Chapter Seventy Three: Wonderwall



“Can I look nooooooow?” Laurel asked, her voice going up at the end in a type of sing song voice. She bit her lower lip, pinching her eyes shut tighter in excitement.

I chuckled, pulling out a key into my hand. Despite myself, a huge grin spread itself across my face, “Not yet!”

Today is gonna be the day that they’re gonna throw it back to you.


Laurel let out a huff of breath, her face falling for a second. A devious but angelic grin was woven into her lips, “How about now?”

“Just one second,” I replied, dragging out the last word.


I settled her on the porch, turning her in the direction to where she could have a perfect view. “Okay,” I said, “Now. Now you can look!”

She opened her eyes, which cringed from the shock of lights. But once they opened, and she took in the view, they widened, to where she look like a deer caught in head lights. She tried to speak, but no words came out of her mouth. She turned me, grinning, her hands rushing towards her mouth to hold back her excitement. “Is this – is this what I think it is!?” she shrieked.

I smiled, wrapping my arms around her waist, pulling her closer to me. I kissed her nose, ignoring how I had to bend slightly to reach her face over the baby between us. “Well, what do you think it is?” I laughed.


She licked her lips, staring up at the house, her eyes trying to choose what and who to look at – my face or the house before us. “A home?”


I leaned in and gave her a kiss on the lips, “Yes. A home for my – our – family.”

“It’s a bit big though, isn’t it?” she asked, a bit skeptically.

By now, you should’ve somehow realized what you gotta do.


I shrugged, tucking my head into the edge of her face and shoulder, “Well… I don’t know if you know this, but I want quite a large family…”

Her eyebrow raised, “Is that so?”

“Ah, it is, milady!”

“Well,” she breathed, “I suppose it’s a good thing we got a jump start, ay?”

I don’t believe that anybody feels the way I do, about you now.

~~~~~~~~~~


I put my hands on my Laurel’s belly, cradling the bump that was the main sign of the life that I helped to create. I glanced up at Laurel, my eyes quickly falling back to the child. “Any names you like, yet?”

Laurel shrugged, “I don’t know. I haven’t really thought of any.”


“You haven’t?” I asked, raising an eyebrow in disbelief. I thought she would have list upon list of names.

She laughed, throwing her head back as her stomach jutted forward, “Nope. Why, was I supposed to?”

I shrugged, “I dunno. I just thought you would have. You never seemed to like my suggestions…”


“You’ve never suggested anything,” she interrupted, wrinkling that delicate nose of hers.

“I have to.”


Her lips puckered to the side, “Well. I don’t remember you telling me these baby names.”


“Of course you do,” I grinned. “Israel Junior or Laurel Junior. It’s perfect, isn’t it?”

She groaned, rolling her eyes playfully, “Please tell me you’re joking.”


I chuckled, kissing her nose, “Of course, love.”

Her eyes slid up to my face, narrowing in a sly way, “You know, Israel, you still haven’t swept me away to marry you.”

“Well, I can’t marry you until we’re engaged, can I?”


Her face fell in what I had come to understand to be hurt and confusion all in one, “Do you not want to marry me?”

Back beat, the word was on the street that the fire in your heart is out.


“I want to marry you more than anything in the world…”


At that moment, a cat with orange and green patterns across it came waltzing out from along the bushes, stopping at Laurel’s feet to let out a purr. A dog quickly came bounding after it, not in a chasing manner, but in a way that said it wanted to play. It glanced up at me, letting out a bark, it’s tail wagging back and forth.

Laurel knelt down to pet the cat, “Israel, do you think they’re strays?”

I grinned, “They’ve got collars. Why don’t you check those?”


Laurel grabbed the tag on the cat. She smiled, scratching his head, “His name is Beast.”

“What does the other side say?”

Her face pinched, “It says ‘will you’.”


“What about the dog?”

“…Spindle?”

“Other side, again,” I laughed.

“How did you,” she began.

I cut her off, “Just do it.”


She looked at me warily, then flipped the bone shaped tag over in her hands as the dog licked her face. “Marry,” she breathed. She glanced up at me, her face frozen in shock.


I grinned, sliding down onto one knee, “Now, love, put all the words together…”


“Will you marry – ”


“Us?” I finished for her, pulling out the ring that had been my mother’s.

I’m sure you’ve heard it all before, but, you never really had a doubt.


She let out a squeal, her hands cupping her cheeks in excitement, “Yes! Yes! A million times, yes!”


I slipped the ring onto her thin, green finger. She admired it for a moment, her eyes sparkling.


Then her body crushed into mine, “How did you train them…?”

I repositioned her, to where my lips were brushing against her’s as I spoke, “I believe I told you that magic takes time. Now, you know why.”

She buried her head in my neck, and my nose breathed in the scent of her perfume. She smelled like daises, which when mixed with the night air, was a very lovey combination. “I love you,” she whispered into my ear, causing the hair on my neck to stand up and goose bumps to appear up and down my back and arms.

I gave her a slight squeeze around the waist, “Then all is right with the world.”

I don’t believe that anybody feels the way I do, about you now.

~~~~~~~~~


Her green hair bounced as she took unsteady steps towards me, her interest in her snuggle bunny having been burnt out for the day. Her orange skin, which was identical to that of my siblings, inherited from my father, glowed softly with the overhead lights, her skin shining from the oils and lotions her mother insisted upon putting on her to keep her skin smooth. Her upturned nose was the button of her adorable face, her freckles like sprinkles on a cake, and her smile showed off her round face, complete with full cheeks and adorable dimples. Her legs shook, still not used to be used to hold up body weight, and her hands reached out to grab onto something, but came about a foot short from touching the nearest chair. She fell forward as gracefully as a toddler could manage, and rolled back up, rebounding in the way only a child could.

Because maybe, you’re gonna be the one that saves me.


Spindle, who noticed this tumble, wondered off his bed from the corner to sniff her and make sure she was alright. Fluorine giggled and tugged at his ears, pressing her nose against his snout, giving him one of her ‘penguin smooches’, as she called it. Beast, however, never left his spot on the couch. He glanced at her then firmly turned away – he was never one up to getting it tail tugged.


“Daddy!” Fluorine giggled, her light grey eyes sparkling. She was without a doubt a gift from some super power – I’m not religious, but my daughter, she made me wish I had a stronger faith. She beat the odds to live, and somehow, became one of the few lights in mine. “Up, up!’ she commanded, her little hands reaching towards the ceiling.

And after all, you’re my wonderwall.


I laughed along with her, that little girl had a way of making every worry melt away with something as simple as a smile. I tightened my hands around her torso, the soft fabric of her jumper bunching between my fingers. Her feet dangled in the air as she soared over my head. “Vroom, vroom!” I shouted, running around the living room.


Parsley raised an eyebrow at me, “Just how old are we, exactly, Israel?”


