Maddie puts the note that’s supposedly from Gabe, in a plastic bag and takes it to the police. Ted introduces her to Officer White Star who, fortunately, doesn’t think that Gabe could have sent the note.
“Gabe’s not a violent person,” White Star said. “I’ve known the kid his entire life. Given the problems with that girl and Ramon, I agree. I think he’s in trouble. Let me call it in.”
He walked to his car, picking up the radio handset from the dash. He spoke quickly, telling the dispatcher what Maddie had told him.
“Based on this, I think someone needs to investigate.”
“White Star, this is Sergeant Murphy. We’re sending backup. Don’t you even get out of your car without someone else there. You hear me?”
“I’ve got cars rolling,” the dispatcher said.
“10-4, Dispatch. I’ll wait.”
“I want to go with you,” Maddie said.
“You stay here,” White Star commanded.
“He’s my friend!” Maddie wanted to scream, but controlled herself.
“You—stay—here,” he repeated, firmly. “This is a police matter. It’s very dangerous. You heard my boss. He doesn’t even want me going it alone and I’ve got ten years on the force. It’s far too dangerous. Do you understand?”
“Yes, Officer. I’m sorry.”
“And no sneaking off. I can’t emphasize how dangerous this is. I have to go.”
“You heard her,” White Star pointed at Ted.
“10-4,” Ted replied, with a cocky grin.
White Star walked back to his car. They saw him pick up the radio and speak before taking off without his lights and siren.
“Let’s go back inside. We’ll be in the way out here.”
“You’re right. I hope Claire and Jane are okay—and Gabe,” she sobbed.
Ted pulled her close, his arms strong and comforting. “Don’t you worry about him, Maddie. That boy’s no slack. I’d be more worried about Ramon.” He forced a chuckle. “Gabe’s a scrapper. He’ll be fine.”
He led Maddie back inside. The girls had gathered in the common room. Craig and boys were helping outside, removing debris so the emergency workers could get to Claire and Jane. There was still no word on their progress. Ted sat with them, telling them stories and jokes to pass the time. When he finished one of his stories, Maddie touched his hand.
“Do you think we could pray?” she said softly. “I think it would make us all feel better.”
“Sure,” Ted said. “You want me to lead? Or you want to?”
“I thought maybe we could all say something from our hearts,” she murmured. “I need to believe that they’re all okay. I need to believe that God will take care of them.”