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 sat in Charlie's recliner in my childhood home, curled up with a blanket, my ipad, and a cup of hot tea. The day was gloomy. A light rain had been falling outside all morning. I sighed as I looked out the window, and thought it was a fitting view to go along with my gloomy mood.
I leaned back in the chair a bit, and propped up the ipad on the small table next to me. I clicked the folder that contained all the news articles about my fathers disappearance, and began to read them once again. I knew them all verbatim.
Flipping through the stories, I found nothing new, but kept thinking if I read them enough, I would find some sort of clue that everyone, including myself, had missed.
The headlines screamed out at me, -
"Local Police Chief Goes Missing. Feds Are Stumped."
"Where is Charles Swan? Does The Chicago Mob Know?"
It had been two months since my father went missing from our hometown of Forks Washington, and for the most part, local law enforcement and the FBI had no leads. To be clear, my father's disappearance was not National news, not anymore anyway. It didn't make headlines across the country, and there weren't any man hunts going on to find out what happened to the local police chief of a small town.
In the beginning, there was a small amount of coverage. There was something on the Today Show about a month ago. Katie Couric did a short hit piece, and they put up a hotline number for people to call in leads.
I made an appearance, and begged anyone with information to please call. I didn't like being on camera, but as uncomfortable as I was, I was desperate for anything I could do to help find my dad.
Although I'm a 28 year old adult, with a life of my own, Charlie's disappearance hit me hard.
In a last minute decision during the Couric interview, I looked into the camera and pleaded,
"Dad, if you're out there, please, get in touch with us. We miss you...we love you...I Love you, dad. Please come home."
We had a few calls, but nothing materialized to help locate Charlie.
And here we were, another month down, and no new leads. I continued to scroll through a few more articles.
There were no signs of foul play, his police cruiser was still in the driveway, and his wallet and all of his belongings were found in the house. None of his credit cards were used after his disappearance.
All of his clothes were still in the closet, and the one battered suitcase he owned, was still collecting dust in the attic. His police uniform still hung in the plastic cover on the back of his bedroom door, where I placed it after I picked it up from the dry cleaners, two months ago.
The only item missing was his cell phone. The authorities checked the records, and the last phone call Charlie made was to the station, the morning of his disappearance.
He called Heidi, the dispatcher, and told her he was heading out to a doctors appointment, and would be in a little later in the day. It was a routine eye exam, and Dr. Grady, the optometrist, confirmed Charlie never showed.
The last call he received was the day before he disappeared, and it came from a pay phone in Chicago that was located next to a car wash called Harvey's Wash and Go.
I thought for sure that was the break we needed, but when the FBI checked it out, there was nothing to connect it to Charlie. The call lasted less than a minute, and was ultimately written off as a wrong number.
There were no other unaccounted for calls or texts, aside from the one from Chicago, and no other activity on the phone since Charlie's disappearance. They checked his home computer, and nothing there either.
I called his phone.
I know I shouldn't, but it's the only way for me to feel a connection to him. I just want to hear his voice.
I usually call at night, when I'm home alone, and dreading the darkness creeping in through the bedroom window.
I sit in my small, cramped, childhood bed, and call his number and listen for the familiar, gruff voice-mail greeting.
"This is the chief. Leave a message.....or don't."
I always do. I tell him I miss him, and wish he would come home.
Angela tells me I need to stop paying the cell phone bill, but I can't bring myself to do it.
I think deep down, I hope... maybe just once, he might answer.
I continued to peruse the articles, looking for some small clue. Forks PD and the FBI were at a loss. After the Chicago lead was a dead end, they concentrated on the last few cases my father was working.
The theory was, maybe he got involved in something a little out of his league, and got too close to something or someone.
I thought it was pretty far fetched. Nothing happened in Forks. The most that happened around here, was drunk and disorderly calls. Those, and the one time a bear wandered into the A&P and hoovered pretty much the entire chip aisle.
Even that was handled by The Department of Fish and Wildlife, rather than the Police Department.
The FBI grilled me for any information Charlie may have divulged about anything he was working on. Even the smallest detail they said, might lead to something. I wracked my brain, but couldn't come up with anything.
Charlie wasn't the most communicative of men about anything, least of all any cases he may have been working. The last person he would discuss a case with would be his daughter.
The last case of any note I remembered him talking about, was some rich kid from out of town. Charlie pulled him over and collared him for a DUI. The kid lawyer-ed up immediately with an attorney out of Seattle, and all charges ended up being dropped.
I did remember Charlie being pissed off about it. He came into the house grumbling after the court hearing.
"Damn rich kids,"he spat, as he came through the door, and hung up his jacket and gun belt.
"They think money can buy anything...and apparently it can. Bella, that kid was doing thirty five miles an hour over the speed limit, weaving in and out of traffic through a residential neighborhood, and blew the breathalyzer away. He could barely speak when I got him out of the car. Could have killed anyone on that road, including himself. Such a damn disgrace. I had a few choice words for him, his attorney, and the judge as well."