I stopped running, and balanced Fluorine on my hip, whose face was still filled with utter bliss. “Ducky,” I said, calling her my her nickname that I bestowed upon her at birth. “Tell Uncle Parsley that you’re never too old for a thing called fun.”


Fluorine turned towards the couch, the place her uncle usually sat when he came to visit the two of us – Laurel still had a hard time being around him, and she didn’t want to risk having an outburst around her daughter, so she founds errands to run when he came over. “Unca Par,” she said in her baby talk way of speaking, “your neva too old for fun!”

~~~~~~~~~


I hadn’t expected him to still be here. Most of the time, he was gone within an hour or so, only sometimes staying for two. But this time, I was gone for three, almost on the verge of four, hours and when I stuck my key into the door, with a pizza in hand, I had expected to see the two loves of my life, my husband and daughter, sleeping on the couch after a long day of daddy-daughter bonding.


I was not, however, expecting to see my daughter holding onto my brother, laughing.the way she did for her father.

The door closed silently behind me, but it was still noticed – what had I expected, though, I wasn’t sure. I mean, the two of them were cops, one of them was bound to notice the rush of cool air slip by their face.


“Hey, sis!” Parsley called out, setting Fluorine in Israel’s lap as he came to help me, even though it was unnecessary. I could manage a pizza box just fine myself.


“Hey, Parsley,” I said in reply, trying to thaw out my usually icy tone.

And all the roads that lead you there are winding, and all the lights that light the way are blinding.


He smiled, “What’s up?”

I shrugged, “Not much. Went to the spa today. It was very relaxing.”

“Sounds like it.”

“Anything interesting happen today in the field?” I asked, vainly trying to keep this small talk going. We walked into the kitchen, where I wiped my hands off on the towel. The grease of the pizza had somehow soaked through the box.


“Well, I caught two teen kids drinking and doing things in the car today… but I guess things could always be worse,” he added on, a sly grin slipping on his lips.

‘Yeah’, I thought to myself, having to bite my lower lip to keep my mouth shut, ‘like killing their mother?’


Israel came into the kitchen then, saving us from going to far into the awkward pit of silence, “Ducky wanted to come say hi to her mommy.”


Fluorine reached out her arms towards me, “I missed youuuuuu!” she sang out.

“I missed you too, love,” I replied, giving her a quick kiss on the cheek.


Parsley suddenly spoke up, shoving a piece of pizza in his mouth. “You know, guys, today, at the station, some of the new recruits were playing a game. And since only one is married with a kid on the way, one of the guys asked him ‘if you were in a boat accident with your wife and child, and you could only save one other person, who would it be? The wife or child?’ The guy was pretty much speechless. But it made me curious.”


Parsley paused and sat down, then his eyes shot up to the two of us. “Who would you save?”


I watched as Israel took a bite of pizza, and I turned to look at my daughter. I cracked a grin, “I love ya, Israel… but… you’d pretty much be dead weight.”

Israel smiled, not at all hurt by my words. He swallowed his pizza, “Yeah. Never been too strong of a swimmer.”

I raised an eyebrow, “But who would YOU save?”

There are many things that I would like to say to you, but I don’t know how.


He glanced up at me, “I’m surprised you’re asking. I thought it would be obvious.”

“Who?” Parsley asked, saving me from looking ignorant.

“I would save Ducky and Laurel, obviously.”


“But you can only save yourself and one other…” Parsley said slowly, as if the slower the words were, the more they’d be understood.


Israel licked the tips of his fingers, dropping the crust back into the box, “That’s just it. I wouldn’t want to save myself. I’d save my wife and my child, because I can’t survive with just one or the other. They’re both parts of my core.”

“So you’d die… for them?” Parsley clarified.

Israel looked at me, his eyes level, “A wise man once told me, that to protect your family is the greatest thing a man can ever do.”

I said maybe, you’re gonna be the one that saves me.


I felt a tear roll down my face. Even though Parsley probably hadn’t noticed my absence in his life, or if he had, the reason why I seemed so distant – at that moment, he was forgiven. Because I finally learned what it was to love a life more than your own. The exact reason my father had put everything on the line to protect his own son; the way Israel would die in an imaginary world where he, the worst swimmer, would save us both. Because, in a world where friends stab you in the back, where lies can easily be the truth, where the weekday never seems to end – a person has to have something to hold onto, a bond to keep you from falling apart. And that’s what a family was.

The people who you wouldn’t regret risking it all for.

And after all, you’re my wonderwall.

-Lyrics by Oasis; “Wonderwall”-

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Chapter Seventy Two: Unraveled


Fetus. Baby. Child.


And not just any child, but Laurel’s child. Which meant it was mine, too. I don’t know how it came to be, because we had always been careful – but I guess it was just part of that 1% that was always possible yet never really stood a chance. Not only that, but it avoided being lost, even when the odds were against it; even in the womb, it was a fighter, a little miracle by it’s own determination to come and spread it’s love into this world.


But my hands shook as reality set into place. I had no idea how to raise a child.

The one thing that my life had always lacked, was the one thing of which I was about to become.

A father.

I’m not going to lie. I’m terrified. What if I didn’t raise it properly? I don’t know how to be a parent or a dad or a father – or any of those titles that applies to this situation.


I pray for her. Every time the sun goes down, since the night is when I’m most uncertain – the darkness of the sky seems to darken my soul, too. I’m not religious, but I figure, it couldn’t hurt. I wanted her so badly to wake up. To heal. To move, just a shift of her fingers closing in on mine, in the hope that the small caress could wipe away the ball of guilt that had knotted up in my gut.


I took a deep breath, laying my hands on Laurel’s. She’s been out for two days now. I wish I could see her eyelids flutter, or hear words escape from her lips – anything, something, to reassure me that she would be okay. Most of all, though, I wanted her to tell me that everything would be alright; that we would all be alright.

~~~~~~~~~


I opened up my eyes, once again finding the comfort and solstice among the tree’s and flowers. The rarity of a smile graced my face, the sweet smells to good waste with a grimace. It would not do to tarnish such a beautiful place with sadness.


“Israel,” my father smiled, walking out.


“Hey, dad,” I replied, a grin forming along my face – it was impossible to not feel better; his face offered the comfort and familiarity that my weak mind and heart was craving.


Without a word, my father suddenly pulled me into his arms, “I understand you’re going to be a father, son.”

I shook my head, “Yes. It would appear so.”


“I would have liked to have met my grandchildren,” he sighed, remorse filling his voice. But he shook his head, “But that is besides the point. You’re going to be a great father, you know that?”


I smiled, although it was unconvincing. “I’m scared, Dad.”


“We all are, that first time,” he watched the trees glisten. “I know I was.”


I swallowed nervously, “How do you go about… being a dad?”


He shrugged, “It’s simple, really. The only thing you need to remember, above all things, is that you can not fail your child. Your child will be the best thing to ever happen to you. You must love it like there is no tomorrow, kiss the scratches when they fall, and hold them up when their own two feet don’t seem to do the trick.”


