Officer Boyce and Officer Wiley made it to Paige’s home right away. They summoned a couple more officers that regularly patrolled the District.
They were Officer Nelson and Officer Green. The four officers stood on Paige’s property. She ran to the door.
“Who is it?” She breathlessly demanded.
“It’s Officer Boyce.”
“And Officer Wiley, Ms. Williams.”
Paige opened the door and saw the four officers standing on the porch. Then her parents and Steven quickly pulled up in the driveway. Edward didn’t bother to drive his ride in the garage.
“Good backup,” Paige muttered.
“Are you alright, Ms. Williams? You said that someone tried to kill you. Can you tell us what happened?” Officer Boyce sat down beside Officer Wiley.
Before Paige could answer the officer’s questions, her parents interrupted.
“Paige, your father, brother, and I got your voice messages. We were together talking with your brother’s doctor. Steven has been suffering from PTSD after coming home from the military and your father and I wanted to show him some support.”
“We’re sorry that we didn’t get to you but we’re here now honey,” Edward hugged her.
Jude followed up with a bear hug of her own.
Steven sat down in a La-Z-Boy and stared at Paige like the officers did. Jude and Edward sat down on the sofa. Officer Nelson and Officer Green sat down in chairs across from Paige.
“I’m alright, everyone, especially since you all are here with me,” Paige sighed deeply and went on. “As I told you earlier, people have been harassing me. They have been calling and texting horrible threats, cursing me out, using sexist language about me. I already sent the evidence to you. There’s more. It’s on my phone. There are a gazillion voice messages, texts, emails. I’ve been blocking the numbers. When I was walking home, a new black Lexus followed me and then this person shot in the air and a dead squirrel fell out of a tree,” Paige cried, she felt a little nervous and was still shook up.
“Oh my God! You don’t need to walk home alone again, Paige,” Jude remarked.
“I know that was dangerous. You could have been seriously hurt or killed,” Edward agreed.
“That must have been a warning shot,” Officer Green said.
“Yeah, the next time Paige might not be so lucky,” Steven stated.
“Yeah, we saw the dead squirrel on the ground,” Officer Nelson said.
“Can you remember anything else about the car or driver?” Officer Boyce asked.
“No, the windows were heavily tinted. I didn’t see the driver. When they rolled down the window and shot up near me all I remember is a dark pistol then I ran into the house, locked the door, and called y’all.”
“Have you seen the car around here before, Ms. Paige?” Officer Wiley nodded.
Paige glanced out the windows and saw the officers’ cruisers in the driveway. “No, not that I’m aware of.”
“Officer, there are so many luxury vehicles that a vehicle like that doesn’t stand out around here,” Edward remarked.
“Was it a two-door or four-door?” Officer Nelson asked.
They all were taking notes.
“It was a four-door.”
“Did you recognize the voices over the phone or see any familiar texts?” Officer Green asked.
Paige thought for a moment. “No, the voices didn’t sound familiar. It didn’t sound like Zack. For all I know he could have got somebody else to do his dirty work.”
“We need Paige to talk to our sketch artist down at the precinct,” Officer Boyce said.
“When do you need Paige to do this?” Edward asked.
“We would like to come with Paige,” Jude demanded.
“Of course, you both can come. We would need it done ASAP. The sooner, the better,” Officer Boyce answered.
“We would have officers observing your property here. Marked and unmarked patrols will take turns and staking out your house, the neighborhood, etc,” Officer Wiley added.
“My family is terrified, Officer. What if this suspect comes back and tries to hurt or kill us? Should we stay somewhere else? We have another property that we can stay until all of this mess is sorted out,” Jude remarked.
“Well, it’s up to you all. If you feel that it would be safer,” Officer Wiley nodded.
“We are going to collect the evidence outside, the dead squirrel, analyze the bullet that killed the squirrel, any shell casings that the shooter may have left behind, the tire tracks on the streets,” Officer Boyce informed them.
The officers got up and move toward the door.
“I can come to the precinct tomorrow to talk to the sketch artist. I am tired and too worked up now,” Paige replied.
Officer Boyce nodded. “That’s fine, Paige. You already have my business card and if you remember anything else, let us know.”
Paige returned the nod. “Of course.”
“We are going to be staying in our apartment townhouse a few blocks from here. At least until everything cools down and when you arrest the suspect,” Edward said.
“Be sure to call us if anything else happens.”
“Thank you for your time and letting us know about this.”
The officers stepped outside. They collected evidence and called their CSU investigators to help gather everything from the crime scene. Paige could see neighbors watching their house and the officers outside. Paige followed her family on the porch. The neighbors’ conversations were floating in the air.
“Who was that shooting..?”
