Gavin woke up to a loud knocking on his front door. Falling out of bed, he threw on the first sweatshirt he could find and walked out of his bedroom so he could curse at whoever had found it necessary to wake him up this early in the morning. But his tired eyes suddenly weren’t so heavy as he opened the door to find two police officers standing on the other side.
“William Alexander?” The larger one asked.
“Um, no. I’m Gavin. His roommate.”
“Is Mr. Alexander here?”
“I don’t know,” Gavin said honestly. “I’ll check his room.”
He left the door open as he walked across the living room and knocked on Will’s door. There was no answer as he knocked again and called his name. What had he done, Gavin thought to himself. The police were looking through the open door with impatient eyes and when Will didn’t answer again, Gavin opened his door and stuck his head in.
Will’s room no longer looked like his. The bed was unmade, his books were thrown everywhere, clothes piled on the floor. His laptop was lying open on the desk, crumpled paper littered the ground around the trash bin. This wasn’t like Will. Things were usually so perfect. The mess gave Gavin an eerie feeling in the pit of his stomach but he left Will’s bedroom door open as he returned to the police officers, shaking his head.
“He’s not here.”
“When is the last time you saw him?”
Gavin thought about it. He had seen Will only briefly last night. “I saw him for a few minutes last night. He was about to leave for some party.”
“Do you know where he was going?”
“Was he going with someone?”
“He didn’t say. What is all this about?”
But the police officer ignored his question and handed him a card. “If he shows up, will you please call us?”
“Thank you.” And with that, the two officers turned around and walked away, jotting notes on a pad of paper and exchanging a few words that Gavin couldn’t discern. Scratching his head in confusion, Gavin closed the door and turned around. He stared at Will’s room and his curiosity got the better of him. Quickly, he walked to the room and started combing through all of its contents. But there was nothing under the bed, nothing irregular on the desk besides the general mess, no incriminating books or magazines could be found. What was he doing? This was Will. Sure, he was a little crazy at times and wasn’t afraid of stabbing people in the back when it would serve to benefit him, but he wasn’t a criminal. Gavin didn’t even know what he was searching for.
He was about to leave when he recognized a pair of pants on the floor. Will had been wearing them last night, Gavin remembered, having resisted the urge to tell him that khaki corduroy wasn’t a good way to impress anyone. He slowly reached for them, not really wanting to do it. He knew it was wrong to go through Will’s things but his roommate was clearly in some kind of trouble. Or, more likely, he had created some sort of trouble and Gavin was afraid his obsession with Laila had finally gotten the better of him. His hand slipped into the pocket, afraid of what he might find. Nothing. Gavin took a quick breath and reached into the other, his fingers landing on something small and chalky.
Pulling it out, Gavin didn’t recognize the pill that was now in his hand. Anxiety medication perhaps. Will had been awfully anxious lately. But he knew that wasn’t it. What Will had said earlier in the week was still toying with Gavin’s conscious. There were other ways to get what he wanted. A shiver ran down his spine as he thought about what Will could possibly be using this for.
Running back to his room, he picked up his phone and dialed Luanne’s number. He had stood by long enough and let Will’s behavior become more and more out of control. He had to warn Luanne about Will but her phone went straight to voicemail. Gavin cursed and pulled his legs into a pair of jeans, shoving the pill inside his back pocket. He knew Luanne was probably still asleep but he had to see her before someone got hurt.
By the time he reached Luanne’s dorm, he was out of breath, his lungs burning from the freezing morning air. He knocked furiously and was surprised when someone quickly answered from the other side.
“Who is it?”
“It’s Gavin,” he said to the still closed door. “Luanne’s friend.”
The door opened slowly and Gavin instantly recognized the girl on the other side. Laila’s violet eyes looked up at him timidly as she peered out from her dorm room. Gavin smiled at her, glad to see she wasn’t hurt.
“Hi,” Gavin said, his voice rough after his run. “I’m Gavin. Is Luanne here?”
“Hi. I’m Laila. Luanne’s told me a lot about you.”
“Is she here?”
“No,” Laila said with a frown. “She left for the airport a little while ago.”
“The airport? Where is she going?”
“Why don’t you come inside? It’s cold.” Laila held the door for him and stepped aside. Gavin could only stare at Laila as he walked inside her dorm. This was the girl that Will had been obsessing over the entire year. This was the girl who had caused his roommate to become absolutely desperate. Gavin had expected some sort of goddess, but Laila appeared completely normal. She was prettier than most girls, but there was nothing about her that would make Gavin want to do the things Will had done.
“So,” Gavin started, unsure of what to do. He had been coming here to warn Luanne about what he feared Will would do to Laila, but now that she was standing in front of him, he didn’t know where to start. “Why did Luanne go home?”
“She spent last night in the hospital,” Laila informed him with a low voice. “She needed to go home and sort some things out.”
“Is she okay? What happened?”
“She was drugged.”
With that, Gavin’s heart sank into his stomach. “Drugged?”
“Shit,” Gavin closed his eyes and felt the pill in his pocket weighing him down. “Do you know who did it?”
Laila shifted uncomfortably. She knew that Gavin was Will’s roommate and friend. Luanne had spoken of him often and Laila knew him to be a genuinely good guy. “I think I know who did it.”
“Was it Will?”
Gavin’s question took Laila by surprise. Did he know? She slowly nodded her head and watched as Gavin’s face twisted in anger. “It was meant for me,” Laila said slowly.
“Is she okay? Are you okay?”
“She’s fine. We’re both a little shaken.”
“I can imagine,” Gavin tried to smile at her, mostly relieved Will’s plan hadn’t worked. “I take it you called the police.”
Laila nodded again. “I don’t know for sure he did it but it seems pretty likely.”
Gavin looked at her. She still seemed scared and he didn’t to tell her that Will was missing. Her imagination could run wild.
“Well, thank you for telling me about Luanne. Is there someone else here who can wait this thing out with you?”
“My roommate should be back from the airport in about an hour. And my boy…I mean, someone else is going to get breakfast. He’ll be right back.”
“Okay good. Do you want me to stay…”
But Laila smiled at him and shook her head. “No, I’ll be fine. Thank you, though.” She liked Gavin. She could tell why Luanne had befriended him and appreciated his concern.
“All right. I’ll see you later, I guess.”
Laila smiled and opened the door for him. “If I talk to Luanne, I’ll tell her you stopped by.”
“Right,” Gavin looked conflicted. “Thanks.”
He heard the door close behind him and the deadbolt lock as he stepped outside. Looking around nervously, he half expected to see Will hiding in the bushes or lurking around the corner. But no one was around and Gavin walked quickly back to his house, opening his phone and dialing the police on his way.
A/N: I know this isn't the chapter you were all expecting, but I promise to post again on Friday :)
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