There Comes A Time – Part Five [FICTION]

Fitness classes

Carla and Daphne meet again in the gym. (Photo by Nottingham Trent University, Flickr)

Carla had barely raised her blood pressure as she exercised halfheartedly on the elliptical machine and stared out the window. Cold Case. She just couldn’t wrap her mind around the fact that the police were giving up. To her, the case was anything but cold. But then, they weren’t the ones who felt as though everything inside them had shriveled up and died, were they? Even though she had told Evan she understood his quandary and had halfway expected it to happen at some point, the truth was that she couldn’t help but feel somewhat betrayed by the men and women who had promised her that they would solve the case. City budgets only went so far, she rationalized, so it made sense that after a time they would have to use their resources to pursue cases with leads. Still, the change in status stung. She was just grateful Evan was on her side and had promised not to forget, to keep digging. He was one of the good guys, and she was grateful their paths had crossed. 

“You know you aren’t going to burn many calories just standing on that thing.”

Carla turned to see Daphne leaning on the neighboring machine, her sweaty t-shirt clinging to her large bosom and a towel draped around her neck. “Sorry, I was just thinking.”

“Come down off there and walk the track with me. We’ll cool down together,” she said.

Grabbing her water bottle out of the holder, Carla nodded and fell into step with her new friend as they started to walk laps around the gym.

Daphne eyed her suspiciously. “You’re different today, more somber. So what happened between now and then that has you looking so down in the mouth?”

“It’s hard to explain,” Carla said, not sure she wanted to get into it with a woman she’d just met the day before, even if she did like her.

“It’s not like I’m going anywhere. Consider this your free therapy session. Your secrets won’t go beyond the gym walls,” Daphne said, grinning.

They walked for a few minutes in silence, then Carla finally said,”You must not be from around here.”

Daphne shook her big curly hair. “Nope. I was born in Vancouver, but my family moved here when I was three. What’s your point?”

“Then you must not watch the news,” Carla said.

“Not if I can help it. The news only manages to tick me off or depress me. And don’t even get me started on the shenanigans going on in government!” Daphne quickened their pace at the thought, and Carla had to focus or be left behind.

Carla tipped her water bottle back and drained the bottle dry. “I thought we were supposed to be cooling down, not training for the Boston Marathon,” she said, growing breathless.

Daphne laughed. “Sorry.” She slowed down considerably. “So tell me. What news item did I miss? I’m guessing it pertained to you.”

“Well, to my family anyway. The picture of me crying just seemed to be plastered across television screens every time they mentioned the story.” Carla hated this. She didn’t want her new friend to feel sorry for her. At the same time, she genuinely seemed interested, and since the police department no longer cared, she wanted to know someone did. So she ripped off the Band-Aid and went for it. “My husband and two sons have been missing for just over a year.”

Daphne stopped in her tracks. “Missing? Do you think they’re dead? Did someone kidnap them?”

“We don’t know. The police don’t think they were kidnapped, otherwise someone would have demanded a ransom. Otherwise, what’s the point?” Carla blinked away the familiar tears that threatened to spill down her cheek. “One day they were there, the next they weren’t.”

“In this day and age, how is that even possible? I mean, there are cell phones signals that can be traced and video cameras that tape our every move. Haven’t you ever seen Person of Interest?”

“Believe me, I’ve thought of all those things.” Carla spotted a water fountain and walked over to refill her bottle. Daphne followed closely behind.

“Don’t shoot me for asking this, but did you have a happy marriage? I mean, you hear of guys who leave their wives all the time,” Daphne said.

Carla just shook her head. “Aidan and I were the perfect couple. Everyone thought so.”

“Please, perfection only exists in fairy tales, and that’s because the writers end the story before we get a chance to see that Snow White torched Prince Charming’s favorite boxers because she caught him making eyes at Cinderella.”

Carla laughed. “True. Okay, nearly perfect then. We were successful. We lived in our dream house. Our kids were bright and healthy. Sure, we had little spats now and then, but who doesn’t? We were the Cleavers, except I refused to wear an apron and I burn toast.”

The two women went and sat on a bench against the wall, sipping their water and wiping their brows with their workout towels. “Was anything taken from the house? Were bank accounts closed?”