“It’s hard to believe that someone was shooting in this neighborhood. I haven’t heard a gunshot in many, many years.”
“Edward, Jude, you are alright? How are your children Paige and Steven doing?”
“What are the cops doing over here in the District? This is a peaceful and very quiet suburb. It’s not like those other horrible neighborhoods where people get shot and killed all day, every day. It’s a disgrace.”
That evening, Paige and her family had a dinner of barbeque ribs, salad, buttered rolls, grilled vegetables, peach, vanilla ice cream, and fruit juice. They all cleaned up when they were finished. Paige wished Steven a speedy recovery.
He griped about beating up Zack again if he were to come near her. Paige went to her bedroom and laid down in her bed. Her iPhone rang.
She looked at the caller id and saw the name Cain Richardson. Paige was taken aback. She wondered why Zack’s friend Cain was calling her. Should I answer it? I know Cain is the nice one but, she thought.
“Hello, may I speak to Paige?”
“This is Paige.”
“Hi, Paige. This is Cain Richardson. Zack’s friend. I asked him if I could talk to you about everything that’s happened. Is that okay?”
“Uh, yes. How did you get my number?” Did Zack give it to him, Paige wondered.
“Zack gave it to me. I hope that is okay with you. I want to let you know that I’m not calling to bite your head off. You seem to be a nice, sweet girl.”
“I am, thanks, Cain.”
“You’re welcome, sweetheart. I just want to tell you a few things, Zack is a great guy. After Camille died, her death changed him. It’s like he became a better person, a renewed Zack. We Go-Getters have been knowing each other our entire lives.”
“I see, I didn’t know that.”
“Yes, Zack loves you, Paige, he’s in love with you. He wanted to call you but wasn’t sure if he should do so.”
“I wanted to call him too but after everything that’s happened, my family being angry, I wasn’t sure if I should either. I was like if Zack is interested in calling me—he would have done it.”
“I understand. I know it’s not my business but did you suffer a tragedy? Did Zack remind you of it, you know, did he triggered something from your past?”
“I know what you’re asking. You mean was I raped in my past and maybe Zack triggered it. No, I wasn’t. I was a virgin when we slept together that night. I wanted to wait until I was married before I became intimate with my future husband. We got so drunk that I couldn’t remember everything that happened that night.”
“Okay, are any memories coming back to you now? I don’t want to upset you. My girlfriend Shanice and I was worried about what happened because you didn’t seem the type to falsely accused someone of rape.”
“You’re right. I’m not the type of person to do that. Since I couldn’t remember what happened, I thought for sure that he raped me. I mean he kept on persisting that I drink some whiskey with him. I shouldn’t have drunk the whiskey,” Paige sniffed and wiped away tears before they fell.
“I believe you. You’re right, Zack shouldn’t have done that. I’m sorry that you experienced all of this.”
“Thank you. I just thought about something. You’re not recording this conversation, are you?”
“No, I would never do that. This conversation is private between us.”
Paige sighed deeply. “Thanks”
Paige nodded. Suddenly, a vision flashed into her mind. It was a memory from that fateful night. Bits and pieces from that night were coming together.
She closed her eyes. Paige saw herself and Zack laughing. Kissing and touching each other. Then she was drinking the whiskey. Zack drank some too.
Then they became undressed. She didn’t hear herself say no or push Zack away. Instead, Paige smiled and flirted back. Then the memory was gone.
“Paige? Are you still there? Are you alright?” Cain’s voice interrupted her vision.
“Yeah, I’m still here.”
“What was it?”
“I had a vision. A memory from that night, just a little.”
“Oh, what was it? Did it help you to remember what happened?”
“No, not enough. It was only bits and pieces. Zack and I were drinking, kissing, making out. I looked to be enjoying it, I think. Please don’t tell him or anyone. When it all comes back to me and it will, I want to be the one to tell him.”
“I wasn’t planning on telling him or anyone else. As I told you earlier, this conversation is private between us.”
“Cain, I have to go. I have to process what I just envisioned.”
“Yeah, of course. Shanice would also like to speak with you whenever you get time.”
“Sure, I’ll call her.”
“Thank you for speaking to me.”
“No problem. I needed someone to confide in. People might think I’m crazy for confiding in my ex-boyfriend’s friend, like what if he recorded this and tell Zack then Zack tell the police about this conversation.”
“I know people will think that but we shouldn’t care what they think. I hope it all comes back to you. It was a pleasure talking to you, Paige.”
“Yeah, same here, Cain.”
The following morning, Paige went with her parents to the police precinct to assist with the sketch of the assailant in the black car that tried to kill her.
The officers especially Officer Boyce and Officer Wiley were nice and helpful. Chief Winters was still unavailable. Paige didn’t want to see him anyway especially after watching that disgusting viral interrogation he did with Porsha.
