MANOR - LIBRARY
I can't wait until mid-terms are over!" Dane Manchester grumbled loudly as
he came storming through the front door. "This semester is going to
kill me yet." He paused and he stood in the doorway of the library
and watched his wife as she paced around the room. "Sara?"
Manchester asked and stopped in her tracks to turn and look at him.
"Oh, Dane, you're home. I...didn't hear you come in."
"Well, I can see that," he
remarked as he walked over to the sofa, sat his books down on the coffee table,
and took a seat. "Is something wrong? You
look...worried." He furrowed his brow as he considered what could be
on her mind. "It's not that girl, is it? She hasn't made some
sort of ridiculous demand again, has she?"
"No, it's not...Naomi,"
she muttered in reply and then bit her lip. "It's...well...I'm
stopped to consider what could possibly have her so upset. "So, why
don't you tell me what's on your mind."
explained. "We haven't...seen her in days and..."
these have been the most gloriously peaceful days that I can remember," he
sighed joyously as he kicked off his shoes and stretched out on the sofa.
"Why in the world are you getting yourself all worked up?"
"Weren't you listening? I
said that we haven't seen Stephanie in days! We haven't seen her, we
haven't spoken to hear, nothing!"
"And the problem with that
"Dane, I'm serious!"
"So am I," he
laughed. "Look, she hated being here and I hated having her
here. Maybe she just took off for greener pastures. Let's not look a
gift horse in the mouth."
"Dane, what if something's
happened to her?" Sara bit her lip in nervousness as a million possible
tragedies began to run through her mind.
"You know how irresponsible and
flighty Stephanie is," he reminded as he rose from his seat and walked over
to take her into his arms for reassurance. "Maybe she just got tired
of being here and just ran off. Knowing her, it's not that unlikely.
For all we know, she took off and joined the circus. Ah, I can see it
now---come see the girl with the biggest mouth and the talent for tall
not funny!" Sara snapped. "If she did just take off, she
would have at least said something to me or...or to Patterson."
Considering that option, she began to tap her chin with her finger as she
thought. "Maybe I should give him a call and see if he's heard from
her." She quickly walked over to the telephone and picked up the
receiver. "Certainly he'd know where she is!"
grumbled. "I don't understand that entire relationship, anyway.
What in the world could Paddy see in her, of all people?"
"Shhhh," she muttered as
she held the telephone receiver to her ear and motioned for him to be
quiet. "It's ringing." And ringing, and ringing, and
ringing... "Hmmm, no answer."
"Maybe they ran off and got
married!" he laughed with a roll of his eyes.
"I'm calling the police."
"Sara, I think you're making a
big deal out of nothing. So, Steffi took off. What's the big
"Um...hello?" she said
when the police station answered. "Um...yes. This is Mrs. Dane
Manchester and I'd like to report a missing person."
Just then, the doorbell rang and
Dane, still convinced that his wife was about to make a fool out of herself,
immediately rose to answer. He found it extremely ironic to find
Patterson, himself, standing on their front step.
"Paddy!" Dane smiled as he
reached out to shake his hand. "Come right on in. You have no
idea how glad I am to see you. Now, maybe you can set my wife straight
about a few things."
"Well, actually, I did come to
see Sara," Patterson nodded as he stepped into the foyer. "I
need...to talk to her about Stephanie."
"Sara!" Dane called out as
he walked back to the doorway to the library. "Hang up that blasted
phone. Paddy's here!"
"Oh, Paddy, thank god!"
Sara sighed with relief as she came rushing into the foyer to greet him.
"I just tried to call you and didn't get an answer. Have you seen
"No," Patterson replied as
he grew more and more uneasy. "In fact, that's what I wanted to ask you."
gasped. "You haven't seen her either?"
sighed. "I haven't talked to her in days. I thought that it was
just because I was busy with mid-terms and she was busy with her new job,
"Well, what, Paddy?"
She eyed him with anxious nervousness.
went to the radio station so that I could surprise her and take her to
lunch," he explained as he began to pace around the room.
"But...well...when I got there, the producer told me that she wasn't
there! In fact, she hasn't been at work in days!"
"Oh, god," she gasped.
"I was hoping that you could
tell me what was going on," Patterson continued. "Is she
avoiding me? Why did she just quit her job? I'm...I'm
confused. Did I do something wrong?"
"Patterson, I don't know how to
tell you this, but..." Dane paused and took a deep breath.
"We haven't seen Stephanie, either. She hasn't been here in
Patterson's eyes darted from Dane to Sara as he tried to comprehend what they
were saying. "What do you mean you haven't seen her?"
"Paddy," Sara spoke up,
more worried than she'd been before, "Stephanie's missing."