I searched each drawer of her dresser, finding only clothes. There was nothing out of the ordinary in the closet or in the nightstand. I dodged all the stuff on the ground and walked over to the small bookshelf Sadie kept in her room.
Kneeling, I quickly glanced through the titles. My frown grew the more titles I read.
A Ménage to Remember.
Two’s Company, Three’s a Party.
One Girl, Three Cops.
What the hell? I knew Sadie liked to read romance, but this was a far cry from the cowboy romance books she used to read.
I pulled a book from the shelf and flipped through it, still trying to wrap my head around Sadie’s predilection for books involving multiple guys.
Something fell out of the second book I grabbed. Picking it up, I saw that it was several sheets of paper folded together. I unfolded them and saw that they were various ads seeking a girlfriend.
Looking for something a little different, sexy lady? one of them read. We have the cure for what ails you. Call us if you’ve always wanted to have more than one guy at once. You’ll thank yourself!
I flipped through the ads a few times. What the fuck had Sadie been up to?
Was Sadie taken because she got into trouble after answering to one of these ads?
I didn’t know what to think, but slipped the ads into my purse. Just in case.
That night, I ordered takeout and forced my parents to sit down to dinner with me. I felt bad about having to guilt them into eating with me, saying that Sadie would want us to stick together, but I needed information. I didn’t want to give what I found to Detective Carlson if it turned out to be nothing.
Dinner was silent until I asked, “Do you guys know if Sadie had a boyfriend or anything?”
Mom and Dad paused and looked at each other and then at me. It was weird, even in their grief, just how in sync with each other they were.
“Not that I know of,” my dad replied. “She hasn’t dated anyone for a while.”
Well, that doesn’t help, I thought to myself.
“Mom, on the phone you said that Sadie started acting weird. What did you mean by that?”
Her eyes were clearer than I’d seen them since I landed in Las Vegas. “She started getting kind of fidgety.”
“It was like she had ants in her pants,” Dad clarified.
“Yeah,” Mom agreed. “Then she kept bringing up all these old memories, things that I haven’t thought about in years.”
“That’s pretty odd,” I agreed. “Do you know if she was planning a vacation with anyone?”
“What’s with the third degree, Jada?” my mom asked, her eyes narrowed.
“I’m just trying to find my sister!” I said, unable to prevent the emotion from filling my voice.
“Jada, you’re out of your depth there,” Dad said. “Let the police take care of it.”
After my Uber dropped me off, I had to psych myself just to knock on the front door of Jada’s parents’ house. It looked exactly the same as it had a decade ago, the same beige color, the same stone angel statue in the small garden underneath the living room window.
Releasing a long breath, I made a fist and just did it.
I heard a shuffle from the other side of the door and, seconds later, I stood face-to-face with Jada’s dad. He looked a little older than he did the last time I saw him, but still pretty young. Jada’s mom joined him and looked as if she hadn’t aged at all.
“Benjamin?” Rhona asked. “Is that really you?”
“Hi,” I said, forcing a smile across my face and hoping they couldn’t see how nervous I was. “I’m looking for Jada. Is she here?”
Rhona gave me a quizzical look, but ushered me inside. I sat down on the loveseat while they took the couch.
“What’s this about Jada?” her dad asked.
“Um, well,” I said, fumbling for what to say. “We miss her and haven’t heard from her. We were all worried.”
“What are you talking about, Ben?”
“At the ranch,” I said. Looking between them, I saw the confusion on their faces. “Did Jada not tell you that I work on the ranch with her?”
They both shook their heads. “No, Jada didn’t say anything.”
“Well, it was a pretty big surprise to us both when she showed up for work,” I admitted. “So, is she here? She hasn’t been answering her phone.”
“I think she stepped out,” her dad said. “I’m sure she’ll be back soon If you want to wait.”
“Sure. May I ask if you’ve heard anything about Sadie? I’ve been so worried.”
Tears sprang to Rhona’s eyes. “No, nothing,” she sobbed. “She’s still missing.”
That’s what I was afraid they’d say, that or worse.
“How is Jada handling everything? I know stress can make a pregnancy difficult,” I said.
Jada’s parents looked as if they’d just seen a ghost. “Pregnant?” her dad asked. “Jada’s pregnant?”