Schotzie, barking furiously, jumped off the sofa before Tina heard the knock on her door. A chill ran down her spine. Tight security and limited access were the main reasons she had chosen Fulton Towers after her divorce. Theoretically no one could find her apartment unless they called from the gate and she buzzed them in.
10:00 p.m. Who could it be?
The knocking continued. “Tina, it’s me. I have to talk to you.”
She wrapped her robe around herself and tied the belt while she walked barefoot to the door and peered through the tiny fisheye ‘spy’ window.
“It’s Alex, Schotzie. He’s harmless. Now hush.”
“Have you heard from Jake?” Alex asked before closing the door behind him.
“No. I didn’t expect to. Wasn’t he going up to the cabin to pick up his truck?”
“I think so, but he said he’d call. I’m absolutely certain he planned to call, but I haven’t heard a word. I’m worried, Tina. Can you call your grandparents?”
“I suppose I could, but they go to bed early. This is late for them. Are you sure he said he’d call you today?” Alex’s demeanor alarmed her.
“Yes! Something’s wrong. I feel it. Please call Poppy. Please!”
“All right. Grab a Coke out of the fridge, or maybe you want something to eat. I went to the store today so
there’s actually food…”
“I’ll take care of myself, Tina. Please make that call!”
Poppy picked up on the first ring. “Hello, hello, who is it?”
“Pops, it’s me, Christina. You sound funny. What’s going on?”
He had covered the mouthpiece, but Tina could hear him talking to Kate.
“Kate will talk to you now, honey,” he said, his voice thin. “Remember to trust God no matter what happens.”
“You’re right, Alex,” Tina said while she waited for her grandmother to pick up the phone. “Something is terribly wrong.”
After she hung up, the two of them sat staring at each other across the table. Tina spoke first.
“They’re worried sick. Kate says Denny drove down to Fort Smith yesterday for the express purpose of bringing Jake back up the mountain. They expected to see them by mid-afternoon today. They all left the hotel at the same time this morning, but Denny and Jake took a different route home, for some reason. Denny’s driving a big old Humvee—I don’t think you could roll it if you tried—I can’t imagine what could have happened.”
“Isn’t there anything we could do? Anybody we can call?”
Tina looked across the table at Jake’s brother. Same brown eyes. Same worried look. She bowed her head and studied her nails, freshly manicured earlier during this long soul-searching day. “We could pray,” she offered.
“I wish you would,” he said quietly. He reached into his shirt pocket and pulled out one of his salon appointment cards.
“Here’s my home phone number,” he said as he wrote the number on the back of the card. He stood up stiffly and started for the door.
“Call me the minute you hear anything—from Jake, I mean—no matter what time it is.”
“And you’ll do the same?”
He nodded and left.