Makeup and Murder

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Chapter 26

The morning after the attack, Dixie called a taxi and headed to the police department. She was feeling anxious and was worried that she might be facing charges. If that was the way that it was going to play out, she had prepared for it.

Once she was at the station, she went to Harlan’s office, which was small and incredibly neat. She had pictured him working in an office piled high with file folders and a desk calendar with coffee stains. Instead, the desk had a basket with file folders neatly piled in it, a nameplate arranged perfectly on the desk, and a jar of jelly beans placed next to a multi-line phone.

Dixie tapped on the open glass door, and Harlan looked up at her. He gave her a courteous smile and invited her to sit down.

“Hello Dixie,” he began in an awkward, yet cordial way. “I’m glad to see you. We’ll do the interview down the hall where it is quiet.” He searched a drawer in his desk before picking up a small voice recorder and urged her out the door. He then led her down a hallway and into an interview room.

The two-way window in the room made her uncomfortable. She wondered who might be on the other side watching her.

“We’re going to record the interview Just think of this as a conversation about what happened yesterday,” he said as he set up the recorder and the video camera.

The room had a slight chill to it, and Dixie involuntarily shivered. If someone had told her a year ago that she would be facing a police inquisition for shooting a woman that she barely knew, she would have laughed. Today, the situation was no laughing matter. The large, round metal rings attached to the wall reminded her that some of the people who came into that room were wearing shackles for their interview.

Harlan began by asking her about the events that led up to the attack in the cabin and why she shot her attacker. What he couldn’t figure out was how Paulina had found her at the lake house. He was reasonably sure that none of his fellow officers had spoken about the location.

“Can’t you think of any way that Paulina would have found you?” Harlan asked. He thought that if he just pushed her hard enough, she would remember something.

“No, I can’t. Honestly, I wouldn’t have tipped off someone who wanted to kill me!” Dixie said, feeling exasperated.

“How well did you know Paulina?” Harlan asked.

“I barely knew her. I had homeroom with her in high school, and that is about it. She accused me of stealing her boyfriend, but I never stole anyone’s boyfriend. She also accused me of taking her job away from her,” Dixie replied.

“Did you work with her?” Harlan asked.

“Not exactly. Paulina was a Beauty Maven representative a while ago, but last I heard she had quit and moved on to a computer programming job at the college. I picked up a few of her customers,” Dixie replied.

The interview lasted longer than Dixie had expected, and it ended with her signing a statement outlining the events leading up to the shooting.

“If you think of anything else, no matter how silly or unimportant that you think it is, give me a call,” Harlan said with a hard edge to his voice.

“Alright,” Dixie replied, looking into Harlan’s eyes. “Am I being charged with anything?”

“No, not today,” he replied, looking down at his shoes before he showed her to the door that led to the waiting area.

She was confused and wondered if she had imagined the attraction between them. She began to doubt that there was anything between them at all.

As she walked out into the waiting area, she didn’t bother looking back. The interview had made her feel like a criminal. Even though she wasn’t being charged with anything, she had the impression that if Paulina didn’t make it she might be charged with murder.

Harlan watched her leave and instantly felt regret. Maybe it was for the best, he thought. Unfortunately, he felt a twinge in his chest, reminding him that Dixie meant more to him than that. She had become a friend.

When he got back to his desk, Harlan sat down and listened to the recorded interview. There was only one thing left to do now: question Paulina. If she was able to talk, he had to find out why she was hell bent on killing Dixie, and why a little old lady had to die too?

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