Chapter 9 (A NORMAL life)
Seven-year old Nathan gave a yelp of pleasure and nearly jumped into Deric’s arms. He gave Deric a quick hug and then started to sniffle through the jacket’s pockets.
‘What you bring me?’ he asked eagerly. His big green eyes shone like two stars in a Karoo-night.
‘Absolutely nothing,’ Deric said, and pretend to whisper, ‘I’ll give it to you later otherwise mom will be cross with you, and more importantly, cross with me. I don’t mind her been cross with you, but I’m scared of her’ Deric hoped the face he pulled looked terrified and not comical.
Nathan looked at his mom and giggled. He kept his arms firmly round Deric’s neck. It was Friday and every Friday Deric brought him something chocolaty to eat.
For Deric it was, as always, an amazing feeling this gooey, marshmallow emotion that little Nathan evoked in him. He still can’t believe he had a family! Not too long ago he thought life had turned its back on him. This was too much to hope for only two years ago. He can nearly understood Brenda Blignaut’s obsession for revenge to some extent. Sometimes the fear of losing it all – like he had experienced before - wanted to strangle him. He wasn’t always so terrified of life’s little turmoil until cancer crossed his path and took Judy away. Mae tried to teach him to enjoy today and not to worry too much about tomorrow, for there’s nothing to gain by that or anything you can change, except to lose time that you could’ve spent with today’s joys. He was slowly getting there. But, sometimes that old fear took hold of his insides and wrung till he wanted to black out.
Mae was setting an example to him every day about enjoying the little things of now.
Her motto in life is: If it’s raining strawberry milkshake, look up and open your mouth! Tomorrow life may throw shit. Then you have to look down and find a way to get out of it. Life dealt what it wants to deal, and no-one and nothing can stop it from doing so. At the moment he was drinking in every last drop of strawberry-happiness and was so very thankful.
After Nathan’s bath- and bed-time ritual, Deric and Mae settled in on the sofa. The TV was blaring out some or other cookery program.
‘Anything new on the “Ice-Cream Club murders”?’ she asked from her nestled position under his arm.
’Aah, I see we’ve been talking to Monty.’ Deric gave a wry smile.
’No, not we,’ she said jokingly, ’I’ve talked to him, I have to keep tags on you mister, and Tisha and Tim are my informants – luckily I don’t have to pay them, they’re willing participants.’
She gave him an irresistible smile.
‘Well’ then you’ll know that “we’ve” came upon four suspicious deaths, which weren’t thought of as connected at the time they happened. No, let me rephrase that, there were questions asked but not too many for too long. No answers given. The suspicious deaths all had a quick and swift closing. We can link the ice-cream favour theme to all of them, because we’ve got the inside track on it via Brenda Blignaut herself. I also must admit, we’d have never known about it if she hadn’t told us. Or, at least, trying to tell me something. There were years and years between the murders, I doubt any investigator would’ve deemed it serial killings. All these deaths had gone down as accidents, taxi riots or suicides. We haven’t decided what to do with it yet, because they all seem to be solved and close. And really, we do not have any real concrete evidence except the words of this dying woman. We’ll wait it out before we decide upon action on these five-’
‘Five? You said four! I know about Chuba Jackson, Conrad Camphor and Kabelo Rogoba. Who’s four and five?’
’Oh, I thought we know everything.’ He kissed her on her head.
‘Well, I didn’t speak to Tisha or Tim today; we’re not that big of a “Gossip-club” as you imply.’ She inverted with her fingers.
‘A young woman named Gemma Saunders, way back in 1999. What seemed like a suicide at the time, turned out to be our fourth murder victim, or so we’ve concluded. And then there’s the boyfriend. We’re just not sure if he really did commit suicide or if he was helped. Not sure if we should count him as one of the victims or not.’
Mae sat up, ‘Gemma Saunders and Henry Plats!’ She said as she looked at Deric. ’I remember the case. I was but twenty at the time and had been in uniform back then. In those days I read up on, and followed every murder case possible. Wanted so bad to make Inspector, I tried to solve every case like a regular young Miss Maple or Jessica Fletcher. I’ve made little maps on paper with all the available clues, pestered anyone that had remotely something to do with it for information. I almost study some of them word for word after the trails and the conclusions. I just couldn’t get enough! Sometimes, I did brilliantly in my “investigations” and sometimes I missed the plot, or should that be the pot, utterly and completely.’
Deric pulled her closer to him, ‘Man, I bet you looked good in that uniform! Will you put it on for me sometime?’
‘Pervert!’ she said and gave a girlish giggle, ‘Anyway, I’m not sure it’ll fit me anymore.’
Deric lifted her face towards him and was amused to see a lovely blush spreading over her cheeks. He kissed her gently. Her eyes sparkled like diamonds.
’I can’t believe you’re the same shy little Captain that didn’t even know I was alive a year or so ago.’ She said dreamingly.
’Oh, he knew you were alive and absolutely beautiful, but he just didn’t have the courage or confidence to make a move. Thank you.’ he said softly.
‘For what?’ Mae asked softly.
‘For giving me a life again.’
‘You’re welcome.’ She smiled and kissed his hand.
It went all silent.
She put her glass on the table, ‘Feel like a shower?’
He wasn’t about to be invited twice.
“I feel it in my finger. I feel it in my toes…” Oh, yes, he does!
His eyes were closed but he smiled like the proverbial “Cheshire Cat”. They could both do with another shower, but for now they were just getting their breath back and enjoying a wonderful, silent moment. Mae’s beautiful, thick Mahogany hair was spread out on his chest and he could feel her heartbeat against him.
‘Are you sleeping?’ she asked softly.
‘Hmm, yes,’ he said, eyes closed.
‘The Gemma Saunders case’
Deric gave a groan, ‘No, not now, I’m sleeping, remember.’
’I just wanted to say, there is one thing that strike me as odd, I just couldn’t put my finger on it earlier, but now I remember. You said the girl from the hospital, you know, the one who called you, was a Mila Jordan…
Gemma Saunders’s attorney was a Nora Jordan.’
Deric sat up, wide awake.
‘What? Are you sure?’
‘Well, I’m ninety percent sure. I told you I nearly ate some off the cases for breakfast,’ she sat up, ‘you think there’ a connection.’
‘Could be, but it could also be just a co-incidence. However, I tend not to believe in co-incidences, as you may well know. I’ll look into it tomorrow, and I’ll think I’ll have another chat with miss Mila Jordan.’
‘Want some coffee?’
‘Yes, I’m not switching on any machine this time of night. Not even for YOU, my knight in…um…the nude.’