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Missing Girls & Speakeasies

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Adaine awoke the next morning with a splitting headache. She rolled over and an unseen servant passed through her room, opening the curtains and placing a breakfast tray on the bedside table. Peeling her eyes open, she fumbled for the glass of orange juice and chugged it one gulp.

Adaine knew she had been unfair to Riz last night. He was right, it wasn’t his fault. She couldn’t help it. Every time something happened and Riz was involved she couldn’t help but think of what happened a year prior. Adaine and Zane Darkshadow had joined Riz on a job. It was supposed to be simple, in and out with no risk. The three of them had snuck into the office and Riz was busy rifling through the cabinet, Adaine was acting as look out, and Zane was trying to crack the safe. Then there was gunfire and the three of them were running out of the office. Expect they didn’t all make it out. Zane had gotten shot and had bled out before they could make it to the hospital, right in Adaine’s arms. That had been six months ago and Adaine still hadn’t quite gotten over it.

Adaine squared her shoulders and shook the memory from her head. Taking the Bloody Mary on the breakfast tray, she downed it and the throbbing in her head slowed. Slowly she emerged from her bed and padded down the hall to the bathroom. Unlike Gorgug, Ragh, Kristen, and Fig, Adaine had an apartment to herself. It was a spacious apartment with three bedrooms, a foyer, small library, dining room, a parlor, and a kitchen. The apartment had been one of the last things her parents had bought her and she enjoyed having the large space to herself. The only company she had was her servant, Riley, who was gone for the weekend.

By the time she reached the bathroom, the bath was already drawn. Adaine stripped out of last night’s clothes, leaving them on a heap on the floor, and sliding into the warm soapy water with a happy sigh. She decided that after breakfast she would call Riz and apologize.

On the other side of the city, Kristen was still trying to make sure Fig didn’t experience any lasting damage. She had stayed awake the whole night making sure Fig’s breath was steady and her head wound wasn’t too deep. Around nine in the morning, Maggie knocked on the door and told her Riz was waiting in the sitting room.

“Tell him I’ll be there in a minute. Could you put out some coffee for us please?” Kristen responded, standing from Fig’s bed.

“Right away, Ms. Applebees,” Maggie said with a curt nod, leaving them both to their room.

Praise Helio that Maggie doesn’t ask questions, Kristen thought, changing out of last night’s clothes and into something clean. Running a quick brush through her hair, she went to the sitting room and saw Riz sat there, feet dangling off the edge of the couch, sipping coffee.

“Good morning, Riz,” Kristen said cheerily, pouring herself a cup as well, dropping several sugar cubes into the steaming liquid.

“‘Morning, Kristen,” Riz mumbled. “How is Fig doing?”

“She is… stable. Are you okay? Adaine was a bit out of line last night,” she responded, taking a seat next to him.

“It’s alright, I’m sure she’ll call later. What can you tell me about these Harvestmen?” he asked, putting down the coffee and pulling out his notebook. Kristen let out a sigh and put down her own coffee before launching into what she knew about them. After a few hours where Riz asked her questions about the specifics, the coffee was gone and Kristen’s voice felt hoarse.

“Thank you Kristen,” Riz said finally, snapping his notebook closed. “I really appreciate this.”

“Yeah, of course. If you have any questions let me know,” she responded, standing up and showing him to the door.

Once outside, Riz climbed back into the automobile and lit a cigarette. He didn’t often smoke, but he kept a pack in the glove compartment for long days. He had barely slept since last night, the image of Adaine’s face of rage and Fig’s unconscious body in Ragh’s arms playing over and over. Riz knew why Adaine had reacted the way she did, but it still hurt every time. He drove automatically, his mind occupied with all the information Kristen had just told her and last night's events. It was all connected, somehow but he couldn’t figure out how. He slowed to a stop in front of a dingy office building in the more industrial part of the city and stepped out.

Riz’s office also doubled as his apartment. Behind the frosted pane of glass of the front door was a solid oak desk, a wall of filing cabinets, and a row of dirty windows. There was a door off to the right that led to nothing better than a studio with a mattress, a small kitchen and a radio. The radio was tuned to police broadcasts rather than music more often than not. A cup of stale coffee sat between a pad of paper and the telephone on the desk.

As soon as he walked through the door, the telephone rang and he scrambled to pick it up.

“Ms. Abernant on the line for you,” said the operator and Riz told her to connect them.

“Good morning, Riz,” Adaine’s cool voice came through the speaker.

“Adaine.”

“About last night, I’m sorry. I was stressed and I shouldn’t have snapped at you,” she began letting out a shaky exhale. “It was just the night before it had been Kristen, and then the boys and Fig…”

“I know, Adaine, I know,” Riz said soothingly, placing his cap on the desk.

“I was too harsh,” she murmured. “Do you want to come over for lunch? Riley is gone, but I can rustle something up for us. We can discuss the case…”

“Yeah. Yeah. That’d be nice. I’ll head over,” Riz said softly, glancing out the window and leaning against the desk.

“See you soon, Riz,” she said and hung up with a soft click. He put the phone back on the desk and rubbed his face, downing the stale coffee.

“That was a mistake,” he grimaced, shuddering at the bitterness. After a moment he picked up the phone and asked the operator to connect him with Kristen and Fig’s apartment.

“Hello?” the soft voice of Maggie came through the phone.

“Ah, hello. This is Mr. Gukgak, I was wondering if Kristen was around,” Riz replied, putting on his most serious voice.

“A moment, please,” Maggie said and the line went dead before Kristen’s cheery voice came through, crackling, the speaker.

“Hey Riz, do you have more questions?” she asked.

“Ah, actually I’m going to Adaine’s for lunch, do you think Fig and you can meet me there?” he asked.

“Sure thing. Adaine’s place is always nice to go to,” Kristen said cheerily. Riz murmured a good bye and hung up, summoning Gorgug and Fabian to Adaine’s apartment as well. Then he took off towards Adaine, leaving his car and preferring to walk.