WHO: Hugh C., Dante Z., Leena B., Zee L., Rafe J., and Dietre A. WHEN: After this and this. WHERE: Hugh's house, Lakeside. SUMMARY: Summary Narrative of chat discussion of finding Audrey's phone (and a few unrelated to Audrey surprises) written from Hugh's PoV. WARNINGS: I don't think there is anything? Maybe language, cause Hugh.
By the time Hugh had texted Dante and Dietre, he was mentally and physically worn out. Worries about whether or not the police would think he'd done something to Audrey had faded into worries about whether or not they were taking it seriously at all, and when it felt as if they maybe weren't, he'd figured that Dante might have ideas. Of course, he hadn't been expecting her to have as many ideas as she had actually thrown at him, and by the time that he opened the door to Dante, and Leena -- which? Had he known she was bringing Leena? Had she mentioned that and he'd just skipped over it (not impossible)? -- his mind was sort of spinning. Dietre had filled in some information about ghosts, which had once been comforting because his house was probably not haunted, but then also discomfiting because if angels and demons were real things and Dietre thought it sounded demonic? Which, then Dante had also mentioned demons, and that fell into the category of supernatural that Hugh definitely didn't want to deal with or like the idea of.
To be fair, he didn't like any of the ideas that had came to mind and he could also come up with some pretty terrible ones that didn't have anything to do with ghosts, or demons, or anything supernatural and all he really wanted to do was to find Audrey safely, the sooner the better, because he was well aware that the longer she was gone the less likely it was that they found her.
When he opened the door to Dante and Leena, his appearance definitely bespoke his lack of sleep with his usually meticulously gelled curls ruffled from a painfully short nap on the sofa, his shirt sleeves rolled up, and his shirt rumpled. But it was possible he still looked better than Dante who looked frankly exhausted with dark circles under her eyes. But she had a computer bag over her shoulder, and threw introductions between him and Leena and Zee, before she started peppering him with additional questions, while Leena kept close by. He let her put the computer in the study before he showed her where Audrey had slept upstairs. The room had been gone through by Audrey's cousin, Casey, earlier, so Hugh didn't think there was a lot of information there that was useful, but he let them look before he led the way back to the study, grabbing the half empty glass of bourbon from earlier in the day as he did so.
Since Dante had emphasized private, he'd already lowered the blinds on the windows in the otherwise incredibly open room. With a touch on his arm, Zee murmured she'd be on the patio if they needed her. Hugh moved the film contracts off his desk so that Dante had room to set up her laptop and several other small devices on Hugh's desk, and as she did so Leena wandered out of the door in a similar direction - nearby, or maybe even guarding the door, it was hard for Hugh to tell.
The thing was, Hugh knew Dante was really good with tech. He'd known that for a while. But he'd more thought about it being mechanical - like with cars - than like, Sneakers or something, but the laptop and the small devices, and the way she took to them, definitely reminded him of the film his older brother had watched sort of obsessively one summer. Hugh lit a cigarette and wandered towards the door while he watched her. It was the sort of thing he'd never been good at. The sort of thing his dad, Isaac, would have loved if he'd taken an interest in. And it wasn't that Hugh couldn't see the value of it, and maybe it had been partially rebellion, and partially just disinterest, but he'd completely ignored most things tech related without 'social' in front of them for most of his life, but right now - having someone who might be able to figure out where Audrey's phone was, and maybe to find Audrey herself - was way more useful than someone who could roll off multiple Shakespeare sonnets from memory.
"Hugh, remember how I told you not to get weird?" He glanced up towards Dante,, tilting his head as she finished. "Don't get weird."
Hugh opened his mouth to say something, because frankly he'd had enough surprises this week that he didn't really think anything else could startle him. It was Repose, after all, and maybe he'd long ago realized on some level that things around here weren't normal, but at the same time all of that had been reinforced in strange ways this week. But he didn't actually say that, because as he looked at Dante he stopped. Her eyes were dark, but glowing - with what appeared to be backwards data-strings running across the pupils, and Hugh stared, closing his mouth and reaching for the final bit of his drink.
He didn't know what he was looking at. An AI like Hannah? He wasn't certain it mattered, exactly. Dante, was still Dante, obviously, but at the same time - what the actual fuck universe?
"She's not with her phone," Dante told him, her eyes not changing. "It's by the road - have Rafe go get the phone, I want it."
