Max couldn’t help but stay with Molly for another forty-five minutes before departing once she finally fell asleep, succumbing to the medication to help with the pain so he went to the department again to deal some cases he was overlooking while he concentrated on Molly’s case as he also worked to forget the past.
Walking into his station, and nearing his desk, he noticed his Chief coming out of the back room as he had left a meeting when he saw Max entering the room and therefore came towards the Detective at his desk, which stood next to Serena’s. “Say, it’s good to see you Evans, how is the kid?” the chief asked as they stopped to talk.
“It's touch and go, but she is awake and alert? The doctors are optimistic at his point. How much she remembers or knows is another question?
“As long as she makes it,” The Chief acknowledged. “Is there anything on the Davidson father?”
“Well, they are in the wind,” Max groaned. “I wish we could find a beat on the family.”
“Well we got some word on the brothers, as they were spotted in Bakersfield, but they got away before we could apprehend them and bring them in for questioning,” said the Chief, which was news to Max but welcome news that at least the kids were spotted. Which meant they had to be safe, right?
“Do you think they are meeting up with their father in a secret location?” Max asked as he dreaded that as a possibility. Abusive parents and spouses keep their targets under a spell for longer than they should, Max thought.
“The patrol who spotted them couldn’t make out what their goals were there in that town, but it’s possible I guess” The Chief said as he was handed a request from a passing secretary, and he looked down and was reminded of something he had to ask of his lead Detective.
“Hopefully we can find the boys, and then we can get the father to turn himself in?” Max murmured as he spotted Serena coming into the squad room. “And we can get to the bottom of whatever happened at the house and get justice for Molly.”
“Say, Evans, do you still have your affiliation with FBI? The Chief asked of his detective, which caused Max to turn his attention back to his boss.
“I have some contacts, and occasionally I will do small assignments?” Max admitted. “When the case load is low on our side, why?”
“How long were you with them, before joining the force?”
“A few years. I took a break from the field before I joined up here,” Max sighed as he remembered the dark place he was in between time at the FBI, and his settling back here in Los Angeles, the cases he worked had led him to go down dark ally’s, and he hated it and needed a break from law enforcement all together before he found himself back on the police force. “The work load at the FBI was darker as I did mostly child location cases, or darker murders of the adult variety, although with the children, it was usually simpler stuff and not as dark as we’re facing with Molly or her brothers, why?”
“Would you be willing to do something for them?” Chief Gibson asked of his detective.
“I guess so. I owe them a lot? Max admitted, despite the absurdity of it.
“We need someone to go to a conference in Las Vegas next week. It's being put on by the Centre for Missing and Exploited Children, and the FBI would like someone who has expertise in locating missing children with a current police background to talk to them? They knew of you, and was wondering if you were willing?”
“How long is the conference?” Max asked, as he hated to tear himself away from Molly’s case and his other work load, to go to a conference where he was needed only for a certain voice.
“Two days, maybe more, maybe less?” Chief Gibson said. “I’ll get Tessa to forward you the information”, not seeing the flinch that Max said at the name Tessa, although the Chief’s assistant didn’t look like Tess in the least. But the name still brought back bad memories, and silent curses.
“What would I have to do?” Max asked, warily as he concentrated back on the request from his boss.
“Make a speech on location techniques in today’s age, and why children stay missing for longer than they should in today’s modern world.”
“But no one really know why children are not always found?” Max murmured. “I am not sure I can be much use.”
“Well it's a currently a hot topic in the country thanks to a missing girl that has been gone from her home for a year. Her family brought her case back to the attention of the media last month. People are wondering why there are no clues as to why she disappeared. We need you to explain that there are plenty of reasons that someone takes a child and vanishes without a clue.
“All this after one media story?” Max asked warily.
“Seems the little girl is the granddaughter of a Sheriff down in New Mexico.
He had put a lot of weight behind the case, and it’s gone national as is often the case.”
Max flinched at the mention of New Mexico
, as no one in the squad room knew he came from New Mexico. He kept it a secret where he came from, and yet news that again his home state was calling out to him was unnerving… especially after all the wounds opened up by his call to his sister, as he sighed and muttered something unrecognizable to himself and switched back to his boss “Well, it's not going to be easy to explain WHY when no really knows. Kids turn up every day and the experts can't figure out how they disappeared and how they came back?
“Missing children, especially a pretty young girl who had a lot to live for causes people watching to want answers -- even if there aren't any answers. Try to explain that, and maybe they will leave me alone?”
“When was this interview?” Max asked.
“Last month as the hometown did a piece with her devastated mother, and it went viral as it was on the anniversary of the abduction. It’s been one year, and there hasn’t been any clues in months.”
