Adam drove Lilah and George to his house. It was a long, awkward drive, being about twenty minutes. Lilah gazed out the window uncomfortable with the silence. It didn’t help that they hit almost every single red light too. She sat in the back seat alone while George sat up front with Adam. If they were speaking to each other, she wasn’t paying attention.
When they finally arrived at the house, Lilah was the first one to jump out of the Jeep. She stood beside the car staring at the house in awe. For a guidance counselor, Adam did pretty well. The house was three stories tall with a large front yard that the landscaping company was currently at work keeping the grass green and the garden fresh.
“Nice home, huh?” George smirked at Lilah. Lilah smiled back. He must have seen the drool coming out of the corner of her mouth.
Adam came around the front of the Jeep twirling his key ring around his index finger. “Shall we?”
Adam led the way with Lilah and George following closely behind. Lilah winced as one of the landscapers turned on the weed whacker. She hated the sound of the blade hitting the grass. She took bigger strides in her steps as Adam unlocked the front door.
“Please excuse the mess.” He warned.
Yet when Lilah entered the house, she huffed. The house—or mansion in her eyes—was spotless. They stood in the living room that looked just as big as the house. Three couches sat in a U-shape around a rectangular glass coffee table. A wide flat-screen TV that looked to be at least 70-inches hung on the wall above a fireplace in front of the sitting area.
“Would you guys like anything?” Adam asked closing the front door.
Lilah opened her mouth, but clamped it shut again once George spoke up.
“No, thank you.” He shook his head. “I’d like to just get started right away.”
Lilah pressed her lips together. Well, she was kind of thirsty, but whatever.
“Of course,” Adam dipped his head. He stepped in front of George to lead the way. He walked to the back of the room where a staircase was. As he stepped up on the first couple of steps, he turned around. “Marie’s bedroom is just up these stairs. It’s the second room to the left.”
George nodded his head. Lilah followed George still gazing around the room. She couldn’t believe that only three people lived in such a big, beautiful house. She hoped she would get the chance to take a look at the rest of the place.
Adam unlocked Marie’s bedroom door and stepped to the side allowing George to enter first.
“You keep her bedroom locked?” George asked.
Adam shrugged. “I didn’t want anyone touching any evidence. Just in case.”
George nodded, humoring him. He twisted the doorknob, without bothering to put on gloves, and pushed open the door. He took a step in and Lilah followed with Adam right behind her.
Marie’s bedroom was just as clean as the rest of the house. There was a full-sized bed in pressed against the wall in the right-hand corner of the room. She had a nightstand right beside the neatly made bed. On the other side of the room was her dresser with picture frames and a jewelry box on top.
Lilah stepped in further gazing around the room. The walls were a Pepto-Bismol pink, but other than that the room was pretty bland. Nothing hung on the walls and there weren’t too many decorations around the room. It made Marie seem like she had no personality.
“Does her bedroom always look like this?” George asked.
Adam nodded his head. “Marie likes to keep things clean. She doesn’t usually spend a lot of time in her bedroom, either. Especially now that the weather is getting nicer, she likes to spend her free time out on the porch or outside by the pool.”
“You have a pool too?” Lilah’s mouth gaped open.
Adam looked at her with confusion, but George interrupted.
“So the last time you walked in here when Marie was here, she was talking on the phone with her boyfriend. It sounded as though they were having an argument and she had a stack of money in front of her?” George recapped.
Adam nodded. “Like I said, my wife and I searched for the money, but we couldn’t find it. She must have taken it with her.”
“Well, if I was to run away I’d take a lot of cash with me too.” Lilah shrugged her shoulders. Who knew where Marie was planning on going? If she was really planning on running away, she might need a bus or plane ticket. She didn’t want to say that out loud, but George seemed to be thinking the same thing.
“Does Marie have a computer? Have you checked her recent web searches? Usually there’s a clue there.” George suggested.
“We couldn’t find her laptop, either.” Adam shook his head.
George tapped his chin with his index finger. “Hm… If she packed her things and took money with her, then it definitely seems as though she had this planned. I think it’s safe to say that she wasn’t kidnapped.”
“No offense, but that doesn’t really make me feel any better.” Adam sighed hanging his head.
“Run-away sounds better than kidnapped, though.” Lilah shrugged. “Anyway, where do you think she got all that money? Does she have a job? Do you give her an allowance?”
Adam turned to look at Lilah with thoughtful eyes. “No, she doesn’t have a job. We used to give her an allowance for doing chores when she was younger, but now that she’s old enough to do chores on her own without expecting anything in return, we stopped. If she wants money, she can get a job and earn a living.”
George sighed. “Adam… I don’t suppose you checked your bank accounts since she went missing?”
Adam’s mouth gaped open at the thought. He took out his cell phone from his pocket and tapped the screen a few times. George and Lilah exchanged silent obvious looks. They knew exactly what Marie had done. Yet they waited for Adam to finish checking his account until he finally gasped.
“Our savings is wiped completely clean!” Adam looked up from phone staring at George in horror. “How did she…?”
George shrugged his shoulders. “She lives with you. She knows your habits, knows where you keep important documents. I’m sure she’s learned your passwords and information over time. Plus, you have no idea how well her boyfriend is with that kind of stuff.”
“So it’s Jack’s fault.” Adam concluded glaring at the ground.
“I didn’t say that.” George shook his head. “He may have come up with this plan or Marie may have come up with it. Either way, Marie agreed to it so she’s at fault. With don’t even know if Jack is involved. You said they were arguing, right? He may have been trying to talk her out of it.”
Adam sat down on Marie’s bed and buried his face in his hands.
“Adam, where’s your wife?” George asked.
Adam lifted his head and checked his wrist watch. “She’s at work right now. She’ll be home in about a half hour.”
George folded his arms over his chest. “I think Lilah and I will take you up on that drink offer. I’d love to talk to your wife.”