“I’ll make sure Mr. Harrow comes with me if I need to return,” Sanders replied belligerently. Within minutes, the task was completed. Gear in hand he opened the door to pause momentarily as he looked over his shoulder, “See ya’s.” He raised a hand to his hat and dragged himself out the front door thinking they were a weird lot.
“Still care for a cup of coffee?”
“How about a little Kalhua?”
Reminding her to lock the door, he hurried out. She didn’t, reasoning he was only going to be gone for a couple minutes. When he returned Kalhua in hand, he was annoyed she hadn’t followed instructions.
“Why didn’t you lock the door?”
“Because you were only going for a minute.”
“A minute is all it takes!” he said exasperatedly.
“Well then, I guess I was lucky.”
Walking to the picture window he invited, “Come and take a look at this! The moon is sharing its captivating brilliance with us. Let’s take a walk.”
Eilea added coffee to the two cups he’d poured Kahlua into, handed one to Paul before donning a pair of sandals to accompany him outside. Rounding the corner of the cabin, she found a huge rock to sit on. Paul stood behind her, wrapping his arm around her shoulders, “This is very romantic, it couldn’t be more perfect if we’d planned it.”
“I love it. There’s only one thing I love more, and that’s watching the sun rise over the ocean.”
Together, silently, they sat absorbing the perfect vista before them; from the ocean lapping against the distant shore to the cool freshly scented breeze, along with the moon’s glistening presence, it couldn’t be more romantic or idylic. With a sigh, Eilea begrudgingly admitted, “I’m beginning to feel a little chilled, I think I’ll go and finish my coffee inside. How about you?”
“Join you in a minute. I’m going to take a look for the kids and talk to the undercover officer. He should have arrived by now.”
“See you when you get back.”
“This time, lock the door!” He admonished, a look of concern covering his handsome features, as he tapped the end of her nose with his finger.
“Yes, boss,” she replied cheekily.
Paul watched until she was safely inside, before jogging down the beach, picking up the pace as he went. They’d been gone a long time. He wanted to make sure they were together. It took him twenty minutes to find them, jogging flat out. “You guys alright?”
“Yeah, we’ve been wandering the beach, enjoying the mood.”
“As long as you enjoy the mood together. Have you noticed anything unusual?”
“Nothing,” Christina replied, and he watched the others shake their heads in agreement. Paul looked around, “There’s supposed to be an officer working undercover, watching you.”
“He must be a spectacular undercover guy cause I haven’t spotted anyone else the entire time,” Christina replied looking at the others for confirmation.
“That’s strange. You guys take care and we’ll see you later. I need to find out what’s going on.”
Paul trotted back the way he’d come. Instead of stopping at the cabin, however, he continued on until he reached the manager’s office. When the manager finally peered around the corner, Paul asked, “Has the other officer checked in yet?”
“Not as far as I know.” Turning, he opened a door that once served as a closet, now renovated to function as key storage. Turning back to Paul, he said, “Nope, the keys are still here.”
“That’s right, haven’t seen anyone either.”
“Can I use your phone?”
“Knock yourself out.”
Paul dialed 911, identified himself and said, “I met with Captain Brown late this afternoon and arranged for an undercover officer to meet me at Uclulet. He hasn’t arrived and I want to know if he’s been detained and why I wasn’t informed.””What do you mean, he left two and a half hours ago?”
“What do you mean, he left two and a half hours ago?”
“Well, he didn’t make it. He’s not here and he hasn’t checked into his room.”
“I’m going to send an officer to his house. Hang on!” Paul listened as the dispatcher sent a patrol car to the officer’s house. “He was going to drive his own car, a Z28, two-tone, cream and brown. He figured it would make a better cover.”
“His name is Justin Murdock. He’s 5’10, tall with muscles the girls drop dead over, and he’s perfect for this job. He’d have reported in, he’s reliable and a damn good cop.”
Paul waited impatiently tapping his fingers on the desk until dispatch returned with,
“Sarg, he’s not here and his car is gone.”
“Something’s up. We better put out an APB. Drive along the route heading toward the beach, the most likely route he’d take.”
“Did you catch that, Montgomery?”
“Ok, I’m going to take a look around here. I’ll call you back one way or the other.” Paul hung up. Not good!
He hurried back to Eilea and pounded on the door. He could tell he’d startled her, her eyes, when she opened the door, were as huge as saucers.
“Sorry, Eilea, I didn’t mean to startle you. Officer Murdock hasn’t put in an appearance yet and I’m going to go look around. Lock yourself in and tell the kids to stay put when they get back, do you hear me?”
“Yes.” This time, she didn’t argue the point.
Paul shut the door, ran to his truck, unlocked the door pulled the driver’s seat forward and picked up a metal box hidden in the floor to retreive a gun and holster, he quickly fastened it to his belt.
He made his way to cabin nine and peered through the windows; nothing seemed to have been disturbed. He spun around and hurried to the parking lot. The officer’s car was nowhere to be seen. Shit! What could have happened to him?
Back at the manager’s cabin, Paul dialed 911 and spoke with the same officer. “He never got here, damn it!”
“Yeah. I’m going to round up the Martin family and take them back to the cabin. You’d better send an officer over right away. I’m going to need help until morning. We may have to move them into a safe house.”
“I’ll send Officer Scott Deans straight over. He should arrive in about twenty minutes.”
Paul’s “Got it!” was terse.
Slamming down the phone, he sped back to Eilea. The situation had just escalated making him think the perp had indeed found her, accidentally or otherwise. He knocked on the door and heard, “I’m coming. Paul, is that you?”