"I don't think he meant to stay away... look at the cage. You don't own a snake unless its a creature you love and care for regularly. He meant to return and finish taking care of. If he ran away he would have taken his snake. You're no demon Spawn..." Eris cooed and reached into the cage and lifted Eve up into her hand. The snake coiled around her hand and forearm and continued to taste the air around Eris. The fact Eve didn't attempt to outright bite her, told her that Ben handled Eve often.
Eris pet the snake along its spine before gently prying it off of her and placing it back in the tank where it coiled up under the heat lamp. She then turned to the room and looked around.
"If I was an unhappy child with a homewrecking step-mom... who's probably a religious zealot... where would I hide my goods..." She murmured to herself. Then began the easter egg hunt for anything that might tell them where Ben had gone to. They looked through his bookshelf, the drawers of his desk, they even checked for false bottoms in his drawers for his nightstand, desk and dresser. They looked under his mattress, his bed and in his closet. When it seemed they had exhausted every option, Eris spotted the air vent above Eve's tank. The paint looked discolored and the screws looked like their paint had worn off. Brow furrowed, Eris reached over and with a pocket knife managed to pry the grate open... inside they found a used Crown Royal Liquor Bag. Eris didn't even open it, she tossed it to Daliha to hide in her camera bag. when they got home, they'd look through it and see what they could find. Eris made quick work placing the grate back on the vent and looked down at Eve. Eris had a feeling the snake would die in this house and without another thought gathered the tank, the light, and a shoe box they found had the Snake's food supply and Eris carted it downstairs.
"What are you doing with that monster?" She nearly shrieked disgusted it had left the room. ERis looked at the snake and it's tank that filled her arms and shrugged.
"I could tell you didn't like her, I thought I'd just take this lovely lady off your hands."
"It's disgusting, I don't care, take it if you want. I hope it never comes back."
"WEll in that case. When and if Benny returns, I'll bring his snake back. I'll take care of her for you guys." Eris informed her with a grin and made a break for the door. "Oh," She stopped short and turned to face MRs. Sterns. "If you hear from Ben let us know. We didn't find anything..." Eris lied flawlessly. "We'll keep in touch... thanks for your help,"
It was a while before Dahlia felt the need to knock on Eris’ door, but the need finally arose. When there was no reply she opened to door to find an empty bed. Shaking her head, the seed of worry wasn’t planted in her until her best friend’s phone went straight to voicemail. Seeing as there wasn’t a lot she could do, the woman distracted herself with small tasks around the apartment. Luckily, there was enough to do around the place to keep her busy and as she sat down to take a break she managed to catch the missing person skulking back in, doing the sneak of shame.
Eris looked like a hot mess, but it was the usual kind when she came home in the mornings, so her worry was assuaged. “Not really.” She propped her round face up in her hand. “But I would appreciate a text letting me know you aren’t coming in for the night. Just so I know you weren’t dragged off.” God knew how likely that was in this city. Honestly, Dahlia didn’t much care about her enthusiastic friend’s party habits or sexual escapades. Hell, every once in a while she would come along, everyone had needs. The problem was you never knew whom you were going to run into. A guy might be nice in the club but turn out to be a serial murderer once he gets you home. That became all the more likely with their line of work too.
Speaking of which Eris soon let her roommate in on the new information she had heard down the grapevine. Another Teenager missing, West side Manhattan was getting worse and worse these days. It was with that tidbit of info that the party animal excused herself to get ready for the day.
Who the hell was pounding on their door, Dahlia was about to look through the door viewer when her name was shouted from across the thin wooden slab. It was a familiar voice, so she stopped and let Ross in immediately. As she was about to answer his questioned her roommate did it for her.
The two bantered back and forth for a bit. Eventually they would tire of it and she would be able to get a word in edgewise. Until then she poured the remaining three-fourths a cup of coffee for their guest. They moved to the more comfortable living area, but it didn’t last long before he had to leave. Everyone she knew was like a hurricane. They drop in, make a huge commotion, and leave just like that. Except Ross made it sure to always give a civil goodbye. He was a polite and handsome guy, but man could he be awkward. She made sure to smile and wave politely, however she wasn’t looking forward to looking back to Eris who was sure to say something… again.
And there it was. She rolled her eyes, and did her best not to laugh at her friend’s pouting face. It would only encourage her. Dahlia was glad that was the end of it and they would finally be able to get out of their cramped apartment and back to work. Perhaps this one might be the one to get Eris famous enough to bring some actual money in. It was a big enough story, but something about it was definitely giving the camera gal the heebie-jeebies.
