When I get to the top floor, I go to put my key in the door and I hear Betty’s open up behind me. I turn around to say hello, but the words die in my mouth when I see her.
“Are you okay?”
She’s frazzled and drops her keys as she tries to lock her door. “Hello Devin, I’m okay, just a little shook up. Erin called me and I’m going to meet her. She couldn’t fly this time and had a friend drive her part of the way.”
My blood pressure spikes and I go over to help steady her. “What happened?” My words are more of an order than a question, but if she notices she doesn’t show it.
“I don’t know, really. She said someone broke into her apartment and she’s safe but she’s on her way to me. Oh goodness, this is all a mess. Those guys still aren’t done with my guest room and I know she’s probably all shaken up. Maybe I’ll get us a hotel room and we can both make a weekend of it.” I think she’s mostly talking to herself at this point, but I have to do something to help.
“First, take a deep breath,” I say, and she finally looks in my eyes. “I’m going to handle this.” Betty nods and she goes from trying to figure this out to letting me take charge. “I’ve got my driver downstairs and he will take you straight to Erin. Then you bring Erin back here and she can stay in my place again. I’m leaving tonight for a trip anyway.”
I’m not leaving for a trip, but I don’t want Betty to worry about having to take care of Erin while at a hotel. If she’s upset, she’s going to need at least something familiar and comforting. I know I’d want to be close to Renee if she was shaken up.
“Okay,” Betty says, a little more firm this time. “Thank you, Devin, I can’t thank—”
I shake my head, cutting her off. “Just go get her and bring her back. We’ll make sure she’s safe.”
The elevator opens and I text my driver that Betty is on the way down. Then I place an order with my delivery service to bring in food and some extra stuff I think she might like. After that I text my sister and tell her I’m going to be staying at her place for a few days. When she asks me why, I tell her I’ll explain later.
I pack quickly even though I have no idea how long it will take Betty to pick her up. How far is halfway? If she usually flies, is it several hours? I’ve flown short trips plenty of times when I could have driven instead, but I wonder why this time is different than before? She said she was okay, but what if she was injured?
Every horrible thought I can come up with plays out as a possibility and all it does is ratchet up my anxiety. I end up calling one of our detectives and giving him all the information I have on Erin and Betty, and I ask him to check in on things for me. I don’t know what else I can do, but I want to make sure the police are doing what they can and if they aren’t, to have someone else on top of it.
After I’ve packed a few things, I look around and see a case file on my dining room table. It’s a simple case that I brought home only to sign off on, but when I walk over to take it, I end up leaving it instead.
Maybe I’ll come back for that later and check on Erin.
“I can’t leave you here.”
“You can and you will.” I grab Jenna’s hand. “You have to get back to your brother. I’ll be fine here.”
We’re standing outside of some run-down diner that has seen better days. I’m happy Jenna could take me this far to begin with because I had to get out of there. The cops came and took a report, but that was it. There wasn’t much else they could do since there were no signs of forced entry. Whoever came in did it with a key and that was the creepiest part of all.
“Shit. Shit. Shit.” She’s stuck between a rock and a hard place.
I’m still trying to hold it together because I know if I crack now there’s no way she’ll leave when she really doesn’t have much of a choice. She’s got to get back to her little brother because she’s all he has. Everything Jenna does is for that little boy. He’s been her whole world since their mom up and left in the middle of the night. Not that it really changed much for them since Jenna was already taking care of everything and raising him. Only now she makes sure she dots every I and crosses every T because she doesn’t want to give the state a reason to rip them apart.