I pulled up to the police station, my truck rumbling to a stop. No doubt Charlie knew I was here. As I climbed out I noticed several more cars than usual in the lot. I took two steps and then reprimanded myself for forgetting the reason I'd driven here in the first place. I turned back to the truck reaching in for Charlie's lunch bag and thermos.
Before I even got to the door I could hear loud voices. Through the glass I could see at least half a dozen people and they were all talking at the same time. I noticed the woman first, she was crying, but trying to keep it together. The man near her of about the same age looked like he was in the same shape. Charlie caught a glimpse of my entrance and nodded at me. There were statements being taken. Something awful must have happened. I felt like I was intruding, and veered off to Charlie's desk to deposit the lunch.
Charlie and another officer along with the receptionist were trying to get a handle on the situation that had landed in their laps. From what I could tell a girl was missing, had been missing for at least 24 hours. The distraught man and woman were her parents. I heard my phone go off and answered quickly, embarrassed at the noise. It was Edward.
"Hi Edward, just a sec." I whispered, and strode over to the next room. "Okay." I said when I'd closed the door.
"Why are you whispering, Love?"
Let me just explain something. Don't get a vampire curious and then think you can simply change the subject. Just answer the question, and life will be easier.
"I'm at the police station. There's something big going on here."
"Do I need to come and bail you out?"
"Cute, and no, looks like a real case has come my dad's way." I said.
"I could be there in just a few minutes….let me come pick you up, we could go for a drive." He said soothingly. Why did it sound like he was trying to calm me down? After a pause he added, "Bella, you only call Charlie "dad" on very few occasions."
"It's just, well; he looks like he's under a lot of pressure. I think there's a girl missing and her parents are here and you can cut the stress with a knife." I was whispering again. I reheard his earlier question in my mind. "Where was it you wanted to drive to?"
"Nowhere in particular. It's a lovely Saturday afternoon, people used to go on drives just for the pleasure of it, those were the days." He chuckled.
Then his Volvo drove into the lot. I could see it through the glass doors. Another car, a station wagon had pulled up just before he did and a man with a beard was making his way to the entrance. Edward walked in right after him. The man went towards the policemen and Edward came straight to me. I had come out of the room, but he took my hand and lead me back inside, closing the door once again.
"Do you know those people out there?" He asked in earnest.
I looked into his face, and felt I'd better answer this carefully. "I've never met them. I don't even know their names, but something awful has happened to them, and I do feel for them."
"Things happen, terrible things, and they always will."
"Are you trying to tell me you can help, but don't want to?" I whispered.
"There is no way to fix human nature. You can solve one problem only to have another creep up right behind it." He paused. "Do you see yourself becoming involved in this?"
"Charlie's involved. He may come home and mention the case offhand. I'll worry about him, about the parents, about their girl. I'm already involved." I felt myself starting to shake.
"The one I followed inside just now, he's called Jim and he has a girl in his basement."
Just like that. Case solved. I was definitely shaking now.
"We have to tell them!" I grabbed at his arm. "She may be hurt." I went for the doorknob. "Oh my god, she is alive isn't she!?!" My voice jumped a few octaves as I pleaded with him.
"Bella, think!" He pulled me into a tight embrace and spoke calmly into my left ear. "What am I going to say? I can't walk out there, point at the man and insist he's the culprit. Where did I get my information, what evidence do I have?"
"But she's there; we could just go get her." This wasn't right. Why was he making this so difficult?
"You want to break into his house? Find the girl. She'll see us. She'll tell everyone, and then there will be questions. I can't be questioned. My family cannot be questioned." He was serious.