The city was bustling, as always. A cacophony of sounds reverberated off the tall buildings. And even though there were many people around when you spoke it felt like no one would hear you. It was both the blessing and curse of the metropolis. Dahlia was bundled up, her defense against the cold early spring weather. Hustling to the subway helped too. They were off to a late start and wanted to take back as much time as possible.
Things were better once they reached the underground station, at least temperature wise. Now that she was a little more relaxed and not running she turned to Eris. “We should probably go and talk to the family of last week’s victim first. That kid was the most recent from Hell’s Kitchen so his family will actually know the area and have a better idea of what’s going on there.” The kid from the Upper East may have been the most recent, but his richy rich parents probably wouldn’t be willing to talk to some random people claiming to be investigating their boy’s disappearance.
Standing at the steps of a brick duplex, a joyful doorbell rang at their call, but the man who answered the door wasn’t nearly as pleasant as the tone. When they asked for some of his time to make an inquiry he reaction nearly blew Dahlia away.
“Why the fuck do you think I would want to talk to you about anything?!” His aggressive voice felt like it could be heard for miles, but no one turned their head as they walked by.
People dealt with loss in all sorts of different ways, the longhaired woman assumed this was his. “We are only looking to help uncover what is really going on here, your son’s is a part of something much bigger going on here. We would really appreciate your cooperation. Just a few minutes would really help.”
“You getting the hell off my doorstep would really help, now beat it, you nosy bitches.”
The door quickly slammed in their faces. Sighing heavily, Dahlia looked to Eris who didn’t exactly look pleased. Not wanting to give the journalist time to make a bigger scene, the onyx-eyed gal grabbed her sleeve. “Let’s move onto the next one. It was probably just too soon for him.” It wasn’t their first rejection of the sort and she was certain it wouldn’t be the last. All they could do was take it in stride. At least she hoped that is what they would do.
Although the woman had thought that would not be the last time they’d be belligerently spurned, she hadn’t expected for it to happen again so soon. The next family had pretty much the same reaction, and the one after that, and the next as well. The last woman nearly got violent when Eris became more insistent out of desperation.
The strangeness of their reactions only made Dahlia feel worse about the whole situation. Something was definitely weird in this place. Now their last hope of finding anything out was in the upper east with the upper crust. It was a slim chance they would be any more willing to talk, but the women had to try. And honestly, she was glad to be away form the odd toxic atmosphere that seemed to be hanging about the air.
By the time they made it to that side of town, it was getting later. They probably only had another half an hour of daylight left. Yet another reason to be refused at the door, however when they got to the large and well-groomed home there was a woman just pulling into the driveway in a powder blue Benz. This took the doorframe out of the equation and she was most definitely glad for that.
The tall elegant woman was locking up her vehicle when they came up to her, asking for a moment of her time.
“Is it about Benny?” What she could only assume was a nickname for Benjamin Stern.
Somewhat hesitant to ask the question, Dahlia went ahead with it. “Yes, we were hoping to get to the bottom of this.”
The woman’s face almost lit up. “Please come in,” She swiftly led them to the door, leading them into an elaborate entryway. “We really appreciate any help to try and find out boy.”
Ms. Stern continued on and the pair followed suit, taking a seat on a small leather couch when she asked them to. The entire home had the same swanky air as the entryway. It was a tad stifling. At least Dahlia thought so.
“Would you two like anything to drink?” It was like uptown people never forgot their hospitality. Even when her son disappeared she seemed to think making sure they had something to drink was the most important thing. Damn rich people.
“No thank you.” It had been a long and rather stressful day; she really just wanted to get to it so they could go back home. At least for a while.
Across a pristine glass coffee table the middle aged woman took a seat in a matching chair, her eyes hopefully looking back at them as though they might be the ones to find and bring her child home.
Last night was a hazy memory… filled with heavy bass music, flashing neon lights, copious amounts of vodka, and lots of ‘whoo-hooo’ing. Didn’t she ride in a limo last night? She remembered there was something involving a lobster…. Eris scratched at the top of her head, rubbing feeling back into her numb scalp. Sniffling, she opened her eyes and looked up at the ceiling… that wasn’t her ceiling fan. She looked at the sheets, black and silk… not her bed… She cringed and looked over to her side and sure enough there slept a man she did not know. At least he was cute, and from the look of his apartment… loaded with cash.
