“You know that I can’t do that, Hank!” I yelled, trying my best to stay calm. I wasn’t successful. “Not until I know she’s safe!”

“Yeah, you can!” he insisted, giving me a stern look. “Hurting yourself and breaking shit around the ranch isn’t going to make Jada come back any faster.”

Fuck Hank for being right.

“If you can cool it,” he began, “then I’m going to buy a plane ticket to Las Vegas if we don’t hear from her by tomorrow.”

My eyes widened. “You’d do that?” I asked, feeling a rush of relief.

“I want to, but I won’t if you’re volatile,” he said. “It won’t be good for Jada or the baby if you can’t get yourself under control.”

Raising my hands, I said, “I’m calm. I’m going to stay calm. And I’ll bring Jada back with me.”

“Good,” Hank said. He slung an arm around me, and we walked out of the barn.

We still hadn’t heard from Jada by the next day. True to his word, Hank handed over his credit card and drove me to the airport. He told me to charge whatever I needed to the company card. Jada was employee so technically, it was all work related. In a round about sort of way.

I walked up to the desk and bought a one-way ticket to Las Vegas. As I nervously waited for my flight, I felt a sense of dread overtake me.

I hadn’t been to Las Vegas since I ran away nearly ten years ago. I was not eager to go back because, even though the chance was slim, I didn’t want to run into my dad. But for Jada, I would go with a damned smile on my face.

I’d never been on an airplane before, which only increased my nerves. I knew planes were basically the safest way to travel, but thinking about being so high in the air did little to curb my fear.

To find Jada, to get this damned flight behind me, I couldn’t get to Las Vegas soon enough.

Jada

I couldn’t even begin to describe just how exhausted I was. It was an exhaustion that I felt deep in my bones. From my muscles to my joints to even my skin, every single part of my body ached. Hell, even my hair seemed to be in pain with the way the curl was flat and limp.

Thankfully, my parents didn’t ask me why I was so tired. Understandably, they were too distracted by wondering what happened to Sadie.

From the time she and my dad picked me up from the airport to every single day after, my mom cried. Her eyes were constantly red and so swollen her eyes looked like two slits. She swung between being hysterical and going quiet, rocking back and forth as she stared off into space.

My dad, on the other hand, was scarily quiet. He remained silent basically the entire time I stayed with them. He was normally a chatty man, but now he spoke in grunts. His face looked so gaunt, so hollow from lack of sleep and food. He just refused to sleep, always hoping Sadie would walk through the front door.

Even as an adult, it was terrifying to see my parents that way. It was like I didn’t know them anymore. Like they weren’t even my parents any longer.

I lost track of how many times the police in and out of my parents’ house. The first time they came was the morning after I arrived. I was grateful the detective asked me if I’d prefer to speak in private.

“Sometimes siblings will share things with each other they may not share with their parents,” she explained. “Something that could help.”

“That makes sense,” I said and followed her outside.

We sat on the front porch of my parents’ house. Detective Carlson pulled a little notebook and pen from inside her jacket and gave me a small smile.

“I know this has to be really hard for you, Jada, but any little thing could help us find your sister.”

I nodded. “I understand. I have nothing to hide.”

“Good,” she said. “That will make this go a lot more smoothly.”

Detective Carlson was a pretty redhead, probably in her mid-to-late forties. She had a caring face and smile lines around her eyes. Something about her let me know I could trust her.

“What would you like to know first?” I asked.

She quickly looked through her notes before glancing back up at me. “Okay, so your parents told me you recently moved out of state. Can you tell me a little about that?”

“Sure,” I said, launching into my story. I told her how I’d become disillusioned with Las Vegas and needed a fresh start. I talked about my new job in Seeley Lake and how much I loved it.

“Did you and Sadie stay in touch after you moved to Montana?” she asked.

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