I held her trembling hand as we pulled into the driveway of Inspector Ross.
"Ssh," I whispered to her, "He's the good guy." I pushed the simple white doorbell, and a resounding ding went off around us. A few minutes later, the familiar face of the detective appeared at the door.
"Hello," he greeted us. "You must be Briar." He smiled and stuck out his hand. Briar stared at it, and stood behind my leg.
"Sorry," I apologized. "She's a bit shy." He directed us through his lavish home to his study. He took a seat and waved to two chairs opposite him.
"So, Briar, my name is Inspector Ross. I'm trying to figure out who hurt you. I would like to ask you some questions. Will you help me?" She nodded slowly. "Good. Do you think that, if I showed you some pictures, you would be able to tell me who hurt you?" Another nod. "Very good. but first, I would like to ask you some questions about this man." He continued. "What did he look like? Did he have any distinguishable features?" She looked flustered. The inspector cleared his throat and began again. "What colour hair did he have?"
"Brown," she whispered. Ross made a note of this on his memo pad.
"What colour eyes did he have?"
"Blue," she said, this time a little louder.
"Did he have any hair on his face?" She touches the side of her face. "A beard?" She nods, and he jots this down, too.
"What else, Briar? Can you tell me anything else about him?" We look at her expectantly, and I see the first tear glisten and fall down her cheek. She runs from the room, and I follow her.
"I'm so sorry," I say breathlessly to Ross before leaving the room. I finally find her in the second floor bathroom. "What's wrong?" I ask, stroking her hair. I know that I am the only one she will allow to touch her, and this knowledge stays with me, strengthens me in the storm, if you will. She says nothing, as is usual for her, but it is in the things she does not say that I find my solace, it the wordless comfort of knowing each other so well that blankets us. For eleven years, she has been my everything, and though sometimes I resent her, I wouldn't trade my time with her for anything in the world.
It is sitting like this, her in my lap, my face buried in her hair, that Ross finds us a half an hour later.
"Sorry, I say, for the third time since we have been there. "Come on, sweetie. Let's go home now." I shake her gently awake when I see that she has fallen asleep. "We're going home," I repeat. We get up and she takes my hand again.
"Mummy," she says sleepily. She lifts her arms, a gesture that she wants to be carried from years ago. I take her in my arms and it bring backs memories of years ago, before any of this had ever happened. I take in the scent of her, and for a moment, I am able to believe that everything is going to be okay, someday.