Between the Lines

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Chapter 18

“What would you think if I moved up here?” Kira asked quietly. She’d been spending many of her days off in Ashton, and Keeley had begun to suspect that things were not going well in her personal life. She’d hesitated to ask Kira what was going on, because although they had been best friends since high school, Kira was a very private person in many ways. Usually, she would end up confiding in Keeley, but sometimes it took awhile for her to open up about what was on her mind.

“I would absolutely love it, obviously.” Keeley hesitated a moment before asking quietly, “would Mitchell be moving here too?”

Kira shook her head. “No, just me.” Keeley waited for details, but none seemed to be forthcoming.

“You can stay with me, of course. What about work? You’re not going to commute to the city, are you?”

“No, Marci offered me a job as manager of It’s Magic. She doesn’t want to work for at least a few years after the baby’s born. I’ve never managed a store before, but I know all about the merchandise she sells, and Stacey and I get along well, so I think it’ll be okay. The salary isn’t huge, but it includes the apartment over the store, and I can offer tarot readings in the shop, which will hopefully boost my income.”

“Having you here will be great, and that job could not be more perfect for you. You’ll make a wonderful manager.” She waited a few seconds and then added “You know, if you want to talk about anything, now or anytime you feel ready, I’m here for you, right?"

“I know you are, and thanks. I will tell you, but I don't feel like talking about it right now.”

The day that Kira was moving to Ashton turned out to be the same day that Daniel’s friend, Bob Evans, was scheduled to begin work on the driveway. Keeley had talked to Bob previously, and she was confident that Daniel was familiar enough with her plans for the area that she didn't need to be there, so Keeley drove into the city to help Kira bring her belongings back. Like Keeley, Kira did not have a great many possessions, and the girls were able to cram everything she owned in the two cars. After packing everything up, Keeley took Kira for an early lunch at their favourite restaurant. It might be some time before they got back to the city, and Keeley thought her friend might need a little cheering up. She wasn’t entirely sure of Kira’s feelings over the recent breakup. Kira kept a lot to herself until she had processed it, and Keeley knew there was no point in trying to get her to talk until she was ready. She seemed cheerful and excited about her new job, but it was entirely possible she was hiding her hurt so that Keeley wouldn’t worry about her.

They enjoyed a leisurely lunch, and then got in their separate cars for the drive to Ashton. Once Kira’s boxes were all sitting in her furnished apartment, Keeley left her to put things away, and drove home. She was looking forward to seeing how much had been accomplished towards the parking and eventual garage construction. When she drove down the alley behind her house, she could see a police car in her driveway. Her heart started to pound, and she parked and got out of the car, running towards the three men standing near the garden shed. Daniel had seen her drive up, and broke away from the group to meet her. “I left you several messages. Why didn’t you call me back?”

“I was charging my phone and I forgot to take it when I left this morning. What’s wrong? Is someone hurt? Why are the police here?”

“Calm down. No one got hurt. Bob started to clear the yard with the bobcat, but he had to stop when he found some bones.”

“What do you mean, bones? What bones?”

“Keeley, they’re human bones. He called the police. They’re going to need to investigate before work can continue.”

The officer who had responded to Bob’s call had called the appropriate department who’s job it was to investigate these types of incidents. While he waited for a representative to arrive, he was busy stringing yellow police tape up around the yard. When that was completed, he came over to the group and spoke to Keeley, asking if she was the owner of the house, and taking down her name and contact details. A short while later, a van pulled up, and two people got out. The officer went over to speak to them. After what seemed like a long conversation to Keeley, they unloaded a box of supplies from the van, and the man went to work while the woman began filming the area.

The police officer had requested that Daniel and Bob, as well as Keeley, wait for the detective to arrive, so in the meantime, Keeley decided to go inside the house and make coffee for everyone. When she came out with the coffee, there was a white, unmarked car parked in the lane, and a man in civilian clothes was talking to the uniformed officer.

