CHAPTER FIFTEEN

"I'm getting worried, Sean," Kimber cried as her fiancé scooped her into his arms to console her.

They were in the sitting area of the police station waiting for Detective Reynolds to arrive. It had been several hours since Riot and Rio left for the police station and there was still no word from them about Jerrica. So Kimber decided she couldn't wait around at the mansion any longer and asked Sean to accompany her to find out herself. Much to her surprise, no one at the police station had any clue what was going.

"It'll be alright, Darling," he replied in his charming British accent. Although Sean felt helpless, he did his best trying to keep her spirits up.

"It's been several hours already," she remarked. "Where are they?"

Sean replied as he wiped the tears off her face. "Just try to be a little more patient, Kimber," he told her. "I'm sure we'll have answers soon enough."

Suddenly, the door to the waiting room flung open. It was Aja.

"I'm glad you're here," her red-headed friend greeted her.

"I came down here as soon as Shana told me," a frustrated looking Aja replied. Shana remained at the mansion in case anyone called there.

"What is it?" Kimber noticed she had been crying too.

Aja hesitated. She felt selfish thinking about her own problems when they paled in comparison to what Jerrica was facing. Nonetheless, she finally cracked, knowing she couldn't hide anything from those who knew her best. "It's Craig," she replied, stating the obvious. "He hasn't been home all day. I don't think he came home last night either. His paper was still on his doorstep when I went by to check on him. And he wasn't at Stingers Sound."

"Did you check with Stormer?" Kimber asked.

"She wasn't home," replied Aja with a look of frustration on her face. "I think he's trying to avoid me!" she cried.

Kimber and Sean exchanged odd looks. It wasn't like Craig to go MIA, especially on Aja. It was obvious that the two were going through a rocky patch. Off all the Holograms, Aja spent the least amount of time with him compared to the other girls and their significant others. Even Raya, who was casually seeing Aaron Brady of the LA Dodgers, spent more time with him while he wasn't traveling with the team. However, Craig always made sure to let Aja know what was going on with him, especially if he knew they would go a few days without seeing each other.

"I can try Stormer again," Kimber offered. "I really think they're just busy working on her new album," she continued, trying to ease Aja's worries. "She did mention that Riot wanted to release her debut solo album as early in 1989 as possible."

Aja sighed. "I know. It's just that – it's just that things haven't been what I expected them to be since he moved back to LA," she finally revealed. "I've tried not to let it bother me, because I know he's busy with his new career, but it's like he's always trying to find an excuse to be busy and not be with me."

Kimber turned to Sean once more. She shrugged her shoulders at her fiancé in complete disbelief over what she was hearing from Aja. The guitarist was always the headstrong one of the group. It was as if she had a thick outer shell that couldn't be shattered as she never let anything get to her, except for when it came to Craig. With him, that protective shell was non-existent. Perhaps it was typical for a first love. There was no other love in her life before him.

The younger Benton approached her friend and extended her arms out to embrace her, "Oh, sweetie." Aja broke out in tears as Kimber continued to console her. She expected Aja to take control of the situation with Jerrica's predicament, but it was obvious the younger Benton needed to be the one in control now.

"Um, Ladies," Sean announced.

"Craig!" she shrieked upon seeing the former drummer enter the waiting room, followed by Detective Reynolds.

"Where's my sister, Detective?" Kimber demanded to know.

"I'm not sure what you mean," Reynolds replied.

"Your partner, uh, Detective Sanders," she began to explain, "he brought Jerrica down here this morning."

"Who?" Reynolds looked confused.

"Detective Sanders," Kimber answered. "He arrested Jerrica this morning."

"What?!" Reynolds' jaw dropped. "Arrest Jerrica? Why would I do that? I have zero evidence against her!" he divulged.

"Then who took her?" Kimber shrieked.

Reynolds had no clue what was going on. "Did he have a badge?"

"Yes," she replied. "We didn't take a close look at it, but he had a badge."

"Where's Riot?" Craig interjected, surprised to see the Stinger wasn't there with the others.

"He and Rio left the mansion to come here several hours ago too. We haven't heard from them either!" Kimber revealed.

"Rio's back?" a surprised Aja asked, scratching her head at the thought of Riot and Rio doing anything together.

"I'll tell you later," Kimber whispered to her friend.

"Who's Rio?" Reynolds wondered.

"Rio Pacheco. He's just an old friend of the family's," Sean answered. Kimber had told him everything as they waited to hear from Riot. After all, Sean would become part of the family sooner than Riot would, if that was where they were headed, and Riot already knew everything. Even Rio knew more than he should and chances of him ever marrying Jerrica were close to zero.

"Okay," Kimber proceeded to get back to Jerrica and their missing friends. "If they're not here, then where are they?" she said to the detective.

"How long ago was it that they left to come here?" Reynolds asked.

"It's been at least five hours," an exceedingly worried Kimber cried.

The detective sighed. "I'll be right back."

"Stormer's missing too," Craig added. "I've been here all night, hoping the police would find them."

"Them?" Aja wondered whom else he was referring to.

Craig hesitated before breaking the new to the Holograms. "Pizzazz and Eric Raymond."

"Eric Raymond's dead!" Kimber wailed.

"We're not so sure about that," Craig revealed. Just as he was about to explain the events at the Coroner's office, the detective returned.

"I've placed an APB on Jerrica and your friends," said the detective, much to Kimber and Aja's relief. "However, if I'm to help you find your friends and solve the mystery of Eric Raymond's alleged murder, you need to tell me everything I need to know. And I mean everything," he warned them.

Kimber turned to Aja, who then gave her a nod to proceed. "You better sit down, Detective," the younger Benton informed him as she began to tell him everything.