I slipped back into the routine of our investigations fairly quickly, as I always did. While Mendrick and Charlie disappeared to speak to the family, I started my work on the background research, sitting at my desk, laptop open and paper thrown everywhere. That's the only way I can work.
As far as I could tell there was no reason why Jennifer Waters should have got into any trouble. She had no criminal record, she came from a nice family and went to a nice school. She was a straight-A student who had never put a foot wrong. So how did she end up lying dead in an alleyway? That was the question we all wanted the answer to.
'Hey Randall,' I called out to his office next to mine. 'Have we got the post-mortem results back yet?'
'Not yet. But she was killed with a sword, why would you want post-mortem results?'
'I just wanted to make sure that was how she died.'
'How could it have been anything else?'
'I don't know. I just had a feeling,' I said turning back to my computer screen. 'Don't worry about it, it's not important.' I stared at the school photograph of the victim that lit up my screen. She was so young and pretty. How could she be dead?
I heard my phone begin to blast out Counting Crows, my ringtone of the moment, and panicked, beginning to throw papers left, right and centre as I tried to find where my mobile had been buried.
'Hello?' I said briskly, thinking it was Mendrick with a job for me.
'Alannah?' A female voice replied. 'Is this a bad time?' I relaxed immediately, sinking back into my swivelling chair.
'Of course not Vicks, it's great to hear from you. How are you?'
'Apart from the morning sickness, not bad.' I could hear the laughter in her voice on the other end of the line and I could see her sticking the tip of her tongue out between her teeth like she always did when she laughed. 'How about you? Are things alright with Alfie?'
'He's put you up to this hasn't he,' I sighed, my happiness at receiving her call dying away.
'No,' she said firmly. 'But I got a distressed phone call from him earlier, telling me about your bust up this morning and I wanted to check and see that you were OK.' I was never able to tell when Victoria was lying, even when we were face to face, let alone down a telephone line. 'Well are you OK?'
'I'm fine,' I said more sharply than I had intended.
'No you're not, or you wouldn't have said it in that tone. Now tell me what's wrong.' Vicks was like my second mother, always worrying about me and calling check I was alright. I loved her for it, but sometimes I just didn't want to talk. This was one of those times.
'It's nothing, I promise,' I lied. 'I've just got this case. A young girl killed with a sword last night.'
'Oh my God!'
'I know, and it's shaken me up that's all.' That was partly the truth. Jennifer's murder seemed to be affecting me more than any of the other cases we had ever dealt with. Maybe it was because she was so young.
'Then why did Alfie call me in such a state this morning? He was broken up-' The mainline phone that sat on my desk began to ring, cutting Victoria off.
'Hang on Vicks, I've got another call.' I scrambled around, finally picking up the phone.
'What are you doing chatting away on your mobile when there's work to be done?' It was Mendrick, who had clearly tried to get in touch with me via my mobile and was annoyed that he hadn't been able to get through.
'I was just following up on a lead,' I fibbed.
'Did you find anything?'
'No,' I said, cringing.
'Then don't spend so long searching for it. Move on because I have a job for you.'
'Hang on Mendrick.' I took the phone away from my left ear and put my mobile to my right. 'I've got to go Vicks, duty calls. Send Jamie my love and look after that baby for it's godmother.' I heard her beginning to protest as I hung up on her, putting my mobile down and lifting the landline back up to my ear. 'You have my full attention,' I said to Mendrick. 'What's the job?'