The Rules of the Game

Chapter 8

The Missing

The local newscaster appeared on the screen Nick was blankly staring at. She was middle-aged, had a bright white smile and a pleasant disposition. She was talking about a traffic accident warning people of the back-up they would face at a certain intersection. It didn't matter, it was all a blur to him. But then she caught his attention.

"Earlier today the Tennessee Titans head coach Jeff Fisher released a statement at a press conference stating that starting Quarterback Nick Walker will not be playing anytime soon. Even though Nick Walker is under contract with the Tennessee Titans they are letting him out temporarily for "personal matters." For some this may not come as a complete surprise considering Walker's second half disappearance at last week's game. Whether you are shocked or just plainly baffled, everyone is wondering what these personal matters are and when Nick Walker is coming back."

Nick clinched the remote control and switched to Sports Center and was greeted by Howie Long.

"Well if you've heard that Nick Walker is on an undefined personal leave from the Tennessee Titans you aren't dreaming. It is true folks. Nick Walker will not be playing Sunday."

Terry Bradshaw cut in, "The truth is, no one really knows what is going on with Nick Walker. This is not the Nick Walker we have come to know and love over the past few years. Nick hasn't missed a game period since he started his career with the Titans. What I mean by that is even when he's been injured he is still with the team on game day sitting on the sidelines no matter where they are playing. Nick is the backbone of this team and it will be interesting to see if and how the Titans survive without him."

Howie started again, "That's what I was trying to get at. This personal leave isn't characteristic of Nick Walker at all. Nick wouldn't take a week off for Pneumonia and here it is Nick is taking time off and nobody knows when he will be coming back. For all we know he might not come back until next season. But the thing we have to remember is this Jeff Fisher, the rest of the team, everyone involved with the Titans, from the trainers all the way to executives are behind him on whatever it is and support his decision."

It was James Brown's turn next, "I think that whatever he's taking off for must be huge and you have to stand by him on it because for him to take off it must be big. No one even has a guess as to what is going on with Nick Walker and everyone affiliated with the Titans are keeping close mouthed, so this is very confusing for Titans fans as well as the whole league."

Nick couldn't handle anymore people debating over his choice to temporarily leave the Titans, so he turned the TV off. He leaned back in the couch and moments later he was fast asleep.

It was 2:47 a.m. when a very pregnant Whitney jumped out of Nick's arms. She scrunched her face, "I think maybe we should go to the hospital now."

"Are you sure?" He asked her. All Whitney could do was nod. Her contractions were increasing by the minute. Nick looked around and grabbed the bag that had already been prepared for this very moment. Bag in hand he helped Whitney out to their car. Nick stuck the bag in the backseat, started the car, and speed out of the driveway. They made it to the hospital in record time. Nick drove behind the hospital to the ER and was greeted by EMT's coming out of the sliding doors. Nick parked at an awkward angle and hopped out of the car. He caught the attention of the EMT's as he raced to the passenger door.

"Help, my wife's in labor!" Then as if out of nowhere a wheelchair appeared and ushered Whitney inside. Nick followed close behind.

Shortly after arriving at the hospital Whitney was admitted to a private room and her doctor was notified and was going to be there soon. While Whitney was breathing heavily and trying to get over her contractions, Nick was anxious and breathing just as hard if not harder. He was so nervous. He wanted to be a good father but was so scared he would be the worst. He didn't know anything about raising a child. Nick finally gave up on feeding into his fears and started focusing on Whitney, who he noticed was having a particularly rough time. A nurse came in and informed them that she was not quite ready to start pushing. Seeing the pain Whitney was in she suggested that they go ahead and give her an epidural because they couldn't give her one once she started the actual labor. Whitney quickly agreed and the nurse ran off to get the supplies she would need.

Four hours later, Whitney was screaming obscenities at Nick. His mom had warned him about this and he was already expecting it. He would've found it rather humorous if Whitney hadn't been squeezing the life out of his hand. She was rather close now and Nick's mom, dad, and brother along with Whitney's mom, uncle, cousin, her two best friends, and a group from the Titans were all in the waiting room making bets on whether it was going to be a girl or a boy. After only a few short pushes, Nick and Whitney learned they had a daughter. A nurse handed Whitney a pink bundle.

"She's gorgeous." She said.

"She looks like you." Nick said softly.

"Here," Whitney passed the little girl over to her husband. Nick took her and looked over at Whitney.

"We never came up with a name."

"Marisa…Allison." Whitney decided.

"Sounds good to me."

Phones were ringing all over the place at Private Eye Investigations. Mike Slate was sitting in his office looking over the file his criminal profiler had sent over. It was filled with information about what type of person they were dealing with and suggestions on how to go about handling it. Mike finally felt like he was accomplishing something. He was getting a concrete idea on what he was dealing with which gave him places to go, leads to follow. One thing was for sure, he did not want to let Nick down. This poor guy was going through enough without having another guy fail at finding his wife and daughter. Slate looked over the list again.

Wants Attention

Wants Revenge

Is Aggressive, Possibly Violent When Provoked

Deeply Rooted Anger

Someone Connected To The Family

Obsessive

Obviously there was more to it but those were the words the jutted out at him. Those were powerful words by themselves but put together they were lethal. This was definitely going to be very difficult but Slate got the feeling that he and his team were heading in the right direction. Someone Connected To The Family kept hitting Slate, it kept flashing in his mind over and over again. There was something significant about it.

"So Sparks, what's going on with the Walker case?"

"I don't know. I processed all the evidence, no fingerprints, hair strands, or blood stains, nothing. It's cliché but it seemed Whitney and Marisa disappeared without a trace. And plus, Nick isn't going to be communicating with me anytime soon. He feels it's my fault for Whitney disappearing. This is just one tough case all the way around."

Sparks looks at his supervisor from across his cluttered desk, "So Sparks, how are you going to find the Walkers when you lost contact with the Nick Walker?"

"I don't know."

"Well that's one hell of a problem you've got there."

"Yeah, tell me about it."

"I could always have you reassigned."

"NO, I mean that would be like giving up and everyone in the department will look down on me and I'll never gain respect."

"Alright, well you're going to have to figure something out because time is not on our side."

Nick woke up, he wasn't surprised when he didn't feel any better. With nothing better to do but sit on his couch and worry, he turned on the TV yet again. He watched the rest off Judge Judy and went to the kitchen as the credits started rolling. After grabbing a bottled water he returned to his spot on the couch and watched as the news came on again.

"Good after noon everyone, we join you tonight with a breaking story. We just got word in a few minutes ago that Oscar winning actress Whitney Walker and her daughter with professional football player Nick Walker are missing."

A/N: I do not own the Tennessee Titans or anyone affiliated with them.