Keeley gave Daniel and Bob a cup of coffee, and poured one for herself. She wanted to offer coffee to the other men and the woman, but she was reluctant to walk over there. After a few moments, the latest arrival crossed to where she, Daniel and Bob were standing. She noticed he walked with a very slight limp. He was tall and looked like he could possibly be of Latino heritage. She waited for him to speak, almost expecting to hear an accent, but she was mistaken. He introduced himself as Detective Nathan McDonald. If he had any Latino blood, it must be on his mothers side, Keeley thought, then brought her attention back when she realized he’d asked her a question. In confusion, she asked him to repeat what he’d said, and although he looked at her questioningly, he did so calmly. Since he was asking if she was the owner of the property, which the other policeman had already asked, Keeley was unreasonably annoyed at him, although she had to admit she was probably just projecting the frustration and embarrassment she felt for making herself look stupid.

Keeley offered everyone coffee, which was eagerly accepted by all, and then sat on the porch waiting for her turn to be questioned. Detective McDonald had chosen to interview Bob first, then Daniel and Keeley last of all. She was holding Max on her lap, much to his displeasure. He clearly wanted to go over and investigate with the crime scene technicians, but of course they did not want him getting in their way, so Keeley had told him he could either sit on her lap, or else be confined inside. Whether or not he understood, and she thought he probably did, for now at least he was reluctantly going with option number one.

Bob had been interviewed, and had left to go home. He told Keeley to call him when the police would allow him to finish the job. Detective McDonald was interviewing Daniel in the yard, while Keeley watched from the porch, noting the contrast between the two men. They were both extremely easy on the eyes, but very different from each other. Daniel’s longish blond hair and blue eyes were in marked contrast to the detective’s darker complexion, dark brown hair and nearly black eyes. He was a couple of inches shorter than Daniel, and his shoulders were slightly broader. He looked to be several years older as well, but Keeley had been so inaccurate at guessing ages lately, that she couldn’t be certain. It may just be that the nature of a policeman’s job would make him look older, and harder, somehow. Just then he looked up, and Keeley quickly turned her head, mortified at being caught studying him. She got up, and went inside to make more coffee, taking Max with her to keep him from getting in the way of the technicians. Full cup in hand, she returned to the porch, carefully refraining from looking in the direction of Detective McDonald.

After he was finished being questioned by the detective, Daniel left for home, first asking if Keeley wanted him to stay with her. She shook her head, but thanked him for his thoughtfulness. Now it was her turn to be questioned.

Detective McDonald climbed the few stairs to the porch, and sat down in the adirondack chair beside where Keeley was sitting. She had noticed again that he favoured one leg as he climbed the stairs. She wondered what had happened to him. If Claire and Lily knew him, they would no doubt have all the details of how the injury had occurred. I’m getting to be as much of a gossip as they are, Keeley scolded herself. This is none of my business, and anyway, I seem to have a lot more pressing things to worry about right now!

Before she could prevent him, Max had leapt down from her lap and gone over to sniff at the detectives shoes. He laughed and scratched the cat’s ears.

“If he’s bothering you, I can put him inside,” Keeley offered.

“He’s okay. I like cats. What’s his name?”

Keeley told him, and he gave Max one last scratch before taking a notebook and pen out of his pocket, and starting to question Keeley. There wasn’t much she could tell him. She had purchased the house just a few weeks ago, and had hired Bob to put in the foundation for a garage, and to pave the back driveway. She had been away all morning, and had returned to be told that human bones had been found in her yard. She had no idea who they could possibly belong to, or how they had gotten there. She remembered Lily talking about a ghost in the house, but decided mentioning that would make her look like more of an idiot than she already probably appeared to him, so she kept quiet.

Telling her he’d been in touch, Detective McDonald got up, and walked over to the two technicians still working in the yard. They had a brief conversation, with the female technician standing so close to Detective McDonald that Keeley wondered if they were a couple. He then got in his car and drove off, and the others returned to work. What a surprising and disturbing end to a day that had started off so well, Keeley thought morosely to herself.

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