I sat at my desk staring at the pictures of potential suspects. But deep down inside I knew that all of these men were innocent.
I heard the news reporter talking about the killer’s latest victim. Unimaginable grief ripped through me, leaving me dizzy with the overwhelming emotions, but this wasn’t about me. It was about the a young child barely two months old, unknowingly facing a tough life because her mother got yanked away from her so abruptly that she’ll never who her mother truly was.
She’ll only have stories of her and second-hand memories shared by her aunt, uncle, grandparents and all of the other people that Nora was held dare to.
It is all so unfair for such a young child to bare such a heavy burden. I got startled out of my thoughts when my cell phone started ringing in my jacket pocket. I quickly pulled it out and flipped it open.
“Lieutenant Malone.” I answered. There was a second of silence then a soft voice spoke into my ear.
“Hi, this is Lorna, uh Lorna Webber.” She said hesitantly. I sat up straighter and cleared my throat to stop my shout of victory.
“Ms Webber; is there a problem that I may assist you with?” I asked with feigned nonchalance.
She cleared her throat a couple of times before talking again. “Well, uh no. But I was wondering if I could come in and talk to you in
person? I mean come into the Police station. You don’t have to say yes.” She said hastily.
I smiled in secret satisfaction and checked to make sure that no other male was anywhere near my desk.
“Yeah I have free time. I’ll see you in about twenty maybe thirty minutes?” I asked with my concealed giddiness.
She fell silent for a couple beats.
“Actually are you free now? I’m already out side of the station. But I can wait if you want me to?” She asked in embarrassment. I shot up from my chair and made a beeline for the window and peered outside. I frantically scanned the parking lot, examining every car until I caught sight of her behind the wheel of a white sedan.
“Of course I’m free. Just walk up and you’ll be able to spot my desk from the entrance.” I hurried back to my desk and started cleaning up; throwing away rubbish from my lunch and straightening my files. Once I was sure that it was clean enough I plopped back down into my seat and tried to calm my racing heart.
“Okay. I’ll see you in a bit.” She murmured and disconnected.
I snapped my phone shut and slowly put it back into my jacket pocket and glued my gaze to the doors. After a few torturous moments, Lorna Webber sauntered in. Everything inside me focused on only her. She had her hair loose and free hanging down her back. She wore form fitting black jeans, a red halter top with spaghetti straps, black leather ankle boots and light make up.
My mouth went dry and my hands got clammy. I wiped them on my stands and got to my feet and watched her approach me with my heart beating a tattoo against my rib cage.
“Ms Webber, it’s good to see you.” I said as she came to halt before me.
I held back a shiver as her gaze raked me from head to toe.
“Likewise Lieutenant, thank you for agreeing to see me on such short notice.” She mumbled. Heat stained her pretty cheeks. I bit back a smile and motioned for her to sit.
“It’s not a problem. So what did you want to talk to me about?” I asked. She swallowed and licked her lips.
“To tell you the truth, I have no idea. I saw the latest victim on the news and I just had to come here and talk to you. I don’t know what to do.” She paused and took a deep shuddering breath. “I just thought maybe if I came down here I would know who did it or that you would have the killer in custody. I know that sounds crazy but I just want justice for Nora and for Shiloh to have her mother back, and for me to have my baby sister back. I…” She broke off and burst into tears. She buried her face in her hands and wept in great heaving sobs.
I pulled a box of tissues out of my bottom, which I kept there for situations like this, and held the box out to her; she took two with a low murmur of thanks and wiped her eyes furiously. I felt confused. I wanted to take her into my arms and tell her that we’ll find the killer. But what if that was giving her false hope? What if she were to be the next victim?
Oh God, just the mere thought was enough to leave me weak kneed and breathless.
Even though it was a far-fetched thought it is still a likely outcome because Lorna looks like the last two victims, although her eyes are a molten brown and she’s less curvy, she still, in her own way, fits the killer’s victim profile.
A surge of protectiveness swam through me heating my blood. No, she will remain safe and un-harmed; I will take her into my own home if it came down to it.
I was a little startled by the thought, I mean I don’t know anything about this women yet I’m willing to give her my life my every thought and moment of happiness, but I accept it because who am I to fight fate? I follow every path that I stumble upon and if Lorna happens to be on the same path as me then why say no? Why not jump at the opportunity and take it all in stride?