“So, someone from the family will be at the conference?” Max asked.
“Yes. I believe the mother of the girl will be there? A single mother who has risked a lot over the last year looking for her daughter? The girl is an only child?”
“This must have been very hard on her? Losing her daughter?” Max asked as he looked over at Serena who was talking on the phone. He knew his partner was deeply attached to her two young daughters and he couldn’t imagine how she would face losing either one of them.
“Yeah, from what I can gather the mother woke up one morning to find her daughter missing? No clues in the house or outside to where the child went?”
“Was it a professional job?” Max asked, as his interest was piqued about the child missing in his home state as he couldn’t remember hearing about the case, but then he tended to or tried to tune out any mention of his hometown, and anything related to that area of the country.
“I am not that up on the case, but there was nothing to indicate it, but it is a small town,” Chief Gibson acknowledged.
“How old was the child?” Max asked.
“9 years old when she disappeared. She would have celebrated her 10th birthday days before the anniversary.”
“Why is it always the 10-year old’s?” Max asked weary of the fact another little girl was in a life-threatening situation, that is if she was still alive because he knew full well kidnapped children not found, could have been long ago killed.
“What?” The Chief asked.
Our girl in the hospital. Well, she is 10 and I hate when stuff happens to kids that age. It’s never good, no matter how old you are… But, something about the young kids get me every time.”
“Just go to the conference and make a speech?” The Chief suggested. “I am not asking you to work the case, just to make that speech.”
“Is there any chance I can see the interview and footage?” Max asked.
“I'll have Tessa send for the footage and have it to you by the end of the day,” Max nodded, and headed for his desk but his thoughts were on his hometown and wondered just what would be on this road he was going down.
Liz was still unconscious, while Maria was on watch outside the room as she watched through the window. She had a friend at work taking the day newscasts, so she could be at the hospital with her best friend. Tears came to her face as Liz looked so pale, and weak as she slept in her hospital bed. Sighing, wiping the tears, she turned to her husband. “How can we help her, if she won’t help herself?”
“Maybe this is a wakeup call,” Michael asked as they noticed Isabel coming down the hallway towards the rooms. “We can hope.”
“At least she’ll get stronger,” Maria sighed as the doctors revealed they didn’t have to operate, and yet her fever was still registering as too high, but the medication had stabilized Liz for the moment. But it still could turn for the worse, if Liz didn’t have time to recover. Maria just prayed they could keep her in the hospital to take that time, when she woke up and realized where she was… She knew Liz would want to get home and work on Bella’s case. “Good morning,” she smiled to Isabel. “Where is Kyle?”
“Work,” Isabel sighed. “He wanted to come, but he needed to deal with his team because his assistant coach is out sick himself.”
“I am glad to see you,” Maria smiled as he sensed something was amiss with her friend. She noticed that the glow that Isabel had exhibited for so long in regarding her recent wedding and new baby on the way had lessened, and now there was true pain on it. “What’s wrong?”
Michael who hadn’t been paying attention immediately took note of his wife’s question and glanced at his lifelong friend and noticed she was withdrawn. What’s wrong Iz…”
“Nothing… but everything at the same time,” Isabel muttered as she lacked sleep because she had been tossing and turning. “I am not sure how to say what I have to say,” Isabel said sadly and Michael’s interest in the conversation piqued as he had been searching his phone for messages from his office.
“What,” Michael asked warily to his childhood best friend. “Is it the baby?”
“No, the baby is fine” Isabel smiled as not many people knew of her pregnancy because she was not yet showing and because of heritage it meant her pregnancy was different from the average human pregnancy, so she will deliver on a different timeline from a normal pregnancy. I heard from Max,” Isabel said softly as both the jaws of Michael and Maria dropped. “I know. It surprised me to, as it came out of the blue. With no warning.”
“He called,” Michael asked as the atmosphere in the hallway, outside of Liz’s hospital room changed in an instant… Michael’s attention beamed straight at Isabel, as he concentrated on his friend. “Is something wrong?”
“No, he says he’s fine.” Isabel muttered. “I thought so too, but he said he’s doing well. He did want to apologize for losing touch. He says he’s sorry.”
“Out of touch is an understatement,” Maria said through gritted teeth. “It’s been a decade. Why now” she seethed as she hated this, hated how Max’s departure messed up her husband and doubly hated how it destroyed her friend’s life. “Why the hell now…”
“He didn’t say, and he was cagey with what he’s up to” Isabel admitted. “He still maintains he’s not coming home.”
“Then why call?” Michael asked. “Why stir it up for all of us… after all this time, if he’s not going to come back?”
