When Azarias had gotten the phone call he almost fainted. Even now as he left the airport, he was in shock.
"Hello, is this Mr. Holt?" The officer had asked.
"Yes, who am I speaking to?"
"My name is Officer Sara Smith in Susanville."
"Susanville.... out by the National Forest?" He asked. Why in the blazes would they be calling him? He didn't know anyone that far north.
"Yes by Lassen National Forest." She replied.
"I'm sorry but may I ask why you are calling?" He said interrupting the woman. He was in the middle of his morning work out, something he was extremely anal about.
"Yes. This very important sir. Do you know a Ava Holland?" She asked.
"Excuse me. Is this some sort of joke?" He asked furiously. His friend had been gone for years, she disappeared from her home all the way across the country.
"No sir in fact this is very serious. We found a woman in her early twenties, dark hair and green eyes. She stated confidently that she had a friend who lived in San Diego named Azarias Holt and her name is Ava Holland."
"You don't understand. Ava isn't from California, she lived in Wisconsin. She went missing five years ago, she was 23 when she disappeared so that would make her 28. She just vanished, there was no sight of her anywhere and you are telling me that she appeared in California." He was shouting over the phone waving his hands in the air.
"Sir please stay calm." The officer sighed. Then she must have set the phone down because when she spoke again her voice seemed farther away. "Go get the girl Dmitri."
"Fine. She's probably asleep, the kids had it rough."
"Well pleas wake her up." The woman said in an irritated voice. Then she spoke into the phone again. "If you could just wait a moment."
Azarias sighed annoyed, but waited anyway. His heart was pounding, he hadn't seen Ava in a long time. When Caiden called him after her disappearance he was heartbroken. Could it be her?
"You're friend is on the phone. I know you are tired but he needs to hear your voice, and I think it would do you good to hear his too."
Someone picked up the phone then and pressed it to their cheek, Azarias could here them breathing slowly. His own breathing picked up a bit with anxiety.
"Ava..." He said tentatively. He didn't know what to expect but he hadn't expected it to be her voice, if it had been anything else it would have come as less of a surprise than what she said next.
"Az," She whimpered. "Hi..."
"Ava... Oh my god. How... how did you..." He couldn't finish the sentence. He was in utter shock. Her voice was just as he remember. He looked around frantically and grabbed his car keys.
"I don't know." She cried. "Az, I want to go home."
She sounded so frail and alone, something that never happened to Ava she was never this broken. She must have been through hell. Azarias promised to get her and take her home. After he got off the phone he called the airport and got the first flight up north, driving would take almost a full day, and he couldn't waste any time.
Back at the police station Sara Smith was calling Wisconsin state police. She was going to get a hold of their missing person's records to make sure this was Ava Holland. She got put on hold for a couple of minutes, which was frustrating. Like any other officer she wanted to get a missing persons case solved quickly. It would make people happy, families and friends brought together again. It was something the world needed.
"Hello, this is Officer Kelly." A male voice said over the phone.
"Thank god, its about time. My name is Officer Smith from Susanville California. I am requesting access to your missing persons file, actually one in particular."
"Do you have a name?" The man said. She could hear the faint sound of typing on a keyboard.
"I do. Ava Holland."
"Okay Ava Holland." He repeated and typed the name into the system.
"Holy shit. Did you see this girl?"
"We think we have her here at the station." She said simply.
"You're kidding... I worked on this case myself. She just vanished, poof." The man said in a bewildered tone.
"Can you email the file, or fax it. Something." Smith replied. If a happy ending came of this she would be glad she had joined the police force. Too often than not things didn't work out and people got hurt. She hated that part of the job, but if sometimes someone got to be happy again it was worth it.
"Yeah." They exchanged emails and Sara waited for the email to send. She would call him immediately when she could confirm the identity of the woman who called herself Ava.
"Dear god. Dmitri, you need to look at this!" She shouted. As soon as the email appeared she opened it and about fell out of her chair. The woman in the image was identical to the girl that slept in the cot down the hall. It was as if she hadn't aged a second. This picture cold have been take the night before and you wouldn't be able to tell the difference.
