Drastic Measures

11:00 AM

"Have you heard from Riley lately?" Abigail asked over breakfast.

Ben shook his head, chewing his all-natural bran cereal.

"He hasn't invited himself over for dinner lately, do you think there's something wrong?"

"Nah," Ben replied, "He's probably been trying to beat a video game for the past three days."

"You should call him. It's odd not having him around all the time."

Ben stood up and grabbed his cell phone from the kitchen counter. He pushed "3" on his speed dial and waited.

"No answer."

Abigail frowned, "That's not like him. I've never known Riley to not have his phone within three feet of him at all times."

"It's early, Abigail, I'm sure he's still sleeping."

"It's eleven."

"And Riley typically doesn't wake up till past noon. He's fine."

Abigail didn't say a word as she loaded the dishwasher, but Ben could tell she was still concerned. It wasn't that big deal, Riley had been over only four days ago, but it was unusual to have not heard from him in such a large span of time. He was over at their place almost every day to mooch off their food. Although Abigail complained, Ben knew she secretly liked having the young techie around. He was worried too, of course. Despite an almost two-decade age difference, the two had become good friends during their adventures.

"I'll shoot him an e-mail," Ben told Abigail as he rinsed out his cereal bowl, "the kid always has his computer open, and his e-mail is linked to his phone and iPod. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if he rigged his microwave to go off when he gets a message…"

"Fine," Abigail said, turning to her boyfriend, "But if he doesn't reply in a few hours, we're taking drastic measures."

1:30 PM

"Heard from Riley yet?"

"Not yet, dear," Ben replied, glancing at his phone.

Abigail pursed her lips before pulling her own cell out of her pocket. It rang a few times before connecting to Riley's voicemail.

You've reached Riley Poole, author and treasure hunter extraordinaire! Leave a message!

"Riley! It's Abigail! Ben and I haven't heard from you in awhile. Um, I'm making lasagna tonight, and we'd love to have you for dinner! Just let us know!"

She hung up and turned back to Ben, shrugging.

"Lasagna, eh?"

4:00 PM

"Ben, this is weird."

The pair sat in the living room of their very large house, staring at the television, where a peroxide blonde with overly tanned skin was talking cheerfully about a plane crash in the Sierra Nevada.

"What is?" Ben asked, wondering if the plane crash was a clue. He had never hunted for treasure in the Sierra Nevada…

"The silence!" Abigail exclaimed.

Ben looked at her, confused.

"Did you want me to turn it up?" He reached for the remote.

"No!" Abigail stood up, throwing a couch pillow to the floor, "I mean, there's no kitchen appliances exploding, no technology beeping, and no whining! It's weird!"

"I can whine, if you want," Ben grinned up at her.

"BEN!"

"Fine, fine. We'll give him another four hours, then we'll go with your drastic measures."

5:30 PM

"Ben, what if he's sick?"

"Who?"

"RILEY!"

"Kidding! I'm sure he's fine, Abi. If he was sick, he'd be asking us to bring him soup and crackers."

"What if he's been kidnapped?"

"WIth no ransom note? I think we would have been the first to hear something."

"Ben, what if he's dead?"

"Abigail!"

6:00 PM

You've reached Riley Poole, author and treasure hunter extraordinaire! Leave a message!

"Riley, it's Ben. Abi is really worried. We haven't heard from you in four days, kid, what's up? Call me back!"

6:15 PM

You've reached Riley Poole, author and treasure hunter extraordinaire! Leave a message!

"It's me again. Abigail is threatening to call the FBI, Riley. It's not like you to ignore your phone for this long. Also, she says the house is too quiet when you're not over. So, come over for dinner and make a lot of noise, ok? It'll make her happy."

6:35 PM

You've reached Riley Poole, author and treasure hunter extraordinaire! Leave a message!

"Riley. You have until eight o'clock before we take drastic measures. I managed to get her off the phone with the FBI, but she's talking about filing a missing person's case now. ANSWER YOUR PHONE!"