Which, alright, it was something to do, and Hugh toed his cigarette out on the edge of the patio, before he headed for his phone to text Rafe to see if he was free to grab it. And while he was at it -- to refill his drink before he rejoined Dante.
Dante's eyes should have been something he got used to after several hours, but even when Dante finished- incredibly tired - Hugh still wasn't. He also wasn't going to ask about it. Dante had said not to get weird, and did he have questions? He did. Hugh had so many questions, but this was hardly the only thing he had questions about, if he were honest, and it wasn't the time or the place and it had little to nothing to do with finding Audrey. Dante looked so tired, maybe worse than he felt, and when she went to get up she stumbled, and Hugh went to move forward to help her, but Leena was there first to help her gather things up, which was good cause the doorbell indicated probably Rafe had arrived with the phone.
The five of them regathered in Hugh's large living room, and Hugh offered a beverage of choice to pretty much everyone considering how tired he was and how tired Dante looked, as she went through what she'd found. She'd traced out the location of all of Audrey's personal electronics- everything that wasn't the phone was located in her room and Audrey wasn't with any of them. She'd tried to trace through any cameras or other digital objects that were available, but she hadn't located her. Rafe noted that he'd found it on the side of the road- cracked, but not crushed. Scent-wise he was certain she dropped it on the way back to her house. Dante suggested: "The phone being not with her- seems possibly intentionally misleading?"
"Casey wanted to look through the phone," Hugh glanced over at the phone that Rafe still had a hold of.
Leena's face formed a scowl. "Another dude."
"She's her cousin," Hugh glanced towards her, the scowl sliding off her features at the assurance, before glancing back to Dante. "I don't know if we can - get her access to it?"
Dante nodded, taking out her laptop again and working for a few moments before she sent Hugh a link to a shared drive.
Hugh took out his phone and messaged Casey a link, following that message by one to Dietre: Just come over now?. Sliding his phone back into his pocket he looked between the people in the room.
"So this isn't like a normal thing, whatever it is?"
"Normal thing?" Dante asked.
Rafe: "Define Normal"
And Leena, dry and wry: "None of this is normal. Welcome to Repose."
And Hugh sighed, for fuck's sake, don't make him explain normal,but the easiest, really was to just say: "This is closer to an episode of X-Files than an episode of Law and Order?"
Leena's comment was aside enough, Hugh just ignored it: "You're so new."
Dante closed her laptop: "We don't know but probably."
Hugh watched her put her supplies away for a second time. It didn't really help, other than to confirm that he wasn't crazy for thinking ghosts, or demons, or something along those lines. Unfortunately it also didn't help him know where to start at all. Everything he knew about those things, he knew from watching television or films. And horror frankly never had been his preferred genre, so a lot of it was simply absorbed cultural knowledge - and who knew how true any of that was.
"You should maybe go back to Audrey's room," Dante suggested. "And there's a cabin, and maybe the woods. Just… to be sure."
"I can look at the woods," Rafe volunteered.
Hugh glanced over at him, uncertain. Woods were not his thing, and if he were being honest, he'd mostly tried to avoid the ones around the house. The rumors of what might be in them had been enough to keep him close to his own house, but Rafe didn't even know Audrey well, so: "I can go with you?"
It was Zee that shut this down when she pointed out that he had not slept for hours and he needed to, and Rafe said he'd be fine on his own. And Zee wasn't wrong, so Hugh agreed.
And Hugh might be really worried about Audrey, but that didn't mean he didn't notice the way Leena moved to support Dante. And it didn't mean that he wasn't really aware of the fact that Dante looked exhausted, and he noted mentally to check in with her as soon as he'd had some sleep, or maybe Leena too, just to be sure that she was alright. Leena kissed Dante's temple, and Dante handed over her keys, and Hugh's gaze flickered back over to Dante - he'd never seen her let someone else drive her car. And Leena said a goodbye to Zee, which was returned, before she gave a sort of grunt towards Hugh, even as he moved to walk the two of them to the door.
As they reached it, with Zee and Rafe still in the living room, Dante paused and looked at him, her voice quiet and uncomfortable. "I could - technically check Audrey's forum activity."
"No," Leena inserted, fast and sure. It was too much of an invasion, even with her missing.
