The rest of the week was hell. There was no other word for it. The accident replayed over and over in my head throughout the week. I kept seeing Dwelling’s face with his evil smile and proud eyes. I stayed in bed, staring at the ceiling, feeling my veins burst with anger and trying to control it long enough to figure out how to prove Dwelling’s guilt in this matter. I didn’t know how to tell anyone; how to explain it to my uncle without sounding crazy. Because I knew I wasn’t crazy.
I didn’t do it. My dad isn’t dead because of me.
That thought constantly flowed through my head and I thought about what Joe would do about it. I didn’t get the chance to speak with him all week either. He was too busy at work. I tried calling, but he didn’t call back.
I ate and slept very little, wishing I could just sleep and not have to wake up. Neil came by a few times, trying to get me to participate in daily activities. He insisted that we hang out and that I come with him to his Latin dance classes because he needed a salsa partner. I told him that I’d break something if I tried to dance the salsa and refused to attend.
My mom eventually went back to work on Wednesday. We said the least amount of words to each other. Our conversations went like this:
Mom: Dinner’s ready.
Me: I’m not really hungry.
Mom: Me either. But I cooked ‘cause I needed something to do.
Mom: I’ll be home late from work tonight.
Mom: You’ll have to make yourself dinner.
Mom: Which one do you think will be good?
Me: Maybe we should ask Joe. I don’t know what kind of casket he wanted.
Mom: Me either.
Me thinking: Obviously. Me saying: Just go with that one.
Mom: The gray one?
We knew that if we had tried to conduct a civil conversation that normally existed between mothers and daughters that it would turn into a shouting match. And we were both tired of shouting. We were both tired in general. Tired of everything.
The anger I feel towards Viktor Dwelling only grew during the week and was now at its highest point. It made my head hurt even more and my stomach rumble painfully to add to the pain in my heart. I couldn’t believe that man had any reason to kill my father and I longed to figure it out. I wanted to ask Uncle Joe first.
Now, today, I’d have the chance.
“Eryn, it’s time to get ready,” my mom said through the door in my room.
“Okay.” I lied in bed awake all night, thinking about Dwelling. Thinking about him dead or in pain and locked up for the rest of his sorry life. And now it was morning. Saturday. The day of my dad’s funeral.
I showered, wondering who in the world came up with funerals and why everyone finds it necessary to have one when a loved one dies. Why do I have to go somewhere to grieve my father in public, with the whole family watching? Why can’t I just bury him alone, talk to him alone, cry alone, be alone? Why do people who didn’t even know him have to come and grieve like they knew him better than I did? Why do I have to stand for hours, wearing ugly black clothes, listening to people telling me how sorry they are and that it’ll just take time and everything will be okay and be swarmed with hugs and hold my breath to stop from crying and listen to a pastor say how God knew that it was his time and that it’s God’s will and that God chose and that it’ll be okay and that everything’s fine and that it’ll take time to grieve and feel free to grieve because you should do it on your own terms and acceptance and faith and grief and talking. Oh, yes, talking, don’t forget to talk to someone about your grief because they’re probably grieving too so why not grieve together. Start a grief group, why not, because that will help you accept that he’s dead.
Damn it. I was crying again and my mascara’s ran. I didn’t know why I had bothered to put any on if I was just going to cry it off anyway. That’s the thing with funerals. You put makeup on and then it comes off. What a waste of perfectly luscious Covergirl.
I looked at myself in the mirror after I finished wiping off my mascara. I decided on no makeup and proceeded down the stairs. My mother and Joe sat at the table. My mother, looking slim and widow-like in her long black dress, holding a tissue to her face. My uncle, as always looking like his brother did, only in pain, not crying, but grieving nonetheless. I tried to swallow but the lump still remained.
“Morning,” Joe said, trying to hide the weakness in his voice. “If you’re ready then we need to go to set up. Some of it is already done.”
“I’m ready,” I said as powerfully as I could. If Joe could try to hide it, so could I. We left then and arrived at the funeral home following a silent car ride. I opened the doors for my mom and Joe and turned on the lights. I saw it then. The casket.
I now understood that when Joe said that some of it was already done, he meant that my dad’s body was already here, because he never wanted a big funeral procession.
The casket was closed. I tried to swallow again, realizing it was closed because they couldn’t clean him up enough. I pictured the hole in his chest, and my stomach flipped.
“The video is right here, Eryn, if you could put it in the TV,” Joe said behind me. He handed me a DVD.
“What video?” I asked. I didn’t recall hearing about any video. I just knew about the poster board that my mom was currently setting up.