With that, he grabbed a beer and went to watch the Mariners game, in the very chair I now occupy.
That was a year ago.
The DUI case was actually one of the leads the FBI looked into. The rich kid in question was Tyler Crowley. He came from a wealthy family in Seattle who had rumored ties to the Chicago Mafia.
Tyler lived in Chicago and worked for one of his fathers companies. He was in town for a convention in Seattle.
He took his rental car, got drunk with some friends after the convention, and decided to take a road trip through some of the local towns, hitting up every bar along the way.
The FBI checked out a lead in Seattle, and one in Chicago, but nothing turned up. I was disappointed since Chicago was where the last call to Charlie had originated and I hoped it would lead to something.
Forks PD turned over all of Charlie's files and gave whatever help they could to the FBI.
Aside from myself, no one wanted to find him more than the guys on the force.
I went to high school with most of them, and Charlie busted all of them at one point or another while we were growing up, usually for smoking weed, or drinking beer behind the 7-11.
Try getting invited to any parties when you're a teenager and you're the police chiefs daughter. Yeah, it was brutal.
As we grew up, and some of the guys made their way onto the police force, they developed a respect for my dad. They truly loved working for him, so it was hard on them as well, not having any answers.
With each passing day, my hopes of finding my father alive, began to fade. Days turned to weeks, and then months.
I sighed as I looked out the bay window. I had my own apartment in Port Angeles, but had been staying at Charlie's while the investigation takes place. I wanted to be available if anyone working the case needed me.
The lead FBI investigator on the case, Agent Biers, called me this morning to ask if he could come by to talk with me. It wouldn't be the first time he'd come to the house, but it had been awhile since he paid me a visit.
I knew when he called what he wanted to talk about. I just knew it. I knew he was going to tell me they were going to close the case. I could feel it in my bones.
I knew they couldn't stay here forever.
When the knock came at the door, I pulled myself out of the recliner, straightened my clothes, and made my way to the front of the house.
Might as well get it over with.
I opened the door to Agent Biers, a middle aged man with kind eyes, who was wearing a tight lipped smile.
We greeted each other with polite 'hello's' and I led him through the front hall toward the living room. I offered him some coffee as we sat down on our old sofa, but he shook his head and cleared his throat. I could see he wasn't quite sure how to start.
He eventually decided to just jump in, and gave me a compassionate look as he began...
"Miss Swan, Thank you for taking the time to meet with me this morning. I know it's been incredibly difficult for you these last few months, and I'm sorry to have to see you today with anything less than encouraging news".
Here it comes.
"Since working this case, I've gotten to know all of you here in Forks, and it's readily apparent to me that Charlie Swan was a very loved, and respected member of this community..."
I interrupted him as I stared down at my hands in my lap.
He looked up.
I responded again with a little more conviction.
" Is. Charlie is a very loved and respected member of this community. Not was."
He looked away and I saw a flicker of remorse in his eyes.
"Of course, of course. I'm sorry, You're absolutely right. Charlieis a very loved and respected member of this community...and more importantly, very loved by you, as his daughter."
His eyes cut to the photo of Charlie and me on the fireplace mantel. It was taken at my high school graduation. It was one of the rare photos I had of Charlie where he was smiling. I was too. A big goofy grin on my face while I stood next to my dad in my ugly yellow cap and gown.
Was that really nearly ten years ago? I felt a small twinge as my heart cracked a little more.
" I'm sorry we weren't able to do more for you. I wish to God I could give you answers as to what happened to your father, but the truth is, we just don't know,...and without any new leads,...The Bureau will officially be closing the case."
There it was.
I just looked at him and nodded.
After all, I knew it was coming.
"The hotline will remain active for another month, and tips can still be called in. The case itself won't be sealed just yet. It will be transferred to a unit that keeps tabs on recent cold case files. It will also be reviewed every six months to see if any new information comes to light."
"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 do feel I need to tell you that I have personally seen cold cases which eventually get solved. Sometimes it takes longer than we would like, but it does happen... and I'm hopeful it will happen in this case. I'm just sorry I can't do more for you here."
I gave him a small smile. He really was a kind man.
He stood up from the couch, "I'm catching the two o'clock flight back to DC, so I um, better get moving to get to the airport."
I stood up with him and reached out to shake his hand.
"Agent Biers, Thank you for all you've done to help find my dad. I know you care about the outcome. I know you tried, and for that, I'm grateful. Please call me if you hear anything, anything at all."
"I absolutely will Miss Swan."
"Please, call me Bella."
He gave a slight dip of his head, and said, "Bella, it's been an honor to work your fathers case. Call me anytime, and please, call me Riley."
With that, I led him to the door. I stood and watched as he walked down the front walk, climbed into his black SUV with the tinted windows, and pulled away. I shut the front door and then I slid down the wall with my head in my hands, and wept.
A/N- If you're new to my story, I would love to know what you think! Thanks for stopping by!