If you’d like to start from the beginning of the story, and really, that is the very best place to start, click here! This is an unedited free write that is a challenge for the month of October. Comments are encouraged!
The rest of the week went quickly for Erin as she had to open the store both Thursday and Friday. Harry had mercy on her and gave her Saturdays and Sundays off. That was definitely a luxury in the restaurant business. But since her job was mostly administrative, she felt OK with that plan.
Friday night, she and Cory and Pepper and Scott (not a double date, mind you, Scott was just a friend!) went to the Grand Lake Theater in Downtown Oakland to see the newest Marvel movie. Pepper insisted. She was a Marvel addict. The others liked them well enough, but Pepper was a fanatic.
After the movie they decided to indulge and head to Fenton’s Creamery for the most amazing ice cream creations ever. It was a little more than a mile’s walk, so they decided to enjoy the October weather and make the trek on foot. Pepper’s chosen footwear of three-inch heels to accent her black and white polka-dotted cold-shoulder dress proved to be a challenge, so within a block she decided to just take them off and carry them.
The four friends enjoyed their companionable argument about whether the villain was really a villain or an anti-hero with Pepper feeling sorry for the circumstances he was thrown into and Scott insisting that he was a villain who just needed to be put away. They laughed and joked and punched each other in the shoulders as they made their way down Piedmont Ave., finally arriving at their destination about 30 minutes later.
Wanting to save room for the real stuff, Erin and Pepper both ordered the amazing crab sandwich while the men went the burger route: Mushroom Swiss for Scott and Western Bacon Cheeseburger for Cory. They said they needed their energy for their big pick-up basketball game in the morning. It was going to be the ice cream creations that were going to take a lot of decision making skills. In the end, the girls decided to be smart and split a Saddleback Brownie while Scott got the Black and White in honor of his patrol car, and Cory went with the Cookie Connection Sundae. Too bad they couldn’t just jump to dessert, but they were responsible adults after all.
As they were finishing up, scraping their containers of the very last vestiges of ice cream that they could, Scott suddenly said, “Oh, hey, Erin, I was taking to my captain about Hazel and he has given us permission to go ahead and enter her residence to check things out, since she’s still missing.”
“Whaa?!” Erin exclaimed, shocked and surprised by this sudden announcement. “Are you serious? When? Who?” Pepper and Cory made exclamations of surprise as well. All eyes were on Scott.
“Tomorrow morning, early as you want,” Scott replied, wiping his lips of the last of the sugary treat.
“I get to go?” Erin again exclaimed. This was getting better and better. Finally, they were making progress. At least she hoped they would be making progress. She felt sure the answer was in the house.
Scott chuckled. “Cap figures that since Hazel called you, you’re the closest thing to family that she’s got. Have you ever been in her house?”
Erin shook her head. “She never let anyone in her house. I’m not sure why, but judging by the outside, maybe she was ashamed or something.” She hadn’t really stopped to consider what she might be getting herself into. She’d be sure she brought some disposable gloves along.
The group got up from their table, a good bit heavier than when they had sat down, and started the hike back to their cars at the theater. Cory and Erin walked hand in hand, flanked by Pepper on the left and Scott on the right. Pepper wanted to make sure nobody mistook them for a couple. Erin determined to get her friend alone again and find out what was going on in that big stubborn brain of hers.
Scott and Cory settled on an 11 a.m. start time for their pick up game at the local high school, so Erin determined that 9:00 would work for Scott to pick her up to head to Hazel’s. They walked the rest of the way in companionable, over-stuffed silence. Sleep wasn’t going to come easily on these full bellies, but boy had it been worth it.