“I suggest you watch it now.” Joe attempted a smile and nodded towards the TV.
I speed walked to the TV next to the table of memories and stuck the DVD inside. A scene from years ago popped up.
I looked about four-years-old and my dad held the camera and my mom was in the picture with me.
“So…Jaklyn…tell Daddy what you’re going to be when you grow up,” my dad said, his voice a bit robotic from the poor sound quality. He was the only one to call me by my full name.
The younger me looked thoughtfully at the camera, as if I actually had to think of my answer. “Daddy, I gonna be a FBI agent.” I cocked my head to the side and my long black hair touched the ground.
“Oh, for God’s sake, Harvey-”My mom began. She was busy reading, her reading glasses perched at the end of her nose. My dad told her to shush playfully. He sounded so happy.
As my dad said, “Why do you want to be an FBI agent?” the current me began to sob uncontrollably. I tried to stay quiet as my mom joined me.
“Oh, why this one?” she wondered just as little me answered my dad with, “Daddy, I wanna potect Amer…Am…” I struggled with the word ‘Americans’.
“’Americans’ you mean, darling?”
“How are you going to do that?”
“I say to da bad guys, ‘you under arrest’ and den put dem in jail. Just like you, Daddy.” I smiled, positively thrilled with my answer.
My dad laughed. I missed that laugh. “Just like me, Jaklyn?”
“Yeah, Daddy. Now, come play cops and robbers!” I reached for him and pulled him.
“Jaklyn, I’m still recording, darling!” I heard him frantically looking for the off button. “How do you turn this thing off?”
“The same button you used to turn in on, Harvey,” my mom said, rolling her eyes.
“Oh, right.” I continued pulling on him. “I’m coming, I’m coming.” Then, the segment stopped and moved on to another family memory when we were all together.
I covered my mouth with my hand, trying to stop crying. I vaguely remembered quite a few of these scenes. Joe placed a hand on my shoulder and watched the rest with me, but my mother walked away.
Eventually the home videos repeated and we moved to set up. I splashed water on my face in the bathroom, in another attempt to pull myself together. So much trying. All Joe and I were doing was trying and trying and trying. The pastor arrived and helped us with the flowers and such. He offered my mom hugs and guidance. Joe and I ignored him. We were both thinking the same thing.
Neil arrived not dressed in black. He asked about what he should wear yesterday at school and I told him that my dad wouldn’t have wanted him to be dressed in black. I said that my dad wouldn’t think it right and he would much rather laugh at what colors and patterns he decided to wear. A yellow and white checkered sweater seemed not only appropriate, but necessary then along with his yellow skinny jeans and converse.
He shook his head and walked towards me. He opened his arms and I collapsed in them, sniffing his cologne. Concentrating on that because I refused to cry anymore.
“Thanks for coming,” I said and pulled back from the embrace slightly.
“’Tis my duty, sweetie.” He took my face in his hands and wiped under my eyes even though I already wiped my tears away. I saw someone over his shoulder.
Tanya. My ex-best friend.
I dropped my arms and gently pushed Neil away to the right.
She too shook her head and ran, throwing her arms around me. I didn’t know what to do so I didn’t do anything. I just stood there with my arm at my side. Neil smiled behind me, nodding. He brought her here. I narrowed my eyes at him.
“Oh, Eryn, I’m so sorry. God, I’m such a bitch, I’m sorry.”
“For what?” I asked her, confused.
“For just…for abandoning you last year. God…I’m so stupid.”
“Tanya, that was last year.”
“Don’t worry about that now.” I shot Neil a baffled look.
“I just…I feel bad that I haven’t been there for you.”
I pulled back. I didn’t want to fight today, but this was something I had to say. “Tanya, you don’t need to feel bad about that just because my dad died. If you feel bad for me, at least feel bad for me because my dad is dead and I have one arm. Not because of guilt that came too late.”
She dropped her arms. “I’m sorry.”
“It’s okay. I just want to make that clear. What’s done is done.” I gave Neil the look as if to say that we would talk later and he nodded.
The visitation lasted too long. I stood next to my dad, who I had yet to really look at even though I couldn’t see his face. I constantly received hugs from family and friends. People I didn’t know. The entire D.C. field office seemed to be there. The Special Agent-In Charge told me how good of a man my dad was and I nodded in agreement, as if that was something I didn’t know.