I listened to these words, wondering what I had missed out on from being a child with only a mother. She had raised me well – but is a father that crucial to a child’s development? Or is it simply the strong parental unit? “Dad?” I asked, looking him in the face, refusing to miss a single facial movement. “Should I tell her what I know?”


His eyebrows knitted together in understand; he knew I was speaking of Laurel. His lips puckered, “I would have to say no. The truth must be told from the source in which it is hidden.”

~~~~~~~~~


My mother found me at home, staring at a picture of her and a man who I’ve been taught to recognize as my father. It was an older photograph, one from when they were teenagers, attending prom, I think. They seemed so happy together; my mother’s eyes, which I often found filled with longing, were clear and happy while staring at him, as he leaned to give her a quick peck on the cheek. I let the air rush out of my lungs, and I glanced up at her, “Did Dad know he was going to die?”


She cleared her throat with a sniffle, pushing a strand piece of hair behind her hair, “He often thought he was breathing his last breaths. He lived every day as if it were his last.”


“Do you ever wish that the bad things hadn’t happened to him? That cancer wouldn’t have chosen him, or that if it had, that you hadn’t met him?” My voice sounded small, as if I had never grown into a man to begin with.


She sat down on a nearby seat, my questions causing her to pinch her eyes closed, “No. While my heart longs to be with him, I do think he was strong enough to survive despite the cancer. He didn’t let his sickness hold him back. And while my heart would not have suffered such damage, it surely would not have loved as much without him, either. Why?”


I swallowed the lump in my throat, sitting down next to her, “Because… he put the person he loved through such pain. He tore your world into pieces, yet you stood by him, because you loved him. And, well, momma…”


“Yes?” she asked, quietly, when I didn’t finish my sentence.


“I’m about to do the same to Laurel. Rip away her every strand of safety she has, in order for her to know the truth. Because the truth is the least of things she deserves, and it’s one thing I can offer her,” I muttered.


My mother closed her hand over mine, “The truth has never, nor will it ever be, easy to face, Israel.”

~~~~~~~~~~


I walked into his office. It was the only place I knew to look. Dad, being the dedicated worker he was, spent close to all of his time in these four walls. Sometimes, I wonder how the man ever got remarried to begin with – it never seemed like he had time to meet anyone.

He glanced up from his computer, “Laurel? What are you doing here? I told you to stay in bed…”


I shrugged, “Israel… he cam over this morning. Kept going on and on about how I deserve the truth. He said I needed to talk to you.”


“About?” he murmured, his shoulders pulling back into a tense line. He knew what was coming, and he was not happy.

I licked my lips, nervously, trying to prepare myself for his reaction, “Mom. He says that you… you know something.”

His fist slammed against the table, causing me to let out a shriek in surprise.

I hopelessly, helplessly, wonder why everything gotta change around me.


He said nothing, and my palms started to sweat, “Dad… what… what happened?”


His glare turned and fixated itself upon me, his eyes boring into mine. “I told him not to tell you. I told him not let you get hurt. Does the boy not listen to ANYTHING?”

I’d tell it to your face, but you lost your face along the way; and I’d say it on the phone, if I thought you were alone – why, do things have to change?


“Dad,” I accused, backing away slowly, “Do you know? All these years – have you known what happened?”


His face softened at my tone, which was full of betrayal and confusion. “Laurel, honey,” he said, his voice low. “I’ve only been trying to protect you…”


“Oh god,” I gasped, my legs growing weak. My thighs shook, my knee’s gave out, and I sank down where I was standing.

He grew defensive, “No, Laurel… It’s not how you think.”


“HOW IS IT NOT WHAT I THINK!?” I screamed, my throat closing. “All these years, you’ve known. You knew it was the one thing that I sought in life – to know the story. And all this time, you knew?” My head dropped, a tear falling down my cheek, “How have you been able to live with yourself?”


My father was still, unmoving, and he whispered, “I had to protect…”

“WHO!?” I shouted. “Mom? Mom’s DEAD, Dad…”


He cut my off mid sentence, “No, Laurel. My son. I had to protect my son.”

“What?” My voice was just has hollow as my mind. It felt as if all the words had been knocked out of me, as if the very wind stole my breath to move the tree’s.


“He…” My father shook his head, taking in a shaky breath, as if he too, were trying to stop sobs. “He went to the school dance that night, then somehow ended up at some after party – where he drank a bit too much. He came home, and his mother was there, scolding him… and he lost his – his temper. It was the alcohol that had him push her over the balcony. He came to me right after, crying, begging me to lock him up for eternity… but I couldn’t do that. Not to my son, who had so much potential in life.”

“But he KILLED her.”

My father shook his head, “But he had not meant to.”


“What difference does it make!?”

“Laurel,” my father’s hands shook. “Laurel, you know I wanted justice. But I couldn’t be myself to rip my family even farther apart. I had lost your mother, and you were broken from the inside out – I couldn’t lose my last child, too. I couldn’t.”


“Does… does Parsley know what he did?” I whispered, my mind shutting off to the truth of the situation. Somehow, knowing the beginning to the story made the ending all the worse.


My father shook his head, his hands clamped together, as if he himself had been trying to deny it, too. “No. The morning after your mother’s death, he came to me, crying, asking me why I let him off the hook. I told him that it was all just a dream gone wrong, that the alcohol mixed with the situation was playing mind tricks on him.”


“Which explains why he hasn’t ever touched another drink,” I murmured. It was true. Parsley, despite being one of the biggest party boys of his time, never touched a single beer since the night my mother… well, you know.


Dad sighed, “I know you’re… not happy with this. I know Parsley should’ve received punishment. That I shouldn’t have used my own authority and skill to cover up his mistakes, to hide him from the burden of the accident that broke so many lives. But in my heart, I knew it was what your mother would’ve wanted. While she did not wish to die that way – her number one rule, always…”

“Had been to protect the family,” I finished, a weak smile forming on my lips at the memory. My mother had always believed a family was a sacred thing, something to never break apart.

My dad ran his hand through his hair, “She would not have wanted her son to rot in jail.”


At this information went into my brain, I had to try hard to hold back my tears. But my refusal to cry made the confusion and sadness turn into resentment and anger, “How can you stand to look at him? To hug him and talk to him, as if he were innocent?”

You say you need no one.


My dad turned to me, Can you not?”

I shook my head no. Personally, I wanted my brother to know the truth – to the horror of his deeds.


My dad stood up and walked over to me, looking me in the eyes, his hand resting on the slight bulge of the baby inside me. His face was no longer wore the mask of calm, but instead, was replaced with years of heartache. “Then you, my child, do not yet know all the details, of what being a parent is.”

‘Cause it’s time that will tell, if it’s heaven, if it’s hell.