Because it’s meant to be, under brutal circumstances; sure. But fate nonetheless. Lorna reached into her bag pulled out an inhaler and too a couple deep puffs from it.“I’m sorry I’m such a mess.” She whispered.
“Quite the opposite actually.” I said out loud. I snapped my mouth shut and quickly looked away from her questioning gaze. I felt heat creep into my cheeks and rise to my forehead.
“I’m sorry Ms Webber that was inappropriate of me.” I mumbled apologetically.
She smiled a watery smile through her tears and slipped her inhaler back into her bag.
“It’s alright Lieutenant. I’ve always enjoyed receiving compliments.” She reassured. I breathed a sigh of relief and searched for something to say.
“Pardon my asking but does Shiloh have her father around?” I asked curiously.
A flash of anger swept through her eyes but she reined it in. I looked at her hands and sat that they were clenched tightly together, so tight that her delicate knuckles were white.
“Nora never told us who the father is and we don’t want to know. When Shiloh is older and she wants to know who her father is then we won’t stop her.” She paused and took a deep breath. “But she doesn’t need him now we’re all perfectly able to look after her. We don’t need some pig-headed trying to show us who’s boss because of his wounded ego or thinking that he knows what he’s doing but in the end it just hurts Shiloh or puts her in a place that she doesn’t need to be.” Lorna took another deep breath and nervously glanced around to see if anyone had heard her rant but everyone was busy running around answering phones, going through files and questioning criminals.
“I’m guessing that you know who the father is?” I asked her quietly. Her gaze lifted back to me and her eyes narrowed.
“What makes you think of that?” She asked coldly. I mentally flinched and carefully kept my face blank.
“I gathered that from what you think of him and because of your little rant just now.” I answered blandly.
She didn’t reply but her gaze got colder and colder. Her beautiful molten eyes seemed to freeze me in place, too nervous to speak or dare to move. I shook away the thought and leant back in my chair appearing nonchalant and at ease.
“What did he say when you told him about Shiloh?” I asked deliberately. The ice in her eyes turned to fire looking like deliciously melted chocolate.
“How did you know that I told him about Shiloh?” She gritted out. I slowly smiled and drummed my fingers on the arms of my chair.
“I didn’t, but you just admitted that you know who the father is. Care to tell me?” I taunted her.
God this woman all wound up made my blood heat. It made me want to bait her and
see how long it would take for her to snap. I shivered at the thought and studied the fiery Lorna Webber in interest.
She had her lips presses tightly closed and her eyes spitting in anger. Her untamed curls framed her beatific face and made her seem like a lioness. She had her chin tilted in defiance and her shoulders were ramrod straight.
I automatically straightened and made sure that my posture matched hers.
“Yes I know who her father is but it doesn’t matter because he made it clear
that he wants nothing to with Shiloh.” She spat out in anger. I frowned and let her words sink in.
A father not wanting to know his own child? It was enough to make me want to clock him but I had the feeling that Lorna already beat me to it, pun intended; I thought with a small grin. “Well then he’s not worth your time. Did you get him to sign custody papers?” I asked curiously. She frowned and cocked her head in thought.
“Yeah he signed it.” Her eyes widened and she leant forward.
“You don’t think that he would change his mind now because of Nora’s death?” She asked angrily.
“It doesn’t matter if his mind has changed, he signed the custody papers. He has no say in anything to do with Shiloh or any other matter concerning you and your family. But if he tries anything just show him the custody papers and that should stop him from taking any further actions.” I reassured her. She nodded and looked down at her tightly clenched fists.
“Look, I’m getting hungry and I’ve been here all night. You want to go and get a bite to eat?” I asked with tightly contained hope. She watched me for what seemed like hours before she nodded and stood.
“Where do you want to go to eat?” She asked as we walked out the doors. I stopped and looked back and forth between our cars.
“How about burgers and fries? There’s a great place just down the road.” She started to get her car keys out so I put my hand on her arm.
“We can walk there.” I said with a smile. She smiled back and started toward the other side of the road. I quickly jogged to catch and we set off toward the fast food