Then, funeral time. Most of the random people that were here were gone now. The uniformed FBI agents and analysts take their seats. All of them. Oh, Dad, if you could only see this. They’re all here for you. It’s funny to think they’ve postponed solving cases for you. See, Dad? It’s only right that I admired you. Still do…
I took my seat next to Neil in the front row as my uncle stood to give his speech. He squirmed uneasily and moved his tie. “Uh…thank you all for coming. My brother would have greatly appreciated all of your support and loyalty.” He nodded towards his colleagues. “Last night…” he paused. “I was thinking about what I was going to say. I thought about writing it down and then it dawned on me that…I don’t need a piece of paper, I don’t need a written speech to be able to talk about my brother. So I’ve decided to just wing it and hope that Harvey doesn’t hate me for it.” I heard half-hearted chuckles from some of the audience members.
“My brother. God, my brother…he was the greatest man I knew. I remember that when we were young I always looked up to him. I listened to everything he said. I think…he even took advantage of me sometimes with that.” He laughed. “But all in good fun I know…I longed to be him. I followed him around and begged him to play with me, at least according to my mother.” He gestured to the other side of me. My grandmother sat there. She smiled slightly in remembrance. I took her hand and wiped tears from her eyes. “When my brother informed us all that he was going to be in the FBI, I immediately decided that I was going to too. Granted I was five at the time. The idea stuck with both of us, however, and here we all are.” He nodded to his friends. “He told me when he was leaving to be on his own he told me that when he became a detective he was going to wait for me so we could be partners for four years. I needed work experience before applying to the FBI and he waited for me. After working together as partners for four years we both applied at the same time, requesting each other as partners. We went to the academy together, passed together, and got jobs together.” Joe stopped to clear his throat. I could tell that he was trying not to cry. Again. “He was not only my older brother, but my best friend, and my partner.” He turned to look at my dad. “Harvey, you’re the best. I love you.” He covered his eyes with his hands and pinched his eyes together.
Special Agent-in charge, Wilson came up next and helped Joe to his seat like a child. He took his seat next to his mom and she put her arm around him.
“I would like all of you to know that it was I who hired Holmes brothers here.” People laughed again. “I had no doubt about their talent from the beginning. There wasn’t a case that they couldn’t solve together. That’s why I put them on Organized Crime. Harvey was an amazing agent…”
Wilson finished speaking and the pastor came up next. I ignored every word he says. Like I said before, he talked about God’s will and choice and acceptance and time and grieving and my head was going to explode due to the load of bullshit coming out of his mouth.
I hugged more people when everything ended. I almost didn’t realize we left for the burial.
“Wait!” I said. I needed to see him…one last time. The funeral people moved and gave me privacy.
“You clean up nicely, Dad,” I told him even though I couldn’t see him. “I hope your casket is okay.” I spoke like he could hear me. Like he was just sleeping. “Mom and I didn’t know what you wanted. Joe was working on the headstone things so we went to get…it, I guess.” Very casual conversation.
“Dad, why did you leave me?” I choked. I put my hand on top of the casket and shook it.
He didn’t answer.
“Dad, I’m talking to you. Why? Why are you dead? Come back.”
The machine lowered him into the ground. My mom and Grandma sobbed irrepressibly together even though my grandmother hated my mom with a passion. They hold each other. Joe and I just stood there, trying to stay on our feet. Trying again to stay up.
I stared at the headstone. Harvey Jacob Ingvar- Loving brother, husband, and father. Loyal FBI Agent for 17 years. He had the FBI seal carved into the marble. The Fidelity, Bravery, Integrity motto under it.
He’s gone. He’s in the ground. I couldn’t see his casket anymore. I thought about him not being able to get out. What if he can’t breathe in there?
He’s dead, Eryn. He’s dead.
“Joe?” I mumbled over the sobs.
“Yes?” He said just as quietly.
“I need to talk to you. Privately.”
“Now?” he asked. We were both still staring at my dad.
“I’d prefer that, yes.”
“Okay. I’ll get a word in with my brother later. Come on.” He followed him.
He waited until we’re away from the women to ask, “What’s this about?”
I hesitated, thinking about how to say it. “It’s about my dad and the accident.”
He looked at me. Finally I just decided to tell him. I told him everything that I saw that night. I told him about how I didn’t remember seeing lights or hearing wheels. I told him that my brain was so foggy after the accident that I couldn’t remember any of it until that night I actually slept. His face changed from confused and pained to disbelieving and pained.
“No, Eryn. Why would Viktor want to kill him?”
“Well, haven’t you heard of him? You must have had a case with him or something.” I was worried now. He didn’t believe me.
“I haven’t, Eryn. We didn’t have a case with him.”
“Then a family member or something? A friend, anything?”