-Lyrics by Train; “Hopelessly”-

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Chapter Seventy One: The Ballad


Do you ever question the ways of the universe? Do you think things happen by mere chance, or does something along fate cause it all? Being a police officer, I wonder these things constantly. What made a bad person so horrid – what was their tipping point? I’m a firm believer in the fact that everyone is born innocent. Human life corrupts us. Lying and greed seem to be the root of it. But why that person? Why does one person become a serial killer, while the other, who just may be the mother of a newborn child, becomes the victim? I’ve sworn to protect life for the good of people; I’d lay down my own to protect those around me.


Not everyone would do that, of course. Some don’t see it the way I do. But what truly bother’s me is the fact that we’re presented with the choice to begin with. Saying you’d lay down your life to protect someone else is noble, and saying you wouldn’t shows cowardice – but how truly evil are we that it exists at all?
No one should die from the cruelty of someone else’s soul.
But that’s not how the world works.
And for all those I failed to protect, I try to ensure an ending to their story.

~~~~~~~~~~


She paints her fingers with a close precision.


He starts to notice empty bottles of gin.


And takes a moment to assess the sin she’s paid for…


A lonely speaker in a conversation.


Her words are swimming through his ears again.


There’s nothing wrong with just taste…


Of what, you paid for.

~~~~~~~~~~


You know that moment when you start to think you’ve finally got a grip on life? No? Well, maybe that’s because once you finally think you’ve got everything figured out, life decides to through a big ball of crap your way. I’m not trying to be funny, I’m being serious. Beyond serious, actually.


“Daddy?” Laurel called, quickening her pace to catch up with her father, who was at least ten strides ahead of her. “I… I have something to tell you,” she said, faltering on her words from excitement; her face was too lit up for it to be nervousness.


“What is it, Laurel-pie?” the Chief asked, his eyebrow raising. Laurel didn’t usually refer to her father as ‘daddy’ around the work place; she called him Chief, like the rest of us.


She lowered her voice, even though there was no one else in the room. “I think I’ve got a lead.”


“On?” he asked, his voice filled with annoyance. He did not like having to ask for answers, he expected them to be given.

This was the moment that I walked in, and before I could stop her, the words escaped her mouth. “Mom’s case. I’ve been studying it,” her eyes caught sight of me, and her face lit up.


She pointed at me, grinning, “Israel, too. We’ve been working on it together.”

“You have, have you?” he asked, his eyebrows furrowing.

“Yep,” she said, failing to notice the look on his face. His face was perfectly calm, no sign of emotion, a mask. And that, above all else, is what made me worried. Even if he wasn’t guilty – shouldn’t some type of emotion be forming on those wrinkles? Elation, perhaps, at the thought that maybe, just maybe, he could put the memory of his wife to rest? But no, there was nothing.

“Well, I would love to hear what you think it is,” he said, his lips pulling into a tight smile.


Her face turned serious, her tone becoming somber, “Organized crime, daddy. I mean, think about it.” She bit her lip, then reached out to him for reassurance, “I mean… It makes sense, doesn’t it?”


His lips puckered, “Well, I suppose. But you need stuff to back it up – at least five things. Do you have that, yet?” I knew he was making that. If he really wanted, it wouldn’t have been that hard to pull this case back into the lime light and get a warrant. But he was holding out.

“Not yet, but I’m searching, Daddy. I promise, I’ll find the person who did this,” she said.


He shook his head, “Good.” Then he turned to me, “A word please, Israel.” Laurel glanced at us, worry rising in her eyes. Her father comforted her with a smile, “Don’t worry, doll. It’s nothing serious. Just need to speak to him about the scheduling this week.”

“Oh, okay,” she said, walking away, her eyes lingering on us, as if his lie didn’t quite fool her.


“I thought I saw your nose in those files the other day,” the Chief said, his voice low, a growl. He was the predator, me the helpless prey. “But you said it was nothing. And I was foolish for believing you, boy.”

“Does it, uh, really matter that I was helping her?” I asked, stuttering despite my best intentions.


His eyes narrowed, and his eyebrows furrowed. His stance relaxed, but it was still intimidating. “Let me just tell you one thing, Israel,” he murmured, forcing a smile onto his lips. “Keep searching for the answers – and don’t worry, I know you’re on the brink of the discovery, I can see the trust that you have within me is disappearing – but let me tell you, keep searching, and you’re not going to like what you find.”


“…what will I find, sir?” I asked, my voice, legs, and hands trembling.

He barked out a laugh, “It’s your job to solve the mystery. And I’ll be doing everything in my power to make sure she,” he pointed at Laurel, “does not get hurt in the process. Protecting my family? It’s the most important thing to me. You, however, are not of my concern.”

“But, sir – ”

He cut me off, “No. It is not a threat, Israel. Merely a warning.”


“Sounds as if you’re promising something dangerous to come my way,” I murmured.


