Author: midnight-blue PM
Samantha disappears...Rated: Fiction T - English - Angst/Drama - Chapters: 8 - Words: 14,220 - Reviews: 56 - Favs: 14 - Updated: 06-14-03 - Published: 02-17-03 - id: 1238624
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Often, it seemed, she invaded his thoughts with a casual smile, a pat on the shoulder, and a suggestive, sly lean against his desk when a case was closed and the office was shutting down for the night.
In the silence, most of all, his mistakes would come to haunt him. Marie seemed now like an old friend that he barely remembered but never forgot. Samantha, in the months since his divorce, had been a beacon of hope. She was his redemption and most days he wondered how he had been without her.
He slipped his coat around his body and flicked off the light as he left his office, stepping into the big room where an even greater sense of loneliness came over him. He saw her then, by the window, arms crossed as she stared down at the city.
"What are you still doing here?"
Softly touching her shoulder, he leaned in close. "Sam?"
She turned to face him and dropped her arms, walking towards the white board. Her steps were slow and hesitant, not like her usual walk. Sometimes he could hear her before she spoke as her steps played a tune upon the floor. Samantha Spade had a walk all her own; one of strength and determination and innocence.
Sam placed a finger on the board where just a few hours earlier, a face and a name had once existed in this world. Now, though, in the dark of night, that face was a mere memory, erased from earth like so many others. She stared at the board for a moment and Jack ached for the hope that seemed to always exist within her, in spite of the world which seemed to always let her down.
Crossing her arms once more, she spoke low, with a resigned tone in her voice that puzzled him.
"You know Jack, some days I hate coming here...but most days, I hate leaving."
He would've thought the opposite, but in a way, it made sense. She wanted to keep going for those who still had a chance.
Jack rubbed a hand across her back and thought of anything he could say to reassure her. They'd gone through this before, and they'd go through it again, and it would never get easier.
"Sam, I still believe there's good out there. I still believe that tomorrow, when we walk in here, we're going to do the best job we can and one less family will have to say goodbye, one less person will have to face a morning alone. It's the most we can hope for and the best we can do. And somehow, that has to be enough."
It has to be.
He handed her the coat draped over the chair.
"So, we still on for dinner tomorrow?"
This time, she perked up a little. "Yeah, I've been craving Italian."
Leading her out of the quiet building, he kept a protective hand over on the small of her back.
Snow was blanketing the ground as they stepped out into the frigid air. He squashed the fear rising up in his mind. She had taken the subway a hundred times, tonight would be no different.
But, he thought, he hadn't been in love with her those hundred times before and that made all the difference.
"I'll be fine, Jack."
He smiled at her under the streetlights. She knew him too well and that was where they got into trouble.
"I know you will."
They stood next to his car. "Are you sure you don't want a ride, Sam?"
"It's out of your way, Jack. Besides, I'm picking my car up from the garage tomorrow. One more night isn't going to kill me."
The irony in that would come back to haunt him later, but for now, he reluctantly allowed her to brush off his concern.
She nodded and stared at him for a moment, wanting to kiss him or hug him, but unsure of it just yet. So she settled for merely caressing his icy cheek with her own equally chilly hand.
Samantha waved and left, eager to escape the frigid air in any way possible.
Jack watched her descend the stairs and assured himself once more that she would be fine and drove away, doubt creeping at the edges of his brain.
Disturbing as it was, he kept telling himself that she was probably in the shower and as such, unable to hear the phone.
He had to believe that or the endless drive to her apartment would succeed in driving him mad.
Hurrying up the flight of stairs, he bounded to her door and banged incessantly. No answer and the fear came back full force. He whipped out the spare key she had given him, intending to use it only as a last resort.
And then, as he expected, Jack Malone was greeted with the one thing he prayed he wouldn't: silence. Complete and utter silence. Sam, he knew, was a noisy person in the morning. She'd told him many a time of the fast, energetic rock music she liked to play as a booster, in addition to the coffee she'd be brewing and the shower she'd be running, the toast she'd be heating.
No toast had popped, coffee wasn't brewing, no water was running, and the stereo was closed up.
Then, what he noticed, which disturbed him even more, was that her coat and her purse, characteristically hung over the back of her couch, were nowhere to be seen.
Her bed was made and that did it for him. Today was Friday and she never made her bed on Fridays, which meant, of course, that she hadn't slept in it since Wednesday night.
He had done this, he knew, he had gone through this a thousand times, but suddenly it seemed his mind was drawing a blank. It was one thing when someone else went missing, but it was another thing entirely when Samantha Spade suddenly disappeared.
It had been 11:00 last night when they'd left the office. It was safe to assume she'd never made it home. He glanced at her bedroom clock. 7:30 a.m.
So she had been missing 8 1/2 hours now.
Jack rushed out of the apartment and locked the door behind him, hurrying as fast as he could to the office.
"Jack? What's wrong?"
Ignoring Martin, Jack breezed right into his office and opened the frame which preciously held Sam's picture from their Thanksgiving dinner. He quickly cut out the smiling Danny whose arm was casually draped around her and walked deliberately towards the white board, shaking as he pinned up the photo he hoped in a million years he'd never have to see up there.
The marker shook in his hand and he dropped the cap as he wrote her name.
Martin sunk into a nearby seat, suddenly aware of just why he had been blown off.
Allowing himself one last shred of hope, Jack checked his phone for any messages. Had she been delayed somehow, he knew she would've contacted him.
The weight of the situation hit him full force then and he closed his eyes against the pain.
Samantha Spade was missing.