Hello All! Thank you for taking the time to read my first story and bearing with me as I figure out what the heck I am doing!
I apologize for any grammatical errors.
Thanks to all of you who have reviewed and sent messages. I'm so glad you're enjoying it!
Stephenie Meyer owns all things Twilight
Chapter 1- Where Are You?
I gazed out the window as I sat in the living room of my childhood home, stretched out in my father's old recliner. My eyes tracked the rain as it made wet patterns against the glass, and I couldn't help but think it was a fitting view for my gloomy mood. The chair was soft and familiar underneath me and provided me with a sense of comfort I had longed for the past few months. Curled up with a blanket and armed with a cup of hot tea and my iPad, I leaned back and let out a quiet sigh as I clicked on the folder containing the news articles about his disappearance.
Although I knew them verbatim, I reread them anyway, convinced we must have missed something; some clue I could uncover if I read them enough times.
The headlines screamed out at me -
Local Police Chief Goes Missing. Feds Are Stumped.
Where is Charles Swan?
It had been months since my father went missing from our hometown of Forks, Washington, and local law enforcement and the FBI still had no leads. They found no evidence of foul play, so Charlie's disappearance barely made National news. He was a small-town police chief in a place most people had never heard of. His car sat in the driveway, and the one battered suitcase he owned was still collecting dust in the attic. His wallet was in the top drawer of his dresser, and his uniform hung on the back of the bedroom door, where he always kept it after dry cleaning.
I continued to scroll through the articles and frowned at those mentioning my name.
"Isabella Swan, daughter of Charles Swan, refuses to give up the search for her missing father."
It was accompanied by a photo of me standing at a podium during a press conference on the courthouse steps.
The only item that wasn't accounted for was his cell phone, and when they checked his records, it was discovered the last call he received came from a pay phone at a car wash in Chicago. The call lasted less than a minute and was ultimately written off as a wrong number. I thought that was the break we were looking for, but when the FBI checked it out, it was a dead end.
I often call his phone. I can't help myself. I dial the number and listen for the familiar voice-mail greeting.
"This is the Chief. Leave me a message ... or don't.
I know I shouldn't keep doing that, but I want to hear his voice. The ritual typically occurs at night when I'm alone and dreading the darkness that slowly creeps through my bedroom window. I always leave a message and tell him how much I love and miss him. I'm a twenty-eight-year-old adult with a life of my own, and I have no reservations when I tell you my dad's disappearance hit me hard.
My best friend, Angela, tells me I need to stop paying the cell phone bill, but I can't bring myself to do it.
I can't let go of the hope that maybe, one day, he might answer.
After the Chicago lead was a bust, Forks PD and the FBI concentrated on the cases Charlie had been working on. But I didn't see the point in that because nothing ever occurred in Forks as far back as I could remember. We were a sleepy town where everyone looked out for their neighbors, and the crime rate was low. The FBI asked me for any information regarding his cases that I may have been privy to. Even the smallest detail, they said, might help. But my father rarely discussed work with me. The last case I recalled him talking about involved a twenty-six-year-old man from out of town who was pulled over for a DUI. He lawyer-ed up immediately, and all charges were ultimately dropped.
I remember Charlie being angry about it as he came into the house after the court hearing.
"Damn rich kids," he spat while hanging up his jacket and gun belt. "They think money can buy anything. That kid was doing eighty through a residential neighborhood and could barely speak when I got him out of the car. It's a disgrace."
He then grabbed a beer and sat in the chair I now occupy.
The rich kid in question was Tyler Crowley. Tyler came from a wealthy family in Chicago and worked for one of his father's companies. He was in Port Angeles for business and decided to visit some sights after his conference. The FBI checked to see if there was any connection between Tyler's Chicago ties and the call from the car wash, but they came up with nothing. I hoped it would lead to something and was disappointed when it didn't. Forks PD gave whatever help they could. They wanted to find Charlie just as much as I did. I went to high school with most of those guys, and Charlie had busted them all at one point or another while we were growing up, usually for smoking weed or drinking beer behind the 7-11. But as the years went by and some of them made their way onto the force, they developed a respect for my dad.
Each day, my hopes of finding my father alive began to fade. The days turned to weeks and then months. I sighed again as I closed my laptop and raised my head. I had an apartment in Port Angeles, but I stayed at the house while the investigation was underway. I wanted to be available if anyone needed me. The lead investigator on the case, Agent Biers, called this morning to ask if he could come by to speak with me. It wouldn't be the first time he'd come to the house, but it had been a while since he had paid a visit. I could feel it in my bones that he would tell me they were closing the case. I knew they couldn't stay here forever, and when the knock came, I pulled myself out of the chair and straightened my clothes before opening the door to a middle-aged man with kind eyes. Agent Biers wore a tight-lipped smile, and we greeted each other politely as I led him through the front hall. I offered him some coffee, but he shook his head and lowered himself to the couch, casting a sympathetic look my way.
Here it comes.
"Miss Swan," he began. "Thank you for meeting with me this morning. I know it's been tough for you these last few months, and I'm sorry to have to see you today with anything less than encouraging news".
I let out a breath I didn't realize I was holding and let him continue.
"Since working this case, I've gotten to know all of you here in Forks, and in that time, it's become readily apparent to me that your father is a cherished and respected member of this community."
His eyes cut to the photo of dad and me on the fireplace mantel. It was taken at my high school graduation, and we both wore big goofy grins. I felt a slight twinge as my heart cracked, and I looked back at Agent Biers.
"I'm sorry we weren't able to do more for you," he said gently. "I wish I could give you definitive answers about what happened to your father, but the truth is … we just don't know, and without any new leads, The Bureau will have to shut down the investigation."
I nodded. After all, I knew it was coming. Agent Biers looked at me with an expression I can only describe as moderately hopeful.
"The hotline will remain open, and tips can still be called in. The case will be transferred to a unit that keeps tabs on cold cases and reviewed every six months … and Miss Swan?"
I looked up as he addressed me, realizing I had been zoning out.
"I hesitate to give you false hope, but I have personally seen some of those cases get solved. Sometimes it takes longer than we would like, but it does happen."
I gave him a weak smile.
"I'm catching the two o'clock flight back to DC," he said as he stood from the couch. So, I do need to get to the airport."
I stood with him and reached out to shake his hand. "Agent Biers, thank you for all you've done to help find my father. I know you tried, and for that, I'm grateful. Please, let me know if you hear anything; anything at all."
"I absolutely will, Miss Swan."
"Please, call me Bella," I replied, and he dipped his head in acknowledgment.
"Bella, it's been an honor to work on your father's case. Call me anytime, and please, call me Riley."
I nodded before leading him to the front door, where I watched him walk down the steps and climb into his SUV with the tinted windows. As he pulled away, I slid down the wall, cradled my head in my hands, and wept.
A/N- If you're new to my story, I would love to know your thoughts! Thanks for stopping by!