He walked away, “I don’t make those, any longer.”

~~~~~~~~~~



We were standing outside an abandoned warehouse. Honestly, I really don’t even remember how I got here – all I remember is, Laurel came up to me, a smile on her lips, and she whispered the words: “help me tonight, and I swear I’ll pay you back.” But I don’t remember the roads here or anything. I drove, sure, but I sped through all the stop signs and took each curve over forty miles per hour; which says a lot about me, because I NEVER go that fast on turns.

Ever.


“So, uh, Laurel, what exactly are we doing here?”

She smirked, “Don’t tell me you’re already scared. Who will protect me if you run away?”

“WHAAAA!?” I gasped, “I’m not scared!” Oh, goodness, was I a bad liar. She started laughing, and I quickly added, “At least, not too much. It’s a little scary, you’ve got to admit.”

She shrugged, and kicked a can, giggling when I cringed, “I suppose. But don’t worry, Israel, nothing bad will come our way. Unless I’m right… in which case, it might be okay to be just a little scared.”

“Right about what?”


“If this is a hang out. Remember my organized crime theory? I’m pretty sure this is where they meet. Mainly because I’ve been keeping an eye on a few of their guys.”

“Laurel,” I groaned, shaking my head. This was not a good idea, a wretched and terrible idea, and it gave me that weird dejavu type of feeling into the depth of stomach. “You’re not supposed to do that. Remember what I said?” I asked, taking her hands in mine, “You have to remain safe. You leave all the dangerous things to me.”

She grinned up at me, “But what is the point to life, without just a bit of danger?”

“Safety is always fun…” I mumbled.


She giggled, and pressed her lips against mine. I grinned, and pulled her closer, breathing into her ear, “I’ve always wondered how this would feel.”

“How what would feel?” she whispered.


I placed my lips lightly on her cheek, “To hold my world in my arms.”


She pulled back and looked into my eyes, her green one’s a soft haze, a shade I felt like drowning in. “You’re such a romantic.”


I chuckled, “Only because I’ve got you in my life.”


Her face faltered, “Israel, I think… I should probably tell you something – ”

Say what you mean, tell me I’m right – and let the sun rain down on me; give me a sign, I wanna believe.


Before she could finish that sentence, another voice broke into the night air, “You know, kids, I hate to kill this moment, but you two just so happen to be on private property. And people here do not take well to trespassers.”


I groaned, “Sir, can’t you just…” But my voice stopped dead in it’s tracks when I saw the barrel of the gun facing our way.


I could see a smirk spread across the mans face, “Yes, bud? Can I just what?”


“…put the gun down,” I muttered.


“Ah, but if I did that, you wouldn’t listen, would you?” His voice was raspy, the sound that you usually hear from smoker’s.

“We don’t want any trouble,” I said, placing myself in front of Laurel, wrapping my arm around her wrist. I pulled her behind my body, ever so slightly, my feet spreading into a protective stance.

The man raised his eyebrow, “One does not simply come here of their own accord. You have to be searching for this place in order to find it. You came here sniffing out trouble.”


“I would never,” I said, but too quickly. The man let out a bark of a laugh, and started coughing.


Laurel peeped out from behind me, “He’s right. He didn’t come here for trouble. I did. I want answers, and someone here is bound to have them.”


The man’s eye’s switched from me to Laurel, and he looked at her, his gaze going from head to toe, his lips turning into a sly grin at the sight of her. My eyes narrowed, and my free hand crinkled into a fist. The man noticed this,
“You’re a protective one, aren’t you?” He turned back to Laurel, “And why would I give you answers, love?”

Whoa Mona Lisa, you’re guaranteed to run this town; whoa Mona Lisa, I’d pay to see you frown.


She shrugged, “I’m a fighter. Either give me what I want, or I’ll get it out of you.”

“You’re going to threaten the man holding a gun to you?”

“You wouldn’t dare shoot the daughter of the big man, would you?”

The man radiated evil, and his eyes and smile were full of malice. “Darling, you’re poppa isn’t that innocent. Perhaps you ought to go ask him your questions.”

He senses something, call it desperation; another dollar another day, and if she has the proper words to say she’d tell him – but she’d have nothing left to sell him…


And when his finger pulled the trigger, it didn’t register in my mind at first, what it would do. I had been trained on how to deliver such blows, but nothing prepares you for the moment of impact, and when you realize you’re a mere second too late to protect the one thing in life that holds any meaning for you.

~~~~~~~~~~


The worst thing in the world is the wait. Not knowing whether or not the whole reason for you to live or breathe is going to make it through the night. It’s pure torture. I don’t know how my mother could’ve done it when Dad was always sick. This was killing me, I can’t imagine how it must’ve been seeing it all first hand – how was she not dead, simply from a broken heart? My mind was driving me crazy. Every second turned into an hour, every hour seemed days.


Finally, a familiar face graced the door way. “Don’t worry, Israel,” my mother coaxed into my ear, as I buried my head in her shoulder, making her cradle me just as if I were once more a small child. “Laurel will be just fine.”

“B-but mom,” I moaned, “It’s my JOB to PROTECT her. And I failed.”


My mother grabbed my by the shoulders, forcing me to stare into her steel grey eyes that had been in my family for generations. Her fingers dug into my skin, forcing me to believe her, “Israel,” she said. “You are not responsible for this, do you hear me? You did the right thing by going with her, then bringing her here. If you hadn’t, she would not have made it. The surgery went well, the bullet is removed. Just give her a couple of days to heal.”


“…will she be awake?” I asked, my eyes dropping to the floor. “I just want to talk to her.”

My mother shook her head, pulling her hands away, “No. It’s best for her to be asleep. We gave her a lot of morphine to help ease the pain, but she just needs time for her body to repair itself. It did a great job at protecting, but now it needs to reboot.”

I took a deep breath. Laurel was going to be ok, that should be enough to calm my nerves… But, it wasn’t. I wanted her to always be safe, but she wouldn’t be – not as long as she went on this quest for answers. I wondered if I should just tell her the truth when she woke up, but, who was I to rip away the only father she had? I couldn’t do that to her.

“Okay,” I whispered.


“Oh, and Israel?” my mother said, dropping her voice. Her hands gestured out, trying to show warmth and understanding, “In case you were wondering… the… fetus is okay, too.”

There’s nothing wrong with just a taste of what you paid for….

-Lyrics by Panic! At the Disco; “Ballad of Mona Lisa”-

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Chapter Seventy: The Act of Hypocrisy


Her father’s lip formed into a firm line, his face drowning with displeasure, “You two. My office. NOW.”


I gulped, “Sure thing, sir.” Laurel, who hadn’t moved since we heard his voice, clutched onto my arm, her entire body tight with tension.

My boss turned away from me, clutching his temples with his hand, in an attempt to block out the image of us, “And for Berry’s sake, Laurel – put on some fudging clothes.”

Laurel let out a small yelp and bit her lip with surprise of the noise that escaped her. She bent over, grabbing my shirt hastily and throwing it over her bare body.




She let go of my arm and rushed down the stairs after him. I glanced at her, loving the way that it looked. My shirt on her figure… I forced myself to make the thought stop there. This was NOT the time to be thinking like that. I pulled on my pants and hurried after her, cursing myself the entire time for being caught. For being a cop, I sure as heck wasn’t too secretive or careful.


I walked into the office, where Laurel was awkwardly standing next to her father, muttering apologies to him. Her head was bent in shame, and her father was ignoring us.


“Israel,” he barked, his voice crisp. “This, young man, is a work place. If you can not understand that, then you best not come into work. Do you think, though, that you can manage to keep your pants on, and your hands off my daughter – while you’re here, at the very least?”


“Yes, sir,” I muttered, shame crushing any confidence in my voice.


“Then, go,” he said. Then he glanced at me, “And please. When you come to work tomorrow – make sure you wear a shirt, okay? This is shameful, you two.”


“Daddy?” Laurel whispered as I walked out the door. “I’m so sorry you had to see that… Do you, um, still want me to take you home?”

His voice was rough as he said, “No, thank you. I think I’ve seen plenty of you for one night.”

