The Case Of The Missing Emily


rory_icon.gif roxie_icon.gif

Scene Title The Case of the Missing Emily
Synopsis Emily is missing and Roxie isn't happy about it.
Date February 27, 2020

Epstein-Laudani Townhome, Sheepshead Bay

“Who the fuck are you?”

It is a harsh demand from a young homeless woman standing in the middle of Emily Epstein’s apartment. It wasn’t hard to think of her that way with her disheveled short dark hair and threadbare clothing. Yet, Roxie stands there defensively, with a thick book held in both hands like a weapon. The girl had a book and she wasn’t afraid to use it. If she was a dog, her hackles would be raised - alert and wary of the stranger in the doorway.

Speaking of dogs… there a smallish red furred dog growls at the young woman’s feet, growling. The fur on his back is indeed standing up.

“I’m Rory?” the young man answers in a tone that could only be called questioning, because he’s not sure who she is either. Rory hadn’t expected the door to be wide open, so when he politely knocked on the side of the doorframe and poked his head inside the apartment, he’d not really— anticipated this. “Are you Emily’s roommate?” A lot of people had them, but he'd not seen her the single time that he’d visited. He also didn’t recognize her from the Christmas Party.

The more he speaks, the more she can hear from his voice that he’s not from here. It sounds off. British, yes, but also something a little different than the Queen's English featured in most movies and television shows coming from across the pond. He’s too surprised to try and American-ize his vowels, even if he sucks at it still.

His hands are up in a universal gesture of ‘I’ve not got a book-weapon’. And he doesn’t.

The young woman still stands there rigid for a few moments more, before the book slowly lowers. “Not her roommate, Rory, I’m just…” her friend? Roxie’s brows are drawn together with her uncertainty. “Someone she lets sleep on her couch now and then.” And feed her.

The growling dog abruptly stops and takes a few steps back to sit his backside down on the floor next to her feet. He looks up at the woman and wags his tail, but Roxie isn’t paying attention at the moment.

“Door was unlocked,” Roxie blurts out. “And that cat of her acted like he hadn’t fucking eaten in a millennium. Water bowl was dry, too.” Her nose scrunches up with annoyed disgust. The dog next to her gives a growled woof at the mention of the c-word, turning to glare up at the cats favorite hiding spot. “I came here to tell her I was fucking leaving…” Trailing off, Roxie casts an untrusting look his way. “But….” She waves at the empty apartment. Worry flicking over her features.

“I’m guessing you don’t have a damned idea where she is either.” It isn’t a question, only a fact coming from Roxie. Else why would he be here.

“It’s nothing to be embarrassed about. I’m crashing at a coworker’s place at the moment myself,” Rory offers when it seems like she might be ashamed at crashing every so often— he was crashing on a semi-permanent basis right now, because he couldn’t handle living in the trailer anymore. It was just too difficult, he needed a total change in routine so he could keep functioning after…

As she explains the situation, he doesn’t really notice how quick the dog backs down as more than really good training because he’s suddenly feeling a worry in the pit of his stomach.

The door was unlocked. The cat acted like she’d never been fed and the water bowl was dry. “That doesn’t sound like her.” He didn’t know Emily well really, but she didn’t seem the type to leave a kitten unfed and without water. Or her door unlocked. “Was… was there any sign of a break in?” He glanced around. Nothing seemed to be weirdly out of place. He glanced at the door, it didn’t look as if someone had kicked it in, either. “Have you tried her phone?”

Phone service used to be hit or miss, but it was getting better now.

“No shit, Sherlock,” Roxie comments flatly at the obvious statement. “And no, I ain’t called her phone, it requires actually owning one.” And by her appearance, chances are there is a good reason she doesn’t. Fingers comb through dark, ropey hair as she turns back towards the rest of the apartment.

Then it occurs to Roxie to ask him. She starts to say something sarcastic, but with a sigh through her nose, pull back the act long enough to ask… “You got a cell? Think you could try it?” After a beat she adds, “Might want to think about calling her friends, like Finch… I think her name was and see if they saw her too.” The homeless woman feels helpless in that department.

For a brief moment, Rory actually grins. Perhaps because of the Sherlock comment. It may not have even been meant to reference his accent, but he seems to find it funny anyway. The moment is gone, though, as he looks around the apartment one more time and then nods. “I don’t know the numbers of any of her friends,” he admits, even if he does know one. Lucille. But he knew she was busy cause she had texted him before she left town on a Wolfhound thing. She probably wasn’t back yet, and as for who else he could call…

“She worked for SESA right?” he asks after a moment, pulling out his phone and moving as if to step outside for better reception. “She might have had to leave quickly on a job, I’ll call and ask.” He looks at his phone and frowns, “No bars here. I’ll go for a walk. Why don’t you stay here and take care of the kitten?”

