Today I am continuing Day 57 (part 9!).
Johns finds me on the porch an hour later, handing me a glass of something I hope is liquor. The peaty scent hits me before the glass touches my lips. There hasn’t been scotch in years; Johns must not think we’re going to make it out of this shitstorm alive.
“What’s the occasion?” I ask, trying to keep my tone light.
He smiles, sitting in the chair next to me and taking a long sip.
“End of our lives, probably.”
I’m quiet for a moment. “Johns, you’ve done more than enough to help me, I don’t expect you to-”
“Liz. I’m in it til the end.”
I smile at him and take a sip, letting the flavor linger. We sit watching the rain, both lost in thought. I steal a sideways look at him, tracing the wrinkles on his face. I know he had a family, once, maybe now. He doesn’t talk about his life. Just like I don’t talk about mine. Until all this, at least.
“Thank you,” I whisper, my throat closing in a lump.
He doesn’t say anything, simply leaning over and taking my hand. He gives it a squeeze, still staring outward. The tears are unwanted but relentless, silently dripping down my cheeks. He doesn’t say anything, keeping a tight grip on my hand and pulling me into a hug. My shoulders shake, but no sound comes out, the raw pain of this too much to keep inside.
“What if she’s dead, Adrian?”
He squeezes me close, gently kissing the top of my head.
“We’ll find her, Liz. She’s still alive.”
I bite my tongue in an ineffective attempt to stop the tears, melting against Johns’ chest. She has to be alive. They wouldn’t kill her if they needed her for some project. And if she saw me rescue dad on the camera, she’d slow her progress knowing I’m coming for her.
I wipe the remaining tears from my eyes, pulling back and smiling at Johns.
“That’s twice I’ve ruined your shirt.”
“Somehow I think it will pull through.”
He ruffles my hair, like he used to when I first made detective and got assigned to him, like he knows I hate.
“Now then. Let’s find my mom.”