Her voice grew even softer, “Daddy, please don’t be mad…”


“I’m not mad,” he said. “Disappointment and anger are two different things.”

~~~~~~~~~~


I was assigned desk duty again – although it wasn’t much of a surprise. I had been doing everyone’s paper work for the past two weeks. Reading file after file and putting it into the computer database. I think it was the Chief’s way of punishing me. Well, consider it a lesson learned. Get caught tangled up with boss’s daughter, and you’ll be lucky if you ever get to smell the sweet stink of the leather seat of the police cruiser again.


I let out a sigh. All this paper work was seriously a buzz kill. It was hard to keep track of time, and my back hurt from sitting in this old chair all day long, day after day. I don’t know how people in an office can do it without going insane. I really don’t. Scanning through the emails on my computer, for the millionth time, to see if anything new popped up, proved to be useless. I still had nothing to do, and my phone had been silent all day. One of the perks of living in a small town is that the crime levels are usually on the low side. However, I was seriously starting to wish someone – ANYONE – would mess with the peace of this place, just so I had would have something to do. Of course, I don’t want anyone to die or anything. The last murder we had around here was back when…

Hold up, that gave me an idea.


I hadn’t exactly been giving Laurel’s mother’s file too much attention. I had a copy of it, skimmed through it once, and that was that. But I was starting to wonder if maybe, just maybe, I could find something on it. A clue of some sort. I dug for the files in my desk, wishing that I had somehow developed a more organized living style. It really would’ve payed off. Finally, my fingers gripped a thick set of papers, and I pulled them out, putting them on the desk before me.


Hours passed, and I lost myself in reading and trying to comprehend what these papers were saying – throwing important tid bits of information into an extension file on my computer. On the outside, it all seemed to be like some sort of hit and run – perhaps a burglar who got caught in the act and panicked. Even to a trained eye, everything might seem okay. But something about this was off. It wasn’t that the evidence didn’t match up the presumed story, because it did. It just… seemed a bit too… clean. I mean, why would someone attack a middle aged woman at one in the morning? They lived in the middle of nowhere, and their house was not simply something you stumbled upon. It was something you had to search for. Besides – what exactly was she doing up at that hour? Laurel’s mother used to always go to sleep at ten sharp, unless one of her kids were out, or her husband was working late. She would always wait up for them. It said that she was pushed off the balcony, and that when her head hit the cement below, she died on impact.

Odd, though, how the chief of police couldn’t pinpoint a single finger print that could shed so much as a flame on who was the one who killed her.

Who’s to know if your soul will fade at all.


“What do you have there, boy?” a voice asked, seeping out of the dim light. Despite myself, I jumped.

The one you sold to fool the world; you lost your self-esteem along the way.


“Oh, uh, nothing,” I mumbled, trying to hide the papers. I quickly shut off the computer and stood up, hoping he thought it was a sign of respect and not guilt. Even though I had known Mr. Van Fern since as long as I could remember, something told me he would not be pleased to find out what I was snooping around in. Call it guilt or instinct – I just KNEW.

Good god you’re coming up with reasons; good god you’re dragging it out.


His eyebrow raised, “You’re lying to me, boy. I saw papers on your desk, and you had a furrow in your brow. Now, tell me, what were you studying so hard?”

I swallowed hard. Sweat appeared on my palms, and my arm pits grew moist. “Well, it was the paper work I was focusing on. I was just trying to think of a way to get you to, um, forgive me.” A lie, but not a total one. I had been wondering that.


His voice grew softer, “Yeah… about that night…”


“I’m so sorry you had to see us like that,” I said, quickly. Neither one of us had brought up the situation since it had… happened.

He shrugged, “I understand I reacted a bit, harshly, I suppose. But, Israel – you have to understand. Laurel is my child. I wish to protect her. I do not mind if you two… do things. Just please, for the love that is all fudging Berry, don’t let me catch you two again, okay?”

And just fake it if you’re out of direction, fake it if you don’t belong here – fake it if you feel like affection.


“Yes, sir,” I mumbled, my cheeks growing hot.

He smiled, “I’m glad you two are together, though. Always thought it would happen.”


“A lot of people seem to have thought that,” I whispered. And I couldn’t stop the smile that grew along my face.

~~~~~~~~~~


The next day, I saw Laurel again. I tried my hardest not to laugh at her outfit. She NEVER wore that uniform. She hated everything about it, but I guess, in order to stay on her father’s good side, she took to abiding my the rules. I personally thought it looked like Heaven on her. Then again, she could wear anything… but back on topic.


She too, apparently, had been reading her mother’s murder files. She thought she had a real lead – something about organized crime. Some mob out to get her father, who got her mother, by mistake. Just a simple mix up.


“Don’t you think they would’ve a trace? I mean sure, they’re neat and everything, but there’s no way they wouldn’t have made it known to your dad. Why do such a dirty crime and not admit to it, if that’s your living?” I wasn’t buying this theory. It’s easy to point a finger, but you have to put a lot of thought into which direction you send that accusation.


She shook her head before I was finished, “Israel, it’s like what I told you long ago. The perfect crime – that’s what they’re doing. Trying to make it so clean no one can solve it, not even my dad, the one they were after.” Her voice grew low, into a type of growl, “Guess in their minds, though, they did. Killing his heart seems to have satisfied them.”


“I don’t follow,” I murmured; this violent side that was sneaking it’s way out of my Laurel was starting to frighten me.


She rolled her eyes at me, ignoring my comment. “The person who did must’ve been really smart,” she murmured, sitting down in front of her computer, browsing through the police database at all the criminals.


I shook my head and went to sit down next to her, balancing my body weight on the side of the desk. I was lost in my thoughts when I heard a wail come from the front door, and in walked a young girl – perhaps twelve – who was trying much to hard to look pretty. Her face looked as if it had been attacked with a crayon; all that make up was covering what natural beauty she had. Not to mention the tantrum she was throwing. You’d think someone just told her that her world was officially ending.


I heard a couple of rushed footsteps, and in walked another cop, Jemmie. He was the newest one on the squad, and like me, was banned to staying in the office, except for different reasons. He just didn’t have a partner yet. But, he was a nice fellow. Although, he was a person who you much rather catch a couple of drinks with rather than have a conversation, because the guy was tighter then a jock strap until he had a few things to loosen him up.


“My… my… MY MOM IS GOING TO BE SO MAD!” the girl wailed, her wails breaking through the silence of the station.

“Miss, please, I – ”


But Jemmie’s voice was caught off as another scream ripped through the girls throat.


It took a lot to get the anxious girl calmed down, and in the end, it had to be the Chief to do it. Jemmie wasn’t having any luck in getting a sentence that actually made sense to escape her lips. All she did was cry and wail. Luckily, Mr. Van Fern was a wizard with words. He could talk anyone into anything – he just had that charismatic trait. Apparently, this girl, had their phone stolen, and her world was going to ‘totally end right away unless the best men are out to find it because after all that’s what them guys do’. I had to hold back my laughs. This girl thought she was listing valuable information, and the Chief was humoring her. He asked all the right questions, said all the right things to reassure her. Truth is though, that case won’t ever really be looked at. It’ll be considered all of ten days, to get the right paper work. Then…

Well, it’ll go into storage, just like all the other one’s deemed unsolvable.

Woah, you’re such a hypocrite.


“The perfect crime has to be done by the perfect person,” I said, instantly.

Laurels eyes lit up, her train of thought on the same tracks as mine, except it was a thousand miles in the other direction. “Exactly! Although,” her voice was harsh, “I wouldn’t say person. More like criminal, a low life, a melon’s peel – a son of a berry, if you ask me.”


I made eye contact with the chief of police, and he smiled at me, a tight-lined smile that one would assume he wore at work. But, it wasn’t. I hadn’t seen a genuine smile light up his face ever since his wife died.