6:45 PM

From:

To:

Subject: What's going on?

Riley,

In all the years I've never known you, you've never taken more than ten minutes to answer an e-mail. And I've never once known you to ignore a phone call. This is getting weird, Riley. Just contact us and let us know you're ok. Please?

-Ben

7:00 PM

1 New Message!

From: Ben (555-2128)

Riley, text back. Now.

7:15 PM

1 New Message!

From: Ben (555-2128)

You have 45 minutes.

7:25 PM

1 New Message!

From: Abigail (555-3497)

Riley!

7:30 PM

1 New Message!

From: Ben (555-2128)

?

7:45 PM

2 New Messages!

From: Ben (555-2128)

Abigail's having a panic attack.

From: Abigail (555-3497)

WHERE THE HELL ARE YOU?

8:00 PM

You've reached Riley Poole, author and treasure hunter extraordinaire! Leave a message!

"Riley. It's me. We're coming over."

From:

To:

Subject: Drastic Measures

Riley. We're on our way.

1 New Message!

From: Ben (555-2128)

We're leaving the house now. We'll be over in twenty.

8: 19 PM

Knock, knock, knock.

"Ben, what if he doesn't answer? What if he really was kidnapped? I told you we should've gotten the FBI involved, it's probably too late now! He's probably in a ditch all bruised and-"

The door opened, and Riley greeted them, traces of laughter on is face.

"Hey guys!" He greeted, "What's up?"

"What's up?" Abigail screeched, "What's UP? Do you realize, Riley, that we've been trying to get a hold of you ALL DAY? We've been worried sick! And you greet us with WHAT'S UP?" She stabbed him in the chest with her finger after each sentence.

"Jeez, jeez!" Riley threw his hands in front of his chest for protection, "I'm sorry, ok? I've been…busy."

"Doing what?" Ben asked.

Riley blushed slightly.

"Nothing, it's nothing."

"Well, can we come in?" Abigail asked.

Riley looked back over his shoulder and closed the door a bit.

"I don't think that's such a good idea, guys, I'll just drop by sometime tomorrow, ok?"

Abigail sighed and shoved the door back open, stepping into his small apartment.

"Ridiculous, Riley, we come all this way to see how you are and you don't even let us-woah."

"What?" Ben followed her inside.

Sitting on the sofa was a girl about Riley's age, with light auburn curls and a smattering of freckles across her nose. When Ben and Abigail entered, she stood up.

"Hi!" She greeted cheerfully, walking around to meet them. She wore faded blue jeans, a grey MIT sweatshirt (that, judging from the size, probably belonged to Riley) and black converse.

"You must be Ben Gates and Abigail Chase, right?" She asked, sticking her hand out, "I'm Jenny Swanson."

When Ben and Abigail just gaped at her, open-mouthed, she slowly let her hand fall to her side. The smile stayed on her face, but she looked nervously to Riley, who stood in the doorway, rubbing the back of his neck.

Ben and Abi slowly faced each other, looked at Riley, then looked back at each other. Simultaneously, they turned around and began walking out the door.

"Happy?" Riley seethed as he followed them. He stood at the doorway, glaring at his friends.

"Wait!" Jenny ran up next to him, "Would you guys like to come over for dinner tomorrow? We were going to make lasagna…"

She trailed off and looked up at Riley, who wrapped an arm around her waist.

"Yeah, well, we'll sort out all the details tomorrow, right guys? See you then!"

The door shut.

There was silence.

"Ben?"

"Uh-huh?"

"Was that-?"

"Uh-huh."

"With Riley?"

"Uh-huh."

"Did you see his arm?"

"Uh-huh."

"Wow."

"Uh-huh."

The two slowly walked over to their car, mulling over their discovery. They drove home in silence. Until Abigail turned slightly and whispered,

"Ben?"

"Uh-huh?"

"She was pretty!"