Until the night he learned of his son’s disappearance Bill and Gabrielle’s relationship had reminded him greatly of a 1970’s romantic comedy. For over a year the attraction had seemed mutual and he frequently thought that if she was one tenth as enamoured with him as he was with her then she was head-over-heels in love. Still, as they metaphorically danced arm in arm there was a visible gap between them. That distance evaporated when his son did.
At first Bill had taken the communication cut-off with his son stoically. He had not trusted his ability to mind his tongue when speaking with Sean and they had used e-mail to keep abreast of one another. Weekly updates arrived from Turkey chronicling his where about and doings with more emphasis on the former than the latter.
Sean repeatedly assured his father that Turkey was both progressive and western but as the months of separation continued Sean’s words became more about geographical oddities and cultural differences than they were about his work with Syrian refugees. This shift in the reports’ theme was noted by Bill but he chose not to remark on it.
Late in September of 2014 he had called his administrative assistant into his office and said, “Jenny, I’ve hired some private detectives to look in on Sean while he’s in Turkey. They have my private number.
“I know you’re friends with my son and I don’t want to betray that but I need you to do two things for me. One is to keep this P.I. thing to yourself and the other is to share with me anything you think I should know. I know that places you in a difficult position but I feel like Sean may be in over his head.
“So, how about it? Anything urgent that I should know about?”
Jenny had agreed to keep the private detectives to herself but had at first been close-lipped about what Sean had shared with her. This changed after Bill began receiving reports about Sean’s activities outside of Turkey.