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One of Those Days

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Palma Police Station.
9:30 AM

 

Max whisked in through the door, his distinctive fragrance of cologne floating on the air behind him. 2 cups of coffee, 1 in each hand, as he navigated officers drifting to and fro, trying to get to his desk. He finally reached his destination, setting his coffee down while setting Miranda’s in front of her mouse.

“For you, my favorite lady.”

Miranda glanced up, and ignored any pleasantries.

“You’re late” she glanced at her watch “by 20 minutes, Ines wants us in her office in 5 for a debriefing, and you owe me big time for covering for you again.”

Max fake pouted, resting his hands on the edge of his desk and leaning over, “I got you coffee. Shouldn’t that count for something?”

This time, her eyes never met his, and she kept on staring at her computer. “Thank you. It’s a start.” She reached for the cup as Ines stepped out of her office, her face in a tight scowl.

“She sure is looking chippy today. Wonder what’s got her so happy.” Miranda muttered.

As Ines reached her door, pulled it open and yelled out, “Winter, Blake!” Max knew that their debriefing would be a fun one.

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Max leaned against the filing cabinet, and Miranda against the side of a chair. Ines had sat at her desk, and was currently rubbing her face, looking uncharacteristically weary until Mranda broke the silence.

“So will you debrief us, or do we have to start guessing?”

Max smiled briefly at Miranda’s straightforwardness. It was just one of the many things he admired… no, more than that… loved about her. Along with a myriad of other things, but he needed to focus,

Ines looked up, and glared at both of them, and his smile fled.

“I have a big problem, and you two are my solutions.”
Both Max and Miranda glanced at each other in surprise. Of all the things he was expecting her to say, that was not one of them.

“Wha-”

Ines held up a finger for silence.

“The Police Commissioner just called. He has a friend who went to a couples retreat 4 days ago with his wife, and nobody has heard from them since. He wants detectives on the case.”

Miranda looked at her, “First of all, I have a lot of questions, but I want to know why you’re assigning Max and me on a high-profile case.”

Ines looked at the both of them wearily. “As you may know, this retreat is attended by some of the biggest couples in the industry. It’s a place of relaxation and healing, and they make a promise to these couples to make them feel safe and welcome.”

“Ma’am, I’m still wondering how we fit in here,” Max cut in.

“Well if you’d let me get to the end, it might clear some things up,” she ended with a glare to the both of them.

“Anyways, the Commissioner wants this investigation to be discreet, which is why an undercover operation makes the most sense. Besides, we don’t want a legal battle to try to get in, with the chance any suspects wouldn’t want to talk to police anyways.”

“...So you want me and Max to go in and pose as a couple and find them,” Miranda finished.

“Exactly. Now, just to let you know, you were absolutely my last pick for an assignment like this, but it makes the most sense. You are my only male/female partners, you’ve both done undercover assignments before, and to be frank, you already look like a couple anyways, so it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch.”

“We aren’t a couple” Miranda quickly interjected.

Ines just gave her another look of disdain. Clearly her thin thread of patience was on the verge of snapping.

“Yes, but you look it, so it’s good enough. Now, I’ve set everything up. You’ll go in as a married couple, Mark and Alexandra Becker. The main thing to remember here, is that you won’t be able to contact us for backup, so if you need any help, you’re basically on your own. All the other details are in the files, here are your new phones, and you’re expected to check in at 3.”

Max and Miranda spared a look at each other. Unanswerable questions flew between the two of them.

“Well, get on with it then. This case won’t solve itself.”

Apparently, it was going to be one of those days again.

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The two made it out of the station, heading towards Max’s car, Miranda’s head down the entire time, totally engrossed in the file. They had to be at the resort at 3, which gave them about 4 ½ hours to pack and nail down their personas. Max had shortly glanced at his folder before tossing it in the backseat. Mark Becker was an up and coming German software creator, with his wife Alexandra, a model assigned to a few London-based brands. He almost laughed when he read that part. A model, how fitting. He thought that she was more beautiful than any model he’d seen but the look of disgust Miranda’s face clearly said otherwise.

They drove in relative silence down the streets of Mallorca towards Miranda’s apartment where she could pack, and then they would go to his place so he could do the same. The flipping of the pages mixed with the usual sounds of the streets: stands setting up for the day, friends having a conversation, and… couples walking hand-in-hand, touring the island.

A pang of pain hit Max in the chest at the sight. He imagined him and Miranda doing the same, but quickly stuffed that dream back into the recesses of his mind. It would never happen, and it would be better for him to love her from afar as partners, then to lose her forever. Once he had broken things off with Carmen, he thought his private life would get so much easier. They clearly hadn’t, as he loved someone who would never love him back, no one to come home to, and no one who really loved him.

“Max. Earth to Max.”

He focused once more, as Miranda’s voice broke through his reverie. “Yeah?”

“I wanted to debrief you on the case. We do not want to be going in this blind, and we want to be as prepared as possible.”

“Yeah, sure go ahead,”

“Okay, so our targets are Miguel and Elena Ruez, both big-name Spanish actors and philanthropists. They checked in on June 12 and haven’t been seen or heard from since June 14, 4 days ago.”

“So, who reported them as missing?”
“Miguel’s adult daughter, Maya, from his first marriage. Her father would check in with her in the mornings and evenings, but when days passed without any contact, she alerted the commissioner that something was wrong.”

“How do we know that they didn’t decide to just play hooky with their classes and aren’t halfway across the country by now?”

“When you check in, they take your passport and car keys. They don’t want any contact with the outside world. They also monitor any calls made out, as well as any internet searches.”

“Slightly creepy…” he muttered.

“I know. It’s supposed to limit any temptations to walk out on an argument, and rather create opportunities for reconciliation through communication. At least that’s what the brochure said anyways.”

“Also leaving us no chance of escape... “

Miranda glanced at him as they pulled up to her apartment. The statement rested heavy between the two of them, but they both knew that it was the truth, scary as it was.