“Shit, not again…. Stupid,” She groaned under her breath and carefully rolled out of the bed, grabbed her clothes off the floor and promptly snuck out of his Pent house, condo... whatever it was… it was too big for Eris to comfortably call it an apartment. She lived in an apartment. A Small under 1000 square feet of living space and she shared it with her best friend since that fateful day on the Red line. Now it wasn’t often that Eris found herself in a stranger’s bed, this wasn’t the first, and not likely to be the last. She chalked it up to those cotton candy and vodka cocktails from the club she had. She had an irritating headache, and though she was still dressed in her clothes from the night before she hopped on the subway and ignored the snickering looks. Hey, it’s only a walk of shame if you regret what you did, and since Eris couldn’t piece it together, she figured it must have been a good night. She just hoped she didn’t give someone her number. She’d done that before resulting in stalker status and a restraining order against some douche from college.
It took her almost an hour to jump trains, and hoof it back in her heels back home. She knew she was back on her street when she saw Mahlik sitting out on his front porch.
“DAAAMN girl!” he laughed. “You stayed out late,” he teased. Eris smirked stopping at his stoop and winked. “You doing that walk of shame, girl,”
“No shame in getting laid,” She said jumping up to his step and reached for the joint he had in his hand. He grinned passing it off to her and let her toke for a moment. Mahlik barked a laugh.
“I heard that,” Eris passed the joint back to him.
“You’re up early…”
“Early? Shit girl, it’s almost noon,” Eris began to cough and smoke escaped her lungs.
“No shit?” Mahlik nodded his head as he breathed in more smoke. “Damn, I gotta go. Oh Hey, I’d like to pick some up from you later today,” Mahlik stopped her and reached into his back pocket and tossed her a bag.
“Just swing by later and drop the money off, and before you go… be careful walking these streets… someone else went missing last night.” Eris caught the baggie and quickly tucked it between her cleavage. Another missing person? Why weren’t the cops doing anything? “Damn… why you gotta play me like that?” Mahlik asked, capturing her attention. Eris couldn’t help but smile at him.
“You could always fish for it, if I don’t pay,” Eris teased. Mahlik gave her a Colgate smile, his perfect white teeth stark against his smooth black skin and nodded.
“Hey, Imma hold you to that!” He shouted after her as she hurried on down the sidewalk towards her tenant building. Eris gave him a wave, before rounding the block and jumping up another set of stairs towards her apartment. They were on the fourth floor, and there was an elevator, but it was broken and had been broken since before Dahlia and her had moved in. That had been fun carrying up couches and mattresses.
Eris tried sneaking into her apartment, maybe Dahlia was sleeping in… except she wasn’t. Eris stopped when she saw Dahlia sitting at the Kitchen counter. “Oh hey...” She sang, a cat like grin reaching her cheeks as she slinked into the apartment and shut the door. “Hope you, ehhh… weren’t worried about my absence,” Eris said tossing her sequined clutch onto the quilt covered couch. She made quick work to hit the coffee pot and pour herself a drink. She drank it straight, no cream and no sugar…. Mostly because they couldn’t afford the creamer and sugar. “I saw Mahlik outside… said another person went missing. I’d say I’m surprise Ross didn’t tell me about it, but my phone died… its still dead,” She cringed, making a funny face and sipped from the coffee cup. “I wonder if he worked…” she muttered distractedly and hurried back over to her purse and plugged in her phone. She’d have to give it a moment before she could power it back on, so she kicked off her heels and padded back towards the kitchen. “I think it’s a little strange that people keep going missing in Hell’s Kitchen. Mahlik didn’t say who it was. Two weeks ago it was that teenage girl, last week it was that Goth kid who lives down by Pattys Pub… Give me a minute to shower, and we’ll start sniffing around town… see what we can find.”
It took Eris half an hour to shower and get dressed. During her shower she’d planned out their day. They’d stop by the Station and see if Ross was working last night and if he knew anything. Ross was a desk jockey for the local PD, and the rookie officer who had helped Dahlia and Eris that fateful day on the Red line. After he got shot on duty, he worked the desk ever since. Eris emerged from her room fully dressed and ready to go, grabbing her fully charged phone and was shocked to see the missed calls and texts, and plopped down onto the couch.
[ [b Message from: ROSS] ]
[Missing Persons reported in HK again. Same time, same type. Never came home last night. Friends missing 2. Call ASAP 4 deets]
[Where r u?]
[Never taken this long 2 txt back. U Alrite?]’
[plz don’t b doing something stupid… again]
[don’t hear frm u by lunch. Will hunt u dwn.]
-3 Missed Calls from ROSS
-2 missed calls from MOM
-1 missed call from Dahlia
-1 missed call from UNKNOWN
[b BANG BANG!]
“Holy Shit!” Eris, jumped in her seat and spun around to look at the door, when a voice carried through.
