It wasn't the first time Shawn hadn't shown up at Psych when he was supposed to.
It wasn't even the second or the third time.
Actually, according to my count, it was the 899 time Shawn had not been at Psych when he was supposed to be.
I didn't think much of it at first, of course. I just did what I always did…rolled my eyes and got to work without him. What choice did I have? I had every second of my day carefully planned out and I just didn't have the time to wait for Shawn to decide to drag his butt out of bed at the crack of 11 and come in to help me get the bills paid. I had to be at my real job by 9:30 to get caught up on my route.
Besides, it's not like Shawn's all that helpful paying bills when he is around. He wouldn't know a spreadsheet if it bit him in the nose.
It didn't take long for my initial irritation with his tardiness to wear off as I lost myself in the comforting numbers of the balance sheet. I actually completely forgot that he was even supposed to be there until 9:00, when according to my schedule I was supposed to leave for my real job.
I glanced down at my watch as the alarm went off, reminding to move on.
Shawn still wasn't there.
I stretched and turned the computer off, starting to wonder vaguely where he was.
He hadn't had a date the night before or anything…
Quite the opposite, actually. He had tried to talk me into going over to his dad's house for dinner, but I had somehow managed to get out of it.
A rare win for me.
He hadn't been so lucky.
Still, he would have been out of there by 7:00 at the latest…
He never stayed at his dad's house later than 7:00 when I didn't go. I knew this because he inevitably called me as soon as he got home, venting about whatever it was his dad had done to tick him off that time.
I don't know why it hadn't occurred to me before, but that's the moment it struck me that
Shawn hadn't called last night when he got home after dinner.
Of course, it was possible his dad just hadn't pissed him off…
But, honestly. What were the odds of that?
He should have called…
I still wasn't concerned as I grabbed my cell phone and dialed.
I was more curious.
Where the heck was he…?
His phone never rang. It just connected me immediately to his voicemail, which meant it was off.
I sighed and hung up, not bothering to leave him a message letting him know I had finished paying the bills and there was a stack of checks waiting for his signature. If he had let his battery die again, there wasn't any point. He wouldn't get it, anyway.
I locked up the office and drove to work. I decided to drive by his apartment on my way so I could leave a note on his door telling him to sign the checks I had left out on the desk and mail them off when he got up. Both our names are on the accounts, so I couldn't pay the bills without him.
"Can't you just forge it?" he always grumped when I made him sign checks. "I forge yours all the time!"
I pulled up in front of his building, but his bike wasn't in its usual parking space.
Maybe he'd gotten a date, after all…
But even as I stepped out of my car and made my way to his building, I didn't believe it.
His bike should have been there…
He should have been there…
His cell phone should have been on…
As I knocked on his door, getting no answer, I got a horrible, sinking feeling in my stomach.
Something was wrong.
Of course, it was possible I had just missed him and he was on his way to Psych, but I didn't believe that, either…
I sighed and looked down at my watch again.
I was already late for work, but it didn't matter now…
My carefully planned day had just been shot to Hell.
The first place I went when Shawn didn't answer his door was Henry's house.
Not that I would ever call him Henry to his face…
I'm not an idiot.
But if anyone knew where Shawn was, it was Henry.
His truck wasn't in the driveway when I pulled up. I could feel my stomach starting to twist itself into a jumbo pretzel as I jumped out of the Echo and jogged to the back door, desperate to find someone else to share my rapidly growing concern.
Even before I knocked on his door, only to get no response, I knew he was probably fishing. He had probably been out on his boat since before dawn, blissfully unaware anything was wrong…
"Blissful" being a relative term, of course.
In all the years I've known him, I've never actually seen Henry Spencer be "blissful" about anything.
I continued to pound on his door for a solid five minutes, praying that he was there…that he somehow just hadn't heard me before.
But he never came to the door.
Finally, I gave up and just faced the fact that he wasn't there and he wasn't coming back anytime soon. If he was fishing, he would be gone most of the day and he wouldn't have his cell phone on him.
I got back into the car and just sat in the driveway for a minute, staring blankly out the windshield as I wondered what the heck I was going to do next.
Who was even going to believe me that something was wrong?
I didn't have any proof…I didn't have any reason to think anything had happened to Shawn…
And yet, I knew he was in trouble.
Finally, I pulled out my cell phone and dialed, knowing there was only one other person besides Henry who would listen.
After two rings, she answered.
"Jules," I spoke quickly. "I need your help."