And you should know that the lies won’t hide your flaws – no sense in hiding all of yours.


“Perhaps,” I murmured, “You’re right.”

And slowly, the pieces of the puzzle started fitting together.

-Lyrics by Seether; “Fake It”-

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Importanto news!? ;]

Well, just a litte bit. ;D
Ya see, the blog, the official one, just hit 10,000 views. This makes me super duper happy on the inside, because while I am fully aware that views aren’t everything, it makes me glow inside to know how much support you guys have given to me over the past year and some odd days and months. :]
Sooo, since I never really share too much on the spare heir’s, I’ve decided to… share their stories? I’ll be giving the story on the three most popular ones, since I think I should have enough time, since things are finally starting to die down at school.
Sooooo, cast your vote for your favorite spare –

Voting link :]

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Chapter Sixty Nine: Toxic Tales


I knew I should’ve stopped her, I never should’ve agreed to helping. What started out as a small project soon turned into a full scale obsession, fueled by the thirst for revenge. It wasn’t healthy, and I doubted the whole thing was moral, but I was the only one Laurel trusted. I didn’t know if this was a good thing or a bad thing, but she kept it from everyone, even her brother and father. Yup, I was her go-to guy, her own personal James Bond.

And despite all my earlier detestments, I quite enjoyed that.


“Israel?” a voice asked, beckoning me from my trance-like state of thought.

I shook my head, turning around to see – yup, you guessed it – Laurel. “Hey there, pretty lady.”


She giggled, a slight blush forming on her cheeks. Her laughs quickly turned into a cough, her way of hiding her embarassment. “I was wondering, are you busy tonight?”


“Well,” I winked, “let me check my schedule.” I tapped my hand to my forehead, “Nope. I’m free.”


Her face it up, “Okay, good. Because, you see,” she dropped her voice, “I’ve been reading the files, and I think I’ve got something.”

“You do, do you?”


“Yeah,” she said, her voice barely able to stay quiet with all the excitement. “Except, I don’t want to discuss it here, in the middle of the day, with so many people around. Do you mind staying late? I have a night shift today, extra hours or something like that – maybe you could keep my company?”


My mind raced at the thought. I quickly put the door up – the place where my thoughts were leading would ruin any chance I had at keeping my cool… or keeping a friendship between us, at that. I definitely wanted more, I’m not going to deny that. I mean, come on, I’m male, and she was hot and nice and sweet, and I couldn’t control the thoughts that sometimes took control of my mind. But this is LAUREL we’re talking about. I couldn’t put some sleezy move on her. A one in a million girl with a common hook up? No way was I going to let that happen.

I cleared my throat, “I’d love to.”

Too high, can’t come down – losing my head, spinning ‘round and ‘round; do you feel me now?

~~~~~~~~~~


“Vera!” I chirpped, happy to see her. I didn’t see Vera too often, mainly just when she had a case or had to come down to the station to defend someone. She was a lawyer now – it wasn’t exactly her passion, but I’d be lying to say she wasn’t good at it. She was always sought after, heck, a guy from three towns away hired her to defend him in some corporate law suit. Somehow, she never lost a case. Not a single one.

“Israel!” she giggled, a girlish smile brightening her face, her high pitch and happy voice contrasting harshly with her very polished outfit. She walked over to me, “How’s work?” She glanced around, her eyes darting back nervously – she was an anxious person. “Kind of slow today, huh?”


I laughed, a sound that started deep within my stomach and bellowed out of my mouth, “What gave it away?”

She shrugged, her smirk still in place, “I dunno… perhaps it’s the fact that I can hear a bird singing, and we just so happen to be the farthest away from a bird imaginable.”

I chuckled – she’s always coming up with weird things to compare other things to. “Hey, you want to grab a bit to eat?” I asked, hoping to catch up with her. I really didn’t get a chance to talk to her too often.


She glanced at the clock, “Sure, I’m free, for the next hour or so. Where to?”


I walked out the door with her, and said, “You pick, I buy.”

“Always a gentleman,” she smiled.


Little did she know what an enemy she was making.

~~~~~~~~~~


Later that night, when I met up with Laurel, I couldn’t hide my anxiety. I spent about twenty minutes in the bathroom back home, changing, trying to make myself look good. I had changed clothes, pulling on a simple flannel shirt, a new leather jacket and a good ol’ pair of jeans that had more rips and tears in them than I could count. As I walked into the building, I felt my face, trying to spot a flaw. I felt like a teenager, all over again. I had been with girls, plenty of ’em, but none of them ever compared to this type of feeling.


And that could either be a good thing or a very bad thing.


When I finally walked over to her, I was not expecting such a harsh greeting.

“Laurel!” I chirped, walking over to her desk.


She glanced up at me, and where warmth once radiated was the iciness of hostility. Her eyes narrowed into slits, her face crinkly into distaste, “Hello, Israel.”

I felt as if I had been punched in the chest, “Why such a harsh greeting?”


She huffed out a breath of air, flipping her hair over her shoulder, “I’m sorry. Should I have greeted you with a warmer smile? Perhaps a girlish giggle, than talk about a dang bird, then invite you to lunch? Is that what you would like instead, hmmm?”


It took awhile for what she was saying to click. And I, despite my best intentions, started to laugh. I couldn’t help myself, “Oh, goodness. Please tell me you’re not talking about Vera!?”

“Is that her name?” she asked. Her anger started growing, I could see the fire ignite in her eyes, “You know, you shouldn’t lead a girl on like you did. I mean… I thought – I thought that we actually had a chance. I thought you were still the same guy. But cheating on me? Seriously!?”

“…Laurel?” I asked.


“What?” she spat, refusing to look me in the eye.


I forced her to stand up, pulling her into my arms, “Laurel, Vera’s just a friend.”

“Well it sure didn’t look like that.”


I shrugged, “Perhaps at one time, we might’ve been something. But, as I grew older… she knew I had already lost my heart to my soul mate.”

I could see her trying to understand my words, and the exact moment it clicked, she glanced away in shame. Her mouth formed a small, “Oh.”


“Besides,” I said, pulling her into my chest, where her head fit perfectly, “If you want to know the truth, I’m kinda already crushing on someone. Pretty hard, too.”


She smiled slightly, “Who would that be?”


“My best friend,” I murmured.


She said nothing in reply until I whispered, “We’re best friends, for forever, aren’t we?”


She stood up on her tip-toes and gave me a quick peck on the lips.

With a taste of your lips, I’m on a ride: you’re toxic I’m slipping under; with a taste of a poison paradise – I’m addicted to you, don’t you know that you’re toxic?