“DAHLIA! Are you home!?” The voice of Ross came in through the door, and once he was let in, he stepped through and looked around. “Did Eris ever make it home last night?” He asked.
“I’m here!” Eris shouted over and looked over her shoulder towards the kitchen and front door. Ross, like Mahlik was one good looking guy. He was tall, well built with tapered blonde hair, and warm honey eyes. He was an All-American, type of guy, and he was probably one of the only cops, Eris found remotely attractive in uniform.
“How come you didn’t call me?” He demanded. Eris rolled her eyes
“Omg, okay DAD… I went out last night. My phone died… but I didn’t,” she tried to tease, but Ross only glared at her and turned to talk to Dahlia.
“Coffee smells good. Mind if I have some too?” he asked, and when Dahlia gave him a cup, he thanked her and they all moved to sit down on the couch.
“So what’s the news? I just got your texts…” Ross frowned.
“Another missing person… that’s five now. Every week, like clockwork it seems. All of them are mostly troubled youth.”
“Missing people in Hells Kitchen isn’t new,” Eris murmured around the lip of her coffee cup.
“No, but the rate has increased, and this last kid was from the Upper East Side.”
“What the hell is some posh rich kid doing down here?” Ross shrugged, unsure. “So some rich rebellious brat goes missing and now it’s a priority to figure out?” Eris challenged. Ross only gave her a contrite look.
“All I know is something stinks about these disappearances. We’re already understaffed and SVU isn’t giving it much attention, they’re back logged as it is. Think you can look into it?”
“Can I get files?”
“You suck… fine… give me names. I need somewhere to start,” Eris said. Ross nodded and set his coffee cup down.
“I’ll text them to you, and their homes so you can talk to family,” Ross informed them both and moved to stand up. “I gotta get back, you ladies stay out of trouble, and keep in touch. Let me know if you guys find anything. Dahlia, lovely as always seeing you…” Ross said, and gave Dahlia an awkward smile, and even more awkwardly gave a slight bow of his head before leaving. Eris watched him go and looked at Dahlia.
“You sure you won’t date him just so I can get the inside scoop out of HKPD? No? You suck too…” Eris pouted, and guzzled down the last of her coffee. “Alright, let’s get the hell out of here and see how much trouble we can get into!”
The apartment was always too cold in the mornings. Dahlia couldn’t stand it. Perhaps if money wasn’t so tight she might have raised the temperature on the thermostat a few points. But as it was, living in the big apple was expensive and just about all she got out of her filmography degree was a pile of student loans. Well, that and her best friend the up and coming journalist dragging her around with a camera to document anything and everything that might be the next big thing. Luckily it had been enough to keep them afloat so far, but the dark haired woman didn’t exactly think it would continue for much longer.
Mustering up her strength to get up and start her day, she looked over to the analog clock on her nightstand. Too tired to fully read it, she deciphered it was somewhere between 7:30 and 7:45. Entirely too early by her standards, but she was already awake and there was little chance of her falling back asleep for any quantifiable length of time. So instead she cocooned herself in her thick down comforter, soaking up the warmth it had to offer, and dragged herself out of bed just like that.
There was nothing to keep her feet from the cool open air, but still she pressed on knowing it would only be worse in the kitchen. With that tidbit of information in the forefront of her mind, Dahlia paused at the doorway to the linoleum-lined room. Eventually the need for caffeine won out. The frozen floor’s repulsiveness wore off as she quickly grew accustom to the feeling.
The woman made quick work of grinding the beans and starting the coffee maker. However, the blanket made the task more cumbersome than it needed to be. All that was left to do was to watch the black liquid lazily drip through the machine. Dahlia took a seat on one of the stools located next to the island counter that doubled as a dinning table. There she played on her cellphone and impatiently watched over the coffee pot. The waiting soon became unbearable as the potent aroma filled the room.
The morning ritual had more than one benefit. Eventually the scent would drift down the hall and wake her roommate. That was if she hadn’t stayed up too late the night before. Although by that time, Dahlia would likely be sipping on her second cup.
Two cups of heaven’s nectar in and still the onyx-eyed woman didn’t hear anything from down the hall. It was unusual, but not unheard of. There was a sinking feeling in her stomach. On mornings like this, her friend had the tendency to come out of her room with a full plan of action for the day. This generally meant they would be on the snipe hunt from hell for the duration of their waking hours. She couldn’t help but wonder what it would be this time around.
Dahlia managed to get dressed and ready for the day before her roomie was out. Unusual indeed, but she was glad for the extra time. She was able to properly clean her lenses to her camera and camcorder. They were her babies. All her graduation money had gone into the camcorder, and even though it was almost two years old there wasn’t a scratch on it.
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