Chapter 25

Seemingly as soon as Gerald Sr. left Arthur’s apartment, everything went into lockdown. It was as if someone had pressed the big red button, and a state of emergency had been declared. Arthur was confined to his apartment and no one was allowed in or out. He talked briefly on the phone with Bobby, but Bobby was hesitant to tell Arthur anything. He just told Arthur to “be patient” and that everything was under control. Other than that, it was radio silence. Arthur couldn’t make outgoing calls, the Wi-Fi was disconnected, and he was under strict orders not to leave his apartment.

For a man like Arthur, a mover and a doer, this sudden lack of activity was pure misery. He recognized that the lockdown was for the best; it ensured the safety of everyone involved and prevented further threat to the mission. Still, he couldn’t help but feel useless sitting alone in his apartment, cut off from the rest of the world.

In an attempt to fill his time, Arthur tried a variety of activities. He found an old workout DVD, and finished the very neon-filled, high energy aerobics routine without even breaking a sweat. Yoga was too slow; he got halfway through a sunset salutation before getting bored and giving up. He tried cooking, but the military style rations that filled his kitchen didn’t leave much room for creative cuisine. He managed to read the entire Harry Potter series in three days, an impressive feat considering the books had been sitting on his shelf for two years. He tried to sleep, but every time his head hit the pillow, his brain filled with images of Beatrice. He worried what had happened to her, if she was safe. He wished desperately that there was something he could do for her, and hoped beyond hope that she didn’t think he’d abandoned her.

Beatrice was busy worrying. She noticed the cousins were slowly clearing out her apartment. The maps, lists, and spreadsheets that had covered her walls now only covered a few spaces in her living room. Less cousins had been showing up every night, and her mother had witnessed Janelle packing a stack of files into a moving box. Afraid of what was to come, Beatrice made every effort to get in the cousins’ way. She “accidentally” misplaced some of the large posters from her wall and spilled coffee on a box labeled “important stuff.” Beatrice’s mother had even gotten in on the act, allowing Pepe to use a couple maps as chew toys.

Beatrice was determined to beat her cousins at their own game, but she knew she could only hold them off for so long. Arthur hadn’t called in days, and though Beatrice assured herself it was just because he working hard on the case, she couldn’t help but worry. What if he and his team couldn’t solve the case in time? What if their plans didn’t work? Beatrice trusted Arthur, but just in case, she started working on a few plans of her own.

-M.A.Gavin

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