“Yeah… I guess she did..” Roxie grimaces at her own words,”does.” Fuck. She’d forgotten that Emily has worked for them. She’d have preferred Finch or those Lighthouse folks, even Joaquin, but pickers can’t be choosers. “Good a plan as any.”

There is a reluctant glance over her shoulder at Emily’s cat. As if in response, Goober rushes over to the book shelf holding the feisty feline with a growling woof. He stands up on short back legs, with a paw planted on one shelf for balance. The cat’s ears lay back and he gives a displeased hiss in return.

“Yeah… I’ll feed it and wait for these people.” Normally, Roxie would be against waiting for law enforcement, but this felt important and even if she wouldn’t admit it…Roxie was worried. Fingers flick towards the door, shooing Rory away. “Go for your walk.”

It’s not the best situation. Roxie is left alone in the building with the cat and her dog, and alone for almost thirty minutes before a car pulls up and someone jumps out of the driver’s seat. It’s not the young man that she had been talking to earlier.


Corbin is a suit even if he’s a rumpled suit. Thankfully, he had not been at Fort Jay when he’d gotten the call, or he would have taken a lot longer than thirty minutes to get here. After the last few weeks, things had been tense at the office, and they still were. A lot of people were busy— some of those he worked with were up in Rochester on a special assignment. He had not been given that case, though.

He was doing research, trying to manage the case he had hoped to close soon.

He hurries up to the apartment, stepping up to the door with a concerned expression. “Is— I received a call about Emily Epstein?” He hadn’t spoken to the source himself, just spoken to the one relaying it, but he still sounded very concerned— especially since… “We tried calling her phone. It’s turned off. She was going to be tapped for an assignment up in Rochester, but she didn’t answer.”

They had just assumed she had been busy, it had been a sudden assignment, after all.

“Oh good the popo is finally here,” Roxie comments blandly from her spot on the couch, legs folded in front of her. Goober had long since given up baking at the cat and was curled up at the base of the bookshelf that Emily’s cat now occupied. “About fucking time.”

Still, what Corbin says, gets a frown of concern. Emily has been off grid. “I came here to talk to her about… something.” The young woman angles a look over her shoulder to the cat perched on the top shelf of the book shelf, a small dish sitting next to it. “Door was open and that thing was yowling like a fucking banshee cause it didn’t have any food or water.”

Roxie finally unfolds herself from the couch. “Name's Roxie Lopez.” She doesn’t know if he’ll know her name, not that she was overly concerned about it. “She lets me crash on her couch now and then when it gets super cold.” She doesn’t exactly look at him when she says that, her state of dress gives away her status.

“That sounds like something she’d do,” Corbin responds quietly to himself, about the offer of a place to sleep to someone who needed it when it got cold— which frankly was often during this season. He looked around the room quietly, trying to find some signs of a break in, anything that would give him a clue why she wasn’t in the house and why the kitten hadn’t been fed. From the mention of it being a little monster Corbin can’t help but frown a little and nod, making a mental note to make sure that the cat gets taken care of, because he knows how little monsters can be.

He has one at home.

“Thank you for contacting us. We’ll see if we can find her, hopefully she just went somewhere and forgot her phone charger or doesn’t have cell service.” That happened a lot, especially with kids her age. He didn’t want to jump to any conclusions. “Do you happen to have a spare key? If she was letting you stay I don’t see any reason you couldn’t continue to stay here, and contact us if she comes back home.”

If the girl had been a thief, she wouldn’t have sat around and waited for the Popo to pull up and then give her name.

Roxie only shakes her head at the question, she didn’t have a key. “I don’t make a habit of carrying around keys to places that are not mine.” There is a shrug that goes along with that. “The door was unlocked, something told me to check it when she didn’t answer.”

The more Roxie talks the more something seems to bother her, finally she sighs and rubs a frustrated hand on the side of her face. “Think this was Pure Earth? Like did she get kidnapped?” Because of me, she doesn’t say. She doesn’t know if Corbin knows about her case, but… paranoia had been settling in ever since her chat with the cops.

“I’d expect a little more of a mess if it had been a kidnapping,” Corbin admits, looking around the room with a glance. “Emily may not be the most combat proficient, but she’s definitely scrappy enough she would have put up a heck of a fight if someone had tried to take her against her will.” So he’s ruling out kidnapped from the home at least but that didn’t mean she didn’t get taken by someone she knew, or something else had happened. It was possible it was all just a big misunderstanding and she was going to wander back and they would all laugh about it later.

That’s what he was hoping for. He hoped he was worrying too much.

But it hadn’t been like her not to answer the phone. And it didn’t sound like her to leave the door unlocked, and a kitten unfed.

“Why did you think of Pure Earth specifically?” he asks after a second, noticing that she had gone with that suspect instead of just leaving it open-ended. “Did they make a threat toward her recently?”