“Then…he’s using an alias or something! Joe, I know what I saw!”
“I can’t just believe your word, Eryn. I need evidence for something like this.”
“Then, let’s get some!” I threw up my hand.
Joe shook his head. “Eryn, you made a mistake. It was a two-way stop. You were supposed to wait for the traffic from the right side before you went. And you didn’t.”
“Eryn, it’s done. You made a mistake. We’re all accepting that. Everyone but you.”
“Leave it, Eryn! I can’t handle this crap right now!” He stalked off.
He didn’t believe me. Fine.
I ran. I kept running until I reached my house. No one noticed me leave. I entered my dad’s office and opened his laptop. I turned it on and his FBI log in showed up. I knew I’d need help with this. I typed H. Ingvar for the username and dialed Neil’s number.
“Hello, Eryn. If you’re mad about Tanya, you should know that she called me and asked when the funeral was. She really wanted to support you and your family.”
“Just forget about that, Neil. I forgive you. I don’t care. It was nice of her to come.”
“Wow,” he said, “are you feeling alright?” Clearly, I was not usually this pleasant.
“Yeah, Neil, listen. Can you get me that number of your ex-boyfriend, the one you had during your bad boy phase?”
“Why, you wanna turn him in?” I heard him chuckle.
“No, it’s not that. I just…I need his number.”
He laughed again. “You do know that he’s gay right? I didn’t date him for long, but he is most definitely homosexual. I had him on my gaydar the moment I met him.”
“Neil, that’s not why I need it okay. Just, please give me the number.”
“What’s this about, Eryn?” He turned serious.
“Nothing. Please Neil.”
“You’re up to something, but fine. Let me find it.” He gave me the number. I thanked him quickly and hung up before he could question me farther.
I called the number.
“Hello, um…sorry. This is Eryn Ingvar. Neil Cameron’s best friend.”
“Uh…right…I remember you. What’s up?”
“I could really use your help on something.”
“Okay. What about?”
“I need a password.” I paused. “For my father’s FBI account.”
He laughed. “You’re not serious, right?”
“Unfortunately, I’m perfectly serious. Can you do that?”
“Yes, I think so, but…really? I could get in huge trouble for this. I mean, the likelihood I would get caught is slim since you’re already on the database, but still.”
There was a pause. “Oh…alright. I guess I’ll try. Neil’s a good guy. Too good for me. But since you’re his friend and you defended us loads of times…you have payment?” I figured he wasn’t going to lose sight of the important things.
“Yeah, I’ll pay you. I know their passwords are letters and numbers, but I don’t really know how to figure out my dad’s.”
“Try…” he thought. “Hang on a minute.” I heard him typing away on the computer.
“Okay, I may have something. Try ‘G’, then double ‘3’ and ‘8’ and ‘A’ and a lowercase ‘y’.”
“Okay, hang on.” I waited five minutes. I didn’t know the whereabouts of my mother. I hadn’t heard the door yet.
“I got something,” he answered. “Okay. Now, do ‘7VMN983k’.”
Bingo. “Thanks so much! It worked.”
“Okay, is that all?”
“Yeah. Thanks a bunch.” I hung up, too excited to stay on the phone. I was lucky that his account was still up and running. They’d be destroying it soon.
I found the database and typed in the name Dwelling. It took me awhile to type, which only heightened the anger inside me. I was convinced that this had something to do with a family member of his. I sifted through the names until I came across an Alexander Dwelling. His brother’s name-Viktor Dwelling. Exactly. Alexander was accused of drug and sex trafficking. This was what I was looking for. Status: dead. Died in prison.
Yes! I found my dad’s case files. I heard the front door open.
“Eryn?” It’s my mom.
I raced to find the case file, to be sure that it was my father who put him in prison. He did. I maximized the other window to see where Dwelling lived. Charlottesville, Virginia. The pulsing anger in my veins at Viktor caused my heart beat to speed up.
I knew why he killed my dad.
He had to be back home now. He had minor injuries of course so he must have ditched shortly after the accident. I read his place of employment and exited out of everything. I shut off the computer and opened my dad’s drawer, where he always kept his gun. I grabbed it and hid it under my shirt just in time for my mother to walk in.
“Eryn, what are you doing?”
“I’m going over to Neil’s. He wants me to sleepover. I’m going to have to go pack some stuff.”
“Okay.” She still looked suspicious, but I pushed past her without further questions.
If Uncle Joe isn’t going to help me, no one will. I have to go find him myself and bring him back to Joe.
Fidelity. Bravery. Integrity.