Paige had planned to go to a slumber party with Danielle and Crystal later in the day. It was going to be over at Danielle’s house.
Her parents were going to celebrate their twenty-first anniversary. They were going to spend the night at their luxury condo and a bed and breakfast in the morning.
Danielle didn’t want to be alone so she invited Paige and Crystal to spend the night.
“You feel better, honey?” Jude looked at Paige.
“Yeah, I’m good, Mom. I’m glad I got that out of the way. That police precinct was depressing even though the cops that talk to me were friendly.”
Edward glanced at Paige in the rearview mirror. “I’m glad you feel good, babe. I got to go to work this afternoon. I’m going to visit Chad and have a little chat with him.”
“Oh, sweetie, be careful. You think that would work? I don’t want y’all to get the arguing or fighting and he called the cops on you. Are you going to his company?”
“Yes, I’m going to the New Black Wall Street.”
“Daddy, what are y’all going to talk about?” Paige nervously asked.
“You and Zack. I’m going to tell him to tell his son and his friends to stop harassing and threatening you. That clown could have killed you. I know Chad knows who did it.”
Paige and her parents went inside their townhome. They decided to stay there until the suspect that shot at Paige was arrested. Steven was looking out the window and drinking his morning coffee.
“How are you feeling, son?”
“I’m aight, Dad.”
“Good. I wanted to let you know that I was in the military and did a couple of tours back in the day when you and your sister were young. I suffered from PTSD too and it took me a while to get over it. Even though that was a lifetime ago, a little something from my military days is still with me today. I know how it is. If you want to talk, I’m always available.”
Steven nodded. Edward touched his shoulder and went into his home office.
“Steven, Paige, if you need me I’ll be upstairs. I have a lot of calls to make,” Jude announced.
Paige, Danielle, and Crystal laughed loudly at inside jokes and silly memes.
“Cain seemed to be a cool guy. He was nice and we only spoke briefly,” Paige said.
“Was that appropriate for Cain to call you and ask questions?” Crystal asked, eating cherries.
“I guess. He was easy to talk to and wasn’t inappropriate at all.”
Crystal and Danielle nodded.
“So, your memory of that night is gradually coming back?” Danielle popped her bubble gum.
“Yeah, it’s coming back in bits and pieces. So far, nothing bad like Zack said. Before, I say anything I want to make sure that nothing inappropriate happened. I must have blackout the entire memory. I’ve exhausted everything that I could find on Google to help me remember.”
Paige, Danielle, and Crystal were lying in small beds in a guest room. They all wore gowns and were enjoying each other’s company. They ate tasty snacks. Everything homemade.
Paige got up. “I’ll be back I have to use the bathroom.” Her iPhone rang after she finished.
“Hey, Paige, it’s Zack. How are you?”
Paige was taken aback again. “I-I’m doing good. I’m surprised that you calling me.”
Paige sat down in a comfortable chair in the bathroom. She was going to talk to Zack right there because she didn’t want to talk in front of her friends.
Paige turned off the TV. She had briefly flipped the channels to see what was on but only saw news, sports, and reruns. Danielle’s family had a TV in every room including the bathroom.
“I hope you’re not mad that I gave Cain your number. I was a little cautious calling you and he suggested it only to help me out. What did y’all talk about?”
“I’m not mad. I understand. We only talk about you, my memories, he asked if I experienced abuse. I don’t want to go into detail. That’s about it. I want to keep our conversation private.”
“Well, Cain can keep a secret. Do you still think I raped you?”
Paige hesitated before replying. “I don’t know. Vague memories are coming to me. Sorry, hopefully, it will all come back to me. I hear what you are saying that you did not rape me but I want to remember on my own.”
“I didn’t. I would never.”
“Are you still pissed with me?”
Now it was Zack’s turn to hesitate.
“Maybe a little. I cooled down a lot. My parents aren’t getting along. My great aunt is very sick. She’s in the hospital and I’m going to visit her tomorrow. The doctors tell us that she is dying,” Zack sobbed.
“I’m sorry about that, Zack. I don’t know what to say.”
He sniffed. “Yeah, me neither. Look, I have to go. I’ll talk to you some other time.”
Paige took a deep breath and joined Danielle and Crystal in the guest room.
“You was gone for a minute, Paige,” Danielle said.
“Yeah, I was talking on the phone to Zack. He called me and we only talk briefly.”
“Really, are you serious?” Crystal’s eyes widened.
“Yeah, it was nothing much. I prefer to keep our conversation private like my conversation with Cain.”
“We understand, hon. If you want to talk, you know we are always there for you,” Danielle smiled.
Crystal smiled and winked at her. Paige smiled back at them.