My birthday was a relatively small affair. Mum had insisted on throwing me a big party, but she already helped me pay for the house I had chosen to move into. I didn’t want to keep taking her money for things like that, no matter how much she insisted. Everyone I loved and cared about was there. I was surrounded by family, what more could I want?
As it was we had spent too much on a bartender, but Mum had insisted that every good party needed a bar and someone who knew how to work it on the other side of it.
It was weird seeing Grandma look so much younger than Mum. I knew Mum was in perfect health thanks to a long life of working out and training, but it drove home that Mum wasn’t the youngest any more, or that Grandma likely wouldn’t have been around for my birthday if it hadn’t been for that deal Grandpa Milan had struck. I felt a little emotional on my big day, but tried to hide the tears. I still had a wonderful family, and I’d always have a wonderful Grandma. Hopefully one day soon I’d have my own little wonderful family, too. Or my own big wonderful family, if I could help it!
There was nothing to be sad about but he fact that I was leaving Oasis Valley, and I did my best to enjoy my birthday.
I had decided to move to Willow Creek. It was much closer to work since I hadn’t been able to get a job in Oasis Valley, and would cut my commute every day right back. Plus my father was rumoured to work near there, which was enough reason in itself. I knew I’d miss Marvin but we had decided that keeping up a relationship when we lived so far away from each other wouldn’t be fair on either of us, and would possibly interfere with our careers. Both of us had taken our jobs because we wanted to bring justice to criminals, and neither of us wanted to compromise there. We wanted to try and stay friends, but I had a feeling that we’d be too busy very soon for that to happen.
Marvin had moved back into his Grandma’s old house, which was a graduation present from his family. I, on the other hand, had to buy something new. Mum and I loved the house, and we both enjoyed decorating it. It was a bungalow, with a small foundation and a small garden. There wasn’t much room for expansion out back but I was fine with that. I could always build upwards, should the need arise. Compared to my home Willow Creek was almost tropically green, and my house looked like it was set amidst a small forest to me. I loved the sound of birds wherever I went, and the sound of leaves rustling in the wind whenever I stepped outside even for just one minute. It was very different, but I was excited to move in and officially be a grown-up.
My new home had two bedrooms. Since I only needed one at the moment Mum had bought me a punching bag as a moving-in gift, and together we had turned the spare room into a small gym. The punching bag took up most of the space so fitting a treadmill would be difficult, but for now I was happy to have this, at least.
Three weeks after I had moved in – a month after my birthday – I began my new job as a junior member of the police force.
I couldn’t believe I was actually wearing the uniform! Having my badge pinned to my jacket and visible at all times had my heart racing. I knew I wouldn’t run into Blaine immediately, but I finally felt like I was doing something to get closer to him, and it felt good.
Since I was the newest member to the force I wasn’t allowed in on any big cases, but just patrolling the streets was good enough for me for the time being. I knew I would proof myself, and I’d still hear about all the big cases nonetheless.
When I wasn’t out patrolling I did my own research into my father. There was nothing restricting me from doing so, which gave me free reign. At first I wasn’t sure why I had access since it was a top priority case, not something a newbie like me would be involved in, but the reason became clear soon enough. I found nothing. I only found what I knew already, that Blaine had broken out of prison some years back and had gone missing without a trace since then. No one knew where he was, and there had been no signs of him. End of story.
I felt a bit deflated when I realised that I wouldn’t learn anything new, but reminded myself why I was here. Sooner or later I would be a high ranking officer, and then maybe I could take over his case or at the very least become involved in it. I knew chances were slim since I had a personal motif, but maybe I’d be able to convince my boss anyway.
In the meantime, I got to grips with my job. The prison cells were packed, most of the inmates were noisy and demanded a lawyer or to be let out altogether. Some of them were silent, and those had me on my toes more than the noisy ones did. The loud, shouty ones told me what they wanted. All I could do with the silent ones was guess and interpret their glares directed at me.
Despite some of the inmates freaking me out and there being no trace of my father I enjoyed my job. I got to bring bad people to justice, which was a very good start and I enjoyed it immensely.
At first I always had a senior member watch my every move as closely as the inmate’s, but once my probation period was over they were happy to leave me alone with them. Knowing that I had earned my colleagues trust already felt great, and I felt positive about my chances of finding Blaine.
I was glad I had chosen this career over something else. I knew it’d be dangerous at times, but I was well trained for it and thanks to Mum I knew how to defend myself. I was prepared for anything. Although…
There was one thing which didn’t sit quite right with me, and frustratingly that ‘thing’ was my boss. Chief Parker seemed like a nice enough guy, but there was something which rubbed me the wrong way. None of the others felt that way, so I couldn’t really bring it up, but I knew that something wasn’t quite right.
The way he spoke to me and looked at me sent shivers down my spine every time our eyes met. I couldn’t explain my reaction, he didn’t treat me any differently than he treated the others, but there was something I couldn’t put my finger on.
I was intend on finding out what it was.