"Holy Hell." Dmitri said leaning over her and peering at the computer screen. "That is ridiculous. She looks like she did five years ago."
"I need to call Officer Kelly immediately so he can notify the family."
Ava had washed up and put on new clothes she was hesitant to look in the mirror, but when she did she barely recognized herself. She knew she looked the same, but it was weird to be so clean. She had taken five showers in attempt to feel clean. She scrubbed her skin until it was pink and even then she felt dirty. A plain shirt and pants were left for her in the bathroom. The pants were a little long and she needed a belt to keep them above her waist. The shirt hung off her shoulder awkwardly.
"Your friend just called. Just landed. We had an officer pick him up and escort him here as quickly as possible. He said you were from Wisconsin." Sara said softly.
"Oh shit, I forgot to call Officer Kelly back." She had become so wrapped up in Ava's story and helping her.
She stood up and walked away. Ava sat on the bed and just stared at the ceiling. She wanted to talk to Caiden but she didn't know if she should. What if he forgot?
Ava wasn't sure how much time had passed, but it was a lot. From her small room she heard the front doors open.
"Hello sir, how may I help you?"
"I'm Azarias Holt. I am here to see Ava Holland." Az had come, like he said he would. Ava stood and walked into the hallway. She peered around the corner and saw him standing in front of her. He looked older than she remembered. He had some stubble on his chin. His skin was tanned a dark color and he stood confidently. His hair was buzzed short, like it always was and his eyes were a dark blue. She could see the muscles tense as he sat down, he was impatient.
"Oh Mr. Holt!" Sara Smith said loudly. "I will go get her, just sit right there and we will bring her out to you."
"Ava..." Azarias stood, his eyes wide and full of tears. "I can't believe it."
She walked around the corner and looked between the officers and Az. Sara nodded and let her step forward. Then she ran and embraced Azarias; she started to cry, and really cry. She sobbed loudly able to speak freely for the first time. It was the first time she had seen anyone that she knew.
He held her close and just said the same thing over again.
"I can't believe it."
"Thank you for coming. Can I go home now?" Ava asked the officers.
"We have to be sure that Azarias is okay to take you from the station, because if something were to happen it would be our responsibility."
"I am not a child. I am 28 years old."
"And you have been missing for five years." Officer Smith said sternly. She was dialing a number on the station phone. "Hello, Officer Kelly? It's her and sir there is a man here who is offering to take Ava from our custody. Azarias Holt, he claims to be a friend." A pause. "Yes Ava knows him." Another pause. Ava looked at Az anxiously and waited. "Okay thank you."
"What did he say?" Az asked.
"He knows that you were one of her good friends at the time of his disappearance and he has said it is okay for you to take her home. He will notify the family and her boyfriend that she is alive. When we get a hold of them Wisconsin state police will arrange for a plane to take you both to Wisconsin."
"Okay, thank you so much. Ava if you are ready to go then we can." Azarias said as he signed the proper papers.
They walked to the parking lot with an officer who was to drive them to the airport. He looked her up and down, staring in wonder. He smiled and just slapped this knee. Ava flinched and looked at him, eyes wide.
"Sorry, I just can't believe it." He said taking her hand. "It's a miracle!"
They took the long ride to the airport and then waited for a long time. The officer sat with them, he was instructed to wait until they were on the plane. He was a quiet man, fat and old. Ava looked at Az and leaned on his shoulder.
"God you know, Caiden went half mad after you disappeared. I'd call every once in a while.. but after awhile I realized I was doing more harm than good." He must have saw the worry in her eyes because he added. "He didn't forget."
"I want to hear his voice." She said. Azarias stroked her hair gently. "I want to hear my parents voices, and my whole family's."
"I can try and call his cell number?"
"I tried the apartment, but got no answer." Ava said doubtfully. "But I would like that."
"Okay." He reached into his pocket and pulled out his phone. Ava hadn't thought about dialing his cell phone.