“Forever doesn’t seem long enough.”

~~~~~~~~~~


And I love what you do, don’t you know that you’re toxic?


It’s getting late, to give you up – I took a sip from my devil’s cup, slowly, it’s taking over me.


Too high, can’t come down – losing my head, spinning ‘round and ‘round; do you feel me now?


With a taste of your lips, I’m on a ride: you’re toxic I’m slipping under; with a taste of a poison paradise – I’m addicted to you, don’t you know that you’re toxic?

Although we had met to dicuss the case, we didn’t get much talking done…

Our mouths and minds were a bit busy elsewhere.


“You two!” A voice shot out, “What do you think you’re doing!?”

Oh, good sweet Berry. Please don’t tell me that voice belonged to who I thought it did…


Well that is just perfect. I’m caught ‘doodling’ – for lack of a better term – with my own bosses daughter.

And I love what you do, don’t you know that you’re toxic?


I think it might be safe to say a raise isn’t in my future.

-Lyrics by Britney Spears; “Toxic”-

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Chapter Sixty Eight: Do You Want To Know?


There it was, that noise. The noise that had me on the brink of insanity. I couldn’t determine what it was, or what was making it. I glanced around; there was no one else here in the room with me. I closed my eyes, waiting to hear it again. I knew better than to believe that it could be a ghost, but I couldn’t pinpoint where the sound was coming from. Then I realized, the sound wasn’t from around me… it was from above me. And the only thing above me was the storage facility – a place to file old police reports, and cases long since ignored.


I sighed and stood up, preparing myself to lecture some punk kid on the morality of the situation. Believe it or not, this happened often. Kids tried to prove to their friends that they were tough by breaking into the police station, because apparently, all policemen were too lazy to do something, unless their name was Chuck Norris.
Which isn’t the case… most of the time.


But, I guess we know now how they got in.


“Parsley!” I snapped. He jerked awake, almost falling out of his seat.

He looked at me, his eyes still foggy with sleep, “Yeah?”

I sighed, “Can you stay awake for about fifteen minutes while I go take care of something upstairs? Or do you not think you can manage that?”


He flushed a brighter shade of green; obviously not thinking anyone would’ve found him catching a few snores. “Sure thing, Israel.”


I rolled my eyes and walked over to the stairs. I placed my foot gently on the first step, not knowing if it would be able to hold my weight. These things were pretty dang old, and I didn’t exactly want to die in the process of going up them. I mean, I’m a police man. It’d be pretty pathetic if the way I died, of all ways, was by going up stairs.


Once I arrived at the top, I waited for my eyes to adjust. We didn’t keep the lights on up here, so the main source of it was coming from a single window near the roof. My eyes squinted as my eyes ditated, my pupils patiently waiting for vision to return.


Slowly, shapes started to form before me, and I carefully stepped around old boxes, all filled to the brim with old papers of solved and unsolved cases – not a single one filed properly, making any proper search vexing. Cases, once put up here, usually never saw light again. No one ever bothered to look or organize – we’re all jsut really lazy. But it was a quiet town, and not much happened, except for the occasional robbery or fight, so we never really HAD to have everything nicely tucked away. It wasn’t worth the trouble, in the long run.


“Hello?” I called out, my voice husky from the dust around me. I cursed my stupidity, you’re never supposed to call out. I mean, what should I expect? The rotten kid to call out and say: oh yes officer, I’m over here! And please do hurry, I need my arrest warrent before Mother comes searching for me.

Yeah. That NEVER happened.


I heard a thump and a curse word, a soft murmur, but a voice all the same. “Who’s there?” I asked again, wishing I had brought a flashlight with me.

I saw a head poke out, and green hair reflected the dying light of the sun.


“Israel?”

I froze in my tracks. I cocked my head to the side, “Laurel?”


“Sh!” she whisper-screamed. “Keep your voice down. I don’t want everyone knowing I’m up here.”

“…why not?” I asked, trying to keep the confusion out of my voice.

She rolled her eyes, “Because I don’t think it would look too good if I’m busy snooping around up here.”


“Then why are you snooping? Isn’t everyone allowed up here – as long as we’re a cop?”

She licked her lips nervously, “Well. Yeah, I suppose.”

That brought me to another point, “Laurel, what exactly… are you doing up here?”

Listen – do you want to know a secret, do you promise not to tell?


She started blinking. I loved it when she blinked, it told me exactly what was going on. It meant she was uncomftorable, which meant that something was up.

“I’m, um, looking for something,” she said, a bit too quickly for it to be the entire truth.

Closer, let me whisper in your ear.


“And what are you looking for, if you don’t mind me asking?” I pushed, trying to get the story of her sealed lips.

“A case, of course,” she said, smiling widely.

I shook my head, trying to reassure her. Head shaking always helped convince people to calm down, something I learned in the interrogation room. “And what case would that be?”

“Israel, if I tell you, you can’t tell anyone.”

Say the words you long to hear: I’m in love with you.


“…Laurel, if you’re looking for what I think you’re looking for…” I began, holding up my hands. She coudn’t be doing this. She couldn’t do this to herself, she would go mad trying to get the answers to her questions.


She grew defensive, “I need answers, Israel. No one commits a murder and just gets away with it. It just isn’t possible. It can’t be.”

“Laurel, you can’t.”

Her lips drew into a firm line, “Israel, my mother died. Because she was MURDERED. I get it if you don’t think I can solve it, but I owe it to her to try.”


I walked towards her, looking her in the eye, “Sometimes the answers aren’t enough. You might not be happy with what you find, if you find anything at all.”

Her eyes grew wide, her voice eager, “But don’t you see, Israel? No one can do a crime and get away with it. There are ALWAYS clues. A finger print, a hair strand, an undeleted text message… there is always a way to find answers.”


“But Laurel,” I murmured, trying to calm her down. What she said made sense, but it wasn’t reality. There were a lot of unsolved crimes out there. “Sometimes those clues have to be found within a certain time limit.”

Listen – do you want to know a secret, do you promise not to tell?


She shook her head before I was finished, “No, you see, Israel, that’s where you’re wrong. There is such thing as a perfect crime.”

“I don’t follow,” I murmured.

“The person who does it just has to cover up all the clues. Not dispose of them, just hide them.”


“And how exactly do you expect to find everything?” I asked, knowing she had a plan.

She grinned, leaning down to the boxe again, “Getting this case file, so that I can see everything, all the data and reports and what not, will be the first step to solving the puzzle.”

Closer, let me whisper in your ear.


“And the second step?”

I’ve known the secret for a week or two – nobody knows, just we two.


She raised her eyebrow at me in question. “I don’t know how much I should share. Do you plan on helping me solve it, or are you going to be little miss whiny pants?”

I sighed. There was no way I’d deny doing anything with Laurel, even if it did so happen to go against the very grain of everything I thought was right. If she wanted me to help, then help I was going to do.

I elbowed her playfully, trying to hide the fact that I was anxious about this whole thing, “I suppose I can wear my big boy undies. But just for you, partner.”


And even though we were in dim lighting, I had never seen a smile so radiant.

Say the words you long to hear: I’m in love with you.

-Lyrics by The Beatles; “Do You Want To Know A Secret?”-

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