At the question, Roxie’s head slowly shakes, “No.” At first she thinks about not telling him, since clearly he doesn’t deal with her case. She might even feel like an idiot for thinking all agencies talk to each other. However… there were more important things. Like Emily’s safety. “Because, of me,” she admits a bit nervously, quieter than she planned. “Because she’s my…” friend? Was that the right word? Her mind kinda freezes up for a moment.

“Because she knows me and gives me occasional shelter.” is what she finally settles on. “My family was Humanis First and now, from what some cop lady told me, my brother is Pure Earth.”

The dog near the bookcase, looks up from his slumber, sensing her mood. Floppy ears flick forward towards Corbin, before he gets up and moves to join his human on the couch. He noses at a nervously twitching hand, forcing her to pet him. Focusing on the dog helps her relax some. “I am pretty sure I have a price on my head. Taking her… it would be a way to get to me.” Roxie looks up with worry creasing her brow. It sounded weird saying it out loud, but it was where her mind was.

“This is what happens when I stop running,” Roxie says, clearly blaming herself for whatever happens. “I like it here, but… I don’t want people hurt.” Goober gives a soft whine and shifts even closer.

“I see.” Corbin says after he listens carefully to what the young woman has to say, looking around the living room again for a moment. “This doesn’t look like something along those lines. They would have left a message of some kind if they were trying to use her against you.” He points out, noting that there was no indication of who had done this, or what had happened. It would have been more straightforward if it had been a message with a target. “It’s not your fault.” He’s pretty sure he can say that, based on the limited information given. But he still couldn’t help but be concerned about this particular case.

Was it a SESA case? One the NYPD was covering? He might have to look into it. It’s one of those cases that could cross jurisdictions, considering the involved personas.

“Wait here a moment,” he says, before he steps back outside and goes to his car. He’s gone for a minute or two, and when he returns he hands her an envelope. “Inside is a prepaid phone. I keep these for informants. It’s paid for a year, has a good data package and texting as well. My name’s Corbin Ayers, I’m an Agent with SESA. My numbers are already set up in the address book. I want you to contact me if Emily comes home, or if you hear from her, or from anyone who has heard from her. Or if anything suspicious happens at all, really. Do you think you can do that?”

“I guess you’re right.” There is some relief at Corbin’s assessment, but that knot of worry just won’t ease. Because, if not that, then what. Her mind is stuck on that when Corbin ducks out. “Wha—?” Both girl and dog watch the door cautiously until he returns.

Roxie is already bristling when she sees the envelope, ready to deny the seeming gift. However, she deflates quickly when he explains what it’s for. “Oh,” she says in surprise, reaching for the envelope.

While she does that, Goober takes it upon himself to hop down off the couch and starts to snuffle around Corbin’s legs and feet. There is quickly a sneeze and the dog shakes himself. I smell evil ones and…snacks. Roxie can’t help but smile a bit at the memory of a donut they had split. Is nice so okay. That is all she needed to hear.

Anything suspicious?” Roxie asks while peeking into the envelope curiously. “That other cop didn’t give me a number… or a phone…” she’s amused by that development, “after asking me about my involvement in a murder…” She looks up quickly with a wide-eyed look. “It wasn’t me, of course,” she assures even though sitting there should be enough assurance. “But yeah, I’ll call you for sure if I hear anything.” She needed to tell Joaquin to start with, see if Emily was with him.

“Not everyone carries phones in their car,” Corbin says with a laugh, not disparaging on whomever the officer might have been. He kept them for multiple reasons, but mostly for the possibility of contacts and sources. He had used to do that back in his time as a reporter, cause one never knew when they would need to give someone a phone to contact them with! “Anything at all. Even murders you’re not involved in. If it involves Expressives I can at least get involved somehow. But definitely iif Emily shows up.”

Cause he’s definitely concerned.

But holding out hope it’s just a college girl being a college girl and forgetting to lock her door and feed her kitten and—

Charge her phone and a bunch of other things that seemed like too much of a coincidence.

“You take care of each other,” he actually says to the dog with a grin, before he glances at his phone. “I’m going to go see if I can track down Emily. But do call me if you hear anything, okay?”

There is a dumbfounded nod from the girl. Roxie didn’t know how to react at all this. “Uh… Thanks.” As Corbin leaves on his mission, she looks at the dog who hops up on the couch with her, sniffing at the bag. “We need to tell Joaquin,” she says to the dog… “ But I'll tell you what…”

“This Safe Zone isn’t like the others… I… kinda like it here.”

Goober looks up at the idea of home being shared by the woman giving a sharp and happy bark. Stay?!

Reaching up, Roxie ruffles the fluffy hair on the crown of his skull. “Looking like it.”

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