She waited as the phone rang. There were so many people around, it was hard to hear. She wondered how Az would be able to hear Caiden at all, assuming her answered. She watched the people walk passed, and time seemed to speed up. She felt dizzy and light headed.
"I'm glad you decided to stay for dinner. I have been meaning to make up for the other day. Here have a drink." Cora pulled some beers from her refrigerator and brought them into the living room. Caiden was sitting on the couch uncomfortably. He wasn't really sure what he was doing here, but he felt like it was where he needed to be.
"Don't worry about it, I should have been up front about it all with you." Caiden said. He took the beer from her and sipped at it.
"Dinner should be done soon. I hope you like it." She sat down next to Caiden and smiled. She seemed so at ease here.
They talked for awhile about nothing in particular and then once dinner was ready they moved into the kitchen. Cora was a good cook, the food was amazing. He made sure to tell her so. They laughed over dinner and talked about work. They were just settling down for a movie when Caiden got a call.
"Hello?" He answered.
"Uh, Caiden?" It was a deep voice, and vaguely familiar.
"Who is this?" He asked. Cora wrinkled her brow in question. Caiden Shrugged. He was leaning against the arm of the couch.
"Az? Is something wrong?" He wouldn't call unless there was a problem. He was one of Ava's good friends when they were younger and they never lost contact... at least until she disappeared.
"No, nothing like that. But god, you don't know do you? Officer Kelly, I think his name was, he's been trying to call you."
"What do you mean?"
"Caiden who is it?" Cora asked. He put a finger up to hush her.
"Oh. Maybe I shouldn't have called." Az said.
"No, no its okay. What are you talking about?" He asked.
"It's about... OH SHIT!" Az must have dropped the phone, he heard it crash to the ground.
"Az? Azarias? What is going on?" Caiden was growing frantic. What was going on? He stood and started to pace.
"Omg! Ava! Ava! Are you okay. Hey wake up! Shit..." Caiden's heart stopped. This wasn't happening. He almost fell into the couch. There was a scrambling sound and Az was back on the phone.
"What is going on?" Caiden demanded.
"It's a miracle Caiden it really is. We will be coming soon. Ava oh thank god." Then the line went dead.
"What was that all about?" Cora said. She placed a hand on his shoulder. He didn't respond for the longest time.
"It was..." Then his phone rang again. It was Brad.
"Hello?" His voice was shaky when he spoke and he couldn't stop it. Cora looked extremely confused. She had paused the movie and was facing Caiden expectantly.
"Caiden, man... I know that this is going to sound crazy as hell but turn on the news."
"Why?" There was too much crazy going on.
"Just do it." Brad was screaming at him.
"Okay okay.. Cora can you turn the news channel on?" She nodded with a sigh and changed the channel.
"We have interrupt the previously programmed television show for breaking news. A local woman was found wandering in Lassen National Forest in California early this morning. Police have confirmed that she is Ava Holland, a woman living in Wisconsin five years ago when she disappeared without a trace." Ava's missing persons picture appeared on the screen. "Officers have not released more about the case but we've gotten a chance to speak with her family."
Video began to place, the news cast was at Ava's parents house. Her mother opened the door and let them all inside. The small house was packed with her family. Her sisters and brother, her dad, cousins, aunts uncles. Everyone was there and they were all crying.
"It must be very shocking to know that she is still alive." The reporter said to her mother.
"I am just happy that she is alright. It's a miracle. We thought she was gone, it had been five years. Our family has been coming together every year to celebrate the time we shared with her, as an honor of her memory. Now we can get together as a family again when she comes home." Her mother broke into tears.
"Its truly heartwarming to see that very soon a family will be brought back together after five years of separation." The reporter said. "Ava is expected to return within the following week. Our hearts go out to her family and we celebrate the happy moment with them. New Channel fifteen, I am Jolene."
As the channel's symbol appeared on the screen Cora turned the television off. Caiden let out a breath he had been holding and started to cry.
"Holy shit." She muttered.
This here probably ends my updating spree. I hope you guys enjoy it all. I may update again this weekend, but who knows. A lot is going to start happening at once.