“No, none of that,” Carla said. “The police combed through everything. None of their personal effects were taken. All our money is where it is supposed to be. No ransom demands were made.”

Daphne raised an eyebrow. “So what did you do with the bodies?”

Carla’s jaw dropped. “Now listen here!”

“Okay, okay. Bad joke! I’m sorry.”

“No, no. You’re right. It didn’t take Evan long to look at me either.”

“Evan?” Daphne smiled. “And who might he be?”

“Evan Pappas. He is the detective in charge of the case.” Carla watched two tattooed bodybuilders trying to outdo one another with the free weights. “Or I should say, was. I was cleared pretty quickly, though. We’ve spent a lot of time going over every aspect of my life, analyzing every person we know, even if they were just acquaintances. Nothing. Not one single lead came out of it.”

Daphne chewed on her thumbnail for a moment, a bad habit she had never really been able to shake. She oftentimes caught herself doing it when she was mulling over something that perplexed her. “So what do you mean, was? Was Pappas pulled from the case?”

“Him and everybody else,” Carla thought. “After a year with zero leads, it’s a cold case. That’s what Evan came to my job to tell me last night. Resources have to be reallocated.”

“Well that just stinks. I mean, it’s understandable on one hand, but it sure bites if you’re the family on the receiving end.” Daphne ripped out her scrunchie and shook her hair out to run her fingers through it. “So what do you plan to do now?”

Carla shrugged. “I guess I learn to live with it. I don’t know what else to do. I’ve been right there with the police the entire time, so I have no idea where to look, even if I wanted to tackle it on my own. Thankfully, Evan said he’d stick with it as much as he could.”

“He sounds like a great guy, and a nice friend.” Daphne chewed on her thumbnail again. “Quality guys like that don’t come along very often. I should know.”

Picking up on the note of loneliness that echoed in Daphne’s voice, Carla said, “It sounds like there’s a story there.”

“Of course there is. Isn’t there always? But it’s still being written, I’m afraid. I have yet to see how this one ends.” Daphne forced a smile. “I mean, I can’t complain. I actually had a pretty decent date last night, if I can call it that. To be honest, I’m not sure what it was. It’s complicated.”

Carla chuckled. “If love were simple, where would the fun in that be? Sometimes you just have to close your eyes and take a leap of faith. But that’s easier said than done, I suppose.”

Daphne stood and started to stretch, crossing her arms overhead and leaning sideways as she talked. “True. Still, there comes a time when a gal has to hike up her big girl panties and see if they fit.”

“Funny you say that,” Carla commented, staring at Daphne quizzically.

“Sorry. I’m always talking about big girl panties. Sometimes I wonder if I’ve lost mine, but then I find them again.”

“No, not that.”

“What then?”

“There comes a time. I just used that phrase with Evan last night.”

“Well, it’s true in so many circumstances,” Daphne said. “Whether big girl panties are involved or not. It’s just one of those things people say.”

Carla slid to the floor and started to stretch her calf muscle. “Maybe. But I get the odd feeling that that phrase is supposed to mean something else to me. I just can’t remember what.”

“Perhaps you’ve been looking for clues in everyday things for so long, everything seems a little suspicious to you now.”

“Possibly.”

Daphne stood and stretched one final time. “Okay, I think it’s time we hit the showers. I promise you one thing though.”

“What’s that,” Carla asked, reaching for Daphne’s hand to help her get back on her feet.

“Now that we’re friends, you’ve got one more person who is going to help you solve this puzzle.”

Click here to read part four of There Comes A Time or click here to go back to the beginning. 

About Jathan Fink
Jathan is a journalist, philanthropist, and entrepreneur. He is also a travel junkie, foodie and jazz aficionado. A California native, he resides in Texas.

2 Responses to There Comes A Time – Part Five [FICTION]

  1. Jathan Fink says:

    Reblogged this on Jadeworks Entertainment and commented:

    If you’ve been dying to know what happened to Carla’s family, this is the episode you’ve been waiting for. In part five of THERE COMES A TIME, she opens up to and tells Daphne everything she knows.

  2. Pingback: There Comes A Time – Part Six [FICTION] | Jathan Fink

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