And Hugh frowned. He wanted to find Audrey. He wanted her to be safe. But the phone felt bad enough, in a way it already felt like going over a line, but he was going to let Casey look at it, and it might have data that could give them information about if Audrey had been somewhere unusual - something that might give away something that caused that. Leena's no, and Dante's discomfort felt echoed in his own dislike of it. His own life had been way too public for him to really feel comfortable looking through someone else's.None of them were cops, and even if it didn't feel like the cops were going to do anything… "Let's look through what we have," he said instead. The forums felt like a last resort.
"There's a cabin," Dante added. "I'll send you and Rafe the info."
Dietre's arrival, shortly after, allowed Hugh a moment to stop thinking about mysteries, and when the other man and his dog arrived as Dante and Leena were leaving, Hugh immediately gave him a hug. Whatever hesitation he might have felt previous times he and Dietre had spent time together had been washed away by bourbon, exhaustion, and honestly the fact that Dietre had promised him one. It was its own level of comfort, and Hugh didn't immediately pull away before he led him back to introduce him to Rafe, and Rafe to Dietre before Rafe left to check the woods.
He could tell from the look that Zee wasn't going to give up on him laying down, and truthfully, Hugh knew she wasn't wrong, so he suggested they go to his room, and he took a quick shower, his first in longer than he liked to go between, He didn't much more than wash off and wash his hair, but he knew when he came out in simple black jazz pants, with his hair still wet, that at least he wouldn't smell when he curled up next to Dietre.
Zee knew him well enough to know that he hadn't really stopped since this had started. Not really. The sleep he had managed had been fitful for the most part, but it was difficult for him to not stop when he had his head on Dietre's chest, and the other man's heartbeat was there warm and steady, and Dietre's fingers were in his curls, and despite himself, even as he was trying to figure out what else he could ask Dietre about ghosts, or angels, or demons or any of the other things Dietre had mentioned, Hugh drifted off.
And it was probably a few hours later when he did wake up and pulled on a simple charcoal t-shirt, before he went down to make coffee for him and Dietre and it wasn't long after that Rafe returned looking definitely more ruffled than he had when he'd left.
Rafe hadn't found anything in the woods and Hugh offered a sandwich as he sliced cheese off of a block of sharp cheddar to munch on himself, and after a few moments he decided to ask, albeit maybe not entirely directly since Dietre hadn't been on the text where Rafe had mentioned the scent dropping off in the room.
"Right now it seems to me that Audrey went to bed with the rest of us here. Sometime between - IDK, midnight to three AM she left this house and went home. It seems likely because of the possibility that something not entirely human off my alarm around three, that those two things are related. She went back to her and Hannah's house, Hannah did say that bad houses could call you back, so whatever it was- wanted Audrey specifically. And when she got there - she went to her room, and wherever she went - it was from there."
Dietre looked confused, which was fair - Hugh realized he would need to fill him in on some of these things later. Maybe not the full dose, considering Dante's abilities and whatever it was that meant Rafe could smell where Audrey had been. He looked over at Rafe then he had said before the scent did a dead-end. Which if she hadn't left the room, didn't leave many options. "Teleportation. Portal?" Dante had mentioned those. "Dante said we should check her room. I guess… maybe we do that next."
Dead end seemed like really the only appropriate word to use in the moment.
Hugh was pretty certain they knew what had happened in so far as Audrey's movements the night of, but as he re-entered his house later in the evening he didn't have any clearer picture of what had happened in the room.
Something had obviously taken Audrey, created a great deal of destruction in the room, presumably without injuring her - due to the complete lack of blood anywhere in the house, and they hadn't left her room so it seemed likely that teleportation or some sort of portal - Dante's guess - made sense. On the other hand, he had no idea what to look for. And short of binge watching every horror film he knew of or all thirty-two seasons of Supernatural and hope that one of them triggered something from what they'd seen, he didn't know what else to do.
Maybe Casey would find something on her phone. Maybe he should consider the forum posts? He chewed the inside of his lip as Heart bounded up to them with a greeting, Sieglinde not far behind. But it didn't seem likely that there would be anything on there that wouldn't be on the phone, and Hugh wasn't convinced there'd be something anyway. So. No. Not yet. He wasn't convinced that they would provide any further roadmap, and it felt like an invasion he didn't want to be involved in. As far as he could tell they'd hit a wall, and there wasn't any clear next step.
"I'm gonna text Dante," he told Dietre, reaching for the other man's hand and giving it a quick squeeze. "I should give her an update, and maybe Hannah too, and then I'll be up."