“Hell, if I know,” Isabel muttered. “I tried to guilt him with how much my life has moved on, but I don’t know if anything landed. I let it slip that Mom and Dad and the other parents in our family tree know the grand secret and he was of course shocked.”
“How did he react?” Michael asked with curiosity that intrigued him. He had long given up on Max ever coming back to them as he focused on his relationship with Maria and making something of himself for her, and for their daughter Betty. It hurt to think of his friend. He knew why Max had to leave, but he didn’t understand why he stayed gone.
“I don’t think he knew how to react as I shocked him with the news,” Isabel muttered as the hurt was plain on her face. “He forgot that he sent that letter to you Michael about Tess.”
“Huh,” Michael asked as he thought back to that letter they got a couple of months after Max disappeared.
“I know,” Isabel said as she thought of that letter. She remembered the hope she had when they got the letter, and Michael had sent for her to come because he had received word. “I had to remind him that we knew that Tess conned us all.”
“Weird,” Michael sighed. “Where is he, did he tell you?”
“Los Angeles,” Isabel groaned.
“What, are you kidding me? He’s been there all this time” Maria asked as her anger at Max hadn’t lessened any with the evaporation of time. She might have been telling Liz to contact Max to tell him about Isabella, but it didn’t mean she forgave the guy for running out on them, and for hurting her friend. “Didn’t you say your father checked in California years ago, and there was no sign of him.”
“Yup,” Isabel nodded. “All Max said was “he was back in L.A”, so he might have left only to go back there…”
“Why not come back to Roswell?” Michael asked. “Why would he go back to California, and not come back here…”
“I wish I knew,” Isabel said. “I suspect it’s the Liz factor…”
“Well he’s such a piece of work then…” Maria muttered as she looked through the glass at her sleeping friend. “Why couldn’t he come back and make peace with the past. It would have done a world of good for both Liz and Bella.”
“I know,” Isabella agreed, and her glance went through the glass, as she spotted Liz sleeping. She and Liz were on solid ground despite the fact she had married Liz’s ex-husband, and Liz’s true love had been her brother. It was such a small fraternity
she mused to herself.
“Are we going to tell Liz?” Maria asked as she looked through the window, and spotted eyes opening and indications that her friend was waking up and moving her fingers and squirming in the bed to indicate she was awake.
“Liz doesn’t need the stress that comes with any thought of Max,” Isabel muttered. “We should keep it to ourselves for now.”
“I doubt Max is far from her mind, which is why she’s so stressed out” Michael wondered as he thought of his lost best friend and wondered if one day he would come back home.
Inside her hospital room, Liz was waking up after being unconscious since her admittance to the hospital. The painkillers and tranquilizers had made her pass out, and she hadn’t awakened as she enjoyed the painless sleep, because when her eyes were open. She was awash in pain. She looked around and spotted her friends outside in the group discussion. She sensed they were tense about something…
And then she saw they knew she was awake, and moments later in came Maria. “Hello sleepyhead?” she smiled as she instantly was relieved to see some color back in her friend’s face. The sleep might have done wonders for her friend.
“Where am I?” Liz asked, as she looked around and soon realized where she was waking up. “Don’t tell me the hospital?”
“Yes, you’re here at Roswell Memorial. Liz, you scared us.” Maria smiled as she was soon followed by Michael and Isabel, who came into the room.
“What happened?” Liz asked as she struggled to remember the events that led her to be rushed to the hospital. “My mind is fuzzy.”
“It’s probably the medication they have you on,” Michael said as he came into the conversation. “You collapsed at your parent’s place, and Jeff and Nancy rushed you here to the hospital? It was touch and go apparently.”
“I remember now, I arrived at Mom and Dad’s place and I was looking at some pictures in my old room, and then came out into the living room and suddenly I felt pain, and I remember falling. Was it food poisoning.”
“Nope chica. You have developed a bad ulcer and have a very bad case of pneumonia?” Maria said softly. “You’re lucky they got you here when they did, you were pretty touch and go there for a moment or two.”
“It's not that bad,” Liz said as she struggled to sit up, but found she couldn’t move as she was exhausted. “I feel better,” she insisted. “When can I go home?”
“You may feel that your back to your stubborn self? But, you will need to be hospitalized until further notice,” Isabel smiled.
“I can't? I need to go to the Missing Children's conference in Vegas next week. It’s for Bella’s sake, I have to go?” Liz cried. “I need to be there to keep the attention on my daughter. So that maybe someone out there will see it, and she can come home.”
“Sorry for the next week or longer, you will staying here at the hospital and you definitely won’t be doing any traveling, and if you do get released from this place, than you’re going home and resting and you won’t be getting on any plane to Nevada.” Maria demanded.
“No, I have to go to Vegas and I will… No one can stop me!”