I was well aware that my life was chock-full of irony. I just didn’t appreciate it.
Sebastian began to pull on his coat again. “No,” I said. “The cops don’t want us out there. They’ll come to us when they’re ready.” I could hear the defeat in my own voice. Sebastian must have heard it too. He paused, eyes searching my face, then shrugged off his coat and sat.
And there we waited in companionable silence for nearly twenty minutes. That was just fine by me. I didn’t want to continue the ‘conversation’ my mother and I started earlier and I didn’t want to issue a comment on my reaction to the detectives. It was a double relief that my mother sat, clutching her coffee cup to her chest and peering into the gleaming whiteness of the backyard, not speaking. Apparently she was more worried about the bones in her backyard than me accusing her of killing Dad.
It was nearly 745am when the detectives knocked on the backdoor. During the waiting, I had pondered an escape, any number of excuses, but they all seems futile. The cops would find me eventually. While I was pretty good at finding dead people, I was not so good at hiding the live ones.
Detective Stevenson was the first one in the kitchen. It had been two years, but his angry voice still stung my ears: “Because of your interference, all the evidence I sweated to collect over the past six months is now inadmissible.” It hadn’t mattered that we — I — had found the dead guy, and subsequently, the bad guy. My insatiable bone-hounding instincts had got me burned. Big time. Since then, I’d steered clear of helping the local Search and Rescue group and I’d also refrained from teaching cops how to search for and recognize bone in outdoor settings. I just couldn’t bare to face another cop knowing how badly I’d screwed up. Yes, that Ph.D. in Dublin looked better and better all the time.
But now here we were. Stevenson was back on my turf, literally, and there was nowhere I could hide. “Elise,” he nodded in my direction without looking at me.
“Mrs. Marquette, may we sit down?” And suddenly the small breakfast nook was full. It hadn’t held this many people since my childhood. Unless my status-mongering mother had the ladies who lunch over for tea.
Sebastian dished out coffee. I had been so intent on avoiding Stevenson’s eyes, I hadn’t noticed his new partner. I couldn’t miss him now. He was sitting directly across from me. Looking at me. And, frankly, I didn’t want to miss him. He had ice blue eyes. Black hair. Strong aquiline nose. And when he smirked, as he was now, at me, his cheeks formed apples.
He was Ireland staring me in the face.
Okay, so my life was fucked up. My mother hated me and drove my father to an early, heart-breaking grave. I was in a job I hated; I would rather caress a dead person’s bones than pick rocks and talk to live people. I’d FUBARed the only local and immediate professional avenue of being around dead people. And all I could think about were the blue eyes in front of me.
I snapped out of my reverie and looked around the table. Stevenson was looking at me. Deadpan straight. Shit. There was a pause as he, no doubt, re-evaluated if he should throw me into the city jail just for kicks and satisfaction. Then he tried again, “Did you contact anyone regarding the remains?”
“No.” I tried with every ounce of moral fibre to convey in that one word that I would never, NEVER even come close to compromising an investigation again.
“Did you contact anyone after you’d discovered the remains?” Stevenson was unrelenting and he had every right to be.
“Yes.” His eyebrows rose and I could see the steam coming from his ears. I continued, “I left a message for my boss stating I would be late getting in.”
Stevenson’s brown eyes drilled into me. I could feel my family’s eyes on us. I tried not to think about the blue-eyed detective across from me, who was now leaning back in his chair very conspicuously playing the good cop role in this stressed cop / laid-back cop scenario.
Finally, Stevenson broke his glare. “Thank you for your cooperation, Mrs. Marquette. There will be a a team here later today to begin excavation of the remains. Hopefully it won’t take long. I’m sorry for any inconvenience. Please call if you have any concerns.” Stevenson slid his card to my mother then pushed back his chair and made a bee-line for the back door.
Sebbie started to lean toward me, a question on his lips, when the blue-eyed detective stopped and turned back to me. “Ray Donoghue,” he held out his hand to me. I shook it. “He’s getting over it. Really.” Then Ray put his card on the table in front of me and left.
Sebbie exploded, “What the hell was that about?”
Then my mother decided to chime in, “Even the police don’t like you, Elise. What have you done?”
God, my life was fucked up.